Principles of Effective and Robust Innate Immune Response to Viral Infections: A Multiplex Network Analysis
Journal Article - Open Access
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV AT RALEIGH RALEIGH United States
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The human innate immune response, particularly the type-I interferon IFN response, is highly robust and effective first line of defense against virus invasion. IFN molecules are produced and secreted from infected cells upon virus infection and recognition. They then act as signalingcommunication molecules to activate an antiviral response in neighboring cells so that those cells become refractory to infection. Previous experimental studies have identified the detailed molecular mechanisms for the IFN signaling and response. However, the principles underlying how host cells use IFN to communicate with each other to collectively and robustly halt an infection is not understood. Here we take a multiplex network modeling approach to provide a theoretical framework to identify key factors that determine the effectiveness of the IFN response against virus infection of a host. In this approach, we consider the virus spread among host cells and the interferon signaling to protect host cells as a competition process on a two-layer multiplex network. We focused on two types of network topology, i.e., the Erdos-Renyi ER network and the Geometric Random GR network, which represent the scenarios when infection of cells is mostly well mixed e.g., in the blood and when infection is spatially segregated e.g., in tissues, respectively. We show that in general, the IFN response works effectively to stop viral infection when virus infection spreads spatially a most likely scenario for initial virus infection of a host at the peripheral tissue. Importantly, we show that the effectiveness of the IFN response is robust against large variations in the distance of IFN diffusion as long as IFNs diffuse faster than viruses and they can effectively induce antiviral responses in susceptible host cells. This suggests that the effectiveness of the IFN response is insensitive to the specific arrangement of host cells in peripheral tissues.