Tick-borne thogoto virus infection in mice is inhibited by the orthomyxovirus resistance gene product Mx1.
Haller O., Frese M., Rost D., Nuttall PA., Kochs G.
We show that tick-transmitted Thogoto virus is sensitive to interferon-induced nuclear Mx1 protein, which is known for its specific antiviral action against orthomyxoviruses. Influenza virus-susceptible BALB/c mice (lacking a functional Mx1 gene) developed severe disease symptoms and died within days after intracerebral or intraperitoneal infection with a lethal challenge dose of Thogoto virus. In contrast, Mx1-positive congenic, influenza virus-resistant BALB.A2G-Mx1 mice remained healthy and survived. Likewise, A2G, congenic B6.A2G-Mx1 and CBA.T9-Mx1 mice (derived from influenza virus-resistant wild mice) as well as Mx1-transgenic 979 mice proved to be resistant. Peritoneal macrophages and interferon-treated embryo cells from resistant mice exhibited the same resistance phenotype in vitro. Moreover, stable lines of transfected mouse 3T3 cells that constitutively express Mx1 protein showed increased resistance to Thogoto virus infection. We conclude that an Mx1-sensitive step has been conserved during evolution of orthomyxoviruses and suggest that the Mx1 gene in rodents may serve to combat infections by influenza virus-like arboviruses.