Innate antiviral responses in bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) provide the first line of defense against respiratory viral infection and the effectiveness of this response is critically dependent on the type I interferons (IFNs). However the importance of the antiviral responses in BECs during influenza infection is not well understood. We profiled the innate immune response to infection with H3N2 and H5N1 virus using Calu-3 cells and primary BECs to model proximal airway cells. The susceptibility of BECs to influenza infection was not solely dependent on the sialic acid-bearing glycoprotein, and antiviral responses that occurred after viral endocytosis was more important in limiting viral replication. The early antiviral response and apoptosis correlated with the ability to limit viral replication. Both viruses reduced RIG-I associated antiviral responses and subsequent induction of IFN-β. However it was found that there was constitutive release of IFN-β by BECs and this was critical in inducing late antiviral signaling via type I IFN receptors, and was crucial in limiting viral infection. This study characterizes anti-influenza virus responses in airway epithelial cells and shows that constitutive IFN-β release plays a more important role in initiating protective late IFN-stimulated responses during human influenza infection in bronchial epithelial cells.
The leading cause of asthma exacerbation is respiratory viral infection. Innate antiviral defense pathways are altered in the asthmatic epithelium, yet involvement of inflammasome signaling in virus-induced asthma exacerbation is not known.
To compare influenza-induced activation of inflammasome and innate immune signaling in human bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics and non-asthmatics and investigate the role of caspase-1 in epithelial cell antiviral defense.
Differentiated primary human bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics and non-asthmatics were infected with influenza A virus. An inflammasome-specific quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction array was used to compare baseline and influenza-induced gene expression profiles. Cytokine secretion, innate immune gene expression, and viral replication were compared between human bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics and non-asthmatics. Immunofluorescence microscopy was used to evaluate caspase-1 and PYCARD co-localization. Tracheal epithelial cells from caspase-1 deficient or wildtype mice were infected with influenza and assessed for antiviral gene expression and viral replication.
Human bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics had altered influenza-induced expression of inflammasome-related and innate immune signaling components, which correlated with enhanced production of interlukin-1β, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α. Specifically, influenza-induced caspase-1 expression was enhanced and localization differed in human bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatics compared to non-asthmatics. Influenza-infected tracheal epithelial cells from caspase-1 deficient mice had reduced expression of antiviral genes and viral replication.
Caspase-1 plays an important role in the airway epithelial cell response to influenza infection, which is enhanced in asthmatics and may contribute to the enhanced influenza related pathogenesis observed in vivo.
epithelial cell; asthma; influenza; antiviral; inflammasome; caspase-1; innate immunity
5,6-Dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA), a potent type I interferon (IFN) inducer, was evaluated as a chemotherapeutic agent in mouse cancer models and proved to be well tolerated in human cancer clinical trials. Despite its multiple biological functions, DMXAA has not been fully characterized for the potential application as a vaccine adjuvant. In this report, we show that DMXAA does act as an adjuvant due to its unique property as a soluble innate immune activator. Using OVA as a model antigen, DMXAA was demonstrated to improve on the antigen specific immune responses and induce a preferential Th2 (Type-2) response. The adjuvant effect was directly dependent on the IRF3-mediated production of type-I-interferon, but not IL-33. DMXAA could also enhance the immunogenicity of influenza split vaccine which led to significant increase in protective responses against live influenza virus challenge in mice compared to split vaccine alone. We propose that DMXAA can be used as an adjuvant that targets a specific innate immune signaling pathway via IRF3 for potential applications including vaccines against influenza which requires a high safety profile.
Defective IFN signaling results in loss of innate immunity and sensitizes cells to enhanced cytolytic killing after Vesticular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) infection. Examination of the innate immunity status of normal human bronchial epithelial cells Beas2B and 7 lung cancer cells revealed that the abrogation of IFN signaling in cancer cells is associated with greater sensitivity to VSV infection. The disruption of the IFN pathway in lung cancer cell lines and primary tumor tissues is caused by epigenetic silencing of critical interferon responsive transcription factors IRF7 and/or IRF5. Although 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine treatment fails to reactivate IRF7 and IRF5 expression or protect cells from VSV infection, manipulating IFN signaling by altering IRF expression changes the viral susceptibility of these cells. Lung cancer cells can be partially protected from viral killing using IRF5+IRF7 overexpression, whereas IFN pathway disruption by transfection of siRNAs to IRF5+IRF7 increases cells' vulnerability to viral infection. Therefore, IRF5 and IRF7 are key transcription factors in IFN pathway that determine viral sensitivity of lung cancer cells; the epigenetically impaired IFN pathway in lung cancer tissues provides potential biomarkers for successful selective killing of cancer cells by oncolytic viral therapy.
Virus-infected cells secrete a broad range of interferons (IFN) which confer resistance to yet uninfected cells by triggering the synthesis of antiviral factors. The relative contributions of the various IFN subtypes to innate immunity against virus infections remain elusive. IFN-α, IFN-β, and other type I IFN molecules signal through a common, universally expressed cell surface receptor, whereas type III IFN (IFN-λ) uses a distinct cell-type-specific receptor complex for signaling. Using mice lacking functional receptors for type I IFN, type III IFN, or both, we found that IFN-λ plays an important role in the defense against several human pathogens that infect the respiratory tract, such as influenza A virus, influenza B virus, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. These viruses were more pathogenic and replicated to higher titers in the lungs of mice lacking both IFN receptors than in mice with single IFN receptor defects. In contrast, Lassa fever virus, which infects via the respiratory tract but primarily replicates in the liver, was not influenced by the IFN-λ receptor defect. Careful analysis revealed that expression of functional IFN-λ receptor complexes in the lung and intestinal tract is restricted to epithelial cells and a few other, undefined cell types. Interestingly, we found that SARS coronavirus was present in feces from infected mice lacking receptors for both type I and type III IFN but not in those from mice lacking single receptors, supporting the view that IFN-λ contributes to the control of viral infections in epithelial cells of both respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
Type I interferons, including interferon alpha (IFN-α), represent one of the first lines of innate immune defense against influenza virus infection. Following natural infection of chickens with avian influenza virus (AIV), transcription of IFN-α is quickly up regulated along with multiple other immune-related genes. Chicken IFN-α up regulates a number of important anti-viral response genes and has been demonstrated to be an important cytokine to establish anti-viral immunity. However, the mechanisms by which interferon inhibit virus replication in avian species remains unknown as does the biological activity of chicken interferon in other avian species.
In these studies, we assessed the protective potential of exogenous chicken IFN-α applied to chicken, duck, and turkey primary lung cell cultures prior to infection with the pandemic H1N1 virus (A/turkey/Virginia/SEP-4/2009) and an established avian H5N9 virus (A/turkey/Wisconsin/1968). Growth kinetics and induction of select immune response genes, including IFN-α and myxovirus-resistance gene I (Mx), as well as proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and IL-6), were measured in response to chicken IFN-α and viral infection over time.
Results demonstrate that pretreatment with chicken IFN-α before AIV infection significantly reduced virus replication in both chicken-and turkey-origin lung cells and to a lesser degree the duck-origin cells. Virus growth was reduced by approximately 200-fold in chicken and turkey cells and 30-fold in duck cells after 48 hours of incubation. Interferon treatment also significantly decreased the interferon and proinflammatory response during viral infection. In general, infection with the H1N1 virus resulted in an attenuated interferon and proinflammatory response in these cell lines, compared to the H5N9 virus.
Taken together, these studies show that chicken IFN-α reduces virus replication, lower host innate immune response following infection, and is biologically active in other avian species.
avian influenza; interferon; chicken; duck; turkey
Increased susceptibility to infections, particularly respiratory viral infections, is a hallmark of advancing age. The underlying mechanisms are not well understood, and there is a scarcity of information regarding the contribution of the innate immune system, which is the first line of defense against infections. In the present study, we have investigated the effect of advancing age on plasmacytoid dendritic cell (PDC) function because they are critical in generating a robust antiviral response via the secretion of interferons (IFN). Our results indicate that PDCs from the aged are impaired in their capacity to secrete IFN-I in response to influenza virus and CPG stimulation. Additionally, we observed a severe reduction in the production of IFN-III, which plays an important role in defense against viral infections at respiratory mucosal surfaces. This reduction in IFN-I and IFN-III were a result of age-associated impaired phosphorylation of transcription factor, IRF-7. Furthermore, aged PDCs were observed to be impaired in their capacity to induce perforin and granzyme in CD8 T cells. Comparison of the antigen-presenting capacity of aged PDC with young PDC revealed that PDCs from aged subjects display reduced capacity to induce proliferation and IFN-gamma secretion in CD4 and CD8 T cells as compared with PDCs from young subjects. In summary, our study demonstrates that advancing age has a profound effect on PDC function at multiple levels and may therefore, be responsible for the increased susceptibility to infections in the elderly.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells; Aging; Influenza; Type I interferons; Type III interferons; CD8 cytotoxicity; T cell proliferation
Type I interferons (IFNs) IFN-α/β play an important role in innate immunity against viral infections by inducing antiviral responses. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) inhibits the synthesis of type I IFNs. However, whether PRRSV can inhibit IFN signaling is less well understood. In the present study, we found that PRRSV interferes with the IFN signaling pathway. The transcript levels of IFN-stimulated genes ISG15 and ISG56 and protein level of signal transducer and activator of transcription 2 (STAT2) in PRRSV VR2385-infected MARC-145 cells were significantly lower than those in mock-infected cells after IFN-α treatment. IFN-induced phosphorylation of both STAT1 and STAT2 and their heterodimer formation in the PRRSV-infected cells were not affected. However, the majority of the STAT1/STAT2/IRF9 (IFN regulatory factor 9) heterotrimers remained in the cytoplasm of PRRSV-infected cells, which indicates that the nuclear translocation of the heterotrimers was blocked. Overexpression of NSP1β of PRRSV VR2385 inhibited expression of ISG15 and ISG56 and blocked nuclear translocation of STAT1, which suggests that NSP1β might be the viral protein responsible for the inhibition of IFN signaling. PRRSV infection in primary porcine pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) also inhibited IFN-α-stimulated expression of the ISGs and the STAT2 protein. In contrast, a licensed low-virulence vaccine strain, Ingelvac PRRS modified live virus (MLV), activated expression of IFN-inducible genes, including those of chemokines and antiviral proteins, in PAMs without the addition of external IFN and had no detectable effect on IFN signaling. These findings suggest that PRRSV interferes with the activation and signaling pathway of type I IFNs by blocking ISG factor 3 (ISGF3) nuclear translocation.
During influenza virus infection innate and adaptive immune defenses are activated to eliminate the virus and thereby bring about recovery from illness. Both arms of the adaptive immune system, antibody neutralization of free virus and termination of intracellular virus replication by antiviral cytotoxic T cells (CTLs), play pivotal roles in virus elimination and protection from disease. Innate cytokine responses, such as alpha/beta interferon (IFN-α/β) or IFN-γ, can have roles in determining the rate of virus replication in the initial stages of infection and in shaping the initial inflammatory and downstream adaptive immune responses. The effect of these cytokines on the replication of pneumotropic influenza A virus in the respiratory tract and in the regulation of adaptive antiviral immunity was examined after intranasal infection of mice with null mutations in receptors for IFN-α/β, IFN-γ, and both IFNs. Virus titers in the lungs of mice unable to respond to IFNs were not significantly different from congenic controls for both primary and secondary infection. Likewise the mice were comparably susceptible to X31 (H3N2) influenza virus infection. No significant disruption to the development of normal antiviral CTL or antibody responses was observed. In contrast, mice bearing the disrupted IFN-α/β receptor exhibited accelerated kinetics and significantly higher levels of neutralizing antibody activity during primary or secondary heterosubtypic influenza virus infection. Thus, these observations reveal no significant contribution for IFN-controlled pathways in shaping acute or memory T-cell responses to pneumotropic influenza virus infection but do indicate some role for IFN-α/β in the regulation of antibody responses. Recognizing the pivotal role of CTLs and antibody in virus clearance, it is reasonable to assume a redundancy in IFN-mediated antiviral effects in pulmonary influenza. However, IFN-α/β seems to be a valid factor in determining tissue tropism and replicative rates of highly virulent influenza virus strains as reported previously by others, and this aspect is discussed here.
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and its mimic, polyinosinic acid: polycytidylic acid [Poly (I:C)], are recognized by toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and induce interferon (IFN)-β in many cell types. Poly (I:C) is the most potent IFN inducer. In in vivo mouse studies, intraperitoneal injection of Poly (I:C) elicited IFN-α/β production and natural killer (NK) cells activation. The TLR3 pathway is suggested to contribute to innate immune responses against many viruses, including influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, herpes simplex virus 2, and murine cytomegalovirus. In Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection, the viruses are cleared within 7–10 days postinfection before adaptive immune responses emerge. The innate immune response is important for CHIKV clearance.
The effects of Poly (I:C) on the replication of CHIKV in human bronchial epithelial cells, BEAS-2B, were studied. Poly (I:C) suppressed cytopathic effects (CPE) induced by CHIKV infection in BEAS-2B cells in the presence of Poly (I:C) and inhibited the replication of CHIKV in the cells. The virus titers of Poly (I:C)-treated cells were much lower compared with those of untreated cells. CHIKV infection and Poly (I:C) treatment of BEAS-2B cells induced the production of IFN-β and increased the expression of anti-viral genes, including IFN-α, IFN-β, MxA, and OAS. Both Poly (I:C) and CHIKV infection upregulate the expression of TLR3 in BEAS-2B cells.
CHIKV is sensitive to innate immune response induced by Poly (I:C). The inhibition of CHIKV replication by Poly (I:C) may be through the induction of TLR3, which triggers the production of IFNs and other anti-viral genes. The innate immune response is important to clear CHIKV in infected cells.
Chikungunya virus; Poly (I:C); BEAS-2B cells; TLR3
Dendritic cells (DCs) act as a portal for virus invasion as well as potent antigen-presenting cells (APCs) involved in the antiviral host response. Interferons (IFNs) are produced in response to bacterial and viral infection and activate innate immune responses to efficiently counteract and remove pathogenic invaders. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) could inhibit IFN-mediated signaling pathway in epithelial cells; however, the effects of RSV on IFN signaling in the dendritic cells (DCs) are still unknown.
Mouse bone marrow derived DCs (BMDCs) were mock or infected with RSV at different multiplicity of infection (MOI) for 24 h, and then treated with different cytokines such as interferon-β (IFN-β), IFN-γ or interleukin-10 (IL-10). The mRNA expression of RSV nonstructural protein-1 (NS-1) and NS-2 was detected by RT-PCR. The expression of Janus family kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling proteins was assessed by immunoblotting assays. The nuclear localization of specific signaling proteins was determined by immunofluorescence assay.
Increasing amounts of NS-1 or NS-2 mRNA expression in BMDCs were observed with infected RSV at increasing MOI, suggesting BMDCs were permissive for viral gene expression. Further examination of the IFN-β signaling cascade showed RSV infection increased the total cellular levels of STAT1 and STAT2 in BMDCs, but impaired the IFN-β-dependent phosphorylation and nuclear localization of STAT1 and STAT2. The inhibitory effects of RSV on STAT1 and STAT2 phosphorylation and translocation were abolished by UV inactivation. In contrast, RSV did not inhibit the IFN-γ-stimulated STAT1 phosphorylation and nuclear localization. IL-10-stimulated STAT3 phosphorylation was also unaffected by RSV.
As well as RSV inhibiting STAT protein levels through degradation mechanisms in epithelial cells, these findings demonstrate that RSV also can specifically inhibit the type I interferon response in BMDCs through regulation of STAT1 and STAT2 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation.
Bone marrow derived dendritic cells; Respiratory syncytial virus; Type I interferon; STAT; Signal pathway
An antiviral innate immune response involves induction of type I interferons (IFNs) and their subsequent autocrine and paracrine actions, but the underlying regulatory mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here we report that CYLD, a deubiquitinase that specifically digests lysine 63-linked ubiquitin chains, is required for antiviral host defense. Loss of CYLD renders mice considerably more susceptible to infection by vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Consistently, CYLD-deficient dendritic cells are more sensitive to VSV infection. This functional defect was not due to lack of type I IFN production but rather because of attenuated IFN receptor signaling. In the absence of CYLD, IFN-β is ineffective in the induction of antiviral genes and protection of cells from viral infection. These findings establish CYLD as a novel regulator of antiviral innate immunity and suggest a role for CYLD in regulating IFN receptor signaling.
CYLD; deubiquitinase; antiviral innate immunity; interferon; VSV
Chicken interferon α (ChIFN-α) and ChIFN-β are type I IFNs that are important antiviral cytokines in the innate immune system. In the present study, we identified the virus-induced expression of ChIFN-α and ChIFN-β in chicken fibroblast DF-1 cells and systematically evaluated the antiviral activities of recombinant ChIFN-α and ChIFN-β by cytopathic-effect (CPE) inhibition assays. We found that ChIFN-α exhibited stronger antiviral activity than ChIFN-β in terms of inhibiting the replication of vesicular stomatitis virus, Newcastle disease virus and avian influenza virus, respectively. To elucidate the mechanism of differential antiviral activities between the two ChIFNs, we measured the relative mRNA levels of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) in IFN-treated DF-1 cells by real-time PCR. ChIFN-α displayed greater induction potency than ChIFN-β on several ISGs encoding antiviral proteins and MHC-I, whereas ChIFN-α was less potent than ChIFN-β for inducing ISGs involved in signaling pathways. In conclusion, ChIFN-α and ChIFN-β presented differential induction potency on various sets of ISGs, and the stronger antiviral activity of ChIFN-α is likely attributed to the greater expression levels of downstream antiviral ISGs.
Innate immunity is the first line of defense against viral infection, and in turn, viruses have evolved to evade host immune surveillance. As a result, viruses may persist in host and develop chronic infections. Type I interferons (IFN-α/β) are among the most potent antiviral cytokines triggered by viral infections. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a disease of pigs that is characterized by negligible induction of type I IFNs and viral persistence for an extended period. For IFN production, RIG-I/MDA5 and JAK-STAT pathways are two major signaling pathways, and recent studies indicate that PRRS virus is armed to modulate type I IFN responses during infection. This review describes the viral strategies for modulation of type I IFN responses. At least three non–structural proteins (Nsp1, Nsp2, and Nsp11) and a structural protein (N nucleocapsid protein) have been identified and characterized to play roles in the IFN suppression and NF-κB pathways. Nsp’s are early proteins while N is a late protein, suggesting that additional signaling pathways may be involved in addition to the IFN pathway. The understanding of molecular bases for virus-mediated modulation of host innate immune signaling will help us design new generation vaccines and control PRRS.
arterivirus; interferon; PRRS; PRRSV; RIG-I; MDA5; NF-κB; JAK-STAT; non-structural proteins; Nsp; nucleocapsid
Adaptive immunity in response to virus infection involves the generation of Th1 cells, cytotoxic T cells, and antibodies. This type of immune response is crucial for the clearance of virus infection and for long-term protection against reinfection. Type I interferons (IFNs), the primary innate cytokines that control virus growth and spreading, can influence various aspects of adaptive immunity. The development of antiviral immunity depends on many viral and cellular factors, and the extent to which type I IFNs contribute to the generation of adaptive immunity in response to a viral infection is controversial. Using two strains (Cantell and 52) of the murine respiratory Sendai virus (SeV) with differential abilities to induce type I IFN production from infected cells, together with type I IFN receptor-deficient mice, we examined the role of type I IFNs in the generation of adaptive immunity. Our results show that type I IFNs facilitate virus clearance and enhance the migration and maturation of dendritic cells after SeV infection in vivo; however, soon after infection, mice clear the virus from their lungs and efficiently generate cytotoxic T cells independently of type I IFN signaling. Furthermore, animals that are unresponsive to type I IFN develop long-term anti-SeV immunity, including CD8+ T cells and antibodies. Significantly, this memory response is able to protect mice against challenge with a lethal dose of virus. In conclusion, our results show that primary and secondary anti-SeV adaptive immunities are developed normally in the absence of type I IFN responsiveness.
We show here that replication of defective interfering (DI) particle RNA in HEK293 cells stably expressing vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) replication proteins potently activates interferon (IFN) and IFN signaling pathways through upregulation of IFN-β promoter, IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) promoter, and NF-κB promoter activities. Replication of DI particle RNA, not mere expression of the viral replication proteins, was found to be critical for induction of IFN and IFN signaling. The stable cells supporting replication of DI RNA described in this report will be useful in further examining the innate immune signaling pathways and the host cell functions in viral genome replication.
In mammalian cells, the first line of defense against viral pathogens is the innate immune response, which is characterized by induction of type I interferons (IFN) and other pro-inflammatory cytokines that establish an antiviral milieu both in infected cells and in neighboring uninfected cells. Rotavirus, a double-stranded RNA virus of the Reoviridae family, is the primary etiological agent of severe diarrhea in young children worldwide. Previous studies demonstrated that rotavirus replication induces a MAVS-dependent type I IFN response that involves both RIG-I and MDA5, two cytoplasmic viral RNA sensors. This study reports the isolation and characterization of rotavirus RNAs that activate IFN signaling. Using an in vitro approach with purified rotavirus double-layer particles, nascent single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) transcripts (termed in vitro ssRNA) were found to be potent IFN inducers. In addition, large RNAs isolated from rotavirus-infected cells six hours post-infection (termed in vivo 6 hr large RNAs), also activated IFN signaling, whereas a comparable large RNA fraction isolated from cells infected for only one hour lacked this stimulatory activity. Experiments using knockout murine embryonic fibroblasts showed that RIG-I is required for and MDA5 partly contributes to innate immune signaling by both in vitro ssRNA and in vivo 6 hr large RNAs. Enzymatic studies demonstrated that in vitro ssRNA and in vivo 6 hr large RNA samples contain uncapped RNAs with exposed 5’ phosphate groups. RNAs lacking 2’-O-methylated 5’ cap structures were also detected in the in vivo 6 hr large RNA sample. Taken together, our data provide strong evidence that the rotavirus VP3 enzyme, which encodes both guanylyltransferase and methyltransferase activities, is not completely efficient at either 5’ capping or 2’-O-methylation of the 5’ cap structures of viral transcripts, and in this way produces RNA patterns that activate innate immune signaling through the RIG-I-like receptors.
Although individuals exposed to cigarette smoke are more susceptible to respiratory infection, the effects of cigarette smoke on lung defense are incompletely understood. Because airway epithelial cell responses to type II interferon (IFN) are critical in regulation of defense against many respiratory viral infections, we hypothesized that cigarette smoke has inhibitory effects on IFN-γ-dependent antiviral mechanisms in epithelial cells in the airway.
Primary human tracheobronchial epithelial cells were first treated with cigarette smoke extract (CSE) followed by exposure to both CSE and IFN-γ. Epithelial cell cytotoxicity and IFN-γ-induced signaling, gene expression, and antiviral effects against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were tested without and with CSE exposure.
CSE inhibited IFN-γ-dependent gene expression in airway epithelial cells, and these effects were not due to cell loss or cytotoxicity. CSE markedly inhibited IFN-γ-induced Stat1 phosphorylation, indicating that CSE altered type II interferon signal transduction and providing a mechanism for CSE effects. A period of CSE exposure combined with an interval of epithelial cell exposure to both CSE and IFN-γ was required to inhibit IFN-γ-induced cell signaling. CSE also decreased the inhibitory effect of IFN-γ on RSV mRNA and protein expression, confirming effects on viral infection. CSE effects on IFN-γ-induced Stat1 activation, antiviral protein expression, and inhibition of RSV infection were decreased by glutathione augmentation of epithelial cells using N-acetylcysteine or glutathione monoethyl ester, providing one strategy to alter cigarette smoke effects.
The results indicate that CSE inhibits the antiviral effects of IFN-γ, thereby presenting one explanation for increased susceptibility to respiratory viral infection in individuals exposed to cigarette smoke.
Swine generate reassortant influenza viruses because they can be simultaneously infected with avian and human influenza; however, the features that restrict influenza reassortment in swine and human hosts are not fully understood. Type I and III interferons (IFNs) act as the first line of defense against influenza virus infection of respiratory epithelium. To determine if human and swine have different capacities to mount an antiviral response the expression of IFN and IFN-stimulated genes (ISG) in normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells and normal swine bronchial epithelial (NSBE) cells was evaluated following infection with human (H3N2), swine (H1N1), and avian (H5N3, H5N2, H5N1) influenza A viruses. Expression of IFNλ and ISGs were substantially higher in NHBE cells compared to NSBE cells following H5 avian influenza virus infection compared to human or swine influenza virus infection. This effect was associated with reduced H5 avian influenza virus replication in human cells at late times post infection. Further, RIG-I expression was lower in NSBE cells compared to NHBE cells suggesting reduced virus sensing. Together, these studies identify key differences in the antiviral response between human and swine respiratory epithelium alluding to differences that may govern influenza reassortment.
Smokers are more susceptible to respiratory viral infections, including influenza virus, but the mechanisms mediating this effect are unknown. To determine how epithelial cells contribute to the enhanced susceptibility seen in smokers, we established an in vitro model of differentiated nasal epithelial cells (NECs) from smokers, which showed enhanced mucin expression. The NECs from smokers responded to influenza infection with greater cytotoxicity, release of interleukin-6, and viral shedding than NECs from nonsmokers. Focusing on type I interferon (IFN) expression, we observed that influenza-infected NECs from smokers produced significantly less IFN-α than NECs from nonsmokers. Similarly, the expression of IRF7, a key transcription factor controlling the expression of IFN-α, was significantly decreased in influenza-infected and IFN-β–stimulated NECs from smokers. Furthermore, our data indicate that the DNA methylation of the IRF7 gene and expression of the DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 1 was enhanced in NECs from smokers. To confirm these findings in vivo, we initiated a study in which smoking and nonsmoking healthy volunteers were inoculated nasally with the live-attenuated influenza virus (LAIV) vaccine, and nasal biopsies were obtained before and after the administration of LAIV. The LAIV-induced expression of IRF7 was lower in the nasal epithelium from smokers, supporting our in vitro observations. These data demonstrate that infection with influenza results in the reduced expression of transcription factor IRF7 in NECs from smokers, and that these effects may be mediated by an epigenetic modification of the IRF7 gene, thus providing a potential mechanism rendering smokers more susceptible to respiratory virus infections.
influenza; IRF7; cigarette smoke; nasal epithelium
Two activities of innate antiviral immunity were studied: the resistance of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBCs) ex vivo to viral infection and the production of cytokines.
Materials and Methods:
Samples of blood were taken from healthy blood donors and from persons with frequent infections of the upper respiratory system. PMBCs were isolated by gradient centrifugation. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was used as the indicatory virus to infect PMBCs. The cytokines: IFN, TNF, and IL-6 were titrated by biological methods and IL-10 by ELISA.
Blood donors were divided for two groups: those with VSV-resistant and those with VSV-sensitive PMBCs and secretion of cytokines by them was compared. The resistant PMBCs produced more cytokines than the sensitive ones. A statistically significant difference, was found only in the case of the IFNs. To examine the contribution of IFNs and TNF in maintaining resistance, leukocytes from both groups were treated with specific anti-cytokine antibodies. The authors’ previous study showed that the elimination of spontaneous IFN-±, IFN-β, IFN-γ, and TNF-± from resistant leukocytes resulted in increased VSV replication This indicates the important role of cytokines. In VSV-sensitive PMBCs, anti-IFN-± showed the opposite effect (decreased virus replication). In the absence of spontaneous IFN-±, disturbances in cytokine production were observed.
Complete resistance of PMBC to VSV infection is accompanied by higher cytokine release, The paradoxical effect of anti-IFN-± on virus replication in leukocytes sensitive to viral infection may be attributed to changes in the cytokine profile balance, i.e. high TNF production by VSV-infected leukocytes and a complete reduction of IL-6 production.
cytokines; leukocytes; innate immunity; viral infection
Vascular disrupting agents (VDAs) represent a novel approach to the treatment of cancer, resulting in the collapse of tumor vasculature and tumor death. 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) is a VDA currently in advanced phase II clinical trials, yet its precise mechanism of action is unknown despite extensive preclinical and clinical investigations. Our data demonstrate that DMXAA is a novel and specific activator of the TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1)–interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) signaling pathway. DMXAA treatment of primary mouse macrophages resulted in robust IRF-3 activation and ∼750-fold increase in IFN-β mRNA, and in contrast to the potent Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS), signaling was independent of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation and elicited minimal nuclear factor κB–dependent gene expression. DMXAA-induced signaling was critically dependent on the IRF-3 kinase, TBK1, and IRF-3 but was myeloid differentiation factor 88–, Toll–interleukin 1 receptor domain–containing adaptor inducing IFN-β–, IFN promoter-stimulator 1–, and inhibitor of κB kinase–independent, thus excluding all known TLRs and cytosolic helicase receptors. DMXAA pretreatment of mouse macrophages induced a state of tolerance to LPS and vice versa. In contrast to LPS stimulation, DMXAA-induced IRF-3 dimerization and IFN-β expression were inhibited by salicylic acid. These findings detail a novel pathway for TBK1-mediated IRF-3 activation and provide new insights into the mechanism of this new class of chemotherapeutic drugs.
The alpha/beta interferon (IFN-α/β) system is the first line of defense against viral infection and a critical link between the innate and adaptive immune responses. IFN-α/β secretion is the hallmark of cellular responses to acute RNA virus infections. As part of their survival strategy, many viruses have evolved mechanisms to counteract the host IFN-α/β response. Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) (genus Pestivirus) was reported to trigger interferon production in infected cultured cells under certain circumstances or to suppress it under others. Our studies with various cultured fibroblasts and epithelial bovine cells indicated that cytopathic (cp) BVDV induces IFN-α/β very inefficiently. Using a set of engineered cp BVDVs expressing mutant Npro and appropriate controls, we found that the IFN-α/β response to infection was dependent on Npro expression and independent of viral replication efficiency. In order to investigate whether the protease activity of Npro is required for IFN-α/β antagonism, we engineered Npro mutants lacking protease activity by replacement of amino acid E22, H49, or C69. We found that E22 and H49 substitutions abolished the ability of Npro to suppress IFN, whereas C69 had no effect, suggesting that the structural integrity of the N terminus of Npro was more important than its catalytic activity for IFN-α/β suppression. A catalytically active mutant with a change at a conserved Npro region near the N terminus (L8P) in both BVDV biotypes did not antagonize IFN-α/β production, confirming its involvement in this process. Taken together, these results not only provide direct evidence for the role of Npro in blocking IFN-α/β induction, but also implicate the amino-terminal domain of the protein in this function.
Type I interferons (IFNs), predominantly IFN-α and -β, play critical roles in both innate and adaptive immune responses against viral infections. Interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7), a key innate immune molecule in the type I IFN signaling pathway, is essential for the type I IFN response to many viruses, including lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Here, we show that although IRF7 knockout (KO) mice failed to control the replication of LCMV in the early stages of infection, they were capable of clearing LCMV infection. Despite the lack of type I IFN production, IRF7 KO mice generated normal CD4+ T cell responses, and the expansion of naïve CD8+ T cells into primary CD8+ T cells specific for LCMV GP33–41 was relatively normal. In contrast, the expansion of the LCMV NP396-specific CD8+ T cells was severely impaired in IRF7 KO mice. We demonstrated that this defective CD8+ T cell response is due neither to an impaired antigen-presenting system nor to any intrinsic role of IRF7 in CD8+ T cells. The lack of a type I IFN response in IRF7 KO mice did not affect the formation of memory CD8+ T cells. Thus, the present study provides new insight into the impact of the innate immune system on viral pathogenesis and demonstrates the critical contribution of innate immunity in controlling virus replication in the early stages of infection, which may shape the quality of CD8+ T cell responses.
Influenza virus infections usually cause mild to moderately severe respiratory disease, however some infections, like those involving the avian H5N1 virus, can cause massive viral pneumonia, systemic disease and death. The innate immune response of respiratory tract resident cells is the first line of defense and limits virus replication. Enhanced cytokine and chemokine production following infection, however, appears to underlie much of the pathology that develops after infection with highly pathogenic strains. A so-called `cytokine storm' can damage the lung tissue and cause systemic disease, despite the control of viral replication. By summarizing current knowledge of the innate responses mounted to influenza infection, this review highlights the importance of the respiratory tract epithelial cells as regulators of innate and adaptive immunity to influenza virus.
antiviral immunity; cytokine; cytokine storm; influenza A; innate immunity; lung epithelium; respiratory tract; type I IFN; virulence