Regulation of type I-interferon responses in the human epidermal melanocyte cell line SKMEL infected by the Ross River alphavirus

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Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells and with emerging innate immune functions including the expression of antiviral interferon-type I cytokines. We herein ascertained the susceptibility of the human melanocytes to Ross River alphavirus (RRV) infection and analyzed the subsequent immune responses. We demonstrated for the first time that (1) SKMEL-28 melanocyte cell line was susceptible to RRV infection and displaying major cytopathic activities and (2) RRV interfered with the interferon-type I response by altering nuclear translocation of pSTAT1 and pSTAT2 in infected SKMEL-28. These results suggest that the human melanoma cell line SKMEL-28 is a valuable model to analyze the mechanisms involved in severe skin manifestations and melanocyte’s immunity at the portal of entry of major infection by arboviruses.

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