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Advances in Virology
Volume 2018, Article ID 5057184, 12 pages
Research Article

Apoptotic and Early Innate Immune Responses to PB1-F2 Protein of Influenza A Viruses Belonging to Different Subtypes in Human Lung Epithelial A549 Cells

Microbial Containment Complex, National Institute of Virology, Sus Road, Pashan, Pune 411021, India

Correspondence should be addressed to Alok K. Chakrabarti; ni.vog.rmci@kola.itrabarkahc

Received 2 September 2018; Accepted 24 October 2018; Published 31 December 2018

Guest Editor: Binod Kumar

Copyright © 2018 Gunisha Pasricha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


PB1-F2 is a multifunctional protein and contributes to the pathogenicity of influenza A viruses. PB1-F2 is known to have strain and cell specific functions. In this study we have investigated the apoptotic and inflammatory responses of PB1-F2 protein from influenza viruses of diverse pathogenicities in A549 lung epithelial cells. Overexpression of PB1-F2 resulted in apoptosis and heightened inflammatory response in A549 cells. Comparison revealed that the response varied with each subtype. PB1-F2 protein from highly pathogenic H5N1 virus induced least apoptosis but maximum inflammatory response. Results indicated that apoptosis was mediated through death receptor ligands TNFα and TRAIL via Caspase 8 activation. Significant induction of cytokines/chemokines CXCL10, CCL5, CCL2, IFNα, and IL-6 was noted in A549 cells transfected with PB1-F2 gene construct of 2008 West Bengal H5N1 virus (H5N1-WB). On the contrary, PB1-F2 construct from 2007 highly pathogenic H5N1 isolate (H5N1-M) with truncated N-terminal region did not evoke as exuberant inflammatory response as the other H5N1-WB with full length PB1-F2, signifying the importance of N-terminal region of PB1-F2. Sequence analysis revealed that PB1-F2 proteins derived from different influenza viruses varied at multiple amino acid positions. The secondary structure prediction showed each of the PB1-F2 proteins had distinct helix-loop-helix structure. Thus, our data substantiate the notion that the contribution of PB1-F2 to influenza pathogenicity is greatly strain specific and involves multiple host factors. This data demonstrates that PB1-F2 protein of influenza A virus, when expressed independently is minimally apoptotic and strongly influences the early host response in A549 cells.