PCR array profiling of antiviral genes in human embryonic kidney cells expressing human coronavirus OC43 structural and accessory proteins
Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) is a respiratory virus that usually causes a common cold. However, it has the potential to cause severe infection in young children and immunocompromised adults. Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV were shown to express proteins with the potential to evade early innate immune responses. However, the ability of HCoV-OC43 to antagonise the intracellular antiviral defences has not yet been investigated. The potential role of the HCoV-OC43 structural (M and N) and accessory proteins (ns2a and ns5a) in the alteration of antiviral gene expression was investigated in this study. HCoV-OC43M, N, ns2a and ns5a proteins were expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK-293) cells before challenge with Sendai virus. The Human Antiviral Response PCR array was used to profile the antiviral gene expression in HEK-293 cells. Over 30 genes were downregulated in the presence of one of the HCoV-OC43 proteins, e.g. genes representing mitogen-activated protein kinases, toll-like receptors, interferons, interleukins, and signaling transduction proteins. Our findings suggest that similarly to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, HCoV-OC43 has the ability to downregulate the transcription of genes critical for the activation of different antiviral signaling pathways. Further studies are needed to confirm the role of HCoV-OC43 structural and accessory proteins in antagonising antiviral gene expression.
Compliance with ethical standards
This work was supported by Kuwait University Research Administration Grant no. YM 04/15.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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