Leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins: integrators of pattern recognition and signaling in immunity

Autophagy. 2011 Sep;7(9):1082-4. doi: 10.4161/auto.7.9.16464. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


The leucine-rich repeats (LRR)-containing domain is evolutionarily conserved in many proteins associated with innate immunity in plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Serving as a first line of defense, the innate immune response is initiated through the sensing of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). In plants, NBS (nucleotide-binding site)-LRR proteins provide recognition of pathogen products of avirulence (AVR) genes. LRRs also promote interaction between LRR proteins as observed in receptor-coreceptor complexes. In mammals, toll-like receptors (TLRs) and NOD-like receptors (NLRs) through their LRR domain, sense molecular determinants from a structurally diverse set of bacterial, fungal, parasite and viral-derived components. In humans, at least 34 LRR proteins are implicated in diseases. Most LRR domains consist of 2-45 leucine-rich repeats, with each repeat about 20-30 residues long. Structurally, LRR domains adopt an arc or horseshoe shape, with the concave face consisting of parallel β-strands and the convex face representing a more variable region of secondary structures including helices. Apart from the TLRs and NLRs, most of the 375 human LRR proteins remain uncharacterized functionally. We incorporated computational and functional analyses to facilitate multifaceted insights into human LRR proteins and outline a few approaches here.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Immunity / immunology*
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Proteins
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA Interference
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition