Open Access Research

Biphasic activation of PI3K/Akt and MAPK/Erk1/2 signaling pathways in bovine herpesvirus type 1 infection of MDBK cells

Liqian Zhu1, Xiuyan Ding2, Xiaofang Zhu3, Songshu Meng4, Jianye Wang1, Hong Zhou1, Qiangde Duan1, Jie Tao1, Dieter M Schifferli5 and Guoqiang Zhu1*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China

2 College of Life Science, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China

3 Department of dermatology of Clinical medical school, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China

4 College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China

5 Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, 19104, USA

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Veterinary Research 2011, 42:57  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-57

Published: 14 April 2011


Many viruses have been known to control key cellular signaling pathways to facilitate the virus infection. The possible involvement of signaling pathways in bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) infection is unknown. This study indicated that infection of MDBK cells with BoHV-1 induced an early-stage transient and a late-stage sustained activation of both phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and mitogen activated protein kinases/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (MAPK/Erk1/2) signaling pathways. Analysis with the stimulation of UV-irradiated virus indicated that the virus binding and/or entry process was enough to trigger the early phase activations, while the late phase activations were viral protein expression dependent. Biphasic activation of both pathways was suppressed by the selective inhibitor, Ly294002 for PI3K and U0126 for MAPK kinase (MEK1/2), respectively. Furthermore, treatment of MDBK cells with Ly294002 caused a 1.5-log reduction in virus titer, while U0126 had little effect on the virus production. In addition, the inhibition effect of Ly294002 mainly occurred at the post-entry stage of the virus replication cycle. This revealed for the first time that BoHV-1 actively induced both PI3K/Akt and MAPK/Erk1/2 signaling pathways, and the activation of PI3K was important for fully efficient replication, especially for the post-entry stage.