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Avian Interferons and Their Antiviral Effectors

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Diwakar Santhakumar
  • Dennis Rubbenstroth
  • Luis Martinez-Sobrido
  • Muhammad Munir
Article number49
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers in Immunology
Number of pages17
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Interferon (IFN) responses, mediated by a myriad of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), are the most profound innate immune responses against viruses. Cumulatively, these IFN effectors establish a multilayered antiviral state to safeguard the host against invading viral pathogens. Considerable genetic and functional characterizations of mammalian IFNs and their effectors have been made, and our understanding on the avian IFNs has started to expand. Similar to mammalian counterparts, three types of IFNs have been genetically characterized in most avian species with available annotated genomes. Intriguingly, chickens are capable of mounting potent innate immune responses upon various stimuli in the absence of essential components of IFN pathways including retinoic acid-inducible gene I, IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3), and possibility IRF9. Understanding these unique properties of the chicken IFN system would propose valuable targets for the development of potential therapeutics for a broader range of viruses of both veterinary and zoonotic importance. This review outlines recent developments in the roles of avian IFNs and ISGs against viruses and highlights important areas of research toward our understanding of the antiviral functions of IFN effectors against viral infections in birds.