Intracellular signalling cascades regulating innate immune responses to Mycobacteria: branching out from Toll-like receptors

Cell Microbiol. 2007 May;9(5):1087-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2007.00914.x. Epub 2007 Mar 13.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) or Mtb components and initiate mononuclear phagocyte responses that influence both innate and adaptive immunity. Recent studies have revealed the intracellular signalling cascades involved in the TLR-initiated immune response to mycobacterial infection. Although both TLR2 and TLR4 have been implicated in host interactions with Mtb, the relationship between specific mycobacterial molecules and various signal transduction pathways is not well understood. This review will discuss recent studies indicating critical roles for mycobacteria and mycobacterial components in regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and related signal transduction pathways that govern the outcome of infection and antibacterial defence. To better understand the roles of infection-induced signalling cascades in molecular pathogenesis, future studies are needed to clarify mechanisms that integrate the multiple signalling pathways that are activated by engagement of TLRs by both individual mycobacterial molecules and whole mycobacteria. These efforts will allow for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for tuberculosis that targets the intracellular signalling pathways permitting the replication of this nefarious pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mycobacterium / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium / physiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / metabolism
  • Mycobacterium Infections / microbiology
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Toll-Like Receptors / physiology*


  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases