Vaccinia virus impairs directional migration and chemokine receptor switch of human dendritic cells

Jens Y. Humrich*, Peter Thumann, Sebastian Greiner, Jan H. Humrich, Marco Averbeck, Christiane Schwank, Eckhart Kämpgen, Gerold Schuler, Lars Jenne

*Corresponding author for this work
25 Citations (Scopus)


A crucial event for the induction of an anti-viral immune response is the coordinated, phelnotype-dependent migration of dendritic cells (DC) to sites of infection and secondary lymphoid organs. Here we show that the vaccinia virus (VV) strains Western Reserve (WR) and modified virus Ankara (MVA) inhibit directional migration of mature DC toward the lymphoid chemokines CCL19 and CXCL12 without affecting surface expression of the respective chemokine receptors or impairing undirected cellular locomotion. Instead, infection with VV results in a deficiency of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 and a disturbance of intracellular calcium mobilization, indicating a viral interference with signaling events downstream of the surface chemokine receptors. In immature DC, apart from inhibiting chemokine-induced migration of infected DC, infection with both VV strains increases expression of the inflammatory chemokine receptors CCR1 and CXCR1 on non-infected bystander DC, which depends on the activity of IFN-α. Although functional, these chemokine receptors are resistant to lipopolysaccharide-induced down-regulation. In addition, VV-infected and non-infected bystander DC fail to up-regulate the lymphoid chemokine receptor CCR7 upon activation, together pointing to a disability to undergo the chemokine receptor switch. This study shows that VV targets directional migration of professional antigen-presenting cells at multiple functional levels, revealing a potent viral strategy of immune escape.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)954-965
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 04.2007

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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