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Virology. 2004 Nov 24;329(2):361-70.

The role of tumor necrosis factor in modulating responses of murine embryo fibroblasts by flavivirus, West Nile.

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Department of Pathology, School of Biomedical Sciences and Institute for Biomedical Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Murine embryo fibroblasts (MEF) transcribe tumor necrosis factor (TNF) mRNA and secrete soluble TNF in response to infection by West Nile virus (WNV) and TNF was demonstrated to be protective against WNV infection in vitro. TNF is not required for the WNV-induced upregulation of MHC-I expression on MEF, as TNF deficiency did not affect the upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) by WNV. Furthermore, NF-kappaB was activated by WNV in TNF-deficient MEF, demonstrating that WNV induces NF-kappaB activation in a TNF-independent manner. The subunits of NF-kappaB activated by TNF and WNV differed, WNV-activated a p65/p50 NF-kappaB complex while TNF-activated NF-kappaB was composed of p65, p50, and c-Rel. Furthermore, TNF-induced activation of NF-kappaB occurred earlier than WNV-induced NF-kappaB activation. The data demonstrate that WNV infection of MEF is associated with TNF production, but the WNV-induced activation of NF-kappaB and subsequent upregulation of MHC-I by WNV is TNF-independent.

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