Antagonism of the interferon-induced OAS-RNase L pathway by murine coronavirus ns2 protein is required for virus replication and liver pathology
Zhao L, Jha BK, Wu A, Elliott R, Ziebuhr J, Gorbalenya AE, Silverman RH, SR Weiss. 2012.
Cell Host Microbe, 11:607-616.
Many viruses induce hepatitis in humans, highlighting the need to understand the underlying mechanisms of virus-induced liver pathology. The murine coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), causes acute hepatitis in its natural host and provides a useful model for understanding virus interaction with liver cells. The MHV accessory protein, ns2, antagonizes the type I interferon response and promotes hepatitis. We show that ns2 has 2’,5’-phosphodiesterase activity, which blocks the interferon inducible 2’,5’-oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS)-RNase L pathway to facilitate hepatitis development. Ns2 cleaves 2’, 5’-oligoadenylate, the product of OAS, to prevent activation of the cellular endoribonuclease RNase L and consequently block viral RNA degradation. An ns2 mutant virus was unable to replicate in the liver or induce hepatitis in wild type mice, but was highly pathogenic in RNase L deficient mice. Thus, RNase L is a critical cellular factor for protection against viral infection of the liver and the resulting hepatitis.