Measles virus (MV), a human pathogen, uses the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) or CD46 as an entry receptor. Although several transgenic mice expressing these receptors have been generated as small animal models for measles, these mice usually have to be made defective in IFN-α/β signaling to facilitate MV replication. Similarly, when functional receptors are expressed by transfection, mouse cells do not allow MV growth as efficiently as primate cells. In this study, we demonstrate that MV efficiently grows in SLAM-expressing mouse cells in which the Sendai virus (SeV) C protein is transiently expressed. We developed a SLAM-expressing mouse cell line whose genome also encodes the SeV C protein downstream of the sequence flanked with loxP sequences. When this cell line was infected with the recombinant MV expressing the Cre recombinase, the SeV C protein was readily expressed. Importantly, the Cre recombinase-encoding MV grew in this cell line much more efficiently than it did in the parental cell. The minigenome assay demonstrated that the SeV C protein does not modulate MV RNA synthesis. Analyses using the mutant proteins with the defined functional defects revealed that the IFN-antagonist function, but not the budding-accelerating function, of the SeV C protein was critical for supporting efficient MV growth in mouse cells. Our results indicate that insufficient IFN antagonism can be an important determinant of the host range of viruses, and the system described here may be useful to overcome the species barrier of other human viruses
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