Interactions of the Nipah Virus P, V, and W Proteins across the STAT Family of Transcription Factors

mSphere. 2020 Dec 16;5(6):e00449-20. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00449-20.


The Nipah virus (NiV) phosphoprotein (P) gene encodes four proteins. Three of these-P, V, and W-possess a common N-terminal domain but distinct C termini. These proteins interact with immune modulators. Previous studies demonstrated that P, V, and W bind STAT1 and STAT4 and that V also interacts with STAT2 but not with STAT3. The STAT1 and STAT2 interactions block interferon (IFN)-induced STAT tyrosine phosphorylation. To more fully characterize the interactions of P, V, and W with the STATs, we screened for interaction of each viral protein with STATs 1 to 6 by coimmunoprecipitation. We demonstrate that NiV P, V, and W interact with STAT4 through their common N-terminal domain and block STAT4 activity, based on a STAT4 response element reporter assay. Although none of the NiV proteins interact with STAT3 or STAT6, NiV V, but not P or W, interacts with STAT5 through its unique C terminus. Furthermore, the interaction of NiV V with STAT5 was not disrupted by overexpression of the N-terminal binding STAT1 or the C-terminal binding MDA5. NiV V also inhibits a STAT5 response element reporter assay. Residues 114 to 140 of the common N-terminal domain of the NiV P gene products were found to be sufficient to bind STAT1 and STAT4. Analysis of STAT1-STAT3 chimeras suggests that the P gene products target the STAT1 SH2 domain. When fused to GST, the 114-140 peptide is sufficient to decrease STAT1 phosphorylation in IFN-β-stimulated cells, suggesting that this peptide could potentially be fused to heterologous proteins to confer inhibition of STAT1- and STAT4-dependent responses.IMPORTANCE How Nipah virus (NiV) antagonizes innate immune responses is incompletely understood. The P gene of NiV encodes the P, V, and W proteins. These proteins have a common N-terminal sequence that is sufficient to bind to STAT1 and STAT2 and block IFN-induced signal transduction. This study sought to more fully understand how P, V, and W engage with the STAT family of transcription factors to influence their functions. The results identify a novel interaction of V with STAT5 and demonstrate V inhibition of STAT5 function. We also demonstrate that the common N-terminal residues 114 to 140 of P, V, and W are critical for inhibition of STAT1 and STAT4 function, map the interaction to the SH2 region of STAT1, and show that a fusion construct with this peptide significantly inhibits cytokine-induced STAT1 phosphorylation. These data clarify how these important virulence factors modulate innate antiviral defenses.

Keywords: Nipah virus; STAT transcription factors; interferon.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Henipavirus Infections / immunology
  • Henipavirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Henipavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Nipah Virus / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • STAT Transcription Factors / genetics
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*


  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Trans-Activators
  • Viral Proteins