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Journal of proteomics

High throughput proteomic analysis and a comparative review identify the nuclear chaperone, Nucleophosmin among the common set of proteins modulated in Chikungunya virus infection.


PMID 25782748

Abstract

Global re-emergence of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has renewed the interest in its cellular pathogenesis. We subjected CHIKV-infected Human Embryo Kidney cells (HEK293), a widely used cell-based system for CHIKV infection studies, to a high throughput expression proteomics analysis by Liquid Chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A total of 1047 differentially expressed proteins were identified in infected cells, consistently in three biological replicates. Proteins involved in transcription, translation, apoptosis and stress response were the major ones among the 209 proteins that had significant up-regulation. In the set of 45 down-regulated proteins, those involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism predominated. A STRING network analysis revealed tight interaction of proteins within the apoptosis, stress response and protein synthesis pathways. We short-listed a common set of 30 proteins that can be implicated in cellular pathology of CHIKV infection by comparing our results and results of earlier CHIKV proteomics studies. Modulation of eight proteins selected from this set was re-confirmed at transcript level. One among them, Nucleophosmin, a nuclear chaperone, showed temporal modulation and cytoplasmic aggregation upon CHIKV infection in double immunofluorescence staining and confocal microscopy. The short-listed cellular proteins will be potential candidates for targeted study of the molecular interactions of CHIKV with host cells. Chikungunya remained as a neglected tropical disease till its re-emergence in 2005 in the La RéUnion islands and subsequently, in India and many parts of South East Asia. These and the epidemics that followed in subsequent years ran an explosive course leading to extreme morbidity and attributed mortality to this originally benign virus infection. Apart from classical symptoms of acute fever and debilitating polyarthralgia lasting for several weeks, a number of complications were documented. These included aphthous-like ulcers and vesiculo-bullous eruptions on the skin, hepatic involvement, central nervous system complications such as encephalopathy and encephalitis, and transplacental transmission. The disease has recently spread to the Americas with its initial documentation in the Caribbean islands. The Asian genotype of this positive-stranded RNA virus of the Alphavirus genus has been attributed in these outbreaks. However, the disease ran a similar course as the one caused by the East, Central and South African (ECSA) genotype in the other parts of the world. Studies have documented a number of mutations in the re-emerging strains of the virus that enhances mosquito adaptability and modulates virus infectivity. This might support the occurrence of fiery outbreaks in the absence of herd immunity in affected population. Several research groups work to understand the pathogenesis of chikungunya and the mechanisms of complications using cellular and animal models. A few proteomics approaches have been employed earlier to understand the protein level changes in the infected cells. Our present study, which couples a high throughput proteomic analysis and a comparative review of these earlier studies, identifies a few critical molecules as hypothetical candidates that might be important in this infection and for future study.

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