Regulation of Dendritic Cell Function Through Toll-like Receptors
Higher animals establish host defense by orchestrating innate and adaptive immunity. This is mediated by professional antigen presenting cells, i.e. dendritic cells (DCs). DCs can incorporate pathogens, produce a variety of cytokines, maturate, and present pathogen-derived peptides to T cells, thereby inducing T cell activation and differentiation. These responses are triggered by microbial recognition through type I transmembrane proteins, Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on DCs. TLRs consist of ten members and each TLR is involved in recognizing a variety of microorganism-derived molecular structures. TLR ligands include cell wall components, proteins, nucleic acids, and synthetic chemical compounds, all of which can activate DCs as immune adjuvants.
Each TLR can activate DCs in a similar, but distinct manner. For example, TLRs can be divided into subgroups according to their type I interferon (IFN) inducing ability. TLR2 cannot induce IFN-α or IFN-β, but TLR4 can lead to IFN-β production. Meanwhile, TLR3, TLR7, and TLR9 can induce both IFN-α and IFN-β. Recent evidences suggest that cytoplamic adapters for TLRs are especially crucial for this functional heterogeneity. Clarifying how DC function is regulated by TLRs should provide us with critical information for manipulating the host defense against a variety of diseases.
Document Type: Review Article
Publication date: June 1, 2003
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- Current Molecular Medicine is an interdisciplinary journal focused on providing the readership with current and comprehensive reviews on fundamental molecular mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, the development of molecular-diagnosis and/or novel approaches to rational treatment. The reviews should be of significant interest to basic researchers and clinical investigators in molecular medicine. Periodically the journal will invite guest editors to devote an issue on a basic research area that shows promise to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanism(s) of a disease or has potential for clinical applications.