Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a group of highly conserved molecules that initiate the innate immune response to pathogens by recognizing structural motifs expressed by microbes. We have identified a novel TLR, TLR15, by bioinformatic analysis of the chicken genome, which is distinct from any known vertebrate TLR and thus appears to be avian specific. The gene for TLR15 was sequenced and is found on chromosome 3, and it has archetypal TIR and transmembrane domains and a distinctive arrangement of extracellular leucine-rich regions. mRNA for TLR15 was detected in the spleen, bursa, and bone marrow of healthy chickens, suggesting a role for this novel receptor in constitutive host defense. Following in vivo Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection, quantitative real-time PCR demonstrated significant upregulation of TLR15 in the cecum of infected chickens. Interestingly, similar induction of TLR2 expression following infection was also observed. In vitro studies revealed TLR15 upregulation in chicken embryonic fibroblasts stimulated with heat-killed S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. Collectively, these results suggest a role for the TLR in avian defense against bacterial infection. We hypothesize that TLR15 may represent an avian-specific TLR that has been either retained in chicken and lost in other taxa or gained in the chicken.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases