Abstract Viral infections usually result in alterations in the host cell proteome, which determine the fate of infected cells and the progress of pathogenesis. To uncover cellular protein responses in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), infected pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) and Marc-145 cells were subjected to proteomic analysis involving two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) followed by MALDI-TOF-MS/MS identification. Altered expression of 44 protein spots in infected cells was identified in 2D gels, of which the 29 characterised by MALDI-TOF-MS/MS included 17 up-regulated and 12 down-regulated proteins. Some of these proteins were further confirmed at the mRNA level using real-time RT-PCR. Moreover, Western blot analysis confirmed the up-regulation of HSP27, vimentin and the down-regulation of galectin-1. Our study is the first attempt to analyze the cellular protein profile of PRRSV-infected Marc-145 cells using proteomics to provide valuable information about the effects of PRRSV-induced alterations on Marc-145 cell function. Further study of the affected proteins may facilitate our understanding of the mechanisms of PRRSV infection and pathogenesis.