Investigating host response to viral infection through proteomics : a study of murine norovirus
Furman, Linnzi Marie.
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Norovirus causes roughly 23 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the United States each year. While this virus was characterized over 30 years ago, it remains non-cultivatable in human cells, resulting in an incomplete understanding of the host cell's response to infection. However, in 2004 murine norovirus (MNV) was found to be cultivatable in mice and has since been successfully cultured in RAW 264.7 cells. MNV has become an important model system for studying norovirus, as it is structurally and genetically similar to human norovirus. A global proteomics approach using fluorescently tagged, activity-based probes and 2D differential gel electrophoresis analysis was used to study MNV infection. Specifically, the process of cell death was investigated to determine if apoptosis, or programmed cell death, occurred in response to infection. Through the 2D differential gel analysis, 27 differentially regulated proteins were identified at 4 hours post infection, and 22 differentially regulated proteins were identified at 12 hours post infection; a strong majority of these proteins have been related to apoptosis in the literature. Using fluorescently-labeled activity-based probes and fluorimetric assays, we have monitored the activation of several caspases induced by viral infection. Infected samples show a significant increase in caspase activity over control samples within the first few hours post infection, indicating a virally induced activation of caspases. Cells were also infected in the presence of a pan-caspase inhibitor, Boc-D(OMe)-fmk, which led to caspase-independent cell death. Using propidium iodide and Hoechst staining, it was concluded that infected cells undergo necrosis in the presence of the caspase-inhibitor, while those infected in the absence of the inhibitor undergo apoptosis. From these studies it can be concluded that cells infected with MNV undergo a caspase-mediated, apoptotic cell death, while the caspase-independent cell death can be classified as necrosis. This study provides significant insight to norovirus-induced cell death.