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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 May 11;356(3):529-35. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

Apoptosis induction by avian reovirus through p53 and mitochondria-mediated pathway.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan.


Although induction of apoptosis by avian reovirus has been demonstrated in primary chicken embryonic fibroblast and several cell lines, to date, the potential significance of avian reovirus (ARV)-induced apoptosis and its pathways in cultured cells are still largely unknown. We now provide the first evidence of upregulation of p53 and Bax and specifically for Bax translocation from cytosol to mitochondria following infection with a cytoplasmically replicating RNA virus. Bax translocation to the mitochondria led to the release of mitochondrial proapoptic factors cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO from mitochondria to the cytosol, but not the release of apoptosis-inducting factor. Activation of caspases-9 and -3 which cleaves the enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase in ARV-infected BHK-21 cells was also detected. Internucleosomal DNA cleavage was prevented by caspase inhibitors, further demonstrating that ARV-induced apoptosis was executed through caspase-dependent mechanisms. Stable expression of human bcl-2 in BHK-21 cells not only blocked ARV-induced apoptosis and DNA fragmentation but also reduced the level of infectious virus production and its spread in BHK-21 cells infected with ARV at a low multiplicity of infection. All our data suggest that p53 and the mitochondria-mediated pathway played an important regulatory role in ARV-induced apoptosis in BHK-21 cells. To further study the pathogenesis of ARV infection, a dual-labeling assay was used for the simultaneous detection of cells containing viral antigen and apoptotic cells. Dual-labeling assay revealed that the majority of antigen-expressing cells were not apoptotic. Remarkably, some apoptotic but non-antigen-expressing cells were frequently located in the vicinity of antigen-expressing cells. Syncytium formation in ARV-infected BHK-21 cells undergoing apoptosis, was apparent in large syncytia at late infection times, indicating a correlation between virus replication and apoptosis in cultured cells.

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