Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15330254
C. R. Biol. 2004 Jun;327(6):551-5
Innate immunity relies on the detection of microbial invaders by two distinct systems. One system comprises a family of membrane-bound receptors, termed the Toll-like receptors, while the other family, termed the nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich repeat (NBS/LRR) proteins, consists of molecules that are found in the cytoplasmic compartment. These two detection systems recognize conserved molecular components of microbes including such structural motifs as lipopolysaccharide from the Gram-negative bacterial cell wall and peptidoglycan (PGN) found in the cell wall of both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. This review focuses on two members of the NBS/LRR family of proteins, Nod1 and Nod2. Recently, the microbial motifs sensed by these two molecules have been characterized. Both Nod1 and Nod2 recognize PGN, however, each requires distinct molecular motifs to attain sensing. Nod1 recognizes a naturally occurring muropeptide of PGN that presents a unique amino acid at its terminus called diaminopilemic acid (DAP). This amino acid is found mainly in the PGN of Gram-negative bacteria designating Nodl as a sensor of Gram-negative bacteria. In contrast, Nod2 can detect the minimal bioactive fragment of PGN, called muramyl dipeptide. Thus Nod2 is a general sensor of bacterial PGN. Since mutations in the gene encoding Nod2 were recently shown to be associated with the chronic inflammatory disease, Crohn’s disease, these results are discussed in the context of how disrupting the interplay between host detection and bacterial aggression may lead to inflammatory diseases.