Pietretti, D., Scheer, M., Fink, I.R., Taverne, N., Savelkoul, H.F., Spaink, H.P., Forlenza, M., and Wiegertjes, G.F. (2014) Identification and functional characterization of nonmammalian Toll-like receptor 20. Immunogenetics. 66(2):123-141.
Like other vertebrate Toll-like receptors (TLRs), the TLRs of teleost fish can be subdivided into six major families, each of which recognize a general class of molecular patterns. However, there also are a number of Tlrs with unknown function, the presence of which seems unique to the bony fish, among which is Tlr20. We identified full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) sequences for tlr20 of zebrafish and common carp, two closely related fish species. Zebrafish have six copies of tlr20, whereas carp express only a single copy. Both zebrafish Tlr20 (at least Tlr20a–d) and carp Tlr20 have 26 leucine-rich repeats (LRRs). Three-dimensional modeling indicates a best fit to the crystal structure of TLR8. Phylogenetic analyses place Tlr20 in the TLR11 family closest to Tlr11 and Tlr12, which sense ligands from protozoan parasites in the mouse. Conservation of genes on zebrafish chromosome 9, which carries tlr20, with genes on mouse chromosome 14, which carries tlr11, indicates Tlr11 could be a possible ortholog of Tlr20. Confocal microscopy suggests a subcellular localization of Tlr20 at the endoplasmatic reticulum. Although in vitro reporter assays could not identify a ligand unique to Tlr20, in vivo infection experiments indicate a role for Tlr20 in the immune response of carp to protozoan parasites (Trypanoplasma borreli). Carp tlr20 is mainly expressed in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) with B lymphocytes, in particular, expressing relatively high levels of Tlr20. In vitro stimulation of PBL with T. borreli induces an upregulation of tlr20, supportive of a role for Tlr20 in the immune response to protozoan parasites.