αvβ3 integrin represents a novel sensing system which detects herpes simplex virus (HSV) and bacterial constituents. In cooperation with Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), it elicits an innate response that leads to activation of type I interferon (IFN), NF-κB, and a specific set of cytokines. We report that this defensive branch is functional in cells which represent experimental models of epithelial, including keratinocytic, and neuronal cells. These are the major targets of HSV in vivo. HSV entered the three cell lines via distinct routes. Hence, the defensive response was independent of the route of virus entry. Soluble gH/gL sufficed to elicit type I IFN and NF-κB activation and represents the viral pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) of this defense system.
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