Type I interferon is known to inhibit HIV-1 replication through the induction of interferon stimulated genes (ISG), including a number of HIV-1 restriction factors. To better understand interferon-mediated HIV-1 restriction, we constructed a constitutively active form of the RIG-I adapter protein MAVS. Constitutive MAVS was generated by fusion of full length MAVS to a truncated form of the Epstein Barr virus protein LMP1 (Î"LMP1). Supernatant from Î"LMP1-MAVS-transfected 293T cells contained high levels of type I interferons and inhibited HIV replication in both TZM-bl and primary human CD4+ T cells. Supernatant from Î"LMP1-MAVS-transfected 293T cells also inhibited replication of VSV-G pseudotyped single cycle SIV in TZM-bl cells, suggesting restriction was post-entry and common to both HIV and SIV. Gene array analysis of Î"LMP1-MAVS-transfected 293T cells and trans-activated CD4+ T cells showed significant upregulation of ISG, including previously characterized HIV restriction factors Viperin, Tetherin, MxB, and ISG56. Interferon blockade studies implicated interferon-beta in this response. In addition to direct viral inhibition, Î"LMP1- MAVS markedly enhanced secretion of IFN-β and IL-12p70 by dendritic cells and the activation and maturation of dendritic cells. Based on this immunostimulatory activity, an adenoviral vector (Ad5) expressing Î"LMP1-MAVS was tested as a molecular adjuvant in an HIV vaccine mouse model. Ad5-Gag antigen combined with Ad5-Î"LMP1-MAVS enhanced control of vaccinia-gag replication in a mouse challenge model, with 4/5 animals showing undetectable virus following challenge. Overall, Î"LMP1-MAVS is a promising reagent to inhibit HIV-1 replication in infected tissues and enhance vaccine-mediated immune responses, while avoiding toxicity associated with systemic type I interferon administration.
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