The Betacoronavirus PHEV Replicates and Disrupts the Respiratory Epithelia and Upregulates Key Pattern Recognition Receptor Genes and Downstream Mediators, Including IL-8 and IFN-λ

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Nelli, Rahul K.
Mora-Díaz, Juan Carlos
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American Society of Microbiology
Giménez-Lirola, Luis
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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The upper respiratory tract is the primary site of infection by porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV). In this study, primary porcine respiratory epithelial cells (PRECs) were cultured in an air-liquid interface (ALI) to differentiate into a pseudostratified columnar epithelium, proliferative basal cells, M cells, ciliated cells, and mucus-secreting goblet cells. ALI-PRECs recreates a cell culture environment morphologically and functionally more representative of the epithelial lining of the swine trachea than traditional culture systems. PHEV replicated actively in this environment, inducing cytopathic changes and progressive disruption of the mucociliary apparatus. The innate immunity against PHEV was comparatively evaluated in ALI-PREC cultures and tracheal tissue sections derived from the same cesarean-derived, colostrum-deprived (CDCD) neonatal donor pigs. Increased expression levels of TLR3 and/or TLR7, RIG1, and MyD88 genes were detected in response to infection, resulting in the transcriptional upregulation of IFN-λ1 in both ALI-PREC cultures and tracheal epithelia. IFN-λ1 triggered the upregulation of the transcription factor STAT1, which in turn induced the expression of the antiviral IFN-stimulated genes OAS1 and Mx1. No significant modulation of the major proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) was detected in response to PHEV infection. However, a significant upregulation of different chemokines was observed in ALI-PREC cultures (CCL2, CCL5, CXCL8, and CXCL10) and tracheal epithelium (CXCL8 and CXCL10). This study shed light on the molecular mechanisms driving the innate immune response to PHEV at the airway epithelium, underscoring the important role of respiratory epithelial cells in the maintenance of respiratory homeostasis and on the initiation, resolution, and outcome of the infectious process.
This article is published as Nelli, Rahul K., Juan Carlos Mora-Díaz, and Luis G. Giménez-Lirola. "The Betacoronavirus PHEV Replicates and Disrupts the Respiratory Epithelia and Upregulates Key Pattern Recognition Receptor Genes and Downstream Mediators, Including IL-8 and IFN-λ." Msphere 6, no. 6 (2021): e00820-21. DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00820-21. Copyright 2021 Nelli et al. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Posted with permission.