The Functions of Autophagy Genes and Interferon Regulatory Factor 1 in Interferon Gamma Mediated Control of Murine Norovirus Infection

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2013

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Immunology)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Human noroviruses (HuNVs) account for the majority of the non-bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. Symptoms of HuNV infection are generally self-limiting and typically resolve within 72 hrs implicating innate immune mechanisms in their control. Interferons (IFNs) are central to early host defense and are likely involved in restricting HuNV infection. However, in the absence of a culturable HuNV, studies of the immune mechanisms that restrict HuNV replication are limited. To study the role of IFNs, in particular interferon gamma, (IFNg) and the antiviral machinery they employ to control norovirus (NV) infection, we utilized murine norovirus (MNV) as a model of NV pathogenesis and IFN-mediated control. We found that the autophagy proteins, Atg 5, 7 and 16 are important for control of MNV by IFNg in macrophages. These proteins are best known as essential participants in macroautophapy (herein autophagy) which is the process by which cells engulf and digest self components. Here, we demonstrate that the action of these molecules in control of MNV represent a non-canonical function of these proteins. Furthermore, we have shown that IFNg acts downstream of initial viral protein translation but upstream of replication of the viral genomes in an Atg5 dependent manner. Moreover we confirmed the in vivo relevance of Atg5-mediated IFNg effects. Furthermore, we found that the transcription factor, interferon regulatory factor (IRF-1), was important for control of MNV replication in vivo and required for IFNg mediated inhibition of MNV in cultured cells. Despite reported roles of IRF-1 in coordinating type I IFN induction and action, we establish that IFNg mediated inhibition of MNV was IRF-1 dependent but IFNalpha/beta independent. Furthermore, we have used microarray analyses to identify genes that are transcriptionally regulated by STAT-1 and IRF-1 and which we speculate contribute to IFNã direct antiviral effects. These studies identify a novel IFNg-mediated antiviral mechanism involving autophagy proteins. Furthermore, they demonstrate a role of IRF-1 in control of MNV infection and provide new targets for investigation that may further elucidate the molecular mechanisms of IFNg direct antiviral effects.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Herbert W Virgin

Committee Members

Marco Colonna, Michael Diamond, Deborah Lenschow, Robert Schreiber, Thaddeus Stappenbeck


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7MG7MD4

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