Post-translational protein modification is an important strategy for the regulation of the cell proteome independent of the need for new gene expression. Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modifiers mediate the regulation of protein levels, signaling pathways, vesicular trafficking, and many other cellular processes through their covalent conjugation to proteins. Interferon stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) is a ubiquitin-like modifier induced by type I interferon. In addition to conjugating to potentially hundreds of target proteins, ISG15 can be found in an unconjugated form both inside of the cell and released from interferon stimulated cells into the extracellular environment. Due to its robust expression after type I interferon stimulation and the broad panel of proteins that it targets, ISG15 has drawn much attention as a potential regulator of the immune response and has been shown to mediate protection in a number of different viral infection models. Here we will review the current state of the field of ISG15, the viruses against which ISG15 mediates protection, and the mechanisms by which ISG15 exerts antiviral activity.
- innate immunity
- ubiquitin-like protein