Induction of an epithelial integrin alphavbeta6 in human cytomegalovirus-infected endothelial cells leads to activation of transforming growth factor-beta1 and increased collagen production.

Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California-San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0640, USA.
American Journal Of Pathology (Impact Factor: 4.6). 05/2008; 172(4):1127-40. DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2008.070448
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a major cause of morbidity in immunosuppressed individuals, and congenital CMV infection is a leading cause of birth defects in newborns. Infection with pathogenic viral strains alters cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, affecting extracellular matrix remodeling and endothelial cell migration. The multifunctional cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 regulates cell proliferation, differentiation, and extracellular matrix remodeling. Secreted as a latent protein complex, TGF-beta1 requires activation before binding to receptors that phosphorylate intracellular effectors. TGF-beta1 is activated by integrin alphavbeta6, which is strongly induced in the epithelium by injury and inflammation but has not previously been found in endothelial cells. Here, we report that CMV infection induces integrin alphavbeta6 expression in endothelial cells, leading to activation of TGF-beta1, signaling through its receptor ALK5, and phosphorylation of its intracellular effector Smad3. Infection of endothelial cells was also found to stimulate collagen synthesis through a mechanism dependent on both TGF-beta1 and integrin alphavbeta6. Immunohistochemical analysis showed integrin alphavbeta6 up-regulation in capillaries proximal to foci of CMV infection in lungs, salivary glands, uterine decidua, and injured chorionic villi of the placenta, demonstrating both its induction in endothelium and up-regulation in epithelium in vivo. Our results suggest that activation of TGF-beta1 by integrin alphavbeta6 contributes to pathological changes and may impair endothelial cell functions in tissues that are chronically infected with CMV.

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