Upregulation of DUSP6 impairs infectious bronchitis virus replication by negatively regulating ERK pathway and promoting apoptosis

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Abstract

Elucidating virus-cell interactions is fundamental to understanding viral replication and identifying targets for therapeutic control of viral infection. The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway has been shown to regulate pathogenesis during many viral infections, but its role during coronavirus infection is undetermined. Infectious bronchitis virus is the representative strain of Gammacoronavirus, which causes acute and highly contagious diseases in the poultry farm. In this study, we investigated the role of ERK1/2 signaling pathway in IBV infection. We found that IBV infection activated ERK1/2 signaling and the up-regulation of phosphatase DUSP6 formed a negative regulation loop. Pharmacological inhibition of MEK1/2-ERK1/2 signaling suppressed the expression of DUSP6, promoted cell death, and restricted virus replication. In contrast, suppression of DUSP6 by chemical inhibitor or siRNA increased the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, protected cells from apoptosis, and facilitated IBV replication. Overexpression of DUSP6 decreased the level of phospho-ERK1/2, promoted apoptosis, while dominant negative mutant DUSP6-DN lost the regulation function on ERK1/2 signaling and apoptosis. In conclusion, these data suggest that MEK-ERK1/2 signaling pathway facilitates IBV infection, probably by promoting cell survival; meanwhile, induction of DUSP6 forms a negative regulation loop to restrict ERK1/2 signaling, correlated with increased apoptosis and reduced viral load. Consequently, components of the ERK pathway, such as MEK1/2 and DUSP6, represent excellent targets for the development of antiviral drugs.

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Wang, H., Liu, D., Sun, Y., Meng, C., Tan, L., Song, C., … Ying, L. (2021). Upregulation of DUSP6 impairs infectious bronchitis virus replication by negatively regulating ERK pathway and promoting apoptosis. Veterinary Research, 52(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-020-00866-x

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