Induction of apoptosis by sindbis virus occurs at cell entry and does not require virus replication

Jia Tsrong Jan, Diane E. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Sindbis virus (SV) is an alphavirus that causes encephalitis in mice and can lead to the apoptotic death of infected cells. To determine the step in virus replication during which apoptosis is triggered, we used UV-inactivated SV, chemicals that block virus fusion or protein synthesis, and cells that do and do not express heparan sulfate, the initial binding molecule for SV infection of many cells. In initial experiments, UV-inactivated neuroadapted SV (NSV) induced apoptosis in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells lacking heparan sulfate in the presence of cycloheximide. When fusion of prebound UV- inactivated NSV was rapidly induced at the plasma membrane by exposure to acidic pH, apoptosis was induced in CHO cells with or without heparan sulfate in the presence or absence of cycloheximide in a virus dose-dependent manner. In N18 neuroblastoma cells, the relative virulence of the virus strain was an important determinant of apoptosis induced by UV-inactivated SV. Treatment of N18 cells with monensin to prevent endosomal acidification an hour before, but not 2 h after, exposure to live NSV blocked the induction of cell death, as did treatment with NH4Cl or bafilomycin A1. These studies indicate that SV can induce apoptosis at the time of fusion with the cell membrane and that virus replication is not required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10296-10302
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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