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Blood. 2007 Feb 1;109(3):1131-7. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Control of coronavirus infection through plasmacytoid dendritic-cell-derived type I interferon.

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Research Department, Kantonal Hospital St Gallen, Switzerland, and Abeteilung Virologie, Institut fur Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Universitat Freiburg, Germany.


This study demonstrates a unique and crucial role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and pDC-derived type I interferons (IFNs) in the pathogenesis of mouse coronavirus infection. pDCs controlled the fast replicating mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) through the immediate production of type I IFNs. Recognition of MHV by pDCs was mediated via TLR7 ensuring a swift IFN-alpha production following encounter with this cytopathic RNA virus. Furthermore, the particular type I IFN response pattern was not restricted to the murine coronavirus, but was also found in infection with the highly cytopathic human severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. Taken together, our results suggest that rapid production of type I IFNs by pDCs is essential for the control of potentially lethal coronavirus infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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