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Dense Granule Protein-7 (GRA-7) of Toxoplasma gondii inhibits viral replication in vitro and in vivo


Dense granule protein-7 (GRA-7) is an excretory protein of Toxoplasma gondii. It is a potential serodiagnostic marker and vaccine candidate for toxoplasmosis. Previous reports demonstrated that GRA-7 induces innate immune responses in macrophages by interacting with TRAF6 via the MyD88-dependent pathway. In the present study, we evaluated the antiviral activity and induction of an antiviral state by GRA-7 both in vitro and in vivo. It was observed that GRA-7 markedly reduced the replication of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-GFP), influenza A virus (PR8-GFP), coxsackievirus (H3-GFP), herpes simplex virus (HSV-GFP), and adenovirus-GFP in epithelial (HEK293T/HeLa) and immune (RAW264.7) cells. These antiviral activities of GRA-7 were attributed to the induction of type I interferon (IFN) signaling, resulting in the secretion of IFNs and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, in BALB/c mice, intranasal administration of GRA-7 prevented lethal infection by influenza A virus (H1N1) and exhibited prophylactic effects against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV-GFP). Collectively, these results suggested that GRA-7 exhibits immunostimulatory and broad spectrum antiviral activities via type I IFN signaling. Thus, GRA-7 can be potentially used as a vaccine adjuvant or as a candidate drug with prophylactic potential against viruses.

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Correspondence to Jong-Soo Lee.

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Weeratunga, P., Herath, T.U.B., Kim, TH. et al. Dense Granule Protein-7 (GRA-7) of Toxoplasma gondii inhibits viral replication in vitro and in vivo. J Microbiol. 55, 909–917 (2017).

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  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • GRA-7
  • antiviral activity