Rabies virus infection in mice up-regulates B7-H1 via epigenetic modifications


Rabies virus infection is an endemic disease which remains central to public health issues. The presence of epigenetics associated with the over-expression of B7-H1 in mice brain infected with rabies virus was investigated for the first time. A significant increase (p < 0.05) in mRNA level of B7-H1 as the disease progressed was observed. The percentage of methylated region was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in infected tissues relative to uninfected. DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) and histone acetylase (HAT) activities were also significantly (p < 0.05) higher in most infected brain tissues. HAT had a relatively higher proportion than DNMT when compared to the normal. Paradoxically, it can be inferred that the rabies virus uses epigenetic mechanisms as a means of manipulating host genes, as there was an increase in global DNMT and HAT activities with concomitant increase in B7-H1 promoter methylation and expression.

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We wish to thank and appreciate Africa Center of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, (ACENTDFB) Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria for funding this important project. We also wish to acknowledge Dr. David Dantong of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Abuja, Nigeria for the help he has rendered in getting us CVS and SRV strains of the rabies virus used in this study.

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Conception: AM, CEO and GSNK; Design: AM, CEO, MMA and GSNK; Execution: CEO, AM, JCA; Interpretation: AM, CEO, GSNK, JKPK; Writing and Proof reading: CEO, AM, GSNK, MMA, AM, JCA, JKPK.

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Correspondence to Aliyu Muhammad.

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Animal housing and experimental protocols were performed according to the guidelines of the Nigerian council on Animal Care with the approval of the Ahmadu Bello University animal care committee.

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Ojedapo, C.E., Muhammad, A., Kia, G.S.N. et al. Rabies virus infection in mice up-regulates B7-H1 via epigenetic modifications. VirusDis. 31, 388–394 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13337-020-00588-w

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  • Rabies virus infection
  • B7-H1
  • Promoter region
  • DNA methylation
  • Histone acetylation