Type I interferons (IFN-I) are antiviral cytokines that signal through the ubiquitous IFN-I receptor (IFNAR). Following footpad infection with ectromelia virus (ECTV), a mouse-specific pathogen, C57BL/6 (B6) mice survive without disease, while B6 mice broadly deficient in IFNAR succumb rapidly. We now show that for survival to ECTV, only hematopoietic cells require IFNAR expression. Survival to ECTV specifically requires IFNAR in both natural killer (NK) cells and monocytes. However, intrinsic IFNAR signaling is not essential for adaptive immune cell responses or to directly protect non-hematopoietic cells such as hepatocytes, which are principal ECTV targets. Mechanistically, IFNAR-deficient NK cells have reduced cytolytic function, while lack of IFNAR in monocytes dampens IFN-I production and hastens virus dissemination. Thus, during a pathogenic viral infection, IFN-I coordinates innate immunity by stimulating monocytes in a positive feedback loop and by inducing NK cell cytolytic function.
Melo-Silva, Carolina R; Alves-Peixoto, Pedro; Heath, Natasha; Tang, Lingjuan; Montoya, Brian; Knudson, Cory J; Stotesbury, Colby; Ferez, Maria; Wong, Eric B.; and Sigal, Luis J., "Resistance to lethal ectromelia virus infection requires Type I interferon receptor in natural killer cells and monocytes but not in adaptive immune or parenchymal cells." (2021). Department of Microbiology and Immunology Faculty Papers. Paper 126.
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