Inhibitor of NFκB α is a host sensor of coxsackievirus infection

Marta Saura, Tania R. Lizarbe, Concepción Rama-Pacheco, Charles J. Lowenstein, Carlos Zaragoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Apoptosis is a host response to viral infection: programmed cell death can limit viral replication. Therefore, the knowledge of pathways by which cells detect viral infection and activate apoptosis may be of considerable interest when developing strategies against viral pathogens. We have shown that cells activate apoptosis in response to Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) infection. In an effort to discover how cells detect viral infections, we found that the viral protease 3Cpro cleaves IκBα. Truncated IκBα forms a stable complex with NFκB, translocates to the nucleus and inhibits NFκB transactivation, increasing apoptosis and decreasing viral replication. In contrast, cells in which IκBα expression is reduced are more susceptible to viral infection, showing less apoptosis and more viral replication. IκBα thus acts as a sensor of viral infection. Cleavage of host proteins by pathogen proteases is a novel mechanism by which the host recognizes and responds to viral infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-506
Number of pages4
JournalCell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • 3C protease
  • Apoptosis
  • Coxsackievirus
  • I-κB
  • NF-κB
  • Picornavirus
  • Viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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