Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), one of the human pathogens widely epidemic and transmitted among various groups of people in the world, often causes symptoms known as oral herpes or lifelong asymptomatic infection. HSV-1 employs many sophisticated strategies to escape host antiviral immune response based on its multiple coding proteins. However, the functions involved in the immune evasion of miRNAs encoded by HSV-1 during lytic (productive) infection remain poorly studied. Dual-luciferase reporter gene assay and bioinformatics revealed that Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp (DEAD)-box helicase 41 (DDX41), a cytosolic DNA sensor of the DNA-sensing pathway, was a putative direct target gene of HSV-1-encoded miR-H2-3p. The transfection of miR-H2-3p mimics inhibited the expression of DDX41 at the level of mRNA and protein, as well as the expression of interferon beta (IFN-β) and myxoma resistance protein I (MxI) induced by HSV-1 infection in THP-1 cells, and promoted the viral replication and its gene transcription. However, the transfection of miR-H2-3p inhibitor showed opposite effects. This finding indicated that HSV-1-encoded miR-H2-3p attenuated cytosolic DNA-stimulated antiviral immune response by manipulating host DNA sensor molecular DDX41 to enhance virus replication in cultured cells.
Keywords: HSV-1; antiviral immune response; cytosolic DNA sensor; miR-H2-3p.