Cytosolic DNA arising from intracellular pathogens is sensed by cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) and triggers a powerful innate immune response. However, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), a double-stranded DNA virus, has developed multiple mechanisms to attenuate host antiviral machinery and facilitate viral infection and replication. In the present study, we found that HSV-1 tegument protein VP22 acts as an inhibitor of cGAS/stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS/STING)- mediated production of interferon (IFN) and its downstream antiviral genes. Our results showed that ectopic expression of VP22 decreased cGAS/STING-mediated IFN-β promoter activation and IFN-β production. Infection with wild-type (WT) HSV-1, but not VP22-deficient virus (ΔVP22), inhibited immunostimulatory DNA (ISD)-induced activation of the IFN signaling pathway. Further study showed that VP22 interacted with cGAS and inhibited the enzymatic activity of cGAS. In addition, stable knockdown of cGAS facilitated the replication of ΔVP22 virus but not the WT. In summary, our findings indicate that HSV-1 VP22 acts as an antagonist of IFN signaling to persistently evade host innate antiviral responses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science