Unc93b Induces Apoptotic Cell Death and Is Cleaved by Host and Enteroviral Proteases.

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Unc93b is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident transmembrane protein that serves to bind and traffic toll-like receptors (TLRs) from the ER to their appropriate subcellular locations for ligand sensing. Because of its role in TLR trafficking, Unc93b is necessary for an effective innate immune response to coxsackievirus B3 (CVB), a positive-sense single stranded RNA virus belonging to the enterovirus family. Here, we show that Unc93b is cleaved by a CVB-encoded cysteine protease (3Cpro) during viral replication. Further, we define a role for Unc93b in the induction of apoptotic cell death and show that expression of wild-type Unc93b, but not a mutant incapable of binding TLRs or exiting the ER (H412R), induces apoptosis. Furthermore, we show that cellular caspases activated during apoptosis directly cleave Unc93b. Interestingly, we show that the 3Cpro- and caspase-mediated cleavage of Unc93b both occur within ten amino acids in the distal N-terminus of Unc93b. Mechanistically, neither caspase-mediated nor 3Cpro-mediated cleavage of Unc93b altered its trafficking function, inhibited its role in facilitating TLR3 or TLR8 signaling, or altered its apoptosis-inducing effects. Taken together, our studies show that Unc93b is targeted by both viral- and host cell-specific proteases and identify a function of Unc93b in the induction of apoptotic cell death.





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Harris, Katharine G, and Carolyn B Coyne (2015). Unc93b Induces Apoptotic Cell Death and Is Cleaved by Host and Enteroviral Proteases. PloS one, 10(10). p. e0141383. 10.1371/journal.pone.0141383 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22592.

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Carolyn Coyne

George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor of Immunology

We study the pathways by which microorganisms cross cellular barriers and the mechanisms by which these barriers restrict microbial infections. Our studies primarily focus on the epithelium that lines the gastrointestinal tract and on placental trophoblasts, the cells that comprise a key cellular barrier of the human placenta. Our work is highly multidisciplinary and encompasses aspects of cell biology, immunology, and microbiology. Our long-term goals are to identify pathogen- and host-specific therapeutic targets to prevent or treat microbial infections and ultimately to alleviate the morbidity and mortality caused by these infections.

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