Respiratory virus-induced EGFR activation suppresses IRF1-dependent interferon ? and antiviral defense in airway epithelium

Ueki IF, Min-Oo G, Kalinowski A, Ballon-Landa E, Lanier LL, Nadel JA, Koff JL
Source: J Exp Med
Publication Date: (2013)
Issue: 210(10): 1929-36
Research Area:
Basic Research
Viruses suppress host responses to increase infection, and understanding these mechanisms has provided insights into cellular signaling and led to novel therapies. Many viruses (e.g., Influenza virus, Rhinovirus [RV], Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and Hepatitis C virus) activate epithelial epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a tyrosine kinase receptor, but the role of EGFR in viral pathogenesis is not clear. Interferon (IFN) signaling is a critical innate antiviral host response and recent experiments have implicated IFN-?, a type III IFN, as the most significant IFN for mucosal antiviral immune responses. Despite the importance of IFN-? in epithelial antiviral responses, the role and mechanisms of epithelial IFN-? signaling have not been fully elucidated. We report that respiratory virus-induced EGFR activation suppresses endogenous airway epithelial antiviral signaling. We found that Influenza virus- and RV-induced EGFR activation suppressed IFN regulatory factor (IRF) 1-induced IFN-? production and increased viral infection. In addition, inhibition of EGFR during viral infection augmented IRF1 and IFN-?, which resulted in decreased viral titers in vitro and in vivo. These findings describe a novel mechanism that viruses use to suppress endogenous antiviral defenses, and provide potential targets for future therapies.