Critical role of MDA5 in the interferon response induced by human metapneumovirus infection in dendritic cells and in vivo

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Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a respiratory paramyxovirus of global clinical relevance. Despite the substantial knowledge generated during the last 10 years about hMPV infection, information regarding the activation of the immune response against this virus remains largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that the helicase melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA5) is essential to induce the interferon response after hMPV infection in human and mouse dendritic cells as well as in an experimental mouse model of infection. Our findings in vitro and in vivo showed that MDA5 is required for the expression and activation of interferon (IFN) regulatory factors (IRFs). hMPV infection induces activation of IRF-3, and it regulates the expression of IRF-7. However, both IRF-3 and IRF-7 are critical for the production of type I and type III IFNs. In addition, our in vivo studies in hMPV-infected mice indicated that MDA5 alters viral clearance, enhances disease severity and pulmonary inflammation, and regulates the production of cytokines and chemokines in response to hMPV. These findings are relevant for a better understanding of the pathogenesis of hMPV infection.

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Journal of virology

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