Mammarenaviruses include several known human pathogens, such as the prototypic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) that can cause neurological diseases and Lassa virus (LASV) that causes endemic hemorrhagic fever infection. LASV-infected patients show diverse clinical manifestations ranging from asymptomatic infection to hemorrhage, multi-organ failures and death, the mechanisms of which have not been well characterized. We have previously shown that the matrix protein Z of pathogenic arenaviruses, including LASV and LCMV, can strongly inhibit the ability of the innate immune protein RIG-I to suppress type I interferon (IFN-I) expression, which serves as a mechanism of viral immune evasion and virulence. Here, we show that Z proteins of diverse LASV isolates derived from rodents and humans have a high degree of sequence variations at their N- and C-terminal regions and produce variable degrees of inhibition of human RIG-I (hRIG-I) function in an established IFN-β promoter-driven luciferase (LUC) reporter assay. Additionally, we show that Z proteins of four known LCMV strains can also inhibit hRIG-I at variable degrees of efficiency. Collectively, our results confirm that Z proteins of pathogenic LASV and LCMV can inhibit hRIG-I and suggest that strain variations of the Z proteins can influence their efficiency to suppress host innate immunity that might contribute to viral virulence and disease heterogeneity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by National Institute of Health (NIH), grant number R01 AI131586 to H.L. and Y.L. M.B. was supported in part by a NIH pre-doctoral T32 fellowship DA007097.
- Immune evasion
- Innate immunity
- Lassa virus
- Sequence variations
- Z protein
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural