R.B. Seth et al., "Identification and characterization of MAVS, a mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein that activates NF-κB and IRF3." Cell, 122:669-82, 2005. (Cited in 77 papers.)
The innate immune system recognizes viral infections inside cells with RIG-I and triggers type I interferon responses with IRF3 and NF-κB. Zhijian Chen's group at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas discovered a critical missing link in this pathway in mitochondria, a protein they dubbed MAVS.
MAVS is the first mitochondrial protein known to play a direct signaling role in an immune response.
Subsequent work has shown hepatitis C virus protease NS3/4A can cleave MAVS from the mitochondrion to inactivate the protein and suppress host immunity, notes Ruslan Medzhitov at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
The work ahead: