EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A molecular model of interferon alpha, a cytokine protein that is secreted by an infected cell to alert nearby cells of a virus, bacteria, parasite or tumour. Interferons bind to receptors on a neighboring cell's surface to trigger an immunological response and interfere with the pathogen's replication. Interferon alpha is classified as a type I interferon, produced by leukocytes mainly during viral infections.
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