Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of acute respiratory disease in infants, immunocompromised subjects and the elderly. However, it is unclear why most primary RSV infections are associated with relatively mild symptoms, whereas some result in severe lower respiratory tract infections and bronchiolitis. Since RSV hospitalization has been associated with respiratory bacterial co-infections, we have tested if bacterial Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists influence RSVA2- GFP infection in human primary cells or cell lines. The synthetic bacterial lipopeptide Pam3-Cys-Ser-Lys4 (Pam3CSK4), the prototype ligand for the heterodimeric TLR1/TLR2 complex, enhanced RSV infection in primary epithelial, myeloid and lymphoid cells. Surprisingly, enhancement was optimal when lipopeptides and virus were added simultaneously, whereas addition of Pam3CSK4 immediately after infection had no effect. We have identified two structurally related lipopeptides without TLR-signaling capacity that also modulate RSV infection, whereas Pam3CSK4-reminiscent TLR1/2 agonists did not, and conclude that modulation of infection is independent of TLR activation. A similar TLR-independent enhancement of infection could also be demonstrated for wild-type RSV strains, and for HIV-1, measles virus and human metapneumovirus. We show that the effect of Pam3CSK4 is primarily mediated by enhanced binding of RSV to its target cells. The Npalmitoylated cysteine and the cationic lysines were identified as pivotal for enhanced virus binding. Surprisingly, we observed inhibition of RSV infection in immortalized epithelial cell lines, which was shown to be related to interactions between Pam3CSK4 and negatively charged glycosaminoglycans on these cells, which are known targets for binding of laboratory-adapted but not wild-type RSV. These data suggest a potential role for bacterial lipopeptides in enhanced binding of RSV and other viruses to their target cells, thus affecting viral entry or spread independent of TLR signaling. Moreover, our results also suggest a potential application for these synthetic lipopeptides as adjuvants for live-attenuated viral vaccines.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Human immunodeficiency virus 1, Human metapneumovirus, Measles virus, article, bone marrow cell, cell line, cysteine, epithelium cell, glycosaminoglycan, lipopeptide, lymphoid cell, lysine, nonhuman, palmitoylation, protein pam 3 csk 4, protein structure, respiratory syncytial virus infection, signal transduction, toll like receptor, unclassified drug, virus attachment
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1001049, hdl.handle.net/1765/22177
Citation
Nguyen, D.T, de Witte, L, Ludlow, M, Yüksel, S, Wiesmüller, K.H, Geijtenbeek, T.B.H, … de Swart, R.L. (2010). The synthetic bacterial lipopeptide Pam3CSK4 modulates respiratory syncytial virus infection independent of TLR activation. PLoS Pathogens, 6(8), 43–44. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001049