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Virology 2017 Mar;503:1-5

Nrf2-dependent induction of innate host defense via heme oxygenase-1 inhibits Zika virus replication.

Huang H, Falgout B, Takeda K, Yamada KM, Dhawan S


We identified primary human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) as vulnerable target cells for Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. We demonstrate dramatic effects of hemin, the natural inducer of the heme catabolic enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), in the reduction of ZIKV replication in vitro. Both LLC-MK2 monkey kidney cells and primary MDM exhibited hemin-induced HO-1 expression with major reductions of >90% in ZIKV replication, with little toxicity to infected cells. Silencing expression of HO-1 or its upstream regulatory gene, nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 (Nrf2), attenuated hemin-induced suppression of ZIKV infection, suggesting an important role for induction of these intracellular mediators in retarding ZIKV replication. The inverse correlation between hemin-induced HO-1 levels and ZIKV replication provides a potentially useful therapeutic modality based on stimulation of an innate cellular response against Zika virus infection.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #28068513 DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2016.12.019
PubMed Central ID: #PMC5325777
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2016-08-15 Entry Last Modified: 2017-05-11