As with many viruses, rabies virus (RABV) infection induces type I interferon (IFN) production within the infected host cells. However, RABV has evolved mechanisms by which to inhibit IFN production in order to sustain infection. Here we show that RABV infection of dendritic cells (DC) induces potent type I IFN production and DC activation. Although DCs are infected by RABV, the viral replication is highly suppressed in DCs, rendering the infection non-productive. We exploited this finding in bone marrow derived DCs (BMDC) in order to differentiate which pattern recognition receptor(s) (PRR) is responsible for inducing type I IFN following infection with RABV. Our results indicate that BMDC activation and type I IFN production following a RABV infection is independent of TLR signaling. However, IPS-1 is essential for both BMDC activation and IFN production. Interestingly, we see that the BMDC activation is primarily due to signaling through the IFNAR and only marginally induced by the initial infection. To further identify the receptor recognizing RABV infection, we next analyzed BMDC from Mda-5-/- and RIG-I-/- mice. In the absence of either receptor, there is a significant decrease in BMDC activation at 12h post infection. However, only RIG-I-/- cells exhibit a delay in type I IFN production. In order to determine the role that IPS-1 plays in vivo, we infected mice with pathogenic RABV. We see that IPS-1-/- mice are more susceptible to infection than IPS-1+/+ mice and have a significantly increased incident of limb paralysis.
Faul, Elizabeth J; Wanjalla, Celestine N; Suthar, Mehul S; Gale, Michael; Wirblich, Christoph; and Schnell, Matthias J, "Rabies virus infection induces type I interferon production in an IPS-1 dependent manner while dendritic cell activation relies on IFNAR signaling." (2010). Department of Microbiology and Immunology Faculty Papers. Paper 18.