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Immunol Res. 2013 Mar;55(1-3):187-200. doi: 10.1007/s12026-012-8362-y.

Differential effects of type I and II interferons on myeloid cells and resistance to intracellular bacterial infections.

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Integrated Department of Immunology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA.


The type I and II interferons (IFNs) play important roles in regulating immune responses during viral and bacterial infections and in the context of autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. These two IFN types bind to distinct cell surface receptors that are expressed by nearly all cells to trigger signal transduction events and elicit diverse cellular responses. In some cases, type I and II IFNs trigger similar cellular responses, while in other cases, the IFNs have unique or antagonistic effects on host cells. Negative regulators of IFN signaling also modulate cellular responses to the IFNs and play important roles in maintaining immunological homeostasis. In this review, we provide an overview of how IFNs stimulate cellular responses. We discuss the disparate effects of type I and II IFNs on host resistance to certain intracellular bacterial infections and provide an overview of models that have been proposed to account for these disparate effects. Mechanisms of antagonistic cross talk between type I and II IFNs are also introduced.

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