Data_Sheet_7_E3 ligase RNF5 inhibits type I interferon response in herpes simplex virus keratitis through the STING/IRF3 signaling pathway.ZIP
Herpes simplex keratitis (HSK), caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), is a major blinding disease in developed countries. HSV-1 can remain latent in the host for life and cannot be eradicated. The infection causes the secretion of various cytokines and aggregation of inflammatory cells. In the early stage of inflammation, mainly neutrophils infiltrate the cornea, and CD4+ T cells mediate the immunopathological changes in herpetic stromal keratitis in the subsequent progression. The STING/IRF3-mediated type I interferon (IFN) response can effectively inhibit viral replication and control infection, but the activity of STING is affected by various ubiquitination modifications. In this study, we found that the expression of RNF5 was elevated in corneal tissues and corneal epithelial cells after infection with HSV-1. Immunofluorescence staining confirmed that RNF5 was mainly expressed in the corneal epithelial layer. We silenced and overexpressed RNF5 expression in corneal epithelial cells and then inoculated them with HSV-1. We found that the expressions of STING, p-IRF3, p-TBK1, and IFN-β mRNA increased after RNF5 silencing. The opposite results were obtained after RNF5 overexpression. We also used siRNA to silence RNF5 in the mouse cornea and then established the HSK model. Compared with the siRNA-control group, the siRNA-RNF5 group showed significantly improved corneal inflammation, reduced clinical scores and tear virus titers, and significantly increased corneal IFN-β expression. In addition, the expressions of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α in the corneal tissue were significantly decreased, indicating that RNF5 silencing could effectively promote IFN-I expression, inhibit virus replication, alleviate inflammation, and reduce corneal inflammatory damage. In summary, our results suggest that RNF5 limits the type I IFN antiviral response in HSV corneal epithelitis by inhibiting STING/IRF3 signaling.