Interferons (IFNs) are key mediators of the host innate antiviral immune response. To identify IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) that instigate an antiviral state against two medically important flaviviruses, West Nile virus (WNV) and dengue virus (DENV), we tested 36 ISGs that are commonly induced by IFN-α for antiviral activity against the two viruses. We discovered that five ISGs efficiently suppressed WNV and/or DENV infection when they were individually expressed in HEK293 cells. Mechanistic analyses revealed that two structurally related cell plasma membrane proteins, IFITM2 and IFITM3, disrupted early steps (entry and/or uncoating) of the viral infection. In contrast, three IFN-induced cellular enzymes, viperin, ISG20, and double-stranded-RNA-activated protein kinase, inhibited steps in viral proteins and/or RNA biosynthesis. Our results thus imply that the antiviral activity of IFN-α is collectively mediated by a panel of ISGs that disrupt multiple steps of the DENV and WNV life cycles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science