Viral induction of the zinc finger antiviral protein is IRF3-dependent but NF-κB-independent

Nan Wang, Qingming Dong, Jingjing Li, Rohit K. Jangra, Meiyun Fan, Allan R. Brasier, Stanley M. Lemon, Lawrence M. Pfeffer, Kui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP) is an interferon-stimulated gene that restricts the replication of retroviruses, alpha-viruses, and filoviruses. Relatively little is known, however, regarding the detailed mechanism of ZAP induction during viral infections. We show that, although being inducible by either interferon or virus, expression of ZAP is more efficiently activated by virus than are several other classical interferon-stimulated genes and that viral induction of ZAP occurs under the direct control of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) independent of interferon paracrine/autocrine signaling. ZAP was upregulated in cells unresponsive to type I and III interferons upon engagement of TLR3, retinoic inducible gene I/melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 pathways, or ectopic expression of a constitutively active IRF3 mutant. Conversely, induction of ZAP by virus or dsRNA was severely impaired in cells expressing a dominant-negative mutant IRF3 and completely abrogated in cells lacking IRF3. In contrast to IRF3, ZAP induction was independent of NF-κB activity. Mutational analysis of the human ZAP promoter revealed that multiple interferon-stimulated response elements far distal to the transcription start site serve redundantly to control IRF3-dependent induction of ZAP transcription. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that IRF3 selectively binds the distal interferon-stimulated response elements in human ZAP promoter following viral infection. Collectively, these data suggest that ZAP is a direct target gene of IRF3 action in cellular antiviral responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6080-6090
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 26 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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