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J Virol. Sep 1996; 70(9): 6479–6485.
PMCID: PMC190684

Protection against apoptosis by the vaccinia virus SPI-2 (B13R) gene product.


Vaccinia virus contains a gene, termed SPI-2 or B13R, that is closely related in its sequence to a potent inhibitor of apoptosis from cowpox virus (crmA). Infection by vaccinia virus protects HeLa cells against apoptosis that is induced by an immunoglobulin M antibody against the fas receptor or by tumor necrosis factor alpha. This effect is profoundly reduced when the SPI-2 gene is deleted. The SPI-2 gene, when transiently expressed in these cells, can also protect against apoptosis mediated by these agents. Given the similarity to crmA, it seems likely that SPI-2 functions in an analogous fashion, inhibiting the activity of ICE protease family members and blocking the onset of apoptosis.

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Selected References

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