Differential Delivery of Genomic Double-Stranded RNA Causes Reovirus Strain-Specific Differences in Interferon Regulatory Factor 3 Activation

J Virol. 2018 Apr 13;92(9):e01947-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01947-17. Print 2018 May 1.


Serotype 3 (T3) reoviruses induce substantially more type 1 interferon (IFN-I) secretion than serotype 1 (T1) strains. However, the mechanisms underlying differences in IFN-I production between T1 and T3 reoviruses remain undefined. Here, we found that differences in IFN-I production between T1 and T3 reoviruses correlate with activation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3), a key transcription factor for the production of IFN-I. T3 strain rsT3D activated IRF3 more rapidly and to a greater extent than the T1 strain rsT1L, in simian virus 40 (SV40) immortalized endothelial cells (SVECs). Differences in IRF3 activation between rsT1L and rsT3D were observed in the first hours of infection and were independent of de novo viral RNA and protein synthesis. NF-κB activation mirrored IRF3 activation, with rsT3D inducing more NF-κB activity than rsT1L. We also found that IRF3 and NF-κB are activated in a mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS)-dependent manner. rsT1L does not suppress IRF3 activation, as IRF3 phosphorylation could be induced in rsT1L-infected cells. Transfected rsT1L and rsT3D RNA induced IRF3 phosphorylation, indicating that genomic RNA from both strains has the capacity to activate IRF3. Finally, bypassing the normal route of reovirus entry by transfecting in vitro-generated viral cores revealed that rsT1L and rsT3D core particles induced equivalent IRF3 activation. Taken together, our findings indicate that entry-related events that occur after outer capsid disassembly, but prior to deposition of viral cores into the cytoplasm, influence the efficiency of IFN-I responses to reovirus. This work provides further insight into mechanisms by which nonenveloped viruses activate innate immune responses.IMPORTANCE Detection of viral nucleic acids by the host cell triggers type 1 interferon (IFN-I) responses, which are critical for containing and clearing viral infections. Viral RNA is sensed in the cytoplasm by cellular receptors that initiate signaling pathways, leading to the activation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and NF-κB, key transcription factors required for IFN-I induction. Serotype 3 (T3) reoviruses induce significantly more IFN-I than serotype 1 (T1) strains. In this work, we found that differences in IFN-I production by T1 and T3 reoviruses correlate with differential IRF3 activation. Differences in IRF3 activation are not caused by a blockade of the IRF3 activation by a T1 strain. Rather, differences in events during the late stages of viral entry determine the capacity of reovirus to activate host IFN-I responses. Together, our work provides insight into mechanisms of IFN-I induction by nonenveloped viruses.

Keywords: IRF3; double-stranded RNA virus; recombinant virus; reovirus; type 1 interferon.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cricetinae
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / virology
  • Enzyme Activation / immunology
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3 / immunology*
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3 / metabolism*
  • Interferon-beta / immunology*
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / genetics
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / immunology
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Reoviridae / classification
  • Reoviridae / immunology*
  • Reoviridae / physiology
  • Serogroup
  • Virus Internalization


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • IRF3 protein, human
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3
  • MAVS protein, human
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Interferon-beta