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Gene. 1999 Sep 3;237(1):1-14.

Interferon regulatory factors: the next generation.

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  • 1Terry Fox Molecular Oncology Group, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada.


Interferons are a large family of multifunctional secreted proteins involved in antiviral defense, cell growth regulation and immune activation. Viral infection induces transcription of multiple IFN genes, a response that is in part mediated by the interferon regulatory factors (IRFs). The initially characterized members IRF-1 and IRF-2 are now part of a growing family of transcriptional regulators that has expanded to nine members. The functions of the IRFs have also expanded to include distinct roles in biological processes such as pathogen response, cytokine signaling, cell growth regulation and hematopoietic development. The aim of this review is to provide an update on the novel discoveries in the area of IRF transcription factors and the important roles of the new generation of IRFs--particularly IRF-3, IRF-4 and IRF-7.

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