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Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Viral Interferon Regulatory Factor 1 Interacts with a Member of the Interferon-Stimulated Gene 15 Pathway

Jacobs, S.R.; Stopford, C.M.; West, J.A.; Bennett, C.L.; Giffin, L.; Damania, B.

Journal of Virology 89(22): 11572-11583

2015


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-538X
PMID: 26355087
DOI: 10.1128/jvi.01482-15
Accession: 058183532

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a gammaherpesvirus known to establish lifelong latency in the human host. We and others have previously shown that three KSHV homologs of cellular interferon regulatory factors (IRFs), known as viral IRFs (vIRFs), participate in evasion of the host interferon (IFN) response. We report that vIRF1 interacts with the cellular interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) E3 ligase, HERC5, in the context of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) activation and IFN induction. The ISG15 protein is covalently conjugated to target proteins upon activation of the interferon response. Interaction between vIRF1 and HERC5 was confirmed by immunoprecipitation, and the region between amino acids 224 and 349 of vIRF1 was required for interaction with HERC5. We further report that expression of vIRF1 in the context of TLR3 activation results in decreased ISG15 conjugation of proteins. Specifically, TLR3-induced ISG15 conjugation and protein levels of cellular IRF3, a known ISG15 target, were decreased in the presence of vIRF1 compared to the control. vIRF1 itself was also identified as a target of ISG15 conjugation. KSHV-infected cells exhibited increased ISG15 conjugation upon reactivation from latency in coordination with increased IFN. Furthermore, knockdown of ISG15 in latently infected cells resulted in a higher level of KSHV reactivation and an increase in infectious virus. These data suggest that the KSHV vIRF1 protein affects ISG15 conjugation and interferon responses and may contribute to effective KSHV replication. The KSHV vIRF1 protein can inhibit interferon activation in response to viral infection. We identified a cellular protein named HERC5, which is the major ligase for ISG15, as a vIRF1 binding partner. vIRF1 association with HERC5 altered ISG15 modification of cellular proteins, and knockdown of ISG15 augmented reactivation of KSHV from latency.

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