J Gen Virol 2014 Nov 10;95(Pt 11):2356-64. Epub 2014 Jul 10.
Department of Virology, Peptide and Protein Laboratory, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland Department of Virology and Immunology, HUSLAB, Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Finland.
Hantaviruses are zoonotic viruses that cause life-threatening diseases when transmitted to humans. Severe hantavirus infection is manifested by impairment of renal function, pulmonary oedema and capillary leakage. Both innate and adaptive immune responses contribute to the pathogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we showed that galectin-3-binding protein (Gal-3BP) was upregulated as a result of hantavirus infection both in vitro and in vivo. Gal-3BP is a secreted glycoprotein found in human serum, and increased Gal-3BP levels have been reported in chronic viral infections and in several types of cancer. Our in vitro experiments showed that, whilst Vero E6 cells (an African green monkey kidney cell line) constitutively expressed and secreted Gal-3BP, this protein was detected in primary human cells only as a result of hantavirus infection. Analysis of Gal-3BP levels in serum samples of cynomolgus macaques infected experimentally with hantavirus indicated that hantavirus infection induced Gal-3BP also in vivo. Finally, analysis of plasma samples collected from patients hospitalized because of acute hantavirus infection showed higher Gal-3BP levels during the acute than the convalescent phase. Furthermore, the Gal-3BP levels in patients with haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome correlated with increased complement activation and with clinical variables reflecting the severity of acute hantavirus infection.