Ribonuclease L (RNase L)
Reference work entry
In early stages of viral infection, the innate immune response and particularly the interferon response play a critical role in restricting viral replication and propagation, awaiting the establishment of the adaptive immune response. One of the best-described IFN-dependent antiviral responses is the OAS/RNase L pathway. This two-component system is controlled by type I and type III interferons (IFN). Back in the 1970s, the groups of I. Kerr and P. Lengyel discovered a cellular endoribonuclease (RNase) activity that was increased by IFN and depended on the presence of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) (Brown et al. 1976; Kerr et al. 1977). Further, a correlation was found between this RNase activity and the synthesis of unusual 2′-5′ oligoadenylates (2-5A) (Fig. 1) by a family of enzymes called oligoadenylate synthetases (OAS) [(Baglioni et al. 1978), reviewed by (Hovanessian and Justesen 2007)].
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