Differential cellular immune responses to wild-type and attenuated edmonston tag measles virus strains are primarily defined by the viral phosphoprotein gene

Iana H. Haralambieva, Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Neelam Dhiman, Robert A. Vierkant, Robert M. Jacobson, Gregory A. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The measles virus phosphoprotein (P) gene encodes the P, V, and C proteins, which have multiple functions including type I interferon (IFN) inhibition. With a focus on viral immune modulation, we conducted a study on healthy vaccinees (n=179) to compare cytokine secretion patterns/cell frequencies and gene expression after in vitro encounter with a highly attenuated strain of measles virus (MVEdmtag), wild-type MV (MVwt) or recombinant MVEdmtag expressing the wild-type P gene (MVwtP). Cytokines were quantified by ELISA and Elispot. Gene expression profiling was performed using real-time PCR. We found differential MV-specific cytokine responses to all detected cytokines characterized by significantly higher cytokine levels (P<0.001) and higher frequencies (P<0.0001) of cytokine-producing cells after stimulation with the highly attenuated MVEdmtag strain in comparison with MVwt or MVwtP. Furthermore, gene expression profiling revealed significant cytokine suppression at the transcriptional level for viruses encoding the functional wt P gene, compared to attenuated MVEdmtag (P<0.05). Using lentivirus-mediated stable expression of P gene-encoded proteins in human cell lines, we demonstrated that the expression of the functional wt V protein significantly down-modulated the induction of IFNs type I, II, and III in lymphocytes and monocytes. Taken together our results indicate that Th1, Th2, and innate/inflammatory cytokine responses in vaccinees are suppressed both at the protein and transcriptional level by viruses expressing the functional wt P gene products. The functional P gene-encoded viral proteins (particularly V proteins) emerge as crucial immune evasion factors for modulating and shaping the measles virus-specific cytokine responses in humans. J. Med. Virol. 82:1966-1975, 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1966-1975
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of medical virology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010



  • Cellular immunity
  • Cytokines
  • Gene expression
  • MMR vaccine
  • Measles virus
  • P gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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