Viral double-stranded (ds)RNA is a potent pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), capable of inducing a strong antiviral state within the cell, protecting the cell from virus infection. In mammals and fish, sensing extracellular dsRNA is mediated by cell-surface class A scavenger receptors (SR-As). Currently, very little is known about SR-As in amphibians, including: sequence, expression patterns and function. To this end, SR-A expression and function was studied in a novel American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) tadpole cell line called BufoTad. BufoTad was derived from a whole tadpole. The cell line exhibits a cobblestone morphology and expresses abundant levels of transcripts for cytokeratin 19, vimentin, claudin 3, chemokine receptor CXCR4, and SR-AI, one of the five members of the SR-A family, collectively suggesting that BufoTad could be endothelial-like. BufoTad cells bound acetylated LDL, whereas the Xenopus laevis kidney epithelial A6 cell line did not, suggesting functional SR-A activity in BufoTad cells. Additionally, three SR-A competitive ligands (DxSO4, fucoidan, poly inosine (pI)) completely blocked AcLDL binding in BufoTad cells, whereas their three corresponding non-competitive ligands (ChSO4, fetuin, poly cytosine (pC)) did not. A commercial dsRNA, poly IC, induced robust expression of an Mx-like gene transcript, a possible antiviral protein in BufoTad cells. Employing the same SR-A ligand blocking assay used for AcLDL blocked dsRNA-induced ISG expression. This study is the first demonstration that amphibian SR-As have functional ligand binding activities in a live biological cellular model and that sensing extracellular dsRNA in amphibian cells leads to antiviral gene expression that is mediated by class A scavenger receptors.
Keywords: AcLDL; American toad; Amphibian; Class A scavenger receptor; Mx; dsRNA.
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