The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) is one of the newer members of the IRF family to be characterized. All cellular family members share a region of homology in the amino-terminus, encompassing a highly conserved DNA binding domain consisting of five tryptophan repeats. By crystallography, this region has been shown to bind to conserved elements, termed “interferon (IFN)-stimulated response elements” (ISREs), in the promoters of target genes (Chen et al. 2008) thereby exerting the biological effects of IRF5. Given the nomenclature of this family, it is not surprising that the first function of IRF5 to be recognized was its ability to regulate type I IFN gene expression (Barnes et al. 2001). However, unlike other IRF family members, such as IRF3 and IRF7, the activity of IRF5 is regulated in a virus-specific manner leading to the induction of distinct IFNA genes (Barnes et al. 2001).
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