, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 1283-1289

TollML: a database of toll-like receptor structural motifs

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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a key role in the innate immune system. TLRs recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns and initiate an intracellular kinase cascade to induce an immediate defensive response. During recent years TLRs have become the focus of tremendous research interest. A central repository for the growing amount of relevant TLR sequence information has been created. Nevertheless, structural motifs of most sequenced TLR proteins, such as leucine-rich repeats (LRRs), are poorly annotated in the established databases. A database that organizes the structural motifs of TLRs could be useful for developing pattern recognition programs, structural modeling and understanding functional mechanisms of TLRs. We describe TollML, a database that integrates all of the TLR sequencing data from the NCBI protein database. Entries were first divided into TLR families (TLR1-23) and then semi-automatically subdivided into three levels of structural motif categories: (1) signal peptide (SP), ectodomain (ECD), transmembrane domain (TD) and Toll/IL-1 receptor (TIR) domain of each TLR; (2) LRRs of each ECD; (3) highly conserved segment (HCS), variable segment (VS) and insertions of each LRR. These categories can be searched quickly using an easy-to-use web interface and dynamically displayed by graphics. Additionally, all entries have hyperlinks to various sources including NCBI, Swiss-Prot, PDB, LRRML and PubMed in order to provide broad external information for users. The TollML database is available at http://tollml.lrz.de.