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Virol J. 2013 Feb 12;10:51. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-51.

The expression of interleukin-32 is activated by human cytomegalovirus infection and down regulated by hcmv-miR-UL112-1.

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Virus Laboratory, the Affiliated Shengjing Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, People's Republic of China.



Interleukin-32 (IL-32) is an important factor in innate and adaptive immune responses, which activates the p38MAPK, NF-kappa B and AP-1 signaling pathways. Recent reports have highlighted that IL-32 is regulated during viral infection in humans.


Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were carried out to detect IL-32 levels in serum samples. Detailed kinetics of the transcription of IL-32 mRNA and expression of IL-32 protein during human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection were determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and western blot, respectively. The expression levels of hcmv-miR-UL112-1 were detected using TaqMan® miRNA assays during a time course of 96 hours. The effects of hcmv-miR-UL112-1 on IL-32 expression were demonstrated by luciferase assay and western blot, respectively.


Serum levels of IL-32 in HCMV-IgM positive patients (indicating an active HCMV infection) were significantly higher than those in HCMV-IgM negative controls. HCMV infection activated cellular IL-32 transcription mainly in the immediately early (IE) phase and elevated IL-32 protein levels between 6 and 72 hours post infection (hpi) in the human embryonic lung fibroblast cell line, MRC-5. The expression of hcmv-miR-UL112-1 was detected at 24 hpi and increased gradually as the HCMV-infection process was prolonged. In addition, it was demonstrated that hcmv-miR-UL112-1 targets a sequence in the IL-32 3'-UTR. The protein level of IL-32 in HEK293 cells could be functionally down-regulated by transfected hcmv-miR-UL112-1.


IL-32 expression was induced by active HCMV infection and could be functionally down-regulated by ectopically expressed hcmv-miR-UL112-1. Our data may indicate a new strategy of immune evasion by HCMV through post-transcriptional regulation.

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