Apoptotic and Early Innate Immune Responses to PB1-F2 Protein of Influenza A Viruses Belonging to Different Subtypes in Human Lung Epithelial A549 Cells.
ABSTRACT: PB1-F2 is a multifunctional protein and contributes to the pathogenicity of influenza A viruses. PB1-F2 is known to have strain and cell specific functions. In this study we have investigated the apoptotic and inflammatory responses of PB1-F2 protein from influenza viruses of diverse pathogenicities in A549 lung epithelial cells. Overexpression of PB1-F2 resulted in apoptosis and heightened inflammatory response in A549 cells. Comparison revealed that the response varied with each subtype. PB1-F2 protein from highly pathogenic H5N1 virus induced least apoptosis but maximum inflammatory response. Results indicated that apoptosis was mediated through death receptor ligands TNF? and TRAIL via Caspase 8 activation. Significant induction of cytokines/chemokines CXCL10, CCL5, CCL2, IFN?, and IL-6 was noted in A549 cells transfected with PB1-F2 gene construct of 2008 West Bengal H5N1 virus (H5N1-WB). On the contrary, PB1-F2 construct from 2007 highly pathogenic H5N1 isolate (H5N1-M) with truncated N-terminal region did not evoke as exuberant inflammatory response as the other H5N1-WB with full length PB1-F2, signifying the importance of N-terminal region of PB1-F2. Sequence analysis revealed that PB1-F2 proteins derived from different influenza viruses varied at multiple amino acid positions. The secondary structure prediction showed each of the PB1-F2 proteins had distinct helix-loop-helix structure. Thus, our data substantiate the notion that the contribution of PB1-F2 to influenza pathogenicity is greatly strain specific and involves multiple host factors. This data demonstrates that PB1-F2 protein of influenza A virus, when expressed independently is minimally apoptotic and strongly influences the early host response in A549 cells.
Project description:Influenza A viruses (IAVs) express the PB1-F2 protein from an alternate reading frame within the PB1 gene segment. The roles of PB1-F2 are not well understood but appear to involve modulation of host cell responses. As shown in previous studies, we find that PB1-F2 proteins of mammalian IAVs frequently have premature stop codons that are expected to cause truncations of the protein, whereas avian IAVs usually express a full-length 90-amino-acid PB1-F2. However, in contrast to other avian IAVs, recent isolates of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses had a high proportion of PB1-F2 truncations (15% since 2010; 61% of isolates in 2013) due to several independent mutations that have persisted and expanded in circulating viruses. One natural H5N1 IAV containing a mutated PB1-F2 start codon (i.e., lacking ATG) was 1,000-fold more virulent for BALB/c mice than a closely related H5N1 containing intact PB1-F2. In vitro, we detected expression of an in-frame protein (C-terminal PB1-F2) from downstream ATGs in PB1-F2 plasmids lacking the well-conserved ATG start codon. Transient expression of full-length PB1-F2, truncated (24-amino-acid) PB1-F2, and PB1-F2 lacking the initiating ATG in mammalian and avian cells had no effect on cell apoptosis or interferon expression in human lung epithelial cells. Full-length and C-terminal PB1-F2 mutants colocalized with mitochondria in A549 cells. Close monitoring of alterations of PB1-F2 and their frequency in contemporary avian H5N1 viruses should continue, as such changes may be markers for mammalian virulence.Although most avian influenza viruses are harmless for humans, some (such as highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses) are capable of infecting humans and causing severe disease with a high mortality rate. A number of risk factors potentially associated with adaptation to mammalian infection have been noted. Here we demonstrate that the protein PB1-F2 is frequently truncated in recent isolates of highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses. Truncation of PB1-F2 has been proposed to act as an adaptation to mammalian infection. We show that some forms of truncation of PB1-F2 may be associated with increased virulence in mammals. Our data support the assessment of PB1-F2 truncations for genomic surveillance of influenza viruses.
Project description:The PB1-F2 protein encoded by influenza A viruses can contribute to virulence, a feature that is dependent of its sequence polymorphism. Whereas PB1-F2 from some H1N1 viruses were shown to exacerbate the inflammatory response within the airways, the contribution of PB1-F2 to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) virulence in mammals remains poorly described. Using a H5N1 HPAIV strain isolated from duck and its PB1-F2 knocked-out mutant, we characterized the dynamics of PB1-F2-associated host response in a murine model of lethal pneumonia. The mean time of death was 10 days for the two viruses, allowing us to perform global transcriptomic analyses and detailed histological investigations of the infected lungs at multiple time points. At day 2 post-infection (pi), while no histopathological lesion was observed, PB1-F2 expression resulted in a significant inhibition of cellular pathways involved in macrophage activation and in a transcriptomic signature suggesting that it promotes damage to the epithelial barrier. At day 4 pi, the gene profile associated with PB1-F2 expression revealed dysfunctions in NK cells activity. At day 8 pi, PB1-F2 expression was strongly associated with increased transcription of genes encoding chemokines and cytokines implicated in the recruitment of granulocytes, as well as expression of a number of genes encoding enzymes expressed by neutrophils. These transcriptomic data were fully supported by the histopathological analysis of the mice lungs which evidenced more severe inflammatory lesions and enhanced recruitment of neutrophils in the context of PB1-F2 expression, and thus provided a functional corroboration to the insight obtained in this work. In summary, our study shows that PB1-F2 of H5N1 HPAIV markedly influences the expression of the host transcriptome in a different way than its H1N1 counterparts: H5N1 PB1-F2 first delays the initial immune response but increases the pulmonary inflammatory response during the late stages of infection.
Project description:With the recent emergence of a novel pandemic strain, there is presently intense interest in understanding the molecular signatures of virulence of influenza viruses. PB1-F2 proteins from epidemiologically important influenza A virus strains were studied to determine their function and contribution to virulence. Using 27-mer peptides derived from the C-terminal sequence of PB1-F2 and chimeric viruses engineered on a common background, we demonstrated that induction of cell death through PB1-F2 is dependent upon BAK/BAX mediated cytochrome c release from mitochondria. This function was specific for the PB1-F2 protein of A/Puerto Rico/8/34 and was not seen using PB1-F2 peptides derived from past pandemic strains. However, PB1-F2 proteins from the three pandemic strains of the 20(th) century and a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N1 subtype were shown to enhance the lung inflammatory response resulting in increased pathology. Recently circulating seasonal influenza A strains were not capable of this pro-inflammatory function, having lost the PB1-F2 protein's immunostimulatory activity through truncation or mutation during adaptation in humans. These data suggest that the PB1-F2 protein contributes to the virulence of pandemic strains when the PB1 gene segment is recently derived from the avian reservoir.
Project description:Highly pathogenic influenza A viruses (IAV) from avian hosts were first reported to directly infect humans 20 years ago. However, such infections are rare events, and our understanding of factors promoting or restricting zoonotic transmission is still limited. One accessory protein of IAV, PB1-F2, was associated with pathogenicity of pandemic and zoonotic IAV. This short (90-amino-acid) peptide does not harbor an enzymatic function. We thus identified host factors interacting with H5N1 PB1-F2, which could explain its importance for virulence. PB1-F2 binds to HCLS1-associated protein X1 (HAX-1), a recently identified host restriction factor of the PA subunit of IAV polymerase complexes. We demonstrate that the PA of a mammal-adapted H1N1 IAV is resistant to HAX-1 imposed restriction, while the PA of an avian-origin H5N1 IAV remains sensitive. We also showed HAX-1 sensitivity for PAs of A/Brevig Mission/1/1918 (H1N1) and A/Shanghai/1/2013 (H7N9), two avian-origin zoonotic IAV. Inhibition of H5N1 polymerase by HAX-1 can be alleviated by its PB1-F2 through direct competition. Accordingly, replication of PB1-F2-deficient H5N1 IAV is attenuated in the presence of large amounts of HAX-1. Mammal-adapted H1N1 and H3N2 viruses do not display this dependence on PB1-F2 for efficient replication in the presence of HAX-1. We propose that PB1-F2 plays a key role in zoonotic transmission of avian H5N1 IAV into humans.IMPORTANCE Aquatic and shore birds are the natural reservoir of influenza A viruses from which the virus can jump into a variety of bird and mammal host species, including humans. H5N1 influenza viruses are a good model for this process. They pose an ongoing threat to human and animal health due to their high mortality rates. However, it is currently unclear what restricts these interspecies jumps on the host side or what promotes them on the virus side. Here we show that a short viral peptide, PB1-F2, helps H5N1 bird influenza viruses to overcome a human restriction factor of the viral polymerase complex HAX-1. Interestingly, we found that human influenza A virus polymerase complexes are already adapted to HAX-1 and do not require this function of PB1-F2. We thus propose that a functional full-length PB1-F2 supports direct transmission of bird viruses into humans.
Project description:PB1-F2 protein, expressed from an alternative reading frame of most influenza A virus (IAV) PB1 segments, may possess specific residues associated with enhanced inflammation (L62, R75, R79, and L82) and cytotoxicity (I68, L69, and V70). These residues were shown to increase the pathogenicity of primary viral and secondary bacterial infections in a mouse model. In contrast to human seasonal influenza strains, virulence-associated residues are present in PB1-F2 proteins from pandemic H1N1 1918, H2N2 1957, and H3N2 1968, and highly pathogenic H5N1 strains, suggesting their contribution to viruses' pathogenic phenotypes. Non-human influenza strains may act as donors of virulent PB1-F2 proteins. Previously, avian influenza strains were identified as a potential source of inflammatory, but not cytotoxic, PB1-F2 residues. Here, we analyze the frequency of virulence-associated residues in PB1-F2 sequences from IAVs circulating in mammalian species in close contact with humans: pigs, horses, and dogs. All four inflammatory residues were found in PB1-F2 proteins from these viruses. Among cytotoxic residues, I68 was the most common and was especially prevalent in equine and canine IAVs. Historically, PB1-F2 from equine (about 75%) and canine (about 20%) IAVs were most likely to have combinations of the highest numbers of residues associated with inflammation and cytotoxicity, compared to about 7% of swine IAVs. Our analyses show that, in addition to birds, pigs, horses, and dogs are potentially important sources of pathogenic PB1-F2 variants. There is a need for surveillance of IAVs with genetic markers of virulence that may be emerging from these reservoirs in order to improve pandemic preparedness and response.
Project description:Pigs are evidently more resistant to avian than swine influenza A viruses, mediated in part through frontline epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages (AM). Although porcine AM (PAM) are crucial in influenza virus control, their mode of control is unclear. To gain insight into the possible role of PAM in the mediation of avian influenza virus resistance, we compared the host effects and replication of two avian (H2N3 and H6N1) and three mammalian (swine H1N1, human H1N1 and pandemic H1N1) influenza viruses in PAM. We found that PAM were readily susceptible to initial infection with all five avian and mammalian influenza viruses but only avian viruses caused early and extensive apoptosis (by 6 h of infection) resulting in reduced virus progeny and moderated pro-inflammation. Full length viral PB1-F2 present only in avian influenza viruses is a virulence factor that targets AM for mitochondrial-associated apoptotic cell death. With the use of reverse genetics on an avian H5N1 virus, we found that full length PB1-F2 contributed to increased apoptosis and pro-inflammation but not to reduced virus replication. Taken together, we propose that early apoptosis of PAM limits the spread of avian influenza viruses and that PB1-F2 could play a contributory role in the process.
Project description:Highly pathogenic Avian influenza (HPAI) is a notifiable viral disease caused by avian influenza type A viruses of the Orthomyxoviridae family. Type A influenza genome consists of eight segments of negative-sense RNA. RNA segment 2 encodes three proteins, PB1, PB1-F2, and N40, which are translated from the same mRNA by ribosomal leaky scanning and reinitiation. Since these proteins are critical for viral replication and pathogenesis, targeting their expression can be one of the approaches to control and resist HPAI. MicroRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that regulate a variety of biological processes such as cell growth, tissue differentiation, apoptosis, and viral infection. In this study, a set of 300 miRNAs expressed in chicken lungs were screened against the HPAI virus (H5N1) segment 2 with different screening parameter like thermodynamic stability of heteroduplex, seed sequence complementarity, conserved target sequence, and target-site accessibility for identifying miRNAs that can potentially target the transcript of segment 2 of H5N1. Chicken miRNAs gga-mir-133c, gga-mir-1710, and gga-mir-146c* are predicted to target the expression of PB1, PB1-F2, and N40 proteins. This indicates that chicken has genetic potential to resist/tolerate H5N1 infection and these can be suitably exploited in designing strategies for control of avian influenza in chicken.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses (HPAIV) of the H5N1 subtype occasionally transmit from birds to humans and can cause severe systemic infections in both hosts. PB1-F2 is an alternative translation product of the viral PB1 segment that was initially characterized as a pro-apoptotic mitochondrial viral pathogenicity factor. A full-length PB1-F2 has been present in all human influenza pandemic virus isolates of the 20(th) century, but appears to be lost evolutionarily over time as the new virus establishes itself and circulates in the human host. In contrast, the open reading frame (ORF) for PB1-F2 is exceptionally well-conserved in avian influenza virus isolates. Here we perform a comparative study to show for the first time that PB1-F2 is a pathogenicity determinant for HPAIV (A/Viet Nam/1203/2004, VN1203 (H5N1)) in both mammals and birds. In a mammalian host, the rare N66S polymorphism in PB1-F2 that was previously described to be associated with high lethality of the 1918 influenza A virus showed increased replication and virulence of a recombinant VN1203 H5N1 virus, while deletion of the entire PB1-F2 ORF had negligible effects. Interestingly, the N66S substituted virus efficiently invades the CNS and replicates in the brain of Mx+/+ mice. In ducks deletion of PB1-F2 clearly resulted in delayed onset of clinical symptoms and systemic spreading of virus, while variations at position 66 played only a minor role in pathogenesis. These data implicate PB1-F2 as an important pathogenicity factor in ducks independent of sequence variations at position 66. Our data could explain why PB1-F2 is conserved in avian influenza virus isolates and only impacts pathogenicity in mammals when containing certain amino acid motifs such as the rare N66S polymorphism.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) is a permanent threat due to its capacity to cross species barriers and generate severe infections and high mortality in humans. Recent findings have highlighted the potential role of PB1-F2, a small accessory influenza protein, in the pathogenesis process mediated by HPAIV in mammals. In this study, using a recombinant H5N1 HPAIV (wt) and its PB1-F2-deleted mutant (?F2), we studied the effects of PB1-F2 in a chicken model. Unexpectedly, when using low inoculation dose we observed that the wt-infected chickens had a higher survival rate than the ?F2-infected chickens, a feature that contrasts with what is usually observed in mammals. High inoculation dose had similar mortality rate for both viruses, and comparison of the bio-distribution of the two viruses indicated that the expression of PB1-F2 allows a better spreading of the virus within chicken embryos. Transcriptomic profiles of lungs and blood cells were characterized at two days post-infection in chickens inoculated with the wild type (wt) or the ?F2 mutant viruses. In lungs, the expression of PB1-F2 during the infection induced pathways related to calcium signaling and repressed a large panel of immunological functions. In blood cells, PB1-F2 was associated with a gene signature specific for mitochondrial dysfunction and down-modulated leucocytes activation. Finally we compared the effect of PB1-F2 in lungs of chickens and mice. We identified that gene signature associated to tissue damages is a PB1-F2 feature shared by the two species; by contrast, the early inhibition of immune response mediated by PB1-F2 observed in chickens is not seen in mice. In summary, our data suggest that PB1-F2 expression deeply affect the immune response in chickens in a way that may attenuate pathogenicity at low infection dose, a feature differing from what was previously observed in mammal species.
Project description:Airway inflammation plays a major role in the pathogenesis of influenza viruses and can lead to a fatal outcome. One of the challenging objectives in the field of influenza research is the identification of the molecular bases associated to the immunopathological disorders developed during infection. While its precise function in the virus cycle is still unclear, the viral protein PB1-F2 is proposed to exert a deleterious activity within the infected host. Using an engineered recombinant virus unable to express PB1-F2 and its wild-type homolog, we analyzed and compared the pathogenicity and host response developed by the two viruses in a mouse model. We confirmed that the deletion of PB1-F2 renders the virus less virulent. The global transcriptomic analyses of the infected lungs revealed a potent impact of PB1-F2 on the response developed by the host. Thus, after two days post-infection, PB1-F2 invalidation severely decreased the number of genes activated by the host. PB1-F2 expression induced an increase in the number and level of expression of activated genes linked to cell death, inflammatory response and neutrophil chemotaxis. When generating interactive gene networks specific to PB1-F2, we identified IFN-? as a central regulator of PB1-F2-regulated genes. The enhanced cell death of airway-recruited leukocytes was evidenced using an apoptosis assay, confirming the pro-apoptotic properties of PB1-F2. Using a NF-kB luciferase adenoviral vector, we were able to quantify in vivo the implication of NF-kB in the inflammation mediated by the influenza virus infection; we found that PB1-F2 expression intensifies the NF-kB activity. Finally, we quantified the neutrophil recruitment within the airways, and showed that this type of leukocyte is more abundant during the infection of the wild-type virus. Collectively, these data demonstrate that PB1-F2 strongly influences the early host response during IAV infection and provides new insights into the mechanisms by which PB1-F2 mediates virulence.