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J Virol. 2007 Nov;81(22):12227-37. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Activation of the beta interferon promoter by unnatural Sendai virus infection requires RIG-I and is inhibited by viral C proteins.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, University of Geneva School of Medicine, 11 Ave de Champel, CH1211, Geneva, Switzerland.


As infection with wild-type (wt) Sendai virus (SeV) normally activates beta interferon (IFN-beta) very poorly, two unnatural SeV infections were used to study virus-induced IFN-beta activation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts: (i) SeV-DI-H4, which is composed mostly of small, copyback defective interfering (DI) genomes and whose infection overproduces short 5'-triphosphorylated trailer RNAs (pppRNAs) and underproduces viral V and C proteins, and (ii) SeV-GFP(+/-), a coinfection that produces wt amounts of viral gene products but that also produces both green fluorescent protein (GFP) mRNA and its complement, which can form double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) with capped 5' ends. We found that (i) virus-induced signaling to IFN-beta depended predominantly on RIG-I (as opposed to mda-5) for both SeV infections, i.e., that RIG-I senses both pppRNAs and dsRNA without 5'-triphosphorylated ends, and (ii) it is the viral C protein (as opposed to V) that is primarily responsible for countering RIG-I-dependent signaling to IFN-beta. Nondefective SeV that cannot specifically express C proteins not only cannot prevent the effects of transfected poly(I-C) or (ppp)RNAs on IFN-beta activation but also synergistically enhances these effects. SeV-V(minus) infection, in contrast, behaves mostly like wt SeV and counteracts the effects of transfected poly(I-C) or (ppp)RNAs.

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