Immunity against microbial pathogens primarily depends on the recognition of pathogen components by innate receptors expressed on immune and non-immune cells. Innate receptors are evolutionarily conserved germ-line-encoded proteins and include TLRs (Toll-like receptors), RLRs [RIG-I (retinoic acid-inducible gene-I)-like receptors] and NLRs (Nod-like receptors). These receptors recognize pathogens or pathogen-derived products in different cellular compartments, such as the plasma membrane, the endosomes or the cytoplasm, and induce the expression of cytokines, chemokines and co-stimulatory molecules to eliminate pathogens and instruct pathogen-specific adaptive immune responses. In the present review, we will discuss the recent progress in the study of pathogen recognition by TLRs, RLRs and NLRs and their signalling pathways.

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