PRRs & Innate Immunity
Innate immunity is an evolutionarily conserved system that provides the body's first line of defense against invading viral and microbial pathogens and helps maintain homeostasis by regulating endogenous processes such as inflammation and cell death. It relies on specialized receptors known as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which recognize specific pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which are common to microbes but not to mammals, and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which are molecules released by the host's own tissue (e.g. from dying cells) or by the environment (e.g. toxins). Upon detection of PAMPs and DAMPs, certain PRRs trigger an inflammatory response that leads to efficient destruction of the invading pathogens. New PRRs and their ligands are constantly being discovered.