Reverse-phase phosphoproteome analysis of signaling pathways induced by rift valley fever virus in human small airway epithelial cells

Taissia G. Popova, Michael J. Turell, Virginia Espina, Kylene Kehn-Hall, Jessica Kidd, Aarthi Narayanan, Lance Liotta, Emanuel F. Petricoin, Fatah Kashanchi, Charles Bailey, Serguei G. Popov

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46 Scopus citations


Rift valley fever virus (RVFV) infection is an emerging zoonotic disease endemic in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa and in Egypt. In this study we show that human small airway epithelial cells are highly susceptible to RVFV virulent strain ZH-501 and the attenuated strain MP-12. We used the reverse-phase protein arrays technology to identify phosphoprotein signaling pathways modulated during infection of cultured airway epithelium. ZH-501 infection induced activation of MAP kinases (p38, JNK and ERK) and downstream transcriptional factors [STAT1 (Y701), ATF2 (T69/71), MSK1 (S360) and CREB (S133)]. NFkB phosphorylation was also increased. Activation of p53 (S15, S46) correlated with the increased levels of cleaved effector caspase-3, -6 and -7, indicating activation of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. RVFV infection downregulated phosphorylation of a major anti-apoptotic regulator of survival pathways, AKT (S473), along with phosphorylation of FOX 01/03 (T24/31) which controls cell cycle arrest downstream from AKT. Consistent with this, the level of apoptosis inhibitor XIAP was decreased. However, the intrinsic apoptotic pathway marker, caspase-9, demonstrated only a marginal activation accompanied by an increased level of the inhibitor of apoptosome formation, HSP27. Concentration of the autophagy marker, LC3B, which often accompanies the pro-survival signaling, was decreased. Cumulatively, our analysis of RVFV infection in lung epithelium indicated a viral strategy directed toward the control of cell apoptosis through a number of transcriptional factors. Analyses of MP-12 titers in challenged cells in the presence of MAPK inhibitors indicated that activation of p38 represents a protective cell response while ERK activation controls viral replication.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13805
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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