Transcriptional Regulation of Antiviral Interferon-Stimulated Genes

Trends Microbiol. 2017 Jul;25(7):573-584. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


Interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) are a group of gene products that coordinately combat pathogen invasions, in particular viral infections. Transcription of ISGs occurs rapidly upon pathogen invasion, and this is classically provoked via activation of the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathway, mainly by interferons (IFNs). However, a plethora of recent studies have reported a variety of non-canonical mechanisms regulating ISG transcription. These new studies are extremely important for understanding the quantitative and temporal differences in ISG transcription under specific circumstances. Because these canonical and non-canonical regulatory mechanisms are essential for defining the nature of host defense and associated detrimental proinflammatory effects, we comprehensively review the state of this rapidly evolving field and the clinical implications of recently acquired knowledge in this respect.

Keywords: IFN; ISG; transcription.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity / genetics*
  • Interferons / genetics*
  • Janus Kinases / immunology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferons
  • Janus Kinases