African Swine Fever Virus Multigene Family 360 and 530 Genes Affect Host Interferon Response

C. L. Afonso, M. E. Piccone, K. M. Zaffuto, J. Neilan, G. F. Kutish, Z. Lu, C. A. Balinsky, T. R. Gibb, T. J. Bean, L. Zsak, D. L. Rock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


African swine fever virus (ASFV) multigene family 360 and 530 (MGF360/530) genes affect viral growth in macrophage cell cultures and virulence in pigs (L. Zsak, Z. Lu, T. G. Burrage, J. G. Neilan, G. F. Kutish, D. M. Moore, and D. L. Rock, J. Virol. 75:3066-3076, 2001). The mechanism by which these novel genes affect virus-host interactions is unknown. To define MGF360/530 gene function, we compared macrophage transcriptional responses following infection with parental ASFV (Pr4) and an MGF360/530 deletion mutant (Pr4Δ35). A swine cDNA microarray containing 7,712 macrophage cDNA clones was used to compare the transcriptional profiles of swine macrophages infected with Pr4 and Pr4Δ35 at 3 and 6 h postinfection (hpi). While at 3 hpi most (7,564) of the genes had similar expression levels in cells infected with either virus, 38 genes had significantly increased (&2.0-fold, P < 0.05) mRNA levels in Pr4Δ35-infected macrophages. Similar up-regulation of these genes was observed at 6 hpi. Viral infection was required for this induced transcriptional response. Most Pr4Δ35 up-regulated genes were part of a type I interferon (IFN) response or were genes that are normally induced by double-stranded RNA and/or viral infection. These included monocyte chemoattractant protein, transmembrane protein 3, tetratricopeptide repeat protein 1, a ubiquitin-like 17-kDa protein, ubiquitin-specific protease ISG43, an RNA helicase DEAD box protein, GTP-binding MX protein, the cytokine IP-10, and the PKR activator PACT. Differential expression of IFN early-response genes in Pr4Δ35 relative to Pr4 was confirmed by Northern blot analysis and real-time PCR. Analysis of IFN-α mRNA and secreted IFN-α levels at 3, 8, and 24 hpi revealed undetectable IFN-α in mock- and Pr4-infected macrophages but significant IFN-α levels at 24 hpi in Pr4Δ 35-infected macrophages. The absence of IFN-α in Pr4-infected macrophages suggests that MGF360/530 genes either directly or indirectly suppress a type I IFN response. An inability to suppress host type I IFN responses may account for the growth defect of Pr4Δ35 in macrophages and its attenuation in swine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1858-1864
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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