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Abstract zur Publikation: Influenza virus propagation is impaired by inhibition of the Raf/MEK/ERK signalling cascade

Pleschka S, Wolff T, Ehrhardt C, Hobom G, Planz O, Rapp UR, Ludwig S (2001): Influenza virus propagation is impaired by inhibition of the Raf/MEK/ERK signalling cascade
Nature Cell Biol. 3 (3): 301-305.

Influenza A viruses are important worldwide pathogens in humans and different animal species. The functions of most of the ten different viral proteins of this negative-strand RNA virus have been well elucidated. However, little is known about the virus-induced intracellular signalling events that support viral replication. The Raf/MEK/ERK cascade is the prototype of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades and has an important role in cell growth, differentiation and survival. Investigation of the function of this pathway has been facilitated by the identification of specific inhibitors such as UO126, which blocks the cascade at the level of MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK). Here we show that infection of cells with influenza A virus leads to biphasic activation of the Raf/MEK/ERK cascade. Inhibition of Raf signalling results in nuclear retention of viral ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs), impaired function of the nuclear-export protein (NEP/NS2) and concomitant inhibition of virus production. Thus, signalling through the mitogenic cascade seems to be essential for virus production and RNP export from the nucleus during the viral life cycle.

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