Interferon-lambda contributes to innate immunity of mice against influenza A virus but not against hepatotropic viruses.
ABSTRACT: Virus-infected cells secrete a broad range of interferon (IFN) subtypes which in turn trigger the synthesis of antiviral factors that confer host resistance. IFN-alpha, IFN-beta and other type I IFNs signal through a common universally expressed cell surface receptor, whereas IFN-lambda uses a distinct receptor complex for signaling that is not present on all cell types. Since type I IFN receptor-deficient mice (IFNAR1(0/0)) exhibit greatly increased susceptibility to various viral diseases, it remained unclear to which degree IFN-lambda might contribute to innate immunity. To address this issue we performed influenza A virus infections of mice which carry functional alleles of the influenza virus resistance gene Mx1 and which, therefore, develop a more complete innate immune response to influenza viruses than standard laboratory mice. We demonstrate that intranasal administration of IFN-lambda readily induced the antiviral factor Mx1 in mouse lungs and efficiently protected IFNAR1(0/0) mice from lethal influenza virus infection. By contrast, intraperitoneal application of IFN-lambda failed to induce Mx1 in the liver of IFNAR1(0/0) mice and did not protect against hepatotropic virus infections. Mice lacking functional IFN-lambda receptors were only slightly more susceptible to influenza virus than wild-type mice. However, mice lacking functional receptors for both IFN-alpha/beta and IFN-lambda were hypersensitive and even failed to restrict usually non-pathogenic influenza virus mutants lacking the IFN-antagonistic factor NS1. Interestingly, the double-knockout mice were not more susceptible against hepatotropic viruses than IFNAR1(0/0) mice. From these results we conclude that IFN-lambda contributes to inborn resistance against viral pathogens infecting the lung but not the liver.
Project description:Virus-infected cells secrete a broad range of interferons (IFN) which confer resistance to yet uninfected cells by triggering the synthesis of antiviral factors. The relative contributions of the various IFN subtypes to innate immunity against virus infections remain elusive. IFN-alpha, IFN-beta, and other type I IFN molecules signal through a common, universally expressed cell surface receptor, whereas type III IFN (IFN-lambda) uses a distinct cell-type-specific receptor complex for signaling. Using mice lacking functional receptors for type I IFN, type III IFN, or both, we found that IFN-lambda plays an important role in the defense against several human pathogens that infect the respiratory tract, such as influenza A virus, influenza B virus, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. These viruses were more pathogenic and replicated to higher titers in the lungs of mice lacking both IFN receptors than in mice with single IFN receptor defects. In contrast, Lassa fever virus, which infects via the respiratory tract but primarily replicates in the liver, was not influenced by the IFN-lambda receptor defect. Careful analysis revealed that expression of functional IFN-lambda receptor complexes in the lung and intestinal tract is restricted to epithelial cells and a few other, undefined cell types. Interestingly, we found that SARS coronavirus was present in feces from infected mice lacking receptors for both type I and type III IFN but not in those from mice lacking single receptors, supporting the view that IFN-lambda contributes to the control of viral infections in epithelial cells of both respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
Project description:Type I interferons (IFNs) promote natural killer (NK) and CD8(+) T-cell responses, which play a role not only in the resolution of infection but also in the induction of acute lung injury following influenza A virus infection. We show here that IFN-? receptor knock-out (Ifnar1(-/-)) mice exhibited impaired cytotoxic activity as well as an increased ability of NK and CD8(+) T cells to produce IFN-? after infection with influenza virus A/FM/1/47 (H1N1, a mouse-adapted strain). A deficiency in IFNAR signaling significantly impaired IL-10 production in influenza virus-infected lungs and enhanced IFN-? production by NK cells, which were suppressed by exogenous IL-10. Depletion of NK cells but not CD8(+) T cells in Ifnar1(-/-) mice improved the survival rate after A/FM/1/47 infection, indicating that NK cells are responsible for acute lung injury in Ifnar1(-/-) mice following influenza A virus infection, although the depletion of IFN-? did not improve the outcome. Thus, type I IFN signaling plays a role not only in the upregulation of cytotoxicity but also in the downregulation of some effector mechanisms including IFN-? production by NK and CD8(+) T cells via IL-10 production.
Project description:Influenza virus infections particularly when followed by bacterial superinfections (BSI) result in significant morbidities and mortalities especially during influenza pandemics. Type I interferons (IFNs) regulate both anti-influenza immunity and host susceptibility to subsequent BSIs. These type I IFNs consisting of, among others, 14 IFN-?'s and a single IFN-?, are recognized by and signal through the heterodimeric type I IFN receptor (IFNAR) comprised of IFNAR1 and IFNAR2. However, the individual receptor subunits can bind IFN-? or IFN-?'s independently of each other and induce distinct signaling. The role of type I IFN signaling in regulating host susceptibility to both viral infections and BSI has been only examined with respect to IFNAR1 deficiency. Here, we demonstrate that despite some redundancies, IFNAR1 and IFNAR2 have distinct roles in regulating both anti-influenza A virus (IAV) immunity and in shaping host susceptibility to subsequent BSI caused by S. aureus. We found IFNAR2 to be critical for anti-viral immunity. In contrast to Ifnar1 -/- mice, IAV-infected Ifnar2 -/- mice displayed both increased and accelerated morbidity and mortality compared to WT mice. Furthermore, unlike IFNAR1, IFNAR2 was sufficient to generate protection from lethal IAV infection when stimulated with IFN-?. With regards to BSI, unlike what we found previously in Ifnar1 -/- mice, Ifnar2 -/- mice were not susceptible to BSI induced on day 3 post-IAV, even though absence of IFNAR2 resulted in increased viral burden and an increased inflammatory environment. The Ifnar2 -/- mice similar to what we previously found in Ifnar1 -/- mice were less susceptible than WT mice to BSI induced on day 7 post-IAV, indicating that signaling through a complete receptor increases BSI susceptibility late during clinical IAV infection. Thus, our results support a role for IFNAR2 in induction of anti-IAV immune responses that are involved in altering host susceptibility to BSI and are essential for decreasing the morbidity and mortality associated with IAV infection. These results begin to elucidate some of the mechanisms involved in how the individual IFNAR subunits shape the anti-viral immune response. Moreover, our results highlight the importance of examining the contributions of entire receptors, as individual subunits can induce distinct outcomes as shown here.
Project description:The interferon-regulated Mx1 gene of the A2G mouse strain confers a high degree of resistance against influenza A and Thogoto viruses. Most other laboratory inbred mouse strains carry truncated nonfunctional Mx1 alleles and, consequently, exhibit high virus susceptibility. Interestingly, CAST/EiJ mice, derived from wild Mus musculus castaneus, possess a seemingly intact Mx1 gene but are highly susceptible to influenza A virus challenge. To determine whether the enhanced influenza virus susceptibility is due to intrinsically reduced antiviral activity of the CAST-derived Mx1 allele, we generated a congenic C57BL/6J mouse line that carries the Mx locus of CAST/EiJ mice. Adult animals of this line were almost as susceptible to influenza virus challenge as standard C57BL/6J mice lacking functional Mx1 alleles but exhibited far more pronounced resistance to Thogoto virus. Sequencing revealed that CAST-derived MX1 differs from A2G-derived MX1 by two amino acids (G83R and A222V) in the GTPase domain. Especially the A222V mutation reduced GTPase activity of purified MX1 and diminished the inhibitory effect of MX1 in influenza A virus polymerase activity assays. Further, MX1 protein was substantially less abundant in organs of interferon-treated mice carrying the CAST Mx1 allele than in those of mice carrying the A2G Mx1 allele. We found that the CAST-specific mutations reduced the metabolic stability of the MX1 protein although Mx1 mRNA levels were unchanged. Thus, the enhanced influenza virus susceptibility of CAST/EiJ mice can be explained by minor alterations in the MX1 restriction factor that negatively affect its enzymatic activity and reduce its half-life.Although the crystal structure of the prototypic human MXA protein is known, the importance of specific protein domains for antiviral activity is still incompletely understood. Novel insights might come from studying naturally occurring MX protein variants with altered antiviral activity. Here we identified two seemingly minor amino acid changes in the GTPase domain that negatively affect the enzymatic activity and metabolic stability of murine MX1 and thus dramatically reduce the influenza virus resistance of the respective mouse inbred strain. These observations highlight our current inability to predict the biological consequences of previously uncharacterized MX mutations in mice. Since this is probably also true for naturally occurring mutations in Mx genes of humans, careful experimental analysis of any natural MXA variants for altered activity is necessary in order to assess possible consequences of such mutations on innate antiviral immunity.
Project description:The IFN-induced resistance factor Mx1 is a critical component of innate immunity against influenza A viruses (FLUAV) in mice. Animals carrying a wild-type Mx1 gene (Mx1(+/+)) differ from regular laboratory mice (Mx1(-/-)) in that they are highly resistant to infection with standard FLUAV strains. We identified an extraordinary variant of the FLUAV strain, A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) (designated hvPR8), which is unusually virulent in Mx1(+/+) mice. hvPR8 was well controlled in Mx1(+/+) but not Mx1(-/-) mice provided that the animals were treated with IFN before infection, indicating that hvPR8 exhibits normal sensitivity to growth restriction by Mx1. hvPR8 multiplied much faster than standard PR8 early in infection because of highly efficient viral gene expression in infected cells. Studies with reassortant viruses containing defined genome segments of both hvPR8 and standard PR8 demonstrated that the HA, neuraminidase, and polymerase genes of hvPR8 all contributed to virulence, indicating that efficient host cell entry and early gene expression renders hvPR8 highly pathogenic. These results reveal a surprisingly simple concept of how influenza viruses may gain virulence and illustrate that high speed of virus growth can outcompete the antiviral response of the infected host.
Project description:Type I interferon (IFN-I) plays a critical role in the homeostasis of hematopoietic stem cells and influences neutrophil influx to the site of inflammation. IFN-I receptor knockout (Ifnar1?/?) mice develop significant defects in the infiltration of Ly6C(hi) monocytes in the lung after influenza infection (A/PR/8/34, H1N1). Ly6C(hi) monocytes of wild-type (WT) mice are the main producers of MCP-1 while the alternatively generated Ly6C(int) monocytes of Ifnar1?/? mice mainly produce KC for neutrophil influx. As a consequence, Ifnar1?/? mice recruit more neutrophils after influenza infection than do WT mice. Treatment of IFNAR1 blocking antibody on the WT bone marrow (BM) cells in vitro failed to differentiate into Ly6C(hi) monocytes. By using BM chimeric mice (WT BM into Ifnar1?/? and vice versa), we confirmed that IFN-I signaling in hematopoietic cells is required for the generation of Ly6C(hi) monocytes. Of note, WT BM reconstituted Ifnar1?/? chimeric mice with increased numbers of Ly6C(hi) monocytes survived longer than influenza-infected Ifnar1?/? mice. In contrast, WT mice that received Ifnar1?/? BM cells with alternative Ly6C(int) monocytes and increased numbers of neutrophils exhibited higher mortality rates than WT mice given WT BM cells. Collectively, these data suggest that IFN-I contributes to resistance of influenza infection by control of monocytes and neutrophils in the lung.
Project description:In the temperate regions, seasonal influenza virus outbreaks correlate closely with decreases in humidity. While low ambient humidity is known to enhance viral transmission, its impact on host response to influenza virus infection and disease outcome remains unclear. Here, we showed that housing Mx1 congenic mice in low relative humidity makes mice more susceptible to severe disease following respiratory challenge with influenza A virus. We find that inhalation of dry air impairs mucociliary clearance, innate antiviral defense, and tissue repair. Moreover, disease exacerbated by low relative humidity was ameliorated in caspase-1/11-deficient Mx1 mice, independent of viral burden. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed that induction of IFN-stimulated genes in response to viral infection was diminished in multiple cell types in the lung of mice housed in low humidity condition. These results indicate that exposure to dry air impairs host defense against influenza infection, reduces tissue repair, and inflicts caspase-dependent disease pathology.
Project description:The type III interferon (IFN) receptor is preferentially expressed by epithelial cells. It is made of two subunits: IFNLR1, which is specific to IFN-lambda (IFN-?) and IL10RB, which is shared by other cytokine receptors. Human hepatocytes express IFNLR1 and respond to IFN-?. In contrast, the IFN-? response of the mouse liver is very weak and IFNLR1 expression is hardly detectable in this organ. Here we investigated the IFN-? response at the cellular level in the mouse liver and we tested whether human and mouse hepatocytes truly differ in responsiveness to IFN-?. When monitoring expression of the IFN-responsive Mx genes by immunohistofluorescence, we observed that the IFN-? response in mouse livers was restricted to cholangiocytes, which form the bile ducts, and that mouse hepatocytes were indeed not responsive to IFN-?. The lack of mouse hepatocyte response to IFN-? was observed in different experimental settings, including the infection with a hepatotropic strain of influenza A virus which triggered a strong local production of IFN-?. With the help of chimeric mice containing transplanted human hepatocytes, we show that hepatocytes of human origin readily responded to IFN-? in a murine environment. Thus, our data suggest that human but not mouse hepatocytes are responsive to IFN-? in vivo. The non-responsiveness is an intrinsic property of mouse hepatocytes and is not due to the mouse liver micro-environment.
Project description:Interferons (IFN) are crucial for the innate immune response. Slightly more than two decades ago, a new type of IFN was discovered: the lambda IFN (type III IFN). Like other IFN, the type III IFN display antiviral activity against a wide variety of infections, they induce expression of antiviral, interferon-stimulated genes (<i>MX1</i>, <i>OAS</i>, <i>IFITM1</i>), and they have immuno-modulatory activities that shape adaptive immune responses. Unlike other IFN, the type III IFN signal through distinct receptors is limited to a few cell types, primarily mucosal epithelial cells. As a consequence of their greater and more durable production in nasal and respiratory tissues, they can determine the outcome of respiratory infections. This review is focused on the role of IFN-? in the pathogenesis of respiratory viral infections, with influenza as a prime example. The influenza virus is a major public health problem, causing up to half a million lethal infections annually. Moreover, the virus has been the cause of four pandemics over the last century. Although IFN-? are increasingly being tested in antiviral therapy, they can have a negative influence on epithelial tissue recovery and increase the risk of secondary bacterial infections. Therefore, IFN-? expression deserves increased scrutiny as a key factor in the host immune response to infection.
Project description:Understanding the role of host factors during lethal influenza virus infection is critical to deciphering the events that will determine the fate of the host. One such factor is encoded by the Mx1 gene, which confers resistance to influenza virus infection. Here, we compared pathology and global gene expression profiles in lung tissue from BALB/c (Mx1(-)) and BALB•A2G-Mx1 mice (Mx1(+/+)) infected with the fully reconstructed 1918 pandemic influenza virus with an without interferon-alpha pretreatment. Mx1(+/+) mice showed less tissue damage than Mx(-) animals, and pathology and mortality were further reduced by treating the mice with interferon prior to infection. The goal of the global transcriptional profiling was to identify distinct molecular signatures associated with partial protection, complete protection, and the contribution of interferon to the host response. BALB/c mice carrying a defective allele of the Mx1 resistance gene or congenic Balb.A2G-Mx1 mice carrying the functional Mx1 allele. Half of the animals in each group were intranasally treated with 10,000 units of recombinant human IFN-α A/D (R&D Systems, Minneapolis, MN). Animals were anesthetized by IP injection and inoculated intranasally with 3.2 × 10^5 PFU (One hundred times 50% lethal dose (LD50)) of the reconstructed 1918 infectious virus diluted in 50 μl phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or mock infected with PBS. To assess gene expression in response to r1918 virus with and without IFN treatment, lungs were harvested at 12hr, 24hr, and 72hr post-innoculation (n=3 per group at each time point). To assess gene expression in the context of IFN treatment only, lungs were harvested at 8h and 24hr post-treatment (n=3 per group at each time point). To assess gene expression without IFN or virus infection, lungs were harvested from mock-infected animals at 12h, 24h and 72hr from both Balb/c (n=2 per at each time point) and Mx1+/+ (n=3 at each time point).