IFN regulatory factor family members differentially regulate the expression of type III IFN (IFN-λ) genes

Pamela I. Österlund, Taija E. Pietilä, Ville Veckman, Sergei V. Kotenko, Ilkka Julkunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


Virus replication induces the expression of antiviral type I (IFN-αβ) and type III (IFN-λ1-3 or IL-28A/B and IL-29) IFN genes via TLR-dependent and -independent pathways. Although type III IFNs differ genetically from type I IFNs, their similar biological antiviral functions suggest that their expression is regulated in a similar fashion. Structural and functional characterization of the IFN-λ1 and IFN-λ3 gene promoters revealed them to be similar to IFN-β and IFN-α genes, respectively. Both of these promoters had functional IFN-stimulated response element and NF-κB binding sites. The binding of IFN regulatory factors (IRF) to type III IFN promoter IFN-stimulated response element sites was the most important event regulating the expression of these genes. Ectopic expression of the components of TLR7 (MyD88 plus IRF1/IRF7), TLR3 (Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adapter-inducing factor), or retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) signal transduction pathways induced the activation of IFN-λ1 promoter, whereas the IFN-λ3 promoter was efficiently activated only by overexpression of MyD88 and IRF7. The ectopic expression of Pin1, a recently identified suppressor for IRF3-dependent antiviral response, decreased the IFN promoter activation induced by any of these three signal transduction pathways, including the MyD88-dependent one. To conclude, the data suggest that the IFN-λ1 gene is regulated by virus-activated IRF3 and IRF7, thus resembling that of the IFN-β gene, whereas IFN-λ2/3 gene expression is mainly controlled by IRF7, thus resembling those of IFN-α genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3434-3442
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'IFN regulatory factor family members differentially regulate the expression of type III IFN (IFN-λ) genes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this