The prevalence of avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is still one of causes inducing severe losses of production in the poultry industry worldwide. Vaccination does not completely prevent IBV infection and spread due to immune failure and viral mutations. ForsythiaeFructus and its compounds have been widely used in a lot of prescriptions of the traditional Chinese medicine for a long history, and it is well-known as safety and efficiency in heat-clearing and detoxifying. This study aims to investigate the anti-IBV activity and mechanism of phillygenin. The results showed that phillygenin inhibited IBV replication by disturbing multiple stages of the virus life cycle, including viral adsorption, invasion, internalization, and release in Vero cells. After being treated with 100, 125 and 150 μg/mL phillygenin, the expression of G3BP1 was significantly increased and the phosphorylation of PKR/eIF2α was activated, which increased stress granule, thereby triggering the antiviral response in Vero cells. The anti-virus activity of PHI was decreased when G3BP1 was interfered by si-RNA, and G3BP1 was down-regulated when PKR/eIF2α was interfered by si-RNA. In conclusion, our findings indicate that phillygenin activates PKR/eIF2α pathway and induces stress granule formation to exert anti-IBV, which holds promise to develop into a novel anti-IBV drug. Further study in vivo is needed to explore phillygenin as a potential and effective drug to prevent IB in poultry.
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