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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

  • Resolving the titer of murine cytomegalovirus by plaque assay using the M2-10B4 cell line and a low viscosity overlay

  • Background: Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is increasingly used as an infectious model to investigate host-pathogen interactions in mice. Detailed methods have been published for using primary murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) for preparing stocks and determining viral titers of MCMV. For determining the titer of MCMV by plaque assay, these methods rely on a high viscosity media that restricts viral spreading through the supernatant of the culture, but is also usually too viscous to pipet. Moreover, MEFs must be repeatedly generated and can vary widely from batch-to-batch in purity, proliferation rates, and the development of senescence. In contrast, the M2-10B4 bone marrow stromal cell line (ATCC # CRL-1972), which is also permissive for MCMV, has been reported to produce high-titer stocks of MCMV and has the considerable advantages of growing rapidly and consistently. However, detailed methods using these cells have not been published. Methods: We modified existing protocols to use M2-10B4 cells for measuring MCMV titers by plaque assay. Results: We found that MCMV plaques could be easily resolved on monolayers of M2-10B4 cells. Moreover, plaques formed normally even when cultures of M2-10B4 cells were less than 50% confluent on the day of infection, as long as we also used a reduced viscosity overlay. Conclusions: Overall, our protocol enabled us to use a consistent cell line to assess viral titers, rather than repeatedly producing primary MEFs. It also allowed us to start the assay with 4-fold fewer cells than would be required to generate a confluent monolayer, reducing the lead-time prior to the start of the assay. Finally, the reduced viscosity CMC could be handled by pipet and did not need to be pre-mixed with media, thus increasing its shelf-life and ease-of-use. We describe our results here, along with detailed protocols for the use of the M2-10B4 cell lines to determine the titer and grow stocks of MCMV.

  • Hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin containing high titers of pandemic H1N1 hemagglutinin and neuraminidase antibodies provides dose-dependent protection against lethal virus challenge in SCID mice

  • Background: Convalescent plasma and fractionated immunoglobulins have been suggested as prophylactic or therapeutic interventions during an influenza pandemic.FindingsIntravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) preparations manufactured from human plasma collected before the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and post-pandemic hyperimmune (H)-IVIG preparations were characterized with respect to hemagglutination inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN) and neuraminidase-inhibiting (NAi) antibody titers against pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) and seasonal H1N1 (sH1N1) viruses. The protective efficacy of the IVIG and H-IVIG preparations was evaluated in a SCID mouse challenge model.Substantial levels of HI, MN and NAi antibodies against pH1N1 (GMTs 1:45, 1:204 and 1: 727, respectively) and sH1N1 (GMTs 1:688, 1:4,946 and 1:312, respectively) were present in pre-pandemic IVIG preparations. In post-pandemic H-IVIG preparations, HI, MN and NAi antibody GMTs against pH1N1 were 1:1,280, 1:11,404 and 1:2,488 ( 28-, 56- and 3.4-fold enriched), respectively, compared to pre-pandemic IVIG preparations (p llt; 0.001). Post-pandemic H-IVIG (HI titer 1:1,280) provided complete protection from lethality of SCID mice against pH1N1 challenge (100 % of mice survived for 29 days post-challenge). Pre-pandemic IVIG (HI titer 1:70) did not provide significant protection against pH1N1 challenge (50 % of mice survived 29 days post-challenge compared to 40 % survival in the buffer control group). There was a highly significant correlation between circulating in vivo HI and MN antibody titers and survival (p llt; 0001). Conclusion: The substantial enrichment of HA- and NA-specific antibodies in H-IVIG and the efficacious protection of SCID mice against challenge with pH1N1 suggests H-IVIG as a promising intervention against pandemic influenza for immunocompromised patients and other risk groups.

  • Influenza viral vectors expressing the Brucella OMP16 or L7/L12 proteins as vaccines against B. abortus infection

  • Background: We generated novel, effective candidate vaccine against Brucella abortus based on recombinant influenza viruses expressing the Brucella ribosomal protein L7/L12 or outer membrane protein (Omp)-16 from the NS1 open reading frame. The main purpose of this work was to evaluate the safety, immunogenicity and protectiveness of vaccine candidate in laboratory animals.Methods and Results: Four recombinant influenza A viral constructs of the subtypes H5N1 or H1N1 expressing the Brucella proteins L7/L12 or Omp16 were obtained by a reverse genetics method: Flu-NS1-124-L7/L12-H5N1, Flu-NS1-124-Omp16-H5N1, Flu-NS1-124-L7/L12-H1N1 and Flu-NS1-124-Omp16-H1N1. Despite of substantial modification of NS1 gene, all constructs replicated well and were retain their Brucella inserts over five passages in embryonated chicken eggs (CE). Administration of the mono- or bivalent vaccine formulation via prime-boost intranasal (i.n.), conjunctival (c.) or subcutaneous (s.c.) immunization was safe in mice; no deaths, body weight loss or pathomorphological changes were observed over 56 days. Moreover, guinea pigs vaccinated i.n. with vaccine vectors did not shed the vaccine viruses through their upper respiratory tract after the prime and booster vaccination. These findings confirmed the replication-deficient phenotype of viral vectors. The highest antibody response to Brucella antigen was obtained with constructs expressing L7/L12 (ELISA, GMT 242.5-735.0); whereas the highest T-cell immune response- with construct expressing Omp16 (ELISPOT, 337 +/- 52-651 +/- 45 spots/4x105cells), which was comparable (P ggt; 0.05) to the response induced by the commercial vaccine B. abortus 19. Interestingly, c immunization appeared to be optimal for eliciting T-cell immune response. In guinea pigs, the highest protective efficacy after challenge with B. abortus 544 was achieved with Omp16 expressing constructs in both monovalent or bivalent vaccine formulations; protective efficacy was comparable to those induced by a commercial live B. abortus 19 vaccine. Conclusion: Thus, influenza vectors expressing Brucella protective antigens can be developed as novel influenza vectored vaccine against B. abortus infection.

  • Prospective study of Hepatitis E Virus infection among pregnant women in France

  • Background: Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) infection has a poor prognosis among pregnant women from high endemic countries. HEV-prevalence and incidence among pregnant women is unknown in high-income countries such as France. This prospective study was conducted to assess HEV infection in this setting.FindingsAn overall HEV prevalence of 7.74% was observed among 315 pregnant women. Seroprevalence was higher in south than in north of France (29.3% vs. 3.6%, p llt; 0.0001), and women with detectable IgG were older. No IgG seroconversion or IgM detection were observed during pregnancy. Conclusions: Data suggest that HEV infection is a rare occurrence during pregnancy even in regions of western countries with high seroprevalence rates.

  • Complete genome sequence and pathogenesis of bovine viral diarrhea virus JL-1 isolate from cattle in China

  • Background: Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a pathogen found worldwide in calves. It can cause significant economic losses in agriculture. Many BVDV strains have been isolated in China. However, the pathogenesis and complete gene characteristics of BVDV isolate have yet not been reported in China. Here, a BVDV isolate was isolated and its pathogenesis and complete genome were studied. Results: A new isolate of bovine viral diarrhea virus, named JL-1, was isolated from the spleen of a sick cow with diarrhea using MDBK cell culture. The complete genome of JL-1 is 12,276 nucleotides and contains a 5′-UTR of 382 nucleotides, a 3′-UTR of 188 nucleotides, and a large ORF encoding a polyprotein consisting of 3,901 amino acids. Genomic comparison and phylogenetic analyses of complete genomic sequence clearly showed that JL-1 fell into the BVDV-1b subtype. The result of pathogenesis of JL-1 strain showed that all infected calves developed clinical signs of elevated rectal temperatures, decreased leucopenia, and viral discharge. Viral antigen was detected in infected animal tissues using immunohistochemistry. Animals in the mock were normal. These results demonstrated that BVDV JL-1 was a virulent strain. Conclusions: This is the first study to report the pathogenesis and complete gene characterization of the BVDV strain in China. This report may set a good foundation for further study of BVDV in China.

  • Diagnosis, management and post-mortem findings of a human case of rabies imported into the United Kingdom from India: a case report

  • Background: Human rabies infection continues to be a significant public health burden globally, and is occasionally imported to high income settings where the Milwaukee Protocol for intensive care management has recently been employed, with limited success in improving survival. Access to molecular diagnostics, pre- and post-mortem, and documentation of pathophysiological responses while using the Milwaukee protocol, can add useful insights for the future of rabies management.Case presentationA 58-year-old British Asian woman was referred to a regional general hospital in the UK with hydrophobia, anxiety and confusion nine weeks after receiving a dog bite in North West India. Nuchal skin biopsy, saliva, and a skin biopsy from the site of the dog bite wound, taken on the day of admission, all demonstrated the presence of rabies virus RNA. Within 48 hours sequence analysis of viral RNA confirmed the diagnosis and demonstrated that the virus was a strain closely related to canine rabies viruses circulating in South Asia. Her condition deteriorated rapidly with increased agitation and autonomic dysfunction. She was heavily sedated and intubated on the day after admission, treated according to a modified Milwaukee protocol, and remained stable until she developed heart block and profound acidosis and died on the eighth day. Analysis of autopsy samples showed a complete absence of rabies neutralizing antibody in cerebrospinal fluid and serum, and corresponding high levels of virus antigen and nucleic acid in brain and cerebrospinal fluid. Quantitative PCR showed virus was also distributed widely in peripheral tissues despite mild or undetectable histopathological changes. Vagus nerve branches in the heart showed neuritis, a probable Negri body but no demonstrable rabies antigen. Conclusion: Rapid molecular diagnosis and strain typing is helpful in the management of human rabies infection. Post-mortem findings such as vagal neuritis highlight clinically important effects on the cardiovascular system which are typical for the clinical course of rabies in humans. Management guided by the Milwaukee protocol is feasible within well-resourced intensive care units, but its role in improving outcome for canine-derived rabies remains theoretical.

  • Recombination and pseudorecombination driving the evolution of the begomoviruses Tomato severe rugose virus (ToSRV) and Tomato rugose mosaic virus (ToRMV): two recombinant DNA-A components sharing the same DNA-B

  • Background: Begomoviruses are dicot-infecting, whitefly-transmitted viruses with a genome comprised of one or two molecules of circular, single-stranded DNA. In Brazil, tomato-infecting begomoviruses have emerged as serious pathogens since the introduction of a new biotype of the insect vector in the mid-1990’s. Tomato rugose mosaic virus (ToRMV) and Tomato severe rugose virus (ToSRV) are often found in tomato fields. The complete sequence of the DNA-B components of ToSRV and ToRMV show an identity of 98.2%. Additionally, the high nucleotide identity (96.2%) between their common regions indicates that these two viruses may share the same DNA-B. Methods: Tomato seedlings were biolistically inoculated with ToSRV (DNA-A and DNA-B) and ToRMV (DNA-A and DNA-B) infectious clones in every possible combination of single or mixed infection. Symptom expression was evaluated for up to 35 days post-inoculation (dpi). DNA was extracted at 28 dpi and the presence of each viral genomic component was examined by rolling circle amplification (RCA) followed by digestion, as well as by quantitative, real-time PCR. Sequence comparisons, recombination and phylogenetic analyzes were performed using EMBOSS needle, RDP program and maximum likelihood inference, respectively. Results: Symptoms in tomato plants inoculated with the different combinations of ToRMV and ToSRV DNA-A and DNA-B components consisted of a typical mosaic in all combinations. Pseudorecombinants were formed in all possible combinations. When two DNA-A or two DNA-B components were inoculated simultaneously, the ToRMV components were detected preferentially in relation to the ToSRV components. The combination of minor changes in both the Rep protein and the CR may be involved in the preferential replication of ToRMV components. Recombination and phylogenetic analyzes support the exchange of genetic material between ToRMV and ToSRV. Conclusions: ToRMV and ToSRV form viable pseudorecombinants in their natural host (Solanum lycopersicum) and share the same DNA-B. ToRMV DNA components are preferentially replicated over ToSRV components. These results indicate that the emergence of ToRMV involved both recombination and pseudorecombination, further highlighting the importance of these mechanisms in the emergence and adaptation of begomoviruses.

  • Characterization of small ruminant lentivirus A4 subtype isolates and assessment of their pathogenic potential in naturally infected goats

  • Background: Small ruminant lentiviruses escaping efficient serological detection are still circulating in Swiss goats in spite of a long eradication campaign that essentially eliminated clinical cases of caprine arthritis encephalitis in the country. This strongly suggests that the circulating viruses are avirulent for goats.To test this hypothesis, we isolated circulating viruses from naturally infected animals and tested the in vitro and in vivo characteristics of these field isolates. Methods: Viruses were isolated from primary macrophage cultures. The presence of lentiviruses in the culture supernatants was monitored by reverse transcriptase assay. Isolates were passaged in different cells and their cytopathogenic effects monitored by microscopy. Proviral load was quantified by real-time PCR using customized primer and probes. Statistical analysis comprised Analysis of Variance and Bonferroni Multiple Comparison Test. Results: The isolated viruses belonged to the small ruminant lentiviruses A4 subtype that appears to be prominent in Switzerland. The 4 isolates replicated very efficiently in macrophages, displaying heterogeneous phenotypes, with two isolates showing a pronounced cytopathogenicity for these cells. By contrast, all 4 isolates had a poor replication capacity in goat and sheep fibroblasts. The proviral loads in the peripheral blood and, in particular, in the mammary gland were surprisingly high compared to previous observations. Nevertheless, these viruses appear to be of low virulence for goats except for the mammary gland were histopathological changes were observed. Conclusions: Small ruminant lentiviruses continue to circulate in Switzerland despite a long and expensive caprine arthritis encephalitis virus eradication campaign. We isolated 4 of these lentiviruses and confirmed their phylogenetic association with the prominent A4 subtype. The pathological and histopathological analysis of the infected animals supported the hypothesis that these A4 viruses are of low pathogenicity for goats, with, however, a caveat about the potentially detrimental effects on the mammary gland. Moreover, the high proviral load detected indicates that the immune system of the animals cannot control the infection and this, combined with the phenotypic plasticity observed in vitro, strongly argues in favour of a continuous and precise monitoring of these SRLV to avoid the risk of jeopardizing a long eradication campaign.

  • Regulation of gene expression by microRNA in HCV infection and HCV¿mediated hepatocellular carcinoma

  • MicroRNA (miRNA) exert a profound effect on Hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication and on the manifestation of HCV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). miR-122 in particular, is highly enriched in liver and has been shown to interact with HCV, suggesting this virus has evolved to subvert and manipulate the host gene silencing machinery in order to support its life cycle. It is therefore likely that miR-122 and other miRNAs play an important role in the pathophysiology of HCV infection. The changes in post-transcriptional gene regulation by the miRNAs may play a key role in the manifestation of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Understanding of HCV-host miRNA interactions will ultimately lead to the design of therapeutic modalities against HCV infection and HCV-mediated HCC and may also provide important biomarkers that direct treatment options. Here, we review the current knowledge on the role of miRNA and gene expression on HCV infection and hepatocellular carcinoma, in addition to the possible role of miRNA as future therapeutic targets.

  • Epidemiological and molecular features of dengue virus type-1 in New Caledonia, South Pacific, 2001¿2013

  • Background: The epidemiology of dengue in the South Pacific has been characterized by transmission of a single dominant serotype for 3–5 years, with subsequent replacement by another serotype. From 2001 to 2008 only DENV-1 was reported in the Pacific. In 2008, DENV-4 emerged and quickly displaced DENV-1 in the Pacific, except in New Caledonia (NC) where DENV-1 and DENV-4 co-circulated in 2008–2009. During 2012–2013, another DENV-1 outbreak occurred in NC, the third DENV-1 outbreak in a decade. Given that dengue is a serotype-specific immunizing infection, the recurrent outbreaks of a single serotype within a 10-year period was unexpected.FindingsThis study aimed to inform this phenomenon by examining the phylogenetic characteristics of the DENV-1 viruses in NC and other Pacific islands between 2001 and 2013. As a result, we have demonstrated that NC experienced introductions of viruses from both the Pacific (genotype IV) and South-east Asia (genotype I). Moreover, whereas genotype IV and I were co-circulating at the beginning of 2012, we observed that from the second half of 2012, i.e. during the major DENV-1 outbreak, all analyzed viruses were genotype I suggesting that a genotype switch occurred. Conclusions: Repeated outbreaks of the same dengue serotype, as observed in NC, is uncommon in the Pacific islands. Why the earlier DENV-1 outbreaks did not induce sufficient herd immunity is unclear, and likely multifactorial, but the robust vector control program may have played a role by limiting transmission and thus maintaining a large susceptible pool in the population.
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