Send to

Choose Destination
J Virol. 2004 Mar;78(6):2875-83.

Bluetongue virus outer capsid proteins are sufficient to trigger apoptosis in mammalian cells.

Author information

Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • J Virol. 2007 Jul;81(13):7324.


Bluetongue virus (BTV) is transmitted by Culicoides sp. biting midges to livestock, causing severe hemorrhagic disease in sheep, but is asymptomatic in the insect host. Similarly, BTV causes rapid cell death in infected mammalian cells in culture, whereas infections of insect cells are long-term and unapparent, despite productive virus replication. To assess whether apoptosis plays any role in these two distinct cell responses, we have investigated apoptosis in cultured insect and mammalian cells. Three different mammalian cell lines and three different insect cell lines including Culicoides variipennis (KC) cells were infected with BTV serotype 10, and the key apoptosis indicators of cell morphology, chromosomal DNA fragmentation, and caspase-3 activation were monitored. BTV infection induced apoptosis with the activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) in all three mammalian cell lines. In contrast, no evidence for apoptosis was detected in any of the three insect cell lines in response to BTV infection. Using inhibitors of endosomal acidification and UV-inactivated virus, we established that virus uncoating, but not productive virus replication, is necessary for BTV to trigger apoptosis in mammalian cells. Intracellular expression of the viral outer capsid proteins VP2 and VP5 or the two major nonstructural proteins NS1 and NS2 was not sufficient to trigger an apoptotic response. However, extracellular treatment with a combination of purified recombinant VP2 and VP5, but not with each protein used separately, resulted in an apoptotic response. Virus- and VP2-VP5-stimulated apoptotic responses were both inhibited by inhibitors of endosomal acidification. Thus, for BTV the viral outer capsid proteins alone are sufficient to trigger apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center