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Virology. 2001 Aug 15;287(1):202-13.

The involvement of a stress-activated pathway in equine influenza virus-mediated apoptosis.

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The Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, Department of Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40508, USA.


We have shown elsewhere that equine-2 influenza virus (EIV; subtype H3N8) induced pronounced cell death in infected cells through apoptosis as demonstrated by DNA fragmentation assay and a combined TUNEL and immunostaining scheme. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of EIV-mediated cytotoxicity on a permissive mammalian epithelial cell line, Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. EIV infection increased the cellular levels of oxidative stress and c-Jun/AP-1 protein (which is known to be affected by oxidative stress), as well as its DNA binding activity. Increased production of TGF-beta1, an inducer of c-Jun N-terminal kinase or stress-activated protein kinase (JNK/SAPK) activation, was also detected in EIV-infected MDCK cells. It has been reported that TGF-beta may initiate a signaling cascade leading to JNK/SAPK activation. Addition of c-Jun antisense oligodeoxynucleotide, antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), JNK/SAPK inhibitor carvedilol, or TGF-beta-neutralizing antibody effectively blocked c-Jun/AP-1 upregulation and TGF-beta1 production mediated by EIV infection. These treatments also attenuated EIV-induced cytopathogenic effects (CPE) and apoptosis. Our results suggest that a stress-activated pathway is involved in apoptosis mediated by EIV infection. It is likely that EIV infection turns on the JNK/SAPK cascade, which modulates the activity of apoptosis-promoting regulatory factor c-Jun/AP-1 and epithelial growth inhibitory cytokine TGF-beta.

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