Suppression of type I and type III IFN signalling by NSs protein of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus through inhibition of STAT1 phosphorylation and activation

J Gen Virol. 2015 Nov;96(11):3204-3211. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000280.


Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) is an emerging tick-borne pathogen causing significant morbidity and mortality in Asia. NSs protein of SFTSV is known to perturb type I IFN induction and signalling, but the mechanism remains to be fully understood. Here, we showed the suppression of both type I and type III IFN signalling by SFTSV NSs protein is mediated through inhibition of STAT1 phosphorylation and activation. Infection with live SFTSV or expression of NSs potently suppressed IFN-stimulated genes but not NFkB activation. NSs was capable of counteracting the activity of IFN-α1, IFN-β, IFN-λ1 and IFN-λ2. Mechanistically, NSs associated with STAT1 and STAT2, mitigated IFN-β-induced phosphorylation of STAT1 at S727, and reduced the expression and activity of STAT1 protein in IFN-β-treated cells, resulting in the inhibition of STAT1 and STAT2 recruitment to IFNstimulated promoters. Taken together, SFTSV NSs protein is an IFN antagonist that suppresses phosphorylation and activation of STAT1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / genetics*
  • Interferon-alpha / metabolism
  • Interferon-beta / genetics*
  • Interferon-beta / metabolism
  • Interferons
  • Interleukins / genetics*
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Phlebotomus Fever / genetics*
  • Phlebotomus Fever / metabolism
  • Phlebotomus Fever / virology
  • Phlebovirus / genetics
  • Phlebovirus / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism*


  • IFNL1 protein, human
  • IFNL2 protein, human
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukins
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • STAT1 protein, human
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferons