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Virus infection elicits potent responses in all cells intended to contain virus spread
before intervention by the adaptive immune system. Central to this process is the
virus-elicited production of type I interferons (IFNs) and other cytokines. The sensors
involved in coupling recognition of viruses to the induction of the type I IFN genes
have only recently been uncovered and include endosomal and cytosolic receptors for
RNA and DNA. Here, we review their properties and discuss how their ability to recognize
the unusual presence of atypical nucleic acids in particular subcellular compartments
is used by the body to detect virus presence.