Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. leprae are causative microorganisms for tuberculosis and leprosy, respectively. In contrast to avirulent mycobacteria, which are effectively eliminated by the host immune system, M. tuberculosis and M. leprae can persist and cause diseases in infected individuals. It is unclear how the pathogens survive in the presence of cell-mediated immune responses. Recent studies have revealed that while essential for controlling viral replication, type I interferons (IFNs) also impairs the host control of intracellular bacteria. This chapter overviews recent discoveries, obtained from animal and human studies, on the role of type I IFN in regulating immune response and resistance to mycobacterial infection. The proposed mechanisms explaining how the classic phagosomal pathogens trigger type I IFN production in macrophages as well as how the cytokines may interfere with protective immune responses and regulate disease outcome are also discussed.
Dane Parker (ed), pp 109- 124. Springer. Switzerland 2014.