Invertebrates rely completely for their protection against pathogens on the innate immune system. This non-self-recognition is activated by microbial cell wall components with unique conserved molecular patterns. Pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) are recognised by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Toll and its mammalian homologs Toll-like receptors are cell-surface receptors acting as PRRs and involved in the signalling pathway implicated in their immune response. Here we describe a novel partial Toll receptor gene cloned from a gill library of the giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, using primers based on the highly conserved Toll/IL-1R (TIR) domain. The deduced amino acid sequence of the P. monodon Toll (PmToll) shows 59% similarity to a Toll-related protein of Apis mellifera. Analysis of the LRRs of shrimp Toll contained no obvious PAMP-binding insertions. Phylogenetic analysis with the insect Toll family shows clustering with Toll1 and Toll5 gene products, and it is less related to Toll3 and Toll4. Furthermore, RT-qPCR shows that PmToll is constitutively expressed in gut, gill and hepatopancreas. Challenge with white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) shows equal levels of expression in these organs. A role in the defence mechanism is discussed. In conclusion, shrimp possess at least one Toll receptor that might be involved in immune defence.

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Fish and Shellfish Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Arts, J., Cornelissen, F., Cijsouw, T., Hermsen, T., Savelkoul, H., & Stet, R. (2007). Molecular cloning and expression of a Toll receptor in the giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon. Fish and Shellfish Immunology, 23(3), 504–513. doi:10.1016/j.fsi.2006.08.018