Analysis of foot-and-mouth disease virus integrin receptor expression in tissues from naïve and infected cattle

V O'Donnell, J M Pacheco, D Gregg, B Baxt
Journal of Comparative Pathology 2009, 141 (2-3): 98-112
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals principally affecting cattle, pigs and sheep. FMD virus (FMDV) uses the alpha(V)beta(1), alpha(V)beta(3), alpha(V)beta(6), and alpha(V)beta(8) integrins as receptors in vitro via a highly conserved arginine-glycine-aspartic acid amino acid sequence motif located within the betaG-betaH loop of VP1. Immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy were used to study the expression of two major FMDV receptors, alpha(V)beta(3) and alpha(V)beta(6), within epithelial tissues from FMDV-infected and uninfected cattle in order to understand the role of these receptors in tissue tropism. Integrin alpha(V)beta(6) was expressed by epithelial cells in tissues that are important sites for FMDV replication (i.e. tongue and coronary band). Integrin alpha(V)beta(3) was detected in epithelium of all tissues examined except tongue. In addition, alpha(V)beta(3) expression was associated with blood vessels in all tissues examined. In infected tissues, alpha(V)beta(6) integrin was distributed on the surface of those epithelial cells also expressing FMDV antigen. Although integrin alpha(V)beta(3) has been shown to be a receptor for FMDV, no expression of alpha(V)beta(3) was associated with FMDV-positive keratinocytes in the tongue. In contrast, podal epithelial cells containing FMDV antigen also expressed alpha(V)beta(3) integrin. Thus, at the cellular level the expression of these two integrins correlates with susceptibility to infection and may contribute substantially to viral tropism in FMD pathogenesis.

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