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Herpesviruses and thetType III interferon system

Journal Contribution - Review Article

Type III interferons (IFNs) represent the most recently discovered group of IFNs. Together with type I IFNs (e.g. IFN-alpha/beta), type III IFNs (IFN-lambda) are produced as part of the innate immune response to virus infection, and elicit an anti-viral state by inducing expression of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs). It was initially thought that type I IFNs and type III IFNs perform largely redundant functions. However, it has become evident that type III IFNs particularly play a major role in antiviral protection of mucosal epithelial barriers, thereby serving an important role in the first-line defense against virus infection and invasion at contact areas with the outside world, versus the generally more broad, potent and systemic antiviral effects of type I IFNs. Herpesviruseses are large DNA viruses, which enter their host via mucosal surfaces and establish lifelong, latent infections. Despite the importance of mucosal epithelial cells in the pathogenesis of herpesviruses, our current knowledge on the interaction of herpesviruses with type III IFN is limited and largely restricted to studies on the alphaherpesvirus herpes simplex virus (HSV). This review summarizes the current understanding about the role of IFN-lambda in the immune response against herpesvirus infections.
ISSN: 1995-820X
Volume: 36
Pages: 577 - 587