Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis-Causing Adenoviruses Induce MUC16 Ectodomain Release To Infect Ocular Surface Epithelial Cells
Menon, Balaraj B.
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CitationMenon, Balaraj B., Xiaohong Zhou, Sandra Spurr-Michaud, Jaya Rajaiya, James Chodosh, and Ilene K. Gipson. 2016. “Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis-Causing Adenoviruses Induce MUC16 Ectodomain Release To Infect Ocular Surface Epithelial Cells.” mSphere 1 (1): e00112-15. doi:10.1128/mSphere.00112-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00112-15.
AbstractABSTRACT Human adenoviruses (HAdV), species D in particular (HAdV-D), are frequently associated with epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). Although the infection originates at the ocular surface epithelium, the mechanisms by which HAdV-Ds bypass the membrane-associated mucin (MAM)-rich glycocalyx of the ocular surface epithelium to trigger infection and inflammation remain unknown. Here, we report that an EKC-causing adenovirus (HAdV-D37), but not a non-EKC-causing one (HAdV-D19p), induces ectodomain release of MUC16—a MAM with barrier functions at the ocular surface—from cultured human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. HAdV-D37, but not HAdV-D19p, is also found to decrease the glycocalyx barrier function of corneal epithelial cells, as determined by rose bengal dye penetrance assays. Furthermore, results from quantitative PCR (qPCR) amplification of viral genomic DNA using primers specific to a conserved region of the E1B gene show that, in comparison to infection by HAdV-D19p, infection by HAdV-D37 is significantly increased in corneal epithelial cells. Collectively, these results point to a MUC16 ectodomain release-dependent mechanism utilized by the EKC-causing HAdV-D37 to initiate infection at the ocular surface. These findings are important in terms of understanding the pathogenesis of adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis. Similar MAM ectodomain release mechanisms may be prevalent across other mucosal epithelia in the body (e.g., the airway epithelium) that are prone to adenoviral infection. IMPORTANCE: Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) are double-stranded DNA viruses that cause infections across all mucosal tissues in the body. At the ocular surface, HAdVs cause keratoconjunctivitis (E. Ford, K. E. Nelson, and D. Warren, Epidemiol Rev 9:244–261, 1987, and C. M. Robinson, D. Seto, M. S. Jones, D. W. Dyer, and J. Chodosh, Infect Genet Evol 11:1208–1217, 2011, doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2011.04.031)—a highly contagious infection that accounts for nearly 60% of conjunctivitis cases in the United States (R. P. Sambursky, N. Fram, and E. J. Cohen, Optometry 78:236–239, 2007, doi:10.1016/j.optm.2006.11.012, and A. M. Pihos, J Optom 6:69–74, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.optom.2012.08.003). The infection begins with HAdV entry within ocular surface epithelial cells; however, the mechanisms used by HAdVs to transit the otherwise protective mucosal barrier of ocular surface epithelial cells prior to entry remain unknown. Here, we report that the highly virulent keratoconjunctivitis-causing HAdV-D37 induces release of the extracellular domain (ectodomain) of MUC16, a major component of the mucosal barrier of ocular surface epithelial cells, prior to infecting underlying cells. Currently, there is no specific treatment for controlling this infection. Understanding the early steps involved in the pathogenesis of keratoconjunctivitis and using this information to intercept adenoviral entry within cells may guide the development of novel strategies for controlling the infection.
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