Connections Map Overview

The Type I Interferon Pathway

Science's STKE  26 Aug 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 197, pp. cm12
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.197.cm12


The type I interferon (IFN-α/β) signal transduction pathway is not only the first-characterized Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathway, but one of the best studied in molecular detail. IFN-α-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3) is atypical for STAT-containing complexes, because it requires interaction with an additional factor, IFN regulatory factor 9 (IRF9), to provide specific DNA binding. Type I IFN is the main innate antiviral cytokine, and the outcome of ISGF3 activation is establishment of the cellular antiviral state, in which cells are able to inhibit the replication of a broad range of virus types providing a general resistance to infection. It is increasingly evident that other branches of the innate and adaptive immune systems activate IFN-α/β signaling, indicating its importance in various stress responses. The Connections Map provides an overview of this canonical pathway, with an interpathway relation to the Toll-like Receptor Pathway, which stimulates the production of type I interferons in response to microbial pathogens.

Science Viewpoint

D. S. Aaronson, C. M. Horvath, A road map for those who don't know JAK-STAT. Science 296, 1653-1655 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]