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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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    Virology Journal - Latest Articles

  • High pathogenicity and low genetic evolution of avian paramyxovirus type I (Newcastle disease virus) isolated from live bird markets in Uganda

  • Background: Newcastle disease is still a serious disease of poultry especially in backyard free-range production systems despite the availability of cross protective vaccines. Healthy-looking poultry from live bird markets have been suspected as a major source of disease spread although limited studies have been conducted to ascertain the presence of the virulent strains in the markets and to understand how they are related to outbreak strains. Methods: This study evaluated the occurrence of Newcastle disease virus in samples collected from poultry in live bird markets across Uganda. The isolates were pathoyped using standard methods (mean death time (MDT), intracelebral pathogenicity index (ICPI), and sequencing of the fusion protein cleavage site motif) and also phylogenetically analysed after sequencing of the full fusion and hemagglutin-neuraminidase genes. The isolates were classified into genotypes and subgenotypes based on the full fusion protein gene classification system and compared with other strains in the region and world-wide. Results: Virulent avian paramyxovirus type I (APMV-1) (Newcastle disease virus) was isolated in healthy-looking poultry in live bird markets. The viruses belonged to a new subgenotype, Vd, in genotype V, and clustered together with Tanzania and Kenya strains. They harbored low genetic diversity. Conclusion: The occurrence of virulent AMPV-1 strains in live bird markets may serve as sources of Newcastle disease outbreaks in non-commercial farms.

  • HTLV-1 proviral integration sites differ between asymptomatic carriers and patients with HAM/TSP

  • Background: HTLV-1 causes proliferation of clonal populations of infected T cells in vivo, each clone defined by a unique proviral integration site in the host genome. The proviral load is strongly correlated with odds of the inflammatory disease HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). There is evidence that asymptomatic HTLV-1 carriers (ACs) have a more effective CD8 + T cell response, including a higher frequency of HLA class I alleles able to present peptides from a regulatory protein of HTLV-1, HBZ. We have previously shown that specific features of the host genome flanking the proviral integration site favour clone survival and spontaneous expression of the viral transactivator protein Tax in naturally infected PBMCs ex vivo. However, the previous studies were not designed or powered to detect differences in integration site characteristics between ACs and HAM/TSP patients. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the genomic environment of the provirus differs systematically between ACs and HAM/TSP patients, and between individuals with strong or weak HBZ presentation. Methods: We used our recently described high-throughput protocol to map and quantify integration sites in 95 HAM/TSP patients and 68 ACs from Kagoshima, Japan, and 75 ACs from Kumamoto, Japan. Individuals with 2 or more HLA class I alleles predicted to bind HBZ peptides were classified aapos;strongaapos; HBZ binders; the remainder were classified aapos;weak bindersaapos;. Results: The abundance of HTLV-1-infected T cell clones in vivo was correlated with proviral integration in genes and areas with epigenetic marks associated with active regulatory elements. In clones of equivalent abundance, integration sites in genes and active regions were significantly more frequent in ACs than patients with HAM/TSP, irrespective of HBZ binding and PVL. Integration sites in genes were also more frequent in strong HBZ binders than weak HBZ binders. Conclusion: Clonal abundance is correlated with integration in a transcriptionally active genomic region, and these regions may promote cell proliferation. A clone that reaches a given abundance in vivo is more likely to be integrated in a transcriptionally active region in individuals with a more effective anti-HTLV-1 immune response, such those who can present HBZ peptides or those who remain asymptomatic.

  • Occurrence of genetic modifications in core, 5[prime]UTR and NS5b of HCV associated with viral response to treatment

  • Background: It is becoming progressively more understandable that genetic variability of viruses is a major challenge in translating the laboratory findings to clinic. Genetic variability is the underlying cause of variant viral proteins which are not targetable by host immunological machinery. Methods: 500 patients were enrolled in study and amongst them, 451 patients were followed and categorized into two groups on the basis of their treatment response. Group 1 consisting of the 376 patients exhibited SVR while group 2 comprised 75 patients who were non-responders on the basis of viral load as evidenced by Real-Time PCR. Comparative sequence analysis was done between 75 non-responders and 75 responders (randomly picked from 376) by targeting three genomic regions, 5[hebrew punctuation geresh]UTR, core and NS5B and amplified products were directly sequenced and obtained sequences were cleaned, aligned and submitted to GenBank. Maximum Parsimony (MP) method was used for phylogenetic analysis and dendrograms were dragged using MEGA 5. Heterogeneity at nucleotide and amino acid level was determined using software BioEdit and DNAman while phosphorylation and N-linked glycosylation sites were determined using NetPhos 2.0 and SignalP-NN. Results: Genotype 3 was prevalent in group 1 whereas non-responders indicated rare genotypes of Pakistan i.e. 4 and 5, genotype 6q and 6v were reported first time from Pakistan in this study. At nucleotide and amino acid level, the genetic distance and mutation, number of predicted N-phosphorylation and N-glycosylation sites was higher in group 2 as compared to group 1. Difference in percentage composition of individual amino acids was noted to be different between the two groups. Conclusions: It can be concluded that heterogeneity both at nucleotide and amino acid level contributed in developing drug resistant phenotype. Moreover, occurrence of rare genotypes might hurdle the way to positive response of conventional treatment. Furthermore, prediction of phosphorylation and glycosylation sites could help in targeting the proper sites for drug designing.

  • Comparative pathology of pigs infected with Korean H1N1, H1N2, or H3N2 swine influenza A viruses

  • Background: The predominant subtypes of swine influenza A virus (SIV) in Korea swine population are H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2. The viruses are genetically close to the classical U.S. H1N1 and triple-reassortant H1N2 and H3N2 viruses, respectively. Comparative pathogenesis caused by Korean H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 SIV was evaluated in this study.FindingsThe H3N2 infected pigs had severe scores of gross and histopathological lesions at post-inoculation days (PID) 2, and this then progressively decreased. Both the H1N1 and H1N2 infected pigs lacked gross lesions at PID 2, but they showed moderate to severe pneumonia on PID 4, 7 and 14. The pigs infected with H1N1 had significant scores of gross and histopathological lesions when compared with the other pigs infected with H1N2, H3N2, and mock at PID 14. Mean SIV antigen-positive scores were rarely detected for pigs infected with H1N2 and H3N2 from PID 7, whereas a significantly increased amount of viral antigens were found in the bronchioles and alveolar epithelium of the H1N1infected pigs at PID 14. Conclusions: We demonstrated that Korean SIV subtypes had different pulmonary pathologic patterns. The Korean H3N2 rapidly induced acute lung lesions such as broncho-interstitial pneumonia, while the Korean H1N1 showed longer course of infection as compared to other strains.

  • Non-rhinovirus enteroviruses associated with respiratory infections in Peru (2005-2010)

  • Background: Enteroviruses (EVs) are a common cause of respiratory tract infections and are classified into seven species (EVA-D and rhinoviruses [RHVs] A-C) with more than 200 different serotypes. Little is known about the role of non-RHV EVs in respiratory infections in South America. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology of non-RHV EVs detected in patients with influenza-like illness enrolled in a passive surveillance network in Peru. Methods: Throat swabs and epidemiological data were collected from participants after obtaining verbal consent. Viral isolation was performed in cell culture and identified by immunofluorescence assay. Serotype identification of EV isolates was performed using commercial monoclonal antibodies. Identification of non-serotypeable isolations was carried out by reverse transcriptase-PCR, followed by sequencing. Results: Between 2005 and 2010, 24,239 samples were analyzed, and 9,973 (41.1%) possessed at least one respiratory virus. EVs were found in 175 samples (0.7%). Our results revealed a clear predominance of EVB species, 90.9% (159/175). No EVDs were isolated. The mean and median ages of EV-positive subjects were 9.1 and 4.0 years, respectively, much younger than the population sampled, 17.6 and 12.0 years. Sixteen serotypes were identified, four EVA, 11 EVB, and one EVC species. The most common serotypes were coxsackievirus B1, coxsackievirus B2, coxsackievirus B5, and coxsackievirus B3. Conclusion: This study provides data about the serotypes of EVs circulating in Peru and sets the need for further studies.

  • Novel norovirus recombinants detected in South Africa

  • Background: Noroviruses (NoV) are the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis worldwide. Recombination frequently occurs within and between NoV genotypes and recombinants have been implicated in sporadic cases, outbreaks and pandemics of NoV. There is a lack of data on NoV recombinants in Africa and therefore their presence and diversity was investigated in South Africa (SA). Results: Between 2010 and 2013, eleven types of NoV recombinants were identified in SA. Amplification of the polymerase/capsid region spanning the ORF1/2 junction and phylogenetic analysis confirmed each of the recombinant types. SimPlot and maximum x 2 analysis indicated that all recombinants had a breakpoint in the region of the ORF1/2 junction (P llt; 0.05). The majority (9/11) were intergenotype recombinants, but two intragenotype GII.4 recombinants were characterised. Three combinations represent novel recombinants namely GII.P not assigned (NA)/GII.3, GII.P4 New Orleans 2009/GII.4 NA and GII.P16/GII.17. Several widely reported recombinants were identified and included GII.P21/GII.2, GII.P21/GII.3, GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012, and GII.Pg/GII.12. Other recombinants that were identified were GII.Pg/GII.1, GII.Pe/GII.4 Osaka 2007, GII.P4 New Orleans 2009/GII.4 Sydney 2012, GII.P7/GII.6. To date these recombinant types all have a reportedly restricted geographic distribution. This is the first report of the GII.P4 New Orleans 2009/GII.4 Sydney 2012 recombinant in Africa. Conclusions: Over the past four years, remarkably diverse NoV recombinants have been circulating in SA. Pandemic strains such as the GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012 recombinant co-circulated with novel and emerging recombinant strains. Combined polymerase- and capsid-based NoV genotyping is essential to determine the true diversity and global prevalence of these viruses.

  • Emerging antiviral resistant strains of influenza A and the potential therapeutic targets within the viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complex

  • Emerging antiviral resistant strains of influenza A virus are greatly limiting the therapies available to stop aggressive infections. Genome changes that confer resistance to the two classes of approved antivirals have been identified in circulating influenza A viruses. It is only a matter of time before the currently approved influenza A antivirals are rendered ineffective, emphasizing the need for additional influenza antiviral therapies. This review highlights the current state of antiviral resistance in circulating and highly pathogenic influenza A viruses and explores potential antiviral targets within the proteins of the influenza A virus ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complex, drawing attention to the viral protein activities and interactions that play an indispensable role in the influenza life cycle. Investigation of small molecule inhibition, accelerated by the use of crystal structures of vRNP proteins, has provided important information about viral protein domains and interactions, and has revealed many promising antiviral drug candidates discussed in this review.

  • The influence of secondary structure, selection and recombination on rubella virus nucleotide substitution rate estimates

  • Background: Annually, rubella virus (RV) still causes severe congenital defects in around 100 000 children globally. An attempt to eradicate RV is currently underway and analytical tools to monitor the global decline of the last remaining RV lineages will be useful for assessing the effectiveness of this endeavour. RV evolves rapidly enough that much of this information might be inferable from RV genomic sequence data. Methods: Using BEASTv1.8.0, we analysed publically available RV sequence data to estimate genome-wide and gene-specific nucleotide substitution rates to test whether current estimates of RV substitution rates are representative of the entire RV genome. We specifically accounted for possible confounders of nucleotide substitution rate estimates, such as temporally biased sampling, sporadic recombination, and natural selection favouring either increased or decreased genetic diversity (estimated by the PARRIS and FUBAR methods), at nucleotide sites within the genomic secondary structures (predicted by the NASP method). Results: We determine that RV nucleotide substitution rates range from 1.19× 10-3 substitutions/site/year in the E1 region to 7.52× 10-4 substitutions/site/year in the P150 region. We find that differences between substitution rate estimates in different RV genome regions are largely attributable to temporal sampling biases such that datasets containing higher proportions of recently sampled sequences, will tend to have inflated estimates of mean substitution rates. Although there exists little evidence of positive selection or natural genetic recombination in RV, we show that RV genomes possess pervasive biologically functional nucleic acid secondary structure and that purifying selection acting to maintain this structure contributes substantially to variations in estimated nucleotide substitution rates across RV genomes. Conclusion: Both temporal sampling biases and purifying selection favouring the conservation of RV nucleic acid secondary structures have an appreciable impact on substitution rate estimates but do not preclude the use of RV sequence data to date ancestral sequences. The combination of uniformly high substitution rates across the RV genome and strong temporal structure within the available sequence data, suggests that such data should be suitable for tracking the demographic, epidemiological and movement dynamics of this virus during eradication attempts.

  • Entecavir combined with furin inhibitor simultaneously reduces hepatitis B virus replication and e antigen secretion

  • Background: The antiviral therapy of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection pursues the dual goals, virological response (undetectable serum HBV DNA) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) serological response (serum HBeAg loss/seroconversion). It is relatively difficult, however, to realize the serological response, especially for nucleotide/nucleoside analogs. Furin, a proprotein convertase, is involved in HBeAg maturation. The suppression of furin using inhibitors accordingly reduces HBeAg secretion, but possibly enhances HBV replication. For these reasons, the strategy based on the combination of nucleoside analog entecavir (ETV) and furin inhibitors to inhibit HBV replication and HBeAg secretion simultaneously were studied here. Methods: The suppression of furin was performed using inhibitors decanoyl-RVKR-chloromethylketone (CMK) and hexa-D-arginine (D6R) or the expression of furin inhibitory prosegment. The influence of furin suppression on HBV replication and the effect of CMK combined with nucleoside analog entecavir (ETV) on HBV replication and HBeAg secretion was investigated in HepG2.2.15 cells. HBeAg level in media was detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Intracellular viral antigens and HBV DNA were detected using Western and Southern blotting analyses, respectively. Results: CMK, D6R and the expression of inhibitory prosegment all significantly reduced HBeAg secretion, but only CMK enhance HBV replication. Concordantly, only CMK post-transcriptionally accumulated cytosolic HBV replication-essential hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg). The HBcAg-accumulating effect of CMK was further found to be resulted from its redundant inhibitory effect on the trypsin-like activity of cellular proteasomes that are responsible for HBcAg degradation. Moreover, the viral replication-enhancing effect of CMK was abrogated by ETV and ETV combined with CMK reduced HBV replication and HBeAg secretion simultaneously. Conclusion: The suppression of furin itself does not enhance HBV replication. Nucleotide/nucleoside analogs combined with furin inhibitors may be a potential easy way to realize the dual goals of the antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B in the future.

  • Evaluation of four commercial real-time RT-PCR kits for the detection of dengue viruses in clinical samples

  • Background: Dengue is the most frequent arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide. Because dengue manifestations are similar to those of many other febrile syndromes, the availability of dengue-specific laboratory tests is useful for the differential diagnosis. Timely and accurate diagnosis of dengue virus (DENV) infection is important for appropriate management of complications, pathophysiological studies, epidemiological investigations and optimization of vector-control measures. Several“in-house” reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) methods have been developed to detect, type and/or quantify DENV. Standardized dengue RT-PCR kits with internal controls have been recently introduced, but need clinical evaluation. We assessed the performances of 4 commercial DENV real-time RT-PCR kits.FindingsThe 4 kits were evaluated using a panel of 162 samples positive with an existing in-place hemi-nested RT-PCR used for routine DENV-infection diagnosis in patients with acute-febrile disease. The panel included 46 DENV-1, 37 DENV-2, 33 DENV-3, and 46 DENV-4. Also, 70 negative serum specimens were used to determine specificity. Geno-Sen’s Dengue 1–4 Real-Time RT-PCR kit was the only assay to provide quantification using standards, but lacked sensitivity for DENV-4 detection. The SimplexaTM Dengue RT-PCR assay, with 151 (93.2% [95% confidence interval, 89.3–97.1]) positive samples, had significantly higher sensitivity than the other 3 kits; in a complementary evaluation of 111 consecutive patients’ samples, its performance and genotyping agreed with the hemi-nested gold-standard assay. Conclusions: The SimplexaTM Dengue RT-PCR’s good performance to detect and genotype DENV1–4 requires further evaluation in multicenter and prospective studies, particularly in settings of clinical diagnosis during dengue outbreaks.
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