Cleavage and activation of a Toll-like receptor by microbial proteases


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are innate receptors that show high conservation throughout the animal kingdom. Most TLRs can be clustered into phylogenetic groups that respond to similar types of ligands. One exception is avian TLR15. This receptor does not categorize into one of the existing groups of TLRs and its ligand is still unknown. Here we report that TLR15 is a sensor for secreted virulence-associated fungal and bacterial proteases. Activation of TLR15 involves proteolytic cleavage of the receptor ectodomain and stimulation of NF-κB–dependent gene transcription. Receptor activation can be mimicked by the expression of a truncated TLR15 of which the entire ectodomain is removed, suggesting that receptor cleavage alleviates receptor inhibition by the leucine-rich repeat domain. Our results indicate TLR15 as a unique type of innate immune receptor that combines TLR characteristics with an activation mechanism typical for the evolutionary distinct protease-activated receptors

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This paper was published in PubMed Central.

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