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Paper Chase

The favorable IFNL3 genotype escapes mRNA decay mediated by AU-rich elements and hepatitis C virus-induced microRNAs.

Nat. Immunol.. 11 17, 2013;15(1):72-9.
McFarland AP, Horner SM, Jarret A, Joslyn RC, Bindewald E, Shapiro BA, Delker DA, Hagedorn CH, Carrington M, Gale M, Savan R.

Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Abstract:

IFNL3, which encodes interferon-λ3 (IFN-λ3), has received considerable attention in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) field, as many independent genome-wide association studies have identified a strong association between polymorphisms near IFNL3 and clearance of HCV. However, the mechanism underlying this association has remained elusive. In this study, we report the identification of a functional polymorphism (rs4803217) in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of IFNL3 mRNA that dictated transcript stability. We found that this polymorphism influenced AU-rich element (ARE)-mediated decay (AMD) of IFNL3 mRNA, as well as the binding of HCV-induced microRNAs during infection. Together these pathways mediated robust repression of the unfavorable IFNL3 polymorphism. Our data reveal a previously unknown mechanism by which HCV attenuates the antiviral response and indicate new potential therapeutic targets for HCV treatment.