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Comp Med. 2012 Feb;62(1):14-20.

Effect of chemokine receptor CX3CR1 deficiency in a murine model of respiratory syncytial virus infection.

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National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Scientific Resources, Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of serious lower respiratory illness in infants and young children worldwide, making it a high priority for development of strategies for prevention and treatment. RSV can cause repeat infections throughout life, with serious complications in elderly and immunocompromised patients. Previous studies indicate that the RSV G protein binds through a CX3C chemokine motif to the host chemokine receptor, CX3CR1, and modulates the inflammatory immune response. In the current study, we examined the contribution of CX3CR1 to the immune response to RSV infection in mice. CX3CR1-deficient mice showed an impaired innate immune response to RSV infection, characterized by substantially decreased NK1.1(+) natural killer, CD11b(+), and RB6-8C5(+) polymorphonuclear cell trafficking to the lung and reduced IFNγ production compared with those in wildtype control mice. Leukocytes from CX3CR1-deficient mice were poorly chemotactic toward RSV G protein and CX3CL1. These results substantiate the importance of the RSV G CX3C-CX3CR1 interaction in the innate immune response to RSV infection.

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