IRE1{alpha} promotes viral infection by conferring resistance to apoptosis

The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an ancient cellular pathway that detects and alleviates protein-folding stresses. The UPR components X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) and inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α) promote type I interferon (IFN) responses. We found that Xbp1-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts and macrophages had impaired antiviral resistance. However, this was not because of a defect in type I IFN responses but rather an inability of Xbp1-deficient cells to undergo viral-induced apoptosis. The ability to undergo apoptosis limited infection in wild-type cells. Xbp1-deficient cells were generally resistant to the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis through an indirect mechanism involving activation of the nuclease IRE1α. We observed an IRE1α-dependent reduction in the abundance of the proapoptotic microRNA miR-125a and a corresponding increase in the amounts of the members of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family. The activation of IRE1α by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein NS4B in XBP1-proficient cells also conferred apoptosis resistance and promoted viral replication. Furthermore, we found evidence of IRE1α activation and decreased miR-125a abundance in liver biopsies from patients infected with HCV compared to those in the livers of healthy controls. Our results reveal a prosurvival role for IRE1α in virally infected cells and suggest a possible target for IFN-independent antiviral therapy.
Source: Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment - Category: Science Authors: Tags: STKE Research Articles Source Type: news