Mice lacking the known subunit of the type I interferon (IFN) receptor were completely unresponsive to type I IFNs, suggesting that this receptor chain is essential for type I IFN-mediated signal transduction. These mice showed no overt anomalies but were unable to cope with viral infections, despite otherwise normal immune responses. Comparison of mice lacking either type I or type II IFN receptors showed that, at least in response to some viruses, both IFN systems are essential for antiviral defense and are functionally nonredundant.
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