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Sci. STKE, 8 August 2000
Vol. 2000, Issue 44, p. re1
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.442000re1]


The Interleukin-1 Receptor/Toll-like Receptor Superfamily: Signal Transduction During Inflammation and Host Defense

Luke A. J. O'Neill

The author is in the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. E-mail: laoneill{at}

Abstract: The signal transduction pathways activated by the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1) have been the focus of much attention because of the important role that IL-1 plays in inflammatory diseases. A number of proteins have been described that participate in the post-receptor activation of the transcription factor NF-{kappa}B and stress-activated protein kinases such as p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). It has also emerged that the type I IL-1 receptor (termed IL-1RI) is a member of an expanding receptor superfamily. These related receptors all have sequence similarity in their cytosolic regions. The family includes the Drosophila melanogaster protein Toll, the IL-18 receptor (IL-18R), and the Toll-like receptors TLR-2 and TLR-4, which bind molecules from Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, respectively. Because of the similarity of IL-1RI to Toll, the conserved sequence in the cytosolic region of these proteins has been termed the Toll-IL-1 receptor (TIR) domain. The same proteins activated during signaling by IL-1RI also participate in signaling by IL-18R and TLR-4. The receptor superfamily is evolutionarily conserved; members occur in plants and insects and also function in host defense. The signaling proteins activated are also conserved across species. This receptor superfamily therefore represents an ancient signaling system that is a critical determinant of the innate immune and inflammatory responses.

Citation: L. A. J. O'Neill, The Interleukin-1 Receptor/Toll-like Receptor Superfamily: Signal Transduction During Inflammation and Host Defense. Sci. STKE 2000, re1 (2000).

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