Macrophages are the primary lung phagocyte and are instrumental in maintenance of a sterile, noninflamed microenvironment. IFNs are produced in response to bacterial and viral infection, and activate the macrophage to efficiently counteract and remove pathogenic invaders. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) inhibits IFN-mediated signaling mechanisms in epithelial cells; however, the effects on IFN signaling in the macrophage are currently unknown. We investigated the effect of RSV infection on IFN-mediated signaling in macrophages. RSV infection inhibited IFN-beta- and IFN-gamma-activated transcriptional mechanisms in primary alveolar macrophages and macrophage cell lines, including the transactivation of important Nod-like receptor family genes, Nod1 and class II transactivator. RSV inhibited IFN-beta- and IFN-gamma-mediated transcriptional activation by two distinct mechanisms. RSV impaired IFN-beta-mediated signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-1 phosphorylation through a mechanism that involves inhibition of tyrosine kinase 2 phosphorylation. In contrast, RSV-impaired transcriptional activation after IFN-gamma stimulation resulted from a reduction in the nuclear STAT1 interaction with the transcriptional coactivator, CBP, and was correlated with increased phosphorylation of STAT1beta, a dominant-negative STAT1 splice variant, in response to IFN-gamma. In support of this concept, overexpression of STAT1beta was sufficient to repress the IFN-gamma-mediated expression of class II transactivator. These results demonstrate that RSV inhibits IFN-mediated transcriptional activation in macrophages, and suggests that paramyxoviruses modulate an important regulatory mechanism that is critical in linking innate and adaptive immune mechanisms after infection.
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