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PLoS Pathog. 2015 Mar 26;11(3):e1004785. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004785. eCollection 2015 Mar.

Positive role of promyelocytic leukemia protein in type I interferon response and its regulation by human cytomegalovirus.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea.


Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML), a major component of PML nuclear bodies (also known as nuclear domain 10), is involved in diverse cellular processes such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, gene regulation, and DNA damage response. PML also acts as a restriction factor that suppresses incoming viral genomes, therefore playing an important role in intrinsic defense. Here, we show that PML positively regulates type I interferon response by promoting transcription of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) and that this regulation by PML is counteracted by human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) IE1 protein. Small hairpin RNA-mediated PML knockdown in human fibroblasts reduced ISG induction by treatment of interferon-β or infection with UV-inactivated HCMV. PML was required for accumulation of activated STAT1 and STAT2, interacted with them and HDAC1 and HDAC2, and was associated with ISG promoters after HCMV infection. During HCMV infection, viral IE1 protein interacted with PML, STAT1, STAT2, and HDACs. Analysis of IE1 mutant viruses revealed that, in addition to the STAT2-binding domain, the PML-binding domain of IE1 was necessary for suppression of interferon-β-mediated ISG transcription, and that IE1 inhibited ISG transcription by sequestering interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3) in a manner requiring its binding of PML and STAT2, but not of HDACs. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that PML participates in type I interferon-induced ISG expression by regulating ISGF3, and that this regulation by PML is counteracted by HCMV IE1, highlighting a widely shared viral strategy targeting PML to evade intrinsic and innate defense mechanisms.

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