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Differential host gene expression in cells infected with highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses

Sarmento, Luciana, Afonso, Claudio L., Estevez, Carlos, Wasilenko, Jamie, Pantin-Jackwood, Mary
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2008 v.125 no.3-4 pp. 291
bird diseases, avian influenza, Influenza A virus, strains, pathotypes, pathogenesis, host-pathogen relationships, immune system, immunity, immune response, gene expression, defense mechanisms, chickens, fibroblasts, cell physiology, major histocompatibility complex, interferons, interleukins, microbial growth, amino acid sequences, strain differences, microarray technology
In order to understand the molecular mechanisms by which different strains of avian influenza viruses overcome host response in birds, we used a complete chicken genome microarray to compare early gene expression levels in chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF) infected with two avian influenza viruses (AIV), A/CK/Hong Kong/220/97 and A/Egret/Hong Kong/757.2/02, with different replication characteristics. Gene ontology revealed that the genes with altered expression are involved in many vital functional classes including protein metabolism, translation, transcription, host defense/immune response, ubiquitination and the cell cycle. Among the immune-related genes, MEK2, MHC class I, PDCD10 and Bcl-3 were selected for further expression analysis at 24hpi using semi-quantitive RT-PCR. Infection of CEF with A/Egret/Hong Kong/757.2/02 resulted in a marked repression of MEK2 and MHC class I gene expression levels. Infection of CEF with A/CK/Hong Kong/220/97 induced an increase of MEK2 and a decrease in PDCD10 and Bcl-3 expression levels. The expression levels of alpha interferon (IFN-α), myxovirus resistance 1 (Mx1) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) were also analyzed at 24hpi, showing higher expression levels of all of these genes after infection with A/CK/Hong Kong/220/97 compared to A/Egret/Hong Kong/757.2/02. In addition, comparison of the NS1 sequences of the viruses revealed amino acid differences that may explain in part the differences in IFN-α expression observed. Microarray gene expression analysis has proven to be a useful tool on providing important insights into how different AIVs affect host gene expression and how AIVs may use different strategies to evade host response and replicate in host cells.