Mx proteins are interferon-induced members of the dynamin superfamily of large guanosine triphosphatases. These proteins have attracted much attention because some display antiviral activity against pathogenic RNA viruses, such as members of the orthomyxoviridae, bunyaviridae, and rhabdoviridae families. Among the diverse mammalian Mx proteins examined so far, we have recently demonstrated in vitro that the Bos taurus isoform 1 (boMx1) is endowed with exceptional anti-rabies-virus activity. This finding has prompted us to seek an appropriate in vivo model for confirming and evaluating gene therapy strategies. Using a BAC transgene, we have generated transgenic mouse lines expressing the antiviral boMx1 protein and boMx2 proteins under the control of their natural promoter and short- and long-range regulatory elements. Expressed boMx1 and boMx2 are correctly assembled, as deduced from mRNA sequencing and western blotting. Poly-I/C-subordinated expression of boMx1 was detected in various organs by immunohistochemistry, and transgenic lines were readily classified as high- or low-expression lines on the basis of tissue boMx1 concentrations measured by ELISA. Poly-I/C-induced Madin-Darby bovine kidney cells, bovine turbinate cells, and cultured cells from high-expression line of transgenic mice were found to contain about the same concentration of boMx1, suggesting that this protein is produced at near-physiological levels. Furthermore, insertion of the bovine Mx system rendered transgenic mice resistant to vesicular-stomatitis-virus-associated morbidity and mortality, and embryonic fibroblasts derived from high-expression transgenic mice were far less permissive to the virus. These results demonstrate that the Bos taurus Mx system is a powerful anti-VSV agent in vivo and suggest that the transgenic mouse lines generated here constitute a good model for studying in vivo the various antiviral functions—known and yet to be discovered—exerted by bovine Mx proteins, with priority emphasis on the antirabic function of boMx1.
Innate resistance Virus VSV Host–pathogen
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The authors thank Dr. Fabien Ectors for his enthusiasm and exceptional skill at performing the 350 pronuclear microinjections and implanting transformed blastocysts into pseudo-pregnant mouse recipients. Many thanks are also due to Anne Cornet for genotyping the Mx1 locus of the different mouse lines.
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