Type I interferon modulates the battle of host immune system against viruses

Adv Appl Microbiol. 2010;73:83-101. doi: 10.1016/S0065-2164(10)73004-5.


Type I interferon (IFN), as its name implies, 'interferes' with virus replication by activating numerous genes. Further, virus-induced type I IFN regulates the magnitude and functions of cells directing the host immune system. Importantly, recent exploration into how type I IFN operates following virus infection has advanced our understanding of its role with respect to modulation of host innate and adaptive immune responses. Such activities include the activation of antigen-presenting dendritic cells and the localization, expansion or differentiation of virus-specific T lymphocytes and antibody-producing B lymphocytes. However, type I IFN not only benefits the host but can also induce unnecessary or extremely pathogenic immune responses. This review focuses on such interactions and the manner in which type I IFN induces dynamic changes in the host immune network, particularly adaptive immune responses to viral invasion. Manipulating the type I IFN-mediated host immune response during virus infections could provide new immunotherapeutic interventions to remedy viral diseases and implement more effective and sustainable type I IFN therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Viruses / immunology
  • Viruses / pathogenicity*


  • Interferon-gamma