Mechanisms of establishment of persistent SARS-CoV-infected cells

Tetsuya Mizutani, Shuetsu Fukushi, Koji Ishii, Yuko Sasaki, Tsuyoshi Kenri, Masayuki Saijo, Yumi Kanaji, Kinji Shirota, Ichiro Kurane, Shigeru Morikawa
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2006 August 18, 347 (1): 261-5
Previously, we reported the establishment of cells with persistent SARS-CoV infection after apoptotic events and showed that both JNK and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways are important for persistence by treatment with inhibitors at the early stages of SARS-CoV infection. However, the mechanisms of establishment of persistent infection are still unclear. In this study, we investigated which signaling pathways play important roles in escape from apoptosis in cells infected with SARS-CoV. In persistently infected cells at 50h.p.i., PI3K/Akt, JNK, p38 MAPK and Bcl-2 were phosphorylated and the protein levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL were increased. When surviving cells were treated with the JNK-specific inhibitor, SP600125, at 50h.p.i., all cells died, suggesting that the JNK signaling pathway is necessary for maintenance of persistently infected cells. Among the signaling pathways in persistently infected cells, Akt and JNK were phosphorylated in SARS-CoV-nucleocapsid (N) protein-expressing Vero E6 cells using vaccinia viral vector (DIs), strongly suggesting that N protein-induced phosphorylation of Akt and JNK are necessary to establish persistence. These results indicated that at least four proteins, Akt, JNK, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, are necessary for survival of persistently SARS-CoV-infected cells.

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