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Sex and suicide: The curious case of Toll-like receptors

Navarro-Costa, Paulo A., Molaro, Antoine, Misra, Chandra S., Meiklejohn, Colin D., Ellis, Peter J. (2020) Sex and suicide: The curious case of Toll-like receptors. PLoS Biology, . ISSN 1544-9173. (doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000663) (KAR id:80701)

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During in vitro fertilisation (IVF), pharmacological activation of the murine X chromosome-encoded receptor proteins TLR7 and TLR8 reportedly results in male-biased litters by selectively disrupting the motility of X-bearing sperm cells. Thus - in the context of agonist treatment during IVF - these receptors act as “suicidal” segregation distorters that impair their own transmission to the next generation. Such behaviour would, from an evolutionary perspective, be strongly selected against if present during natural fertilisation. Consequently TLR7/8 biology in vivo must differ significantly from this in vitro situation to allow these genes to persist in the genome. Here, we use our current understanding of male germ cell biology and TLR function as a starting point to explore the mechanistic and evolutionary aspects of this apparent paradox

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000663
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QP Physiology (Living systems) > QP506 Molecular biology
Q Science > QP Physiology (Living systems) > QP517 Biochemistry
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Biosciences
Funders: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (
Leverhulme Trust (
Depositing User: Peter Ellis
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 12:08 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 15:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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