Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 275-288

First online:

TLR5 and Ipaf: dual sensors of bacterial flagellin in the innate immune system

  • Edward A. MiaoAffiliated withInstitute for Systems Biology
  • , Erica Andersen-NissenAffiliated withInstitute for Systems BiologyDepartment of Immunology, University of Washington
  • , Sarah E. WarrenAffiliated withInstitute for Systems BiologyDepartment of Immunology, University of Washington
  • , Alan AderemAffiliated withInstitute for Systems Biology Email author 

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The innate immune system precisely modulates the intensity of immune activation in response to infection. Flagellin is a microbe-associated molecular pattern that is present on both pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria. Macrophages and dendritic cells are able to determine the virulence of flagellated bacteria by sensing whether flagellin remains outside the mammalian cell, or if it gains access to the cytosol. Extracellular flagellin is detected by TLR5, which induces expression of proinflammatory cytokines, while flagellin within the cytosol of macrophages is detected through the Nod-like receptor (NLR) Ipaf, which activates caspase-1. In macrophages infected with Salmonella typhimurium or Legionella pneumophila, Ipaf becomes activated in response to flagellin that appears to be delivered to the cytosol via specific virulence factor transport systems (the SPI1 type III secretion system (T3SS) and the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system (T4SS), respectively). Thus, TLR5 responds more generally to flagellated bacteria, while Ipaf responds to bacteria that express both flagellin and virulence factors.


Flagellin Ipaf TLR5 NLR Innate immunity