The mucosal expression pattern of interferon-ε in Rhesus Macaques

Andrew Demers, Guobin Kang, Fungrui Ma, Wuxun Lu, Zhe Yuan, Yue Li, Mark Lewis, Edmundo N. Kraiselburd, Luis Montaner, Qingsheng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Type I IFNs play an important role in innate and adaptive immunity against viral infections. A novel type I IFN, namely IFN-ε, which can protect against vaginal transmission of HSV2 and Chlamydia muridarum bacterial infection, has been described in mice and humans. Nevertheless, the principle cell type and the expression pattern of IFN-ε in tissues remain uncertain. In addition, the expression of IFN-ε in Indian rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) has not been reported. Here, we analyzed IFN-ε expression in multiple mucosal sites of uninfected or SIV-infected Indian rhesus macaques using IHCS. We report for the first time the detection of IFN-ε expression in situ in the lung, foreskin, vaginal, cervical, and small and large intestinal mucosae of rhesus macaques. We found that the expression of IFN-ε was exclusive to the epithelial cells in all of the aforementioned mucosal tissues. Furthermore, the macaque IFN-ε sequence in this study revealed that macaque IFN-ε is highly conserved among human and other nonhuman primates. Lastly, SIV rectal infection did not significantly alter the expression of IFN-ε in rectal mucosae. Together, these findings indicate that IFN-ε may function as the first line of defense against the invasion of mucosal pathogens. Further studies should be conducted to examine IFN-ε protection against gastrointestinal as well as respiratory infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1107
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • IFN-I
  • Mucosal immunity
  • SIV
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Type I interferons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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