STAT2 is an essential adaptor in USP18-mediated suppression of type I interferon signaling.
ABSTRACT: Type I interferons (IFNs) are multifunctional cytokines that regulate immune responses and cellular functions but also can have detrimental effects on human health. A tight regulatory network therefore controls IFN signaling, which in turn may interfere with medical interventions. The JAK-STAT signaling pathway transmits the IFN extracellular signal to the nucleus, thus resulting in alterations in gene expression. STAT2 is a well-known essential and specific positive effector of type I IFN signaling. Here, we report that STAT2 is also a previously unrecognized, crucial component of the USP18-mediated negative-feedback control in both human and mouse cells. We found that STAT2 recruits USP18 to the type I IFN receptor subunit IFNAR2 via its constitutive membrane-distal STAT2-binding site. This mechanistic coupling of effector and negative-feedback functions of STAT2 may provide novel strategies for treatment of IFN-signaling-related human diseases.
Project description:Type I interferonopathies are monogenic disorders characterized by enhanced type I interferon (IFN-I) cytokine activity. Inherited USP18 and ISG15 deficiencies underlie type I interferonopathies by preventing the regulation of late responses to IFN-I. Specifically, USP18, being stabilized by ISG15, sterically hinders JAK1 from binding to the IFNAR2 subunit of the IFN-I receptor. We report an infant who died of autoinflammation due to a homozygous missense mutation (R148Q) in STAT2. The variant is a gain of function (GOF) for induction of the late, but not early, response to IFN-I. Surprisingly, the mutation does not enhance the intrinsic activity of the STAT2-containing transcriptional complex responsible for IFN-I-stimulated gene induction. Rather, the STAT2 R148Q variant is a GOF because it fails to appropriately traffic USP18 to IFNAR2, thereby preventing USP18 from negatively regulating responses to IFN-I. Homozygosity for STAT2 R148Q represents a novel molecular and clinical phenocopy of inherited USP18 deficiency, which, together with inherited ISG15 deficiency, defines a group of type I interferonopathies characterized by an impaired regulation of late cellular responses to IFN-I.
Project description:The IFN-stimulated gene ubiquitin-specific proteinase 18 (USP18) encodes a protein that negatively regulates T1 IFN signaling via stearic inhibition of JAK1 recruitment to the IFN-? receptor 2 subunit (IFNAR2). Here, we demonstrate that USP18 expression is induced by HIV-1 in a T1 IFN-dependent manner. Experimental depletion of USP18 by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) gene editing results in a significant restriction of HIV-1 replication in an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived macrophage model. In the absence of USP18, macrophages have increased responsiveness to stimulation with T1 IFNs with prolonged phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2 and increased expression of IFN-stimulated genes that are key for antiviral responses. Interestingly, HIV-1 requires some signaling through the T1 IFN receptor to replicate efficiently because a neutralizing antibody that inhibits T1 IFN activity reduces HIV-1 replication rate in monocyte-derived macrophages. USP18 induction by HIV-1 tunes the IFN response to optimal levels allowing for efficient transcription from the HIV-1 LTR promoter while minimizing the T1 IFN-induced antiviral response that would otherwise restrict viral replication and spread. Finally, iPSC and CRISPR/Cas9 gene targeting offer a powerful tool to study host factors that regulate innate immune responses.
Project description:Microglia are tissue macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS) that control tissue homeostasis. Microglia dysregulation is thought to be causal for a group of neuropsychiatric, neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases, called "microgliopathies". However, how the intracellular stimulation machinery in microglia is controlled is poorly understood. Here, we identified the ubiquitin-specific protease (Usp) 18 in white matter microglia that essentially contributes to microglial quiescence. We further found that microglial Usp18 negatively regulates the activation of Stat1 and concomitant induction of interferon-induced genes, thereby terminating IFN signaling. The Usp18-mediated control was independent from its catalytic activity but instead required the interaction with Ifnar2. Additionally, the absence of Ifnar1 restored microglial activation, indicating a tonic IFN signal which needs to be negatively controlled by Usp18 under non-diseased conditions. These results identify Usp18 as a critical negative regulator of microglia activation and demonstrate a protective role of Usp18 for microglia function by regulating the Ifnar pathway. The findings establish Usp18 as a new molecule preventing destructive microgliopathy.
Project description:Tightly interlinked feedback regulators control the dynamics of intracellular responses elicited by the activation of signal transduction pathways. Interferon alpha (IFN?) orchestrates antiviral responses in hepatocytes, yet mechanisms that define pathway sensitization in response to prestimulation with different IFN? doses remained unresolved. We establish, based on quantitative measurements obtained for the hepatoma cell line Huh7.5, an ordinary differential equation model for IFN? signal transduction that comprises the feedback regulators STAT1, STAT2, IRF9, USP18, SOCS1, SOCS3, and IRF2. The model-based analysis shows that, mediated by the signaling proteins STAT2 and IRF9, prestimulation with a low IFN? dose hypersensitizes the pathway. In contrast, prestimulation with a high dose of IFN? leads to a dose-dependent desensitization, mediated by the negative regulators USP18 and SOCS1 that act at the receptor. The analysis of basal protein abundance in primary human hepatocytes reveals high heterogeneity in patient-specific amounts of STAT1, STAT2, IRF9, and USP18. The mathematical modeling approach shows that the basal amount of USP18 determines patient-specific pathway desensitization, while the abundance of STAT2 predicts the patient-specific IFN? signal response.
Project description:Regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP) is the primary signaling mechanism for some receptors, such as Notch and the amyloid precursor protein. In addition, some receptor type tyrosine kinases, such as HER4, are able to signal via both kinase activation and regulated receptor proteolysis. Previously, we showed that the IFNaR2 subunit of the type I interferon receptor can be cleaved in a two step process that resembles RIP and that the IFNaR2 intracellular domain (IFNaR2-ICD) can mediate gene transcription in a Stat2 dependent manner. Here, we demonstrate that IFNaR2-ICD, Stat2 and Irf9 form a ternary complex. Furthermore, Stat2 and Irf9 are required for the nuclear transit of a GFP-linked IFNaR2-ICD construct (GFP-ICD). Additional experiments monitoring the nuclear localization of GFP-ICD demonstrate that Stat2 serves an adaptor role, mediating the interaction between the IFNaR2-ICD and Irf9, while the bipartite nuclear localization signal within Irf9 is the primary determinant driving nuclear transit of the ICD containing complex. Overall, the data suggest that liberation of the IFNaR2-ICD by regulated proteolysis could trigger a novel mechanism for moving the transcription factor Stat2 to the nucleus.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs) represent the key cells linking innate and adaptive immune responses. It is critical to understand the molecular factors regulating DC differentiation. Usp18 is an IFN-inducible member of the ubiquitin-specific protease family, which deconjugates ubiquitin-like modifier ISG15 from target proteins and competitively inhibits IFN-?/?-induced JAK/STAT activation. This study demonstrates that the frequency of conventional CD11b(+) DCs in the spleen of Usp18(-/-) mice was significantly reduced, whereas the frequencies of conventional CD8(+) DCs and plasmacytoid DCs remained normal. In addition, Usp18(-/-) bone marrow (BM) cells generate DCs less efficiently in GM-CSF-supplemented culture, demonstrating a fundamental defect throughout the DC differentiation pathway. Usp18(-/-) BM cells were rescued by exogenous expression of either wild-type or deconjugation-inactive Usp18, and superimposition of an IFN-?/? receptor knockout returned in vivo DC populations to normal, clearly showing that the defect seen is due solely to Usp18's effect on IFN signaling. Finally, Usp18(-/-) BM-derived DCs expressed high levels of SOCS1/SOCS3, known inhibitors of GM-CSF signaling, providing a mechanistic explanation for the phenotype. In conclusion, we have identified a novel role of Usp18 in modulating conventional CD11b(+) DC development via its inhibitory effect on type I IFN signaling.
Project description:The interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene product 15 (ISG15) represents an ubiquitin-like protein (Ubl), which in a process termed ISGylation can be covalently linked to target substrates via a cascade of E1, E2, and E3 enzymes. Furthermore, ISG15 exerts functions in its free form both, as an intracellular and as a secreted protein. In agreement with its role as a type I IFN effector, most functions of ISG15 and ISGylation are linked to the anti-pathogenic response. However, also key roles in other cellular processes such as protein translation, cytoskeleton dynamics, exosome secretion, autophagy or genome stability and cancer were described. Ubiquitin-specific protease 18 (USP18) constitutes the major ISG15 specific protease which counteracts ISG15 conjugation. Remarkably, USP18 also functions as a critical negative regulator of the IFN response irrespective of its enzymatic activity. Concordantly, lack of USP18 function causes fatal interferonopathies in humans and mice. The negative regulatory function of USP18 in IFN signaling is regulated by various protein-protein interactions and its stability is controlled via proteasomal degradation. The broad repertoire of physiological functions and regulation of ISG15 and USP18 offers a variety of potential intervention strategies which might be of therapeutic use. Due to the high mutation rates of pathogens which are often species specific and constantly give rise to a variety of immune evasion mechanisms, immune effector systems are under constant evolutionarily pressure. Therefore, it is not surprising that considerable differences in ISG15 with respect to function and sequence exist even among closely related species. Hence, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate the translational potential of results obtained in model organisms especially for therapeutic strategies. This review covers existing and conceptual assay systems to target and identify modulators of ISG15, ISGylation, USP18 function, and protein-protein interactions within this context. Strategies comprise mouse models for translational perspectives, cell-based and biochemical assays as well as chemical probes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains as one of the major public health problems in the world. Type I interferon (IFN) plays an essential role in antiviral defense by induced expression of a few hundred interferon stimulated genes (ISGs), including ubiquitin-specific protease 18 (USP18). The expression level of USP18 was elevated in the pretreatment liver tissues of chronic hepatitis B(CHB) patients who did not respond to IFN treatment. Thus, this study was designed to investigate the effects of USP18 on HBV replication/production. METHODS:The levels of wild type USP18(WT-USP18) and USP18 catalytically inactive form C64S were up-regulated by plasmids transfection in HepAD38 cells, respectively. Real-time PCR and ELISA were used to quantify HBV replication. Type I IFN signaling pathway was monitored at three levels: p-STAT1 (western Blot), interferon stimulated response element (ISRE) activity (dual luciferase assay) and ISGs expression (real time PCR). RESULTS:Our data demonstrated that overexpression of either WT-USP18 or USP18-C64S inactive mutant increased the intracellular viral pgRNA, total DNA, cccDNA, as well as HBV DNA levels in the culture supernatant, while silencing USP18 led to opposite effect on HBV production. In addition, upregulated WT-USP18 or USP18-C64S suppressed ISRE activity and the expression levels of p-STAT1 and ISGs. CONCLUSION:USP18 promoted HBV replication via inhibiting type I IFN signaling pathway, which was independent of its protease activity.
Project description:Protein modification by the ubiquitin-like protein ISG15 is an interferon (IFN) effector system, which plays a major role in antiviral defense. ISG15 modification is counteracted by the isopeptidase USP18, a major negative regulator of IFN signaling, which was also shown to exert its regulatory function in an isopeptidase-independent manner. To dissect enzymatic and nonenzymatic functions of USP18 in vivo, we generated knock-in mice (USP18(C61A/C61A)) expressing enzymatically inactive USP18. USP18(C61A/C61A) mice displayed increased levels of ISG15 conjugates, validating that USP18 is a major ISG15 isopeptidase in vivo. Unlike USP18(-/-) mice, USP18(C61A/C61A) animals did not exhibit morphological abnormalities, fatal IFN hypersensitivity, or increased lethality, clearly showing that major USP18 functions are unrelated to its protease activity. Strikingly, elevated ISGylation in USP18(C61A/C61A) mice was accompanied by increased viral resistance against vaccinia virus and influenza B virus infections. Enhanced resistance upon influenza B infection in USP18(C61A/C61A) mice was completely reversed in USP18(C61A/C61A) mice, which additionally lack ISG15, providing evidence that the observed reduction in viral titers is ISG15 dependent. These results suggest that increasing ISGylation by specific inhibition of USP18 protease activity could constitute a promising antiviral strategy with only a minimal risk of severe adverse effects.
Project description:Type I interferons (IFNs) activate differential cellular responses through a shared cell surface receptor composed of the two subunits, IFNAR1 and IFNAR2. We propose here a mechanistic model for how IFN receptor plasticity is regulated on the level of receptor dimerization. Quantitative single-molecule imaging of receptor assembly in the plasma membrane of living cells clearly identified IFN-induced dimerization of IFNAR1 and IFNAR2. The negative feedback regulator ubiquitin-specific protease 18 (USP18) potently interferes with the recruitment of IFNAR1 into the ternary complex, probably by impeding complex stabilization related to the associated Janus kinases. Thus, the responsiveness to IFN?2 is potently down-regulated after the first wave of gene induction, while IFN?, due to its ?100-fold higher binding affinity, is still able to efficiently recruit IFNAR1. Consistent with functional data, this novel regulatory mechanism at the level of receptor assembly explains how signaling by IFN? is maintained over longer times compared with IFN?2 as a temporally encoded cause of functional receptor plasticity.