Li Gao,Rui Liu,Fuchun Yang,Xiaohan Li,Changjun Liu,Xiaole Qi,Hongyu Cui,Yanping Zhang,Suyan Wang,Xiaomei Wang,Yulong Gao,Kai Li
J Virol.2022 Dec 21;96(24):e0157822.doi: 10.1128/jvi.01578-22. Epub 2022 Nov 30.
Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS), a key DNA sensor, detects cytosolic viral DNA and activates the adaptor protein stimulator of interferon genes (STING) to initiate interferon (IFN) production and host innate antiviral responses. Duck enteritis virus (DEV) is a duck alphaherpesvirus that causes an acute and contagious disease with high mortality in waterfowl. In the present study, we found that DEV inhibits host innate immune responses during the late phase of viral infection. Furthermore, we screened DEV proteins for their ability to inhibit the cGAS-STING DNA-sensing pathway and identified multiple viral proteins, including UL41, US3, UL28, UL53, and UL24, which block IFN-β activation through this pathway. The DEV tegument protein UL41, which exhibited the strongest inhibitory effect, selectively downregulated the expression of interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) by reducing its mRNA accumulation, thereby inhibiting the DNA-sensing pathway. Ectopic expression of UL41 markedly reduced viral DNA-triggered IFN-β production and promoted viral replication, whereas deficiency of UL41 in the context of DEV infection increased the IFN-β response to DEV and suppressed viral replication. In addition, ectopic expression of IRF7 inhibited the replication of the UL41-deficient virus, whereas IRF7 knockdown facilitated its replication. This study is the first report identifying multiple viral proteins encoded by a duck DNA virus, which inhibit the cGAS-STING DNA-sensing pathway. These findings expand our knowledge of DNA sensing in ducks and reveal a mechanism through which DEV antagonizes the host innate immune response. IMPORTANCE Duck enteritis virus (DEV) is a duck alphaherpesvirus that causes an acute and contagious disease with high mortality, resulting in substantial economic losses in the commercial waterfowl industry. The evasion of DNA-sensing pathway-mediated antiviral innate immunity is essential for the persistent infection and replication of many DNA viruses. However, the mechanisms used by DEV to modulate the DNA-sensing pathway remain poorly understood. In the present study, we found that DEV encodes multiple viral proteins to inhibit the cGAS-STING DNA-sensing pathway. The DEV tegument protein UL41 selectively diminished the accumulation of interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) mRNA, thereby inhibiting the DNA-sensing pathway. Loss of UL41 potently enhanced the IFN-β response to DEV and impaired viral replication in ducks. These findings provide insights into the host-virus interaction during DEV infection and help develop new live attenuated vaccines against DEV.
Keywords: DNA sensing; cGAS-STING; duck enteritis virus; innate immunity.