The interferon stimulated gene 15 functions as a proviral factor for the hepatitis C virus and as a regulator of the IFN response
ABSTRACT Non-response to combination therapy by patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) has previously been associated with a strong hepatic upregulation of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) including ISG15. Therefore, the aim of this study was to further elucidate the functional role of this molecule.
ISG15 expression was suppressed by siRNAs or enhanced by over-expression in genomic and subgenomic human or murine HCV replicon systems. In addition, ISG15 expression was analysed in liver samples of patients with HCV prior to antiviral therapy and correlated with clinical and virological parameters.
Short- or long-term knockdown of ISG15 expression suppressed HCV replication comparable to IFNs without evidence for the induction of resistant mutations. Triple therapy consisting of ISG15 knockdown, interferon alpha (IFNalpha) and ribavirin led to complete suppression of the HCV NS5A protein, corresponding to 99% suppression of HCV-RNA compared to 75% suppression by IFNalpha and ribavirin only. Combination treatment of ISG15 knockdown and IFN was associated with enhanced and prolonged expression of selected ISGs. Consistent with these in vitro data, high hepatic ISG15 levels correlated with the unfavourable HCV genotype 1, a high hepatic HCV load and a low antiviral response to IFN during the initial phase of treatment.
ISG15 plays an important role in the HCV replication cycle. Therefore, therapies based on the suppression of ISG15 may provide a promising strategy to overcome non-response to standard combination treatment in the future. Furthermore, analysis of ISG15 prior to therapy may be useful to predict short-term and long-term outcome and thus tailor antiviral therapy with pegIFN and ribavirin.
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ABSTRACT: Many long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are expressed in cells but only a few have been well characterized. In these cases, lncRNAs have been shown to be key regulators of several cellular processes. Therefore, there is a great need to understand the function of more lncRNAs and their regulation in response to stimuli. Interferon (IFN) is a key molecule in the cellular antiviral response. IFN binding to its receptor activates transcription of several IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) that function as potent antivirals. In addition, several ISGs are positive or negative regulators of the IFN pathway. This is essential to ensure a strong antiviral response and a later return of the cell to homeostasis. As the ISGs described to date are coding genes, we sought to determine whether IFN also regulates the expression of long non-coding ISGs. To this aim, we used RNA sequencing to analyze the transcriptome of control and HuH7 cells treated with IFNα2. The results show that IFN-treatment regulates the expression of several unknown non-coding transcripts. We have validated two lncRNAs upregulated after treatment with different doses of type I IFNα2 in different cells or with type III IFNλ. These lncRNAs were also induced by influenza and vesicular stomatitis virus mutants unable to block the IFN response, but not by several wild-type lytic viruses tested. These lncRNA genes were named lncISG15 and lncBST2 as they are located close to ISGs ISG15 and BST2, respectively. Interestingly, inhibition experiments showed that lncBST2 is a positive regulator of BST2. Therefore lncBST2 has been renamed BISPR, from BST2 IFN-stimulated positive regulator. Our results may have therapeutic implications as lncBST2/BISPR, but also lncISG15 and their coding neighbors, are increased in cells infected with hepatitis C virus and in the liver of infected patients. These results allow us to hypothesize that several lncRNAs could be activated by IFN to control the potency of the antiviral IFN response.Frontiers in Immunology 01/2014; 5:655. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00655
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ABSTRACT: Intracellular ISG15 is an interferon (IFN)-α/β-inducible ubiquitin-like modifier which can covalently bind other proteins in a process called ISGylation; it is an effector of IFN-α/β-dependent antiviral immunity in mice. We previously published a study describing humans with inherited ISG15 deficiency but without unusually severe viral diseases. We showed that these patients were prone to mycobacterial disease and that human ISG15 was non-redundant as an extracellular IFN-γ-inducing molecule. We show here that ISG15-deficient patients also display unanticipated cellular, immunological and clinical signs of enhanced IFN-α/β immunity, reminiscent of the Mendelian autoinflammatory interferonopathies Aicardi-Goutières syndrome and spondyloenchondrodysplasia. We further show that an absence of intracellular ISG15 in the patients' cells prevents the accumulation of USP18, a potent negative regulator of IFN-α/β signalling, resulting in the enhancement and amplification of IFN-α/β responses. Human ISG15, therefore, is not only redundant for antiviral immunity, but is a key negative regulator of IFN-α/β immunity. In humans, intracellular ISG15 is IFN-α/β-inducible not to serve as a substrate for ISGylation-dependent antiviral immunity, but to ensure USP18-dependent regulation of IFN-α/β and prevention of IFN-α/β-dependent autoinflammation.Nature 10/2014; DOI:10.1038/nature13801 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Type I interferon (IFN) comprises a class of cytokines first discovered more than 50 years ago and initially characterized for their ability to interfere with viral replication and restrict locally viral propagation. As such, their induction downstream of germ-line encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) upon recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) is a hallmark of the host antiviral response. The acknowledgment that several PAMPs, not just of viral origin, may induce IFN, pinpoints at these molecules as a first line of host defense against a number of invading pathogens. Acting in both autocrine and paracrine manner, IFN interferes with viral replication by inducing hundreds of different IFN-stimulated genes with both direct anti-pathogenic as well as immunomodulatory activities, therefore functioning as a bridge between innate and adaptive immunity. On the other hand an inverse interference to escape the IFN system is largely exploited by pathogens through a number of tactics and tricks aimed at evading, inhibiting or manipulating the IFN pathway, that result in progression of infection or establishment of chronic disease. In this review we discuss the interplay between the IFN system and some selected clinically important and challenging viruses and bacteria, highlighting the wide array of pathogen-triggered molecular mechanisms involved in evasion strategies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Seminars in Immunology 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.smim.2015.03.005 · 6.12 Impact Factor