Bats host a large number of zoonotic viruses, including several viruses that are highly pathogenic to other mammals. The mechanisms underlying this rich viral diversity are unknown, but they may be linked to unique immunological features that allow bats to act as asymptomatic viral reservoirs. Vertebrates respond to viral infection by inducing IFNs, which trigger antiviral defenses through IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) expression. Although the IFN systemof several bats ischaracterized at the genomic level, lessis known about bat IFN-mediated transcriptional responses. In this article, we show that IFN signaling in bat cells from the black flying fox (Pteropus alecto) consists of conserved and unique ISG expression profiles. In IFN-stimulated cells, bat ISGs comprise two unique temporal subclusters with similar early induction kinetics but distinct late-phase declines. In contrast, human ISGs lack this decline phase and remained elevated for longer periods. Notably, in unstimulated cells, bat ISGs were expressed more highly than their human counterparts. We also found that the antiviral effector 2-5A-dependent endoribonuclease, which is not an ISG in humans, is highly IFN inducible in black flying fox cells and contributes to cell-intrinsic control of viral infection. These studies reveal distinctive innate immune features that may underlie a unique virus-host relationship in bats.
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