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Virology Journal

, 6:139

First Online: 10 September 2009Received: 12 July 2009Accepted: 10 September 2009


BackgroundNoroviruses are the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis. Because a suitable in vitro culture system for the human virus has yet to be developed, many basic details of the infection process are unknown. Murine norovirus MNV serves as a model system for the study of norovirus infection. Recently it was shown that infection of RAW 264.7 cells involved a novel apoptotic pathway involving survivin.

ResultsUsing a different set of approaches, the up-regulation of caspases, DNA condensation-fragmentation, and membrane blebbing, all of which are markers of apoptosis, were confirmed. Live cell imaging and activity-based protein profiling showed that activation of caspase-like proteases occurred within two hours of infection, followed by morphological changes to the cells. MNV infection in the presence of caspase inhibitors proceeded via a distinct pathway of rapid cellular necrosis and reduced viral production. Affinity purification of activity-based protein profiling targets and identification by peptide mass fingerprinting showed that the cysteine protease cathepsin B was activated early in infection, establishing this protein as an upstream activator of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.

ConclusionThis work adds cathepsin B to the noncanonical programmed cell death induced by MNV, and provides data suggesting that the virus may induce apoptosis to expand the window of time for viral replication. This work also highlights the significant power of activity-based protein profiling in the study of viral pathogenesis.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1743-422X-6-139 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Linnzi M Furman - Walid S Maaty - Lena K Petersen - Khalil Ettayebi - Michele E Hardy - Brian Bothner


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