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Science 327 (5963): 284-286

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

RIGorous Detection: Exposing Virus Through RNA Sensing

Jan Rehwinkel, and Caetano Reis e Sousa*

Abstract: Virus infection in mammals elicits a variety of defense responses that are initiated by signals from virus-sensing receptors expressed by the host. These receptors include the ubiquitously expressed RIG-I–like receptor (RLR) family of RNA helicases. RLRs are cytoplasmic proteins that act in cell-intrinsic antiviral defense by recognizing RNAs indicative of virus presence. Here, we highlight recent progress in understanding how RLRs discriminate between the RNA content of healthy versus virus-infected cells, functioning as accurate sensors of virus invasion.

Immunobiology Laboratory, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: caetano{at}

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