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Chicken cells sense influenza A virus infection through MDA5 and CARDIF signaling involving LGP2

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  • Matthias Liniger
  • Artur Summerfield
  • Gert Zimmer
  • Kenneth C McCullough
  • Nicolas Ruggli

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-17
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


Avian influenza viruses (AIV) raise worldwide veterinary and public health concerns due to their potential for zoonotic transmission. While infection with highly pathogenic AIV results in high mortality in chickens, this is not necessarily the case in wild birds and ducks. It is known that innate immune factors can contribute to the outcome of infection. In this context, retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) is the main cytosolic pattern recognition receptor known for detecting influenza A virus infection in mammalian cells. Chickens, unlike ducks, lack RIG-I, yet chicken cells do produce type I interferon (IFN) in response to AIV infection. Consequently, we sought to identify the cytosolic recognition elements in chicken cells. Chicken mRNA encoding the putative chicken analogs of CARDIF and LGP2 (chCARDIF and chLGP2, respectively) were identified. HT7-tagged chCARDIF was observed to associate with mitochondria in chicken DF-1 fibroblasts. The exogenous expression of chCARDIF, as well as of the caspase activation and recruitment domains (CARDs) of the chicken melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (chMDA5), strongly activated the chicken IFN-β (chIFN-β) promoter. The silencing of chMDA5, chCARDIF, and chIRF3 reduced chIFN-β levels induced by AIV, indicating their involvement in AIV sensing. As with mammalian cells, chLGP2 had opposing effects. While overexpression decreased the activation of the chIFN-β promoter, the silencing of endogenous chLGP2 reduced chIFN-β induced by AIV. We finally demonstrate that the chMDA5 signaling pathway is inhibited by the viral nonstructural protein 1. In conclusion, chicken cells, including DF-1 fibroblasts and HD-11 macrophage-like cells, employ chMDA5 for sensing AIV.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Avian Proteins, CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins, Cell Line, Chickens, DEAD-box RNA Helicases, Humans, Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype, Influenza in Birds, Interferon-beta, Molecular Sequence Data, Poultry Diseases, RNA Helicases, Signal Transduction

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