Problem: It is unknown whether viral replication or viral components that subvert innate responses in other cells, specifically the virion host shutoff (VHS) protein, play a role in determining primary genital epithelial cell (GEC) innate antiviral responses.
Method of study: Cultures of primary female GECs were exposed to wildtype (WT), VHS-deleted (vhsB), or UV-inactivated HSV-2. Antiviral pathway induction was evaluated by measuring nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) translocation by immunofluorescent microscopy. Proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and interferon (IFN) were measured by Luminex or ELISA. Biological activity of IFN-β was evaluated via VSV-GFP bioassay, by blocking secreted IFN-β with neutralizing antibodies and by measuring interferon-stimulated genes by RT-PCR.
Results: Proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines were upregulated in primary GECs in response to replication-competent HSV-2, but suppressed in the presence of the VHS protein. In contrast, upregulation of IFN-β depended on viral replication, but was not affected by VHS. However, the IFN-β produced was biologically active and reduced the viral burden.
Conclusion: Viral factors such as replication and the presence of the VHS protein play important roles in regulating innate antiviral responses against HSV-2 from primary GECs.
Keywords: Cytokines; HSV-2; genital epithelial cells; interferon; mucosal immunity; viral immunology.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.