TLRs represent one of the most important components of innate immunity. Currently, these receptors have been extensively studied in vertebrates and insects, but our knowledge for annelids is very limited. Therefore, the aim of our study was to identify earthworm TLR homologs by genome-wide screening, and to determine the expression of candidate genes as a response to Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Using a combination of deep pyrosequencing and quantitative PCR we found six candidate genes, for which all were expressed in Dentrobaena veneta. Two of the candidates showed significant response to bacterial exposure. In conclusion, TLRs seem to have a role in earthworm immunology.
Keywords: Earthworm; Toll-like receptors; bacteria; gene expression; genome.
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