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Immunity. 2001 Oct;15(4):617-26.

Lymphotoxins and cytomegalovirus cooperatively induce interferon-beta, establishing host-virus détente.

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Division of Molecular Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related cytokines regulate cell death and survival and provide strong selective pressures for viruses, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), to evolve counterstrategies in order to persist in immune-competent hosts. Signaling by the lymphotoxin (LT)-beta receptor or TNF receptor-1, but not Fas or TRAIL receptors, inhibits the cytopathicity and replication of human CMV by a nonapoptotic, reversible process that requires nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B)-dependent induction of interferon-beta (IFN-beta). Efficient induction of IFN-beta requires virus infection and LT signaling, demonstrating the need for both host and viral factors in the curtailment of viral replication without cellular elimination. LT alpha-deficient mice and LT beta R-Fc transgenic mice were profoundly susceptible to murine CMV infection. Together, these results reveal an essential and conserved role for LTs in establishing host defense to CMV.

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