Human metapneumovirus M2-2 protein inhibits innate cellular signaling by targeting MAVS

Junping Ren, Qingrong Wang, Deepthi Kolli, Deborah J. Prusak, Chien Te K. Tseng, Zhijian J. Chen, Kui Li, Thomas G. Wood, Xiaoyong Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a leading cause of respiratory infections in pediatric populations globally, with no prophylactic or therapeutic measures. Recently, a recombinant hMPV lacking the M2-2 protein (rhMPV-ΔM2-2) demonstrated reduced replication in the respiratory tract of animal models, making it a promising live vaccine candidate. However, the exact nature of the interaction between the M2-2 protein and host cells that regulates viral infection/propagation is largely unknown. By taking advantage of the available reverse genetics system and ectopic expression system for viral protein, we found that M2-2 not only promotes viral gene transcription and replication but subverts host innate immunity, therefore identifying M2-2 as a novel virulence factor, in addition to the previously described hMPV G protein. Since we have shown that the RIG-I/MAVS pathway plays an important role in hMPV-induced signaling in airway epithelial cells, we investigated whether M2-2 antagonizes the host cellular responses by targeting this pathway. Reporter gene assays and coimmunoprecipitation studies indicated that M2-2 targets MAVS, an inhibitory mechanism different from what we previously reported for hMPV G, which affects RIG-I- but not MAVSdependent gene transcription. In addition, we found that the domains of M2-2 responsible for the regulation of viral gene transcription and antiviral signaling are different. Our findings collectively demonstrate that M2-2 contributes to hMPV immune evasion through the inhibition of MAVS-dependent cellular responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13049-13061
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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