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Keap1 recognizes EIAV early accessory protein Rev to promote antiviral defense

By Yan Wang, GuanQin Ma, Xue-Feng Wang, Lei Na, Xing Guo, Jiaqi Zhang, Cong Liu, Cheng Du, Yuezhi Lin, Xiaojun Wang

Posted 29 Sep 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.09.29.462336

The Nrf2/Keap1 axis plays a complex role in viral susceptibility, virus-associated inflammation and immune regulation. However, whether or how the Nrf2/Keap1 axis is involved in the interactions between equine lentiviruses and their hosts remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the Nrf2/Keap1 axis was activated during EIAV infection. Mechanistically, EIAV-Rev competitively binds to Keap1 and releases Nrf2 from Keap1-mediated repression, leading to the accumulation of Nrf2 in the nucleus and promoting Nrf2 responsive genes transcription. Subsequently, we demonstrated that the Nrf2/Keap1 axis represses EIAV replication via two independent molecular mechanisms: directly increasing antioxidant enzymes to promote effective cellular resistance against EIAV infection, and repression of Rev-mediated RNA transport through direct interaction between Keap1 and Rev. Together, these data suggest that activation of the Nrf2/Keap1 axis mediates a passive defensive response to combat EIAV infection. The Nrf2/Keap1 axis could be a potential target for developing the strategies for combating EIAV infection.

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