Novel roles of focal adhesion kinase in cytoplasmic entry and replication of influenza A viruses

Elbahesh H, Cline T, Baranovich T, Govorkova EA, Schultz-Cherry S, Russell CJ
Source: J Virol
Publication Date: (2014)
Issue: 88(12): 6714-28
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Epithelial, bronchial (NHBE), human
Species: human
Tissue Origin: lung
Viruses modulate cellular signaling pathways at almost every step of the infection cycle. Cellular signaling pathways activated at later times of influenza infection have previously been investigated; however, early influenza virus-host cell interactions remain understudied. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase that regulates phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activation and actin reorganization, two critical processes during influenza A virus (IAV) infection in most cell types. Using 6 influenza A virus strains (A/Puerto Rico/8/1934, A/Aichi/2/1968 × A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 reassortant [X-31], A/California/04/2009, mouse-adapted A/California/04/2009, A/WSN/1933, and A/New Caledonia/20/1999), we examined the role of FAK during IAV entry. We found that influenza virus attachment induced PI3K-dependent FAK-Y397 phosphorylation. Pharmacological FAK inhibition or expression of a kinase-dead mutant of FAK led to disruption of the actin meshwork that resulted in sequestration of IAV at the cell periphery and reduced virion localization to early endosomes. Additionally, FAK inhibition impeded viral RNA replication at later times of infection and ultimately resulted in significantly reduced viral titers in both A549 and differentiated normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells. Although not all tested strains activated FAK, all of them exhibited a reduction in viral replication in response to inhibition of FAK signaling. These findings highlight novel biphasic roles of FAK activation during IAV infection and indicate that FAK serves as a central link between receptor-mediated PI3K activation and actin reorganization during IAV infection. IMPORTANCE: We found that FAK links early activation of PI3K and actin reorganization, thereby regulating influenza virus entry. Surprisingly, we also found that FAK can regulate viral RNA replication independently of its role in entry. Our study addresses a knowledge gap in the understanding of signaling events triggered by influenza virus that mediate its internalization and initiation of the infection cycle. Understanding of these fundamental molecular events will be necessary to identify novel host targets, such as FAK, and development of future anti-influenza virus therapeutics.