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    Virology Journal - Latest Articles

  • Formononetin inhibits enterovirus 71 replication by regulating COX- 2/PGE 2 expression

  • Background: The activation of ERK, p38 and JNK signal cascade in host cells has been demonstrated to up-regulate of enterovirus 71 (EV71)-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)/ prostaglandins E2 (PGE2) expression which is essential for viral replication. So, we want to know whether a compound can inhibit EV71 infection by suppressing COX-2/PGE2 expression. Methods: The antiviral effect of formononetin was determined by cytopathic effect (CPE) assay and the time course assays. The influence of formononetin for EV71 replication was determined by immunofluorescence assay, western blotting assay and qRT-PCR assay. The mechanism of the antiviral activity of formononetin was determined by western blotting assay and ELISA assay. Results: Formononetin could reduce EV71 RNA and protein synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. The time course assays showed that formononetin displayed significant antiviral activity both before (24 or 12 h) and after (0–6 h) EV71 inoculation in SK-N-SH cells. Formononetin was also able to prevent EV71-induced cytopathic effect (CPE) and suppress the activation of ERK, p38 and JNK signal pathways. Furthermore, formononetin could suppress the EV71-induced COX-2/PGE2 expression. Also, formononetin exhibited similar antiviral activities against other members of Picornaviridae including coxsackievirus B2 (CVB2), coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) and coxsackievirus B6 (CVB6). Conclusions: Formononetin could inhibit EV71-induced COX-2 expression and PGE2 production via MAPKs pathway including ERK, p38 and JNK. Formononetin exhibited antiviral activities against some members of Picornaviridae. These findings suggest that formononetin could be a potential lead or supplement for the development of new anti-EV71 agents in the future.

  • Avian influenza H9N2 seroprevalence among pig population and pig farm staff in Shandong, China

  • Background: Shandong province of China has a large number of pig farms with the semi-enclosed houses, allowing crowds of wild birds to seek food in the pig houses. As the carriers of avian influenza virus (AIV), these wild birds can easily pass the viruses to the pigs and even the occupational swine-exposed workers. However, thus far, serological investigation concerning H9N2 AIV in pig population and pig farm staff in Shandong are sparse. Methods: To better understand the prevalence of H9N2 AIV in pig population and pig farm staff in Shandong, the serum samples of pigs and occupational pig-exposed workers were collected and tested for the antibodies for H9N2 AIV by both hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and micro-neutralization (MN) assays. Results: When using the antibody titers≥40 as cut-off value, 106 (HI: 106/2176, 4.87%) and 84 (MN: 84/2176, 3.86%) serum samples of pigs were tested positive, respectively; 6 (HI: 6/287, 2.09%) and 4 (MN: 4/287, 1.39%) serum samples of the pig farm staff were positive, respectively; however, serum samples from the control humans were tested negative in both HI and MN assays. Conclusions: These findings revealed that there were H9N2 AIV infections in pig population and pig farm staff in Shandong, China. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to conduct the long-term surveillance of AIV in pig population and the pig farm staff.

  • Association between TNFAIP3 nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2230926 and chronic hepatitis B virus infection in a Chinese Han population

  • Background: Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in tumor necrosis factor alpha-inducible protein 3 (TNFAIP3) gene have been linked to inflammatory, immunological and malignant diseases. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is characterized by immunopathogenesis. This study investigated the association of rs2230926, a nonsynonymous SNP in TNFAIP3 gene, with chronic HBV infection. Methods: Four hundred and fifty-five patients with chronic HBV infection with clinical diseases of chronic hepatitis (n = 183), liver cirrhosis (n = 167) and hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 105), 92 HBV infection resolvers and 171 healthy controls were included. All subjects were of Chinese Han ethnicity. Genotyping of rs2230926 was carried out by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Results: The gender and age between HBV patients, HBV infection resolvers and healthy controls had no statistical difference. The genotypes of rs2230926 in HBV patients, HBV infection resolvers and healthy controls are in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The genotype and allele frequencies of TNFAIP3 rs2230926 polymorphism between HBV patients, HBV infection resolvers and healthy controls had no significant difference. The genotype and allele frequencies of TNFAIP3 rs2230926 polymorphism between HBV patients with chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma also showed no significant difference. Conclusions: The TNFAIP3 rs2230926 polymorphism is not suggested to be associated with the susceptibility of chronic HBV infection or the progression of HBV-related diseases in this study. Replicative studies and studies in large control and HBV patient populations of different ethnicity by genotyping more polymorphisms in TNFAIP3 gene are needed.

  • Constant up-regulation of BiP/GRP78 expression prevents virus-induced apoptosis in BHK-21 cells with Japanese encephalitis virus persistent infection

  • Background: Persistent infection of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) has been reported in clinical cases, experimental animals, and various cell culture systems. We previously reported the establishment of spontaneous JEV persistent infection, assisted by defective interfering particle accumulation and/or attenuated helper viruses, in BHK-21 cells devoid of virus-induced apoptosis, cBS6-2 and cBS6-3. However, cell-specific factors may play important roles in controlling JEV replication and have never been assessed for this specific phenomenon. Recent evidence suggests that viruses have evolved various mechanisms to cope with endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling pathways for their efficient amplification and transmission, including the unfolded protein response (UPR). Results: To identify the host cell factors that affect JEV persistence, we investigated the expression of essential UPR factors in cBS6-2 and cBS6-3 cells. Of the selected UPR factors tested, the most noticeable deviations from those of the normal BHK-21 cells with JEV acute infection were as follows: the suppression of C/EBP homologous binding protein (CHOP) and the constant up-regulation of immunoglobulin binding protein (BiP) expression in cBS6-2 and cBS6-3 cells. In JEV acute infection on normal BHK-21 cells, silencing CHOP expression through specific siRNA blocked cell death almost completely. Meanwhile, depletion of BiP by specific siRNA unlocked CHOP expression in cBS6-2 and cBS6-3 cells, resulting in massive cell death. Fulminant apoptotic cell death for both cell clones on tunicamycin treatment revealed that the JEV persistently infected cells still contained functional arms for cell fate decisions. Conclusions: BHK-21 cells with JEV persistent infection strive against virus-induced apoptosis through constant up-regulation of BiP expression, resulting in the complete depletion of CHOP even with apparent virus amplification in the cells. Accordingly, the attenuation of virus replication as well as the modifications to cell metabolism could be additional factors contributing to the development of JEV persistent infection in mammalian cells.

  • Rhinovirus is an important pathogen in upper and lower respiratory tract infections in Mexican children

  • Background: Most of the studies characterizing the incidence of rhinovirus (RV) have been carried out in hospitalized children and in developed countries. In those studies, RV-C has been associated with more severe respiratory tract infections than RV species A and B. In this study we determined the frequency and diversity of RV strains associated with upper and lower respiratory tract infections (URTI, LRTI) in Mexico, and describe the clinical characteristics of the illness associated with different RV species. Methods: A prospective surveillance of 526 and 250 children with URTI and LRTI was carried out. Respiratory samples were analyzed by RT-PCR for viruses. The 5′ untranslated region of the RV genome was amplified and sequenced. Results: In the case of URTI, 17.5% were positive for RV, while this virus was found in 24.8% of LRTI. The RV species was determined in 73 children with URTI: 61.6% were RV-A, 37% RV-C and, 1.4% RV-B; and in 43 children with LRTI: 51.2% were RV-A, 41.8% RV-C, and 7% RV-B. No significant differences in clinical characteristics were found in patients with RV-A or RV-C infections. A high genetic diversity of RV strains was found in both URTI and LRTI. Conclusions: Both RV-A and RV-C species were frequently found in hospitalized as well as in outpatient children. This study underlines the high prevalence and genetic diversity of RV strains in Mexico and the potential severity of disease associated with RV-A and RV-C infections.

  • Recombinant adenovirus as a model to evaluate the efficiency of free chlorine disinfection in filtered water samples

  • Background: In Brazil, ordinance no. 2,914/2011 of the Ministry of Health requires the absence of total coliforms and Escherichia coli (E. coli) in treated water. However it is essential that water treatment is effective against all pathogens. Disinfection in Water Treatment Plants (WTP) is commonly performed with chlorine. Methods: The recombinant adenovirus (rAdV), which expresses green fluorescent protein (GFP) when cultivated in HEK 293A cells, was chosen as a model to evaluate the efficiency of chlorine for human adenovirus (HAdV) inactivation in filtered water samples from two WTPs: Lagoa do Peri (pH 6.9) and Morro dos Quadros (pH 6.5). Buffered demand free (BDF) water (pH 6.9 and 8.0) was used as control. The samples were previously submitted to physicochemical characterization, and bacteriological analysis. Two free chlorine concentrations and two temperatures were assayed for all samples (0.2 mg/L, 0.5 mg/L, and 15°C, and 20°C). Fluorescence microscopy (FM) was used to check viral infectivity in vitro and qPCR as a molecular method to determine viral genome copies. Real treated water samples from the WTP (at the output of WTP and the distribution network) were also evaluated for total coliforms, E. coli and HAdV. Results: The time required to inactivate 4log10 of rAdV was less than 1 min, when analyzed by FM, except for BDF pH 8.0 (up to 2.5 min for 4log10). The pH had a significant influence on the efficiency of disinfection. The qPCR assay was not able to provide information regarding rAdV inactivation. The data were modeled (Chick-Watson), and the observed Ct values were comparable with the values reported in the literature and smaller than the values recommended by the EPA. In the treated water samples, HAdV was detected in the distribution network of the WTP Morro dos Quadros (2.75 x 103 PFU/L). Conclusion: The CW model proved to have adjusted well to the experimental conditions used, and it was possible to prove that the adenoviruses were rapidly inactivated in the surface water treated with chlorine and that the recombinant adenovirus expressing GFP is a good model for this evaluation.

  • Association of human papillomavirus 16 E6 variants with cervical carcinoma and precursor lesions in women from Southern Mexico

  • Background: HPV 16 is the cause of cervical carcinoma, but only a small fraction of women with HPV infection progress to this pathology. Besides persistent infection and HPV integration, several studies have suggested that HPV intratype variants may contribute to the development of cancer. The purpose of this study was to investigate the nucleotide variability and phylogenetically classify HPV 16 E6 variants circulating over a period of 16 years in women from Southern Mexico, and to analyze its association with precursor lesions and cervical carcinoma. Methods: This study was conducted in 330 cervical DNA samples with HPV 16 from women who were residents of the State of Guerrero, located in Southern Mexico. According of cytological and/or histological diagnosis, samples were divided into the following four groups: no intraepithelial lesion (n = 97), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (n = 123), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (n = 19) and cervical carcinoma (n = 91). HPV 16 E6 gene was amplified, sequenced and aligned with reference sequence (HPV 16R) and a phylogenetic tree was constructed to identify and classify HPV 16 variants. Chi squared was used and data analysis and statistics were done with SPSS Statistics and STATA softwares. Results: Twenty seven HPV 16 E6 variants were detected in women from Southern Mexico, 82.12% belonged to the EUR, 17.58% to AA1 and 0.3% to Afr2a sublineages. The most common was E-G350 (40%), followed by E-prototype (13.03%), E-C188/G350 (11.82%), AA-a (10.61%), AA-c (6.07%) and E-A176/G350 (5.15%). Eight new E6 variants were found and 2 of them lead to amino acid change: E-C183/G350 (I27T) and E-C306/G350 (K68T). The HPV 16 variant that showed the greatest risk of leading to the development of CC was AA-a (OR = 69.01, CI = 7.57-628.96), followed by E-A176/G350 (OR = 39.82, CI = 4.11-386.04), AA-c (OR = 21.16, CI 2.59-172.56), E-G350 (OR = 13.25, CI = 2.02-87.12) and E-C188/G350 (OR = 10.48, CI = 1.39-78.92). Conclusions: The variants more frequently found in women with cervical carcinoma are E-G350, AA-a, AA-c, E-C188/G350 and E-A176/G350. All of them are associated with the development of cervical carcinoma, however, AA-a showed the highest association. This study reinforces the proposal that HPV 16 AA-a is an oncogenic risk for cervical carcinoma progression in Mexico.

  • Healthy rabbits are susceptible to Epstein-Barr virus infection and infected cells proliferate in immunosuppressed animals

  • Background: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an oncogenic virus implicated in the pathogenesis of several human malignancies. However, due to the lack of a suitable animal model, a number of fundamental questions pertaining to the biology of EBV remain poorly understood. Here, we explore the potential of rabbits as a model for EBV infection and investigate the impact of immunosuppression on viral proliferation and gene expression. Methods: Six healthy New Zealand white rabbits were inoculated intravenously with EBV and blood samples collected prior to infection and for 7 weeks post-infection. Three weeks after the last blood collection, animals were immunosuppressed with daily intramuscular injections of cyclosporin A at doses of 20 mg/kg for 15 days and blood collected twice a week from each rabbit. The animals were subsequently sacrificed and tissues from all major organs were collected for subsequent analysis. Results: Following intravenous inoculation, all 6 rabbits seroconverted with raised IgG and IgM titres to EBV, but viral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) could only be detected intermittently. Following immunosuppression however, EBV DNA could be readily detected in PBMCs from all 4 rabbits that survived the treatment. Quantitative PCR indicated an increase in EBV viral load in PBMCs as the duration of immunosuppression increased. At autopsy, splenomegaly was seen in 3/4 rabbits, but spleens from all 4 rabbit were EBV PCR positive. EBER-in situ hybridization and immunoshistochemistry revealed the presence of a large number of EBER-positive and LMP-1 positive lymphoblasts in the spleens of 3/4 rabbits. To a lesser extent, EBER-positive cells were also seen in the portal tract regions of the liver of these rabbits. Western blotting indicated that EBNA-1 and EBNA-2 were also expressed in the liver and spleen of infected animals. Conclusion: EBV can infect healthy rabbits and the infected cells proliferate when the animals are immunocompromised. The infected cells expressed several EBV-latent gene products which are probably driving the proliferation, reminiscent of what is seen in immunocompromised individuals. Further work is required to explore the potential of rabbits as an animal model for studying EBV biology and tumorigenesis.

  • The efficacy of zinc finger antiviral protein against hepatitis B virus transcription and replication in tansgenic mouse model

  • AimThe zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP) is a mammalian host restriction factor, and it could inhibit HBV RNA synthesis in vitro experiments. However, the role of ZAP against HBV in vivo environment is unclear. This study aimed to investigate whether ZAP could act against HBV transcription and replication in ZAP tansgenic mouse model. Methods: HBV-replication-competent plasmid pHBV4.1 was transferred to ZAP transgenic ICR mouse via the tail vein using a hydrodynamic in vivo transfection procedure, and ICR mouse were used as controls. HBV RNA and HBV DNA replication intermediates in the liver were respectively analyzed by Northern blotting and Southern blotting. The expression of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) in the liver tissue was detected by immunohistochemical staining. Results: As compared to ICR control mouse, the levels of 3.5 kb mRNA in ZAP transgenic mouse were decreased by 8.4%; while the level of HBV DNA replication intermediates was decreased by 82%. In addition, the expression of HBsAg and HBcAg in ZAP transgenic mouse liver were both significantly less than that of ICR control mouse. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that ZAP could inhibit HBV replication in vivo in mice, which offers a new target for anti-HBV drug development.

  • Polyclonal gammopathy after BKV infection in HSCT recipient: a novel trigger for plasma cells replication?

  • Background: BK polyomavirus infects most of the general population. However, its clinical manifestations are almost exclusively seen in immunocompromised patients, particularly in kidney and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients.Case presentationA 15-y-old female suffering from common B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The patient had reactivation of BKPyV infection and developed an haemorrhagic cystitis. Three months after transplant, BKPyV viremia and viruria increased and she developed a severe nephropathy associated to a polyclonal gammopathy with high levels of isolated IgM. Conclusion: This case report describes a rare and unexpected polyclonal gammopathy developed during a polyomavirus-associated nephropathy confirmed by immunohistochemical and laboratory analyses.
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