Mouse hepatitis virus strain A59 infection of mice is a useful tool for studying virus-host interaction during hepatitis development. The NS2 H126R mutant is attenuated in liver replication due to loss of phosphodiesterase activity, which the wild-type (WT) virus uses to block the 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS)-RNase L (RNase L) antiviral pathway. The activation of RNase L by NS2 H126R is cell type dependent and correlates with high basal expression levels of OAS, as found in myeloid cells. We tested the hypothesis that the resident liver macrophages, Kupffer cells (KC), represent the cell type most likely to restrict NS2 H126R and prevent hepatitis. As found previously, A59 and NS2 H126R replicate similarly in hepatocytes and neither activates RNase L, as assessed by an rRNA degradation assay. In contrast, in KC, A59 exhibited a 100-fold-higher titer than NS2 H126R and NS2 H126R induced rRNA degradation. Interestingly, in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSEC), the cells that form a barrier between blood and liver parenchymal cells, NS2 H126R activates RNase L, which limits viral replication. Similar growth kinetics were observed for the two viruses in KC and LSEC from RNase L -/- mice, demonstrating that both use RNase L to limit NS2 H126R replication. Depletion of KC by gadolinium(III) chloride or of LSEC by cyclophosphamide partially restores liver replication of NS2 H126R , leading to hepatitis. Thus, during mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) infection, hepatitis, which damages the parenchyma, is prevented by RNase L activity in both KC and LSEC but not in hepatocytes. This may be explained by the undetectable levels of RNase L as well as by the OASs expressed in hepatocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science