Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 is expressed on immune cells and respiratory epithelial cells lining the lung. TLR2 is not critical for protection during acute Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection but it has a significant multi-faceted role in containing chronic infection. This review highlights the contribution of TLR2 to host protection, immune evasion by Mtb and immune regulation during chronic Mtb infection. The TLR2-triggered pro-inflammatory cytokines initiate protective mechanisms and limit Mtb replication while the immune evasion pathways counterattack anti-bacterial effector mechanisms. The immune regulation pathways that are activated dampen TLR2 signaling. The combinatorial effect of these functional responses is persistence of Mtb with minimal immunopathology.
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