Post-translational modification of ribosomal subunit proteins (RPs) is emerging as an important means of regulating gene expression. Recently, regulatory ubiquitination of small RPs RPS10 and RPS20 by the ubiquitin ligase ZNF598 was found to function in ribosome sensing and stalling on internally polyadenylated mRNAs during ribosome quality control (RQC). Here, we reveal that ZNF598 and RPS10 negatively regulate interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression in primary cells, depletion of which induced ISG expression and a broad antiviral state. However, cell lines lacking interferon responses revealed that ZNF598 E3 ligase activity and ubiquitination of RPS20, but not RPS10, were specifically required for poxvirus replication and synthesis of poxvirus proteins whose encoding mRNAs contain unusual 5′ poly(A) leaders. Our findings reveal distinct functions for ZNF598 and its downstream RPS targets, one that negatively regulates ISG expression and infection by a range of viruses while the other is positively exploited by poxviruses. In addition to repressing poly(A) readthrough during ribosome quality control, DiGiuseppe et al. report that ZNF598 and RPS10 negatively regulate interferon-stimulated gene expression (ISG). However, in cell lines lacking ISG responses, ZNF598 ubiquitin ligase activity and RPS20 ubiquitination are specifically required by poxviruses, which produce unusual mRNAs with 5′ poly(A) leaders.
DiGiuseppe, S., Rollins, M. G., Bartom, E. T., & Walsh, D. (2018). ZNF598 Plays Distinct Roles in Interferon-Stimulated Gene Expression and Poxvirus Protein Synthesis. Cell Reports, 23(5), 1249–1258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.03.132