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Toll and Toll-like receptors represent families of receptors involved in mediating innate immunity response in insects and mammals. Although Drosophila proteome contains multiple Toll paralogs, Toll-1 is, so far, the only receptor to which an immune role has been attributed. In contrast, every single mammalian TLR is a key membrane receptor upstream of the vertebrate immune signaling cascades. The prevailing view is that TLR-mediated immunity is ancient. Structural analysis reveals that Drosophila Toll-9 is the most closely related to vertebrate TLRs and utilizes similar signaling components as Toll-1. This suggests that Toll-9 could be an ancestor of TLR-like receptors and could have immune function. Consistently, it has been reported that over-expression of Toll-9 in immune tissues is sufficient to induce the expression of some antimicrobial peptides in flies. These results have led to the idea that Toll-9 could be a constitutively active receptor that maintain significant levels of antimicrobial molecules and therefore provide constant basal protection against micro-organisms. To test theses hypotheses, we generated and analyzed phenotypes associated with a complete loss-of-function allele of Toll-9. Our results suggest that Toll-9 is neither required to maintain a basal anti-microbial response nor to mount an efficient immune response to bacterial infection.


Karine Narbonne-Reveau, Bernard Charroux, Julien Royet. Lack of an antibacterial response defect in Drosophila Toll-9 mutant. PloS one. 2011;6(2):e17470

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PMID: 21386906

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