Apoptosis is an important cellular response to viral infection. In this study, we identified activating molecule in Beclin1-regulated autophagy protein 1 (AMBRA1) as a positive regulator of apoptosis triggered by double-stranded (ds)RNA. Depletion of AMBRA1 by gene editing significantly reduced dsRNA-induced apoptosis, which was largely restored by trans-complementation of AMBRA1. Mechanistically, AMBRA1 interacts with mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS), a key mitochondrial adaptor in the apoptosis pathway induced by dsRNA and viral infection. Further co-immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that the mitochondrial localization of MAVS was essential for their interaction. The impact of AMBRA1 on dsRNA-induced apoptosis relied on the presence of MAVS and caspase-8. AMBRA1 was involved in the stabilization of MAVS through preventing its dsRNA-induced proteasomal degradation. Consistently, AMBRA1 upregulated the apoptosis induced by Semliki Forest virus infection. Taken together, our work illustrated a role for AMBRA1 in virus-induced apoptosis through interacting with and stabilizing MAVS.

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