Viperin is a multifunctional interferon-inducible broad-spectrum antiviral protein. Viperin belongs to the S-Adenosylmethionine (SAM) superfamily of enzymes known to catalyze a wide variety of radical-mediated reactions. However, the exact mechanism by which viperin exerts its functions is still unclear. Interestingly, for many RNA viruses viperin was shown to inhibit viral RNA accumulation by interacting with different viral non-structural proteins. Here, we show that viperin inhibits RNA synthesis by bacteriophage T7 polymerase in mammalian cells. This inhibition is specific and occurs at the RNA level. Viperin expression significantly reduced T7-mediated cytoplasmic RNA levels. The data showing that viperin inhibits the bacteriophage T7 polymerase supports the conservation of viperin's antiviral activity between species. These results highlight the possibility that viperin might utilize a broader mechanism of inhibition. Accordingly, our results suggest a novel mechanism involving polymerase inhibition and provides a tractable system for future mechanistic studies of viperin.
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