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    Virology Journal - Latest Articles

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) screening and cervical cancer burden. A Brazilian perspective

  • This review tackles the issues related to disease burden caused by cervical cancer (CC) and its precursor (CIN) lesions in Brazil. A special focus is given to new technologies with potential to interfere with the development of CC by reducing the high-risk human papillomavirus (hr-HPV)-induced lesions that remain a major public health burden in all developing countries where organized screening programs do not exist. Globally, 85 % of all incident CC and 50 % of CC deaths occur in the developing countries. Unfortunately, most regions of Brazil still demonstrate high mortality rates, ranking CC as the second most common cancer among Brazilian women. Recently, CC screening programs have been tailored in the country to enable early detection of CC precursor lesions and thereby reduce cancer mortality. A combination of HPV testing with liquid-based cytology (LBC) seems to be a promising new approach in CC screening, with high expectation to offer an adequate control of CC burden in this country.

  • Phylogenetic and recombination analysis of llt;itggt;Tobacco bushy top virusllt;/itggt; in China

  • Background: During the past decade, tobacco bushy top disease, which is mainly caused by a combination of Tobacco bushy top virus (TBTV) and Tobacco vein-distorting virus (TVDV), underwent a sudden appearance, extreme virulence and degeneration of the epidemic in the Yunnan province of China. In addition to integrative control of its aphid vector, it is of interest to examine diversity and evolution among different TBTV isolates. Methods: 5’ and 3’ RACE, combined with one step full-length RT-PCR, were used to clone the full-length genome of three new isolates of TBTV that exhibited mild pathogenicity in Chinese fields. Nucleotide and amino acid sequences for the TBTV isolates were analyzed by DNAMAN. MEGA 5.0 was used to construct phylogenetic trees. RDP4 was used to detect recombination events during evolution of these isolates. Results: The genomes of three isolates, termed TBTV-JC, TBTV-MD-I and TBTV-MD-II, were 4152 nt in length and included one distinctive difference from previously reported TBTV isolates: the first nucleotide of the genome was a guanylate instead of an adenylate. Diversity and phylogenetic analyses among these three new TBTV isolates and five other available isolates suggest that ORFs and 3’UTRs of TBTV may have evolved separately. Moreover, the RdRp-coding region was the most variable. Recombination analysis detected a total of 29 recombination events in the 8 TBTV isolates, in which 24 events are highly likely and 5 events have low-level likelihood based on their correlation with the phylogenetic trees. The three new TBTV isolates have individual recombination patterns with subtle divergences in parents and locations. Conclusions: The genome sizes of TBTV isolates were constant while different ORF-coding regions and 3’UTRs may have evolved separately. The RdRp-coding region was the most variable. Frequent recombination occurred among TBTV isolates. Three new TBTV isolates have individual recombination patterns and may have different progenitors.

  • Complete genome sequence of llt;itggt;Ostreid herpesvirus-1llt;/itggt; associated with mortalities of llt;itggt;Scapharca broughtoniillt;/itggt; broodstocks

  • Background: Ostreid herpesvirus-1 (OsHV-1) is the major bivalve pathogen associated with severe mortality events in a wide host range. In the early summer of 2012 and 2013, mass mortalities of blood clam (Scapharca broughtonii) broodstocks associated with a newly described variant of OsHV-1 (OsHV-1-SB) were reported. Methods: In this study, the complete genome sequence of the newly described variant was determined through the primer walking approach, and compared with those of the other two OsHV-1 variants. Results: OsHV-1-SB genome was found to contain 199, 354 bp nucleotides with 38.5 % G/C content, which is highly similar to those of acute viral necrosis virus (AVNV) and OsHV-1 reference type. A total of 123 open reading frames (ORFs) putatively encoding functional proteins were identified; eight of which were duplicated in the major repeat elements of the genome. The genomic organization of OsHV-1-SB could be represented as TR L -U L -IR L -IR S -U S -TR S , which is different from that of OsHV-1 reference type and AVNV due to the deletion of a unique region (X, 1.5Kb) between IR L and IR S . The DNA sequence of OsHV-1-SB is 95.2 % and 97.3 % identical to that of OsHV-1 reference type and AVNV respectively. On the basis of nucleotide sequences of 32 ORFs in OsHV-1-SB and the other nine OsHV-1 variants, results from phylogenetic analysis also demonstrated that OsHV-1-SB is most closely related to AVNV. Conclusions: The determination of the genome of OsHV-1 with distinguished epidemiological features will aid in our better understanding of OsHV-1 diversity, and facilitate further research on the origin, evolution, and epidemiology of the virus.

  • Hepatitis C virus genotype and subtype distribution in Chinese chronic hepatitis C patients: nationwide spread of HCV genotypes 3 and 6

  • Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype and subtype are related to disease progression and response to antiviral therapy. Current HCV genotype and subtype distribution data, especially for genotypes 3 and 6, are limited in China. Our purpose was to investigate the current HCV genotype and subtype distributions in chronic hepatitis C patients in China. Methods: Chronic hepatitis C patients (n = 1012) were enrolled, and demographic information and possible transmission risk factors were collected. Serum samples were subjected to reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, followed by direct DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the NS5B and core/E1 regions to determine HCV genotypes/subtypes. The geographical distributions of HCV genotypes/subtypes were analyzed. Demographic information and transmission risk factors were compared between different HCV genotypes/subtypes. Results: Four genotypes and seven subtypes of HCV were detected in 970 patients. Subtypes 1b, 2a, 3a, 6a, 3b, 6n, and 1a were detected at frequencies of 71.96 %, 19.90 %, 3.20 %, 2.16 %, 1.96 %, 0.41 %, and 0.41 %, respectively. Genotypes 3 and 6 showed an increasingly wide geographic distribution over time. Patients with subtypes 1b and 2a were older than those with 3a, 3b, 6a, and 6n subtypes (p llt; 0.05 in all subtypes). More genotype 1 and 2 patients underwent blood transfusion than those with genotype 3 (all p llt; 0.05). More genotype 3 and 6 patients had a history of intravenous drug use than those with genotypes 1 and 2 (all p llt; 0.05). Conclusions: Though subtypes 1b and 2a are still the most prevalent HCV subtypes in China, genotype 3 and 6 HCV infections have already spread nationwide from southern and western China.

  • The Chinese herb-derived Sparstolonin B suppresses HIV-1 transcription

  • Background: The Chines herb derived Sparstolonin B, (SsnB), is a recently identified natural compound that selectively blocks TLR2- and TLR4-mediated inflammatory signaling. But it is unknown whether this compound has any effect on HIV infection.FindingsWe found that SsnB treatment blocked HIV-1 transcription via a novel mechanism that requires the TAR region. Treatment of human T cell lines or peripheral blood mononuclear cells with SsnB at 1 μM significantly inhibited HIV production. Lastly, SsnB was able to inhibit HIV in synergy with AZT. Conclusions: These data suggest that SsnB is a novel natural compound that inhibits HIV-1 transcription and may be a new drug in the treatment of HIV infection.

  • Molecular evidence of Ebola Reston virus infection in Philippine bats

  • Background: In 2008–09, evidence of Reston ebolavirus (RESTV) infection was found in domestic pigs and pig workers in the Philippines. With species of bats having been shown to be the cryptic reservoir of filoviruses elsewhere, the Philippine government, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, assembled a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team to investigate Philippine bats as the possible reservoir of RESTV. Methods: The team undertook surveillance of bat populations at multiple locations during 2010 using both serology and molecular assays. Results: A total of 464 bats from 21 species were sampled. We found both molecular and serologic evidence of RESTV infection in multiple bat species. RNA was detected with quantitative PCR (qPCR) in oropharyngeal swabs taken from Miniopterus schreibersii, with three samples yielding a product on conventional hemi-nested PCR whose sequences differed from a Philippine pig isolate by a single nucleotide. Uncorroborated qPCR detections may indicate RESTV nucleic acid in several additional bat species (M. australis, C. brachyotis and Ch. plicata). We also detected anti-RESTV antibodies in three bats (Acerodon jubatus) using both Western blot and ELISA. Conclusions: The findings suggest that ebolavirus infection is taxonomically widespread in Philippine bats, but the evident low prevalence and low viral load warrants expanded surveillance to elaborate the findings, and more broadly, to determine the taxonomic and geographic occurrence of ebolaviruses in bats in the region.

  • llt;itggt;In vitrollt;/itggt; characterisation of a pleconaril/pirodavir-like compound with potent activity against rhinoviruses

  • Background: Rhinovirus infections do not only cause common colds, but may also trigger severe exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Even though rhinoviruses have been the focus of extensive drug development efforts in the past, an anti-rhinoviral drug still has to make it to the market. In the past, the viral capsid protein VP1 has been shown to be an important target for the development of antiviral molecules. Furthermore, many different chemical scaffolds appear to possess the properties that are required to inhibit virus replication by this mechanism of action. I-6602, an analogue of the rhinovirus inhibitor pirodavir, was previously identified as a potent inhibitor of rhinovirus infection. Here, we describe the antiviral activity of its analogue ca603, a molecule with a modified linker structure, and corroborate its mechanism of action as a capsid binder.FindingsThe molecule ca603 shows antiviral activity against a panel of rhino-and enteroviruses. Cross-resistance is observed against viruses with mutations that render them resistant to the inhibitory effect of the capsid binder pleconaril and thermostability assays demonstrate that the compound binds and stabilizes the viral capsid. Binding of the molecule to the VP1 protein is corroborated by in silico modeling. Conclusions: It is confirmed that ca603 inhibits rhinovirus replication by interaction with the VP1 protein and, by this, allows to further expand the chemical diversity of capsid-binding molecules.

  • DAXX modulates human papillomavirus early gene expression and genome replication in U2OS cells

  • Background: The human papillomavirus (HPV) genomes can replicate, and are maintained as autonomously replicating extrachromosomal plasmids in human U2OS cells. Previous studies have shown that HPV genomes are transcriptionally active in U2OS cells and can express the viral early proteins required for initiation and establishment of HPV replication. In the present work, we have examined the involvement of cellular DAXX protein in HPV replication in U2OS cells. Methods: We have used indirect immunofluorescence and FISH analysis in order to study HPV replication compartments in U2OS cells. In addition, we have used siRNA knock-down for examining the effect of the DAXX protein on HPV replication and transcription in U2OS cells. Results: We show that a portion of HPV replication foci are partially co-localized with components of ND10, cellular DAXX and PML proteins. In addition, we demonstrate that the knock-down of the cellular DAXX protein modulates the HPV genome replication and transcription in U2OS cells– papillomavirus replication is reduced in the absence of this component of ND10. Conclusions: The DAXX protein modulates the early gene expression and the transient replication of HPV genomes in U2OS cells.

  • Identification of llt;itggt;Hop stunt viroidllt;/itggt; infecting llt;itggt;Citrus limonllt;/itggt; in China using small RNAs deep sequencing approach

  • Background: The advent of next generation sequencing technology has allowed for significant advances in plant virus discovery, particularly for identification of covert viruses and previously undescribed viruses. The Citrus limon Burm. f. (C. limon) is a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and . China is the world’s top lemon-producing nation.FindingsIn this work, lemon samples were collected from southwestern of China, where an unknown disease outbreak had caused huge losses in the lemon production industry. Using high-throughput pyrosequencing and the assembly of small RNAs, we showed that the Hop stunt viroid (HSVd) was present in C. limon leaf sample. The majority of it is a main lemon producing agricultural cultivarHop stunt viroid derived siRNAs (HSVd-siRNAs) in C. limon were 21 nucleotides in length, and nearly equal amount of HSVd-siRNAs originated from the plus-genomic RNA strand as from the complementary strand. A bias of HSVd-siRNAs toward sequences beginning with a 5′-Guanine was observed. Furthermore, hotspot analysis showed that a large amount of HSVd-siRNAs derived from the central and variant domains of the HSVd genome. Conclusions: Our results suggest that C. limon could set up a small RNA-mediated gene silencing response to Hop stunt viroid, Interestingly, based on bioinformatics analysis, our results also suggest that the large amounts of HSVd-siRNAs from central and variant domains might be involved in interference with host gene expression and affect symptom development.

  • Multiplex PCR for rapid diagnosis and differentiation of pox and pox-like diseases in dromedary Camels

  • Background: Pox and pox-like diseases of camels are a group of exanthematous skin conditions that have become increasingly important economically. Three distinct viruses may cause them: camelpox virus (CMLV), camel parapox virus (CPPV) and camelus dromedary papilloma virus (CdPV). These diseases are often difficult to differentiate based on clinical presentation in disease outbreaks. Molecular methods such as PCR targeting species-specific genes have been developed and used to identify these diseases, but not simultaneously in a single tube. Recently, multiplex PCR has gained reputation as a convenient diagnostic method with cost-and timesaving benefits.Methods and resultsIn the present communication, we describe the development, optimization and validation of a multiplex PCR assay able to detect simultaneously the genome of the three viruses in one single test allowing for rapid and efficient molecular diagnosis. The assay was developed based on the evaluation and combination of published and new primer sets and was validated with viral genomic DNA extracted from known virus strains (n = 14) and DNA extracted from homogenized clinical skin specimens (n = 86). The assay detects correctly the target pathogens by amplification of targeted genes, even in case of co-infection. The method showed high sensitivity, and the specificity was confirmed by PCR-product sequencing. Conclusion: This assay provide rapid, sensitive and specific method for identifying three important viruses in specimens collected from dromedary camels with varying clinical presentations.
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