PloS one

The antiviral restriction factors IFITM1, 2 and 3 do not inhibit infection of human papillomavirus, cytomegalovirus and adenovirus.

PMID 24827144


Type I interferons (IFN-α and β) induce dynamic host defense mechanisms to inhibit viral infections. It has been recently recognized that the interferon-inducible transmembrane proteins (IFITM) 1, 2 and 3 can block entry of a broad spectrum of RNA viruses. However, no study to date has focused on the role of IFITM proteins in DNA virus restriction. Here, we demonstrate that IFN-α or -β treatment of keratinocytes substantially decreases human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) infection while robustly inducing IFITM1, 2 and 3 expression. However, IFITM1, 2 and 3 overexpression did not inhibit HPV16 infection; rather, IFITM1 and IFITM3 modestly enhanced HPV16 infection in various cell types including primary keratinocytes. Moreover, IFITM1, 2 and 3 did not inhibit infection by two other DNA viruses, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and adenovirus type 5 (Ad5). Taken together, we reveal that the entry of several DNA viruses, including HPV, HCMV, and Ad5 is not affected by IFITM1, 2 and 3 expression. These results imply that HPV, and other DNA viruses, may bypass IFITM restriction during intracellular trafficking.