The double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase R (PKR) is a Type I interferon (IFN) stimulated gene that has important biological and immunological functions. In viral infections, in general, PKR inhibits or promotes viral replication, but PKR-IPNV interaction has not been previously studied. We investigated the involvement of PKR during infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) infection using a custom-made rabbit antiserum and the PKR inhibitor C16. Reactivity of the antiserum to PKR in CHSE-214 cells was confirmed after IFNα treatment giving an increased protein level. IPNV infection alone did not give increased PKR levels by Western blot, while pre-treatment with PKR inhibitor before IPNV infection gave decreased eukaryotic initiation factor 2-alpha (eIF2α) phosphorylation. This suggests that PKR, despite not being upregulated, is involved in eIF2α phosphorylation during IPNV infection. PKR inhibitor pre-treatment resulted in decreased virus titers, extra- and intracellularly, concomitant with reduction of cells with compromised membranes in IPNV-permissive cell lines. These findings suggest that IPNV uses PKR activation to promote virus replication in infected cells.
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