Genetic variation in Toll-like receptors and disease susceptibility

Nat Immunol. 2012 May 18;13(6):535-42. doi: 10.1038/ni.2284.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key initiators of the innate immune response and promote adaptive immunity. Much has been learned about the role of TLRs in human immunity from studies linking TLR genetic variation with disease. First, monogenic disorders associated with complete deficiency in certain TLR pathways, such as MyD88-IRAK4 or TLR3-Unc93b-TRIF-TRAF3, have demonstrated the specific roles of these pathways in host defense against pyogenic bacteria and herpesviruses, respectively. Second, common polymorphisms in genes encoding several TLRs and associated genes have been associated with both infectious and autoimmune diseases. The study of genetic variation in TLRs in various populations combined with information on infection has demonstrated complex interaction between genetic variation in TLRs and environmental factors. This interaction explains the differences in the effect of TLR polymorphisms on susceptibility to infection and autoimmune disease in various populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / genetics*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Toll-Like Receptors / chemistry
  • Toll-Like Receptors / genetics*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology*


  • Toll-Like Receptors