Toll-like receptor 9 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TLR9 gene. TLR9 has also been designated as CD289. It is a member of the toll-like receptor (TLR) family. TLR9 is an important receptor expressed in immune system cells including dendritic cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, and other antigen presenting cells. TLR9 preferentially binds DNA present in bacteria and viruses, and triggers signaling cascades that lead to a pro-inflammatory cytokine response. Cancer, infection, and tissue damage can all modulate TLR9 expression and activation. TLR9 is also an important factor in autoimmune diseases, and there is active research into synthetic TLR9 agonists and antagonists that help regulate autoimmune inflammation.