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Homozygous IKKepsilon knockout mouse as an animal model for influenza virus infection

Homozygous IKKepsilon (inhibitor of kappaB kinase epsilon) mutant mice are used as animal models for influenza virus infection. Homozygous deletion results in a complete loss of the endogenous kinase function in lung, spleen, and embryonic fibroblasts. These mice have increased susceptibility to viral infection due to defective interferon (IFN) signaling. These mice had an elevated viral load when compared to their control littermates. 7 days post infection, the lungs of the mutant mice display inflammatory infiltrate consisting of lymphocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils. The display of hypophosphorylated STAT1 protein was prevented. These IKKepsilon mutant mice may be useful in immunological studies involving IFN signaling and host responses to infection.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending

Applications

The immune response to virus infection is a complex orchestration of both innate and adaptive immune events. Infected cells respond by initiating antiviral defenses on two levels: recruitment of specialized immune cells and establishment of a hostile cellular environment to slow virus replication and reduce viral load. The identification of genes that control viral replication at the site of infection and viral load may provide useful therapeutic targets for treating viral infections. Further, there remains an unmet medical need for new and effective therapeutic agents to treat viral infections.

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