Toll-like Receptor 9, CpG DNA and Innate Immunity
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Innate immunity provides the first line of defense against invading pathogens and is essential for survival in the absence of adaptive immune responses. Innate immune recognition relies on a limited number of germ-line encoded receptors, such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), that evolved to recognize conserved molecular patterns of microbial origin. To date, ten transmembrane proteins in the TLR family have been described. It is becoming increasingly clear that bacterial CpG DNA and synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) containing unmethylated CpG are potent inducers of the innate immune system including dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages, and natural killer (NK) and NKT cells. Recent studies indicate that mucosal or systemic delivery of CpG DNA can act as a potent adjuvant in a vaccine combination or act alone as an anti-microbial agent. Recently, it was shown that TLR9 is essential for the recognition of unmethylated CpG DNA since cells from TLR9-deficient mice are unresponsive to CpG stimulation. Although the effects of CpG DNA on bone marrow-derived cells are beginning to unfold, there has been little or no information regarding the mechanisms of CpG DNA function on non-immune cells or tissues. This review focuses on the recent advances in CpG-DNA/TLR9 signaling effects on the activation of innate immunity.
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