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A host susceptibility gene, DR1, facilitates influenza A virus replication by suppressing host innate immunity and enhancing viral RNA replication.

Journal of virology (2015-01-16)
Shih-Feng Hsu, Wen-Chi Su, King-Song Jeng, Michael M C Lai
ABSTRACT

Influenza A virus (IAV) depends on cellular factors to complete its replication cycle; thus, investigation of the factors utilized by IAV may facilitate antiviral drug development. To this end, a cellular transcriptional repressor, DR1, was identified from a genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) screen. Knockdown (KD) of DR1 resulted in reductions of viral RNA and protein production, demonstrating that DR1 acts as a positive host factor in IAV replication. Genome-wide transcriptomic analysis showed that there was a strong induction of interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression after prolonged DR1 KD. We found that beta interferon (IFN-β) was induced by DR1 KD, thereby activating the JAK-STAT pathway to turn on ISG expression, which led to a strong inhibition of IAV replication. This result suggests that DR1 in normal cells suppresses IFN induction, probably to prevent undesired cytokine production, but that this suppression may create a milieu that favors IAV replication once cells are infected. Furthermore, biochemical assays of viral RNA replication showed that DR1 KD suppressed viral RNA replication. We also showed that DR1 associated with all three subunits of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) complex, indicating that DR1 may interact with individual components of the viral RdRp complex to enhance viral RNA replication. Thus, DR1 may be considered a novel host susceptibility gene for IAV replication via a dual mechanism, not only suppressing the host defense to indirectly favor IAV replication but also directly facilitating viral RNA replication. Investigations of virus-host interactions involved in influenza A virus (IAV) replication are important for understanding viral pathogenesis and host defenses, which may manipulate influenza virus infection or prevent the emergence of drug resistance caused by a high error rate during viral RNA replication. For this purpose, a cellular transcriptional repressor, DR1, was identified from a genome-wide RNAi screen as a positive regulator in IAV replication. In the current studies, we showed that DR1 suppressed the gene expression of a large set of host innate immunity genes, which indirectly facilitated IAV replication in the event of IAV infection. Besides this scenario, DR1 also directly enhanced the viral RdRp activity, likely through associating with individual components of the viral RdRp complex. Thus, DR1 represents a novel host susceptibility gene for IAV replication via multiple functions, not only suppressing the host defense but also enhancing viral RNA replication. DR1 may be a potential target for drug development against influenza virus infection.

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