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Virology. 2011 Dec 5;421(1):51-60. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.08.008. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

West Nile virus infection does not induce PKR activation in rodent cells.

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Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.


dsRNA-activated protein kinase (PKR) is activated by viral dsRNAs and phosphorylates eIF2a reducing translation of host and viral mRNA. Although infection with a chimeric West Nile virus (WNV) efficiently induced PKR and eIF2a phosphorylation, infections with natural lineage 1 or 2 strains did not. Investigation of the mechanism of suppression showed that among the cellular PKR inhibitor proteins tested, only Nck, known to interact with inactive PKR, colocalized and co-immunoprecipitated with PKR in WNV-infected cells and PKR phosphorylation did not increase in infected Nck1,2-/- cells. Several WNV stem-loop RNAs efficiently activated PKR in vitro but not in infected cells. WNV infection did not interfere with intracellular PKR activation by poly(I:C) and similar virus yields were produced by control and PKR-/- cells. The results indicate that PKR phosphorylation is not actively suppressed in WNV-infected cells but that PKR is not activated by the viral dsRNA in infected cells.

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