Author(s): Byrd D, Shepherd N, Lan J, Hu N, Amet T,
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Abstract Human monocytic and professional antigen-presenting cells have been reported only to exhibit abortive infections with vaccinia virus (VACV). We found that monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs), including granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-polarized M1 and macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF)-polarized M2, but not human AB serum-derived cells, were permissive to VACV replication. The titers of infectious virions in both cell-free supernatants and cellular lysates of infected M1 and M2 markedly increased in a time-dependent manner. The majority of virions produced in permissive MDMs were extracellular enveloped virions (EEV), a secreted form of VACV associated with long-range virus dissemination, and were mainly found in the culture supernatant. Infected MDMs formed VACV factories, actin tails, virion-associated branching structures, and cell linkages, indicating that MDMs are able to initiate de novo synthesis of viral DNA and promote virus release. VACV replication was sensitive to inhibitors against the Akt and Erk1/2 pathways that can be activated by VACV infection and M-CSF stimulation. Classical activation of MDMs by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus gamma interferon (IFN-γ) stimulation caused no effect on VACV replication, while alternative activation of MDMs by interleukin-10 (IL-10) or LPS-plus-IL-1β treatment significantly decreased VACV production. The IL-10-mediated suppression of VACV replication was largely due to Stat3 activation, as a Stat3 inhibitor restored virus production to levels observed without IL-10 stimulation. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that primary human macrophages are permissive to VACV replication. After infection, these cells produce EEV for long-range dissemination and also form structures associated with virions which may contribute to cell-cell spread. IMPORTANCE: Our results provide critical information to the burgeoning fields of cancer-killing (oncolytic) virus therapy with vaccinia virus (VACV). One type of macrophage (M2) is considered a common presence in tumors and is associated with poor prognosis. Our results demonstrate a preference for VACV replication in M2 macrophages and could assist in designing treatments and engineering poxviruses with special considerations for their effect on M2 macrophage-containing tumors. Additionally, this work highlights the importance of macrophages in the field of vaccine development using poxviruses as vectors. The understanding of the dynamics of poxvirus-infected foci is central in understanding the effectiveness of the immune response to poxvirus-mediated vaccine vectors. Monocytic cells have been found to be an important part of VACV skin lesions in mice in controlling the infection as well as mediating virus transport out of infected foci. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
This article was published in J Virol
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense