The mechanisms of Usutu virus (USUV) pathogenesis are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity of USUV to interferon (IFN) and the capacity of USUV to stimulate IFN production. Initial experiments were conducted to characterize the susceptibility of human cell lines to USUV infection and to evaluate the single-growth cycle replication curve of USUV. Results indicate that USUV is able to infect a variety of human cell lines, completing the replication cycle in Hep-2 and Vero cells within 48 h. Pre-treatment of cells with types I and III IFNs significantly inhibited the replication of USUV. However, the inhibitory effects of IFNs were considerably less if IFN was added after viral infection had been initiated. Also, USUV weakly induced types I and III IFNs.
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