Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Tegument Protein US11 Downmodulates the RLR Signaling Pathway via Direct Interaction with RIG-I and MDA-5
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The interferon (IFN)-mediated antiviral response is a major defense of the host immune system. In order to complete their life cycle, viruses must modulate host IFN-mediated immune responses. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a large DNA virus containing more than 80 genes, many of which encode proteins that are involved in virus-host interactions and show immune modulatory capabilities. In this study, we demonstrate that the US11 protein, an RNA binding tegument protein of HSV-1, is a novel antagonist of the beta IFN (IFN-β) pathway. US11 significantly inhibited Sendai virus (SeV)-induced IFN-β production, and its double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding domain was indispensable for this inhibition activity. Additionally, wild-type HSV-1 coinfection showed stronger inhibition than US11 mutant HSV-1 in SeV-induced IFN-β production. Coimmunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that the US11 protein in HSV-1-infected cells interacts with endogenous RIG-I and MDA-5 through its C-terminal RNA-binding domain, which was RNA independent. Expression of US11 in both transfected and HSV-1-infected cells interferes with the interaction between MAVS and RIG-I or MDA-5. Finally, US11 dampens SeV-mediated IRF3 activation. Taken together, the combined data indicate that HSV-1 US11 binds to RIG-I and MDA-5 and inhibits their downstream signaling pathway, preventing the production of IFN-β, which may contribute to the pathogenesis of HSV-1 infection.
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