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Signals elicited by TLRs following the detection of microbes are integrated and diversified by a group of four cytoplasmic adaptor molecules featuring an evolutionarily conserved Toll/IL-1R signaling domain. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TLRs and their adaptor molecules have been shown to influence susceptibility to a range of infectious and other diseases. The adaptor MyD88 adaptor-like (Mal)/Toll/IL-1R-containing adaptor protein is involved in TLR2 and 4 signal transduction by recruiting another adaptor molecule, MyD88, to the plasma membrane. In this study, we used naturally occurring variants of Mal as tools to study the molecular biology of Mal in more detail in cellular model systems and to thereby identify functionally interesting variants whose corresponding nonsynonymous SNPs might be of further epidemiological interest. Of seven reported variants for Mal, we found Mal D96N associated with reduced NF-kappaB signaling and cytokine production after overexpression in HEK293 and Huh-7 cells. The D96N mutation prevented Mal from recruiting its signaling partner MyD88 to the plasma membrane and altered posttranslational modification of Mal. These findings led us to investigate the frequency of heterozygosity for the corresponding SNP rs8177400 in a Caucasian case-control study on the etiology of lymphoma, a disease in which TLRs have been implicated. Although rs8177400 did not modify lymphoma risk in general, its frequency of heterozygosity was accurately determined to 0.97%. Our data add rs8177400 (D96N) to the list of functionally important variants of Mal and warrant further research into its immunological, epidemiological, and diagnostic relevance.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





3025 - 3032


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Case-Control Studies, Cell Line, Transformed, Cell Line, Tumor, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genetic Variation, Humans, Immunophenotyping, Membrane Glycoproteins, Middle Aged, Multicenter Studies as Topic, Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88, NF-kappa B, Point Mutation, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Protein Transport, Receptors, Interleukin-1, Signal Transduction