This article was the featured publication of the month of the School of Public Health website. If you missed the video you can watch it now on your website here.
A novel innate immune sensor of viral infection
Our immune defense begins with pathogen recognition by a family of proteins called Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which sense microbial molecules and activate innate host defenses. In humans, there are 10 identified TLR members, designated TLRs 1–10. Of those, TLR10 remains the only one without a defined ligand and function.
Suki LEE’s lab at HKU-Pasteur Pasteur Research Pole and Centre of Influenza Research, School of Public Health, has filled this gap by discovering that TLR10 is an innate viral sensor. She found that influenza virus infection increased TLR10 expression, which, in turn, contributed to amplification of the production of proinflammatory cytokines and interferons. Compared with seasonal influenza H1N1, the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was a more potent inducer of TLR10, suggesting that TLR10 expression and signaling may be related to pathogenicity.
This work entitled "Toll-like receptor 10 is involved in induction of innate immune responses to influenza virus infection" has been published in PNAS.
Suki and her lab are now working on the ligand identification of TLR-10. By developing specific ligands or inhibitors they may be able to either enhance innate immune defenses or suppress damaging inflammatory responses, thereby providing novel therapeutic option to treat diseases in which TLR10 signaling is involved.