SOCS-1 mimetics protect mice against lethal poxvirus infection: identification of a novel endogenous antiviral system
Ahmed, C. M.
Waiboci, Lillian Wangechi
Jager, L. D.
Heron, L. L.
Johnson, H. M.
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The suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS-1) protein modulates cytokine signaling by binding to and inhibiting the function of Janus kinases (JAKs), ErbB, and other tyrosine kinases. We have developed a small tyrosine kinase inhibitor peptide (Tkip) that binds to the autophosphorylation site of tyrosine kinases and inhibits activation of STAT transcription factors. We have also shown that a peptide corresponding to the kinase-inhibitory region of SOCS-1, SOCS1-KIR, similarly interacts with the activation loop of JAK2 and blocks STAT activation. Poxviruses activate cellular tyrosine kinases, such as ErbB-1 and JAK2, in the infection of cells. We used the pathogenesis of vaccinia virus in C57BL/6 mice to determine the ability of the SOCS-1 mimetics to protect mice against lethal vaccinia virus infection. Injection of mice intraperitoneally with Tkip or SOCS1-KIR containing a palmitate for cell penetration, before and at the time of intranasal challenge with 2 x 10(6) PFU of vaccinia virus, resulted in complete protection at 100 microg. Initiation of treatment 1 day postinfection resulted in 80% survival. Administration of SOCS-1 mimetics by the oral route also protected mice against lethal effects of the virus. Both SOCS1-KIR and Tkip inhibited vaccinia virus transcription and replication at early and possibly later stages of infection. Vaccinia virus-induced phosphorylation of ErbB-1 and JAK2 was inhibited by the mimetics. Protected mice mounted a strong humoral and cellular response to vaccinia virus. The use of SOCS-1 mimetics in the treatment of poxvirus infections reveals an endogenous regulatory system that previously was not known to have an antiviral function.
Department of Medicine. College of Health Sciences. University of Nairobi