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Journal of General Virology 90, Pt 9 (2009) 2209-20
Infection with herpes simplex type 1-based amplicon vectors results in an IRF3/7-dependent, TLR-independent activation of the innate antiviral response in primary human fibroblasts.
Eliza Tsitoura1, Joëlle Thomas1, 2, Delphine Cuchet1, Karine Thoinet1, Penelope Mavromara, Alberto L Epstein1

Amplicons are helper-dependent herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-based vectors that can deliver very large, foreign DNA sequences and, as such, are good candidates for both gene delivery and vaccine development. However, many studies have shown that innate immune responses induced by virus vectors can play a significant role in the control of transgenic expression and in the induction of inflammatory responses. Furthermore, amplicons are very interesting tools to study innate cellular responses elicited by entry of HSV-1 particles in the absence of any virus gene expression. For these reasons, in this study we characterized the innate antiviral response established in human fibroblasts of limited passage (HFFF-2) infected by amplicons. Our results indicate that infection with amplicons triggered an interferon (IFN)-regulatory factors 3 and 7 (IRF3/7)-dependent antiviral response, rendered the cells resistant to vesicular stomatitis virus infection and induced significant changes in the pattern of cellular gene expression, including the upregulation of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), IRF7 and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). In contrast, we observed only a mild and contained type I IFN response in infected cells. Amplicon infection induced nuclear translocation and subsequent degradation of IRF3, without hyperphosphorylation of the protein. Inhibition of endosome-resident TLR signalling by blocking lysosome maturation or the knockdown of TLR3 and 4 did not abolish the cellular response to amplicons, whereas knockdown of IRF3 and 7 inhibited ISG and IFN-beta expression severely. Therefore, our results confirm the existence of TLR-independent, IRF3/7-dependent activation pathways triggered by HSV-1 particles in human fibroblasts.
1 :  CGMC - Centre de génétique moléculaire et cellulaire
2 :  GANIL - Grand Accélérateur National d'Ions Lourds
Sciences du Vivant/Biochimie, Biologie Moléculaire/Biologie moléculaire