Like many animal viruses, those of the Rhabdoviridae family, are able to antagonize the type I interferon response and cause disease in mammalian hosts. Though these negative-stranded RNA viruses are very simple and code for as few as five proteins, they have been seen to completely abrogate the type I interferon response early in infection. In this review, we will discuss the viral organization and type I interferon evasion of rhabdoviruses, focusing on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and rabies virus (RABV). Despite their structural similarities, VSV and RABV have completely different mechanisms by which they avert the host immune response. VSV relies on the matrix protein to interfere with host gene transcription and nuclear export of anti-viral mRNAs. Alternatively, RABV uses its phosphoprotein to interfere with IRF-3 phosphorylation and STAT1 signaling. Understanding the virus-cell interactions and viral proteins necessary to evade the immune response is important in developing effective vaccines and therapeutics for this viral family
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