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Vaccinia Virus BBK E3 Ligase Adaptor A55 Targets Importin-Dependent NF-κB Activation and Inhibits CD8+ T-Cell Memory

Pallett, Mitchell A., Ren, Hongwei, Zhang, Rui-Yao, Scutts, Simon R., Gonzalez, Laura, Zhu, Zihang, Maluquer de Motes, Carlos, Smith, Geoffrey L. and Shisler, Joanna L. (2019) Vaccinia Virus BBK E3 Ligase Adaptor A55 Targets Importin-Dependent NF-κB Activation and Inhibits CD8+ T-Cell Memory Journal of Virology, 93 (10).

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Viral infection of cells is sensed by pathogen recognition receptors that trigger an antiviral innate immune response, and consequently viruses have evolved countermeasures. Vaccinia virus (VACV) evades the host immune response by expressing scores of immunomodulatory proteins. One family of VACV proteins are the BTB-BACK (broad-complex, tram-trac, and bric-a-brac [BTB] and C-terminal Kelch [BACK]) domain-containing, Kelch-like (BBK) family of predicted cullin-3 E3 ligase adaptors: A55, C2, and F3. Previous studies demonstrated that gene A55R encodes a protein that is nonessential for VACV replication yet affects viral virulence in vivo. Here, we report that A55 is an NF-κB inhibitor acting downstream of IκBα degradation, preventing gene transcription and cytokine secretion in response to cytokine stimulation. A55 targets the host importin α1 (KPNA2), acting to reduce p65 binding and its nuclear translocation. Interestingly, while A55 was confirmed to coprecipitate with cullin-3 in a BTB-dependent manner, its NF-κB inhibitory activity mapped to the Kelch domain, which alone is sufficient to coprecipitate with KPNA2 and inhibit NF-κB signaling. Intradermal infection of mice with a virus lacking A55R (vΔA55) increased VACV-specific CD8+ T-cell proliferation, activation, and cytotoxicity in comparison to levels of the wild-type (WT) virus. Furthermore, immunization with vΔA55 induced increased protection to intranasal VACV challenge compared to the level with control viruses. In summary, this report describes the first target of a poxvirus-encoded BBK protein and a novel mechanism for DNA virus immune evasion, resulting in increased CD8+ T-cell memory and a more immunogenic vaccine.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Pallett, Mitchell A.
Ren, Hongwei
Zhang, Rui-Yao
Scutts, Simon R.
Gonzalez, Laura
Maluquer de Motes,
Smith, Geoffrey L.
Shisler, Joanna L.
Date : 27 February 2019
Funders : Wellcome Trust, Microbiology Society
DOI : 10.1128/JVI.00051-19
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2019 Pallett et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
Additional Information : IMPORTANCE NF-κB is a critical transcription factor in the innate immune response to infection and in shaping adaptive immunity. The identification of host and virus proteins that modulate the induction of immunological memory is important for improving virus-based vaccine design and efficacy. In viruses, the expression of BTB-BACK Kelch-like (BBK) proteins is restricted to poxviruses and conserved within them, indicating the importance of these proteins for these medically important viruses. Using vaccinia virus (VACV), the smallpox vaccine, we report that the VACV BBK protein A55 dysregulates NF-κB signaling by disrupting the p65-importin interaction, thus preventing NF-κB translocation and blocking NF-κB-dependent gene transcription. Infection with VACV lacking A55 induces increased VACV-specific CD8+ T-cell memory and better protection against VACV challenge. Studying viral immunomodulators therefore expands not only our understanding of viral pathogenesis and immune evasion strategies but also of the immune signaling cascades controlling antiviral immunity and the development of immune memory.
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 30 Sep 2019 13:00
Last Modified : 30 Sep 2019 13:00

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