Response of mammalian macrophages to challenge with the chlorovirus Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1

Thomas M. Petro, Irina V. Agarkova, You Zhou, Robert H. Yolken, James L. Van Etten, David D. Dunigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


It was recently reported that 44% of the oropharyngeal samples from the healthy humans in a study cohort had DNA sequences similar to that of the chlorovirus ATCV-1 (Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1, family Phycodnaviridae) and that these study subjects had decreases in visual processing and visual motor speed compared with individuals in whom no virus was detected. Moreover, mice inoculated orally with ATCV-1 developed immune responses to ATCV-1 proteins and had decreases in certain cognitive domains. Because heightened interleukin-6 (IL-6), nitric oxide (NO), and ERK mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase activation from macrophages are linked to cognitive impairments, we evaluated cellular responses and viral PFU counts in murine RAW264.7 cells and primary macrophages after exposure to ATCV-1 in vitro for up to 72 h after a virus challenge. Approximately 8% of the ATCV-1 inoculum was associated with macrophages after 1 h, and the percentage increased 2-to 3-fold over 72 h. Immunoblot assays with rabbit anti-ATCV-1 antibody detected a 55-kDa protein consistent with the viral capsid protein from 1 to 72 h and increasing de novo synthesis of a previously unidentified 17-kDa protein beginning at 24 h. Emergence of the 17-kDa protein did not occur and persistence of the 55-kDa protein declined over time when cells were exposed to heat-inactivated ATCV-1. Moreover, starting at 24 h, RAW264.7 cells exhibited cytopathic effects, annexin V staining, and cleaved caspase 3. Activation of ERK MAP kinases occurred in these cells by 30 min postchallenge, which preceded the expression of IL-6 and NO. Therefore, ATCV-1 persistence in and induction of inflammatory factors by these macrophages may contribute to declines in the cognitive abilities of mice and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12096-12107
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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