Differential pulmonary transcriptomic profiles in murine lungs infected with low and highly virulent influenza H3N2 viruses reveal dysregulation of TREM1 signaling, cytokines, and chemokines

Funct Integr Genomics. 2012 Mar;12(1):105-17. doi: 10.1007/s10142-011-0247-y. Epub 2011 Aug 28.


Investigating the relationships between critical influenza viral mutations contributing to increased virulence and host expression factors will shed light on the process of severe pathogenesis from the systems biology perspective. We previously generated a mouse-adapted, highly virulent influenza (HVI) virus through serial lung-to-lung passaging of a human influenza H3N2 virus strain that causes low virulent influenza (LVI) in murine lungs. This HVI virus is characterized by enhanced replication kinetics, severe lung injury, and systemic spread to major organs. Our gene microarray investigations compared the host transcriptomic responses of murine lungs to LVI virus and its HVI descendant at 12, 48, and 96 h following infection. More intense expression of genes associated with cytokine activity, type 1 interferon response, and apoptosis was evident in HVI at all time-points. We highlighted dysregulation of the TREM1 signaling pathway (an amplifier of cytokine production) that is likely to be upregulated in infiltrating neutrophils in HVI-infected lungs. The cytokine gene expression changes were corroborated by elevated levels of multiple cytokine and chemokine proteins in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of infected mice, especially at 12 h post-infection. Concomitantly, the downregulation of genes that mediate proliferative, developmental, and metabolic processes likely contributed to the lethality of HVI as well as lack of lung repair. Overall, our comparative transcriptomic study provided insights into key host factors that influence the dynamics, pathogenesis, and outcome of severe influenza.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / genetics
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Chemokines / genetics
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / genetics
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / pathogenicity*
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / physiology
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / genetics
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / metabolism*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Systems Biology
  • Transcriptome*
  • Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • TREM1 protein, mouse
  • Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1