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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jul 12;277(28):25601-8. Epub 2002 Apr 29.

2'-5' Oligoadenylate synthetase plays a critical role in interferon-gamma inhibition of respiratory syncytial virus infection of human epithelial cells.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Joy McCann Culverhouse Airway Disease Center, University of South Florida College of Medicine and James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital, Tampa 33612, USA.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), associated with bronchiolitis and asthma, is resistant to the antiviral effects of type-I interferons (IFN), but not IFN-gamma. However, the antiviral mechanism of IFN-gamma action against RSV infection is unknown. The molecular mechanism of IFN-gamma-induced antiviral activity was examined in this study using human epithelial cell lines HEp-2 and A549. Exposure of these cells to 100-1000 units/ml of IFN-gamma, either before or after RSV infection, results in a significant decrease in RSV infection. After 1 h of exposure, IFN-gamma induces protein expression of IFN regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) but not IRF-2, double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase, and inducible nitric-oxide synthase in these cells. The mRNA for IRF-1, p40, and p69 isoforms of 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase (2-5 AS) are detectable, respectively, at 1 and 4 h of IFN-gamma exposure. Studies using cycloheximide and antisense oligonucleotides to IRF-1 indicate a direct role of IRF-1 in activating 2-5 AS. Cells transfected with 2-5 AS antisense oligonucleotides inhibit the antiviral effect of IFN-gamma. A stable cell line of HEp-2 overexpressing RNase L inhibitor, RLI-14, which exhibits an IFN-gamma-induced gene expression pattern similar to that of the parent cell line, shows a significant reduction in RNase L activity and IFN-gamma-mediated antiviral effect, compared with HEp-2 cells. These results provide direct evidence of the involvement of 2-5 AS in IFN-gamma-mediated antiviral activity in these cells.

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