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Virology. 2001 Aug 1;286(2):328-35.

Infection with Langat Flavivirus or expression of the envelope protein induces apoptotic cell death.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Langat (LGT) flavivirus, derived from infectious full-length cDNA clone 636, was investigated for its apoptotic activities in mouse neuroblastoma (Neuro-2a) and simian kidney (Vero and LLC-MK(2)) cells. The hallmark of apoptosis, cleavage of cellular DNA, was observed 48 h after infection of Vero, LLC-MK(2), and Neuro-2a cells by electrophoresis analysis. Apoptosis in infected cells was also confirmed by TUNEL assay. LGT-infected Neuro-2a cells showed an increase in caspase-3-like protease (DEVDase) activity. Expression of the major envelope glycoprotein (E) alone reduced cell viability in both Vero and Neuro-2a cells, and the baculovirus P35 protein, which inhibits multiple caspases, completely blocked this effect. Cleavage of cellular DNA was observed in E gene-transfected Vero cells by TUNEL assay. Expression of E protein or caspase-9 resulted in activation of caspase-3-like proteases in Neuro-2a cells. The caspase-3-like protease specific inhibitor, Ac-DEVD-CHO peptide, partially inhibited E protein- or caspase-9-induced apoptosis in Neuro-2a cells. These observations indicate that infection of cells with LGT virus or expression of LGT virus E protein induces apoptosis through a caspase-3-like protease pathway.

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