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Interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) plays a key role in the production of IFN‐α in response to viral infection, and phosphorylation at IRF7 C‐terminal serine sites is prelude to its function. However, phosphatases that negatively regulate IRF7 phosphorylation and activity have not been reported. In this study, we have identified a conserved protein phosphatase 1 (PP1)‐binding motif in human and mouse IRF7 proteins, and shown that PP1 physically interacts with IRF7. Exogenous expression of PP1 subunits (PP1α, β, or γ) ablates IKKε‐stimulated IRF7 phosphorylation and dramatically attenuates IRF7 transcriptional activity. Inhibition of PP1 activity significantly increases IRF7 phosphorylation and IRF7‐mediated IFN‐α production in response to Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection or Toll‐like receptor 7 (TLR7) challenge, leading to impaired viral replication. In addition, IFN treatment, TLR challenges and viral infection induce PP1 expression. Our findings disclose for the first time a pivotal role for PP1 in impeding IRF7‐mediated IFN‐α production in host immune responses.

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This document is an author manuscript from PMC. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at European Journal of Immunology.