p-STAT1 regulates the influenza A virus replication and inflammatory response in vitro and vivo

nfluenza A virus infection activates various intracellular signaling pathways, which is mediated by the transcription factors. Here, a quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis of A549?cells after infection with influenza A virus (H5N1) was performed and we found that the transcription factor STAT1 was highly activated. Unexpectedly, upon inhibition of p-STAT1, titers of progeny virus and viral protein synthesis were both reduced. The STAT1 inhibitor Fludarabine (FLUD) inhibited an early progeny step in viral infection and reduced the levels of influenza virus genomic RNA (vRNA). Concomitantly, there was reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines in p-STAT1 inhibited cells. In vivo, suppression of p-STAT1 improved the survival of H5N1 virus-infected mice, reduced the pulmonary inflammatory response and viral burden. Thus, our data demonstrated a critical role for p-STAT1 in influenza virus replication and inflammatory responses. We speculate that STAT1 is an example of a putative antiviral signaling component to support effective replication.