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The induction of an interferon-mediated response is the first line of defense against pathogens such as viruses. Yet, the dynamics and extent of interferon alpha (IFNα)-induced antiviral genes vary remarkably and comprise three expression clusters: early, intermediate and late. By mathematical modeling based on time-resolved quantitative data, we identified mRNA stability as well as a negative regulatory loop as key mechanisms endogenously controlling the expression dynamics of IFNα-induced antiviral genes in hepatocytes. Guided by the mathematical model, we uncovered that this regulatory loop is mediated by the transcription factor IRF2 and showed that knock-down of IRF2 results in enhanced expression of early, intermediate and late IFNα-induced antiviral genes. Co-stimulation experiments with different pro-inflammatory cytokines revealed that this amplified expression dynamics of the early, intermediate and late IFNα-induced antiviral genes can also be achieved by co-application of IFNα and interleukin1 beta (IL1β). Consistently, we found that IL1β enhances IFNα-mediated repression of viral replication. Conversely, we observed that in IL1β receptor knock-out mice replication of viruses sensitive to IFNα is increased. Thus, IL1β is capable to potentiate IFNα-induced antiviral responses and could be exploited to improve antiviral therapies.


Katharina Robichon, Tim Maiwald, Marcel Schilling, Annette Schneider, Joschka Willemsen, Florian Salopiata, Melissa Teusel, Clemens Kreutz, Christian Ehlting, Jun Huang, Sajib Chakraborty, Xiaoyun Huang, Georg Damm, Daniel Seehofer, Philipp A Lang, Johannes G Bode, Marco Binder, Ralf Bartenschlager, Jens Timmer, Ursula Klingmüller. Identification of Interleukin1β as an Amplifier of Interferon alpha-induced Antiviral Responses. PLoS pathogens. 2020 Oct;16(10):e1008461

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PMID: 33002089

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