Influenza virus-infected cells are induced to undergo apoptosis and become susceptible to phagocytosis. Data from our in vitro and in vivo experiments have suggested that 1) alveolar macrophages and neutrophils phagocytose influenza virus-infected cells in an apoptosis-dependent manner; 2) the membrane phospholipid phosphatidylserine and viral neuraminidase-processed carbohydrates at the surface of target cells and phagocytes, respectively, are involved in the association of the two types of cells; and 3) phagocytic elimination of virus-infected cells leads to a reduction in the pathogenesis of influenza. These findings could lead to the development of a novel antiviral agent against influenza.
Keywords: Apoptosis, influenza virus, innate immunity, macrophages, neutrophils, phagocytosis, phosphatidylserine
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