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Schwarz, Heike; Schneider, Kirsten; Ohnemus, Annette; Lavric, Miha; Kothlow, Sonja; Bauer, Stefan; Kaspers, Bernd and Staeheli, Peter (23. February 2007): Chicken Toll-like Receptor 3 Recognizes Its Cognate Ligand When Ectopically Expressed in Human Cells. In: Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research, Vol. 27, No. 2: pp. 97-102 [PDF, 2MB]

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Recognition of pathogens by toll-like receptors (TLRs) causes activation of signaling cascades that trigger cytokine secretion and, ultimately, innate immunity. Genes encoding proteins with substantial homology to mammalian TLR1, TLR2, TLR3, TLR4, TLR5, and TLR7 are present in the chicken genome, whereas orthologs of TLR8, TLR9, and TLR10 seem to be defective or missing. Except for chicken TLR2 (ChTLR2), which was previously shown to recognize lipopeptides and lipopolysaccharides (LPS), the ligand specificity of ChTLRs had not been determined. We found that polyI:C, LPS, R848, S-28463, and ODN2006, which are specifically recognized by TLR3, TLR4, TLR7/8, and TLR9 in mammals, induced substantial amounts of type I interferon (IFN) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in freshly prepared chicken splenocytes. To determine the ligand specificity of ChTLR3 and ChTLR7, we used a standard reporter assay frequently employed for analysis of mammalian TLRs. Neither S-28463 nor any other TLR ligand induced reporter activity in human 293 cells expressing ChTLR7. However, human 293 cells expressing ChTLR3 strongly and specifically responded to polyI:C, demonstrating that this chicken receptor represents a true ortholog of mammalian TLR3.

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