Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines are a promising model for the early phase of human embryonic development. Here, their contribution to the still incompletely understood pathogenesis of congenital virus infections was evaluated. The infection of iPSC lines with miscarriage-associated coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) and measles virus (MV) was compared to the efficient teratogen rubella virus (RV). While CVB3 and MV were found to be cytopathogenic on iPSC lines, RV replicated without impairment of iPSC colony morphology and integrity. This so far outstanding course of infection enabled maintenance of RV-infected iPSC cultures over several passages and their subsequent differentiation to ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. A modification of the metabolic profile of infected iPSC lines was the only common aspect for all three viruses. This study points toward two important aspects. First, iPSC lines represent a suitable cell culture model for early embryonic virus infection. Second, metabolic activity represents an important means for evaluation of pathogen-associated alterations in iPSC lines.
Keywords: coxsackievirus; in vitro model for embryogenesis; induced pluripotent stem cells; measles virus; rubella virus.