Innate immune receptors play a key role in the early recognition of invading bacterial pathogens and initiate the crucial innate immune response. The diverse macrophage receptors recognise Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria via conserved structures on the bacterial surface and facilitate phagocytosis and/or signalling, providing the trigger for the adaptive immune response. These receptors include scavenger receptors, C-type lectins, integrins, Toll-like receptors and siglecs. The bacterial ligands generally recognised by these receptors range from lipopolysaccharides on Gram-negative bacteria to peptidoglycan and lipoteichoic acid on Gram-positive bacteria. However, emerging evidence indicates that bacterial proteins are also important ligands; for example, surface proteins from Neisseria meningitidis have been shown to be ligands for class A scavenger receptors. In addition, a group of cytosolic receptors, the NBS-LRR proteins, have been implicated in recognition of bacterial breakdown products. It is becoming increasingly apparent that macrophage receptors can act in conjunction with one another to deliver an appropriate response.
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