A Viral On/Off Switch for Interferon

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Science  16 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5622, pp. 1100-1101
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085277

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Viral infection induces production of antiviral proteins called interferons by cells of the innate immune system. In a Perspective, Williams and Sen discuss new work ( Sharma et al.) that identifies two kinases, which activate the transcription factor IRF3 responsible for switching on interferon synthesis. In addition, the authors discuss another study ( Foy et al.) identifying a serine protease in hepatitis C virus that is able to switch off IRF3 activation and thus block interferon production.