Expression of the interferon-alpha/beta-inducible bovine Mx1 dynamin interferes with replication of rabies virus

Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Mar;21(3):515-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2005.08.015. Epub 2005 Oct 3.


Rabies is a fatal anthropozoonotic viral infection of the central nervous system that remains a serious public health problem in many countries. As several animal cases of spontaneous survival to infection were reported and because type 1 interferons were shown to protect against the virus, it was suggested that innate resistance mechanisms exist. Among the antiviral proteins that are synthesized in response to interferon-alpha/beta stimulation, Mx proteins from several species are long known to block the replication of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). As both VSV and rabies virus belongs to the Rhabdoviridae family, this study was started with the aim to establish whether the anti-VSV activity of a mammalian Mx protein could be extended to rabies virus. This question was addressed by inoculating the virus onto a bovine Mx1 or human MxA-expressing Vero cell clone. Plaque formation was unambiguously blocked, and viral yields were reduced 100- to 1000-fold by bovine Mx1 expression for both SAG2 and SADB19 viral strains. In opposition, only SAG2 strain could be inhibited by the expression of human MxA protein. The effect of both proteins expression was then evaluated at the viral protein expression level. Again, boMx1 was able to repress protein expression in both strain, whereas only SAG2 proteins were inhibited in human MxA-expressing cells. These results suggest that protection conferred by interferon-alpha/beta against rabies could be, at least partially, attributable to the Mx pathway. Alternatively, bovine Mx1 could be unique in its ability to repress rabies virus which, if confirmed in vivo, would open an avenue for the development of new antirabies therapeutic strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cattle / metabolism*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dynamins / biosynthesis*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • Myxovirus Resistance Proteins
  • Rabies virus / physiology*
  • Vero Cells
  • Virus Replication / physiology


  • MX1 protein, human
  • Myxovirus Resistance Proteins
  • Interferons
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Dynamins