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Eur J Immunol. 1995 Apr;25(4):976-84.

Measles virus-induced down-regulation of CD46 is associated with enhanced sensitivity to complement-mediated lysis of infected cells.

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Institut für Virologie und Immunobiologie, Universität Würzburg, Germany.


CD46, the major component of the measles virus (MV) receptor complex and a member of the regulators of complement activity (RCA) gene cluster, is down-regulated in MV-infected cells. We investigated whether the reduction of surface CD46 correlates with enhanced sensitivity of lymphoid and monocytic cells to lysis by activated complement. On human U937 cells, acutely or persistently infected with MV-Edmonston (ED) vaccine strain, infection-dependent down-regulation of CD46 confers sensitivity to activated complement, regardless of the pathway of activation and the specificity of the activating antibodies. Interestingly, down-regulation of CD46 alone is sufficient to confer susceptibility of cells to complement lysis despite the continued surface expression of other RCA proteins such as CD35 and CD55. In primary cultures, both peripheral blood lymphocytes and macrophages are efficiently lysed in the presence of complement activated via the alternative pathway after MV infection. In contrast to the MV-ED infection, infection of cells with the lymphotropic MV wild-type strain WTF does not down-regulate CD46. Cells infected with MV-WTF do not exhibit enhanced susceptibility to complement lysis. These data suggest that MV strains similar to WTF that do not down-regulate CD46 may have an enhanced potential for replication and dissemination within the human host, whereas complement-mediated elimination of cells infected with CD46-down-regulating strains of MV, such as ED, may limit the spread of MV infection, and could thus represent an attenuating factor for MV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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