The MOV10 helicase restricts hepatitis B virus replication by inhibiting viral reverse transcription [Microbiology]

November 13th, 2019 by Tingting Liu, Qingsong Sun, Yong Liu, Shan Cen, Quan Zhang

Interferons inhibit viruses by inducing antiviral protein expression. One of the interferon-induced antiviral proteins, human Moloney leukemia virus 10 (MOV10), a superfamily 1 RNA helicase, has been shown to inhibit retroviruses and several RNA viruses. However, it remains undetermined whether MOV10 also inhibits DNA viruses, including hepatitis B virus (HBV). Here, we report that MOV10 dramatically reduces the levels of intracellular HBV DNA, resulting in significant inhibition of both the HBV experimental strain and the clinical isolates. Mechanistic experiments revealed that MOV10 interacts with HBV RNA and blocks the early step of viral reverse transcription, thereby impairing viral DNA synthesis, without affecting viral gene expression and pregenomic RNA encapsidation. Moreover, mutation of the helicase domain of MOV10 caused loss of binding to HBV RNA and of the anti-HBV activity. Together, our results indicate that MOV10 restricts HBV replication, insights that may open new avenues to the development of anti-HBV therapeutics.