Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous betaherpesvirus that causes life-threatening disease in immunocompromised and immunonaïve individuals. Type I interferons (IFNs) are crucial molecules in the innate immune response to HCMV and are also known to upregulate several components of the interchromosomal multiprotein aggregates collectively referred to as nuclear domain 10 (ND10). In the context of herpesvirus infection, ND10 components are known to restrict gene expression. This raises the question as to whether key ND10 components (PML, Sp100 and hDaxx) act as anti-viral IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) during HCMV infection. In this study, analysis of ND10 component transcription during HCMV infection demonstrated that PML and Sp100 were significantly upregulated whilst hDaxx expression remained unchanged. In cells engineered to block the production of, or response to, type I IFNs, upregulation of PML and Sp100 was not detected during HCMV infection. Furthermore, pre-treatment with an IFN-β neutralizing antibody inhibited upregulation of PML and Sp100 during both infection and treatment with HCMV-infected cell supernatant. The significance of ND10 components functioning as anti-viral ISGs during HCMV infection was determined through knockdown of PML, Sp100 and hDaxx. ND10 knockdown cells were significantly more permissive to HCMV infection, as previously described but, in contrast to control cells, could support HCMV plaque formation following IFN-β pre-treatment. This ability of HCMV to overcome the potently anti-viral effects of IFN-β in ND10 expression deficient cells provides evidence that ND10 component upregulation is a key mediator of the anti-viral activity of IFN-β.
- nuclear domain 10
- cytomegalovirus infection