Viral entry route determines how human plasmacytoid dendritic cells produce type I interferons

Sci Signal. 2015 Mar 3;8(366):ra25. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa1552.


Although plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) represent a rare immune cell type, they are the most important source of type I interferons (IFNs) upon viral infection. Phagocytosed RNA viruses and RNA virus-infected cells are detected by pDCs with the endosomal pattern recognition receptor (PRR) toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7). We showed that replication of the yellow fever live vaccine YF-17D in human pDCs and pDC-like cell lines stimulated type I IFN production through RIG-I (retinoic acid-inducible gene I), a member of the RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) family of cytosolic PRRs. Thus, human pDCs sense replicative viral RNA. In contrast, direct contact between pDCs and YF-17D-infected cells stimulated a TLR7-dependent, viral replication-independent production of type I IFN. We also showed that the RLR pathway was dampened by the activities of interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinases 1 and 4 (IRAK1 and IRAK4), which are downstream effectors of the TLR7 pathway, suggesting that both kinases play opposing roles downstream of specific PRRs. Together, these data suggest that a virus can stimulate either TLR or RLR signaling in the same cell, depending on how its nucleic acid content is delivered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DEAD Box Protein 58
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology
  • Dendritic Cells / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Plasma Cells / metabolism*
  • Plasma Cells / pathology
  • Plasma Cells / virology
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7 / metabolism
  • Vero Cells
  • Virus Internalization
  • Virus Replication / physiology*
  • Yellow fever virus / physiology*


  • Interferon Type I
  • RNA, Viral
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • TLR7 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7
  • RIGI protein, human
  • DEAD Box Protein 58
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases