Interferon-inducible antiviral effectors

Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Jul;8(7):559-68. doi: 10.1038/nri2314.


Since the discovery of interferons (IFNs), considerable progress has been made in describing the nature of the cytokines themselves, the signalling components that direct the cell response and their antiviral activities. Gene targeting studies have distinguished four main effector pathways of the IFN-mediated antiviral response: the Mx GTPase pathway, the 2',5'-oligoadenylate-synthetase-directed ribonuclease L pathway, the protein kinase R pathway and the ISG15 ubiquitin-like pathway. As discussed in this Review, these effector pathways individually block viral transcription, degrade viral RNA, inhibit translation and modify protein function to control all steps of viral replication. Ongoing research continues to expose additional activities for these effector proteins and has revealed unanticipated functions of the antiviral response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interferons / immunology
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Interferon / immunology
  • Receptors, Interferon / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / metabolism
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Virus Replication
  • eIF-2 Kinase / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Interferon
  • Ubiquitins
  • Interferons
  • eIF-2 Kinase
  • Endoribonucleases
  • 2-5A-dependent ribonuclease
  • GTP-Binding Proteins