Genetic analysis of Toll/Interleukin-1 Receptor (TIR) domain sequences from rhesus macaque Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 1-10 reveals high homology to human TLR/TIR sequences

Immunogenetics. 2004 Dec;56(9):667-74. doi: 10.1007/s00251-004-0734-6. Epub 2004 Nov 11.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) form a major group of pattern recognition receptors of the innate immune system that sense molecular patterns on microbes. The cytoplasmic Toll/Interleukin-1 Receptor (TIR) signaling domain is instrumental in inducing a signaling cascade upon recognition of specific ligands by TLRs. Because nonhuman primates are used as models of infectious and immune processes, we sought to obtain an increased understanding of nonhuman primate TLRs. We obtained the nucleotide sequences of the TIR domains of rhesus macaque TLRs 1-10 and examined their genetic relationships to TLRs from humans and mice. Alignment of the deduced amino acid sequences revealed macaque-specific changes mostly outside the conserved "Box" regions of the TLR/TIR domain. Assessment of mutational biases among TLRs from multiple species revealed a strong overall bias towards synonymous substitutions, with a few short regions showing evidence for positive selection outside the Box regions. This first presentation of the TLR/TIR domain sequences from nonhuman primates indicates that although there are species-specific differences, a high level of sequence homology exists in the critical signaling Box regions of macaque, human, and murine TLR/TIR domains. These findings suggest that animal models, including nonhuman primates, will be useful in modeling human TLR pathophysiology and therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1 / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1
  • Toll-Like Receptors