4 years ago

Interferon-λs: Front-Line Guardians of Immunity and Homeostasis in the Respiratory Tract.

Evangelos Andreakos, Ourania Koltsida, Maria Salagianni, Ioanna E Galani
Type III interferons (IFNs), also termed lambda IFNs (IFNλs) or interleukins-28/29, constitute a new addition to the IFN family. They are induced upon infection and are particularly abundant at barrier surfaces, such as the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Although they signal through a unique heterodimeric receptor complex comprising IFNLR1 and IL10RB, they activate a downstream signaling pathway remarkably similar to that of type I IFNs and share many functions with them. Yet, they also have important differences which are only now starting to unfold. Here, we review the current literature implicating type III IFNs in the regulation of immunity and homeostasis in the respiratory tract. We survey the common and unique characteristics of type III IFNs in terms of expression patterns, cellular targets, and biological activities and discuss their emerging role in first line defenses against respiratory viral infections. We further explore their immune modulatory functions and their involvement in the regulation of inflammatory responses during chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Type III IFNs are, therefore, arising as front-line guardians of immune defenses in the respiratory tract, fine tuning inflammation, and as potential novel therapeutics for the treatment of diverse respiratory diseases, including influenza virus infection and asthma.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01232

DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01232

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