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Suppression of TLR Signaling by Targeting TIR domain-Containing Proteins

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 8 ]


Ota Fekonja, Monika Avbelj and Roman Jerala   Pages 776 - 788 ( 13 )


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize molecules specific to pathogens and endogenous danger signals. Binding of agonists to the ectodomain of the receptor initiates TLR activation and is followed by the association of receptor cytosolic Toll/Interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domains with TIR domains of adapter proteins leading to the assembly of signaling cascade of protein kinases that ultimately trigger the activation of transcription factors and expression of genes involved in the immune response. Excessive activation of TIR-domain mediated signaling has been implicated in inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, colitis) as well as in the development of cancer. Targeting receptor-adapter interactions represents a potential strategy for the therapeutic TLR/IL-1R-specific inhibition due to the unique interacting domains involved. Peptide and protein-domain binding TLR inhibitors originating from the interacting surfaces of TIR-domain containing proteins can bind to the site on their target interacting protein thereby preventing the assembly of the functional signaling complex. Here we review protein-domain, peptide and peptidomimetic inhibitors targeting TIR-domain mediated interactions and their application demonstrated on in vitro and in vivo models. Recent structural data and elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of TIR-domain mediated signaling enabled the development of peptide inhibitors from TIR domains of TLRs and adapters, MyD88 intermediary domain as well as improved protein inhibitors based on TIR domain dimerization, mimicking bacterial TIR-domain containing immunosuppressors (TCPs) which we discuss with challenges concerning the delivery and specificity of inhibitors targeting TLR adapters.


decoy peptides, inhibitory TIR domain-containing proteins, peptidomimetics, TLR signaling, therapeutic inhibition, INNATE IMMUNITY, TRAF6, IRAK kinases, TLR Adapters


Laboratory of Biotechnology, National Institute of Chemistry, Hajdrihova 19, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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