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Apoptosis. 2003 Mar;8(2):141-50.

Reovirus-induced apoptosis: A minireview.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Colorado Health Sciences, Denver, CO 80220, USA.


Reoviruses infect a variety of mammalian hosts and serve as an important experimental system for studying the mechanisms of virus-induced injury. Reovirus infection induces apoptosis in cultured cells in vitro and in target tissues in vivo, including the heart and central nervous system (CNS). In epithelial cells, reovirus-induced apoptosis involves the release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) from infected cells and the activation of TRAIL-associated death receptors (DRs) DR4 and DR5. DR activation is followed by activation of caspase 8, cleavage of Bid, and the subsequent release of pro-apoptotic mitochondrial factors. By contrast, in neurons, reovirus-induced apoptosis involves a wider array of DRs, including TNFR and Fas, and the mitochondria appear to play a less critical role. These results show that reoviruses induce apoptotic pathways in a cell and tissue specific manner. In vivo there is an excellent correlation between the location of viral infection, the presence of tissue injury and apoptosis, indicating that apoptosis is a critical mechanism by which disease is triggered in the host. These studies suggest that inhibition of apoptosis may provide a novel strategy for limiting virus-induced tissue damage following infection.

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