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The American journal of pathology

IRF-3, IRF-7, and IPS-1 promote host defense against acute human metapneumovirus infection in neonatal mice.


PMID 24726644

Abstract

Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a leading cause of respiratory tract disease in children and is associated with acute bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and asthma exacerbations, yet the mechanisms by which the host immune response to hMPV is regulated are poorly understood. By using gene-deleted neonatal mice, we examined the contributions of the innate receptor signaling molecules interferon (IFN)-β promoter stimulator 1 (IPS-1), IFN regulatory factor (IRF) 3, and IRF7. Viral load in the lungs was markedly greater in IPS-1(-/-)xa0>xa0IRF3/7(-/-)xa0>xa0IRF3(-/-), but not IRF7(-/-), mice compared with wild-type mice. IFN-β and IFN-λ2/3 (IL-28A/B) production was attenuated in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in all factor-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice at 1 day after infection, although IFN-λ2/3 was greater in IRF3/7(-/-) mice at 5 days after infection. IRF7(-/-) and IRF3/7(-/-) mice presented with airway eosinophilia, whereas only IRF3/7(-/-) mice developed an exaggerated type 1 and 17 helper T-cell response, characterized by natural killer T-cell and neutrophilic inflammation. Despite having the highest viral load, IPS-1(-/-) mice did not develop a proinflammatory cytokine or granulocytic response to hMPV infection. Our findings demonstrate that IFN-β, but not IFN-λ2/3, produced via an IPS-1-IRF3 signaling pathway, is important for hMPV clearance. In the absence of a robust type I IFN-α/β response, targeting the IPS-1 signaling pathway may limit the overexuberant inflammatory response that occurs as a consequence of viral persistence.