Interferon regulatory factor-1 (irf-1) shapes both innate and cd8 + t cell immune responses against west nile virus infection

James D. Brien, Stephane Daffis, Helen M. Lazear, Hyelim Cho, Mehul S. Suthar, Michael Gale, Michael S. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-1 is an immunomodulatory transcription factor that functions downstream of pathogen recognition receptor signaling and has been implicated as a regulator of type I interferon (IFN)-αβ expression and the immune response to virus infections. However, this role for IRF-1 remains controversial because altered type I IFN responses have not been systemically observed in IRF-1 -/- mice. To evaluate the relationship of IRF-1 and immune regulation, we assessed West Nile virus (WNV) infectivity and the host response in IRF-1 -/- cells and mice. IRF-1 -/- mice were highly vulnerable to WNV infection with enhanced viral replication in peripheral tissues and rapid dissemination into the central nervous system. Ex vivo analysis revealed a cell-type specific antiviral role as IRF-1 -/- macrophages supported enhanced WNV replication but infection was unaltered in IRF-1 -/- fibroblasts. IRF-1 also had an independent and paradoxical effect on CD8 + T cell expansion. Although markedly fewer CD8 + T cells were observed in naïve animals as described previously, remarkably, IRF-1 -/- mice rapidly expanded their pool of WNV-specific cytolytic CD8 + T cells. Adoptive transfer and in vitro proliferation experiments established both cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic effects of IRF-1 on the expansion of CD8 + T cells. Thus, IRF-1 restricts WNV infection by modulating the expression of innate antiviral effector molecules while shaping the antigen-specific CD8 + T cell response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002230
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


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