Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been identified as a major class of pattern-recognition receptors. Recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by TLRs, either alone or in heterodimerization with other TLR or non-TLR receptors, induces signals responsible for the activation of innate immune response. Recent studies have demonstrated a crucial involvement of TLRs in the recognition of fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus and Cryptococcus neoformans. By studying fungal infection in knock-out mice deficient in either TLRs or TLRassociated adaptor molecules, it appeared that specific TLRs such as TLR2 and TLR4 play differential roles in the activation of the various arms of the innate immune response. Recent data also suggest that TLRs offer escape mechanisms to certain pathogenic microorganisms, especially through TLR2-driven induction of antiinflamatory cytokines. These recent developments provide crucial information for understanding the mechanisms of fungal recognition by cells of the immune system, and provide hope for designing new therapeutical approaches to fungal infections.
Keywords: Candida albicans, immunosuppression, pneumonia, TLR4 interaction, Cryptococcus neoformans
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