When Innate Immunity Is Critical

Science's STKE  11 Mar 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 173, pp. tw104-TW104
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.173.tw104

When viruses infect higher animals, they are confronted first with the innate immune response and later by the more highly tuned adaptive response. Karst et al. provide evidence that a class of virus with an important but poorly understood impact on public health (the Norwalk-like caliciviruses associated with epidemic gastroenteritis) may be particularly sensitive to the actions of the innate immune system. They found that a murine virus belonging to the Norovirus genus was most lethal in mice lacking innate immune response genes for type-1 interferon receptors and the signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT-1). The debut of a mouse Norovirus model and the unexpectedly rigid requirement for the innate, rather than adaptive, immune response to deal with infection may lead to more appropriate means of studying and treating this class of virus in humans.

S. M. Karst, C. E. Wobus, M. Lay, J. Davidson, H. W. Virgin, IV, STAT1-dependent innate immunity to a Norwalk-like virus. Science 299, 1575-1578 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]