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Comparison of the Innate Immune Responses to Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Clade B New World Arenaviruses
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine at Umeå University (WCMM). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Section of Virology. TWINCORE–Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Institute for Experimental Virology, Hannover, Germany.
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Virology, ISSN 0022-538X, E-ISSN 1098-5514, Vol. 93, no 19, article id e00148-19Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The New World (NW) arenaviruses are a diverse group of zoonotic viruses, including several causative agents of severe hemorrhagic fevers in humans. All known human-pathogenic NW arenaviruses belong to Glade B, where they group into sublineages with phylogenetically closely related nonpathogenic viruses, e.g., the highly pathogenic Junin (JUNV) and Machupo viruses with the nonpathogenic Tacaribe virus (TCRV). Considering the close genetic relationship of nonpathogenic and pathogenic NW arenaviruses, the identification of molecular determinants of virulence is of great importance. The host cell's innate antiviral defense represents a major barrier for zoonotic infection. Here, we performed a side-by-side comparison of the innate immune responses against JUNV and TCRV in human cells. Despite similar levels of viral replication, infection with TCRV consistently induced a stronger type I interferon (IFN-I) response than JUNV infection did. Transcriptome profiling revealed upregulation of a largely overlapping set of interferon-stimulated genes in cells infected with TCRV and JUNV. Both viruses were relatively insensitive to IFN-I treatment of human cells and induced similar levels of apoptosis in the presence or absence of an IFN-I response. However, in comparison to JUNV, TCRV induced stronger activation of the innate sensor double-strand RNA-dependent protein kinase R (PKR), resulting in phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF2 alpha. Confocal microscopy studies revealed similar subcellular colocalizations of the JUNV and TCRV viral replication-transcription complexes with PKR. However, deletion of PKR by CRISPR/Cas9 hardly affected JUNV but promoted TCRV multiplication, providing the first evidence for differential innate recognition and control of pathogenic and nonpathogenic NW arenaviruses by PKR.

IMPORTANCE New World (NW) arenaviruses are a diverse family of emerging zoonotic viruses that merit significant attention as important public health problems. The close genetic relationship of nonpathogenic NW arenaviruses with their highly pathogenic cousins suggests that few mutations may be sufficient to enhance virulence. The identification of molecular determinants of virulence of NW arenaviruses is therefore of great importance. Here we undertook a side-by-side comparison of the innate immune responses against the highly pathogenic Junin virus (JUNV) and the related nonpathogenic Tacaribe virus (TCRV) in human cells. We consistently found that TCRV induces a stronger type I interferon (IFN-I) response than JUNV. Transcriptome profiling revealed an overlapping pattern of IFN-induced gene expression and similar low sensitivities to IFN-I treatment. However, the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-dependent protein kinase R (PKR) contributed to the control of TCRV, but not JUNV, providing the first evidence for differential innate recognition and control of JUNV and TCRV.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington: American Society of Microbiology , 2019. Vol. 93, no 19, article id e00148-19
Keywords [en]
arenavirus, innate immunity, interferon, protein kinase R, zoonosis
National Category
Microbiology in the medical area
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-164384DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00148-19ISI: 000485789300001PubMedID: 31270228OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-164384DiVA, id: diva2:1369530
Available from: 2019-11-12 Created: 2019-11-12 Last updated: 2019-11-12Bibliographically approved

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Gerold, Gisa

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