RSV replication modifies the XBP1s binding complex on the IRF1 upstream enhancer to potentiate the mucosal anti-viral response

Dianhua Qiao, Xiaofang Xu, Yueqing Zhang, Jun Yang, Allan R. Brasier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The unfolded protein response (UPR) has emerged as an important signaling pathway mediating anti-viral defenses to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection. Earlier we found that RSV replication predominantly activates the evolutionarily conserved Inositol Requiring Enzyme 1α (IRE1α)-X-Box Binding Protein 1 spliced (XBP1s) arm of the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) producing inflammation, metabolic adaptation and cellular plasticity, yet the mechanisms how the UPR potentiates inflammation are not well understood. Methods: To understand this process better, we examined the genomic response integrating RNA-seq and Cleavage Under Targets and Release Using Nuclease (CUT&RUN) analyses. These data were integrated with an RNA-seq analysis conducted on RSV-infected small airway cells ± an IRE1α RNAse inhibitor. Results: We identified RSV induced expression changes in ~3.2K genes; of these, 279 required IRE1α and were enriched in IL-10/cytokine signaling pathways. From this data set, we identify those genes directly under XBP1s control by CUT&RUN. Although XBP1s binds to ~4.2 K high-confidence genomic binding sites, surprisingly only a small subset of IL10/cytokine signaling genes are directly bound. We further apply CUT&RUN to find that RSV infection enhances XBP1s loading on 786 genomic sites enriched in AP1/Fra-1, RELA and SP1 binding sites. These control a subset of cytokine regulatory factor genes including IFN response factor 1 (IRF1), CSF2, NFKB1A and DUSP10. Focusing on the downstream role of IRF1, selective knockdown (KD) and overexpression experiments demonstrate IRF1 induction controls type I and -III interferon (IFN) and IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) expression, demonstrating that ISG are indirectly regulated by XBP1 through IRF1 transactivation. Examining the mechanism of IRF1 activation, we observe that XBP1s directly binds a 5’ enhancer sequence whose XBP1s loading is increased by RSV. The functional requirement for the enhancer is demonstrated by targeting a dCas9-KRAB silencer, reducing IRF1 activation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation shows that XBP1 is required, but not sufficient, for RSV-induced recruitment of activated phospho-Ser2 Pol II to the enhancer. Discussion: We conclude that XBP1s is a direct activator of a core subset of IFN and cytokine regulatory genes in response to RSV. Of these IRF1 is upstream of the type III IFN and ISG response. We find that RSV modulates the XBP1s binding complex on the IRF1 5’ enhancer whose activation is required for IRF1 expression. These findings provide novel insight into how the IRE1α-XBP1s pathway potentiates airway mucosal anti-viral responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1197356
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Cleavage Under Targets and Release Using Nuclease (CUT&RUN)
  • X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1)
  • innate immunity
  • inositol requiring enzyme (IRE1)
  • interferon regulatory factor 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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