Bovine herpesvirus type 4 infection modulates autophagy in a permissive cell line

Serena Montagnaro, Roberto Ciarcia, Francesco Pagnini, Luisa De Martino, Maria Valeria Puzio, Giovanna Elvira Granato, Franca Avino, Ugo Pagnini, Giuseppe Iovane, Antonio Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bovine herpesvirus type 4 (BoHV-4), like other herpesviruses, induces a series of alterations in the host cell that modify the intracellular environment in favor of viral replication, survival and spread. This research examined the impact of BoHV-4 infection on autophagy in BoHV-4 infected Madin Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells. Protein extracts of BoHV-4 infected and control MDBK cells were subjected to Western blot. The concentrations of the autophagy and apoptosis-related proteins Beclin 1, p21, PI3 kinase, Akt1/2, mTOR, phospho mTOR, p62 and the light chain three (LC3) were normalized to the actin level and expressed as the densitometric ratio. Western blot analysis of virus-infected cells revealed that autophagic degradation pathway was induced in the late phase of BoHV-4 infection. After 48 h post-infection the protein LC3II, which is essential for autophagy was found to be markedly increased, while infection of MDBK cells with BoHV-4 resulted in a depletion of p62 levels. Becline 1, PI3 kinase, Akt1/2 and p21 expression increased between 24 and 48 h post-infection. Surprisingly, mTOR and its phosphorylated form, which are negative regulators of autophagy, also increased after 24 h post-infection. In conclusion, our findings suggest that BoHV-4 has developed mechanisms for modulation of autophagy that are probably part of a strategy designed to enhance viral replication and to evade the immune system. Additional studies on the relationship between autophagy and BoHV-4 replication and survival, in both lytic and latent replication phases, are needed to understand the role of autophagy in BoHV-4 pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1529-1535
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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