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The spike glycoprotein of murine coronavirus MHV-JHM mediates receptor-independent infection and spread in the central nervous systems of Ceacam1a-/- Mice

The spike glycoprotein of murine coronavirus MHV-JHM mediates receptor-independent infection and spread in the central nervous systems of Ceacam1a-/- Mice

Journal of Virology 82(2): 755-763

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-538X

PMID: 18003729

DOI: 10.1128/jvi.01851-07

The MHV-JHM strain of the murine coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus is much more neurovirulent than the MHV-A59 strain, although both strains use murine CEACAM1a (mCEACAM1a) as the receptor to infect murine cells. We previously showed that Ceacam1a(-/-) mice are completely resistant to MHV-A59 infection (E. Hemmila et al., J. Virol. 78:10156-10165, 2004). In vitro, MHV-JHM, but not MHV-A59, can spread from infected murine cells to cells that lack mCEACAM1a, a phenomenon called receptor-independent spread. To determine whether MHV-JHM could infect and spread in the brain independent of mCEACAM1a, we inoculated Ceacam1a(-/-) mice. Although Ceacam1a(-/-) mice were completely resistant to i.c. inoculation with 10(6) PFU of recombinant wild-type MHV-A59 (RA59) virus, these mice were killed by recombinant MHV-JHM (RJHM) and a chimeric virus containing the spike of MHV-JHM in the MHV-A59 genome (SJHM/RA59). Immunohistochemistry showed that RJHM and SJHM/RA59 infected all neural cell types and induced severe microgliosis in both Ceacam1a(-/-) and wild-type mice. For RJHM, the 50% lethal dose (LD(50)) is <10(1.3) in wild-type mice and 10(3.1) in Ceacam1a(-/-) mice. For SJHM/RA59, the LD(50) is <10(1.3) in wild-type mice and 10(3.6) in Ceacam1a(-/-) mice. This study shows that infection and spread of MHV-JHM in the brain are dependent upon the viral spike glycoprotein. RJHM can initiate infection in the brains of Ceacam1a(-/-) mice, but expression of mCEACAM1a increases susceptibility to infection. The spread of infection in the brain is mCEACAM1a independent. Thus, the ability of the MHV-JHM spike to mediate mCEACAM1a-independent spread in the brain is likely an important factor in the severe neurovirulence of MHV-JHM in wild-type mice.

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Accession: 021988990

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