Survival following Ebola virus (EBOV) infection correlates with the ability to mount an early and robust interferon (IFN) response. The host IFN-induced proteins that contribute to controlling EBOV replication are not fully known. Among the top genes with the strongest early increases in expression after infection in vivo is IFN-induced HERC5. Using a transcription- and replication-competent VLP system, we showed that HERC5 inhibits EBOV virus-like particle (VLP) replication by depleting EBOV mRNAs. The HERC5 RCC1-like domain was necessary and sufficient for this inhibition and did not require zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP). Moreover, we showed that EBOV (Zaire) glycoprotein (GP) but not Marburg virus GP antagonized HERC5 early during infection. Our data identify a novel 'protagonist-antagonistic' relationship between HERC5 and GP in the early stages of EBOV infection that could be exploited for the development of novel antiviral therapeutics.
Keywords: Ebola virus; HERC5; Marburg virus; antiviral; interferon.