Toll-like receptors and their function in innate and adaptive immunity

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2003 Mar;130(3):180-92. doi: 10.1159/000069517.


Over the past 3 years our knowledge about how we sense the microbial world has been fundamentally changed. It has been known for decades that microbial products, such as lipopolysaccharide, lipoproteins, or peptidoglycan, have a profound activity on human cells. Whereas the structure of many different pathogenic microbial compounds has been extensively studied and characterized, the molecular basis of their recognition by the cells of the innate immune system remained elusive for a long time. It was Charles Janeway [Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 1989;54/1:1-13] who developed the idea of microbial structures forming pathogen-associated molecular patterns that would be recognized by pattern recognition receptors. The discovery of the family of Toll receptors in species as diverse as DROSOPHILA and humans, and the recognition of their role in distinguishing molecular patterns that are common to microorganisms have led to a renewed appreciation of the innate immune system. Moreover, it is now clear that the activation of the innate immune system through mammalian Toll-like receptors has also an instructive role for the responses of the adaptive immune response and, thus, may influence allergic diseases such as asthma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / immunology
  • Drosophila Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Ligands
  • Mammals
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 5
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Tl protein, Drosophila
  • Toll-Like Receptor 5
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • tehao protein, Drosophila