Type I Interferon response in olfactory bulb, the site of tick-borne flavivirus accumulation, is primarily regulated by IPS-1

Chaitanya Kurhade, Loreen Zegenhagen, Elvira Weber, Sharmila Nair, Kristin Michaelsen-Preusse, Julia Spanier, Nelson O. Gekara, Andrea Kröger, Anna K. Överby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: Although type I interferons (IFNs)-key effectors of antiviral innate immunity are known to be induced via different pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), the cellular source and the relative contribution of different PRRs in host protection against viral infection is often unclear. IPS-1 is a downstream adaptor for retinoid-inducible gene I (RIG-I)-like receptor signaling. In this study, we investigate the relative contribution of IPS-1 in the innate immune response in the different brain regions during infection with tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), a flavivirus that causes a variety of severe symptoms like hemorrhagic fevers, encephalitis, and meningitis in the human host. Methods: IPS-1 knockout mice were infected with TBEV/Langat virus (LGTV), and viral burden in the peripheral and the central nervous systems, type I IFN induction, brain infiltrating cells, and inflammatory response was analyzed. Results: We show that IPS-1 is indispensable for controlling TBEV and LGTV infections in the peripheral and central nervous system. Our data indicate that IPS-1 regulates neuropathogenicity in mice. IFN response is differentially regulated in distinct regions of the central nervous system (CNS) influencing viral tropism, as LGTV replication was mainly restricted to olfactory bulb in wild-type (WT) mice. In contrast to the other brain regions, IFN upregulation in the olfactory bulb was dependent on IPS-1 signaling. IPS-1 regulates basal levels of antiviral interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) like viperin and IRF-1 which contributes to the establishment of early viral replication which inhibits STAT1 activation. This diminishes the antiviral response even in the presence of high IFN-β levels. Consequently, the absence of IPS-1 causes uncontrolled virus replication, in turn resulting in apoptosis, activation of microglia and astrocytes, elevated proinflammatory response, and recruitment of inflammatory cells into the CNS. Conclusions: We show that LGTV replication is restricted to the olfactory bulb and that IPS-1 is a very important player in the olfactory bulb in shaping the innate immune response by inhibiting early viral replication and viral spread throughout the central nervous system. In the absence of IPS-1, higher viral replication leads to the evasion of antiviral response by inhibiting interferon signaling. Our data suggest that the local microenvironment of distinct brain regions is critical to determine virus permissiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalJournal of neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 27 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiviral mechanism
  • Brain
  • IPS-1
  • Immune evasion
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Type I interferons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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