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J Immunol. 2009 Nov 15;183(10):6545-53. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0900867. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Long double-stranded RNA induces an antiviral response independent of IFN regulatory factor 3, IFN-beta promoter stimulator 1, and IFN.

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Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine, Michael DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Virus infection elicits a robust innate antiviral response dominated by the production of type 1 IFN. In nonprofessional innate immune cells such as fibroblasts, type 1 IFN is rapidly produced following the recognition of viral dsRNA and the subsequent activation of the constitutively expressed transcription factor IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3). Although origin, localization, and length are factors in mediating dsRNA recognition and binding by cellular dsRNA-binding proteins, the biological significance of differential dsRNA binding is unclear, since the subsequent signaling pathways converge on IRF3. In this study, we show a dsRNA length-dependent activation of IRFs, IFNs, and IFN-stimulated genes in mouse fibroblasts. The length dependence was exacerbated in fibroblasts deficient in the mitochondria-associated adaptor IFN-beta promoter stimulator 1 and IRF3, suggesting that antiviral gene induction mediated by short and long dsRNA molecules is predominantly IFN-beta promoter stimulator 1 and IRF3 dependent and independent, respectively. Furthermore, we provide evidence of an innate antiviral response in fibroblasts in the absence of both IRF3 and type 1 IFN induction. Even with these key modulators missing, a 60-90% inhibition of virus replication was observed following 24-h treatment with short or long dsRNA molecules, respectively. These data provide evidence of a novel antiviral pathway that is dependent on dsRNA length, but independent of the type 1 IFN system.

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