Human 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase-1 (OAS1) is central in innate immune system detection of cytoplasmic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and promotion of host antiviral responses. However, the molecular signatures that promote OAS1 activation are currently poorly defined. We show that the 3'-end polyuridine sequence of viral and cellular RNA polymerase III non-coding transcripts is critical for their optimal activation of OAS1. Potentiation of OAS1 activity was also observed with a model dsRNA duplex containing an OAS1 activation consensus sequence. We determined that the effect is attributable to a single appended 3'-end residue, is dependent upon its single-stranded nature with strong preference for pyrimidine residues and is mediated by a highly conserved OAS1 residue adjacent to the dsRNA binding surface. These findings represent discovery of a novel signature for OAS1 activation, the 3'-single-stranded pyrimidine (3'-ssPy) motif, with potential functional implications for OAS1 activity in its antiviral and other anti-proliferative roles.
© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.