Interferon-lambda (IFN-λ) is a recently described cytokine found to be of critical importance in innate immune regulation of intestinal viruses. Endogenous IFN-λ has potent antiviral effects and has been shown to control multiple intestinal viruses and may represent a factor that contributes to human variability in response to infection. Importantly, recombinant IFN-λ has therapeutic potential against enteric viral infections, many of which lack other effective treatments. In this mini-review, we describe recent advances regarding IFN-λ-mediated regulation of enteric viruses with important clinical relevance including rotavirus, reovirus, and norovirus. We also briefly discuss IFN-λ interactions with other cytokines important in the intestine, and how IFN-λ may play a role in regulation of intestinal viruses by the commensal microbiome. Finally, we indicate currently outstanding questions regarding IFN-λ control of enteric infections that remain to be explored to enhance our understanding of this important immune molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Article number749
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - Jun 30 2017


  • Commensal bacteria
  • Enteric virus
  • Innate immunity
  • Interferon-lambda
  • Norovirus
  • Rotavirus
  • Transkingdom interactions


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