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J Gen Virol. 2014 Dec;95(Pt 12):2594-611. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.069542-0. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Influenza virus non-structural protein NS1: interferon antagonism and beyond.

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Pathologie et Immunologie Aviaire, INRA, UMR1282 Infectiologie et Santé Publique, 37380 Nouzilly, France Université François Rabelais, UMR1282 Infectiologie et Santé Publique, 37000 Tours, France


Most viruses express one or several proteins that counter the antiviral defences of the host cell. This is the task of non-structural protein NS1 in influenza viruses. Absent in the viral particle, but highly expressed in the infected cell, NS1 dramatically inhibits cellular gene expression and prevents the activation of key players in the IFN system. In addition, NS1 selectively enhances the translation of viral mRNAs and may regulate the synthesis of viral RNAs. Our knowledge of the virus and of NS1 has increased dramatically during the last 15 years. The atomic structure of NS1 has been determined, many cellular partners have been identified and its multiple activities have been studied in depth. This review presents our current knowledge, and attempts to establish relationships between the RNA sequence, the structure of the protein, its ligands, its activities and the pathogenicity of the virus. A better understanding of NS1 could help in elaborating novel antiviral strategies, based on either live vaccines with altered NS1 or on small-compound inhibitors of NS1.

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