The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor whose activation induces the expression of numerous genes, with many effects on cells. However, AhR activation is not known to affect the replication of viruses. We show that AhR activation in macrophages causes a block to HIV-1 and HSV-1 replication. We find that AhR activation transcriptionally represses cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)1/2 and their associated cyclins, thereby reducing SAMHD1 phosphorylation, cellular dNTP levels and both HIV-1 and HSV-1 replication. Remarkably, a different antiviral stimulus, interferon gamma (IFN-g), that induces a largely non-overlapping set of genes, also transcriptionally represses CDK1, CDK2 and their associated cyclins, resulting in similar dNTP depletion and antiviral effects. Concordantly, the SIV Vpx protein provides complete and partial resistance to the antiviral effects of AhR and IFN-g, respectively. Thus, distinct antiviral signaling pathways converge on CDK/cyclin repression, causing inhibition of viral DNA synthesis and replication.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files
- Paul D Bieniasz
- Paul D Bieniasz
- Baek Kim
- Baek Kim
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Satyajit Rath, Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), India
© 2018, Kueck et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
To mount a protective response to infection while preventing hyperinflammation, gene expression in innate immune cells must be tightly regulated. Despite the importance of pre-mRNA splicing in shaping the proteome, its role in balancing immune outcomes remains understudied. Transcriptomic analysis of murine macrophage cell lines identified Serine/Arginine Rich Splicing factor 6 (SRSF6) as a gatekeeper of mitochondrial homeostasis. SRSF6-dependent orchestration of mitochondrial health is directed in large part by alternative splicing of the pro-apoptosis pore-forming protein BAX. Loss of SRSF6 promotes accumulation of BAX-κ, a variant that sensitizes macrophages to undergo cell death and triggers upregulation of interferon stimulated genes through cGAS sensing of cytosolic mitochondrial DNA. Upon pathogen sensing, macrophages regulate SRSF6 expression to control the liberation of immunogenic mtDNA and adjust the threshold for entry into programmed cell death. This work defines BAX alternative splicing by SRSF6 as a critical node not only in mitochondrial homeostasis but also in the macrophage’s response to pathogens.
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