Cellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology 2016 Nov 1840(1-2) 77-90
Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway plays an important role in antiviral efficacy of interferon alpha (IFN-α). IFN-α is the main therapeutic against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We explored effects of IFN-α on HCV replication and antiviral gene expression by targeting STAT.
In response to IFN-α, STAT status, HCV replication, and antiviral gene expression were analyzed in human hepatoma Huh7.5.1 cells before and after cell culture-derived HCV infection.
IFN-α treatment induced expression and phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2 in Huh7.5.1 cells. Pretreatment of Huh7.5.1 cells with a mAb to IFN alpha receptor (IFNAR) 2 decreased IFN-α-dependent phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2, whereas pretreatment with an IFNAR1 mAb increased such phosphorylation, suggesting that IFNAR mediates IFN-α-triggered STAT signaling. During HCV infection, STAT1 and STAT2 phosphorylation could be rescued by IFN-α and IFN-α-induced phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2 was impaired. Inhibition of STAT pathway by Jak inhibitor I significantly enhanced HCV RNA replication and viral protein expression. Antiviral genes coding for IFN regulatory factor 9 and IFN-stimulated gene 15 were up-regulated by IFN-α during HCV infection but such up-regulation was abrogated by Jak inhibitor I.
These results establish that activation of STAT pathway is essential for anti-HCV efficacy of IFN-α. Impairment of IFN-α-triggered STAT signaling by HCV may account for evading IFN-α response.