Human Metapneumovirus Attachment Protein Contributes to Neutrophil Recruitment into the Airways of Infected Mice

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Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a leading respiratory pathogen that causes lower respiratory tract infections worldwide. Acute HMPV infection induces an exacerbated inflammatory neutrophilic response leading to bronchiolitis and pneumonia. However, the mechanism by which the virus regulates neutrophil infiltration into the airways still remains unexplored. In this work, we used an experimental mouse model of HMPV infection to demonstrate that the attachment (G) protein of HMPV contributes to the recruitment of neutrophils into the airways and modulate the production of neutrophil chemoattractants and Type I IFN responses, specifically IFN-α. These findings provide the first evidence that the HMPV G protein contributes to the in vivo neutrophilic response to HMPV infection and furthers our understanding on virus induced inflammatory responses in the airways.

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