Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the main aetiological agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome. The mechanism of pathogenicity associated with PCV2 infection is still not fully understood. Nevertheless, the fact that large amounts of proinflammatory cytokines within lymphoid tissues are released during the early stage of PCV2 infection may induce chronic inflammatory responses followed by the destruction of lymphoid tissues. However, how PCV2 infection causes an excessive inflammatory response in the host immune system during the early stage of PCV2 infection has still not been elucidated. In this study, we show that direct interaction between the PCV2 ORF3 and regulator of G protein signalling 16 (RGS16) within the cytoplasm of host cells leads to ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation of RGS16. Facilitated degradation of the RGS16 by PCV2 ORF3 further enhances NF𝛋B translocation into the nucleus through the ERK1/2 signalling pathway and increased IL-6 and IL-8 mRNA transcripts. Consequently, more severe inflammatory responses and leukocyte infiltration occur around host cells. This evidence may be the first clue explaining the molecular basis of how excessive amounts of proinflammatory cytokines within lymphoid tissues are released during the early stage of PCV2 infection.
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