Viral interference with innate immunity by preventing NF-κB activity

Cell Microbiol. 2012 Feb;14(2):168-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2011.01720.x. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Viruses are the most abundant and diverse pathogens challenging the host immune system, and as such are a severe threat to human health. To this end, viruses have evolved multiple strategies to evade and subvert the host immune response. Host-pathogen interactions are usually initiated via recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by host sensors known as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which include, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs) and DNA receptors. Effective sensing of PAMPs rapidly triggers host immune responses, via activation of complex signalling pathways that culminates in the induction of inflammatory responses and the eradication of pathogens. Activation of the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcription pathway is crucial for the immediate early step of immune activation. This review discusses the recent evidence describing a variety of viral effectors that have been shown to prevent NF-κB signalling. Most of these viral effectors can be broadly classified into three categories based on the site of inhibition within the NF-κB pathway, that is, at the (i) TLRs, (ii) IKK complex or (iii) the transcriptional level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism
  • Viruses / immunology*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity*


  • NF-kappa B
  • Viral Proteins
  • Virulence Factors