NF-κB signaling differentially regulates influenza virus RNA synthesis

Naveen Kumar, Zhong Tao Xin, Yuhong Liang, Hinh Ly, Yuying Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


The NF-κB signaling pathway has previously been shown to be required for efficient influenza A virus replication, although the molecular mechanism is not well understood. In this study, we identified a specific step of the influenza virus life cycle that is influenced by NF-κB signaling by using two known NF-κB inhibitors and a variety of influenza virus-specific assays. The results of time course experiments suggest that the NF-κB inhibitors Bay11-7082 and ammonium pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate inhibited an early postentry step of viral infection, but they did not appear to affect the nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of the viral ribonucleoprotein complex. Instead, we found that the levels of influenza virus genomic RNA (vRNA), but not the corresponding cRNA or mRNA, were specifically reduced by the inhibitors in virus-infected cells, indicating that NF-κB signaling is intimately involved in the vRNA synthesis. Furthermore, we showed that the NF-κB inhibitors specifically diminished influenza virus RNA transcription from the cRNA promoter but not from the vRNA promoter in a reporter assay, a result which is consistent with data obtained from virus-infected cells. The overexpression of the p65 NF-κB molecule could not only eliminate the inhibition but also activate influenza virus RNA transcription from the cRNA promoter. Finally, using p65-specific small interfering RNA, we have shown that p65 knockdown reduced the levels of influenza virus replication and vRNA synthesis. In summary, we have provided evidence showing, for the first time, that the NF-κB host signaling pathway can differentially regulate influenza virus RNA synthesis, which may also offer some new perspectives into understanding the host regulation of RNA synthesis by other RNA viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9880-9889
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2008

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