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Cell Res. 2005 Jun;15(6):407-22.

The host type I interferon response to viral and bacterial infections.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Type I interferons (IFN) are well studied cytokines with anti-viral and immune-modulating functions. Type I IFNs are produced following viral infections, but until recently, the mechanisms of viral recognition leading to IFN production were largely unknown. Toll like receptors (TLRs) have emerged as key transducers of type I IFN during viral infections by recognizing various viral components. Furthermore, much progress has been made in defining the signaling pathways downstream of TLRs for type I IFN production. TLR7 and TLR9 have become apparent as universally important in inducing type I IFN during infection with most viruses, particularly by plasmacytoid dendritic cells. New intracellular viral pattern recognition receptors leading to type I IFN production have been identified. Many bacteria can also induce the up-regulation of these cytokines. Interestingly, recent studies have found a detrimental effect on host cells if type I IFN is produced during infection with the intracellular gram-positive bacterial pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes. This review will discuss the recent advances made in defining the signaling pathways leading to type I IFN production.

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