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Interferon-induced ubiquitin (Ub)-like modifier ISG15 covalently modifies host and viral proteins to restrict viral infections. Its function is counteracted by the canonical deISGylase USP18 or Ub-specific protease 18. Notwithstanding indications for the existence of other ISG15 cross-reactive proteases, these remain to be identified. Here, we identify deubiquitinase USP16 as an ISG15 cross-reactive protease by means of ISG15 activity-based profiling. Recombinant USP16 cleaved pro-ISG15 and ISG15 isopeptide-linked model substrates in vitro, as well as ISGylated substrates from cell lysates. Moreover, interferon-induced stimulation of ISGylation was increased by depletion of USP16. The USP16-dependent ISG15 interactome indicated that the deISGylating function of USP16 may regulate metabolic pathways. Targeted enzymes include malate dehydrogenase, cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase 1, fructose-bisphosphate aldolase A, and cytoplasmic glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase 1. USP16 may thus contribute to the regulation of a subset of metabolism-related proteins during type-I interferon responses.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date