Bioinformatics analysis of the structural and evolutionary characteristics for toll-like receptor 15

PeerJ. 2016 May 25;4:e2079. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2079. eCollection 2016.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play important role in the innate immune system. TLR15 is reported to have a unique role in defense against pathogens, but its structural and evolution characterizations are still poorly understood. In this study, we identified 57 completed TLR15 genes from avian and reptilian genomes. TLR15 clustered into an individual clade and was closely related to family 1 on the phylogenetic tree. Unlike the TLRs in family 1 with the broken asparagine ladders in the middle, TLR15 ectodomain had an intact asparagine ladder that is critical to maintain the overall shape of ectodomain. The conservation analysis found that TLR15 ectodomain had a highly evolutionarily conserved region on the convex surface of LRR11 module, which is probably involved in TLR15 activation process. Furthermore, the protein-protein docking analysis indicated that TLR15 TIR domains have the potential to form homodimers, the predicted interaction interface of TIR dimer was formed mainly by residues from the BB-loops and αC-helixes. Although TLR15 mainly underwent purifying selection, we detected 27 sites under positive selection for TLR15, 24 of which are located on its ectodomain. Our observations suggest the structural features of TLR15 which may be relevant to its function, but which requires further experimental validation.

Keywords: Innate immunity; Molecular evolution; Protein–protein interactions; Structural characteristics; Toll-like receptor 15.

Grant support

This work was supported in part by the National 973 Research Project (No. 2014CB542400) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81570454). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.