The role of transposable elements in the regulation of IFN-lambda1 gene expression.
ABSTRACT: IFNs lambda1, lambda2, and lambda3, or type III IFNs, are recently identified cytokines distantly related to type I IFNs. Despite an early evolutionary divergence, the 2 types of IFNs display similar antiviral activities, and both are produced primarily in dendritic cells. Although virus induction of the type I IFN-beta gene had served as a paradigm of gene regulation, relatively little is known about the regulation of IFN-lambda gene expression. Studies of virus induction of IFN-lambda1 identified an essential role of IFN regulatory factors (IRF) 3 and 7, which bind to a regulatory DNA sequence near the start site of transcription. Here, we report that the proximal promoter region of the IFN-lambda1 regulatory region is not sufficient for maximal gene induction in response to bacterial LPS, and we identify an essential cluster of homotypic NF-kappaB binding sites. Remarkably, these sites, which bind efficiently to NF-kappaB and function independently of the IRF3/7 binding sites, originate as transposable elements of the Alu and LTR families. We also show that depletion of the NF-kappaB RelA protein significantly reduces the level of the IFN-lambda1 gene expression. We conclude that IFN-lambda1 gene expression requires NF-kappaB, and we propose a model for IFN-lambda1 gene regulation, in which IRF and NF-kappaB activate gene expression independently via spatially separated promoter elements. These observations provide insights into the independent evolution of the IFN-lambda1 and IFN-beta promoters and directly implicate transposable elements in the regulation of the IFN-lambda1 gene by NF-kappaB.
Project description:Inflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) synergistically activate expression of the RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted) gene, which plays a crucial role in the chemoattraction of leukocytes during the inflammatory response. To understand at the molecular level the mechanism by which the two cytokines activate RANTES gene expression, we determined the requirement of cis-acting elements in the RANTES promoter and trans-acting factors. The murine RANTES promoter contained one putative interferon regulatory factor, IRF, and three putative nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) binding sites. Specific destruction of the IRF binding site and one of the three NF-kappaB binding sites abolished the inducibility of promoter activity by IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, respectively. In contrast, mutation of the other two putative NF-kappaB binding sites did not affect RANTES promoter activity significantly. In addition, the RANTES promoter was stimulated by co-transfection of plasmids that expressed either p65, an NF-kappaB family protein, or the IRF-1 transcription factor. RANTES promoters with mutations in the NF-kappaB or IRF binding sites were not stimulated by p65 or IRF-1 expression, respectively. In electrophoretic mobility-shift and immunologic assays, we showed that IRF-1 was induced after cells were treated with IFN-gamma and that NF-kappaB was activated by TNF-alpha treatment. These results demonstrate that both NF-kappaB and IRF-1 transcription factors mediate the induction of RANTES expression via their cognate cis-acting elements when cells are stimulated by TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In response to viral infection, the innate immune system recognizes viral nucleic acids and then induces production of proinflammatory cytokines and type I interferons (IFNs). Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) and TLR9 detect viral RNA and DNA, respectively, in endosomal compartments, leading to the activation of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) and IFN regulatory factors (IRFs) in plasmacytoid dendritic cells. During such TLR signaling, TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) is essential for the activation of NF-kappaB and the production of type I IFN. In contrast, RIG-like helicases (RLHs), cytosolic RNA sensors, are indispensable for antiviral responses in conventional dendritic cells, macrophages, and fibroblasts. However, the contribution of TRAF6 to the detection of cytosolic viral nucleic acids has been controversial, and the involvement of TRAF6 in IRF activation has not been adequately addressed. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Here we first show that TRAF6 plays a critical role in RLH signaling. The absence of TRAF6 resulted in enhanced viral replication and a significant reduction in the production of IL-6 and type I IFNs after infection with RNA virus. Activation of NF-kappaB and IRF7, but not that of IRF3, was significantly impaired during RLH signaling in the absence of TRAF6. TGFbeta-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) and MEKK3, whose activation by TRAF6 during TLR signaling is involved in NF-kappaB activation, were not essential for RLH-mediated NF-kappaB activation. We also demonstrate that TRAF6-deficiency impaired cytosolic DNA-induced antiviral responses, and this impairment was due to defective activation of NF-kappaB and IRF7. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Thus, TRAF6 mediates antiviral responses triggered by cytosolic viral DNA and RNA in a way that differs from that associated with TLR signaling. Given its essential role in signaling by various receptors involved in the acquired immune system, TRAF6 represents a key molecule in innate and antigen-specific immune responses against viral infection.
Project description:Sendai virus (SeV) infection causes the transcriptional induction of many cellular genes that are also induced by interferon (IFN) or double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). We took advantage of various mutant cell lines to investigate the putative roles of the components of the IFN and dsRNA signaling pathways in the induction of those genes by SeV. Profiling the patterns of gene expression in SeV-infected cells demonstrated that Toll-like receptor 3, although essential for gene induction by dsRNA, was dispensable for gene induction by SeV. In contrast, Jak1, which mediates IFN signaling, was required for the induction of a small subset of genes by SeV. NF-kappaB and interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3), the two major transcription factors activated by virus infection, were essential for the induction of two sets of genes by SeV. As expected, some of the IRF-3-dependent genes, such as ISG56, were more strongly induced by SeV in IRF-3-overexpressing cells. Surprisingly, in those cells, a number of NF-kappaB-dependent genes, such as the A20 gene, were induced poorly. Using a series of cell lines expressing increasing levels of IRF-3, we demonstrated that the degree of induction of A20 mRNA, upon SeV infection, was inversely proportional to the cellular level of IRF-3, whereas that of ISG56 mRNA was directly proportional. Thus, IRF-3 can suppress the expression of NF-kappaB-dependent genes in SeV-infected cells.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factors (IRF)-3 and IRF-7 are master transcriptional factors that regulate type I IFN gene (IFN-alpha/beta) induction and innate immune defenses after virus infection. Prior studies in mice with single deletions of the IRF-3 or IRF-7 genes showed increased vulnerability to West Nile virus (WNV) infection. Whereas mice and cells lacking IRF-7 showed reduced IFN-alpha levels after WNV infection, those lacking IRF-3 or IRF-7 had relatively normal IFN-b production. Here, we generated IRF-3(-/-)x IRF-7(-/-) double knockout (DKO) mice, analyzed WNV pathogenesis, IFN responses, and signaling of innate defenses. Compared to wild type mice, the DKO mice exhibited a blunted but not abrogated systemic IFN response and sustained uncontrolled WNV replication leading to rapid mortality. Ex vivo analysis showed complete ablation of the IFN-alpha response in DKO fibroblasts, macrophages, dendritic cells, and cortical neurons and a substantial decrease of the IFN-beta response in DKO fibroblasts and cortical neurons. In contrast, the IFN-beta response was minimally diminished in DKO macrophages and dendritic cells. However, pharmacological inhibition of NF-kappaB and ATF-2/c-Jun, the two other known components of the IFN-beta enhanceosome, strongly reduced IFN-beta gene transcription in the DKO dendritic cells. Finally, a genetic deficiency of IPS-1, an adaptor involved in RIG-I- and MDA5-mediated antiviral signaling, completely abolished the IFN-beta response after WNV infection. Overall, our experiments suggest that, unlike fibroblasts and cortical neurons, IFN-beta gene regulation after WNV infection in myeloid cells is IPS-1-dependent but does not require full occupancy of the IFN-beta enhanceosome by canonical constituent transcriptional factors.
Project description:Constitutive activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) is a distinctive feature of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-immortalized B cells (lymphoblastoid cell lines [LCLs]). The expression of STAT1 in these cells is modulated by the latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), but the mechanism of STAT1 activation has remained unclear. We demonstrate that the tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 in LCLs results from an indirect pathway encompassing an NF-kappaB-dependent secretion of interferons (IFNs). The cell culture supernatant of LCLs induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 in cells with no constitutively activated STAT1. Moreover, removal of supernatant from LCLs was sufficient to decrease the phosphorylation of STAT1. Inhibition of NF-kappaB activity by different pharmacological inhibitors (i.e., parthenolide, MG132 and BAY 11-7082) and by overexpressed mutated IkappaBalpha prevented the activation of STAT1. To identify the factors involved, we performed macroarray cDNA profiling with or without inhibition of NF-kappaB. The expression of several cytokines was NF-kappaB dependent among those alpha and gamma IFNs (IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma), known activators of STAT1. By real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay we show that IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma are expressed and released by LCLs in an NF-kappaB-dependent manner. Finally, the blocking of the IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma by neutralizing antibodies led to the complete inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1. Taken together, our results clearly show that LMP1-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 is almost exclusively due to the NF-kappaB-dependent secretion of IFNs. Whether this response, which is usually considered to be antiviral, is in fact required for the persistence of the virus remains to be elucidated.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) are a family of homologous proteins that regulate the transcription of interferons (IFNs) and IFN-induced gene expression. As such they are important modulating proteins in the Toll-like receptor (TLR) and IFN signaling pathways, which are vital elements of the innate immune system. IRFs have a multi-domain structure, with the N-terminal part acting as a DNA binding domain (DBD) that recognizes a DNA-binding motif similar to the IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE). The C-terminal part contains the IRF-association domain (IAD), with which they can self-associate, bind to IRF family members or interact with other transcription factors. This complex formation is crucial for DNA binding and the commencing of target-gene expression. IRFs bind DNA and exert their activating potential as homo or heterodimers with other IRFs. Moreover, they can form complexes (e.g., with Signal transducers and activators of transcription, STATs) and collaborate with other co-acting transcription factors such as Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and PU.1. In time, more of these IRF co-activating mechanisms have been discovered, which may play a key role in the pathogenesis of many diseases, such as acute and chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Detailed knowledge of IRFs structure and activating mechanisms predisposes IRFs as potential targets for inhibition in therapeutic strategies connected to numerous immune system-originated diseases. Until now only indirect IRF modulation has been studied in terms of antiviral response regulation and cancer treatment, using mainly antisense oligonucleotides and siRNA knockdown strategies. However, none of these approaches so far entered clinical trials. Moreover, no direct IRF-inhibitory strategies have been reported. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of the different IRF-mediated transcriptional regulatory mechanisms and how they reflect the diverse functions of IRFs in homeostasis and in TLR and IFN signaling. Moreover, we present IRFs as promising inhibitory targets and propose a novel direct IRF-modulating strategy employing a pipeline approach that combines comparative in silico docking to the IRF-DBD with in vitro validation of IRF inhibition. We hypothesize that our methodology will enable the efficient identification of IRF-specific and pan-IRF inhibitors that can be used for the treatment of IRF-dependent disorders and malignancies.
Project description:Members of the IRF family mediate transcriptional responses to interferons (IFNs) and to virus infection. So far, proteins of this family have been studied only among mammalian species. Here we report the isolation of cDNA clones encoding two members of this family from chicken, interferon consensus sequence-binding protein (ICSBP) and IRF-1. The predicted chicken ICSBP and IRF-1 proteins show high levels of sequence similarity to their corresponding human and mouse counterparts. Sequence identities in the putative DNA-binding domains of chicken and human ICSBP and IRF-1 were 97% and 89%, respectively, whereas the C-terminal regions showed identities of 64% and 51%; sequence relationships with mouse ICSBP and IRF-1 are very similar. Chicken ICSBP was found to be expressed in several embryonic tissues, and both chicken IRF-1 and ICSBP were strongly induced in chicken fibroblasts by IFN treatment, supporting the involvement of these factors in IFN-regulated gene expression. The presence of proteins homologous to mammalian IRF family members, together with earlier observations on the occurrence of functionally homologous IFN-responsive elements in chicken and mammalian genes, highlights the conservation of transcriptional mechanisms in the IFN system, a finding that contrasts with the extensive sequence and functional divergence of the IFNs.
Project description:IFN-stimulated gene 56 (ISG56) is one of the first identified proteins induced by viruses and type I IFNs. In this study, we identified ISG56 as a virus-induced protein associated with MITA, an adapter protein involved in virus-triggered induction of type I IFNs. Overexpression of ISG56 inhibited Sendai virus-triggered activation of IRF3, NF-kappaB, and the IFN-beta promoter, whereas knockdown of ISG56 had opposite effects. Consistently, overexpression of ISG56 reversed cytoplasmic poly(I:C)-induced inhibition of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) replication, whereas knockdown of ISG56 inhibited VSV replication. Competitive coimmunoprecipitation experiments indicated that ISG56 disrupted the interactions between MITA and VISA or TBK1, two components in the virus-triggered IFN signaling pathways. These results suggest that ISG56 is a mediator of negative-feedback regulation of virus-triggered induction of type I IFNs and cellular antiviral responses.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection induces the alpha-chemokine interleukin-8 (CXCL-8), which is regulated at the levels of transcription and mRNA stability. In the current study, CXCL-8 regulation by double-stranded (ds)RNA pathways was analyzed in the context of HCV infection. A constitutively active mutant of the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), RIG-N, activated CXCL-8 transcription. Promoter mutagenesis experiments indicated that NF-kappaB and interferon (IFN)-stimulated response element (ISRE) binding sites were required for the RIG-N induction of CXCL-8 transcription. IFN-beta promoter stimulator 1 (IPS-1) expression also activated CXCL-8 transcription, and mutations of the ISRE and NF-kappaB binding sites reduced and abrogated CXCL-8 transcription, respectively. In the presence of wild-type RIG-I, transfection of JFH-1 RNA or JFH-1 virus infection of Huh7.5.1 cells activated the CXCL-8 promoter. Expression of IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) stimulated transcription from both full-length and ISRE-driven CXCL-8 promoters. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that IRF-3 and NF-kappaB bound directly to the CXCL-8 promoter in response to virus infection and dsRNA transfection. RIG-N stabilized CXCL-8 mRNA via the AU-rich element in the 3' untranslated region of CXCL-8 mRNA, leading to an increase in its half-life following tumor necrosis factor alpha induction. The data indicate that HCV infection triggers dsRNA signaling pathways that induce CXCL-8 via transcriptional activation and mRNA stabilization and define a regulatory link between innate antiviral and inflammatory cellular responses to virus infection.
Project description:Flaviviruses have been shown to induce cell surface expression of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) through the activation of NF-kappaB. Using IKK1(-/-), IKK2(-/-), NEMO(-/-), and IKK1(-/-) IKK2(-/-) double mutant as well as p50(-/-) RelA(-/-) cRel(-/-) triple mutant mouse embryonic fibroblasts infected with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), we show that this flavivirus utilizes the canonical pathway to activate NF-kappaB in an IKK2- and NEMO-, but not IKK1-, dependent manner. NF-kappaB DNA binding activity induced upon virus infection was shown to be composed of RelA:p50 dimers in these fibroblasts. Type I interferon (IFN) production was significantly decreased but not completely abolished upon virus infection in cells defective in NF-kappaB activation. In contrast, induction of classical MHC-I (class 1a) genes and their cell surface expression remained unaffected in these NF-kappaB-defective cells. However, MHC-I induction was impaired in IFNAR(-/-) cells that lack the alpha/beta IFN receptor, indicating a dominant role of type I IFNs but not NF-kappaB for the induction of MHC-I molecules by Japanese encephalitis virus. Our further analysis revealed that the residual type I IFN signaling in NF-kappaB-deficient cells is sufficient to drive MHC-I gene expression upon virus infection in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. However, NF-kappaB could indirectly regulate MHC-I expression, since JEV-induced type I IFN expression was found to be critically dependent on it.