Merkling SH, Bronkhorst AW, Kramer JM, Overheul GJ, Schenck A, Van Rij RP
Little is known about the tolerance mechanisms that reduce the negative effects of microbial infection on host fitness. Here, we demonstrate that the histone H3 lysine 9 methyltransferase G9a regulates tolerance to virus infection by shaping the response of the evolutionary conserved Jak-Stat pathway in Drosophila. G9a-deficient mutants are more sensitive to RNA virus infection and succumb faster to infection than wild-type controls, which was associated with strongly increased Jak-Stat dependent responses, but not with major differences in viral load. Genetic experiments indicate that hyperactivated Jak-Stat responses are associated with early lethality in virus-infected flies. Our results identify an essential epigenetic mechanism underlying tolerance to virus infection.