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Host gene expression profiling in influenza A virus-infected lung epithelial (A549) cells: a comparative analysis between highly pathogenic and modified H5N1 viruses

Alok K Chakrabarti*, Veena C Vipat, Sanjay Mukherjee, Rashmi Singh, Shailesh D Pawar and Akhilesh C Mishra

Author Affiliations

Microbial Containment Complex, National Institute of Virology, Sus Road, Pashan, Pune - 411021 India

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Virology Journal 2010, 7:219  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-219

Published: 9 September 2010



To understand the molecular mechanism of host responses to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus infection and to get an insight into the means through which virus overcomes host defense mechanism, we studied global gene expression response of human lung carcinoma cells (A549) at early and late stages of infection with highly pathogenic avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus and compared it with a reverse genetics modified recombinant A (H5N1) vaccine virus using microarray platform.


The response was studied at time points 4, 8, 16 and 24 hours post infection (hpi). Gene ontology analysis revealed that the genes affected by both the viruses were qualitatively similar but quantitatively different. Significant differences were observed in the expression of genes involved in apoptosis and immune responses, specifically at 16 hpi.


We conclude that subtle differences in the ability to induce specific host responses like apoptotic mechanism and immune responses make the highly pathogenic viruses more virulent.