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BMC Infect Dis 2017 Apr 26;17(1):309

Differential host gene responses from infection with neurovirulent and partially-neurovirulent strains of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus.

Gupta P, Sharma A, Han J, Yang A, Bhomia M, Knollmann-Ritschel B, Puri RK, Maheshwari RK


BACKGROUND: Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an alphavirus in the family Togaviridae. VEEV causes a bi-phasic illness in mice where primary replication in lymphoid organs is followed by entry into the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS phase of infection is marked by encephalitis and large scale neuronal death ultimately resulting in death. Molecular determinants of VEEV neurovirulence are not well understood. In this study, host gene expression response to highly neurovirulent VEEV (V3000 strain) infection was compared with that of a partially neurovirulent VEEV (V3034 strain) to identify host factors associated with VEEV neurovirulence. METHODS: Whole genome microarrays were performed to identify the significantly modulated genes. Microarray observations were classified into three categories i.e., genes that were similarly modulated against both V3000 and V3034 infections, and genes that were uniquely modulated in infection with V3034 or V3000. Histologic sections of spleen and brain were evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin stains from all the mice. RESULTS: V3000 infection induced a greater degree of pathology in both the spleen and brain tissue of infected mice compared to V3034 infection. Genes commonly modulated in the spleens after V3000 or V3034 infection were associated with innate immune responses, inflammation and antigen presentation, however, V3000 induced a gene response profile that suggests a stronger inflammatory and apoptotic response compared to V3034. In the brain, both the strains of VEEV induced an innate immune response reflected by an upregulation of the genes involved in antigen presentation, interferon response, and inflammation. Similar to the spleen, V3000 was found to induce a stronger inflammatory response than V3034 in terms of induction of pro-inflammatory genes and associated pathways. Ccl2, Ccl5, Ccl6, and Ly6 were uniquely upregulated in V3000 infected mouse brains and correlated with the extensive inflammation observed in the brain. CONCLUSION: The common gene profile identified from V3000 and V3034 exposure can help in understanding a generalized host response to VEEV infection. Inflammatory genes that were uniquely identified in mouse brains with V3000 infection will help in better understanding the lethal neurovirulence of VEEV. Future studies are needed to explore the roles played by the genes identified in VEEV induced encephalitis.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #28446152 DOI: 10.1186/s12879-017-2355-3
PubMed Central ID: #PMC5405508
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2017-05-11 Entry Last Modified: 2017-06-04