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Nat Immunol. 2016 May;17(5):523-30. doi: 10.1038/ni.3393. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

A phosphomimetic-based mechanism of dengue virus to antagonize innate immunity.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Microbiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


14-3-3 proteins regulate biological processes by binding to phosphorylated serine or phosphorylated threonine motifs of cellular proteins. Among the 14-3-3 proteins, 14-3-3ɛ serves a crucial function in antiviral immunity by mediating the cytosol-to-mitochondrial membrane translocation of the pathogen sensor RIG-I. Here we found that the NS3 protein of dengue virus (DV) bound to 14-3-3ɛ and prevented translocation of RIG-I to the adaptor MAVS and thereby blocked antiviral signaling. Intriguingly, a highly conserved phosphomimetic RxEP motif in NS3 was essential for the binding of 14-3-3ɛ. A recombinant mutant DV deficient in binding to 14-3-3ɛ showed impairment in antagonism of RIG-I and elicited a markedly augmented innate immune response and enhanced T cell activation. Our work reveals a novel phosphomimetic-based mechanism for viral antagonism of 14-3-3-mediated immunity, which might guide the rational design of therapeutics.

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