Developmental and comparative immunology. 2011-04-01; 35.4: 461-8.

TIR domain-containing adaptor SARM is a late addition to the ongoing microbe-host dialog

Zhang Q, Zmasek CM, Cai X, Godzik A

PMID: 21110998


Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing proteins play important roles in defense against pathogens in both animals and plants, connecting the immunity signaling pathways via a chain of specific protein-protein interactions. Among them is SARM, the only TIR domain-containing adaptor that can negatively regulate TLR signaling. By extensive phylogenetic analysis, we show here that SARM is closely related to bacterial proteins with TIR domains, suggesting that this family has a different evolutionary history from other animal TIR-containing adaptors, possibly emerging via a lateral gene transfer from bacteria to animals. We also show evidence of several similar, independent transfer events, none of which, however, survived in vertebrates. An evolutionary relationship between the animal SARM adaptor and bacterial proteins with TIR domains illustrates the possible role that bacterial TIR-containing proteins play in regulating eukaryotic immune responses and how this mechanism was possibly adapted by the eukaryotes themselves.

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