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Zika Virus Proteins NS2A and NS4A Are Major Antagonists that Reduce IFN-β Promoter Activity Induced by the MDA5/RIG-I Signaling Pathway

Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 2019년 29권 10호 p.1665 ~ 1674
 ( Ngan Nguyen Thi Thuy ) - Chonbuk National University Department of Bioactive Material Sciences

 ( Kim Seong-Jun ) - Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology Center for Convergent Research of Emerging Virus Infection
 ( Lee Jeong-Yoon ) - Chonbuk National University Department of Bioactive Material Sciences
 ( Myoung Jin-Jong ) - Chonbuk National University Department of Bioactive Material Sciences


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted, emerging Flavivirus that causes Guillain-Barre syndrome and microcephaly in adults and fetuses, respectively. Since ZIKV was first isolated in 1947, severe outbreaks have occurred at various places worldwide, including Yap Island in 2007, French Polynesia in 2013, and Brazil in 2015. Although incidences of ZIKV infection and dissemination have drastically increased, the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of ZIKV have not been sufficiently studied. In addition, despite extensive research, the exact roles of individual ZIKV genes in the viral evasion of the host innate immune responses remain elusive. Besides, it is still possible that more than one ZIKV-encoded protein may negatively affect type I interferon (IFN) induction. Hence, in this study, we aimed to determine the modulations of the IFN promoter activity, induced by the MDA5/RIG-I signaling pathway, by over-expressing individual ZIKV genes. Our results show that two nonstructural proteins, NS2A and NS4A, significantly down-regulated the promoter activity of IFN-β by inhibiting multiple signaling molecules involved in the activation of IFN-β. Interestingly, while NS2A suppressed both full-length and constitutively active RIG-I, NS4A had inhibitory activity only on full-length RIG-I. In addition, while NS2A inhibited all forms of IRF3 (full-length, regulatory domain-deficient, and constitutively active), NS4A could not inhibit constitutively active IRF3-5D. Taken together, our results showed that NS2A and NS4A play major roles as antagonists of MDA5/RIG-I-mediated IFN-β induction and more importantly, these two viral proteins seem to inhibit induction of the type I IFN responses in differential mechanisms. We believe this study expands our understanding regarding the mechanisms via which ZIKV controls the innate immune responses in cells and may pave the way to development of ZIKV-specific therapeutics.


Zika virus; interferon; evasion
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