Interferon-inducible effector mechanisms in cell-autonomous immunity

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Apr 25;12(5):367-82. doi: 10.1038/nri3210.


Interferons (IFNs) induce the expression of hundreds of genes as part of an elaborate antimicrobial programme designed to combat infection in all nucleated cells - a process termed cell-autonomous immunity. As described in this Review, recent genomic and subgenomic analyses have begun to assign functional properties to novel IFN-inducible effector proteins that restrict bacteria, protozoa and viruses in different subcellular compartments and at different stages of the pathogen life cycle. Several newly described host defence factors also participate in canonical oxidative and autophagic pathways by spatially coordinating their activities to enhance microbial killing. Together, these IFN-induced effector networks help to confer vertebrate host resistance to a vast and complex microbial world.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells / immunology*
  • Cells / microbiology
  • Cells / parasitology
  • Cells / virology
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Infections / pathology
  • Interferons / immunology*


  • Interferons