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J Innate Immun. 2013;5(2):163-73. doi: 10.1159/000343895. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Expression and functional characterization of retinoic acid-inducible gene-I-like receptors of mast cells in response to viral infection.

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Department of Infection Control Science, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


To investigate the precise mechanisms of virus recognition by mast cells, the expression and functional characteristics of virus recognition receptors that lead to mast cell activation were investigated. Our results suggest that mast cells are partly responsible for the early in vivo production of antiviral cytokines and chemokines upon vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection. Analysis of the expression of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) recognition receptors in murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs) revealed that BMMCs express melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA5), protein kinase RNA-activated, retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) and Toll-like receptor 3. The expression levels of these receptors were found to increase upon stimulation of mast cells with VSV as well as synthetic dsRNA: polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid. Moreover, small interfering RNA analysis to identify the receptors responsible for mast cell activation by VSV revealed that both RIG-I and MDA5 were involved in cytokine production but not in the degranulation of mast cells. Our findings suggest that mast cells produce cytokines and chemokines in the early infection stage after recognizing viruses via RIG-I and MDA5, and may contribute to antiviral responses. These data provide additional novel information that improves our understanding of antiviral innate responses that involve mast cells.

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