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PLoS Pathog. 2017 Apr 10;13(4):e1006321. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006321. eCollection 2017 Apr.

GP73 represses host innate immune response to promote virus replication by facilitating MAVS and TRAF6 degradation.

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State Key Laboratory of Virology and College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, P. R. China.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of chronic liver diseases and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and Golgi protein 73 (GP73) is a serum biomarker for liver diseases and HCC. However, the mechanism underlying GP73 regulates HCV infection is largely unknown. Here, we revealed that GP73 acts as a novel negative regulator of host innate immunity to facilitate HCV infection. GP73 expression is activated and correlated with interferon-beta (IFN-β) production during HCV infection in patients' serum, primary human hepatocytes (PHHs) and human hepatoma cells through mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS), TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular regulated protein kinase (MEK/ERK) pathway. Detailed studies revealed that HCV infection activates MAVS that in turn recruits TRAF6 via TRAF-interacting-motifs (TIMs), and TRAF6 subsequently directly recruits GP73 to MAVS via coiled-coil domain. After binding with MAVS and TRAF6, GP73 promotes MAVS and TRAF6 degradation through proteasome-dependent pathway. Moreover, GP73 attenuates IFN-β promoter, IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) promoter and down-regulates IFN-β, IFN-λ1, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IFN-stimulated gene 56 (ISG56), leading to the repression of host innate immunity. Finally, knock-down of GP73 down-regulates HCV infection and replication in Huh7-MAVSR cells and primary human hepatocytes (PHHs), but such repression is rescued by GP73m4 (a mutant GP73 resists to GP73-shRNA#4) in Huh7-MAVSR cells, suggesting that GP73 facilitates HCV infection. Taken together, we demonstrated that GP73 acts as a negative regulator of innate immunity to facilitate HCV infection by interacting with MAVS/TRAF6 and promoting MAVS/TRAF6 degradation. This study provides new insights into the mechanism of HCV infection and pathogenesis, and suggests that GP73 is a new potential antiviral target in the prevention and treatment of HCV associated diseases.

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