Cigarette smoking products suppress anti-viral effects of Type I interferon via phosphorylation-dependent downregulation of its receptor

FEBS Lett. 2008 Sep 22;582(21-22):3206-10. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.08.013. Epub 2008 Aug 21.


While negative effect of smoking on the resistance to viral infections was known, the underlying mechanisms remained unclear. Here we report that products of cigarette smoking compromise the cellular anti-viral defenses by inhibiting the signaling induced by Type I interferon (IFN). Cigarette smoking condensate (but not pure nicotine) stimulated specific serine phosphorylation-dependent ubiquitination and degradation of the IFNAR1 subunit of the Type I IFN receptor leading to attenuation of IFN signaling and decreased resistance to viral infection. This resistance was restored in cells where phosphorylation-dependent degradation of IFNAR1 is abolished. We conclude that smoking compromises cellular anti-viral defenses via degradation of Type I IFN receptor and discuss the significance of this mechanism for efficacy of IFN-based therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Down-Regulation
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interferon Type I / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta / metabolism
  • Smoke*
  • Smoking / immunology*
  • Vesiculovirus / drug effects
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*


  • Interferon Type I
  • Smoke
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta