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      Viral Pathogen-Associated Molecular Patterns Regulate Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity via Competing Innate Cytokine Signals

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          ABSTRACT

          Pattern recognition receptor (PRR) detection of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), such as viral RNA, drives innate immune responses against West Nile virus (WNV), an emerging neurotropic pathogen. Here we demonstrate that WNV PAMPs orchestrate endothelial responses to WNV via competing innate immune cytokine signals at the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a multicellular interface with highly specialized brain endothelial cells that normally prevents pathogen entry. While Th1 cytokines increase the permeability of endothelial barriers, type I interferon (IFN) promoted and stabilized BBB function. Induction of innate cytokines by pattern recognition pathways directly regulated BBB permeability and tight junction formation via balanced activation of the small GTPases Rac1 and RhoA, which in turn regulated the transendothelial trafficking of WNV. In vivo, mice with attenuated type I IFN signaling or IFN induction ( Ifnar −/− Irf7 −/− ) exhibited enhanced BBB permeability and tight junction dysregulation after WNV infection. Together, these data provide new insight into host-pathogen interactions at the BBB during neurotropic viral infection.

          IMPORTANCE

          West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging pathogen capable of infecting the central nervous system (CNS), causing fatal encephalitis. However, the mechanisms that control the ability of WNV to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and access the CNS are unclear. In this study, we show that detection of WNV by host tissues induces innate immune cytokine expression at the BBB, regulating BBB structure and function and impacting transendothelial trafficking of WNV. This regulatory effect is shown to happen rapidly following exposure to virus, to occur independently of viral replication within BBB cells, and to require the signaling of cytoskeletal regulatory Rho GTPases. These results provide new understanding of host-pathogen interactions at the BBB during viral encephalitis.

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          Most cited references58

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          Blood-brain barrier: structural components and function under physiologic and pathologic conditions.

          The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the specialized system of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) that shields the brain from toxic substances in the blood, supplies brain tissues with nutrients, and filters harmful compounds from the brain back to the bloodstream. The close interaction between BMVEC and other components of the neurovascular unit (astrocytes, pericytes, neurons, and basement membrane) ensures proper function of the central nervous system (CNS). Transport across the BBB is strictly limited through both physical (tight junctions) and metabolic barriers (enzymes, diverse transport systems). A functional polarity exists between the luminal and abluminal membrane surfaces of the BMVEC. As a result of restricted permeability, the BBB is a limiting factor for the delivery of therapeutic agents into the CNS. BBB breakdown or alterations in transport systems play an important role in the pathogenesis of many CNS diseases (HIV-1 encephalitis, Alzheimer's disease, ischemia, tumors, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease). Proinflammatory substances and specific disease-associated proteins often mediate such BBB dysfunction. Despite seemingly diverse underlying causes of BBB dysfunction, common intracellular pathways emerge for the regulation of the BBB structural and functional integrity. Better understanding of tight junction regulation and factors affecting transport systems will allow the development of therapeutics to improve the BBB function in health and disease.
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            Alpha/beta interferon protects against lethal West Nile virus infection by restricting cellular tropism and enhancing neuronal survival.

            West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that is neurotropic in humans, birds, and other animals. While adaptive immunity plays an important role in preventing WNV spread to the central nervous system (CNS), little is known about how alpha/beta interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) protects against peripheral and CNS infection. In this study, we examine the virulence and tropism of WNV in IFN-alpha/beta receptor-deficient (IFN- alpha/betaR-/-) mice and primary neuronal cultures. IFN-alpha/betaR-/- mice were acutely susceptible to WNV infection through subcutaneous inoculation, with 100% mortality and a mean time to death (MTD) of 4.6 +/- 0.7 and 3.8+/- 0.5 days after infection with 10(0) and 10(2) PFU, respectively. In contrast, congenic wild-type 129Sv/Ev mice infected with 10(2) PFU showed 62% mortality and a MTD of 11.9 +/- 1.9 days. IFN-alpha/betaR-/- mice developed high viral loads by day 3 after infection in nearly all tissues assayed, including many that were not infected in wild-type mice. IFN-alpha/betaR-/- mice also demonstrated altered cellular tropism, with increased infection in macrophages, B cells, and T cells in the spleen. Additionally, treatment of primary wild-type neurons in vitro with IFN-beta either before or after infection increased neuronal survival independent of its effect on WNV replication. Collectively, our data suggest that IFN-alpha/beta controls WNV infection by restricting tropism and viral burden and by preventing death of infected neurons.
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              B cells and antibody play critical roles in the immediate defense of disseminated infection by West Nile encephalitis virus.

              West Nile virus (WNV) causes severe central nervous system (CNS) infection primarily in humans who are immunocompromised or elderly. In this study, we addressed the mechanism by which the immune system limits dissemination of WNV infection by infecting wild-type and immunodeficient inbred C57BL/6J mice with a low-passage WNV isolate from the recent epidemic in New York state. Wild-type mice replicated virus extraneuronally in the draining lymph nodes and spleen during the first 4 days of infection. Subsequently, virus spread to the spinal cord and the brain at virtually the same time. Congenic mice that were genetically deficient in B cells and antibody (microMT mice) developed increased CNS viral burdens and were vulnerable to lethal infection at low doses of virus. Notably, an approximately 500-fold difference in serum viral load was detected in micro MT mice as early as 4 days after infection, a point in the infection when low levels of neutralizing immunoglobulin M antibody were detected in wild-type mice. Passive transfer of heat-inactivated serum from infected and immune wild-type mice protected micro MT mice against morbidity and mortality. We conclude that antibodies and B cells play a critical early role in the defense against disseminated infection by WNV.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                mBio
                MBio
                mbio
                mbio
                mBio
                mBio
                American Society of Microbiology (1752 N St., N.W., Washington, DC )
                2150-7511
                26 August 2014
                Sep-Oct 2014
                : 5
                : 5
                : e01476-14
                Affiliations
                [ a ]Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
                [ b ]Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
                [ c ]Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to Robyn S. Klein, rklein@ 123456dom.wustl.edu .

                Editor Diane Griffin, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health

                Article
                mBio01476-14
                10.1128/mBio.01476-14
                4173776
                25161189
                44539f1b-5ba1-4f4f-8f0f-44e1c5af149f
                Copyright © 2014 Daniels et al.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 12 June 2014
                : 29 July 2014
                Page count
                Pages: 13
                Categories
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                September/October 2014

                Life sciences
                Life sciences

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