Interferons (IFNs) are key cytokines in both innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses--and viruses counteract IFN action

Microbes Infect. 2005 Mar;7(3):569-78. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2005.02.001. Epub 2005 Mar 3.


Interferons (IFNs) are transcriptionally regulated cytokines and key players in the innate antiviral immune response. Upon recognition of a virus, or its molecular patterns, by the Toll-like receptors of dendritic cells (DCs), high levels of IFNs are expressed by these cells. This in turn stimulates DC maturation and the subsequent expression of proinflammatory cytokines and costimulatory molecules, leading to the transition to an adaptive antiviral immunity. Conversely, viruses have developed diverse strategies to counterattack host defenses in order to generate their progenies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interferons / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena*


  • Interferons