IFN-alpha treatment enhances porcine Arterivirus infection of monocytes via upregulation of the porcine Arterivirus receptor sialoadhesin

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2007 Sep;27(9):757-66. doi: 10.1089/jir.2007.0001.


The Arterivirus porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) has a specific tropism for a subset of differentiated macrophages. Porcine sialoadhesin was identified as a PRRSV internalization receptor that is, similarly to sialoadhesins from other species, only expressed on subsets of macrophages. Sialoadhesin is not expressed or only expressed at low levels on monocytes, which might explain why monocytes are largely refractory to PRRSV infection. Different molecules have been identified that regulate human, mouse, or rat sialoadhesin expression in in vitro cultivated monocytes and macrophages, but the effect of these varies greatly between species. In this study, we observed that interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) induces sialoadhesin expression on monocytes to levels similar as those on macrophages and that it increases sialoadhesin on macrophages. IFN-alpha-induced sialoadhesin expression was shown to be functional using a red blood cell (RBC) binding assay. Furthermore, a 2 or 3 day IFN-alpha pretreatment of monocytes caused a 20-fold increase in the numbers of PRRSV-infected monocytes and increased production of infectious virus. We conclude that IFN-alpha, although it is a potent antiviral molecule, upregulated sialoadhesin infection on in vitro cultivated monocytes, which results in enhanced PRRSV infection of monocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dexamethasone / metabolism
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / cytology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / virology*
  • Porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 1
  • Swine


  • Cytokines
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Virus
  • SIGLEC1 protein, human
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 1
  • Siglec1 protein, mouse
  • Dexamethasone