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J Immunol. 2002 Dec 1;169(11):6522-9.

Production of type I IFN sensitizes macrophages to cell death induced by Listeria monocytogenes.

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Vienna Biocenter and University of Vienna, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Austria.


Type I IFNs (IFN-alpha/beta) modulate innate immune responses. Here we show activation of transcription factor IFN regulatory factor 3, the synthesis of large amounts of IFN-beta mRNA, and type I IFN signal transduction in macrophages infected with Listeria monocytogenes. Expression of the bacterial virulence protein listeriolysin O was necessary, but not sufficient, for efficient IFN-beta production. Signaling through a pathway involving the type I IFN receptor and Stat1 sensitized macrophages to L. monocytogenes-induced cell death in a manner not requiring inducible NO synthase (nitric oxide synthase 2) or protein kinase R, potential effectors of type I IFN action during microbial infections. The data stress the importance of type I IFN for the course of infections with intracellular bacteria and suggest that factors other than listeriolysin O contribute to macrophage death during Listeria infection.

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