Antiviral activity of the interferon-induced cellular protein BST-2/tetherin.

Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, California 92093-0679, USA.
AIDS research and human retroviruses (Impact Factor: 2.18). 11/2009; 25(12):1197-210. DOI: 10.1089/aid.2009.0253
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pathogenic microorganisms encode proteins that antagonize specific aspects of innate or adaptive immunity. Just as the study of the HIV-1 accessory protein Vif led to the identification of cellular cytidine deaminases as host defense proteins, the study of HIV-1 Vpu recently led to the discovery of the interferon-induced transmembrane protein BST-2 (CD317; tetherin) as a novel component of the innate defense against enveloped viruses. BST-2 is an unusually structured protein that restricts the release of fully formed progeny virions from infected cells, presumably by a direct retention mechanism that is independent of any viral protein target. Its spectrum of activity includes at least four virus families: retroviruses, filoviruses, arenaviruses, and herpesviruses. Viral antagonists of BST-2 include HIV-1 Vpu, HIV-2 and SIV Env, SIV Nef, the Ebola envelope glycoprotein, and the K5 protein of KSHV. The mechanisms of antagonism are diverse and currently include viral cooption of cellular endosomal trafficking and protein degradation pathways, including those mediated by ubiquitination. Orthologs of human BST-2 are present in mammals. Primate BST-2 proteins are differentially sensitive to antagonism by lentiviral Vpu and Nef proteins, suggesting that BST-2 has subjected lentiviruses to evolutionary pressure and presents barriers to cross-species transmission. BST-2 functions not only as an effector of the interferon-induced antiviral response but also as a negative feedback regulator of interferon production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Future work will focus on the role and regulation of BST-2 during the innate response to viral infection, on the mechanisms of restriction and of antagonism by viral gene products, and on the role of BST-2 in primate lentiviral evolution. The augmentation of BST-2 activity and the inhibition of virally encoded antagonists, in particular Vpu, represent new approaches to the prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infection.

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    ABSTRACT: Tetherin/BST-2 is a host restriction factor that could directly inhibit retroviral particle release by tethering nascent virions to the plasma membrane. However, the immunological impact of Tetherin during retrovirus infection remains unknown. We now show that Tetherin influences antiretroviral cell-mediated immune responses. In contrast to the direct antiviral effects of Tetherin, which are dependent on cell surface expression, the immunomodulatory effects are linked to the endocytosis of the molecule. Mice encoding endocytosis-competent C57BL/6 Tetherin exhibited lower viremia and pathology at 7 d postinfection with Friend retrovirus (FV) compared with mice encoding endocytosis-defective NZW/LacJ Tetherin. Notably, antiretroviral protection correlated with stronger NK cell responses. In addition, Friend retrovirus infection levels were significantly lower in wild-type C57BL/6 mice than in Tetherin knockout mice at 2 wk postinfection, and antiretroviral protection correlated with stronger NK cell and virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses. The results demonstrate that Tetherin acts as a modulator of the cell-mediated immune response against retrovirus infection in vivo.
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