Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Virol. 2008 Mar;82(6):2741-51. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01712-07. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

Avian influenza virus A/HK/483/97(H5N1) NS1 protein induces apoptosis in human airway epithelial cells.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, 1/F Clinical Science Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.


Avian H5N1 influenza virus causes a remarkably severe disease in humans, with an overall case fatality rate of greater than 50%. Human influenza A viruses induce apoptosis in infected cells, which can lead to organ dysfunction. To verify the role of H5N1-encoded NS1 in inducing apoptosis, the NS1 gene was cloned and expressed in human airway epithelial cells (NCI-H292 cells). The apoptotic events posttransfection were examined by a terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end-labeling assay, flow cytometric measurement of propidium iodide, annexin V staining, and Western blot analyses with antibodies specific for proapoptotic and antiapoptotic proteins. We demonstrated that the expression of H5N1 NS1 protein in NCI-H292 cells was sufficient to induce apoptotic cell death. Western blot analyses also showed that there was prominent cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and activation of caspase-3, caspase-7, and caspase-8 during the NS1-induced apoptosis. The results of caspase inhibitor assays further confirmed the involvement of caspase-dependent pathways in the NS1-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, the ability of H5N1 NS1 protein to induce apoptosis was much enhanced in cells pretreated with Fas ligand (the time posttransfection required to reach >30% apoptosis was reduced from 24 to 6 h). Furthermore, 24 h posttransfection, an increase in Fas ligand mRNA expression of about 5.6-fold was detected in cells transfected with H5N1 NS1. In conclusion, we demonstrated that the NS1 protein encoded by avian influenza A virus H5N1 induced apoptosis in human lung epithelial cells, mainly via the caspase-dependent pathway, which encourages further investigation into the potential for the NS1 protein to be a novel therapeutic target.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

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