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J Virol. 2012 Apr;86(7):3513-27. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06971-11. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Virus-activated interferon regulatory factor 7 upregulates expression of the interferon-regulated BST2 gene independently of interferon signaling.

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  • 1Laboratory of Human Retrovirology, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


BST-2/tetherin is an interferon (IFN)-inducible host restriction factor that inhibits the release of many enveloped viruses and functions as a negative-feedback regulator of IFN production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Currently, mechanisms underlying BST2 transcriptional regulation by type I IFN remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the BST2 promoter is a secondary target of the IFN cascade and show that a single IRF binding site is sufficient to render this promoter responsive to IFN-α. Interestingly, expression of IRF-1 or virus-activated forms of IRF-3 and IRF-7 stimulated the BST2 promoter even under conditions where type I IFN signaling was inhibited. Indeed, vesicular stomatitis virus could directly upregulate BST-2 during infection of mouse embryonic fibroblasts through a process that required IRF-7 but was independent from the type I IFN cascade; however, in order to achieve optimal BST-2 induction, the type I IFN cascade needed to be engaged through activation of IRF-3. Furthermore, using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, we show that BST-2 upregulation is part of an early intrinsic immune response since TLR8 and TLR3 agonists, known to trigger pathways that mediate activation of IRF proteins, could upregulate BST-2 prior to engagement of the type I IFN pathway. Collectively, our findings reveal that BST2 is activated by the same signals that trigger type I IFN production, outlining a regulatory mechanism ensuring that production of type I IFN and expression of a host restriction factor involved in the IFN negative-feedback loop are closely coordinated.

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