Guarding the frontiers: the biology of type III interferons

Nat Immunol. 2015 Aug;16(8):802-9. doi: 10.1038/ni.3212.

Abstract

Type III interferons (IFNs) or IFN-λs regulate a similar set of genes as type I IFNs, but whereas type I IFNs act globally, IFN-λs primarily target mucosal epithelial cells and protect them against the frequent viral attacks that are typical for barrier tissues. IFN-λs thereby help to maintain healthy mucosal surfaces through immune protection, without the significant immune-related pathogenic risk associated with type I IFN responses. Type III IFNs also target the human liver, with dual effects: they induce an antiviral state in hepatocytes, but specific IFN-λ4 action impairs the clearance of hepatitis C virus and could influence inflammatory responses. This constitutes a paradox that has yet to be resolved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19 / immunology
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Hepatocytes / immunology
  • Hepatocytes / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Models, Immunological

Substances

  • IFNL1 protein, human
  • IFNL2 protein, human
  • IFNL3 protein, human
  • IFNL4 protein, human
  • Interleukins
  • Interferons