Activation of protein kinase C enhances the infection of endothelial cells by human cytomegalovirus.

M.E.P. Slobbe-van Drunen*, R.C.R.M. Vossen, F.M.D. Couwenberg, M.M. Hulsbosch, J.W.M. Heemskerk, M.C.E. Mieras-van Dam, C.A.M.V.A. Bruggeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands. MSL@LMIB.AZM.NL

The infection of cultured endothelial cells with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is generally limited to less than 10% of the cells in contrast to HCMV infection of fibroblasts, where essentially all cells can be infected. It is known that HCMV infection influences a number of signal transduction pathways of infected cells. We therefore questioned whether, conversely, the infectivity of human umbilical vein endothelial cells could be influenced by the deliberate activation of these pathways. When endothelial cells were treated prior to infection with phorbol myristoyl acetate, an activator of protein kinase C, the number of HCMV-positive cells increased two to three times. On the other hand, pretreatment of the cells with RO 31-8220, a specific protein kinase C inhibitor, or with staurosporine, a general protein kinase inhibitor, resulted in a decreased infection level and in abolishment of the PMA-induced effect. Pretreatment with the protein phosphatase inhibitor, okadaic acid, caused a slight increase in infectivity, whereas pretreatment with the protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor, genistein, was without effect. Furthermore, neither forskolin and ilomedine, compounds known to activate the endothelial adenylate cyclase, nor the calcium ionophore A23187 were able to influence HCMV infectivity. It is concluded that: (a) the HCMV infection level of unstimulated endothelial cells is influenced by the basal level of protein kinase C; and (b) stimulation of protein kinase C prior to infection results in an increase of infection by HCMV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-213
Number of pages7
JournalVirus Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

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