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Toll is the founder of a group of pattern recognition receptors that play a critical role in the innate immunity in Drosophila. At least 10 distinct Toll-like receptors (TLRs), recognizing pathogen-associated molecular patterns, have now been identified in humans. Most investigations on TLRs have focused on cells of the innate system. We report here that naïve human T cells expressed high levels of cell-surface TLR2 after activation by anti-T cell receptor antibody and IFN-alpha. Activated cells produced elevated levels of cytokines in response to the TLR2 ligand, bacterial lipopeptide. Furthermore, CD4(+)CD45RO(+) memory T cells from peripheral blood constitutively expressed TLR2 and produced IFN-gamma in response to bacterial lipopeptide, which also markedly enhanced the proliferation and IFN-gamma production by CD45RO(+) T cells in the presence of IL-2 or IL-15. Thus, TLR2 serves as a costimulatory receptor for antigen-specific T cell development and participates in the maintenance of T cell memory. This suggests that pathogens, via their pathogen-associated molecular patterns, may contribute directly to the perpetuation and activation of long-term T cell memory in both antigen-dependent and independent manner.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





3029 - 3034


Animals, Antigen-Presenting Cells, Base Sequence, DNA Primers, Fetal Blood, Flow Cytometry, Humans, Immunologic Memory, Infant, Newborn, Lymphocyte Activation, Membrane Glycoproteins, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Receptors, Cell Surface, T-Lymphocytes, Toll-Like Receptor 2, Toll-Like Receptors