To translate, or not to translate: viral and host mRNA regulation by interferon-stimulated genes

Trends Cell Biol. 2015 Jun;25(6):320-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


Type I interferon (IFN) is one of the first lines of cellular defense against viral pathogens. As a result of IFN signaling, a wide array of IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) products is upregulated to target different stages of the viral life cycle. We review recent findings implicating a subset of ISGs in translational regulation of viral and host mRNAs. Translation inhibition is mediated either by binding to viral RNA or by disrupting physiological interactions or levels of the translation complex components. In addition, many of these ISGs localize to translationally silent cytoplasmic granules, such as stress granules and processing bodies, and intersect with the microRNA (miRNA)-mediated silencing pathway to regulate translation of cellular mRNAs.

Keywords: microRNA function; microRNA processing; translational regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interferons