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Human Hemoglobin Subunit Beta Functions as a Pleiotropic Regulator of RIG-I/MDA5-Mediated Antiviral Innate Immune Responses

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  • Qian Yang
  • Si-Yu Bai
  • Lian-Feng Li
  • Su Li
  • Yuexiu Zhang
  • Muhammad Munir
  • Hua-Ji Qiu
Article numbere00718-19
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/07/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Virology
Issue number16
Number of pages21
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date5/06/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Hemoglobin is an important oxygen-carrying protein and plays crucial roles in establishing host resistance against pathogens and in regulating innate immune responses. The hemoglobin subunit beta (HB) is an essential component of hemoglobin, and we have previously demonstrated that the antiviral role of the porcine HB (pHB) is mediated by promoting type I interferon pathways. Thus, considering the high homology between human HB (hHB) and pHB, we hypothesized that hHB also plays an important role in the antiviral innate immunity. In this study, we characterized hHB as a regulatory factor for the replication of RNA viruses by differentially regulating the RIG-I- and MDA5-mediated antiviral signaling pathways. Furthermore, we showed that hHB directly inhibited MDA5-mediated signaling by reducing the MDA5-double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) interaction. Additionally, hHB required hHB-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) to promote RIG-I-mediated signaling through enhancement of K63-linked RIG-I ubiquitination. Taken together, our findings suggest that hHB is a pleiotropic regulator of RIG-I/MDA5-mediated antiviral responses and further highlight the importance of the intercellular microenvironment, including the redox state, in regulating antiviral innate immune responses. IMPORTANCE Hemoglobin, the most important oxygen-carrying protein, is involved in the regulation of innate immune responses. We have previously reported that the porcine hemoglobin subunit beta (HB) exerts antiviral activity through regulation of type I interferon production. However, the antiviral activities and the underlying mechanisms of HBs originating from other animals have been poorly understood. Here, we identified human HB (hHB) as a pleiotropic regulator of the replication of RNA viruses through regulation of RIG-I/MDA5-mediated signaling pathways. hHB enhances RIG-I-mediated antiviral responses by promoting RIG-I ubiquitination depending on the hHB-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS), while it blocks MDA5-mediated antiviral signaling by suppressing the MDA5-dsRNA interaction. Our results contribute to an understanding of the crucial roles of hHB in the regulation of the RIG-I/MDA5-mediated signaling pathways. We also provide novel insight into the correlation of the intercellular redox state with the regulation of antiviral innate immunity.

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Copyright © 2019 Yang et al.