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Rubella virus and birth defects: molecular insights into the viral teratogenesis at the cellular level.

Author information

1
Section of Viral Pathogenesis and Vaccine Adverse Reactions, Division of Viral Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. atreya@cber.fda.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In utero rubella virus (RV) infection of a fetus can result in birth defects that are often collectively referred to as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). In extreme cases, fetal death can occur. In spite of the availability of a safe and effective vaccine against rubella, recent worldwide estimates are that more than 100,000 infants are born with CRS annually.

RECENT PROGRESS:

Recently, several significant findings in the field of cell biology, as well as in the RV replication and virus-cell interactions, have originated from the authors' laboratory, and other researchers have provided insights into RV teratogenesis. It has been shown that 1) an RV protein induces cell-cycle arrest by generating a subpopulation of tetraploid nuclei (i.e., 4N DNA) cells, perhaps representative of the tetraploid state following S phase in the cell cycle, due to its interaction with citron-K kinase (CK); 2) RV infection induces apoptosis in cell culture, and 3) CK functional perturbations lead to tetraploidy, followed by apoptosis, in specific cell types.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on several similarities between known RV-associated fetal and cellular manifestations and CK deficiency-associated phenotypes, it is reasonable to postulate that P90-CK interaction in RV-infected cells interferes with CK function and induces cell-cycle arrest following S phase in a subpopulation, perhaps representative of tetraploid stage, which could lead to subsequent apoptosis in RV infection. Taking all these observations to the fetal organogenesis level, it is plausible that P90-CK interaction could perhaps be one of the initial steps in RV infection-induced apoptosis-associated fetal birth defects in utero.

PMID:
15259032
DOI:
10.1002/bdra.20045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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