Influenza a Virus-Triggered Autophagy Decreases the Pluripotency of Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Cell Death Dis. 2019 Apr 18;10(5):337. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-1567-4.


Maternal influenza infection during pregnancy was reported multiple times as the possible cause of many defects and congenital anomalies. Apart from several cases of influenza-related miscarriage during various trimesters of pregnancy, some epidemiological data suggest a link between maternal influenza infection and genetic abnormalities in offspring. However, there are no reports yet describing how maternal influenza alters cellular pathways at early stages of development to result in congenital defects in the fetus. In the present study, using proteomic approaches, we utilized human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) for modeling intrablastocyst infection with influenza virus to not only investigate the vulnerability and responses of pluripotent stem cells to this virus but also to determine the possible impacts of influenza on pluripotency and signaling pathways controlling differentiation and embryogenesis. Our data indicated viral protein production in influenza A virus (IAV)-infected hiPSCs. However, viral replication was restricted in these cells, but cell viability and pluripotency were negatively affected. These events occurred simultaneously with an excessive level of IAV-induced autophagy as well as cytopathic effects. Quantitative SOMAscan screening also indicated that changes in the proteome of hiPSCs corresponded to abnormal differentiation in these cells. Taken together, our results showed that IAV-modulated reduction in hiPSC pluripotency is associated with significant activation of autophagy. Further investigations are required to explore the role of IAV-induced autophagy in leading pluripotent stem cells toward abnormal differentiation and impaired development in early stages of embryogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • A549 Cells
  • Autophagy* / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryonic Development
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / virology
  • Influenza A virus / physiology*
  • Macrolides / pharmacology
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein / metabolism
  • Proteome / analysis
  • Proteomics
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Virus Replication


  • Macrolides
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Proteome
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Sox2 protein, mouse
  • bafilomycin A1
  • Sirolimus