The Andes Orthohantavirus NSs Protein Antagonizes the Type I Interferon Response by Inhibiting MAVS Signaling
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The small messenger RNA (SmRNA) of the Andes orthohantavirus (ANDV), a rodent-borne member of the Hantaviridae family of viruses of the Bunyavirales order, encodes a multifunctional nucleocapsid (N) protein and for a nonstructural (NSs) protein of unknown function. We have previously shown the expression of the ANDV-NSs, but only in infected cell cultures. In this study, we extend our early findings by confirming the expression of the ANDV-NSs protein in the lungs of experimentally infected golden Syrian hamsters. Next, we show, using a virus-free system, that the ANDV-NSs protein antagonizes the type I interferon (IFN) induction pathway by suppressing signals downstream of the melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA5) and the retinoic acid-inducible gene 1 (RIG-I) and upstream of TBK1. Consistent with this observation, the ANDV-NSs protein antagonized mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS)-induced IFN-β, NF-κB, IFN-regulatory factor 3 (IRF3), and IFN-sensitive response element (ISRE) promoter activity. Results demonstrate that ANDV-NSs binds to MAVS in cells without disrupting the MAVS-TBK-1 interaction. However, in the presence of the ANDV-NSs ubiquitination of MAVS is reduced. In summary, this study provides evidence showing that the ANDV-NSs protein acts as an antagonist of the cellular innate immune system by suppressing MAVS downstream signaling by a yet not fully understand mechanism. Our findings reveal new insights into the molecular regulation of the hosts' innate immune response by the Andes orthohantavirus.IMPORTANCEAndes orthohantavirus (ANDV) is endemic in Argentina and Chile and is the primary etiological agent of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in South America. ANDV is distinguished from other hantaviruses by its unique ability to spread from person to person. In a previous report, we identified a novel ANDV protein, ANDV-NSs. Until now, ANDV-NSs had no known function. In this new study, we established that ANDV-NSs acts as an antagonist of cellular innate immunity, the first line of defense against invading pathogens, hindering the cellular antiviral response during infection. This study provides novel insights into the mechanisms used by ANDV to establish its infection. Copyright © 2020 American Society for Microbiology.
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