Suppression of interferon-α signaling by hepatitis E virus

Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Hepatology (Impact Factor: 11.06). 05/2012; 55(5):1324-32. DOI: 10.1002/hep.25530
Source: PubMed


The interferon (IFN) system is integral to the host response against viruses, and many viruses have developed strategies to overcome its antiviral effects. The effects of hepatitis E virus (HEV), the causative agent of hepatitis E, on IFN signaling have not been investigated primarily because of the nonavailability of an efficient in vitro culture system or small animal models of infection. We report here the generation of A549 cell lines persistently infected with genotype 3 HEV, designated as HEV-A549 cells and the effects HEV has on IFN-α-mediated Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling. Treatment of HEV-A549 cells with 250, 500, and 1000 U/mL of IFN-α for 72 hours showed a dose-dependent reduction in HEV RNA levels by 10%, 20%, and 50%, respectively. IFN-α-stimulated genes coding for the antiviral proteins dsRNA-activated protein kinase (PKR) and 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetase (2',5'-OAS) were down-regulated in IFN-α-treated HEV-A549 cells. HEV infection also prevented IFN-α-induced phosphorylation of STAT1. Regulation of STAT1 by HEV was specific, as phosphorylation of STAT2, tyrosine kinase (Tyk) 2, and Jak1 by IFN-α was unaltered. Additionally, STAT1 levels were markedly increased in HEV-A549 cells compared with naive A549 cells. Furthermore, binding of HEV open reading frame (ORF)3 protein to STAT1 in HEV-A549 cells was observed. HEV ORF3 protein alone inhibited IFN-α-induced phosphorylation of STAT1 and down-regulated the IFN-α-stimulated genes encoding PKR, 2',5'-OAS, and myxovirus resistance A. CONCLUSION: HEV inhibits IFN-α signaling through the regulation of STAT1 phosphorylation in A549 cells. These findings have implications for the development of new strategies against hepatitis E.

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    • "Many viruses, such as poxviruses [33], Hepatitis C virus [34], and human immunodeficiency virus [35], are thought to regulate the activation of NF-κB during infection to balance the replication environment and virus survival. Previous reports have shown that HEV ORF3 is involved in the regulation of multiple signaling pathways [36], such as those involving the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) [37], extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) [38] and interferon [23]. However, no conclusive evidence supporting the role of HEV ORF3 in NF-κB signaling was previously available due to the absence of an efficient HEV cell model in vitro. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is one of the primary causative agents of acute hepatitis, and represents a major cause of severe public health problems in developing countries. The pathogenesis of HEV is not well characterized, however, primarily due to the lack of well-defined cell and animal models. Here, we investigated the effects of genotype 1 HEV open reading frame 3 (ORF3) on TNF-α-induced nucleus factor-κappa B (NF-κB) signaling. Human lung epithelial cells (A549) were transiently transfected with ORF3 containing plasmids. These cells were then stimulated with TNF-α and the nucleus translocation of the p65 NF-κB subunit was assessed using western blot and laser confocal microscopy. DNA-binding activity of p65 was also examined using electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), and the suppression of NF-κB target genes were detected using real-time RT-PCR and ELISA. These results enabled us to identify the decreased phosphorylation levels of IKBα. We focused on the gene of negative regulation of NF-κB, represented by TNF-α-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3, also known as A20). Reducing the levels of A20 with siRNAs significantly enhances luciferase activation of NF-κB. Furthermore, HEV ORF3 regulated A20 primarily via activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), involved in unfolded protein response (UPR), resulting in the degradation or inactivation of the receptor interacting protein 1 (RIP1), a major upstream activator of IKB kinase compounds (IKKs). Consequently, the phosphorylation of IKBα and the nucleus translocation of p65 are blocked, which contributes to diminished NF-κB DNA-binding activation and NF-κB-dependent gene expression. The findings suggest that genotype 1 HEV, through ORF3, may transiently activate NF-κB through UPR in early stage, and subsequently inhibit TNF-α-induced NF-κB signaling in late phase so as to create a favorable virus replication environment.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "There was no induction of IFNs in HEV-UV infected cells. There is recent report documenting ability of HEV in downregulating IFN-α signaling in A549 cells via ORF3 mediated inhibition of STAT1 phosphorylation [18]. Due to absence of secreted IFNs in our experiments, it is difficult to comment upon the role of ORF3 in keeping lower levels of ISGs in HEV infected cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a major cause of enterically transmitted acute hepatitis in developing nations and occurs in sporadic and epidemic forms. The disease may become severe with high mortality (20%) among pregnant women. Due to lack of efficient cell culture system and small animal model, early molecular events of HEV infection are not yet known. In the present study, human lung epithelial cells, A549, were infected with HEV to monitor expression levels of genes/proteins in antiviral pathways. Both live and UV inactivated virus elicited robust induction of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines such as IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, and RANTES within 12 h of infection. Cells exposed to soluble capsid protein showed no induction suggesting the capsid structure and not the protein being detected as the pathogen pattern by cells. A delayed up-regulation of type I interferon genes only by the live virus at 48 h post HEV infection indicated the need of virus replication. However, absence of secreted interferons till 96 h suggested possible involvement of post-transcriptional regulation of type I IFN expression. HEV infected cells showed activation of both NF-κB and IRF3 transcription factors when seen at protein levels; however, reporter gene assays showed predominant expression via NF-κB promoter as compared to IRF3 promoter. Knockdown experiments done using siRNAs showed involvement of MyD88 and TRIF adaptors in generating antiviral response thus indicating role of TLR2, TLR4 and TLR3 in sensing viral molecules. MAVS knockdown surprisingly enhanced only proinflammatory cytokines and not type I IFNs. This suggested that HEV not only down-regulates RIG-I helicase like receptor mediated IFN induction but also employs MAVS in curtailing host inflammatory response. Our findings uncover an early cellular response in HEV infection and associated molecular mechanisms suggesting the potential role of inflammatory response triggered by HEV infection in host immune response and pathogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Liver tissue sections, 7 µm in thickness, were derived from HEV infected rabbits and normal rabbits and then placed on slides and examined for HEV antigens using indirect immunofluorescence staining as reported previously [22]. Briefly, the monoclonal anti-HEV antibody 5G5, prepared in our laboratory, was added to sections and incubated at 37°C for 2 hours [23]. After washing with PBS, 1∶500 dilution of FITC-labeled goat anti-mouse secondary antibody (Santa Cruz, CA, USA) was added and incubated at 37°C for 30 min. "
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of hepatitis E virus (HEV) from rabbits motivated us to assess the possibility of using rabbits as a non-human primate animal model for HEV infection and vaccine evaluation. First, 75 rabbits were inoculated with seven strains of genotypes 1, 3, 4, and rabbit HEV, to determine the appropriate strain, administrative route and viral dosage. Second, 15 rabbits were randomly divided into three groups and vaccinated with 0 µg (placebo), 10 µg and 20 µg of HEV candidate vaccine, HEV p179, respectively. After three doses of the vaccination, the rabbits were challenged with 3.3×10(5) genome equivalents of genotype 4 HEV strain H4-NJ703. The strain of genotype 1 HEV was not found to be infectious for rabbits. However, approximately 80% of the animals were infected by two rabbit HEV strains. All rabbits inoculated with a genotype 3 strain were seroconverted but did not show viremia or fecal viral shedding. Although two genotype 4 strains, H4-NJ153 and H4-NJ112, only resulted in part of rabbits infected, another strain of genotype 4, H4-NJ703, had an infection rate of 100% (five out of five) when administrated intravenously. However, only two out of fifteen rabbits showed virus excretion and seroconversion when inoculated orally with H4-NJ703 of three different dosages. In the vaccine evaluation study, rabbits vaccinated with 20 µg of the HEV p179 produced anti-HEV with titers of 1∶10(4)-1∶10(5) and were completely protected from infection. Rabbits vaccinated with 10 µg produced anti-HEV with titers of 1∶10(3)-1∶10(4) and were protected from hepatitis, but two out of the five rabbits showed virus shedding. Rabbits may be served as an alternative to the non-human primate models for HEV infection and vaccine evaluation when certain virus strains, appropriate viral dosages, and the intravenous route of inoculation are selected.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2012 · PLoS ONE
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