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MBio. 2019 Jul 9;10(4). pii: e01455-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01455-19.

Differential In Vitro Infection of Neural Cells by Astroviruses.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
2
Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
3
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
4
Department of Neurosciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
5
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA davewang@wustl.edu.
6
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Abstract

Recent advances in unbiased pathogen discovery have implicated astroviruses as pathogens of the central nervous system (CNS) of mammals, including humans. However, the capacity of astroviruses to be cultured in CNS-derived cells in vitro has not been reported to date. Both astrovirus VA1/HMO-C (VA1; mamastrovirus 9) and classic human astrovirus 4 (HAstV4; mamastrovirus 1) have been previously detected from cases of human encephalitis. We tested the ability of primary human neurons, primary human astrocytes, and other immortalized human nervous system cell lines (SK-N-SH, U87 MG, and SW-1088) to support infection and replication of these two astrovirus genotypes. Primary astrocytes and SK-N-SH cells supported the full viral life cycle of VA1 with a >100-fold increase in viral RNA levels during a multistep growth curve, detection of viral capsid, and a >100-fold increase in viral titer. Primary astrocytes were permissive with respect to HAstV4 infection and replication but did not yield infectious virus, suggesting abortive infection. Similarly, abortive infection of VA1 was observed in SW-1088 and U87 MG cells. Elevated expression of the chemokine CXCL10 was detected in VA1-infected primary astrocytes and SK-N-SH cells, suggesting that VA1 infection can induce a proinflammatory host response. These findings establish an in vitro cell culture model that is essential for investigation of the basic biology of astroviruses and their neuropathogenic potential.IMPORTANCE Encephalitis remains a diagnostic conundrum in humans as over 50% of cases are managed without the identification of an etiology. Astroviruses have been detected from the central nervous system of mammals in association with disease, suggesting that this family of RNA viruses could be responsible for cases of some neurological diseases that are currently without an ascribed etiology. However, there are significant barriers to understanding astrovirus infection as the capacity of these viruses to replicate in nervous system cells in vitro has not been determined. We describe primary and immortalized cultured cells of the nervous system that support infection by astroviruses. These results further corroborate the role of astroviruses in causing neurological diseases and will serve as an essential model to interrogate the neuropathogenesis of astrovirus infection.

KEYWORDS:

astrovirus; astrovirus VA1; cell culture; encephalitis; virology

PMID:
31289185
DOI:
10.1128/mBio.01455-19
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