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Science 340 (6129): 155-156

Copyright © 2013 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

An Interferon Paradox

Pamela M. Odorizzi, and E. John Wherry

Type 1 interferons (IFN-α/β) are a major first line of host defense against viral infection. Because of this potent antiviral activity, IFN-based therapies have been developed for chronic infections with hepatitis B and C viruses, as well as for HIV. However, a poorly understood phenomenon has been the persistence of virus despite induction of antiviral immune responses by type 1 IFNs. On page 207 and 202 in this issue, Teijaro et al. (1) and Wilson et al. (2) address this long-standing question and find that IFN-α/β can also suppress the immune system in ways that promote viral persistence. This paradoxical finding should spur a reassessment of the fundamental roles of IFN-α/β during chronic infections.

Institute for Immunology and Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, 421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

E-mail: wherry{at}

Type I IFN Induces Binding of STAT1 to Bcl6: Divergent Roles of STAT Family Transcription Factors in the T Follicular Helper Cell Genetic Program.
S. Nakayamada, A. C. Poholek, K. T. Lu, H. Takahashi, M. Kato, S. Iwata, K. Hirahara, J. L. Cannons, P. L. Schwartzberg, G. Vahedi, et al. (2014)
J. Immunol. 192, 2156-2166
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
An Innate Immunity-Regulating Virulence Determinant Is Uniquely Encoded within the Andes Virus Nucleocapsid Protein.
V. Cimica, N. A. Dalrymple, E. Roth, A. Nasonov, and E. R. Mackow (2014)
mBio 5, e01088-13
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Hantavirus GnT Elements Mediate TRAF3 Binding and Inhibit RIG-I/TBK1-Directed Beta Interferon Transcription by Blocking IRF3 Phosphorylation.
V. S. Matthys, V. Cimica, N. A. Dalrymple, N. B. Glennon, C. Bianco, and E. R. Mackow (2014)
J. Virol. 88, 2246-2259
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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