Synthetic Toll-like receptor 7 ligand inhibits porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection in primary porcine alveolar macrophages

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Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), a common viral pathogen, causes huge annual economic losses to the swine industry worldwide. After triggering by specific ligands, the Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7), a type of pattern-recognition receptor (PRR), induces antiviral cytokines production. Previously, we synthesized an adenine analog, designated SZU101, a TLR7-specific ligand. In this study, we assessed the inhibitory effect of SZU101 on PRRSV infection in vitro. SZU101 significantly suppressed PRRSV infection in primary porcine alveolar macrophages (PAMs) in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, SZU101-induced inhibition involved NF-κB pathway activation in PAMs to initiate expression of TLR7-mediated cytokines and induce expression of downstream signaling IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). Chloroquine, a TLR7 inhibitor, and BAY 11-7082, an NF-κB inhibitor, reversed both the SZU101-induced antiviral effect and induction of cytokine genes and ISGs expression. Therefore, SZU101 antiviral effects depend at least in part on TLR7-NF-κB signaling pathway. Additionally, administration of SZU101 enhanced the humoral and cell-mediated immune responses against PRRSV antigens in mice. Given these results, SZU101 holds promise as an antiviral agent and a vaccine adjuvant to prevent PRRSV infection in pigs.

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