Infection of cells by microorganisms activates the inflammatory response. The initial sensing of infection is mediated by innate pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which include Toll-like receptors, RIG-I-like receptors, NOD-like receptors, and C-type lectin receptors. The intracellular signaling cascades triggered by these PRRs lead to transcriptional expression of inflammatory mediators that coordinate the elimination of pathogens and infected cells. However, aberrant activation of this system leads to immunodeficiency, septic shock, or induction of autoimmunity. In this Review, we discuss the role of PRRs, their signaling pathways, and how they control inflammatory responses. 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.