Protective role of interferon regulatory factor 3-mediated signaling against prion infection

Daisuke Ishibashi, Ryuichiro Atarashi, Takayuki Fuse, Takehiro Nakagaki, Naohiro Yamaguchi, Katsuya Satoh, Kenya Honda, Noriyuki Nishidaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) generated from the cellular isoform of PrP (PrPC) is assumed to be the main or sole component of the pathogen, called prion, of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). Because PrP is a host-encoded protein, acquired immune responses are not induced in TSE. Meanwhile, activation of the innate immune system has been suggested to partially block the progression of TSE; however, the mechanism is not well understood. To further elucidate the role of the innate immune system in prion infection, we investigated the function of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3), a key transcription factor of the MyD88-independent type I interferon (IFN) production pathway. We found that IRF3-deficient mice exhibited significantly earlier onset with three murine TSE strains, namely, 22L, FK-1, and murine bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mBSE), following intraperitoneal transmission, than with wild-type controls. Moreover, overexpression of IRF3 attenuated prion infection in the cell culture system, while PrPSc was increased in prion-infected cells treated with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against IRF3, suggesting that IRF3 negatively regulates PrPSc formation. Our findings provide new insight into the role of the host innate immune system in the pathogenesis of prion diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4947-4955
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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