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New Microbiol. 2015 Jan;38(1):5-20. Epub 2015 Jan 1.

The interferon-inducible DNA-sensor protein IFI16: a key player in the antiviral response.

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Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences, University of Turin, Medical School, Turin, Italy.


IFI16, a member of the IFN-inducible PYHIN-200 gene family, displays multifaceted activity due to its ability to bind to various target proteins and, in turn, modulate a variety cell functions including proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis/pyroptosis, senescence, and in? ammation. The last few year have seen major advances in our knowledge of IFI16 antiviral activity and its role in the immune response. Indeed, a wealth of evidence now supports a key role of IFI16 in the activation of innate immunity and viral restriction against Herpesviruses and Lentiviruses, such that the definition of IFI16 as a "restriction factor" is now widely accepted. However, most viruses have developed their own unique strategy to antagonize IFI16, leading to a modification or disruption of its function. This review summarizes our current understanding of how viral replication is sensed and then inhibited by IFI16 protein and the viral strategies employed to defeat this host defense mechanism. We will focus mainly on Herpesviruses, although recent discoveries on the role of IFI16 in lentiviral infection will also be considered.

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