AbstractA key player in driving cellular immunity, IFN-γ is capable of orchestrating numerous protective functions to heighten immune responses in infections and cancers. It can exhibit its immunomodulatory effects by enhancing antigen processing and presentation, increasing leukocyte trafficking, inducing an anti-viral state, boosting the anti-microbial functions and affecting cellular proliferation and apoptosis. A complex interplay between immune cell activity and IFN-γ through coordinated integration of signals from other pathways involving cytokines and Pattern Recognition Receptors (PRRs) such as Interleukin (IL)-4, TNF-α, Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Type-I Interferons (IFNS) etc. leads to initiation of a cascade of pro-inflammatory responses. Microarray data has unraveled numerous genes whose transcriptional regulation is influenced by IFN-γ. Consequently, IFN-γ stimulated cells display altered expression of many such target genes which mediate its downstream effector functions. The importance of IFN-γ is further reinforced by the fact that mice possessing disruptions in the IFN-γ gene or its receptor develop extreme susceptibility to infectious diseases and rapidly succumb to them. In this review, we attempt to elucidate the biological functions and physiological importance of this versatile cytokine. The functional implications of its biological activity in several infectious diseases and autoimmune pathologies are also discussed. As a counter strategy, many virulent pathogenic species have devised ways to thwart IFN-γ endowed immune-protection. Thus, IFN-γ mediated host-pathogen interactions are critical for our understanding of disease mechanisms and these aspects also manifest enormous therapeutic importance for the annulment of various infections and autoimmune conditions.
Biomolecular Concepts – de Gruyter
Published: May 30, 2018
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