Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are pattern-recognition receptors that trigger innate immune responses and stimulate adaptive immunity. Currently, only partial information is available for sheep TLR genes. The aims of this study were to clone and sequence the coding regions of all 10 ovine TLR genes and compare the sequences with those of other mammalian species. The coding sequences for ovine TLRs 1-10 and the 3′-untranslated sequences for ovine TLR1, 6 and 10 have been obtained. Ovine TLR6 exhibited a distinctive 3′-end sequence that resembled a rare splice variant of bovine TLR6, but appeared to represent the major TLR6 transcript in the sheep. qRT-PCR confirmed the presence of TLR transcripts in blood mononuclear cells, alveolar macrophages, keratinocytes and lymph node tissues. Comparative sequence analysis showed that the sheep TLRs share high sequence similarity with the respective cattle, pig, human and mouse genes and are likely derived from the same ancestral sequence.
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