Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37367434
Link to DOI – 10.1002/eji.202250307
Eur J Immunol 2023 Aug; 53(8): e2250307
Type I IFNs are critical for host responses to viral infection and are also implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune diseases. Multiple subtypes exist within the type I IFN family, in particular 13 distinct IFN-α genes, which signal through the same heterodimer receptor that is ubiquitously expressed by mammalian cells. Both evolutionary genetic studies and functional antiviral assays strongly suggest differential functions and activity between the 13 IFN-α subtypes, yet we still lack a clear understanding of these different roles. This review summarizes the evidence from studies describing differential functions of IFN-α subtypes and highlights potential reasons for discrepancies between the reports. We examine both acute and chronic viral infection, as well as autoimmunity, and integrate a more recent awareness of the importance of anti-IFN-α autoantibodies in shaping the type I IFN responses in these different conditions.