© 2007

Interferon: The 50th Anniversary

  • Paula M. Pitha
  • Includes supplementary material:


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

Table of contents

  1. Virus Defense

  2. Role of Interferon in Viral Infection and Autoimmunity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 335-335
  3. 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

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Interferon: The 50th Anniversary
  • Editors Paula M. Pitha
  • Series Title Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Biomedical and Life Sciences Biomedical and Life Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-540-71328-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-642-09044-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-540-71329-6
  • Series ISSN 0070-217X
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VIII, 392
  • Number of Illustrations 13 b/w illustrations, 22 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Immunology
Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals


From the reviews:

"This compilation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the first cytokine, interferon (IFN), by Isaacs and Lindermann … . The editor has succeeded in compiling a small book that should satisfy readers interested in the history of IFN as well as those who want a convenient overview of the current status of the field. The book is written for scientists and, in particular, serious students of ‘interferonolgy’ … . This is a nice addition to the many compilations on IFN … ." (Patricia Fitzgerald-Bocarsly, Doody’s Review Service, July, 2008)