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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Aug 2023 - 25 Aug 2023

Basic Science, Methodology

In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Neuropathic Pain


Methods Mol Biol



Modeling of Transmembrane Domain and Full-Length TLRs in Membrane Models.


Matamoros-Recio A, Mínguez-Toral M, Martín-Santamaría S


Toll-like receptors (TLRs), classified as pattern recognition receptors, have a primordial role in the activation of the innate immunity. In particular, TLR4 binds to lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a membrane constituent of Gram-negative bacteria, and, together with Myeloid Differentiation factor 2 (MD-2) protein, forms a heterodimeric complex which leads to the activation of the innate immune system response. Identification of TLRs has sparked great interest in the therapeutic manipulation of the innate immune system. In particular, TLR4 antagonists may be useful for the treatment of septic shock, certain autoimmune diseases, noninfectious inflammatory disorders, and neuropathic pain, and TLR4 agonists are under development as vaccine adjuvants in antitumoral treatments. Therefore, TLR4 has risen as a promising therapeutic target, and its modulation constitutes a highly relevant and active research area. Deep structural understanding of TLR4 signaling may help in the design and discovery of TLR4-modulating molecules with desirable therapeutic properties.Computational studies of the different independent domains composing the TLR4 were undertaken, to understand the differential domain organization of TLR4 in aqueous and membrane environments, including Liquid-disordered (Ld) and Liquid-ordered (Lo) membrane models, to account for the TLR4 recruitment in lipid rafts over activation. We modeled, by means of all-atom Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations, the structural assembly of plausible full-length TLR4 models embedded into a realistic plasma membrane, accounting for the active (agonist) state of the TLR4, thus providing an analysis at both atomic/molecular and thermodynamic levels of the TLR4 assembly and biological activity. Our results unveil relevant molecular aspects involved in the mechanism of receptor activation, and adaptor recruitment in the innate immune pathways, and will promote the discovery of new TLR4 modulators and probes.