Structural and functional analysis of interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) reveals a novel regulatory model in an invertebrate,Crassostrea gigas

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Interferon regulatory factors (IRF), a family of transcription factors, are involved in the regulation of interferon to response the pathogen infection. Here, three IRF-like genes including CgIRF1a, CgIRF1b and CgIRF8 were identified in the genome of the oyster C. gigas. Among these genes, CgIRF1a and CgIRF1b, which are tandemly located in adjacent loci of scaffold 4, share the same domains. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that CgIRF1a and CgIRF1b were two paralogs that may originate from duplication of the same ancestral IRF gene. Subcellular localization analysis confirmed the nuclear distribution of CgIRF1a and CgIRF1b. Dual-luciferase reporter assay showed that CgIRF1a significantly activated the ISRE reporter gene, whereas CgIRF1b did not. Additionally, overexpression of CgIRF1b could significantly suppress the activation effect of CgIRF1a, which strongly suggests that CgIRF1b may serve as a regulator of the IRF signaling pathway. Furthermore, the result of native page revealed that CgIRF1a would form homologous dimers, and CgIRF1b would interact with CgIRF1a to inhibit the activity of the latter. Taken together, one novel regulatory model of IRF signaling pathways has been raised one paralog of IRF has evolved and appears to be a regulator of IRF.HighlightsThree genes from Crassostrea gigas encoding IRFs were identified.CgIRF1a and CgIRF1b were two paralogs which were tandemly located in adjacent loci and shared the same domains.CgIRF1a significantly activated the ISRE reporter gene.CgIRF1b may serve as one regulator of the IRF signaling pathway by effectively inhibiting the activity of CgIRF1a.

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