Bovine respiratory disease is a complex of bacterial and viral infections of economic and welfare importance to the beef industry. Although tracheal antimicrobial peptide (TAP) has microbicidal activity against bacterial pathogens causing bovine respiratory disease, risk factors for bovine respiratory disease including BVDV and stress (glucocorticoids) have been shown to inhibit the induced expression of this gene. Lipopolysaccharide is known to stimulate TAP gene expression, but the maximum effect is only observed after 16 h of stimulation. The present study investigated other agonists of TAP gene expression in primary cultures of bovine tracheal epithelial cells. PCR analysis of unstimulated tracheal epithelial cells, tracheal tissue and lung tissue each showed mRNA expression for Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 1-10. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that Pam3CSK4 (an agonist of TLR1/2) and interleukin (IL)-17A significantly induced TAP gene expression in tracheal epithelial cells after only 4-8 h of stimulation. Flagellin (a TLR5 agonist), lipopolysaccharide and interferon-α also had stimulatory effects, but little or no response was found with class B CpG ODN 2007 (TLR9 agonist) or lipoteichoic acid (TLR2 agonist). The use of combined agonists had little or no enhancing effect above that of single agonists. Thus, Pam3CSK4, IL-17A and lipopolysaccharide rapidly and significantly induce TAP gene expression, suggesting that these stimulatory pathways may be of value for enhancing innate immunity in feedlot cattle at times of susceptibility to disease.