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In response to infection, the innate immune system rapidly activates an elaborate and tightly orchestrated gene expression program to induce critical antimicrobial genes. While many key players in this program have been identified in disparate biological systems, it is clear that there are additional uncharacterized mechanisms at play. Our previous studies revealed that a rapidly-induced antiviral gene expression program is active against disparate human arthropod-borne viruses in Drosophila. Moreover, one-half of this program is regulated at the level of transcriptional pausing. Here we found that Nup98, a virus-induced gene, was antiviral against a panel of viruses both in cells and adult flies since its depletion significantly enhanced viral infection. Mechanistically, we found that Nup98 promotes antiviral gene expression in Drosophila at the level of transcription. Expression profiling revealed that the virus-induced activation of 36 genes was abrogated upon loss of Nup98; and we found that a subset of these Nup98-dependent genes were antiviral. These Nup98-dependent virus-induced genes are Cdk9-dependent and translation-independent suggesting that these are rapidly induced primary response genes. Biochemically, we demonstrate that Nup98 is directly bound to the promoters of virus-induced genes, and that it promotes occupancy of the initiating form of RNA polymerase II at these promoters, which are rapidly induced on viral infection to restrict human arboviruses in insects.


Debasis Panda, Pau Pascual-Garcia, Margaret Dunagin, Matthew Tudor, Kaycie C Hopkins, Jie Xu, Beth Gold, Arjun Raj, Maya Capelson, Sara Cherry. Nup98 promotes antiviral gene expression to restrict RNA viral infection in Drosophila. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014 Sep 16;111(37):E3890-9

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PMID: 25197089

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