Interferon-stimulated genes: a complex web of host defenses

Annu Rev Immunol. 2014;32:513-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032713-120231. Epub 2014 Feb 6.


Interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) products take on a number of diverse roles. Collectively, they are highly effective at resisting and controlling pathogens. In this review, we begin by introducing interferon (IFN) and the JAK-STAT signaling pathway to highlight features that impact ISG production. Next, we describe ways in which ISGs both enhance innate pathogen-sensing capabilities and negatively regulate signaling through the JAK-STAT pathway. Several ISGs that directly inhibit virus infection are described with an emphasis on those that impact early and late stages of the virus life cycle. Finally, we describe ongoing efforts to identify and characterize antiviral ISGs, and we provide a forward-looking perspective on the ISG landscape.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology*
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • Janus Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interferon / metabolism
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptors, Interferon
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Interferons
  • Janus Kinases