Interferon Regulatory Factors IRF1 and IRF7 Directly Regulate Gene Expression in Bats in Response to Viral Infection.
ABSTRACT: Bat cells and tissue have elevated basal expression levels of antiviral genes commonly associated with interferon alpha (IFNα) signaling. Here, we show Interferon Regulatory Factor 1 (IRF1), 3, and 7 levels are elevated in most bat tissues and that, basally, IRFs contribute to the expression of type I IFN ligands and high expression of interferon regulated genes (IRGs). CRISPR knockout (KO) of IRF 1/3/7 in cells reveals distinct subsets of genes affected by each IRF in an IFN-ligand signaling-dependent and largely independent manner. As the master regulators of innate immunity, the IRFs control the kinetics and maintenance of the IRG response and play essential roles in response to influenza A virus (IAV), herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), Melaka virus/Pteropine orthoreovirus 3 Melaka (PRV3M), and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. With its differential expression in bats compared to that in humans, this highlights a critical role for basal IRF expression in viral responses and potentially immune cell development in bats with relevance for IRF function in human biology.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In recent years novel human respiratory disease agents have been described for Southeast Asia and Australia. The causative pathogens were classified as pteropine orthoreoviruses with a strong phylogenetic relationship to orthoreoviruses of bat origin. RESULTS: In this report, we isolated a novel Melaka-like reovirus (named "Cangyuan virus") from intestinal content samples of one fruit bat residing in China's Yunnan province. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole Cangyuan virus genome sequences of segments L, M and S demonstrated the genetic diversity of the Cangyuan virus. In contrast to the L and M segments, the phylogenetic trees for the S segments of Cangyuan virus demonstrated a greater degree of heterogeneity. CONCLUSIONS: Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the Cangyuan virus was a novel orthoreovirus and substantially different from currently known members of Pteropine orthoreovirus (PRV) species group.
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 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-?B (NF-?B) 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:Bat cells and tissue have elevated basal expression levels of antiviral genes commonly associated with IFNα signalling. Here we show IRF1,3 and 7 levels are elevated in most bat tissues and that basally, IRFs contribute to the expression of type I IFN ligands and high expression of Interferon Regulated Genes (IRGs). CRISPR KO of IRF 1/3/7 in cells reveal distinct subsets of genes affected by each IRF in an IFN-ligand signalling dependent and largely independent manner. As the master regulators of innate immunity, the IRFs, control the kinetics and maintenance of the IRG response and play essential roles in response to IAV, HSV1, PRV3M and MERS-CoV infection. With its differential expression compared to human, this highlights a critical role for basal IRF expression in viral responses and potentially immune cell development in bats with relevance for IRF function in human biology.
Project description:First discovered in the early 1950s, reoviruses (respiratory enteric orphan viruses) were not associated with any known disease, and hence named orphan viruses. Recently, our group reported the isolation of the Melaka virus from a patient with acute respiratory disease and provided data suggesting that this new orthoreovirus is capable of human-to-human transmission and is probably of bat origin. Here we report yet another Melaka-like reovirus (named Kampar virus) isolated from the throat swab of a 54 year old male patient in Kampar, Perak, Malaysia who was suffering from high fever, acute respiratory disease and vomiting at the time of virus isolation. Serological studies indicated that Kampar virus was transmitted from the index case to at least one other individual and caused respiratory disease in the contact case. Sequence analysis of the four small class genome segments indicated that Kampar and Melaka viruses are closely related. This was confirmed by virus neutralization assay, showing an effective two-way cross neutralization, i.e., the serum against one virus was able to neutralize the other. Although the exact origin of Kampar virus is unknown, epidemiological tracing revealed that the house of the index case is surrounded by fruit trees frequently visited by fruit bats. There is a high probability that Kampar virus originated from bats and was transmitted to humans via bat droppings or contaminated fruits. The discovery of Kampar virus highlights the increasing trend of emergence of bat zoonotic viruses and the need to expand our understanding of bats as a source of many unknown viruses.
Project description:Bats are important reservoirs of many viruses, which are capable of infecting the host without inducing obvious clinical diseases. Interferon and the downstream interferon regulated genes (IRGs) are known to act as the first line of defense against viral infections. Little is known about the transcriptional profile of genes being induced by interferon in bats and their role in controlling virus infection. In this study, we constructed IFNAR2 knockout bat cell lines using CRISPR technology and further characterized gene expression profiles induced by the most abundant IFN-? (IFN-?3). Firstly, we demonstrated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system is applicable for bat cells as this represents the first CRIPSR knockout cell line for bats. Our results showed the pleiotropic effect of IFN-?3 on the bat kidney cell line, PaKiT03. As expected, we confirmed that IFNAR2 is indispensable for IFN-a signaling pathway and plays an important role in antiviral immunity. Unexpectedly, we also identified novel IFNAR2-dependent IRGs which are enriched in pathways related to cancer. To our knowledge, this seems to be bat-specific as no such observation has been reported for other mammalian species. This study expands our knowledge about bat immunology and the cell line established can provide a powerful tool for future study into virus-bat interaction and cancer biology.
Project description:There is a debate on whether invertebrates possess an antiviral immunity similar to the interferon (IFN) system of vertebrates. The Vago gene from arthropods encodes a viral-activated secreted peptide that restricts virus infection through activating the JAK-STAT pathway and is considered to be a cytokine functionally similar to IFN. In this study, the first crustacean IFN regulatory factor (IRF)-like gene was identified in Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. The L. vannamei IRF showed similar protein nature to mammalian IRFs and could be activated during virus infection. As a transcriptional regulatory factor, L. vannamei IRF could activate the IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE)-containing promoter to regulate the expression of mammalian type I IFNs and initiate an antiviral state in mammalian cells. More importantly, IRF could bind the 5'-untranslated region of L. vannamei Vago4 gene and activate its transcription, suggesting that shrimp Vago may be induced in a similar manner to that of IFNs and supporting the opinion that Vago might function as an IFN-like molecule in invertebrates. These suggested that shrimp might possess an IRF-Vago-JAK/STAT regulatory axis, which is similar to the IRF-IFN-JAK/STAT axis of vertebrates, indicating that invertebrates might possess an IFN system-like antiviral mechanism.
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:A family of interferon (IFN) regulatory factors (IRFs) have been shown to play a role in transcription of IFN genes as well as IFN-stimulated genes. We report the identification of a member of the IRF family which we have named IRF-3. The IRF-3 gene is present in a single copy in human genomic DNA. It is expressed constitutively in a variety of tissues and no increase in the relative steady-state levels of IRF-3 mRNA was observed in virus-infected or IFN-treated cells. The IRF-3 gene encodes a 50-kDa protein that binds specifically to the IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) but not to the IRF-1 binding site PRD-I. Overexpression of IRF-3 stimulates expression of the IFN-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) promoter, an ISRE-containing promoter. The murine IFNA4 promoter, which can be induced by IRF-1 or viral infection, is not induced by IRF-3. Expression of IRF-3 as a Gal4 fusion protein does not activate expression of a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene containing repeats of the Gal4 binding sites, indicating that this protein does not contain the transcription transactivation domain. The high amino acid homology between IRF-3 and ISG factor 3 gamma polypeptide (ISGF3 gamma) and their similar binding properties indicate that, like ISGF3 gamma, IRF-3 may activate transcription by complex formation with other transcriptional factors, possibly members of the Stat family. Identification of this ISRE-binding protein may help us to understand the specificity in the various Stat pathways.
Project description:Ebola virus (EBOV) and Nipah virus (NiV) infection of humans can cause fatal disease and constitutes a public health threat. In contrast, EBOV and NiV infection of fruit bats, the putative (EBOV) or proven (NiV) natural reservoir, is not associated with disease, and it is currently unknown how these animals control the virus. The human interferon (IFN)-stimulated antiviral effector protein tetherin (CD317, BST-2) blocks release of EBOV- and NiV-like particles from cells and is counteracted by the EBOV glycoprotein (GP). In contrast, it is unknown whether fruit bat tetherin restricts virus infection and is susceptible to GP-driven antagonism. Here, we report the sequence of fruit bat tetherin and show that its expression is IFN stimulated and associated with strong antiviral activity. Moreover, we demonstrate that EBOV-GP antagonizes tetherin orthologues of diverse species but fails to efficiently counteract fruit bat tetherin in virus-like particle (VLP) release assays. However, unexpectedly, tetherin was dispensable for robust IFN-mediated inhibition of EBOV spread in fruit bat cells. Thus, the VLP-based model systems mimicking tetherin-mediated inhibition of EBOV release and its counteraction by GP seem not to adequately reflect all aspects of EBOV release from IFN-stimulated fruit bat cells, potentially due to differences in tetherin expression levels that could not be resolved by the present study. In contrast, tetherin expression was essential for IFN-dependent inhibition of NiV infection, demonstrating that IFN-induced fruit bat tetherin exerts antiviral activity and may critically contribute to control of NiV and potentially other highly virulent viruses in infected animals.IMPORTANCE Ebola virus and Nipah virus (EBOV and NiV) can cause fatal disease in humans. In contrast, infected fruit bats do not develop symptoms but can transmit the virus to humans. Why fruit bats but not humans control infection is largely unknown. Tetherin is an antiviral host cell protein and is counteracted by the EBOV glycoprotein in human cells. Here, employing model systems, we show that tetherin of fruit bats displays higher antiviral activity than human tetherin and is largely resistant against counteraction by the Ebola virus glycoprotein. Moreover, we demonstrate that induction of tetherin expression is critical for interferon-mediated inhibition of NiV but, for at present unknown reasons, not EBOV spread in fruit bat cells. Collectively, our findings identify tetherin as an antiviral effector of innate immune responses in fruit bats, which might allow these animals to control infection with NiV and potentially other viruses that cause severe disease in humans.