Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute, DSO National Labs, Singapore 117510, Singapore.
The poxviruses are large, linear, double-stranded DNA viruses about 130 to 230 kbp, that have an animal origin and evolved to infect a wide host range. Variola virus (VARV), the causative agent of smallpox, is a poxvirus that infects only humans, but other poxviruses such as monkey poxvirus and cowpox virus (CPXV) have crossed over from animals to infect humans. Therefore understanding the biology of poxviruses can devise antiviral strategies to prevent these human infections. In this study we used a system-based approach to examine the host responses to three orthopoxviruses, CPXV, vaccinia virus (VACV), and ectromelia virus (ECTV) in the murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cell line. Overall, we observed a significant down-regulation of gene expressions for pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and related receptors. There were also common and virus-specific changes in the immune-regulated gene expressions for each poxvirus-infected RAW cells. Collectively our results showed that the murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cell line is a suitable cell-based model system to study poxvirus host response.
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