Investigation of murine cytomegalovirus modulation of TLR/IL-1β signalling pathways
Pechenick Jowers, Tali
Jowers, Tali Pechenick
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Cytomegaloviruses (CMV), the prototypical β-herpesviruses, have co-evolved with their hosts and thus acquired multiple strategies for modulation of the immune response. Viral engagement of pattern recognition receptors (PRR), such as toll-like receptors (TLRs) and cytosolic nucleic acids sensors, initiates the host immune response through activation of elaborate signalling programs. The ensuing inflammatory response is further sustained and amplified through cytokines, such as IL-1β, activating signalling pathways greatly overlapping those utilized by TLRs. The central hypothesis of this thesis is that a viral counter-measure by murine CMV (MCMV) involves specific targeting of TLR- and IL-1β-induced signalling along the MyD88 to NF-κB pathway. To test this hypothesis MCMV inhibition of IL-1β signalling was initially investigated in a fibroblast cell line. It was demonstrated that in MCMV infected cells IL-1β-induced IκBα degradation is largely inhibited. Comparison of productive and non-productive infection showed this modulation requires de-novo viral gene expression beyond the immediate early region. Further investigations utilising a ORF M45 deletion mutant identified viral gene M45 as necessary for mediating the observed modulation of IL-1β- induced IκBα degradation. To further test the hypothesis, studies were extended to include TLR stimulation in the context of bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) infection. It was found that TLR7/9-induced NF-κB activation is inhibited in MCMV infected BMDM. Overall, data presented in this study demonstrate a previously unrecognised MCMV inhibition of IL-1β- and TLR7/9-induced NF-κB activation, and indicate a role for viral gene M45 in mediating this effect.