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Suppression of Steady-state, but not Stimulus-induced NF-κB Activity Inhibits Alphavirus-induced Apoptosis


Recent studies have established cell type- specific, proapoptotic, or antiapoptotic functions for the transcription factor NF-kappaB. In each of these studies, inhibitors of NF-kappaB activity have been present before the apoptotic stimulus, and so the role of stimulus- induced NF-kappaB activation in enhancing or inhibiting survival could not be directly assessed. Sindbis virus, an alphavirus, induces NF-kappaB activation and apoptosis in cultured cell lines. To address whether Sindbis virus- induced NF-kappaB activation is required for apoptosis, we used a chimeric Sindbis virus that expresses a superrepressor of NF-kappaB activity. Complete suppression of virus-induced NF-kappaB activity neither prevents nor potentiates Sindbis virus-induced apoptosis. In contrast, inhibition of NF-kappaB activity before infection inhibits Sindbis virus-induced apoptosis. Our results demonstrate that suppression of steady-state, but not stimulus-induced NF-kappaB activity, regulates expression of gene products required for Sindbis virus-induced death. Furthermore, we show that in the same cell line, NF-kappaB can be proapoptotic or antiapoptotic depending on the death stimulus. We propose that the role of NF-kappaB in regulating apoptosis is determined by the death stimulus and by the timing of modulating NF-kappaB activity relative to the death stimulus.

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