In multicellular organisms, the epithelia is a contact surface with the surrounding environment and is exposed to a variety of adverse biotic (pathogenic) and abiotic (chemical) factors. Multi-layered pathways that operate on different time scales have evolved to preserve cellular integrity and elicit stress-specific response. Several stress-response programs are activated until a complete elimination of the stress is achieved. The innate immune response, which is triggered by pathogenic invasion, is rather harmful when active over a prolonged time, thus the response follows characteristic oscillatory trajectories. Here, we review different translation programs that function to precisely fine-tune the time at which various components of the innate immune response dwell between active and inactive. We discuss how different pro-inflammatory pathways are co-ordinated to temporally offset single reactions and to achieve an optimal balance between fighting pathogens and being less harmful for healthy cells.

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