Interferon: The 50th Anniversary

  • Paula M. Pitha

Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 316)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Reflections

  3. Interferons and Their Signaling Pathways

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. P. M. Pitha, M. S. Kunzi
      Pages 41-70
    3. G. Uzé, G. Schreiber, J. Piehler, S. Pellegrini
      Pages 71-95
    4. A. H. H. van Boxel-Dezaire, G. R. Stark
      Pages 119-154
  4. Recognition of Pathogens, Molecular Mechanism of Interferon Beta Induction

  5. Interferon-Induced Genes

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 231-231
    2. A. J. Sadler, B. R. G. Williams
      Pages 253-292
  6. Virus Defense

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 293-293
    2. Y.-M. Loo, M. Gale Jr.
      Pages 295-313
  7. Role of Interferon in Viral Infection and Autoimmunity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 335-335
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 387-391

About this book


Over the last half of century interferon (IFN), originally discovered as an antiviral protein, has developed from an inhibitor of viral replication to a major force in the antiviral response. Initially studied only by few virologists, IFN was generally considered as a poorly defined protein of limited importance. The development of molecular techniques lead to the identification of a family of IFN genes and has shown an unexpected complexity of type I IFN genes and their expression. Presently, some aspects of the of the pathogen mediated induction of IFN gene expression are understood at molecular level, while others are still at the stage of description. Both Toll like receptors and cytoplasmic RNA helicases were shown to recognize viral nucleic acids and the basis of a distinct recognition of viral nucleic acids from the cellular ones are emerging. Important insights on the virus recognition entity, leading to the expression of interferon and interferon induced genes, have been made in the recent year, which are challenging the accepted concept of the critical role of dsRNA in IFN induction. The availability of genetically modified mice that are lacking either essential components of the interferon inducing pathway, or interferon signaling pathway fully confirmed the original idea, made soon after its discovery, that interferon is the first cellular defense against viral infection.


RNA autoimmune disease autoimmunity cell cytoplasm diseases gene gene expression immune system infection interferon oncology protein virology virus

Editors and affiliations

  • Paula M. Pitha
    • 1
  1. 1.The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer CenterJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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