Innate immune responses in RNA viral infection

Qian Xu, Yuting Tang, Gang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


RNA viruses cause a multitude of human diseases, including several pandemic events in the past century. Upon viral invasion, the innate immune system responds rapidly and plays a key role in activating the adaptive immune system. In the innate immune system, the interactions between pathogen-associated molecular patterns and host pattern recognition receptors activate multiple signaling pathways in immune cells and induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interferons to elicit antiviral responses. Macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells are the principal innate immune components that exert antiviral activities. In this review, the current understanding of innate immunity contributing to the restriction of RNA viral infections was briefly summarized. Besides the main role of immune cells in combating viral infection, the intercellular transfer of pathogen and host-derived materials and their epigenetic and metabolic interactions associated with innate immunity was discussed. This knowledge provides an enhanced understanding of the innate immune response to RNA viral infections in general and aids in the preparation for the existing and next emerging viral infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers of Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • epigenetic changes
  • innate immune
  • intercellular signaling
  • metabolic changes
  • viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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