Activation of type i interferon antiviral response in human neural stem cells

Jhao Yin Lin, Rei Lin Kuo, Hsing I. Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Neural stem cells (NSCs) residing in the central nervous system play an important role in neurogenesis. Several viruses can infect these neural progenitors and cause severe neurological diseases. The innate immune responses against the neurotropic viruses in these tissue-specific stem cells remain unclear. Methods: Human NSCs were transfected with viral RNA mimics or infected with neurotropic virus for detecting the expression of antiviral interferons (IFNs) and downstream IFN-stimulated antiviral genes. Results: NSCs are able to produce interferon-β (IFN-β) (type I) and λ1 (type III) after transfection with poly(I:C) and that downstream IFN-stimulated antiviral genes, such as ISG56 and MxA, and the viral RNA sensors RIG-I, MDA5, and TLR3, can be expressed in NSCs under poly(I:C) or IFN-β stimulation. In addition, our results show that the pattern recognition receptors RIG-I and MDA5, as well as the endosomal pathogen recognition receptor TLR3, but not TLR7 and TLR8, are involved in the activation of IFN-β transcription in NSCs. Furthermore, NSCs infected with the neurotropic viruses, Zika and Japanese encephalitis viruses, are able to induce RIG-I-mediated IFN-β expression. Conclusion: Human NSCs have the ability to activate IFN signals against neurotropic viral pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number387
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 12 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • IFN
  • MDA5
  • Neural stem cells
  • RIG-I
  • Zika virus


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