The adaptor molecule TIRAP provides signalling specificity for Toll-like receptors.
Mammalian Toll-like receptors (TLRs) function as sensors of infection and induce the activation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Upon recognizing conserved pathogen-associated molecular products, TLRs activate host defence responses through their intracellular signalling domain, the Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain, and the downstream adaptor protein MyD88 (refs 1-3). Although members of the TLR and the interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor families all signal through MyD88, the signalling pathways induced by individual receptors differ. TIRAP, an adaptor protein in the TLR signalling pathway, has been identified and shown to function downstream of TLR4 (refs 4, 5). Here we report the generation of mice deficient in the Tirap gene. TIRAP-deficient mice respond normally to the TLR5, TLR7 and TLR9 ligands, as well as to IL-1 and IL-18, but have defects in cytokine production and in activation of the nuclear factor NF-kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinases in response to lipopolysaccharide, a ligand for TLR4. In addition, TIRAP-deficient mice are also impaired in their responses to ligands for TLR2, TLR1 and TLR6. Thus, TIRAP is differentially involved in signalling by members of the TLR family and may account for specificity in the downstream signalling of individual TLRs.