PloS one

Expression of intracellular interferon-alpha confers antiviral properties in transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts and does not affect the full development of SCNT embryos.

PMID 25004008


Foot-and-mouth disease, one of the most significant diseases of dairy herds, has substantial effects on farm economics, and currently, disease control measures are limited. In this study, we constructed a vector with a human interferon-α (hIFN-α) (without secretory signal sequence) gene cassette containing the immediate early promoter of human cytomegalovirus. Stably transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts were obtained by G418 selection, and hIFN-α transgenic embryos were produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Forty-six transgenic embryos were transplanted into surrogate cows, and five cows (10.9%) became pregnant. Two male cloned calves were born. Expression of hIFN-α was detected in transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts, transgenic SCNT embryos, and different tissues from a transgenic SCNT calf at two days old. In transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts, expression of intracellular IFN-α induced resistance to vesicular stomatitis virus infection, increased apoptosis, and induced the expression of double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase gene (PKR) and the 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase gene (2'-5' OAS), which are IFN-inducible genes with antiviral activity. Analysis by qRT-PCR showed that the mRNA expression levels of PKR, 2'-5' OAS, and P53 were significantly increased in wild-type bovine fetal fibroblasts stimulated with extracellular recombinant human IFN-α-2b, showing that intracellular IFN-α induces biological functions similar to extracellular IFN-α. In conclusion, expression of intracellular hIFN-α conferred antiviral properties in transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts and did not significantly affect the full development of SCNT embryos. Thus, IFN-α transgenic technology may provide a revolutionary way to achieve elite breeding of livestock.