Type I interferons (IFNs) play a central role in the immune defense against viral infections. Type I IFN activation is induced by pattern-recognition receptors of the innate immune system that sense pathogen-derived nucleic acids. Cellular responses to type I IFN signaling are orchestrated by a complex network of regulatory pathways that involve both the innate and adaptive immune system. The genetic and molecular dissection of rare Mendelian disorders associated with constitutive overproduction of type I IFN has provided unique insight into cell-intrinsic disease mechanisms that initiate and sustain autoinflammation and autoimmunity and that are caused by disturbances in the intracellular nucleic acid metabolism or in cytosolic nucleic acid–sensing pathways. Collectively, these findings have greatly advanced our understanding of mechanisms that protect the organism against inappropriate immune activation triggered by self nucleic acids while maintaining a prompt and efficient immune response to foreign nucleic acids derived from invading pathogens.
Annual Review of Medicine – Annual Reviews
Published: Jan 14, 2017