The interaction between pathogens and their multicellular hosts is initiated by activation of pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs). These receptors, that include most notably members of the toll-like receptor (TLR) family, recognize specific pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). TLR4 is a central part of the receptor complex that is involved in the activation of the immune system by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) through the specific recognition of its endotoxic moiety (Lipid A). This is a critical event that is essential for the immune response to Gram-negative bacteria as well as the etiology of endotoxic shock. Interestingly, compared to mammals, fish are resistant to endotoxic shock. This in vivo resistance concurs with in vitro studies demonstrating significantly lowered sensitivity of fish leukocytes to LPS activation. Further, our in vitro analyses demonstrate that in trout mononuclear phagocytes, LPS fails to induce antiviral genes, an event that occurs downstream of TLR4 and is required for the development of endotoxic shock. Finally, an in silico approach that includes mining of different piscine genomic and EST databases, reveals the presence in fish of all of the major TLR signaling elements except for the molecules specifically involved in TLR4-mediated endotoxin recognition and signaling in mammals. Collectively, our analysis questions the existence of TLR4-mediated cellular responses to LPS in fish. We further speculate that other receptors, in particular beta-2 integrins, may play a primary role in the activation of piscine leukocytes by LPS.