Taro Kawai

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Manhattan, New York, United States

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Publications (92)1043.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The RIG-I-like receptors, retinoic acid inducible gene-1 (RIG-I), melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5, and laboratory of genetics and physiology-2, are cytoplasmic sensors for RNA viruses that mediate the antiviral innate immune responses. We demonstrate that really interesting new gene-finger domain- and K homology domain-containing MEX3C regulates RIG-I function. MEX3C colocalizes with RIG-I in the stress granules of virally infected cells, and its overexpression causes the lysine-63-linked ubiquitination of RIG-I and activates IFN-β promoter. Embryonic fibroblast cells, macrophages, and conventional dendritic cells derived from Mex3c-deficient mice showed defective production of type I IFN after infection with RNA viruses that are recognized by RIG-I. These results demonstrate that MEX3C is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that modifies RIG-I in stress granules and plays a critical role in eliciting antiviral immune responses.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT The cytoplasmic helicase RIG-I is an established sensor for viral 5'-triphosphorylated RNA species. Recently, RIG-I was also implicated in the detection of intracellular bacteria. However, little is known about the host cell specificity of this process and the bacterial pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) that activates RIG-I. Here we show that RNA of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium activates production of beta interferon in a RIG-I-dependent fashion only in nonphagocytic cells. In phagocytic cells, RIG-I is obsolete for detection of Salmonella infection. We further demonstrate that Salmonella mRNA reaches the cytoplasm during infection and is thus accessible for RIG-I. The results from next-generation sequencing analysis of RIG-I-associated RNA suggest that coding bacterial mRNAs represent the activating PAMP. IMPORTANCE S. Typhimurium is a major food-borne pathogen. After fecal-oral transmission, it can infect epithelial cells in the gut as well as immune cells (mainly macrophages, dendritic cells, and M cells). The innate host immune system relies on a growing number of sensors that detect pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) to launch a first broad-spectrum response to invading pathogens. Successful detection of a given pathogen depends on colocalization of host sensors and PAMPs as well as potential countermeasures of the pathogen during infection. RIG-I-like helicases were mainly associated with detection of RNA viruses. Our work shows that S. Typhimurium is detected by RIG-I during infection specifically in nonimmune cells.
    mBio 01/2014; 5(2). · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While T-cell responses are directly modulated by Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, the mechanism and physiological function of nucleic acids (NAs)-mediated T cell costimulation remains unclear. Here we show that unlike in innate cells, T-cell costimulation is induced even by non-CpG DNA and by self-DNA, which is released from dead cells and complexes with antimicrobial peptides or histones. Such NA complexes are internalized by T cells and induce costimulatory responses independently of known NA sensors, including TLRs, RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), inflammasomes and STING-dependent cytosolic DNA sensors. Such NA-mediated costimulation crucially induces Th2 differentiation by suppressing T-bet expression, followed by the induction of GATA-3 and Th2 cytokines. These findings unveil the function of NA sensing by T cells to trigger and amplify allergic inflammation.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:3566. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-dose ionizing radiation induces severe DNA damage in the epithelial stem cells in small intestinal crypts and causes gastrointestinal syndrome (GIS). Although the tumour suppressor p53 is a primary factor inducing death of crypt cells with DNA damage, its essential role in maintaining genome stability means inhibiting p53 to prevent GIS is not a viable strategy. Here we show that the innate immune receptor Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) is critical for the pathogenesis of GIS. Tlr3(-/-) mice show substantial resistance to GIS owing to significantly reduced radiation-induced crypt cell death. Despite showing reduced crypt cell death, p53-dependent crypt cell death is not impaired in Tlr3(-/-) mice. p53-dependent crypt cell death causes leakage of cellular RNA, which induces extensive cell death via TLR3. An inhibitor of TLR3-RNA binding ameliorates GIS by reducing crypt cell death. Thus, we propose blocking TLR3 activation as a novel approach to treat GIS.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:3492. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The baculovirus Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcNPV) has been widely used to achieve a high level of foreign gene expression in insect cells, as well as for efficient gene transduction into mammalian cells without any replication. In addition to permitting efficient gene delivery, baculovirus has been shown to induce host innate immune responses in various mammalian cells and in mice. In this study, we examined the effects of the innate immune responses on the gene expression by recombinant baculoviruses in cultured cells. The reporter gene expression in IRF3-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) by the infection with the recombinant baculovirus was shown to be enhanced in accordance with the suppression of IFN-β production. Furthermore, efficient gene transduction by the recombinant baculovirus was achieved in MEFs deficient for STING, TBK1, IRF3 or IPS-1, but not in those deficient for IRF7, MyD88 or ZBP1/DAI. An enhancement of gene expression by the recombinant baculovirus was also observed in human hepatoma cell lines replicating hepatitis C virus (HCV), in which innate immunity was impaired by the cleavage of IPS-1 by the viral protease. In addition, infection with the recombinant baculovirus expressing the BH3-only protein, BIMS, a potent inducer of apoptosis, resulted in a selective cell death in the HCV replicon cells. These results indicate that innate immune responses induced by infection with baculovirus attenuate transgene expression, and this characteristic might be useful for a selective gene transduction into cells with impaired innate immunity arisen from infection with various viruses.
    Journal of Virology 12/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Innate immune receptors, notably Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), sense viral infection and activate transcription factors, including interferon regulatory factor-3 (IRF3), to induce type I interferon (IFN). We demonstrate that the lipid phosphatidylinositol-5-phosphate (PtdIns5P) is increased upon viral infection and facilitates type I IFN production by binding to IRF3 and its upstream kinase TBK1 and promoting TBK1-mediated IRF3 phosphorylation and activation. Additionally, we determine that PtdIns5P is produced through the kinase PIKfyve, which phosphorylates PtdIns to generate PtdIns5P. Accordingly, PIKfyve knockdown or pharamoclogical inhibition decreases PtdIns5P levels and type I IFN production after TLR or RLR stimulation, and results in increased viral replication. A synthetic PtdIns5P, C8-PtdIns5P, promotes IRF3 phosphorylation and cytokine production in dendritic cells and acts as an adjuvant to boost immune responses in immunized mice. Thus, PtdIns5P produced during viral infection is a second messenger that targets the TBK1-IRF3 axis to elicit antiviral immunity.
    Cell host & microbe 08/2013; 14(2):148-58. · 13.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More than 130 million people worldwide chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at risk of developing severe liver disease. Antiviral treatments are only partially effective against HCV infection, and a vaccine is not available. Development of more efficient therapies has been hampered by the lack of a small animal model. Building on the observation that CD81 and occludin (OCLN) comprise the minimal set of human factors required to render mouse cells permissive to HCV entry1, we previously showed that transient expression of these two human genes is sufficient to allow viral uptake into fully immunocompetent inbred mice2. Here we demonstrate that transgenic mice stably expressing human CD81 and OCLN also support HCV entry, but innate and adaptive immune responses restrict HCV infection in vivo. Blunting antiviral immunity in genetically humanized mice infected with HCV results in measurable viraemia over several weeks. In mice lacking the essential cellular co-factor cyclophilin A (CypA), HCV RNA replication is markedly diminished, providing genetic evidence that this process is faithfully recapitulated. Using a cell-based fluorescent reporter activated by the NS3-4A protease we visualize HCV infection in single hepatocytes in vivo. Persistently infected mice produce de novo infectious particles, which can be inhibited with directly acting antiviral drug treatment, thereby providing evidence for the completion of the entire HCV life cycle in inbred mice. This genetically humanized mouse model opens new opportunities to dissect genetically HCV infection in vivo and provides an important preclinical platform for testing and prioritizing drug candidates and may also have utility for evaluating vaccine efficacy.
    Nature 07/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs) sense virus-derived RNA or polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly IC) to exert antiviral immune responses. Here, we examine the mechanisms underlying the adjuvant effects of poly IC. Poly IC was taken up by dendritic cells (DCs), and it induced lysosomal destabilization, which, in turn, activated an RLR-dependent signaling pathway. Upon poly IC stimulation, cathepsin D was released into the cytoplasm from the lysosome to interact with IPS-1, an adaptor molecule for RLRs. This interaction facilitated cathepsin D cleavage of caspase 8 and the activation of the transcription factor NF-κB, resulting in enhanced cytokine production. Further recruitment of the kinase RIP-1 to this complex initiated the necroptosis of a small number of DCs. HMGB1 released by dying cells enhanced IFN-β production in concert with poly IC. Collectively, these findings suggest that cathepsin D-triggered, IPS-1-dependent necroptosis is a mechanism that propagates the adjuvant efficacy of poly IC.
    Immunity 04/2013; 38(4):717-28. · 19.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) derived from pathogen- or host-damaged cells triggers innate immune responses when exposed to cytoplasm. However, the machinery underlying the primary recognition of intracellular dsDNA is obscure. Here we show that the DNA damage sensor, meiotic recombination 11 homolog A (MRE11), serves as a cytosolic sensor for dsDNA. Cells with a mutation of MRE11 gene derived from a patient with ataxia-telangiectasia-like disorder, and cells in which Mre11 was knocked down, had defects in dsDNA-induced type I IFN production. MRE11 physically interacted with dsDNA in the cytoplasm and was required for activation of stimulator of IFN genes (STING) and IRF3. RAD50, a binding protein to MRE11, was also required for dsDNA responses, whereas NBS1, another binding protein to MRE11, was dispensable. Collectively, our results suggest that the MRE11-RAD50 complex plays important roles in recognition of dsDNA and initiation of STING-dependent signaling, in addition to its role in DNA-damage responses.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infection of influenza A virus in mammals induces hyper lung pneumonia, which often causes lethal diseases. FasL is a specific ligand of Fas, which is a type-I transmembrane protein to induce cell death. Previously, it has been reported that the hyper induction of gene expression associated with Fas signal is observed in lethal influenza A virus infection. More importantly, it was also reported that functional mutation of the FasL gene protects the host against influenza A virus infection. These observations suggest that induction of FasL signal is functionally associated with the severity of influenza. However, regulation of the induction of FasL or Fas by influenza A virus infection is still unknown. Here, we demonstrated that FasL is induced after the viral infection, and inhibition of the Fas/FasL signal by treatment with a recombinant decoy receptor for FasL (Fas-Fc) increases the survival rate of mice after lethal infection of influenza A virus as well as functional mutation of the FasL gene in gld/gld mice. In addition, the induction level of FasL gene expression in the lung was correlated with the severity of influenza. We also showed that a variety of types of cells in the lung express FasL after the viral infection. Furthermore, type-I interferon induced by the viral infection was shown to be critical for induction of FasL protein expression in the lung. These findings suggested that expression of FasL protein induced by type-I IFN on the lung cell surface is critical to determine the severity of influenza.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e55321. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cytosolic RNA helicases melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 and retinoic acid-inducible gene-I and their adaptor IFN-β promoter stimulator (IPS-1) have been implicated in the recognition of viral RNA and the production of type I IFN. Complementing the endosomal TLR, melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5, and retinoic acid-inducible gene-I provides alternative mechanisms for viral detection in cells with reduced phagocytosis or autophagy. The infection route of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-via fusion of virus particles with the cell membrane-points to IPS-1 signaling as the pathway of choice for downstream antiviral responses. In the current study, viral clearance and inflammation resolution were indeed strongly affected by the absence of an initial IPS-1-mediated IFN-β response. Despite the blunted inflammatory response in IPS-1-deficient alveolar epithelial cells, pulmonary macrophages, and CD11b(+) dendritic cells (DC), the lungs of RSV-infected IPS-1-knockout mice showed augmented recruitment of inflammatory neutrophils, monocytes, and DC. Interestingly, pulmonary CD103(+) DC could functionally compensate for IPS-1 deficiency with the upregulation of certain inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, possibly via TLR3 and TLR7 signaling. The increased inflammation and reduced viral clearance in IPS-1-knockout mice was accompanied by increased T cell activation and IFN-γ production. Experiments with bone marrow chimeras indicated that RSV-induced lung pathology was most severe when IPS-1 expression was lacking in both immune and nonimmune cell populations. Similarly, viral clearance was rescued upon restored IPS-1 signaling in either the nonimmune or the immune compartment. These data support a nonredundant function for IPS-1 in controlling RSV-induced inflammation and viral replication.
    The Journal of Immunology 11/2012; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Host protection from infection relies on the recognition of pathogens by innate pattern-recognition receptors such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Here, we show that the orphan receptor TLR13 in mice recognizes a conserved 23S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequence that is the binding site of macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin group (MLS) antibiotics (including erythromycin) in bacteria. Notably, 23S rRNA from clinical isolates of erythromycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and synthetic oligoribonucleotides carrying methylated adenosine or a guanosine mimicking a MLS resistance-causing modification failed to stimulate TLR13. Thus, our results reveal both a natural TLR13 ligand and specific mechanisms of antibiotic resistance as potent bacterial immune evasion strategy, avoiding recognition via TLR13.
    Science 07/2012; 337(6098):1111-5. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) sense invading microbial pathogens and play crucial roles in the activation of innate and adaptive immunity. However, excessive TLR activation can disrupt immune homeostasis, and may be responsible for the development of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. As such, the molecules and pathways that negatively control TLR signaling have been intensively investigated. Here, we discuss recent insights into the negative regulation of TLR signaling, with focus on three major mechanisms: (i) dissociation of adaptor complexes; (ii) degradation of signal proteins; and (iii) transcriptional regulation. We also highlight how pathogens negatively target TLR signaling as a strategy to evade the host immune response.
    Trends in Immunology 06/2012; 33(9):449-58. · 9.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The innate immune system detects pathogen-derived nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and induces type I interferon (IFN) and other cytokines, resulting in the host defense against pathogen. We identified interferon-inducible tripartite-motif (TRIM) 56 as a regulator of double-stranded DNA-mediated type I interferon induction. TRIM56 interacted with STING and targeted it for lysine 63-linked ubiquitination. This modification induced STING dimerization, which was a prerequisite for recruitment of the antiviral kinase TBK1 and subsequent induction of IFN-beta. Taken together, these results show that TRIM56 is an interferon-inducible E3 ubiquitin ligase that modulates STING to confer double-stranded DNA-mediated innate immune responses. It is well known that Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) and TLR9 sense viral nucleic acids and induce production of type I interferon (IFN) by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) to protect the host from virus infection. We showed that the IFN-inducible antiviral protein Viperin promoted TLR7- and TLR9-mediated production of type I IFN by pDCs. Viperin expression was potently induced after TLR7 or TLR9 stimulation and Viperin localized to the cytoplasmic lipid-enriched compartments, lipid bodies, in pDCs. Viperin interacted with the signal mediators IRAK1 and TRAF6 to recruit them to the lipid bodies and facilitated K63-linked ubiquitination of IRAK1 to induce the nuclear translocation of transcription factor IRF7. Thus, besides direct inhibition of viral replication, this finding reveals that Viperin mediates its antiviral function via the regulation of the TLR7 and TLR9-IRAK1 signaling axis in pDCs.
    Uirusu 06/2012; 62(1):39-45.
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms of induction of liver injury during chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are not well understood. Gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-inducible protein 10 (IP-10), a member of the CXC chemokine family, is expressed in the liver of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients and selectively recruits activated T cells to the sites of inflammation. Recently, it was shown that a low plasma concentration of IP-10 in CHC patients was closely associated with the outcome of antiviral therapy. In this study, we examined the role of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) pathway on IP-10 production in cells replicating HCV. Among the CXC chemokines, the expression of IP-10 was specifically increased in cells replicating HCV upon stimulation with conventional TLR2 ligands. The enhancement of IP-10 production upon stimulation with TLR2 ligands in cells replicating HCV induced CD44 expression. CD44 is a broadly distributed type I transmembrane glycoprotein and a receptor for the glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan (HA). In CHC patients, the expression of HA in serum has been shown to increase in accord with the progression of liver fibrosis, and HA also works as a ligand for TLR2. In the present study, IP-10 production upon HA stimulation was dependent on the expression of TLR2 and CD44, and a direct association between TLR2 and CD44 was observed. These results suggest that endogenous expression of HA in hepatocytes in CHC patients participates in IP-10 production through an engagement of TLR2 and CD44.
    Journal of Virology 04/2012; 86(11):6159-70. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Host cells trigger signals for innate immune responses upon recognition of conserved structures in microbial pathogens. Nucleic acids, which are critical components for inheriting genetic information in all species including pathogens, are key structures sensed by the innate immune system. The corresponding receptors for foreign nucleic acids include members of Toll-like receptors, RIG-I-like receptors, and intracellular DNA sensors. While nucleic acid recognition by these receptors is required for host defense against the pathogen, there is a potential risk to the host of self-nucleic acids recognition, thus precipitating autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases. In this review, we discuss the roles of nucleic acid-sensing receptors in guarding against pathogen invasion, discriminating between self and non-self, and contributing to autoimmunity and autoinflammatory diseases.
    Immunological Reviews 09/2011; 243(1):61-73. · 12.16 Impact Factor
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    Taro Kawai, Shizuo Akira
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    ABSTRACT: The innate immune system recognizes microbial components through pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs), including membrane-bound Toll-like receptors and cytosolic receptors such as RIG-I-like receptors and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sensors. These PRRs trigger distinct signal transduction pathways that culminate in induction of an array of cytokines and other mediators required for host defense. The tripartite motif (TRIM) family is a diverse family of RING finger domain-containing proteins, which are involved in a variety of cellular functions. Importantly, recent studies have shown that they are also involved in the regulation of innate immune responses through the modulation of PRR signalling pathways.
    EMBO Molecular Medicine 08/2011; 3(9):513-27. · 7.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical and epidemiological studies have shown the contribution of viral infection to the development of allergic asthma. Many RNA viruses, pathogenic for the respiratory tract, generate double-stranded (ds)RNA during their replication. Typical innate immune responses triggered by dsRNA involve the endosomal and cytoplasmic pathways. The former is mediated by Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adaptor inducing IFN-β (TRIF), and the latter by IFN-β promoter stimulator 1 (IPS-1). We explored the effect of polyinocinic polycytidilic acid, a synthetic dsRNA, on the development of an asthma phenotype in mice. Administration of dsRNA during ovalbumin sensitization augmented airway eosinophilia and airway hyperresponsiveness after an antigen challenge, which was associated with enhanced induction of IL-13-producing CD8(+) T cells. The augmentation was induced in IPS-1-deficient mice but not in TRIF-deficient mice. The interactions between dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells are regulated by B7-family costimulatory molecules, including B7-H1 (also known as PD-L1), a putative ligand for programmed death-1 (PD-1). Treatment of bone marrow-derived DCs with dsRNA enhanced B7-H1 expression in a TRIF-dependent manner. Additionally, dsRNA increased B7-H1 expression on DCs in the draining lymph nodes of ovalbumin-sensitized mice. The augmentation of the asthma phenotype was prevented by the treatment of mice with anti-B7-H1 mAb but not with anti-PD-1 mAb. The augmentation was not induced in B7-H1-deficient mice. These results suggest that dsRNA-triggered activation of the innate immune system in sensitization leads to augmentation of the asthma phenotype via IL-13 mainly from CD8(+) T cells. B7-H1 plays a crucial role in the process without requiring interaction with PD-1.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 07/2011; 45(1):31-9. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Secondary bacterial infection is a common sequela to viral infection and is associated with increased lethality and morbidity. However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We show that the TLR3/MDA5 agonist poly I:C or viral infection dramatically augments signaling via the NLRs Nod1 and Nod2 and enhances the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Enhanced Nod1 and Nod2 signaling by poly I:C required the TLR3/MDA5 adaptors TRIF and IPS-1 and was mediated by type I IFNs. Mechanistically, poly I:C or IFN-β induced the expression of Nod1, Nod2, and the Nod-signaling adaptor Rip2. Systemic administration of poly I:C or IFN-β or infection with murine norovirus-1 promoted inflammation and lethality in mice superinfected with E. coli, which was independent of bacterial burden but attenuated in the absence of Nod1/Nod2 or Rip2. Thus, crosstalk between type I IFNs and Nod1/Nod2 signaling promotes bacterial recognition, but induces harmful effects in the virally infected host.
    Cell host & microbe 06/2011; 9(6):496-507. · 13.02 Impact Factor
  • Taro Kawai, Shizuo Akira
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    ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that play a central role in host cell recognition and responses to microbial pathogens. TLR-mediated recognition of components derived from a wide range of pathogens and their role in the subsequent initiation of innate immune responses is widely accepted; however, the recent discovery of non-TLR PRRs, such as C-type lectin receptors, NOD-like receptors, and RIG-I-like receptors, suggests that many aspects of innate immunity are more sophisticated and complex. In this review, we will focus on the role played by TLRs in mounting protective immune responses against infection and their crosstalk with other PRRs with respect to pathogen recognition.
    Immunity 05/2011; 34(5):637-50. · 19.80 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

15k Citations
1,043.18 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
      • Division of Infectious Diseases
      Manhattan, New York, United States
  • 2013–2014
    • Nara Institute of Science and Technology
      • Graduate School of Biological Sciences
      Ikuma, Nara, Japan
  • 2001–2013
    • Osaka University
      • • Division of Molecular Neurobiology
      • • Department of Host Defense
      Suika, Ōsaka, Japan
  • 2012
    • University of Yamanashi
      Kōhu, Yamanashi, Japan
  • 2011
    • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal
      Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
  • 2006–2011
    • Hokkaido University
      • Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan
  • 2008
    • Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
      • Department of Neonatology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 2005–2008
    • Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
      • Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO)
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan