The expanding role of NLRs in antiviral immunity

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Abstract

Nucleotide oligomerization and binding domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs) are a major constituent of the cytosolic innate immune-sensing machinery and participate in a wide array of pathways including nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), inflammasome, and type I interferon (IFN) signaling. NLRs have known roles in autoimmune, autoinflammatory, and infectious diseases. With respect to virus infection, NLRP3 is the most extensively studied NLR, including mechanisms of activation and inhibition. Furthermore, the importance of NLRP3 in both innate and adaptive immunity has been demonstrated. In comparison to NLRP3, the roles of other NLRs during virus infection are only just emerging. NLRC2 is an important activator of innate antiviral signaling and was recently found to mitigate inflammation during virus infection through autophagy. Finally, functions for NLRX1 in immune modulation and reactive oxygen species production require further examination and the importance of NLRC5 as a transactivator of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and antigen presentation is currently developing. In this review, we discuss current knowledge pertaining to viruses and NLRs as well as areas of potential research, which will help advance the study of NLR biology during virus infection.

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