Foot-and-mouth disease virus exhibits an altered tropism in the presence of specific immunoglobulins, enabling productive infection and killing of dendritic cells

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes an acute vesicular disease of farm animals. The development of successful control strategies is limited by an incomplete understanding of the immune response to FMDV. Dendritic cells (DC) mediate the induction of immunity to pathogens, but their role in FMDV infection of cattle is uncharacterized. Bovine monocyte-derived DC (moDC) were exposed to integrin-binding and cell culture-adapted strains of FMDV in vitro. MoDC were not largely susceptible to infection by integrin-binding FMDV but were susceptible to culture-adapted virus. Binding specific antibodies to integrin-binding FMDV at neutralizing or subneutralizing IgG concentrations significantly enhanced infection via CD32 (Fc?R). Monocytes also expressed CD32 but were nonsusceptible to FMDV immune complex (IC) infection, indicating a requirement for additional factors involved in cellular susceptibility. Infection of moDC by the FMDV IC was productive and associated with high levels of cell death. Infected moDC were unable to efficiently stimulate FMDV-specific CD4+ memory T cells, but exposing moDC to IC containing inactivated FMDV resulted in significantly increased T cell stimulation. Thus, neutralized FMDV concurrently loses its ability to infect susceptible cells while gaining the capacity to infect immune cells. This represents a change in the tropism of FMDV that could occur after the onset of the antibody response. We propose that IC could dynamically influence the anti-FMDV immune response and that this may explain why the early immune response to FMDV has evolved toward T cell independence in vivo. Moreover, we propose that DC targeting could prove useful in the development of effective vaccines against FMDV.

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