Role Of Toll Like Receptors In Detecting Flaviviruses

2660 words - 11 pages

Since the beginning of time, man has been in a constant battle with a foe that is smaller than the smallest cell on earth, viruses. Viruses have caused many epidemics throughout history and the fight continues today. There are many families of viruses, but one has shown to be especially infective in humans. The family I speak of is the genus Flavivridea, which is the family of flaviviruses. The first flavivirus to be identified was yellow fever. Flavi in latin means yellow, which is where the family name comes from. One of the most damaging epidemics in our history took place in the early 1800s. Nepoleon sent 30,000 troops to North America to look over French land. In less than three years yellow fever decimated his troops to less than 5,000. This was so damaging that napoleon decided to sell the land to the United States and this is how we acquired the Louisiana Purchase [1]. This and other epidemics of this extant are the reason scientists conducting immense research to prevent catastrophes of this nature from occurring again. The Flavivirus has been studied for years and there are some features that distinguish it from other viruses. First of all, these viruses are considered arboviruses. This means that the mode of transmission of the virus is from arthropods, such as ticks and mosquitoes. There are many types of flavirus, but the most well known and dangerous are West Nile virus, Dengue virus, Yellow fever, and Tick-borne encephalitis. These viruses all have similar symptoms: fever, headache and malaise. In severe cases these viruses can cause encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain, and hemorrhagic fever, which is severe fever which causes capillaries to hemorrhage and cause internal bleeding [2]. Since these last two symptoms are serious and could even cause death, it is imperative to understand how the body recognizes and defends against these types of viruses. With most dilemmas it is important to start at the source. This investigation leads to the first line of defense of the body, the innate immune system.
The innate immunity is also known as the non-specific immunity because the system does not have memory but rather recognizes epitopes, protein sequences, which are widely conserved throughout bacteria and viral structures. The innate immune system helps to recognize and recruit other cells to fight foreign antigens. One of the most important components of the innate immunity is pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs). The main PRRs are known as toll-like receptors (TLR). These receptors are a fairly new discovery in immunological research although they have been evolutionarily conserved throughout evolutionary history. Understanding how TLRs recognize and react to pathogens, especially various flaviviruses, could give insight for future medicinal treatments to combat diseases. To date, there have been 10 TLRs identified. The three TLRs that will be spoken of in this paper are TLR2, TLR3, and TLR4. The purpose of this paper...

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