Classical swine fever virus triggers RIG-I and MDA5-dependent signaling pathway to IRF-3 and NF-κB activation to promote secretion of interferon and inflammatory cytokines in porcine alveolar macrophages

Virol J. 2013 Sep 13;10:286. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-286.


Background: Classical swine fever (CSF) caused by CSF virus (CSFV) is a highly contagious disease of pigs. The RNA helicases retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) and melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA-5) are differentially involved in the detection of various RNA viruses. In present study, we investigated the roles of RIG-I and MDA-5 in eliciting antiviral and inflammatory responses to CSFV shimen strain in Porcine alveolar macrophages (PAMs).

Methods: CSFV Shimen strain was used as challenge virus in this study and PAMs were cultured in vitro. Interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-3 and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) translocation was detected using immunofluorescent staining; RIG-I, MDA5, interferon promoter-stimulating factor 1 (IPS-1), IRF-3 and NF-κB expression was measured by Western Blotting; Interferon beta (IFN-β), IFN-α, interleukin-1beta (IL-1β), IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) expression was tested by Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and shRNA-mediated knockdown of MDA5 or RIG-I was performed.

Results: The findings suggested that the initial response to CSFV infection resulted in the higher expression of RIG-I and MDA5 leading to the activation of IPS-1, IRF-3 and NF-κB in a dose-dependent manner. Evaluation of IFN-α, IFN-β, IL-1β, IL-6 or TNF-α expressed by PAMs showed significant differences between infected and uninfected cells. CSFV infected cells induced to express high levels of IFN-α, IFN-β, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in a dose-dependent way within 24 h post-infection (hpi). At the same time, CSFV improved the nuclear translocation of IRF-3 and NF-κB. We also directly compared and assessed the roles of RIG-I and MDA5 in triggering innate immune actions during CSFV infection through shRNA-mediated knockdown of MDA5 or RIG-I. We found that, compared to the control, the production of IFN-α, IFN-β, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in response to CSFV infection was heavily reduced in RIG-I knockdown cells while it was moderately decreased in MDA5 knockdown cells. PAMs derived from knockdown of both RIG-I and MDA5 almost failed to produce IFNs and inflammatory cytokines.

Conclusions: It indicates that CSFV can be recognized by both RIG-I and MDA5 to initiate the RIG-I signaling pathway to trigger innate defenses against infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Classical Swine Fever Virus / immunology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3 / metabolism
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / immunology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / virology*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Swine


  • Cytokines
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3
  • NF-kappa B
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases