In sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) caused by gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) initiates the early signaling events leading to the deleterious inflammatory response. However, it has become clear that LPS can not reproduce all of the clinical features of sepsis, which emphasize the roles of other contributing factors. Gram-positive bacteria, which lack LPS, are today responsible for a substantial part of the incidents of sepsis with MODS. The major wall components of gram-positive bacteria, peptidoglycan and lipoteichoic acid, are thought to contribute to the development of sepsis and MODS. In this review, the literature underlying our current understanding of how peptidoglycan and lipoteichoic acid activate inflammatory responses will be presented, with a focus on recent advances in this field.