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Autophagy. 2007 Jul-Aug;3(4):354-6. Epub 2007 Jul 7.

Role of autophagy in innate viral recognition.

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Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) detect viruses in the acidified endosomes via Toll-like receptors (TLRs) upon endocytosis of virions. Yet, pDC responses to certain single-stranded RNA viruses occur only following live viral infection. In our recent study, we presented evidence that the recognition of such viruses by TLR7 requires autophagy. We speculate that the requirement for autophagy in viral recognition reflects the necessity for transportation of cytosolic viral replication intermediates into the lysosome where TLR7 is activated. In addition, autophagy was found to be required for pDCs to produce type I interferon (IFN) in response to both ssRNA and dsDNA viruses. These results indicated that autophagy plays a key role in mediating virus detection and IFNalpha secretion in pDCs, and suggest that cytosolic replication intermediates of ssRNA viruses serve as pathogen signatures recognized by TLR7.

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