While negative effect of smoking on the resistance to viral infections was known, the underlying mechanisms remained unclear. Here we report that products of cigarette smoking compromise the cellular anti-viral defenses by inhibiting the signaling induced by Type I interferon (IFN). Cigarette smoking condensate (but not pure nicotine) stimulated specific serine phosphorylation-dependent ubiquitination and degradation of the IFNAR1 subunit of the Type I IFN receptor leading to attenuation of IFN signaling and decreased resistance to viral infection. This resistance was restored in cells where phosphorylation-dependent degradation of IFNAR1 is abolished. We conclude that smoking compromises cellular anti-viral defenses via degradation of Type I IFN receptor and discuss the significance of this mechanism for efficacy of IFN-based therapies.
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