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Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Feb;19(2):959-66.

Essential role of interferon regulatory factor 3 in direct activation of RANTES chemokine transcription.

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  • 1Terry Fox Molecular Oncology Group, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, McGill University, Montreal, Canada H3T 1E2.


Localized and systemic cytokine production in virus-infected cells play an important role in the outcome of viral infection and pathogenicity. Activation of the interferon regulatory factors (IRF) in turn is a critical mediator of cytokine gene transcription. Recent studies have focused on the 55-kDa IRF-3 gene product as a direct transcriptional regulator of type 1 interferon (IFN-alpha and IFN-beta) activation in response to virus infection. Virus infection induces phosphorylation of IRF-3 on specific C-terminal serine residues and permits cytoplasmic-to-nuclear translocation of IRF-3, activation of DNA binding and transactivation potential, and association with the CBP/p300 coactivator. We previously generated constitutively active [IRF-3(5D)] and dominant-negative forms of IRF-3 that control IFN-beta and IFN-alpha gene expression. In an effort to characterize the range of immunoregulatory genes controlled by IRF-3, we now demonstrate that endogenous human RANTES gene transcription is directly induced in tetracycline-inducible IRF-3(5D)-expressing cells or paramyxovirus-infected cells. We also show that a dominant-negative IRF-3 mutant inhibits virus-induced expression of the RANTES promoter. Specific mutagenesis of overlapping ISRE-like sites located between nucleotides -123 and -96 in the RANTES promoter reduces virus-induced and IRF-3-dependent activation. These studies broaden the range of IRF-3 immunoregulatory target genes to include at least one member of the chemokine superfamily.

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