The PYHIN protein family as mediators of host defenses

Authors

  • Stefan A. Schattgen,

    1. Division of Infectious Disease and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
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  • Katherine A. Fitzgerald

    1. Division of Infectious Disease and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.
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Katherine A. Fitzgerald
Division of Infectious Disease and Immunology
Department of Medicine
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester, MA, USA
Tel.: +1 508 856 6518
Fax: +1 508 856 5463
e-mail: kate.fitzgerald@umassmed.edu

Abstract

Summary:  The innate immune response is the first line of defense against infection and relies on the ability of immune cells to detect the presence of infection through germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors. These include the Toll-like receptors, the retinoic acid inducible gene-like receptors, the nucleotide oligomerization domain-like receptors, and a number of DNA-sensing molecules. Members of the PYHIN protein family have recently emerged as sensors of microbial DNA. PYHIN proteins bind microbial DNA and form caspase-1-activating inflammasomes (AIM2) or drive type I IFN gene transcription (IFI16). Here, we review these discoveries and highlight the emerging role of the PYHIN protein family in mammalian host defenses.

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