Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ( IF 9.412 ) Pub Date : 2020-10-15 , DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2014940117 Kevin L. McKnight, Karen V. Swanson, Kathryn Austgen, Cindy Richards, Jonathan K. Mitchell, David R. McGivern, Ethan Fritch, John Johnson, Katja Remlinger, Michal Magid-Slav, Maryna Kapustina, Shihyun You, Stanley M. Lemon
Human rhinoviruses (RVs) are positive-strand RNA viruses that cause respiratory tract disease in children and adults. Here we show that the innate immune signaling protein STING is required for efficient replication of members of two distinct RV species, RV-A and RV-C. The host factor activity of STING was identified in a genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) screen and confirmed in primary human small airway epithelial cells. Replication of RV-A serotypes was strictly dependent on STING, whereas RV-B serotypes were notably less dependent. Subgenomic RV-A and RV-C RNA replicons failed to amplify in the absence of STING, revealing it to be required for a step in RNA replication. STING was expressed on phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI4P)-enriched membranes and was enriched in RV-A16 compared with RV-B14 replication organelles isolated in isopycnic gradients. The host factor activity of STING was species-specific, as murine STING (mSTING) did not rescue RV-A16 replication in STING-deficient cells. This species specificity mapped primarily to the cytoplasmic, ligand-binding domain of STING. Mouse-adaptive mutations in the RV-A16 2C protein allowed for robust replication in cells expressing mSTING, suggesting a role for 2C in recruiting STING to RV-A replication organelles. Palmitoylation of STING was not required for RV-A16 replication, nor was the C-terminal tail of STING that mediates IRF3 signaling. Despite co-opting STING to promote its replication, interferon signaling in response to STING agonists remained intact in RV-A16 infected cells. These data demonstrate a surprising requirement for a key host mediator of innate immunity to DNA viruses in the life cycle of a small pathogenic RNA virus.