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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mouse hepatitis virus neurovirulence: evidence of a linkage between S glycoprotein expression and immunopathology.

Differences in disease outcome between the highly neurovirulent MHV-JHM and mildly neurovirulent MHV-A59 have been attributed to variations within the spike (S) glycoprotein. Previously, we found that MHV-JHM neurovirulence was marked by diminished expression of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) mRNA and a reduced presence of CD8 T cells in the CNS concomitant with heightened macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 transcript levels and greater macrophage infiltration relative to MHV-A59 infection. Here, the ability of the S and non-spike genes to regulate these immune responses was evaluated using chimeric viruses. Chimeric viruses WTR13 and S4R22 were made on MHV-A59 variant backgrounds and, respectively, contained the S gene of MHV-A59 and MHV-JHM. Unexpectedly, genes other than S appeared to modulate events critical to viral replication and survival. Unlike unresolving MHV-JHM infections, the clearance of WTR13 and S4R22 infections coincided with strong IFN-gamma transcription and an increase in the number of CD8 T cells infiltrating into the CNS. However, despite the absence of detectable viral titers, approximately 40% of S4R22-infected mice succumbed within 3 weeks, indicating that the enhanced mortality following S4R22 infection was not associated with high viral titers. Instead, similar to the MHV-JHM infection, reduced survival following S4R22 infection was observed in the presence of elevated MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta mRNA accumulation and enhanced macrophage numbers within infected brains. These observations suggest that the S protein of MHV-JHM influences neurovirulence through the induction of MIP-1alpha- and MIP-1beta-driven macrophage immunopathology.[1]


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