The overarching structure of the type I interferon (IFN) system is conserved across vertebrates. However, the variable numbers of whole genome duplication events during fish evolution offer opportunities for the expansion, diversification, and new functionalization of the genes that are involved in antiviral immunity. In this review, we examine how fish models provide new insights about the implication of virus-driven inflammation in immunity and hematopoiesis. Mechanisms that have been discovered in fish, such as the strong adjuvant effect of type I IFN that is used with DNA vaccination, constitute good models to understand how virus-induced inflammatory mechanisms can interfere with adaptive responses. We also comment on new discoveries regarding the role of pathogen-induced inflammation in the development and guidance of hematopoietic stem cells in zebrafish. These findings raise issues about the potential interferences of viral infections with the establishment of the immune system. Finally, the recent development of genome editing provides new opportunities to dissect the roles of the key players involved in the antiviral response in fish, hence enhancing the power of comparative approaches.
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