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J Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Oct;3(5):283-92. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjr020.

SENP2 negatively regulates cellular antiviral response by deSUMOylating IRF3 and conditioning it for ubiquitination and degradation.

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College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, China.


Transcription factor IRF3-mediated type I interferon induction is essential for antiviral innate immunity. We identified the deSUMOylating enzyme Sentrin/SUMO-specific protease  (SENP) 2 as a negative regulator of virus-triggered IFN-β induction. Overexpression of SENP2 caused IRF3 deSUMOylation, K48-linked ubiquitination, and degradation, whereas depletion of SENP2 had opposite effects. Both the SUMOylation and K48-linked ubiquitination of IRF3 occurred at lysines 70 and 87, and these processes are competitive. The level of virus-triggered IFN-β was markedly up-regulated and viral replication was reduced in SENP2-deficient cells comparing with wild-type controls. Our findings suggest that SENP2 regulates antiviral innate immunity by deSUMOylating IRF3 and conditioning it for ubiquitination and degradation, and provide an example of cross-talk between the ubiquitin and SUMO pathways in innate immunity.

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