Viral Infection or IFN-α Alters Mitotic Spindle Orientation by Modulating Pericentrin Levels

iScience. 2019 Feb 22:12:270-279. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.01.025. Epub 2019 Jan 21.


Congenital microcephaly occurs in utero during Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. The single-gene disorder, Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II (MOPDII), also leads to microcephaly and is concomitant with a decrease in the centrosomal protein, pericentrin (PCNT). This protein is a known contributor of mitotic spindle misorientation and ultimately, microcephaly. Similar to MOPDII, either viral infection or interferon (IFN)-α exposure reduced PCNT levels at the mitotic spindle poles. We unexpectedly found that infection of cells with any one of a diverse set of viruses, such as ZIKV, dengue virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza A virus, or hepatitis B virus, or treatment of cells with the anti-viral cytokine, IFN-α, produced mitotic spindle misorientation. These findings demonstrate a related mechanism for the development of microcephaly in viral infection, the host's antiviral IFN response, and primordial dwarfism.

Keywords: Biological Sciences; Cell Biology; Pathophysiology; Virology.