Role of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus nucleocapsid protein in induction of interleukin-10 and regulatory T-lymphocytes (Treg)

Piya Wongyanin, Supranee Buranapraditkul, Dongwan Yoo, Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, James A Roth, Sanipa Suradhat
Journal of General Virology 2012, 93 (Pt 6): 1236-46
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection induces interleukin (IL)-10 production and increased numbers of PRRSV-specific regulatory T-lymphocytes in infected pigs. In the present study, the roles of the nucleocapsid (N) protein in induction of IL-10 and CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) lymphocytes (T(reg)) were investigated. Transfection of porcine monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) and pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) with a plasmid encoding N protein resulted in significant upregulation of IL-10 gene expression in the gene-transfected cells. Structural conformation, but not nuclear localization, of the expressed N protein was indicated to be essential for the ability to induce IL-10. Furthermore, the presence of recombinant N proteins in cultured PBMCs increased the number of IL-10-producing lymphocytes. Strong induction of IL-10-producing cells and T(reg) was observed when using N protein-pulsed MoDCs, suggesting an important role of MoDCs in induction of IL-10 and T(reg) by the N protein. Neutralization of IL-10 by addition of an anti-IL-10 antibody in the culture system resulted in marked reduction of PRRSV-induced T(reg) in the cultured PBMCs. Together, the data demonstrate the immunomodulatory properties of the PRRSV N protein and the linkage between IL-10 production and development of PRRSV-induced T(reg). Our results reveal an immunomodulatory function of the PRRSV N protein that may contribute to the unique immunological outcome observed following PRRSV infection.

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