Interferon-induced rat mx proteins confer resistance to rift valley fever virus and other arthropod-borne viruses

M. Sandrock, M. Frese, O. Haller, G. Kochs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Mx proteins belong to the interferon (IFN)-induced antiviral defense. The rat genome contains threeMx genes, ratMx1, ratMx2, and ratMx3. The Mx gene products differ in their subcellular localization and antiviral specificity. The nuclear ratMx1 protein confers resistance to influenza A virus, and the cytoplasmic ratMx2 is active against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), whereas the cytoplasmic ratMx3 protein is antivirally inactive. To investigate the antiviral potential of the rat Mx proteins against arboviruses, a phylogenetically diverse group of viruses that frequently infect rodents, we studied the replication of LaCrosse virus (LACV). Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) (both family Bunyaviridae), and Thogoto virus (THOV) (family Orthomyxoviridae). To that end, we used transfected Vero cells constitutively expressing one of the rat Mx proteins. We observed that the antiviral activity of rat Mx proteins against these arboviruses correlates with their intracellular localization: ratMx1 is active against THOV, which replicates in the nucleus, whereas ratMx2 inhibits bunya-viruses that replicate in the cytoplasm. The results indicate that rats have evolved two Mx proteins to efficiently control viruses with different replication strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-668
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes


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