In utero infection of developing fetus by Rubella virus (RV) causes cell division inhibition of critical precursor cells in organogenesis, CNS-associated birth defects and induction of apoptosis in cell culture. The underlying mechanisms of RV-induced congenital abnormalities are not known. Here, we identified a novel interaction between RV replicase P90 protein and a cytokinesis-regulatory protein, the Citron-K kinase (CK), in a yeast two-hybrid cDNA library screen. Aberrations in cytokinesis and subsequent apoptosis do occur in specific cell types when the CK gene is knocked out or, its regulatory function is perturbed. Our analysis found that full-length P90 binds CK and in RV-infected cells P90 colocalizes with CK in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, during RV infection as well as cellular expression of P90 alone, we identified a discrete subpopulation of cells containing 4N DNA content, indicating that these cells are arrested in the cell cycle following S phase, suggesting that cellular expression of viral P90 during RV infection perturbs cytokinesis. Previous reports by others established that RV infection leads to apoptosis in cell culture. These observations together taken to the fetal organogenesis level, favor the idea that RV P90, by binding to cellular CK, invokes cell cycle aberrations resulting in the cell- and organ-specific growth inhibition and programmed cell death during RV infection in utero , which commonly is referred to as RV-induced teratogenesis.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2004
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