Role of hydrogen sulfide in paramyxovirus infections

Hui Li, Yinghong Ma, Oliver Escaffre, Teodora Ivanciuc, Narayana Komaravelli, John P. Kelley, Ciro Coletta, Csaba Szabo, Barry Rockx, Roberto P. Garofalo, Antonella Casola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an endogenous gaseous mediator that has gained increasing recognition as an important player in modulating acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. However, its role in virus-induced lung inflammation is currently unknown. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of upper and lower respiratory tract infections in children for which no vaccine or effective treatment is available. Using the slow-releasing H2S donor GYY4137 and propargylglycin (PAG), an inhibitor of cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE), a key enzyme that produces intracellular H2S, we found that RSV infection led to a reduced ability to generate and maintain intracellular H2S levels in airway epithelial cells (AECs). Inhibition of CSE with PAG resulted in increased viral replication and chemokine secretion. On the other hand, treatment of AECs with the H2S donor GYY4137 reduced proinflammatory mediator production and significantly reduced viral replication, even when administered several hours after viral absorption. GYY4137 also significantly reduced replication and inflammatory chemokine production induced by human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and Nipah virus (NiV), suggesting a broad inhibitory effect of H2S on paramyxovirus infections. GYY4137 treatment had no effect on RSV genome replication or viral mRNA and protein synthesis, but it inhibited syncytium formation and virus assembly/release. GYY4137 inhibition of proinflammatory gene expression occurred by modulation of the activation of the key transcription factors nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) at a step subsequent to their nuclear translocation. H2S antiviral and immunoregulatory properties could represent a novel treatment strategy for paramyxovirus infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5557-5568
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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