Interferon regulator transcription factors (IRF) are a family characterized by a helix-turn-helix DNA binding domain enriched in tryptophan repeats. IRF family members show diverse cellular regulation of interferon-stimulated gene transcription, viral-mediated gene activation, apoptosis, differentiation, and cellular growth.
IRF2 functions as a regulator of type I interferons influencing cellular proliferation and immune response through transcriptional regulation. IRF2 competitively inhibits IRF1 gene activation, as well as, stimulating transcription on its own. Over-expression of IRF2 in NIH3T3 cells leads to transformation, whereas, loss of IRF2 expression in knock out mice leads to a variety of abnormalities including loss of NK cells due to increased apoptosis.