The innate immune system has numerous signal transduction pathways that lead to the production of type I interferons in response to exposure of cells to external stimuli. One of these pathways comprises RNA polymerase (Pol) III that senses common DNA viruses, such as cytomegalovirus, vaccinia, herpes simplex virus-1 and varicella zoster virus. This polymerase detects and transcribes viral genomic regions to generate AU-rich transcripts that bring to the induction of type I interferons. Remarkably, Pol III is also stimulated by foreign non-viral DNAs and expression of one of its subunits is induced by an RNA virus, the Sindbis virus. Moreover, a protein subunit of RNase P, which is known to associate with Pol III in initiation complexes, is induced by viral infection. Accordingly, alliance of the two tRNA enzymes in innate immunity merits a consideration.
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- DNA virus
- Pol III
- RNA virus
- RNase P
- innate immune system