Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Virology


Geisel School of Medicine


Innate immune deficiencies result in a spectrum of severe clinical outcomes following infection. In particular, there is a strong association between loss of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) pathway, breach of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and virus-induced neuropathology. The gene signatures that characterize resistance, disease, and mortality in the virus-infected nervous system have not been defined. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is commonly associated with encephalitis in humans, and humans and mice lacking Stat1 display increased susceptibility to HSV central nervous system (CNS) infections. In this study, two HSV-1 strains were used, KOS (wild type [WT]), and Δvhs, an avirulent recombinant lacking the virion host shutoff (vhs) function. In addition, two mouse strains were used: strain 129 (control) and a Stat1-deficient (Stat1−/−) strain. Using combinations of these virus and mouse strains, we established a model of infection resulting in three different outcomes: viral clearance without neurological disease (Δvhs infection of control mice), neurological disease followed by viral clearance (Δvhs infection of Stat1−/− mice and WT infection of control mice), or neurological disease followed by death (WT infection of Stat1−/− mice). Through the use of functional genomics on the infected brain stems, we determined gene signatures that were representative of the three infection outcomes. We demonstrated a pathological signature in the brain stem of Stat1-deficient mice characterized by upregulation of transcripts encoding chemokine receptors, inflammatory markers, neutrophil chemoattractants, leukocyte adhesion proteins, and matrix metalloproteases. Additionally, there was a greater than 100-fold increase in the inflammatory markers interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-6. Consistent with this gene signature, we demonstrated profound CNS inflammation with a concomitant lethal breach of the BBB. Taken together, our results indicated an essential role for normal Stat1-dependent signaling in mediating a nonpathological immune response to viral CNS infection.



Original Citation

Pasieka TJ, Cilloniz C, Carter VS, Rosato P, Katze MG, Leib DA. Functional genomics reveals an essential and specific role for Stat1 in protection of the central nervous system following herpes simplex virus corneal infection. J Virol. 2011 Dec;85(24):12972-81. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06032-11. Epub 2011 Oct 12. PMID: 21994441; PMCID: PMC3233176.