The innate immune response to viral pathogens is critical in order to mobilize protective immunity. Cells of the innate immune system detect viral infection largely through germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) present either on the cell surface or within distinct intracellular compartments. These include the Toll-like receptors (TLRs), the retinoic acid-inducble gene I-like receptors (RLRs), the nucleotide oligomerization domain-like receptors (NLRs, also called NACHT, LRR and PYD domain proteins) and cytosolic DNA sensors. While in certain cases viral proteins are the trigger of these receptors, the predominant viral activators are nucleic acids. The presence of viral sensing PRRs in multiple cellular compartments allows innate cells to recognize and quickly respond to a broad range of viruses, which replicate in different cellular compartments. Here, we review the role of PRRs and associated signaling pathways in detecting viral pathogens in order to evoke production of interferons and cytokines. By highlighting recent progress in these areas, we hope to convey a greater understanding of how viruses activate PRR signaling and how this interaction shapes the anti-viral immune response.
Keywords: AIM2 like receptor; RIG-I like receptor; cytosolic DNA sensor; inflammasome; interferon; nod like receptor; pattern recognition receptor; toll like receptor; virus.