TRIM Proteins and Their Roles in Antiviral Host Defenses

Annu Rev Virol. 2018 Sep 29;5(1):385-405. doi: 10.1146/annurev-virology-092917-043323. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Tripartite motif (TRIM) proteins are a versatile family of ubiquitin E3 ligases involved in a multitude of cellular processes. Studies in recent years have demonstrated that many TRIM proteins play central roles in the host defense against viral infection. While some TRIM proteins directly antagonize distinct steps in the viral life cycle, others regulate signal transduction pathways induced by innate immune sensors, thereby modulating antiviral cytokine responses. Furthermore, TRIM proteins have been implicated in virus-induced autophagy and autophagy-mediated viral clearance. Given the important role of TRIM proteins in antiviral restriction, it is not surprising that several viruses have evolved effective maneuvers to neutralize the antiviral action of specific TRIM proteins. Here, we describe the major antiviral mechanisms of TRIM proteins as well as viral strategies to escape TRIM-mediated host immunity.

Keywords: TRIM protein; antiviral restriction; innate immunity; interferon; virus infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tripartite Motif Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Viruses / immunology*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Tripartite Motif Proteins