Hematopoietic-specific targeting of influenza A virus reveals replication requirements for induction of antiviral immune responses.

Langlois, R. A., Varble, A., Chua, M. A., Garcia-Sastre, A. and tenOever, B. R.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 11/07/2012

PMID: 22778433


A coordinated innate and adaptive immune response, orchestrated by antigen presenting cells (APCs), is required for effective clearance of influenza A virus (IAV). Although IAV primarily infects epithelial cells of the upper respiratory tract, APCs are also susceptible. To determine if virus transcription in these cells is required to generate protective innate and adaptive immune responses, we engineered IAV to be selectively attenuated in cells of hematopoietic origin. Incorporation of hematopoietic-specific miR-142 target sites into the nucleoprotein of IAV effectively silenced virus transcription in APCs, but had no significant impact in lung epithelial cells. Here we demonstrate that inhibiting IAV replication in APCs in vivo did not alter clearance, or the generation of IAV-specific CD8 T cells, suggesting that cross-presentation is sufficient for cytotoxic T lymphocyte activation. In contrast, loss of in vivo virus infection, selectively in APCs, resulted in a significant reduction of retinoic acid-inducible gene I-dependent type I IFN (IFN-I). These data implicate the formation of virus replication intermediates in APCs as the predominant trigger of IFN-I in vivo. Taking these data together, this research describes a unique platform to study the host response to IAV and provides insights into the mechanism of antigen presentation and the induction of IFN-I.