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Free Content Regulation of effector and memory T-cell functions by type I interferon

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Summary

Type I interferon (IFN-α/β) is comprised of a family of highly related molecules that exert potent antiviral activity by interfering with virus replication and spread. IFN-α/β secretion is tightly regulated through pathogen sensing pathways that are operative in most somatic cells. However, specialized antigen-presenting plasmacytoid dendritic cells are uniquely equipped with the capacity to secrete extremely high levels of IFN-α/β, suggesting a key role for this cytokine in priming adaptive T-cell responses. Recent studies in both mice and humans have demonstrated a role for IFN-α/β in directly influencing the fate of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells during the initial phases of antigen recognition. As such, IFN-α/β, among other innate cytokines, is considered an important ‘third signal’ that shapes the effector and memory T-cell pool. Moreover, IFN-α/β also serves as a counter-regulator of T helper type 2 and type 17 responses, which may be important in the treatment of atopy and autoimmunity, and in the development of novel vaccine adjuvants.
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Keywords: CD4/CD8 T cells; cytokine; interferon; memory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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