Structure and regulation of the human interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) and IRF-2 genes: implications for a gene network in the interferon system.
ABSTRACT: Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) and IRF-2 are structurally similar DNA-binding factors which were originally identified as regulators of the type I interferon (IFN) system; the former functions as a transcriptional activator, and the latter represses IRF-1 function by competing for the same cis elements. More recent studies have revealed new roles of the two factors in the regulation of cell growth; IRF-1 and IRF-2 manifest antioncogenic and oncogenic activities, respectively. In this study, we determined the structures and chromosomal locations of the human IRF-1 and IRF-2 genes and further characterized the promoters of the respective genes. Comparison of exon-intron organization of the two genes revealed a common evolutionary structure, notably within the exons encoding the N-terminal portions of the two factors. We confirmed the chromosomal mapping of the human IRF-1 gene to 5q31.1 and newly assigned the IRF-2 gene to 4q35.1, using fluorescence in situ hybridization. The 5' regulatory regions of both genes contain highly GC-rich sequences and consensus binding sequences for several known transcription factors, including NF-kappa B. Interestingly, one IRF binding site was found within the IRF-2 promoter, and expression of the IRF-2 gene was affected by both transient and stable IRF-1 expression. In addition, one potential IFN-gamma-activated sequence was found within the IRF-1 promoter. Thus, these results may shed light on the complex gene network involved in regulation of the IFN system.
Project description:Interferon-regulatory factors (IRFs) are a family of transcription factors (TFs) that translate viral recognition into antiviral responses, including type I interferon (IFN) production. Dengue virus (DENV) and other clinically important flaviviruses are suppressed by type I IFN. While mice lacking the type I IFN receptor (Ifnar1-/-) succumb to DENV infection, we found that mice deficient in three transcription factors controlling type I IFN production (Irf3-/-Irf5-/-Irf7-/- triple knockout [TKO]) survive DENV challenge. DENV infection of TKO mice resulted in minimal type I IFN production but a robust type II IFN (IFN-?) response. Using loss-of-function approaches for various molecules, we demonstrate that the IRF-3-, IRF-5-, IRF-7-independent pathway predominantly utilizes IFN-? and, to a lesser degree, type I IFNs. This pathway signals via IRF-1 to stimulate interleukin-12 (IL-12) production and IFN-? response. These results reveal a key antiviral role for IRF-1 by activating both type I and II IFN responses during DENV infection.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) are a family of transcription factors involved in the regulation of the interferons (IFNs) and other genes that may have an essential role in antiviral defense in the central nervous system, although this is currently not well defined. Therefore, we examined the regulation of IRF gene expression in the brain during viral infection. Several IRF genes (IRF-2, -3, -5, -7, and -9) were expressed at low levels in the brain of uninfected mice. Following intracranial infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), expression of the IRF-7 and IRF-9 genes increased significantly by day 2. IRF-7 and IRF-9 gene expression in the brain was widespread at sites of LCMV infection, with the highest levels in infiltrating mononuclear cells, microglia/macrophages, and neurons. IRF-7 and IRF-9 gene expression was increased in LCMV-infected brain from IFN-gamma knockout (KO) but not IFN-alpha/betaR KO animals. In the brain, spleen, and liver or cultured glial and spleen cells, IRF-7 but not IRF-9 gene expression increased with delayed kinetics in the absence of STAT1 but not STAT2 following LCMV infection or IFN-alpha treatment, respectively. The stimulation of IRF-7 gene expression by IFN-alpha in glial cell culture was prevented by cycloheximide. Thus, (i) many of the IRF genes were expressed constitutively in the mouse brain; (ii) the IRF-7 and IRF-9 genes were upregulated during viral infection, a process dependent on IFN-alpha/beta but not IFN-gamma; and (iii) IRF-7 but not IRF-9 gene expression can be stimulated in a STAT1-independent but STAT2-dependent fashion via unidentified indirect pathways coupled to the activation of the IFN-alpha/beta receptor.
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:The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) binds tightly to the interferon (IFN)-beta promoter and has been implicated in the induction of type I IFNs. We generated mice devoid of functional IRF-1 by targeted gene disruption. As reported by others, IRF-1-deficient mice showed a discrete phenotype: the CD4/CD8 ratio was increased and IFN-gamma-induced levels of macrophage iNO synthase mRNA were strongly diminished. However, type I IFN induction in vivo by virus or double-stranded RNA was unimpaired, as evidenced by serum IFN titers and IFN mRNA levels in spleen, liver and lung. There was also no impairment in the response of type I IFN-inducible genes. Therefore, IRF-1 is not essential for these processes in vivo.
Project description:Cyclooxygenases (Cox) are rate-limiting enzymes that initiate the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostanoids. Cox-2 is the inducible isoform that is upregulated by proinflammatory agents, initiating many prostanoid-mediated pathological aspects of inflammation. In this study, we demonstrate that interferon (IFN)-gamma alone or in synergy with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or interleukin 1alpha induces Cox-2 expression in mouse peritoneal macrophages, which is paralleled by changes in Cox-2 protein levels and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) release. Induction of Cox-2 was abrogated in macrophages that lack IFN regulatory factor (IRF)-1, consistent with an attenuated hepatic mRNA response in IRF-1(-/-) mice injected with LPS. Conversely, the absence of IRF-2 in macrophages resulted in a significant increase in both basal and inducible Cox-2 gene and protein expression as well as IFN-gamma-stimulated PGE(2) release, identifying IRF-2 as negative regulator of this promoter. Two IFN stimulation response elements were identified in the mouse Cox-2 promoter that were highly conserved in the human Cox-2 gene. Both bind endogenous IRF-1 and IRF-2 and regulate transcription in an IRF-1/2-dependent manner. Our data demonstrate conclusively the importance of IFN-gamma as a direct activator and coactivator of the Cox-2 gene, and the central role of IRF-1/2 family members in this process.
Project description:The mammalian Dcp2 mRNA-decapping protein functions primarily on a subset of mRNAs in a transcript-specific manner. Here we show that Dcp2 is an important modulator of genes involved in the type I interferon (IFN) response, which is the initial line of antiviral innate immune response elicited by a viral challenge. Mouse embryonic fibroblast cells with reduced Dcp2 levels (Dcp2(?/?)) contained significantly elevated levels of mRNAs encoding proteins involved in the type I IFN response. In particular, analysis of a key type I IFN transcription factor, IFN regulatory factor 7 (IRF-7), revealed an increase in both IRF-7 mRNA and protein in Dcp2(?/?) cells. Importantly, the increase in IRF-7 mRNA within the background of reduced Dcp2 levels was attributed to a stabilization of the IRF-7 mRNA, suggesting that Dcp2 normally modulates IRF-7 mRNA stability. Moreover, Dcp2 expression was also induced upon viral infection, consistent with a role in attenuating the antiviral response by promoting IRF-7 mRNA degradation. The induction of Dcp2 levels following a viral challenge and the specificity of Dcp2 in targeting the decay of IRF-7 mRNA suggest that Dcp2 may negatively contribute to the innate immune response in a negative feedback mechanism to restore normal homeostasis following viral infection.
Project description:Interferon (IFN) regulatory factors (IRFs) are a family of transcription factors among which are IRF-1, IRF-2, and IFN consensus sequence binding protein (ICSBP). These factors share sequence homology in the N-terminal DNA-binding domain. IRF-1 and IRF-2 are further related and have additional homologous sequences within their C-termini. Whereas IRF-2 and ICSBP are identified as transcriptional repressors, IRF-1 is an activator. In the present work, the identification of functional domains in murine IRF-1 with regard to DNA-binding, nuclear translocation, heterodimerization with ICSBP and transcriptional activation are demonstrated. The minimal DNA-binding domain requires the N-terminal 124 amino acids plus an arbitrary C-terminal extension. By using mutants of IRF-1 fusion proteins with green fluorescent protein and monitoring their distribution in living cells, a nuclear location signal (NLS) was identified and found to be sufficient for nuclear translocation. Heterodimerization was confirmed by a two-hybrid system adapted to mammalian cells. The heterodimerization domain in IRF-1 was defined by studies in vitro and was shown to be homologous with a sequence in IRF-2, suggesting that IRF-2 also heterodimerizes with ICSBP through this sequence. An acidic domain in IRF-1 was found to be required and to be sufficient for transactivation. Epitope mapping of IRF-1 showed that regions within the NLS, the heterodimerization domain and the transcriptional activation domain are exposed for possible contacts with interacting proteins.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-3 is a master transcription factor that activates host antiviral defense programs. Although cell culture studies suggest that IRF-3 promotes antiviral control by inducing interferon (IFN)-beta, near normal levels of IFN-alpha and IFN-beta were observed in IRF-3(-/-) mice after infection by several RNA and DNA viruses. Thus, the specific mechanisms by which IRF-3 modulates viral infection remain controversial. Some of this disparity could reflect direct IRF-3-dependent antiviral responses in specific cell types to control infection. To address this and determine how IRF-3 coordinates an antiviral response, we infected IRF-3(-/-) mice and two primary cells relevant for West Nile virus (WNV) pathogenesis, macrophages and cortical neurons. IRF-3(-/-) mice were uniformly vulnerable to infection and developed elevated WNV burdens in peripheral and central nervous system tissues, though peripheral IFN responses were largely normal. Whereas wild-type macrophages basally expressed key host defense molecules, including RIG-I, MDA5, ISG54, and ISG56, and restricted WNV infection, IRF-3(-/-) macrophages lacked basal expression of these host defense genes and supported increased WNV infection and IFN-alpha and IFN-beta production. In contrast, wild-type cortical neurons were highly permissive to WNV and did not basally express RIG-I, MDA5, ISG54, and ISG56. IRF-3(-/-) neurons lacked induction of host defense genes and had blunted IFN-alpha and IFN-beta production, yet exhibited only modestly increased viral titers. Collectively, our data suggest that cell-specific IRF-3 responses protect against WNV infection through both IFN-dependent and -independent programs.
Project description:The cloning and functional characterization of a novel interferon regulatory factor (IRF), IRF-10, are described. IRF-10 is most closely related to IRF-4 but differs in both its constitutive and inducible expression. The expression of IRF-10 is inducible by interferons (IFNs) and by concanavalin A. In contrast to that of other IRFs, the inducible expression of IRF-10 is characterized by delayed kinetics and requires protein synthesis, suggesting a unique role in the later stages of an antiviral defense. Accordingly, IRF-10 is involved in the upregulation of two primary IFN-gamma target genes (major histocompatibility complex [MHC] class I and guanylate-binding protein) and interferes with the induction of the type I IFN target gene for 2',5'-oligo(A) synthetase. IRF-10 binds the interferon-stimulated response element site of the MHC class I promoter. In contrast to that of IRF-1, which has some of the same functional characteristics, the expression of IRF-10 is not cytotoxic for fibroblasts or B cells. The expression of IRF-10 is induced by the oncogene v-rel, the proto-oncogene c-rel, and IRF-4 in a tissue-specific manner. Moreover, v-Rel and IRF-4 synergistically cooperate in the induction of IRF-10 in fibroblasts. The level of IRF-10 induction in lymphoid cell lines by Rel proteins correlates with Rel transformation potential. These results suggest that IRF-10 plays a role in the late stages of an immune defense by regulating the expression some of the IFN-gamma target genes in the absence of a cytotoxic effect. Furthermore, IRF-10 expression is regulated, at least in part, by members of the Rel/NF-kappa B and IRF families.
Project description:Type I interferons (IFN-I) broadly control innate immunity and are typically transcriptionally induced by Interferon Regulatory Factors (IRFs) following stimulation of pattern recognition receptors within the cytosol of host cells. For bacterial infection, IFN-I signaling can result in widely variant responses, in some cases contributing to the pathogenesis of disease while in others contributing to host defense. In this work, we addressed the role of type I IFN during Yersinia pestis infection in a murine model of septicemic plague. Transcription of IFN-? was induced in vitro and in vivo and contributed to pathogenesis. Mice lacking the IFN-I receptor, Ifnar, were less sensitive to disease and harbored more neutrophils in the later stage of infection which correlated with protection from lethality. In contrast, IRF-3, a transcription factor commonly involved in inducing IFN-? following bacterial infection, was not necessary for IFN production but instead contributed to host defense. In vitro, phagocytosis of Y. pestis by macrophages and neutrophils was more effective in the presence of IRF-3 and was not affected by IFN-? signaling. This activity correlated with limited bacterial growth in vivo in the presence of IRF-3. Together the data demonstrate that IRF-3 is able to activate pathways of innate immunity against bacterial infection that extend beyond regulation of IFN-? production.