Interferon regulatory factor 7 regulates airway epithelial cell responses to human rhinovirus infection

Anthony Bosco, S. Wiehler, D. Proud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Bosco et al. Background: Human rhinoviruses (HRV) cause the majority of colds and trigger exacerbations of chronic lower airway diseases. Airway epithelial cells are the primary site for HRV infection and replication, and the initiation of host inflammatory responses. At present, the molecular mechanisms that underpin HRV responses in airway epithelial cells are incompletely understood. The aim of this study was to employ microarray profiling, upstream regulator analysis, and siRNA mediated gene silencing to further our understanding of the role of interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) in this response. Methods: Primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBE) where transfected with siRNA that targets IRF7 or a non-silencing control (all-star control) using Lipofectamine. The cells were allowed to recover, and then cultured in the presence or absence of HRV-16 for 24h. Global patterns of gene expression were profiled on microarrays. A subset of genes identified in the microarray study were validated at the mRNA and/or protein level using real time RT-qPCR, ELISA, and western blots. Results: Hundreds of genes were upregulated in HBE during HRV infection. Pathways analysis demonstrated that these genes were mainly involved in type I and II interferon signaling, RIG-I/MDA5 signaling, antigen processing and presentation, and apoptosis. Upstream regulator analysis of these data suggested that IRF7 was a major molecular driver of this response. Knockdown of IRF7 reduced the HRV-driven upregulation of genes involved in antiviral responses (interferon signaling, Toll-like receptor signaling, NOD-like receptor signaling, RIG-I/MDA5 signaling), and increased the expression of genes that promote inflammation (e.g. CXCL5, IL-33, IL1RL1) and the response to oxidative stress. However, the majority of genes that were perturbed by HRV in HBE cells including those that are known to be regulated by IRF7 were insensitive to IRF7 knockdown. Upstream regulator analysis of the part of the response that was insensitive to IRF7 kno
Original languageEnglish
Article number76
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Interferon regulatory factor 7 regulates airway epithelial cell responses to human rhinovirus infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this