Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a severe respiratory disease which is thought to result from a dysregulated immune response to infection with pathogenic hantaviruses, such as Sin Nombre virus or Andes virus (ANDV). Other New World hantaviruses, such as Prospect Hill virus (PHV), have not been associated with human disease. Activation of an antiviral state and cell signaling in response to hantavirus infection were examined using human primary lung endothelial cells, the main target cell infected in HPS patients. PHV, but not ANDV, was found to induce a robust beta interferon (IFN-β) response early after infection of primary lung endothelial cells. The level of IFN induction correlated with IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) activation, in that IRF-3 dimerization and nuclear translocation were detected in PHV but not ANDV infection. In addition, phosphorylated Stat-1/2 levels were significantly lower in the ANDV-infected cells relative to PHV. Presumably, this reflects the lower level of IRF-3 activation and initial IFN induced by ANDV relative to PHV. To determine whether, in addition, ANDV interference with IFN signaling also contributed to the low Stat-1/2 activation seen in ANDV infection, the levels of exogenous IFN-βinduced Stat-1/2 activation detectable in uninfected versus ANDV- or PHV-infected Vero-E6 cells were examined. Surprisingly, both viruses were found to downregalate IFN-induced Stat-1/2 activation. Analysis of cells transiently expressing only ANDV or PHV glycoproteins implicated these proteins in this downregulation. In conclusion, while both viruses can interfere with IFN signaling, there is a major difference in the initial interferon induction via IRF-3 activation between ANDV and PHV in infected primary endothelial cells, and this correlates with the reported differences in pathogenicity of these viruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science