Human cytomegalovirus utilizes a nontraditional signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 activation cascade via signaling through epidermal growth factor receptor and integrins to efficiently promote the motility, differentiation, and polarization of infected monocytes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • LSU Health Sciences Center - Shreveport
  • Seoul National University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00622-17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number24
StatusPublished - Dec 1 2017


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infects peripheral blood monocytes and triggers biological changes that promote viral dissemination and persistence. We have shown that HCMV induces a proinflammatory state in infected monocytes, resulting in enhanced monocyte motility and transendothelial migration, prolonged monocyte survival, and differentiation toward a long-lived M1-like macrophage phenotype. Our data indicate that HCMV triggers these changes, in the absence of de novo viral gene expression and replication, through engagement and activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and integrins on the surface of monocytes. We previously identified that HCMV induces the upregulation of multiple proinflammatory gene ontologies, with the interferon-associated gene ontology exhibiting the highest percentage of upregulated genes. However, the function of the HCMVinduced interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes (ISGs) in infected monocytes remained unclear. We now show that HCMV induces the enhanced expression and activation of a key ISG transcriptional regulator, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT1), via an IFN-independent but EGFR- and integrin-dependent signaling pathway. Furthermore, we identified a biphasic activation of STAT1 that likely promotes two distinct phases of STAT1-mediated transcriptional activity. Moreover, our data show that STAT1 is required for efficient early HCMV-induced enhanced monocyte motility and later for HCMV-induced monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation and for the regulation of macrophage polarization, suggesting that STAT1 may serve as a molecular convergence point linking the biological changes that occur at early and later times postinfection. Taken together, our results suggest that HCMV reroutes the biphasic activation of a traditionally antiviral gene product through an EGFRand integrin-dependent pathway in order to help promote the proviral activation and polarization of infected monocytes.

    Research areas

  • HCMV, Macrophages, Monocytes, Receptor-ligand, STAT1