Differential Cellular Sensing of Fusion from within and Fusion from without during Virus Infection Academic Article uri icon

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  • The physical entry of virus particles into cells triggers an innate immune response that is dependent on both calcium and nucleic acid sensors, with particles containing RNA or DNA genomes detected by RNA or DNA sensors, respectively. While membrane fusion in the absence of viral nucleic acid causes an innate immune response that is dependent on calcium, the involvement of nucleic acid sensors is poorly understood. Here, we used lipoplexes containing purified reovirus p14 fusion protein as a model of exogenous or fusion from without and a cell line expressing inducible p14 protein as a model of endogenous or fusion from within to examine cellular membrane fusion sensing events. We show that the cellular response to membrane fusion in both models is dependent on calcium, IRF3 and IFN. The method of sensing fusion, however, differs between fusion from without and fusion from within. Exogenous p14 lipoplexes are detected by RIG-I-like RNA sensors, whereas fusion by endogenous p14 requires both RIG-I and STING to trigger an IFN response. The source of nucleic acid that is sensed appears to be cellular in origin. Future studies will investigate the source of endogenous nucleic acids recognized following membrane fusion events.


  • Hare, David N
  • Murdza, Tetyana
  • Collins, Susan
  • Schulz, Katharina
  • Mukherjee, Subhendu
  • de Antueno, Roberto
  • Janssen, Luke
  • Duncan, Roy
  • Mossman, Karen

publication date

  • January 2023