The type I interferon (IFN-α/β) gene family was identified about a quarter of century ago as the prototype of many cytokine gene families, and the gene induction mechanism for IFN-α/β was extensively studied in the context of host defense against viral infections. More recently, much attention has been focused on the induction and function of the IFN-α/β system regulated by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which are critical for linking the innate and adaptive immunities. The understanding of mechanisms underlying IFN-α/β gene induction by TLRs is therefore an emerging theme, for which new insights have been gained over the past few years. We summarise recent progress on the role of interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) in the induction of IFN-α/β genes in normal cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) that are specialized to produce IFN-α/β at very high levels upon stimulation by TLR9 and its subfamily members.
ASJC Scopus subject areas