Structural linkage between ligand discrimination and receptor activation by type I interferons.
ABSTRACT Type I Interferons (IFNs) are important cytokines for innate immunity against viruses and cancer. Sixteen human type I IFN variants signal through the same cell-surface receptors, IFNAR1 and IFNAR2, yet they can evoke markedly different physiological effects. The crystal structures of two human type I IFN ternary signaling complexes containing IFNα2 and IFNω reveal recognition modes and heterotrimeric architectures that are unique among the cytokine receptor superfamily but conserved between different type I IFNs. Receptor-ligand cross-reactivity is enabled by conserved receptor-ligand "anchor points" interspersed among ligand-specific interactions that "tune" the relative IFN-binding affinities, in an apparent extracellular "ligand proofreading" mechanism that modulates biological activity. Functional differences between IFNs are linked to their respective receptor recognition chemistries, in concert with a ligand-induced conformational change in IFNAR1, that collectively control signal initiation and complex stability, ultimately regulating differential STAT phosphorylation profiles, receptor internalization rates, and downstream gene expression patterns.
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ABSTRACT: The interface between an infectious agent and its host represents the ultimate battleground for survival: The microbe must secure a niche for replication, whereas the host must limit the pathogen's advance. Among the host's arsenal of antimicrobial factors, the type 1 interferons (IFNs) induce potent defense mechanisms against viruses and are key in the host-virus standoff. Viruses have evolved multiple tricks to avoid the immediate antiviral effects of IFNs and, in turn, hosts have adapted use of this innate cytokine system to galvanize multiple additional layers of immune defense. The plasticity that exists in these interactions provides us with a lesson in détente.Science 06/2006; 312(5775):879-82. · 31.20 Impact Factor