Vaccinia virus has evolved multiple mechanisms to counteract the interferon-induced antiviral host cell response. Recently, two vaccinia virus gene products were shown to interfere with the activity of the double- stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR): the K3L gene product and the E3L gene product. We have evaluated the efficiency by which these gene products inhibit PKR and whether they act in a synergistic manner. The effects of the two vaccinia virus gene products were compared in an in vivo system in which translation of a reporter gene (dihydrofolate reductase or eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α [eIF-2α]) was inhibited because of the localized activation of PKR. In this system, the E3L gene product, and to a lesser extent the K3L gene product, potentiated translation of the reporter gene and inhibited eIF-2α phosphorylation. Analysis in vitro demonstrated that the E3L gene product inhibited PKR approximately 50- to 100-fold more efficiently than the K3L gene product. However, further studies demonstrated that the mechanism of action of these two inhibitors was different. Whereas the E3L inhibitor interfered with the binding of the kinase to double- stranded RNA, the K3L inhibitor did not. We propose that the K3L inhibitor acts through its homology to eIF-2α to interfere with the interaction of eIF-2α with PKR. The two inhibitors did not display a synergistic effect on translation or eIF-2α phosphorylation. In addition, neither K3L nor E3L expression detectably altered cellular protein synthesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science