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Inhibitors of the interferon response enhance virus replication in vitro.

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Abstract

Virus replication efficiency is influenced by two conflicting factors, kinetics of the cellular interferon (IFN) response and induction of an antiviral state versus speed of virus replication and virus-induced inhibition of the IFN response. Disablement of a virus's capacity to circumvent the IFN response enables both basic research and various practical applications. However, such IFN-sensitive viruses can be difficult to grow to high-titer in cells that produce and respond to IFN. The current default option for growing IFN-sensitive viruses is restricted to a limited selection of cell-lines (e.g. Vero cells) that have lost their ability to produce IFN. This study demonstrates that supplementing tissue-culture medium with an IFN inhibitor provides a simple, effective and flexible approach to increase the growth of IFN-sensitive viruses in a cell-line of choice. We report that IFN inhibitors targeting components of the IFN response (TBK1, IKK2, JAK1) significantly increased virus replication. More specifically, the JAK1/2 inhibitor Ruxolitinib enhances the growth of viruses that are sensitive to IFN due to (i) loss of function of the viral IFN antagonist (due to mutation or species-specific constraints) or (ii) mutations/host cell constraints that slow virus spread such that it can be controlled by the IFN response. This was demonstrated for a variety of viruses, including, viruses with disabled IFN antagonists that represent live-attenuated vaccine candidates (Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Influenza Virus), traditionally attenuated vaccine strains (Measles, Mumps) and a slow-growing wild-type virus (RSV). In conclusion, supplementing tissue culture-medium with an IFN inhibitor to increase the growth of IFN-sensitive viruses in a cell-line of choice represents an approach, which is broadly applicable to research investigating the importance of the IFN response in controlling virus infections and has utility in a number of practical applications including vaccine and oncolytic virus production, virus diagnostics and techniques to isolate newly emerging viruses.
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere112014
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2014

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