Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23570315
Int. Rev. Immunol. 2013 Apr;32(2):157-208
Since their discovery, innate immunity microbial sensors have been increasingly studied and shown to play a critical role in innate responses to microbes in several experimental in vitro, ex vivo, and animal models. However, their role in the human response to infection in natural conditions has just started to be deciphered, by means of clinical studies of primary immunodeficiencies and epidemiological genetic studies. Here, we summarize the major findings concerning the genetic diversity of the various families of microbial sensors in humans, and of other molecules involved in the signaling pathways they trigger. Specifically, we review the genetic associations, revealed by both clinical and epidemiological genetics studies, of microbial sensors from five different families: Toll-like receptors, C-type lectin receptors, NOD-like receptors, RIG-I-like receptors, and cytosolic DNA sensors. In particular, we consider the relationships between variation at the genes encoding these molecules and susceptibility to and the severity of infectious diseases and other clinical conditions associated with immune dysfunction, including autoimmunity, inflammation, allergy, and cancer. Despite the fact that the genetic links between innate immunity sensors and human disorders remain still limited, human genetics studies are increasingly improving our understanding of the genuine functions of microbial sensors and downstream signaling molecules in the natural setting.