Image_1_DNA Sensors’ Signaling in NK Cells During HHV-6A, HHV-6B and HHV-7 Infection.TIFF (2.02 MB)
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Image_1_DNA Sensors’ Signaling in NK Cells During HHV-6A, HHV-6B and HHV-7 Infection.TIFF

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posted on 19.02.2020, 04:43 by Daria Bortolotti, Valentina Gentili, Elisabetta Caselli, Mariangela Sicolo, Irene Soffritti, Maria D’Accolti, Isabel Barao, Antonella Rotola, Dario Di Luca, Roberta Rizzo

The host DNA sensor proteins TLR9, STING, IFI16 are central signaling molecules that control the innate immune response to cytosolic nucleic acids. Here we propose to investigate how Natural killer (NK) cell infection by human herpesvirus (HHV)-6A, HHV-6B or HHV-7 is able to modify DNA sensor signaling in NK cells.


We infected the NK92 cell line and primary NK cells with cell-free inocula of HHV-6A, HHV-6B or HHV-7 and evaluated TLR9, STING, and IFI16 pathway expression by Real-Time PCR, Western Blot, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry for 1, 2, 3, and 6 days post-infection. We evaluated NK cell cytokine-producing by Real-Time PCR and enzyme immunosorbent assay.


NK92 and primary NK cells were promptly infected by three viruses, as demonstrated by virus presence (DNA) and transcription (RNA) analysis. Our data show STING/STAT6 up-modulation in HHV-6A infected NK cells. NK cells infected with HHV-6B and HHV-7 up-regulated CCL3, IFN-alpha, TNF-alpha, IL-8 and IFN-gamma and slightly induced IL-4, and CCL4. HHV-6A infected NK cells up-regulated IL-4 and IL-13 and slightly induced IL-10, TNF-alpha, IFN-alpha, and IFN-gamma.


For the first time, we demonstrate that HHV-6A, HHV-6B, and HHV-7 infections have a differential impact on intracellular DNA sensors. HHV-6B and HHV-7 mainly lead to the active control of in vivo viral spreading by pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion via TLR9. HHV-6A infected NK cells conversely induced STING/STAT6 pathway, as a mechanism of anti-viral activation, but they were characterized by a Th2 type response and a non-cytotoxic profile, suggesting a potential novel mechanism of HHV-6A-mediated immunosuppression.