Activation of RNase L is dependent on OAS3 expression during infection with diverse human viruses

Yize Li, Shuvojit Banerjee, Yuyan Wang, Stephen A. Goldstein, Beihua Dong, Christina Gaughan, Robert H. Silverman, Susan R. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


The 2',5'-oligoadenylate (2-5A) synthetase (OAS)-RNase L system is an IFN-induced antiviral pathway. RNase L activity depends on 2-5A, synthesized by OAS. Although all three enzymatically active OAS proteins in humans-OAS1, OAS2, and OAS3-synthesize 2-5A upon binding dsRNA, it is unclear which are responsible for RNase L activation during viral infection. We used clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease (Cas9) technology to engineer human A549-derived cell lines in which each of the OAS genes or RNase L is knocked out. Upon transfection with poly(rI):poly(rC), a synthetic surrogate for viral dsRNA, or infection with each of four viruses from different groups (West Nile virus, Sindbis virus, influenza virus, or vaccinia virus), OAS1-KO and OAS2-KO cells synthesized amounts of 2-5A similar to those synthesized in parental wild-type cells, causing RNase L activation as assessed by rRNA degradation. In contrast, OAS3-KO cells synthesized minimal 2-5A, and rRNA remained intact, similar to infected RNase L-KO cells. All four viruses replicated to higher titers in OAS3-KO or RNase L-KO A549 cells than in parental, OAS1-KO, or OAS2-KO cells, demonstrating the antiviral effects of OAS3. OAS3 displayed a higher affinity for dsRNA in intact cells than either OAS1 or OAS2, consistent with its dominant role in RNase L activation. Finally, the requirement for OAS3 as the major OAS isoform responsible for RNase L activation was not restricted to A549 cells, because OAS3-KO cells derived from two other human cell lines also were deficient in RNase L activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2241-2246
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 23 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-5A
  • Antiviral response
  • Oligoadenylate synthetase 3
  • Ribonuclease L
  • Type I interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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