Innate sensors of viral infection detect viral products and initiate the signal cascades that lead to the antiviral response. Several proteins have been identified to play a role in this process, mostly members of the Toll-like receptor and retinoic acid-inducible gene I-like receptor families. These receptors have been demonstrated to function in part by recognizing a diverse yet unique repertoire of nucleic acid substrates. Upon recognition of their ligands, these sensors activate distinct signaling pathways that lead to the secretion of type I interferon and inflammatory cytokines. It remains to be seen, however, if these sensors are redundant or whether each serves a unique function. In this work, we review the current knowledge of viral sensors, speculate on how they may function in vivo, and explore the potential reasons for their diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Innate immunity
  • Pattern recognition receptors
  • RIG-I-like receptor
  • Toll-like receptor
  • Viral immunity


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