Functional consequences of toll-like receptor 4 polymorphisms

Mol Med. May-Jun 2008;14(5-6):346-52. doi: 10.2119/2007-00135.Ferwerda.


Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is an important pathogen recognition receptor that recognizes mainly lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Gram-negative bacteria, but also structures from fungal and mycobacterial pathogens, as well as endogenous ligands. Two nonsynonymous polymorphisms of TLR4, Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile, have been suggested to alter the function of the receptor. Some, but not all, studies have proposed that these polymorphisms lead to reduced cytokine response and increased susceptibility to Gram-negative infections. In this review, we compare studies that assessed the effect of the Asp299Gly and Thr399Ile polymorphisms on susceptibility to Gram-negative infections and examine the phenotypic consequences of these polymorphisms. In addition, we review the geographical distribution of TLR4 polymorphisms and present a model for evolutionary pressures on the TLR4 genetic make-up.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Frequency
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / physiology*


  • Toll-Like Receptor 4