Retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) is a key pattern recognition receptor that senses viral RNA and interacts with the mitochondrial adaptor MAVS, triggering a signaling cascade that results in the production of type I interferons (IFNs). This signaling axis is initiated by K63-linked ubiquitination of RIG-I mediated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM25, which promotes the interaction of RIG-I with MAVS. USP15 was recently identified as an upstream regulator of TRIM25, stabilizing the enzyme through removal of degradative K48-linked polyubiquitin, ultimately promoting RIG-I-dependent cytokine responses. Here, we show that the E6 oncoprotein of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) as well as of other HPV types form a complex with TRIM25 and USP15 in human cells. In the presence of E6, the K48-linked ubiquitination of TRIM25 was markedly increased, and in line with this, TRIM25 degradation was enhanced. Our results further showed that E6 inhibited the TRIM25- mediated K63-linked ubiquitination of RIG-I and its CARD-dependent interaction with MAVS. HPV16 E6, but not E7, suppressed the RIG-I-mediated induction of IFN-β, chemokines, and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). Finally, CRISPR-Cas9 gene targeting in human keratinocytes showed that the TRIM25-RIG-I-MAVS triad is important for eliciting an antiviral immune response to HPV16 infection. Our study thus identifies a novel immune escape mechanism that is conserved among different HPV strains and further indicates that the RIG-I signaling pathway plays an important role in the innate immune response to HPV infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science