Rhesus Macaque Rhadinovirus Encodes a Viral Interferon Regulatory Factor To Disrupt Promyelocytic Leukemia Nuclear Bodies and Antagonize Type I Interferon Signaling

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Journal of Virology

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Interferon (IFN) production and the subsequent induction of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) are highly effective innate strategies utilized by cells to protect against invading pathogens, including viruses. Critical components involved in this innate process are promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), which are subnuclear structures required for the development of a robust IFN response. As such, PML-NBs serve as an important hurdle for viruses to overcome to successfully establish an infection. Both Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and the closely related rhesus macaque rhadinovirus (RRV) are unique for encoding viral homologs of IFN regulatory factors (termed vIRFs) that can manipulate the host immune response by multiple mechanisms. All four KSHV vIRFs inhibit the induction of IFN, while vIRF1 and vIRF2 can inhibit ISG induction downstream of the IFN receptor. Less is known about the RRV vIRFs. RRV vIRF R6 can inhibit the induction of IFN by IRF3; however, it is not known whether any RRV vIRFs inhibit ISG induction following IFN receptor signaling. In our present study, we demonstrate that the RRV vIRF R12 aids viral replication in the presence of the type I IFN response. This is achieved in part through the disruption of PML-NBs and the inhibition of robust ISG transcription.


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