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The actin cytoskeleton and its network of associated proteins constitute a physical barrier that viruses must circumvent to gain entry into cells for productive infection. The mechanisms by which the physical signals of infection are sensed by the host to activate an innate immune response are not well understood. The antiviral endoribonuclease RNase L is ubiquitously expressed in a latent form and activated upon binding 2-5A, a unique oligoadenylate produced during viral infections. We provide evidence that RNase L in its inactive form interacts with the actin-binding protein Filamin A to modulate the actin cytoskeleton and inhibit virus entry. Cells lacking either RNase L or Filamin A displayed increased virus entry which was exacerbated in cells lacking both proteins. RNase L deletion mutants that reduced Filamin A interaction displayed a compromised ability to restrict virus entry, supporting the idea of an important role for the RNase L-Filamin A complex in barrier function. Remarkably, both the wild type and a catalytically inactive RNase L mutant were competent to reduce virus entry when transfected into RNase L-deficient cells, indicating that this novel function of RNase L is independent of its enzymatic activity. Virus infection and RNase L activation disrupt its association with Filamin A and release RNase L to mediate its canonical nuclease-dependent antiviral activities. The dual functions of RNase L as a constitutive component of the actin cytoskeleton and as an induced mediator of antiviral signaling and effector functions provide insights into its mechanisms of antiviral activity and opportunities for the development of novel antiviral agents.


This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant AI089518 (K.M.) and startup funds from the University of Toledo (K.M.) and, in part, by the NIH (NIAID grant AI077556 to B.A.H. and NIDDK grant DK084460-01A2 to A.Z.).

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.




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