Apoptosis is essential in many physiological processes including wound healing and development of the immune response. Apoptosis also plays an important role in the pathogenesis of many infectious diseases including those caused by viruses. Influenza viruses induce apoptosis in cells that are permissive for viral replication and cells that do not support viral replication. The cellular pathways involved in influenza virus induced apoptosis are currently ill defined. Previous studies suggest that influenza virus infection increased the expression of the Fas antigen in HeLa cells, and that Fas antigen is partially involved in apoptosis. In these studies we examined the cellular pathways involved in avian influenza virus induced apoptosis in two cell lines that support productive viral replication: Madin–Darby canine kidney cells (MDCK) and mink lung epithelial (Mv1Lu) cells.
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