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Cell. 2005 Sep 9;122(5):669-82.

Identification and characterization of MAVS, a mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein that activates NF-kappaB and IRF 3.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


Viral infection triggers host innate immune responses through activation of the transcription factors NF-kappaB and IRF 3, which coordinately regulate the expression of type-I interferons such as interferon-beta (IFN-beta). Herein, we report the identification of a novel protein termed MAVS (mitochondrial antiviral signaling), which mediates the activation of NF-kappaB and IRF 3 in response to viral infection. Silencing of MAVS expression through RNA interference abolishes the activation of NF-kappaB and IRF 3 by viruses, thereby permitting viral replication. Conversely, overexpression of MAVS induces the expression of IFN-beta through activation of NF-kappaB and IRF 3, thus boosting antiviral immunity. Epistasis experiments show that MAVS is required for the phosphorylation of IRF 3 and IkappaB and functions downstream of RIG-I, an intracellular receptor for viral RNA. MAVS contains an N-terminal CARD-like domain and a C-terminal transmembrane domain, both of which are essential for MAVS signaling. The transmembrane domain targets MAVS to the mitochondria, implicating a new role of mitochondria in innate immunity.

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