Toll-like receptors and their role in experimental models of microbial infection

Genes Immun. 2003 Mar;4(2):87-94. doi: 10.1038/sj.gene.6363937.


Effective host defense against microbial infection depends upon prompt recognition of pathogens, activation of immediate containment measures, and ultimately the generation of a specific and definitive adaptive immune response. The innate immune system of the host is responsible for providing constant surveillance against infection; when confronted by pathogens it deploys a series of rapidly acting antimicrobial effectors while simultaneously instructing the adaptive immune system as to the nature and context of the infectious threat. Pathogen recognition and activation of innate immunity is mediated by members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family through detection of conserved microbial structures that are absent from the host. Experimental models of infection using TLR-deficient mice, as well as limited human studies, have clearly demonstrated the critical role of TLRs in host defense against most major groups of mammalian pathogens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mycoses / immunology
  • Mycoses / prevention & control
  • Parasitic Diseases / immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Virus Diseases / immunology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Tl protein, Drosophila
  • Toll-Like Receptors