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Neuroscience. 2009 Mar 17;159(2):629-37. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.12.036. Epub 2009 Jan 1.

Activation of toll-like receptor-3 induces interferon-lambda expression in human neuronal cells.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Joseph Stokes, Jr. Research Institute at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


We examined the gene expression and regulation of type III human interferon (IFN), IFN-lambda, in human neuronal cells. Human neuronal cells expressed endogenous IFN-lambda1 but not IFN-lambda2/3. Upon the activation of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-3 expressed in the neuronal cells by polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid (PolyI:C), both IFN-lambda1 and IFN-lambda2/3 expression was significantly induced. The activation of TLR-3 also exhibited antiviral activity against pseudotyped human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection of the neuronal cells. Human neuronal cells also expressed functional IFN-lambda receptor complex, interleukin-28 receptor alpha subunit (IL-28Ralpha) and IL-10Rbeta, as evidenced by the observations that exogenous IFN-lambda treatment inhibited pseudotyped HIV-1 infection of the neuronal cells and induced the expression of apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC)3G/3F, the newly identified anti-HIV-1 cellular factors. These data provide direct and compelling evidence that there is intracellular expression and regulation of IFN-lambda in human neuronal cells, which may have an important role in the innate neuronal protection against viral infections in the CNS.

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