The swine IFN system in viral infections : major advances and translational prospects
Interferons (IFNs) are a family of cytokines that play a pivotal role in orchestrating the innate immune response during viral infections, thus representing the first line of defense in the host. After binding to their respective receptors, they are able to elicit a plethora of biological activities, by initiating signaling cascades which lead to the transcription of genes involved in antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antitumoral effector mechanisms. In hindsight, it is not surprising that viruses have evolved multiple IFN escape strategies toward efficient replication in the host. Hence, in order to achieve insight into preventive and treatment strategies, it is essential to explore the mechanisms underlying the IFN response to viral infections and the constraints thereof. Accordingly, this review is focused on three RNA and three DNA viruses of major importance in the swine farming sector, aiming to provide essential data as to how the IFN system modulates the antiviral immune response, and is affected by diverse, virus-driven, immune escape mechanisms.