Nonstructural protein of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome phlebovirus inhibits TBK1 to evade interferon-mediated response

Jae Kyung Lee, Ok Sarah Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) is an emerging phlebovirus of the Phenuiviridae family that has been circulating in the following Asian countries: Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan, China, Japan, and South Korea. Despite the increasing infection rates and relatively high mortality rate, there is limited information available regarding SFTSV pathogenesis. In addition, there are currently no vaccines or effective antiviral treatments available. Previous reports have shown that SFTSV suppresses the host immune response and its nonstructural proteins (NSs) function as an antagonist of type I interferon (IFN), whose induction is an essential part of the host defense system against viral infections. Given that SFTSV NSs suppress the innate immune response by inhibiting type I IFN, we investigated the mechanism utilized by SFTSV NSs to evade IFN-mediated response. Our co-immunoprecipitation data suggest the interactions between NSs and retinoic acid inducible gene-I (RIG-I) or TANK binding kinase 1 (TBK1). Furthermore, confocal analysis indicates the ability of NSs to sequester RIG-I and related downstream molecules in the cytoplasmic structures called inclusion bodies (IBs). NSs are also capable of inhibiting TBK1-interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) interaction, and therefore prevent the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of IRF3 for the induction of type I IFN. The ability of SFTSV NSs to interact with and sequester TBK1 and IRF3 in IBs demonstrate an effective yet unique method utilized by SFTSV to evade and suppress host immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-232
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology


  • Inclusion bodies
  • Innate immune response
  • TBK1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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