Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection induces the α-chemokine interleukin-8 (CXCL-8), which is regulated at the levels of transcription and mRNA stability. In the current study, CXCL-8 regulation by double-stranded (ds)RNA pathways was analyzed in the context of HCV infection. A constitutively active mutant of the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), RIG-N, activated CXCL-8 transcription. Promoter mutagenesis experiments indicated that NF-κB and interferon (IFN)-stimulated response element (ISRE) binding sites were required for the RIG-N induction of CXCL-8 transcription. IFN-β promoter stimulator 1 (IPS-1) expression also activated CXCL-8 transcription, and mutations of the ISRE and NF-κB binding sites reduced and abrogated CXCL-8 transcription, respectively. In the presence of wild-type RIG-I, transfection of JFH-1 RNA or JFH-1 virus infection of Huh7.5.1 cells activated the CXCL-8 promoter. Expression of IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) stimulated transcription from both full-length and ISRE-driven CXCL-8 promoters. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that IRF-3 and NF-κB bound directly to the CXCL-8 promoter in response to virus infection and dsRNA transfection. RIG-N stabilized CXCL-8 mRNA via the AU-rich element in the 3′ untranslated region of CXCL-8 mRNA, leading to an increase in its half-life following tumor necrosis factor alpha induction. The data indicate that HCV infection triggers dsRNA signaling pathways that induce CXCL-8 via transcriptional activation and mRNA stabilization and define a regulatory link between innate antiviral and inflammatory cellular responses to virus infection.
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