Interferon-  Protects the Female Reproductive Tract from Viral and Bacterial Infection Academic Article uri icon


  • The innate immune system senses pathogens through pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) that signal to induce effector cytokines, such as type I interferons (IFNs). We characterized IFN-ε as a type I IFN because it signaled via the Ifnar1 and Ifnar2 receptors to induce IFN-regulated genes. In contrast to other type I IFNs, IFN-ε was not induced by known PRR pathways; instead, IFN-ε was constitutively expressed by epithelial cells of the female reproductive tract (FRT) and was hormonally regulated. Ifn-ε-deficient mice had increased susceptibility to infection of the FRT by the common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) herpes simplex virus 2 and Chlamydia muridarum. Thus, IFN-ε is a potent antipathogen and immunoregulatory cytokine that may be important in combating STIs that represent a major global health and socioeconomic burden.


  • Fung, KY
  • Mangan, NE
  • Cumming, H
  • Horvat, JC
  • Mayall, JR
  • Stifter, SA
  • De Weerd, N
  • Roisman, LC
  • Rossjohn, J
  • Robertson, SA
  • Schjenken, JE
  • Parker, B
  • Gargett, CE
  • Nguyen, HPT
  • Carr, DJ
  • Hansbro, PM
  • Hertzog, PJ

publication date

  • March 1, 2013