The interferon stimulated gene viperin, restricts Shigella. flexneri in vitro Academic Article uri icon


  • The role of interferon and interferon stimulated genes (ISG) in limiting bacterial infection is controversial, and the role of individual ISGs in the control of the bacterial life-cycle is limited. Viperin, is a broad acting anti-viral ISGs, which restricts multiple viral pathogens with diverse mechanisms. Viperin is upregulated early in some bacterial infections, and using the intracellular bacterial pathogen, S. flexneri, we have shown for the first time that viperin inhibits the intracellular bacterial life cycle. S. flexneri replication in cultured cells induced a predominantly type I interferon response, with an early increase in viperin expression. Ectopic expression of viperin limited S. flexneri cellular numbers by as much as 80% at 5hrs post invasion, with similar results also obtained for the intracellular pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes. Analysis of viperins functional domains required for anti-bacterial activity revealed the importance of both viperin's N-terminal, and its radical SAM enzymatic function. Live imaging of S. flexneri revealed impeded entry into viperin expressing cells, which corresponded to a loss of cellular cholesterol. This data further defines viperin's multi-functional role, to include the ability to limit intracellular bacteria; and highlights the role of ISGs and the type I IFN response in the control of bacterial pathogens.

publication date

  • 2019