Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is a multifunctional protein that is a viral replication enhancer and virulence factor. In this study, we investigated the effect of the amino acid substitution G45R on the NS1 of A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 (H1N1) (G45R/NS1) on viral virulence and host gene expression in a mouse model and the human lung cell line A549. The G45R/NS1 virus had increased virulence by inducing an earlier and robust proinflammatory cytokine response in mice. Mice infected with the G45R/NS1 virus lost more body weight and had lower survival rates than mice infected with the wild type (WT/NS1) virus. Replication of the G45R/NS1 virus was higher than that of the WT/NS1 virus in vitro, but the replication of both viruses was similar in mouse lungs. In A549 cells, the majority of G45R/NS1 protein was localized in the cytoplasm whereas the majority of WT/NS1 protein was localized in the nucleus. Microarray analysis revealed that A549 cells infected with the G45R/NS1 virus had higher expression of genes encoding proteins associated with the innate immune response and cytokine activity than cells infected with the WT/NS1 virus. These data agree with cytokine production observed in mouse lungs. Our findings suggest that G45R on NS1 protein contributes to viral virulence by increasing the expression of inflammatory cytokines early in infection.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 23, 2016
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