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Virology. 2009 Dec 5;395(1):121-32. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.08.039. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

Characteristics of alpha/beta interferon induction after infection of murine fibroblasts with wild-type and mutant alphaviruses.

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Center for Molecular and Tumor Virology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130, USA.


We examined the characteristics of interferon alpha/beta (IFN-alpha/beta) induction after alphavirus or control Sendai virus (SeV) infection of murine fibroblasts (MEFs). As expected, SeV infection of wild-type (wt) MEFs resulted in strong dimerization of IRF3 and the production of high levels of IFN-alpha/beta. In contrast, infection of MEFs with multiple alphaviruses failed to elicit detectable IFN-alpha/beta. In more detailed studies, Sindbis virus (SINV) infection caused dimerization and nuclear migration of IRF3, but minimal IFN-beta promoter activity, although surprisingly, the infected cells were competent for IFN production by other stimuli early after infection. A SINV mutant defective in host macromolecular synthesis shutoff induced IFN-alpha/beta in the MEF cultures dependent upon the activities of the TBK1 IRF3 activating kinase and host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) PKR and MDA5 but not RIG-I. These results suggest that wild-type alphaviruses antagonize IFN induction after IRF3 activation but also may avoid detection by host PRRs early after infection.

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