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Virology. 2002 Jan 20;292(2):224-34.

Caspase activation is required for permissive replication of Aleutian mink disease parvovirus in vitro.

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Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, NIAID, NIH, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, 903 South Fourth Street, Hamilton, Montana 59840, USA.


Aleutian mink disease parvovirus (ADV) is distinct among the parvoviruses as infection in vivo is persistent, restricted, and noncytopathic. In contrast, infections with other more prototypic parvoviruses, like mink enteritis virus (MEV), are acute, cytopathic, and characterized by permissive replication in vivo. Although apoptosis results in the death of cells acutely infected by parvoviruses, the role of apoptosis in ADV infections is unknown. Permissive infection of ADV resulted in apoptosis of Crandell feline kidney (CrFK) cells as indicated by TUNEL staining, Annexin-V staining, and characteristic changes in cell morphology. Pretreatment of infected cells with caspase 3 or broad-spectrum caspase inhibitors prevented apoptosis. In addition, treatment of infected cells with these inhibitors caused a 2 log(10) reduction in the yield of infectious virus compared to untreated cultures. This block in replication preceded substantial viral DNA amplification and gene expression. However, inhibitors of caspases 1, 6, and 8 did not have this effect. MEV also induced caspase-dependent apoptosis following infection of CrFK cells, although production of infectious progeny was not affected by inhibition of apoptosis. Thus, permissive replication of ADV in vitro depended upon activation of specific caspases. If ADV infection of cells in vivo fails to initiate caspase activation, the requirement of caspase activity for replication may not be met, thus providing a possible mechanism for persistent, restricted infection.

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