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Integrins are not essential for entry of coxsackievirus A9 into SW480 human colon adenocarcinoma cells.

Heikkilä O, Merilahti P, Hakanen M, Karelehto E, Alanko J, Sukki M, Kiljunen S, Susi P.

Department of Virology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland


Virol J. 2016 Oct. DOI: 10.1186/s12985-016-0619-y



Coxsackievirus A9 (CV-A9) is a pathogenic enterovirus type within the family Picornaviridae. CV-A9 infects A549 human epithelial lung carcinoma cells by attaching to the αVβ6 integrin receptor through a highly conserved Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif, which is located at the exposed carboxy-terminus of the capsid protein VP1 detected in all studied clinical isolates. However, genetically-modified CV-A9 that lacks the RGD motif (CV-A9-RGDdel) has been shown to be infectious in some cell lines but not in A549, suggesting that RGD-mediated integrin binding is not always essential for efficient entry of CV-A9.
Two cell lines, A549 and SW480, were used in the study. SW480 was the study object for the integrin-independent entry and A549 was used as the control for integrin-dependent entry. Receptor levels were quantitated by cell sorting and quantitative PCR. Antibody blocking assay and siRNA silencing of receptor-encoding genes were used to block virus infection. Peptide phage display library was used to identify peptide binders to CV-A9. Immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy were used to visualize the virus infection in the cells.
We investigated the receptor use and early stages of CV-A9 internalization to SW480 human epithelial colon adenocarcinoma cells. Contrary to A549 infection, we showed that both CV-A9 and CV-A9-RGDdel internalized into SW480 cells and that function-blocking anti-αV integrin antibodies had no effect on the binding and entry of CV-A9. Whereas siRNA silencing of β6 integrin subunit had no influence on virus infection in SW480, silencing of β2-microglobulin (β2M) inhibited the virus infection in both cell lines. By using a peptide phage display screening, the virus-binding peptide identical to the N-terminal sequence of HSPA5 protein was identified and shown to block the virus infection in both A549 and SW480 cell lines. HSPA5 was also found to co-localize with CV-A9 at the SW480 cell periphery during the early stages of infection by confocal microscopy.
The data suggest that while αVβ6 integrin is essential for CV-A9 in A549 cell line, it is not required in SW480 cell line in which β2M and HSPA5 alone are sufficient for CV-A9 infection. This suggests that the choice of CV-A9 receptor(s) is dependent on the tissue/cellular environment.