Inhibition of USP14 influences alphaherpesvirus proliferation by degrading viral VP16 protein via ER stress-triggered selective autophagy
Alphaherpesvirus infection results in severe health consequences in a wide range of hosts. USPs are the largest subfamily of deubiquitinating enzymes that play critical roles in immunity and other cellular functions. To investigate the role of USPs in alphaherpesvirus replication, we assessed 13 USP inhibitors for PRV replication. Our data showed that all the tested compounds inhibited PRV replication, with the USP14 inhibitor b-AP15 exhibiting the most dramatic effect. Ablation of USP14 also influenced PRV replication, whereas replenishment of USP14 in USP14 null cells restored viral replication. Although inhibition of USP14 induced the K63-linked ubiquitination of PRV VP16 protein, its degradation was not dependent on the proteasome. USP14 directly bound to ubiquitin chains on VP16 through its UBL domain during the early stage of viral infection. Moreover, USP14 inactivation stimulated EIF2AK3/PERK- and ERN1/IRE1-mediated signaling pathways, which were responsible for VP16 degradation through SQSTM1/p62-mediated selective macroautophagy/autophagy. Ectopic expression of non-ubiquitinated VP16 fully rescued PRV replication. Challenge of mice with b-AP15 activated ER stress and autophagy and inhibited PRV infection in vivo. Our results suggested that USP14 was a potential therapeutic target to treat alphaherpesvirus-induced infectious diseases.