Respiratory virus infections are among the primary causes of morbidity and mortality in humans. Influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza (PIV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) are major causes of respiratory illness in humans. Especially young children and the elderly are susceptible to infections with these viruses. In this study we aim to gain detailed insight into the molecular pathogenesis of respiratory virus infections by studying the protein expression profiles of infected lung epithelial cells. A549 cells were exposed to a set of respiratory viruses [RSV, hMPV, Ply and Measles virus (MV)] using both live and UV-inactivated virus preparations. Cells were harvested at different time points after infection and processed for proteomics analysis by 2-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis. Samples derived from infected cells were compared to mock-infected cells to identify proteins that are differentially expressed due to infection. We show that RSV, hMPV, PIV3, and MV induced similar core host responses and that mainly proteins involved in defense against ER stress and apoptosis were affected which points towards an induction of apoptosis upon infection. By 2-D DIGE analyses we have gathered information on the induction of apoptosis by respiratory viruses in A549 cells. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.