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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21761. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021761. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

RIG-I mediates innate immune response in mouse neurons following Japanese encephalitis virus infection.

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National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, Haryana, India.



Neuroinflammation associated with Japanese encephalitis (JE) is mainly due to the activation of glial cells with subsequent release of proinflammatory mediators from them. The recognition of viral RNA, in part, by the pattern recognition receptor retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) has been indicated to have a role in such processes. Even though neurons are also known to express this receptor, its role after JE virus (JEV) infections is yet to be elucidated.


Upon infecting murine neuroblastoma cells and primary cortical neurons with JEV the expression profile of key proinflammatory cyto/chemokines were analyzed by qRT-PCR and bead array, both before and after ablation of RIG-I. Immunoblotting was performed to evaluate the levels of key molecules downstream to RIG-I leading to production of proinflammatory mediators. Changes in the intracellular viral antigen expression were confirmed by intracellular staining and immunoblotting. JEV infection induced neuronal expression of IL-6, IL-12p70, MCP-1, IP-10 and TNF-α in a time-dependent manner, which showed significant reduction upon RIG-I ablation. Molecules downstream to RIG-I showed significant changes upon JEV-infection, that were modulated following RIG-I ablation. Ablation of RIG-I in neurons also increased their susceptibility to JEV.


In this study we propose that neurons are one of the potential sources of proinflammatory cyto/chemokines in JEV-infected brain that are produced via RIG-I dependent pathways. Ablation of RIG-I in neurons leads to increased viral load and reduced release of the cyto/chemokines.

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