Human Cytomegalovirus UL23 Attenuates Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 1 Phosphorylation and Type I Interferon Response

Linyuan Feng, Wanwei Li, Xingyuan Wu, Xiaotian Li, Xiaoping Yang, Yanhong Ran, Jianguo Wu, Hongjian Li
2021 Frontiers in Microbiology  
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), the human beta-herpesvirus, can cause severe syndromes among both immunocompromised adult patients and newborns. Type I interferon (IFN-I) exerts an important effect to resist infections caused by viruses such as HCMV, while IFN evasion may serve as a key determining factor for viral dissemination and disease occurrence within hosts. In this study, UL23, a tegument protein of HCMV, was confirmed to be a key factor for negatively regulating the type I IFN immune
more » ... onse. A detailed analysis indicated that the viral UL23 protein increases the IFN-I antiviral resistance during HCMV infections. Furthermore, UL23 was shown to significantly reduce the levels of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and promoter activity of IFN-I-stimulated response element. Mechanically, UL23 was discovered to impair the signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) phosphorylation, although it was not found to affect phosphorylation and expression of STAT2, Janus activated kinase 1, or tyrosine kinase 2, which are associated with IFN-I signal transduction pathway. Additionally, a significantly reduced nuclear expression of STAT1 but not of IFN regulatory factor 9 or STAT2 was observed. Findings of this study indicate that HCMV UL23 is a viral antagonist that acts against the cellular innate immunity and reveal a possible novel effect of UL23 on IFN-I signaling.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.692515 fatcat:jsixopni3ffktfcybcww3khkyy