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Publication Detail
Virulent poxviruses inhibit DNA sensing by preventing STING activation
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Georgana I, Sumner RP, Towers GJ, de Motes CM
  • Publication date:
    01/05/2018
  • Journal:
    Journal of Virology
  • Volume:
    92
  • Issue:
    10
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    0022-538X
Abstract
© 2018 American Society for Microbiology. Cytosolic recognition of DNA has emerged as a critical cellular mechanism of host immune activation upon pathogen invasion. The central cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS activates STING, which is phosphorylated, dimerizes and translocates from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to a perinuclear region to mediate IRF-3 activation. Poxviruses are double-stranded DNA viruses replicating in the cytosol and hence likely to trigger cytosolic DNA sensing. Here, we investigated the activation of innate immune signaling by 4 different strains of the prototypic poxvirus vaccinia virus (VACV) in a cell line proficient in DNA sensing. Infection with the attenuated VACV strain MVA activated IRF-3 via cGAS and STING, and accordingly STING dimerized and was phosphorylated during MVA infection. Conversely, VACV strains Copenhagen and Western Reserve inhibited STING dimerization and phosphorylation during infection and in response to transfected DNA and cyclic GMP-AMP, thus efficiently suppressing DNA sensing and IRF-3 activation. A VACV deletion mutant lacking protein C16, thought to be the only viral DNA sensing inhibitor acting upstream of STING, retained the ability to block STING activation. Similar inhibition of DNAinduced STING activation was also observed for cowpox and ectromelia viruses. Our data demonstrate that virulent poxviruses possess mechanisms for targeting DNA sensing at the level of the cGAS-STING axis and that these mechanisms do not operate in replication-defective strains such as MVA. These findings shed light on the role of cellular DNA sensing in poxvirus-host interactions and will open new avenues to determine its impact on VACV immunogenicity and virulence.
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