IFN-γ is known as the initial and primary inducer of immunoproteasomes during viral infections. We now report that type I IFN induced the transcription and translation of immunoproteasome subunits, their incorporation into the proteasome complex, and the generation of an immunoproteasome-dependent CD8 T cell epitope in vitro and provide in vivo evidence that this mechanism occurs prior to IFN-γ responses at the site of viral infection. Type I IFN–mediated generation of immunoproteasomes was initiated by either poly(I:C) or HCV RNA in human hepatoma cells and was inhibited by neutralization of type I IFN. In serial liver biopsies of chimpanzees with acute HCV infection, increases in immunoproteasome subunit mRNA preceded intrahepatic IFN-γ responses by several weeks, instead coinciding with intrahepatic type I IFN responses. Thus, viral RNA–induced innate immune responses regulate the antigen-processing machinery, which occurs prior to the detection of IFN-γ at the site of infection. This mechanism may contribute to the high effectiveness (95%) of type I IFN–based therapies if administered early during HCV infection.
Eui-Cheol Shin, Ulrike Seifert, Takanobu Kato, Charles M. Rice, Stephen M. Feinstone, Peter-M. Kloetzel, Barbara Rehermann