Quantitative proteomic approach identifies Vpr binding protein as novel host factor supporting influenza A virus infections in human cells


  • A. Sadewasser
  • K. Paki
  • K. Eichelbaum
  • B. Bogdanow
  • S. Saenger
  • M. Budt
  • M. Lesch
  • K.P. Hinz
  • A. Herrmann
  • T.F. Meyer
  • A. Karlas
  • M. Selbach
  • T. Wolff


  • Molecular & Cellular Proteomics


  • Mol Cell Proteomics 16 (5): 728-742


  • Influenza A virus infections are a major cause for respiratory disease in humans, which affects all age groups and contributes substantially to global morbidity and mortality. IAV have a large natural host reservoir in avian species. However, many avian IAV strains lack adaptation to other hosts and hardly propagate in humans. While seasonal or pandemic influenza A virus (IAV) strains replicate efficiently in permissive human cells, many avian IAV cause abortive non-productive infections in these hosts despite successful cell entry. However, the precise reasons for these differential outcomes are poorly defined. We hypothesized that the distinct course of an IAV infection with a given virus strain is determined by the differential interplay between specific host and viral factors. By using Spike-in SILAC mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics we characterized sets of cellular factors whose abundance is specifically up- or down-regulated in the course of permissive vs. non-permissive IAV infection, respectively. This approach allowed for the definition and quantitative comparison of about 3500 proteins in human lung epithelial cells in response to seasonal or low-pathogenic avian H3N2 IAV. Many identified proteins were similarly regulated by both virus strains, but also 16 candidates with distinct changes in permissive vs. non-permissive infection were found. RNAi-mediated knockdown of these differentially regulated host factors identified Vpr binding protein (VprBP) as pro-viral host factor since its down-regulation inhibited efficient propagation of seasonal IAV while over-expression increased viral replication of both seasonal and avian IAV. These results not only show that there are similar differences in the overall changes during permissive and non-permissive imfluenza virus infections, but also provide a basis to evaluate VprBP as novel anti-IAV drug target.