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Species-Specific Recognition of Single-Stranded RNA via Toll-like Receptor 7 and 8

Science  05 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5663, pp. 1526-1529
DOI: 10.1126/science.1093620

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Abstract

Double-stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA) serves as a danger signal associated with viral infection and leads to stimulation of innate immune cells. In contrast, the immunostimulatory potential of single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) is poorly understood and innate immune receptors for ssRNA are unknown. We report that guanosine (G)- and uridine (U)-rich ssRNA oligonucleotides derived from human immunodeficiency virus–1 (HIV-1) stimulate dendritic cells (DC) and macrophages to secrete interferon-α and proinflammatory, as well as regulatory, cytokines. By using Toll-like receptor (TLR)–deficient mice and genetic complementation, we show that murine TLR7 and human TLR8 mediate species-specific recognition of GU-rich ssRNA. These data suggest that ssRNA represents a physiological ligand for TLR7 and TLR8.

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