The Activation of the RIG-I/MDA5 Signaling Pathway upon Influenza D Virus Infection Impairs the Pulmonary Proinflammatory Response Triggered by Mycoplasma bovis Superinfection

J Virol. 2023 Feb 28;97(2):e0142322. doi: 10.1128/jvi.01423-22. Epub 2023 Jan 24.


Concurrent infections with multiple pathogens are often described in cattle with respiratory illness. However, how the host-pathogen interactions influence the clinical outcome has been only partially explored in this species. Influenza D virus (IDV) was discovered in 2011. Since then, IDV has been detected worldwide in different hosts. A significant association between IDV and bacterial pathogens in sick cattle was shown in epidemiological studies, especially with Mycoplasma bovis. In an experimental challenge, IDV aggravated M. bovis-induced pneumonia. However, the mechanisms through which IDV drives an increased susceptibility to bacterial superinfections remain unknown. Here, we used the organotypic lung model precision-cut lung slices to study the interplay between IDV and M. bovis coinfection. Our results show that a primary IDV infection promotes M. bovis superinfection by increasing the bacterial replication and the ultrastructural damages in lung pneumocytes. In our model, IDV impaired the innate immune response triggered by M. bovis by decreasing the expression of several proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines that are important for immune cell recruitment and the bacterial clearance. Stimulations with agonists of cytosolic helicases and Toll-like receptors (TLRs) revealed that a primary activation of RIG-I/MDA5 desensitizes the TLR2 activation, similar to what was observed with IDV infection. The cross talk between these two pattern recognition receptors leads to a nonadditive response, which alters the TLR2-mediated cascade that controls the bacterial infection. These results highlight innate immune mechanisms that were not described for cattle so far and improve our understanding of the bovine host-microbe interactions and IDV pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE Since the spread of the respiratory influenza D virus (IDV) infection to the cattle population, the question about the impact of this virus on bovine respiratory disease (BRD) remains still unanswered. Animals affected by BRD are often coinfected with multiple pathogens, especially viruses and bacteria. In particular, viruses are suspected to enhance secondary bacterial superinfections. Here, we use an ex vivo model of lung tissue to study the effects of IDV infection on bacterial superinfections. Our results show that IDV increases the susceptibility to the respiratory pathogen Mycoplasma bovis. In particular, IDV seems to activate immune pathways that inhibit the innate immune response against the bacteria. This may allow M. bovis to increase its proliferation and to delay its clearance from lung tissue. These results suggest that IDV could have a negative impact on the respiratory pathology of cattle.

Keywords: PCLS; cattle; coinfections; ex vivo; influenza; mycoplasma; precision-cut lung slices; respiratory viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases* / immunology
  • Cattle Diseases* / virology
  • Host Microbial Interactions* / immunology
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Lung / virology
  • Mycoplasma Infections* / immunology
  • Mycoplasma Infections* / virology
  • Mycoplasma bovis / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections* / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections* / veterinary
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections* / virology
  • Signal Transduction* / immunology
  • Superinfection / immunology
  • Superinfection / veterinary
  • Thogotovirus*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2


  • Toll-Like Receptor 2