Coronavirus Endoribonuclease Activity in Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Suppresses Type I and Type III Interferon Responses. Journal Article

Authors: Deng, X; van Geelen, A; Buckley, AC; O'Brien, A; Pillatzki, A; Lager, KM; Faaberg, KS; Baker, SC
Article Title: Coronavirus Endoribonuclease Activity in Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Suppresses Type I and Type III Interferon Responses.
Abstract: Identifying viral antagonists of innate immunity and determining if they contribute to pathogenesis are critical for developing effective strategies to control emerging viruses. Previously, we reported that an endoribonuclease (EndoU) encoded by murine coronavirus plays a pivotal role in evasion of host innate immune defenses in macrophages. Here, we asked if the EndoU activity of porcine epidemic diarrhea coronavirus (PEDV), which causes acute diarrhea in swine, plays a role in antagonizing the innate response in porcine epithelial cells and macrophages, the sites of viral replication. We constructed an infectious clone of PEDV-Colorado strain (icPEDV-wt) and an EndoU-mutant PEDV (icPEDV-EnUmt) by changing the codon for a catalytic histidine residue of EndoU to alanine (His226Ala). We found that both icPEDV-wt and icPEDV-EnUmt propagated efficiently in interferon (IFN)-deficient Vero cells. In contrast, the propagation of icPEDV-EnUmt was impaired in porcine epithelial cells (LLC-PK1), where we detected an early and robust transcriptional activation of type I and type III IFNs. Infection of piglets with the parental Colorado strain, icPEDV-wt, or icPEDV-EnUmt revealed that all viruses replicated in the gut and induced diarrhea; however, there was reduced viral shedding and mortality in the icPEDV-EnUmt-infected animals. These results demonstrate that EndoU activity is not required for PEDV replication in immortalized, IFN-deficient Vero cells, but is important for suppressing the IFN response in epithelial cells and macrophages, which facilitates replication, shedding, and pathogenesis We conclude that PEDV EndoU activity is a key virulence factor that suppresses both type I and type III IFN responses. Coronaviruses (CoVs) can emerge from an animal reservoir into a naive host species to cause pandemic respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases with significant mortality in humans or domestic animals. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), an alphacoronavirus (alpha-CoV), infects gut epithelial cells and macrophages, inducing diarrhea and resulting in high mortality in piglets. How PEDV suppresses the innate immune response was unknown. We found that mutating a viral endoribonuclease, EndoU, results in a virus that activates both the type I interferon response and the type III interferon response in macrophages and epithelial cells. This activation of interferon resulted in limited viral replication in epithelial cell cultures and was associated with reduced virus shedding and mortality in piglets. This study reveals a role for EndoU activity as a virulence factor in PEDV infection and provides an approach for generating live-attenuated vaccine candidates for emerging coronaviruses.
Journal Title: Journal of virology
ISSN: 1098-5514; 0022-538X
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved  
Date Published: 2019