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Jean-Yves Sgro
Inst. for Mol.Virology
731B Bock Labs
1525 Linden Drive Madison, WI 53706

Table of Contents for this page:

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  • Current Issue of Virology Journal

    Virology Journal - Latest Articles

  • Construction and in vitro evaluation of a recombinant live attenuated PRRSV expressing GM-CSF

  • Background: Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) continues to be an important problem for the swine industry. Inactivated vaccines and modified-live virus vaccines are widely used in the field; however, the efficacy of these PRRSV vaccines is suboptimal due to poor immunogenicity. Granulocyte?macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) has been extensively used as an effective genetic and protein adjuvant to enhance the efficiencies vaccines expressing tumor or pathogen antigens. The purpose of this study was to determine if GM-CSF could increase the efficiency of PRRSV vaccine. Methods: The GM-CSF gene was inserted in the HuN4-F112 vaccine strain by overlap PCR. The expression of GM-CSF by the recombinant virus was confirmed with methods of indirect immunofluorescent assay (IFA) and Western blotting. The stability of recombinant virus was assessed by cDNA sequence and IFA after 20 passages. To detect the biological activity of GM-CSF expressed by the recombinant virus, bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) were isolated and co-cultured with the recombinant virus or parental virus and the surface phenotypes of BMDCs were examined by flow cytometric analysis. The cytokines secreted by BMDCs infected with PRRSV,or treated with LPS, GM-CSF or medium alone were evaluated by ProcartaPlexTM Multiplex Immunoassays and qRT-PCR. Results: A novel modified-live PRRSV vaccine strain expressing GM-CSF (rHuN4-GM-CSF) was successfully constructed and rescued. The GM-CSF protein was stable expressed in recombinant virus-infected cells after 20 passages. Analysis of virus replication kinetics showed that the novel vaccine strain expressing GM-CSF had a similar replication rate as the parental virus. In vitro studies showed that infection of porcine BMDCs with rHuN4-GM-CSF resulted in increased surface expression of MHCI+, MHCII?+?and CD80/86+ that was dependent on virus expressed GM-CSF. The expression of representative cytokines was significantly up-regulated when BMDCs were incubated with the recombinant GM-CSF expressing virus. Conclusions: Our results indicated that the expression of GM-CSF during infection with a vaccine strain could enhance the activation of BMDCs and increase cytokine response, which is expected to result in higher immune responses and may improve vaccine efficacy against PRRSV infection.

  • Simultaneous alteration of residues 279 and 284 of the VP2 major capsid protein of a very virulent Infectious Bursal Disease Virus (vvIBDV) strain did not lead to attenuation in chickens

  • Background: Cell culture adaptation of very virulent infectious bursal disease virus (vvIBDV) was shown to be mainly associated with the VP2 capsid protein residues 253, 279, and 284. The single mutation A284T proved critical for cell culture tropism, but did not confer efficient virus replication, which at least required one additional mutation, Q253H or D279N. While the double mutation Q253H/A284T was unambiguously shown to confer both efficient replication in cell culture and attenuation in chickens, conflicting results have been reported regarding the replication efficiency of vvIBDV mutants bearing the D279N/A284T double mutation, and no data are hitherto available on their virulence in chickens.FindingsHere we used an in vivo reverse genetics system to assess the impact of the D279N/A284T double mutation on the replication and attenuation of a chimeric IBDV virus, whose polyprotein derived from a non-culturable vvIBDV clinical isolate. We found that the D279N/A284T double mutation did indeed confer efficient replication in chicken embryo fibroblast (CEF) cell culture, but the mutant virus remained highly pathogenic to chickens. Conclusions: The double mutation D279N/A284T of the VP2 major capsid protein of vvIBDV is sufficient to confer cell culture tropism and replication efficiency, but does not necessarily lead to virus attenuation.

  • Identification of rhabdoviral sequences in oropharyngeal swabs from German and Danish bats

  • Background: In the frame of active lyssavirus surveillance in bats, oropharyngeal swabs from German (N?=?2297) and Danish (N?=?134) insectivorous bats were investigated using a newly developed generic pan-lyssavirus real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-qPCR).FindingsIn total, 15 RT-qPCR positive swabs were detected. Remarkably, sequencing of positive samples did not confirm the presence of bat associated lyssaviruses but revealed nine distinct novel rhabdovirus-related sequences. Conclusions: Several novel rhabdovirus-related sequences were detected both in German and Danish insectivorous bats. The results also prove that the novel generic pan-lyssavirus RT-qPCR offers a very broad detection range that allows the collection of further valuable data concerning the broad and complex diversity within the family Rhabdoviridae.

  • Molecular characterization of H3N2 influenza A viruses isolated from Ontario swine in 2011 and 2012

  • Background: Data about molecular diversity of commonly circulating type A influenza viruses in Ontario swine are scarce. Yet, this information is essential for surveillance of animal and public health, vaccine updates, and for understanding virus evolution and its large-scale spread. Methods: The study population consisted of 21 swine herds with clinical problems due to respiratory disease. Nasal swabs from individual pigs were collected and tested by virus isolation in MDCK cells and by rtRT-PCR. All eight segments of 10 H3N2 viruses were sequenced using high-throughput sequencing and molecularly characterized. Results: Within-herd prevalence ranged between 2 and 100%. Structurally, Ontario H3N2 viruses could be classified into three different groups. Group 1 was the most similar to the original trH3N2 virus from 2005. Group 2 was the most similar to the Ontario turkey H3N2 isolates with PB1 and NS genes originating from trH3N2 virus and M, PB2, PA and NP genes originating from the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus. All Group 3 internal genes were genetically related to A(H1N1)pdm09. Analysis of antigenic sites of HA1 showed that Group 1 had 8 aa changes within 4 antigenic sites, A(1), B(3), C(2) and E(2). The Group 2 viruses had 8 aa changes within 3 antigenic sites A(3), B(3) and C(2), while Group 3 viruses had 4 aa changes within 3 antigenic sites, B(1), D(1) and E(2), when compared to the cluster IV H3N2 virus [A/swine/Ontario/33853/2005/(H3N2)]. Conclusions: The characterization of the Ontario H3N2 viruses clearly indicates reassortment of gene segments between the North American swine trH3N2 from cluster IV and the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus.

  • HPV infection and triple-negative breast cancers: an Italian case-control study

  • Background: Breast cancer is one of the most important neoplasia among women. To reduce its incidence and mortality impact it would be desirable to early identify risk factors associated with its development. It was recently suggested that biological agents could be the etiological cause, particularly Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). No specific relationship with different breast cancer types has been demonstrated until now. In particular, the triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), characterized by a receptor negative pattern (ER/PgR/HER2–negative) and poor prognosis, can represent one of the most relevant clinical and public health priority in terms of observational research.FindingsAim of the study was to evaluate the HPV-positivity prevalence in two breast cancer series (TNBC vs. non-TNBC) in Northern Sardinia, Italy. The sample size of each group was represented by 40 formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded specimens. The mean age was 60.3 years. The majority of the cancers were ductal (84%). The grading distribution was different: G2 was the most prevalent grade in the non-TNBC series, whereas G3 was the most frequent in the TNBC series (70% and 72%, respectively). Six biological samples were HPV-positive (7.5%): the positivity was assessed only in the TNBC group (15%; p-value: 0.026). The isolated genotypes were: 16, 31, 45, 52, 6, and 66. Only one co-infection was found (i.e., HPV-6 and -66). Conclusions: The prevalence of HPV-positivity in TNBC specimens was 15%. On the basis of its carcinogenetic ability, an etiological role in the pathogenesis of the cancer could be supposed. This association should be confirmed with longitudinal studies to better assess the role of the HPV infection in TNBC and non-TNBC tumors.

  • Antiviral effects against EV71 of pimprinine and its derivatives isolated from Streptomyces sp

  • Background: The pimprinine family of compounds represent very important and promising microbial metabolites for drug discovery. However, their ability in inhibiting viral infections has not yet been tested. Methods: The antiviral activity of the pimprinine family of compounds was evaluated by determining the cytopathic effect (CPE), cell viability or plaque-forming unit (PFU), and virus yield. The mechanism of action against EV71 was determined from the virucidal activity, and effective stage and time-of-addition assays. The effects on EV71 replication were evaluated further by determining viral RNA synthesis, protein expression and cells apoptosis using the SYBR Green assays, immunofluorescence assays and flow cytometric assays, respectively. Results: Pimprinethine, WS-30581 A and WS-30581 B inhibited EV71-induced CPE, reduced progeny EV71 yields, as well as prevented EV71-induced apoptosis in human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells. These compounds were found to target the early stages of the EV71 replication in cells including viral RNA replication and protein synthesis. They also showed antiviral activity against ADV-7, and were slightly active against CVB3, HSV-1 and H1N1 with a few exceptions. Pimprinine was slightly active or inactive against all the viruses tested. The mechanisms by which these compounds act against the viruses tested may be similar to that demonstrated for EV71. Conclusion: The data described herein demonstrate that the pimprinine family of compounds are inhibitors effective against the replication of EV71 and ADV-7, so they might be feasible therapeutic agents for the treatment of viral infections.

  • Protease 2A induces stress granule formation during coxsackievirus B3 and enterovirus 71 infections

  • Background: Stress granules (SGs) are granular aggregates in the cytoplasm that are formed under a variety of stress situations including viral infection. Previous studies indicate that poliovirus, a member of Picornaviridae, can induce SG formation. However, the exact mechanism by which the picornaviruses induce SG formation is unknown.MethodThe localization of SG markers in cells infected with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) or enterovirus 71 (EV71) and in cells expressing each viral protein was determined via immunofluorescence assays or plasmid transfection. Eight plasmids expressing mutants of the 2A protease (2Apro) of CVB3 were generated using a site-directed mutagenesis strategy. The cleavage efficiencies of eIF4G by CVB3 2Apro, and its mutants were determined via western blotting assays. Results: In this study, we found that CVB3 infection induced SG formation, as evidenced by the co-localization of some accepted SG markers in viral infection-induced granules. Furthermore, we identified that 2Apro of CVB3 was the key viral component that triggered SG formation. A 2Apro mutant with the G122E mutation, which exhibited very low cleavage efficiency toward eIF4G, significantly attenuated its capacity for SG induction, indicating that the protease activity was required for 2Apro to initiate SG formation. Finally, we observed that SGs also formed in EV71-infected cells. Expression of EV71 2Apro alone was also sufficient to cause SG formation. Conclusion: Both CVB3 and EV71 infections can induce SG formation, and 2Apro plays a crucial role in the induction of SG formation during these infections. This finding may help us to better understand how picornaviruses initiate the SG response.

  • Quantitative investigation of the affinity of human respiratory syncytial virus phosphoprotein C-terminus binding to nucleocapsid protein

  • Background: There are no approved small molecule drug therapies for human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV), a cause of morbidity and mortality in at-risk newborns, the immunocompromised, and the elderly. We have investigated as a potential novel hRSV drug target the protein-protein interaction between the C-terminus of the viral phosphoprotein (P) and the viral nucleocapsid protein (N), components of the ribonucleoprotein complex that contains, replicates, and transcribes the viral RNA genome. Earlier work by others established that the 9 C-terminal residues of P are necessary and sufficient for binding to N. Methods: We used a fluorescence anisotropy assay, surface plasmon resonance and 2-D NMR to quantify the affinities of peptides based on the C terminus of P for RNA-free, monomeric N-terminal-truncated N(13-391). We calculated the contributions to the free energies of binding of P to N(13-391) attributable to the C-terminal 11 residues, phosphorylation of the C-terminal 2 serine residues, the C-terminal Asp-Phe, and the phenyl ring of the C-terminal Phe. Results: Binding studies confirmed the crucial role of the phosphorylated C-terminal peptide D(pS)DNDL(pS)LEDF for binding of P to RNA-free, monomeric N(13-391), contributing over 90% of the binding free energy at low ionic strength. The phenyl ring of the C-terminal Phe residue contributed an estimated -2.7 kcal/mole of the free energy of binding, the C-terminal Asp-Phe residues contributed -3.8 kcal/mole, the sequence DSDNDLSLE contributed -3.1 kcal/mole, and phosphorylation of the 2 Ser residues contributed -1.8 kcal/mole. Due to the high negative charge of the C-terminal peptide, the affinity of the P C-terminus for N(13-391) decreased as the ionic strength increased. Conclusions: The results support the idea that the interaction of the C-terminal residues of P with N constitutes a protein-protein interaction hotspot that may be a suitable target for small-molecule drugs that inhibit viral genome replication and transcription.

  • Osteoblasts from osteoarthritis patients show enhanced to Ross River virus infection associated with delayed type I interferon responses

  • Background: Arthritogenic alphaviruses such as Ross River virus (RRV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) have caused widespread outbreaks of chronic polyarthritis. The inflammatory responses in alphavirus-induced arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) share many similar features, which suggests the possibility of exacerbated alphavirus-induced bone pathology in individuals with pre-existing OA. Here, we investigated the susceptibility of osteoblasts (OBs) from OA patients to RRV infection and dissected the immune mechanisms elicited from infection. Methods: Primary hOBs obtained from trabecular bone of healthy donors and OA patients were infected with RRV. Infectivity and viral replication were determined using flow cytometry and plaque assay, respectively. Real-time PCR was performed to determine expression kinetics of type I interferon (IFN)-related immune mediators and osteotropic factors. Results: OA hOBs showed enhanced RRV infectivity and replication during infection, which was associated with delayed induction of IFN-? and RIG-I expression. Enhanced susceptibility of OA hOBs to RRV was associated with a more pronounced increase in RANKL/OPG ratio and expression of osteotropic factors (IL-6, IL-1?, TNF-? and CCL2) in comparison to RRV-infected healthy hOBs. Conclusions: Delayed activation of type I IFN-signalling pathway may have contributed to enhanced susceptibility to RRV infection in hOBs from OA patients. RRV-induced increases in RANKL/OPG ratio and expression of osteotropic factors that favour bone resorption, which may be exacerbated during osteoarthritis. This study provides the novel insight that osteoarthritis may be a risk factor for exacerbated arthritogenic alphaviral infection.

  • Infection of Porcine Circovirus 2 (PCV2) in Intestinal Porcine Epithelial Cell Line (IPEC-J2) and Interaction between PCV2 and IPEC-J2 Microfilaments

  • Background: Porcine circovirus-associated disease (PCVAD) is caused by a small pathogenic DNA virus, Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), and is responsible for severe economic losses. PCV2-associated enteritis appears to be a distinct clinical manifestation of PCV2. Most studies of swine enteritis have been performed in animal infection models, but none have been conducted in vitro using cell lines of porcine intestinal origin. An in vitro system would be particularly useful for investigating microfilaments, which are likely to be involved in every stage of the viral lifecycle. Methods: We confirmed that PCV2 infects the intestinal porcine epithelial cell line IPEC-J2 by means of indirect immunofluorescence, transmission electron microscopy, flow cytometry and qRT-PCR. PCV2 influence on microfilaments in IPEC-J2 cells was detected by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. We used Cytochalasin D or Cucurbitacin E to reorganize microfilaments, and observed changes in PCV2 invasion, replication and release in IPEC-J2 cells by qRT-PCR. Results: PCV2 infection changes the ultrastructure of IPEC-J2 cells. PCV2 copy number in IPEC-J2 cells shows a rising trend as infection proceeds. Microfilaments are polymerized at 1 h p.i., but densely packed actin stress fibres are disrupted and total F-actin increases at 24, 48 and 72 h p.i. After Cytochalasin D treatment, invasion of PCV2 is suppressed, while invasion is facilitated by Cucurbitacin E. The microfilament drugs have opposite effects on viral release. Conclusion: PCV2 infects and proliferates in IPEC-J2 cells, demonstrating that IPEC-J2 cells can serve as a cell intestinal infection model for PCV2 pathogenesis. Furthermore, PCV2 rearranges IPEC-J2 microfilaments and increases the quantity of F-actin. Actin polymerization may facilitate the invasion of PCV2 in IPEC-J2 cells and the dissolution of cortical actin may promote PCV2 egress.
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