Because of their high susceptibility to infection with various influenza virus strains, Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells have been widely used as a substrate for influenza virus isolation and vaccine production. However, MDCK cells are also interferon (IFN) competent, and the type I IFN response is commonly thought to be a factor strongly inhibiting virus replication. Therefore, the inhibition of influenza virus replication by IFN signalling was analysed for an adherent MDCK cell line used in vaccine manufacturing. Depending on the respective virus strain, different levels of IFN induction and a corresponding upregulation of the IFN-induced myxovirus resistance protein 1 (Mx1) were observed. Suppression of IFN induction by transient expression of the viral non-structural protein 1 protein enhanced replication of an influenza virus lacking NS1, but not wild-type strains. In agreement with this, stimulation of cells with MDCK cell-derived IFN prior to infection resulted only in a decrease in replication rate, and not in a change of final yields for wild-type influenza viruses. This lack of IFN-induced antiviral activity correlated with missing anti-influenza activity of MDCK Mx proteins. No inhibitory effect on viral polymerase activity was found for canine Mx1 (cMx1) and cMx2 in minireplicon assays. In conclusion, in MDCK cells, IFN expression is not a limiting factor for influenza virus replication and this might partially be caused by a lack of anti-influenza activity of canine Mx proteins.


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vol. , part 7, pp. 1754 - 1763

Nucleotide sequences of qRT-PCR primers [PDF](81 KB)

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