IFN alpha/beta signaling pathway
Interferons (IFNs) are pleiotropic cytokines that exhibit important biologic
activities, including antiviral, antiproliferative, antitumor and immunomodulatory
effects , .
IFNs are classified as either Type I or Type II. Type I IFNs include the
IFN-alpha family of 13 subtypes,
IFN-beta, IFN-omega, IFN-tau, IFN-kappa, IFN-lambda, and
IFN-zeta. By contrast, there is only one Type-II IFN, IFN-gamma , , .
IFN-alpha and IFN-beta bind
to the type I IFN receptor (IFN-alpha/beta receptor)
consisting of two subunits, Interferon (alpha, beta and omega) receptor 1
(IFNAR1) and Interferon (alpha, beta and omega) receptor 2
IFN-alpha/beta receptor lacks intrinsic kinase activity
and thus relies on associated Janus kinases (JAK1 and
Tyk2) to phosphorylate receptor and signal transducing
molecules, such as Signal transducers and activators of transcription 1
(STAT1 and STAT2), after
ligand-induced receptor clustering. IFNAR1 is pre-associated
with Tyk2, and also binds STAT1
and STAT2. IFNAR2 is
pre-associated with JAK1, STAT1
and STAT2 .
The tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 and
STAT2 by JAK1 and
Tyk2 leads to the formation of transcriptional complexes
that translocate to the nucleus to induce expression of certain genes .
An important transcriptional complex that is induced by Type-I IFNs is the ISG
Factor-3 complex (ISGF3). The mature
ISGF3 complex is composed of phosphorylated forms of
STAT1 and STAT2 and Interferon
regulatory factor 9 (IRF9), which does not undergo tyrosine
phosphorylation . ISGF3 is the only complex
that binds specific elements known as IFN-stimulated response elements (ISREs) that are
present in the promoters of certain genes, such as Promyelocytic leukemia
(PML), ISG15 ubiquitin-like modifier
(ISG15), Interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide
repeats 2 (ISG54) and Interferon alpha-inducible protein 6
(IFI6) , , , .
In response to IFN-alpha,
STAT1 and STAT2 can also form
another transcriptional complex, STAT1/STAT2 heterodimer,
that exhibits binding to the gamma-activated sequence (GAS) element of the Interferon
regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) gene , . IRF1, in turn, can also induce the transcription
of ISG15, ISG54 and
IFI6 genes, whereas another IFN-alpha-inducible factor,
Interferon regulatory factor 2 (IRF2), is involved in the
repression of gene transcription , , , .
Arginine methylation of STAT1 by Protein arginine
methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) is an additional
posttranslational modification that regulates transcription factor function required for
proper IFN-alpha/beta-induced transcription .
A number of negative regulatory molecules limit the extent of type I IFN signaling.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) inhibits type I
IFN signaling via interactions with IFNAR1,
JAK1 and Tyk2 .
Protein tyrosine phosphatases non-receptor type 6 and 11
(SHP-1 and SHP-2)
dephosphorylate JAK1 and STAT1
and suppress their signaling , . Protein tyrosine
phosphatase non-receptor type 1 (PTP-1B) dephosphorylates
Tyk2 and modulates signaling responses to
IFN-alpha . A type I IFN-inducible Ubiquitin
specific peptidase 18 (UBP43) binds directly to
IFNAR2 and blocks the interaction between
JAK1 and IFN-alpha/beta
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