The Journal of biological chemistry

A novel family of viral death effector domain-containing molecules that inhibit both CD-95- and tumor necrosis factor receptor-1-induced apoptosis.

PMID 9092488


Molluscum contagiosum virus proteins MC159 and MC160 and the equine herpesvirus 2 protein E8 share substantial homology to the death effector domain present in the adaptor molecule Fas-associated death domain protein (FADD) and the initiating death protease FADD-like interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme (FLICE) (caspase-8). FADD and FLICE participate in generating the death signal from both tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 (TNFR-1) and the CD-95 receptor. The flow of death signals from TNFR-1 occurs through the adaptor molecule tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated death domain protein (TRADD) to FADD to FLICE, whereas for CD-95 the receptor directly communicates with FADD and then FLICE. MC159 and E8 inhibited both TNFR-1- and CD-95-induced apoptosis as well as killing mediated by overexpression of the downstream adaptors TRADD and FADD. Neither viral molecule, however, inhibited FLICE-induced killing, consistent with an inhibitory action upstream of the active death protease. These data suggest the existence of a novel strategy employed by viruses to attenuate host immune killing mechanisms. Given that bovine herpesvirus 4 protein E1.1 and Kaposi's sarcoma associated-herpesvirus protein K13 also possess significant homology to the viral inhibitory molecules MC159, MC160, and E8, it may be that this class of proteins is used ubiquitously by viruses to evade host defense.