Journal of Virology & Antiviral ResearchISSN: 2324-8955

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Cathepsin B Plays a Key Role in Optimal Production of the Influenza A- Virus

Background: Influenza A- virus (IAV) is the etiologic agent of the febrile respiratory illness, commonly referred to as ‘flu’. The lysosomal protease cathepsin B (CTSB) has shown to be involved in the lifecycle of various viruses. Here, we examined the role of CTSB in the IAV lifecycle. 

Methods: CTSB-deficient (CTSB -/-) macrophages and the human lung epithelial cell line A549 cells treated with CA-074Me were infected with the A/Puerto Rico/8/34 strain of IAV (IAV- PR8). Viral
entry and propagation were measured through quantitative realtime RT-PCR; production and localization of hemagglutinin (HA) protein in the infected host cells were analysed by Western blots, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy; production of progeny viruses were measured by a hemagglutination assay. 

Results: CTSB -/- macrophages and CA-074Me-treated A549 cells had no defects in incorporating IAV-PR8 virions and permitting viral RNA synthesis. However, these cells produced significantly lower amounts of HA protein and progeny virions than wild-type or untreated cells. 

Conclusion: These data indicate that CTSB is involved in the expression of IAV-PR8 HA protein and subsequent optimal production of IAV-PR8 progeny virions. Targeting CTSB can be a novel therapeutic strategy for treating IAV infection.

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