• Transcriptomic analysis reveals a mechanism for a prefibrotic phenotype in STAT1 knockout mice during severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection

      Zornetzer, G.A.; Frieman, M.B.; Rosenzweig, E. (American Society for Microbiology, 2010)
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection can cause the development of severe end-stage lung disease characterized by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pulmonary fibrosis. The mechanisms by which pulmonary lesions and fibrosis are generated during SARS-CoV infection are not known. Using high-throughput mRNA profiling, we examined the transcriptional response of wild-type (WT), type I interferon receptor knockout (IFNAR1-/-), and STAT1 knockout (STAT1-/-) mice infected with a recombinant mouse-adapted SARS-CoV (rMA15) to better understand the contribution of specific gene expression changes to disease progression. Despite a deletion of the type I interferon receptor, strong expression of interferon-stimulated genes was observed in the lungs of IFNAR1-/- mice, contributing to clearance of the virus. In contrast, STAT1-/- mice exhibited a defect in the expression of interferon-stimulated genes and were unable to clear the infection, resulting in a lethal outcome. STAT1 -/- mice exhibited dysregulation of T-cell and macrophage differentiation, leading to a TH2-biased immune response and the development of alternatively activated macrophages that mediate a profibrotic environment within the lung. We propose that a combination of impaired viral clearance and T-cell/macrophage dysregulation causes the formation of prefibrotic lesions in the lungs of rMA15-infected STAT1-/- mice.