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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:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2727-2744: Characterization of Novel Transcripts in Pseudorabies Virus

  • In this study we identified two 3′-coterminal RNA molecules in the pseudorabies virus. The highly abundant short transcript (CTO-S) proved to be encoded between the ul21 and ul22 genes in close vicinity of the replication origin (OriL) of the virus. The less abundant long RNA molecule (CTO-L) is a transcriptional readthrough product of the ul21 gene and overlaps OriL. These polyadenylated RNAs were characterized by ascertaining their nucleotide sequences with the Illumina HiScanSQ and Pacific Biosciences Real-Time (PacBio RSII) sequencing platforms and by analyzing their transcription kinetics through use of multi-time-point Real-Time RT-PCR and the PacBio RSII system. It emerged that transcription of the CTOs is fully dependent on the viral transactivator protein IE180 and CTO-S is not a microRNA precursor. We propose an interaction between the transcription and replication machineries at this genomic location, which might play an important role in the regulation of DNA synthesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2704-2726: Hepatitis E Virus Genotype 3 Diversity: Phylogenetic Analysis and Presence of Subtype 3b in Wild Boar in Europe

  • An increasing number of indigenous cases of hepatitis E caused by genotype 3 viruses (HEV-3) have been diagnosed all around the word, particularly in industrialized countries. Hepatitis E is a zoonotic disease and accumulating evidence indicates that domestic pigs and wild boars are the main reservoirs of HEV-3. A detailed analysis of HEV-3 subtypes could help to determine the interplay of human activity, the role of animals as reservoirs and cross species transmission. Although complete genome sequences are most appropriate for HEV subtype determination, in most cases only partial genomic sequences are available. We therefore carried out a subtype classification analysis, which uses regions from all three open reading frames of the genome. Using this approach, more than 1000 published HEV-3 isolates were subtyped. Newly recovered HEV partial sequences from hunted German wild boars were also included in this study. These sequences were assigned to genotype 3 and clustered within subtype 3a, 3i and, unexpectedly, one of them within the subtype 3b, a first non-human report of this subtype in Europe.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2683-2703: The Use of Convalescent Sera in Immune-Electron Microscopy to Detect Non-Suspected/New Viral Agents

  • Negative staining electron microscopy methods can be employed for the diagnosis of viral particles in animal samples. In fact, negative staining electron microscopy methods are used to identify viruses, especially in minor species and wild animals, when no other methods are available and in cases of rare, emerging or re-emerging infections. In particular, immune-electron-microscopy with convalescent sera is employed to detect etiological agents when there are undiagnosed clinical outbreaks, when alternative diagnostic methods fail due to the lack of immunological reagents and primers, and when there is no indicative clinical suspect. An overview of immune-electron-microscopy with convalescent sera’s use in the diagnosis of new and unsuspected viruses in animals of domestic and wild species is provided through the descriptions of the following four diagnostic veterinary cases: (I) enteric viruses of pigs: Porcine Rotavirus, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, Porcine Circovirus and Porcine Torovirus; (II) Rotavirus and astrovirus in young turkeys with enteritis; (III) Parvovirus-like particles in pheasants; and (IV) Lagoviruses: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus and European Brown Hare Syndrome Virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2668-2682: Nucleocytoplasmic Shuttling of Influenza A Virus Proteins

  • Influenza viruses transcribe and replicate their genomes in the nuclei of infected host cells. The viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complex of influenza virus is the essential genetic unit of the virus. The viral proteins play important roles in multiple processes, including virus structural maintenance, mediating nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of the vRNP complex, virus particle assembly, and budding. Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of viral proteins occurs throughout the entire virus life cycle. This review mainly focuses on matrix protein (M1), nucleoprotein (NP), nonstructural protein (NS1), and nuclear export protein (NEP), summarizing the mechanisms of their nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and the regulation of virus replication through their phosphorylation to further understand the regulation of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling in host adaptation of the viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2654-2667: Dynamics of Apis mellifera Filamentous Virus (AmFV) Infections in Honey Bees and Relationships with Other Parasites

  • Apis mellifera filamentous virus (AmFV) is a large double stranded DNA virus of honey bees, but its relationship with other parasites and prevalence are poorly known. We analyzed individual honey bees from three colonies at different times post emergence in order to monitor the dynamics of the AmFV gut colonization under natural conditions. Prevalence and loads of microsporidia and trypanosomes were also recorded, as well as five common honey bee RNA viruses. The results show that a high proportion of bees get infected with AmFV during the first week post-emergence (75%) and that AmFV DNA levels remained constant. A similar pattern was observed for microsporidia while trypanosomes seem to require more time to colonize the gut. No significant associations between these three infections were found, but significant positive correlations were observed between AmFV and RNA viruses. In parallel, the prevalence of AmFV in France and Sweden was assessed from pooled honey bee workers. The data indicate that AmFV is almost ubiquitous, and does not seem to follow seasonal patterns, although higher viral loads were significantly detected in spring. A high prevalence of AmFV was also found in winter bees, without obvious impact on overwintering of the colonies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2641-2653: The Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti Plasmid Virulence Gene virE2 Reduces Sri Lankan Cassava Mosaic Virus Infection in Transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana Plants

  • Cassava mosaic disease is a major constraint to cassava cultivation worldwide. In India, the disease is caused by Indian cassava mosaic virus (ICMV) and Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus (SLCMV). The Agrobacterium Ti plasmid virulence gene virE2, encoding a nuclear-localized, single-stranded DNA binding protein, was introduced into Nicotiana benthamiana to develop tolerance against SLCMV. Leaf discs of transgenic N. benthamiana plants, harboring the virE2 gene, complemented a virE2 mutation in A. tumefaciens and produced tumours. Three tested virE2 transgenic plants displayed reduction in disease symptoms upon agroinoculation with SLCMV DNA A and DNA B partial dimers. A pronounced reduction in viral DNA accumulation was observed in all three virE2 transgenic plants. Thus, virE2 is an effective candidate gene to develop tolerance against the cassava mosaic disease and possibly other DNA virus diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2618-2640: Insights into Human Astrocyte Response to H5N1 Infection by Microarray Analysis

  • Influenza virus infects not only the respiratory system but also the central nervous system (CNS), leading to influenza-associated encephalopathy and encephalitis. Astrocytes are essential for brain homeostasis and neuronal function. These cells can also be infected by influenza virus. However, genome-wide changes in response to influenza viral infection in astrocytes have not been defined. In this study, we performed gene profiling of human astrocytes in response to H5N1. Innate immune and pro-inflammatory responses were strongly activated at 24 h post-infection (hpi). Antiviral genes, as well as several cytokines and chemokines, including CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, were robustly induced. Phosphorylation of p65 and p38 can be activated by viral infection, suggesting their potential critical roles in H5N1-induced pro-inflammatory response. Moreover, H5N1 infection significantly upregulated the gene expressions related to the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway at 24 hpi, such as MC2R, CHRNG, P2RY13, GABRA1, and HRH2, which participant in synaptic transmission and may take part in CNS disorders induced by H5N1 infection. Targeting key components of innate immune response and the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway may provide a strategy to control H5N1-induced encephalopathy and encephalitis. This research can contribute to the understanding of H5N1 pathogenesis in astrocytes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2592-2617: Interaction of Human Tumor Viruses with Host Cell Surface Receptors and Cell Entry

  • Currently, seven viruses, namely Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV), high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs), Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), have been described to be consistently associated with different types of human cancer. These oncogenic viruses belong to distinct viral families, display diverse cell tropism and cause different malignancies. A key to their pathogenicity is attachment to the host cell and entry in order to replicate and complete their life cycle. Interaction with the host cell during viralentry is characterized by a sequence of events, involving viral envelope and/or capsid molecules as well as cellular entry factors that are critical in target cell recognition, thereby determining cell tropism. Most oncogenic viruses initially attach to cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans, followed by conformational change and transfer of the viral particle to secondary high-affinity cell- and virus-specific receptors. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the host cell surface factors and molecular mechanisms underlying oncogenic virus binding and uptake by their cognate host cell(s) with the aim to provide a concise overview of potential target molecules for prevention and/or treatment of oncogenic virus infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2542-2591: Modulation of DNA Damage and Repair Pathways by Human Tumour Viruses

  • With between 10% and 15% of human cancers attributable to viral infection, there is great interest, from both a scientific and clinical viewpoint, as to how these pathogens modulate host cell functions. Seven human tumour viruses have been identified as being involved in the development of specific malignancies. It has long been known that the introduction of chromosomal aberrations is a common feature of viral infections. Intensive research over the past two decades has subsequently revealed that viruses specifically interact with cellular mechanisms responsible for the recognition and repair of DNA lesions, collectively known as the DNA damage response (DDR). These interactions can involve activation and deactivation of individual DDR pathways as well as the recruitment of specific proteins to sites of viral replication. Since the DDR has evolved to protect the genome from the accumulation of deleterious mutations, deregulation is inevitably associated with an increased risk of tumour formation. This review summarises the current literature regarding the complex relationship between known human tumour viruses and the DDR and aims to shed light on how these interactions can contribute to genomic instability and ultimately the development of human cancers.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2534-2541: A Taxonomic Review of Clostridium difficile Phages and Proposal of a Novel Genus, “Phimmp04likevirus”

  • Currently, only three phages that infect the medically important bacterium Clostridium difficile have been discussed by the International Committee of Viral Taxonomy (ICTV). They are all myoviruses, and have been assigned to the genus“phicd119likevirus”. An additional nine phages have since been described in the literature with their genome data available. The Phicd119likevirus is named after the type species: the myovirus ΦCD119 which was the first C. difficile phage to be sequenced. The two additional myoviruses, ϕCD27 and φC2, also fall into this genus based on the similarity of their genome and morphological characteristics. The other nine phages have not been assigned to this genus, and four of them do not fit the criteria for the current taxonomic grouping. We have applied protein clustering analysis to determine their phylogenetic relationships. From these results we propose an additional myoviridae genus, that we term “phiMMP04likevirus”.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2518-2533: Recessive Resistance Derived from Tomato cv. Tyking-Limits Drastically the Spread of Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus

  • The tomato yellow leaf curl disease (TYLCD) causes severe damage to tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) crops throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. TYLCD is associated with a complex of single-stranded circular DNA plant viruses of the genus Begomovirus (family Geminiviridae) transmitted by the whitefy Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). The tomato inbred line TX 468-RG is a source of monogenic recessive resistance to begomoviruses derived from the hybrid cv. Tyking F1. A detailed analysis of this germplasm source against tomato yellow leaf curl virus-Israel (TYLCV-IL), a widespread TYLCD-associated virus, showed a significant restriction to systemic virus accumulation even under continuous virus supply. The resistance was effective in limiting the onset of TYLCV-IL in tomato, as significantly lower primary spread of the virus occurred in resistant plants. Also, even if a limited number of resistant plants could result infected, they were less efficient virus sources for secondary spread owing to the impaired TYLCV-IL accumulation. Therefore, the incorporation of this resistance into breeding programs might help TYLCD management by drastically limiting TYLCV-IL spread.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2507-2517: IPNV Antigen Uptake and Distribution in Atlantic Salmon Following Oral Administration

  • One impediment to the successful oral vaccination in fish is the hostile stomach environment that antigens must cross. Furthermore, uptake of antigens from the gut to systemic distribution is required for induction of systemic immunity, the dynamics of which are poorly understood. In the present study, groups of Atlantic salmon parr were intubated with live or inactivated infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), either orally or anally. At 1, 24 and 72 h post infection (p.i.), the fish were sacrificed. Serum was used for assessing IPNV by ELISA, while formalin-fixed head-kidney, spleen, liver and intestine tissues were used for the demonstration of antigens by immunohistochemistry. Both live and inactivated IPNV antigens were observed in enterocytes of the intestines and in immune cells of the head-kidneys and spleens of all groups. In the liver, no antigens were observed in any of the groups. Significantly higher serum antigen OD values (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.04) were observed in orally- compared to anally-intubated fish. By contrast, no difference (p = 0.05) was observed in tissue antigens between these groups by immunohistochemistry. No significant difference (p = 0.05) in serum antigens was observed between groups intubated with live and inactivated IPNV, while in tissues, significantly more antigens (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.03) were observe in the latter compared to the former. These findings demonstrate that both live and inactivated IPNV are taken up by enterocytes in the intestines of Atlantic salmon, likely by receptor-mediated mechanisms. Higher IPNV uptake by the oral compared to anal route suggests that both the anterior and posterior intestines are important for the uptake of the virus and that IPNV is resistant to gastric degradation of the Atlantic salmon stomach.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2485-2506: High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Targets Crossroads in Immune Signaling

  • Persistent infections with a high-risk type human papillomavirus (hrHPV) can progress to cancer. High-risk HPVs infect keratinocytes (KCs) and successfully suppress host immunity for up to two years despite the fact that KCs are well equipped to detect and initiate immune responses to invading pathogens. Viral persistence is achieved by active interference with KCs innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. To this end hrHPV utilizes proteins encoded by its viral genome, as well as exploits cellular proteins to interfere with signaling of innate and adaptive immune pathways. This results in impairment of interferon and pro-inflammatory cytokine production and subsequent immune cell attraction, as well as resistance to incoming signals from the immune system. Furthermore, hrHPV avoids the killing of infected cells by interfering with antigen presentation to antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Thus, hrHPV has evolved multiple mechanisms to avoid detection and clearance by both the innate and adaptive immune system, the molecular mechanisms of which will be dealt with in detail in this review.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2470-2484: Molecular Characterization of a Novel Positive-Sense, Single-Stranded RNA Mycovirus Infecting the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

  • Recent studies have demonstrated that a diverse array of mycoviruses infect the plant pathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Here, we report the molecular characterization of a newly identified mycovirus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum fusarivirus 1 (SsFV1), which was isolated from a sclerotia-defective strain JMTJ14 of S. sclerotiorum. Excluding a poly (A) tail, the genome of SsFV1 comprises 7754 nucleotides (nts) in length with 83 and 418 nts for 5'- and 3'-untranslated regions, respectively. SsFV1 has four non-overlapping open reading frames (ORFs): ORF1 encodes a 191 kDa polyprotein (1664 amino acid residues in length) containing conserved RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and helicase domains; the other three ORFs encode three putative hypothetical proteins of unknown function. Phylogenetic analysis, based on RdRp and Helicase domains, indicated that SsFV1 is phylogenetically related to Rosellinia necatrix fusarivirus 1 (RnFV1), Fusarium graminearum virus-DK21 (FgV1), and Penicillium roqueforti RNA mycovirus 1 (PrRV1), a cluster of an independent group belonging to a newly proposed family Fusarividae. However, SsFV1 is markedly different from FgV1 and RnFV1 in genome organization and nucleotide sequence. SsFV1 was transmitted successfully to two vegetatively incompatible virus-free strains. SsFV1 is not responsible for the abnormal phenotype of strain JMTJ14.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2450-2469: The Role of the DNA Damage Response throughout the Papillomavirus Life Cycle

  • The DNA damage response (DDR) maintains genomic integrity through an elaborate network of signaling pathways that sense DNA damage and recruit effector factors to repair damaged DNA. DDR signaling pathways are usurped and manipulated by the replication programs of many viruses. Here, we review the papillomavirus (PV) life cycle, highlighting current knowledge of how PVs recruit and engage the DDR to facilitate productive infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2428-2449: Impact of Adenovirus E4-ORF3 Oligomerization and Protein Localization on Cellular Gene Expression

  • The Adenovirus E4-ORF3 protein facilitates virus replication through the relocalization of cellular proteins into nuclear inclusions termed tracks. This sequestration event disrupts antiviral properties associated with target proteins. Relocalization of Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 proteins prevents the DNA damage response from inhibiting Ad replication. Relocalization of PML and Daxx impedes the interferon-mediated antiviral response. Several E4-ORF3 targets regulate gene expression, linking E4-ORF3 to transcriptional control. Furthermore, E4-ORF3 was shown to promote the formation of heterochromatin, down-regulating p53-dependent gene expression. Here, we characterize how E4-ORF3 alters cellular gene expression. Using an inducible, E4-ORF3-expressing cell line, we performed microarray experiments to highlight cellular gene expression changes influenced by E4-ORF3 expression, identifying over four hundred target genes. Enrichment analysis of these genes suggests that E4-ORF3 influences factors involved in signal transduction and cellular defense, among others. The expression of mutant E4-ORF3 proteins revealed that nuclear track formation is necessary to induce these expression changes. Through the generation of knockdown cells, we demonstrate that the observed expression changes may be independent of Daxx and TRIM33 suggesting that an additional factor(s) may be responsible. The ability of E4-ORF3 to manipulate cellular gene expression through the sequestration of cellular proteins implicates a novel role for E4-ORF3 in transcriptional regulation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2404-2427: A Novel Iminosugar UV-12 with Activity against the Diverse Viruses Influenza and Dengue (Novel Iminosugar Antiviral for Influenza and Dengue)

  • Iminosugars are capable of targeting the life cycles of multiple viruses by blocking host endoplasmic reticulumα-glucosidase enzymes that are required for competent replication of a variety of enveloped, glycosylated viruses. Iminosugars as a class are approved for use in humans with diseases such as diabetes and Gaucher’s disease, providing evidence for safety of this class of compounds. The in vitro antiviral activity of iminosugars has been described in several publications with a subset of these demonstrating in vivo activity against flaviviruses, herpesviruses, retroviruses and filoviruses. Although there is compelling non-clinical in vivo evidence of antiviral efficacy, the efficacy of iminosugars as antivirals has yet to be demonstrated in humans. In the current study, we report a novel iminosugar, UV-12, which has efficacy against dengue and influenza in mouse models. UV-12 exhibits drug-like properties including oral bioavailability and good safety profile in mice and guinea pigs. UV-12 is an example of an iminosugar with activity against multiple virus families that should be investigated in further safety and efficacy studies and demonstrates potential value of this drug class as antiviral therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2378-2403: Influence of Cellular Trafficking Pathway on Bluetongue Virus Infection in Ovine Cells

  • Bluetongue virus (BTV), a non-enveloped arbovirus, causes hemorrhagic disease in ruminants. However, the influence of natural host cell proteins on BTV replication process is not defined. In addition to cell lysis, BTV also exits non-ovine cultured cells by non-lytic pathways mediated by nonstructural protein NS3 that interacts with virus capsid and cellular proteins belonging to calpactin and ESCRT family. The PPXY late domain motif known to recruit NEDD4 family of HECT ubiquitin E3 ligases is also highly conserved in NS3. In this study using a mixture of molecular, biochemical and microscopic techniques we have analyzed the importance of ovine cellular proteins and vesicles in BTV infection. Electron microscopic analysis of BTV infected ovine cells demonstrated close association of mature particles with intracellular vesicles. Inhibition of Multi Vesicular Body (MVB) resident lipid phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate resulted in decreased total virus titre suggesting that the vesicles might be MVBs. Proteasome mediated inhibition of ubiquitin or modification of virus lacking the PPXY in NS3 reduced virus growth. Thus, our study demonstrated that cellular components comprising of MVB and exocytic pathways proteins are involved in BTV replication in ovine cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2358-2377: Genomic Analysis of 15 Human Coronaviruses OC43 (HCoV-OC43s) Circulating in France from 2001 to 2013 Reveals a High Intra-Specific Diversity with New Recombinant Genotypes

  • Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) is one of five currently circulating human coronaviruses responsible for respiratory infections. Like all coronaviruses, it is characterized by its genome’s high plasticity. The objectives of the current study were to detect genetically distinct genotypes and eventually recombinant genotypes in samples collected in Lower Normandy between 2001 and 2013. To this end, we sequenced complete nsp12, S, and N genes of 15 molecular isolates of HCoV-OC43 from clinical samples and compared them to available data from the USA, Belgium, and Hong-Kong. A new cluster E was invariably detected from nsp12, S, and N data while the analysis of nsp12 and N genes revealed the existence of new F and G clusters respectively. The association of these different clusters of genes in our specimens led to the description of thirteen genetically distinct genotypes, among which eight recombinant viruses were discovered. Identification of these recombinant viruses, together with temporal analysis and tMRCA estimation, provides important information for understanding the dynamics of the evolution of these epidemic coronaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2334-2357: Mechanisms of Cancer Cell Killing by the Adenovirus E4orf4 Protein

  • During adenovirus (Ad) replication the Ad E4orf4 protein regulates progression from the early to the late phase of infection. However, when E4orf4 is expressed alone outside the context of the virus it induces a non-canonical mode of programmed cell death, which feeds into known cell death pathways such as apoptosis or necrosis, depending on the cell line tested. E4orf4-induced cell death has many interesting and unique features including a higher susceptibility of cancer cells to E4orf4-induced cell killing compared with normal cells, caspase-independence, a high degree of evolutionary conservation of the signaling pathways, a link to perturbations of the cell cycle, and involvement of two distinct cell death programs, in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm. Several E4orf4-interacting proteins including its major partners, protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and Src family kinases, contribute to induction of cell death. The various features of E4orf4-induced cell killing as well as studies to decipher the underlying mechanisms are described here. Many explanations for the cancer specificity of E4orf4-induced cell death have been proposed, but a full understanding of the reasons for the different susceptibility of cancer and normal cells to killing by E4orf4 will require a more detailed analysis of the complex E4orf4 signaling network. An improved understanding of the mechanisms involved in this unique mode of programmed cell death may aid in design of novel E4orf4-based cancer therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2321-2333: Alphaviruses in Gene Therapy

  • Alphavirus vectors present an attractive approach for gene therapy applications due to the rapid and simple recombinant virus particle production and their broad range of mammalian host cell transduction. Mainly three types of alphavirus vectors, namely naked RNA, recombinant particles and DNA/RNA layered vectors, have been subjected to preclinical studies with the goal of achieving prophylactic or therapeutic efficacy, particularly in oncology. In this context, immunization with alphavirus vectors has provided protection against challenges with tumor cells. Moreover, alphavirus intratumoral and systemic delivery has demonstrated substantial tumor regression and significant prolonged survival rates in various animal tumor models. Recent discoveries of the strong association of RNA interference and disease have accelerated gene therapy based approaches, where alphavirus-based gene delivery can play an important role.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2308-2320: Increased Viral Dissemination in the Brain and Lethality in MCMV-Infected, Dicer-Deficient Neonates

  • Among Herpesviruses, Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV or HHV-5) represents a major threat during congenital or neonatal infections, which may lead to encephalitis with serious neurological consequences. However, as opposed to other less prevalent pathogens, the mechanisms and genetic susceptibility factors for CMV encephalitis are poorly understood. This lack of information considerably reduces the prognostic and/or therapeutic possibilities. To easily monitor the effects of genetic defects on brain dissemination following CMV infection we used a recently developed in vivo mouse model based on the neonatal inoculation of a MCMV genetically engineered to express Luciferase. Here, we further validate this protocol for live imaging, and demonstrate increased lethality associated with viral infection and encephalitis in mutant mice lacking Dicer activity. Our data indicate that miRNAs are important players in the control of MCMV pathogenesis and suggest that miRNA-based endothelial functions and integrity are crucial for CMV encephalitis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2288-2307: Intracellular Trafficking of Baculovirus Particles: A Quantitative Study of the HearNPV/HzAM1 Cell and AcMNPV/Sf9 Cell Systems

  • To replace the in vivo production of baculovirus-based biopesticides with a more convenient in vitro produced product, the limitations imposed by in vitro production have to be solved. One of the main problems is the low titer of HearNPV budded virions (BV) in vitro as the use of low BV titer stocks can result in non-homogenous infections resulting in multiple virus replication cycles during scale up that leads to low Occlusion Body yields. Here we investigate the baculovirus traffic in subcellular fractions of host cells throughout infection with an emphasis on AcMNPV/Sf9 and HearNPV/HzAM1 systems distinguished as“good” and “bad” BV producers, respectively. qPCR quantification of viral DNA in the nucleus, cytoplasm and extracellular fractions demonstrated that although the HearNPV/HzAM1 system produces twice the amount of vDNA as the AcMNPV/Sf9 system, its percentage of BV to total progeny vDNA waslower. vDNA egress from the nucleus to the cytoplasm is sufficient in both systems, however, a higher percentage of vDNA in the HearNPV/HzAM1 system remain in the cytoplasm and do not bud out of the cells compared to the AcMNPV/Sf9 system. In both systems more than 75% of the vDNA produced in the nuclear fraction go unused, without budding or being encapsulated in OBs showing the capacity for improvements that could result from the engineering of the virus/cell line systems to achieve better productivities for both BV and OB yields.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2268-2287: Celecoxib Inhibits the Lytic Activation of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus through Down-Regulation of RTA Expression by Inhibiting the Activation of p38 MAPK

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD). KSHV’s lytic replication cycle is critical for the pathogenesis of KSHV-associated diseases. Despite recent progress in thedevelopment of treatments for KSHV associated malignancies, these therapies are not completely efficacious and cause side effects. Therefore, more effective therapies with antiviral agents against KSHV are urgently needed. In this study, we identified celecoxib as an antiviral agent against KSHV. Our data suggest that celecoxib inhibits the lytic activation of KSHV through the down-regulation of the expression of the lytic switch protein, replication and transcription activator (RTA), by inhibiting the activation of p38 MAPK. Therefore, celecoxib may provide a candidate inhibitor for the therapeutic research of KSHV-related malignancies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2230-2267: Baculovirus Insecticides in Latin America: Historical Overview, Current Status and Future Perspectives

  • Baculoviruses are known to regulate many insect populations in nature. Their host-specificity is very high, usually restricted to a single or a few closely related insect species. They are amongst the safest pesticides, with no or negligible effects on non-target organisms, including beneficial insects, vertebrates and plants. Baculovirus-based pesticides are compatible with integrated pest management strategies and the expansion of their application will significantly reduce the risks associated with the use of synthetic chemical insecticides. Several successful baculovirus-based pest control programs have taken place in Latin American countries. Sustainable agriculture (a trend promoted by state authorities in most Latin American countries) will benefit from the wider use of registered viral pesticides and new viral products that are in the process of registration and others in the applied research pipeline. The success of baculovirus-based control programs depends upon collaborative efforts among government and research institutions, growers associations, and private companies, which realize the importance of using strategies that protect human health and the environment at large. Initiatives to develop new regulations that promote the use of this type of ecological alternatives tailored to different local conditions and farming systems are underway.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2210-2229: NMR Structure of the Myristylated Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Matrix Protein

  • Membrane targeting by the Gag proteins of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV types-1 and -2) is mediated by Gag’s N-terminally myristylated matrix (MA) domain and is dependent on cellular phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2]. To determine if other lentiviruses employ a similar membrane targeting mechanism, we initiated studies of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a widespread feline pathogen with potential utility for development of human therapeutics. Bacterial co-translational myristylation was facilitated by mutation of two amino acids near the amino-terminus of the protein (Q5A/G6S; myrMAQ5A/G6S). These substitutions did not affect virus assembly or release from transfected cells. NMR studies revealed that the myristyl group is buried within a hydrophobic pocket in a manner that is structurally similar to that observed for the myristylated HIV-1 protein. Comparisons with a recent crystal structure of the unmyristylated FIV protein [myr(-)MA] indicate that only small changes in helix orientation are required to accommodate the sequestered myr group. Depletion of PI(4,5)P2 from the plasma membrane of FIV-infected CRFK cells inhibited production of FIV particles, indicating that, like HIV, FIV hijacks the PI(4,5)P2 cellular signaling system to direct intracellular Gag trafficking during virus assembly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2185-2209: Genetic Characterization of the Tick-Borne Orbiviruses

  • The International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) recognizes four species of tick-borne orbiviruses (TBOs): Chenuda virus, Chobar Gorge virus, Wad Medani virus and Great Island virus (genus Orbivirus, family Reoviridae). Nucleotide (nt) and amino acid (aa) sequence comparisons provide a basis for orbivirus detection and classification, however full genome sequence data were only available for the Great Island virus species. We report representative genome-sequences for the three other TBO species (virus isolates: Chenuda virus (CNUV); Chobar Gorge virus (CGV) and Wad Medani virus (WMV)). Phylogenetic comparisons show that TBOs cluster separately from insect-borne orbiviruses (IBOs). CNUV, CGV, WMV and GIV share low level aa/nt identities with other orbiviruses, in‘conserved’ Pol, T2 and T13 proteins/genes, identifying them as four distinct virus-species. The TBO genome segment encoding cell attachment, outer capsid protein 1 (OC1), is approximately half the size of the equivalent segment from insect-borne orbiviruses, helping to explain why tick-borne orbiviruses have a ~1 kb smaller genome.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2168-2184: A Phylogeographic Investigation of African Monkeypox

  • Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by a virus member of the genus Orthopoxvirus and is endemic to Central and Western African countries. Previous work has identified two geographically disjuct clades of monkeypox virus based on the analysis of a few genomes coupled with epidemiological and clinical analyses; however, environmental and geographic causes of this differentiation have not been explored. Here, we expand previous phylogenetic studies by analyzing a larger set of monkeypox virus genomes originating throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to identify possible biogeographic barriers associated with genetic differentiation; and projected ecological niche models onto environmental conditions at three periods in the past to explore the potential role of climate oscillations in the evolution of the two primary clades. Analyses supported the separation of the Congo Basin and West Africa clades; the Congo Basin clade shows much shorter branches, which likely indicate a more recent diversification of isolates within this clade. The area between the Sanaga and Cross Rivers divides the two clades and the Dahomey Gap seems to have also served as a barrier within the West African clade. Contraction of areas with suitable environments for monkeypox virus during the Last Glacial Maximum, suggests that the Congo Basin clade of monkeypox virus experienced a severe bottleneck and has since expanded its geographic range.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2147-2167: BST2/Tetherin Inhibition of Alphavirus Exit

  • Alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Semliki Forest virus (SFV) are small enveloped RNA viruses that bud from the plasma membrane. Tetherin/BST2 is an interferon-induced host membrane protein that inhibits the release of many enveloped viruses via direct tethering of budded particles to the cell surface. Alphaviruses have highly organized structures and exclude host membrane proteins from the site of budding, suggesting that their release might be insensitive to tetherin inhibition. Here, we demonstrated that exogenously-expressed tetherin efficiently inhibited the release of SFV and CHIKV particles from host cells without affecting virus entry and infection. Alphavirus release was also inhibited by the endogenous levels of tetherin in HeLa cells. While rubella virus (RuV) and dengue virus (DENV) have structural similarities to alphaviruses, tetherin inhibited the release of RuV but not DENV. We found that two recently identified tetherin isoforms differing in length at the N-terminus exhibited distinct capabilities in restricting alphavirus release. SFV exit was efficiently inhibited by the long isoform but not the short isoform of tetherin, while both isoforms inhibited vesicular stomatitis virus exit. Thus, in spite of the organized structure of the virus particle, tetherin specifically blocks alphavirus release and shows an interesting isoform requirement.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2126-2146: Genome Variability and Gene Content in Chordopoxviruses: Dependence on Microsatellites

  • To investigate gene loss in poxviruses belonging to the Chordopoxvirinae subfamily, we assessed the gene content of representative members of the subfamily, and determined whether individual genes present in each genome were intact, truncated, or fragmented. When nonintact genes were identified, the early stop mutations (ESMs) leading to gene truncation or fragmentation were analyzed. Of all the ESMs present in these poxvirus genomes, over 65% co-localized with microsatellites—simple sequence nucleotide repeats. On average, microsatellites comprise 24% of the nucleotide sequence of these poxvirus genomes. These simple repeats have been shown to exhibit high rates of variation, and represent a target for poxvirus protein variation, gene truncation, and reductive evolution.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2099-2125: Baculovirus-mediated Gene Delivery and RNAi Applications

  • Baculoviruses are widely encountered in nature and a great deal of data is available about their safety and biology. Recently, these versatile, insect-specific viruses have demonstrated their usefulness in various biotechnological applications including protein production and gene transfer. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies exist and support their use as gene delivery vehicles in vertebrate cells. Recently, baculoviruses have also demonstrated high potential in RNAi applications in which several advantages of the virus make it a promising tool for RNA gene transfer with high safety and wide tropism.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2074-2098: Can Plant Viruses Cross the Kingdom Border and Be Pathogenic to Humans?

  • Phytoviruses are highly prevalent in plants worldwide, including vegetables and fruits. Humans, and more generally animals, are exposed daily to these viruses, among which several are extremely stable. It is currently accepted that a strict separation exists between plant and vertebrate viruses regarding their host range and pathogenicity, and plant viruses are believed to infect only plants. Accordingly, plant viruses are not considered to present potential pathogenicity to humans and other vertebrates. Notwithstanding these beliefs, there are many examples where phytoviruses circulate and propagate in insect vectors. Several issues are raised here that question if plant viruses might further cross the kingdom barrier to cause diseases in humans. Indeed, there is close relatedness between some plant and animal viruses, and almost identical gene repertoires. Moreover, plant viruses can be detected in non-human mammals and humans samples, and there are evidence of immune responses to plant viruses in invertebrates, non-human vertebrates and humans, and of the entry of plant viruses or their genomes into non-human mammal cells and bodies after experimental exposure. Overall, the question raised here is unresolved, and several data prompt the additional extensive study of the interactions between phytoviruses and non-human mammals and humans, and the potential of these viruses to cause diseases in humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2057-2073: Enhancement of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Infection by Seminal Plasma and Semen Amyloids Implicates a New Target for the Prevention of HSV Infection

  • Human herpesviruses cause different infectious diseases, resulting in world-wide health problems. Sexual transmission is a major route for the spread of both herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and -2. Semen plays an important role in carrying the viral particle that invades the vaginal or rectal mucosa and, thereby, initiates viral replication. Previously, we demonstrated that the amyloid fibrils semenogelin (SEM) and semen-derived enhancer of viral infection (SEVI), and seminal plasma (SP) augment cytomegalovirus infection (Tang et al., J. Virol 2013). Whether SEM or SEVI amyloids or SP could also enhance other herpesvirus infections has not been examined. In this study, we found that the two amyloids as well as SP strongly enhance both HSV-1 and -2 infections in cell culture. Along with SP, SEM and SEVI amyloids enhanced viral entry and increased infection rates by more than 10-fold, as assessed by flow cytometry assay and fluorescence microscopy. Viral replication was increased by about 50- to 100-fold. Moreover, viral growth curve assays showed that SEM and SEVI amyloids, as well as SP, sped up the kinetics of HSV replication such that the virus reached its replicative peak more quickly. The interactions of SEM, SEVI, and SP with HSVs are direct. Furthermore, we discovered that the enhancing effects of SP, SEM, and SEVI can be significantly reduced by heparin, a sulfated polysaccharide with an anionic charge. It is probable that heparin abrogates said enhancing effects by interfering with the interaction of the viral particle and the amyloids, which interaction results in the binding of the viral particles and both SEM and SEVI.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2030-2056: Humanized-VHH Transbodies that Inhibit HCV Protease and Replication

  • There is a need for safe and broadly effective anti-HCV agents that can cope with genetic multiplicity and mutations of the virus. In this study, humanized-camel VHHs to genotype 3a HCV serine protease were produced and were linked molecularly to a cell penetrating peptide, penetratin (PEN). Human hepatic (Huh7) cells transfected with the JFH-1 RNA of HCV genotype 2a and treated with the cell penetrable nanobodies (transbodies) had a marked reduction of the HCV RNA intracellularly and in their culture fluids, less HCV foci inside the cells and less amounts of HCV core antigen in culture supernatants compared with the infected cells cultured in the medium alone. The PEN-VHH-treated-transfected cells also had up-regulation of the genes coding for the host innate immune response (TRIF, TRAF3, IRF3, IL-28B and IFN-β), indicating that the cell penetrable nanobodies rescued the host innate immune response from the HCV mediated-suppression. Computerized intermolecular docking revealed that the VHHs bound to residues of the protease catalytic triad, oxyanion loop and/or the NS3 N-terminal portion important fornon-covalent binding of the NS4A protease cofactor protein. The so-produced transbodies have high potential for testing further as a candidate for safe, broadly effective and virus mutation tolerable anti-HCV agents.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2014-2029: Frequent Infection of Human Cancer Xenografts with Murine Endogenous Retroviruses in Vivo

  • Infection of human cancer xenografts in mice with murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) is a long-standing observation, but the likelihood of infection in vivo and its biological consequences are poorly understood. We therefore conducted a prospective study in commonly used xenograft recipient strains. From BALB/c nude mice engrafted with MCF7 human mammary carcinoma cells, we isolated a virus that was virtually identical to Bxv1, a locus encoding replication-competent xenotropic MLV (XMLV). XMLV was detected in 9/17 (53%) independently isolated explants. XMLV was not found in primary leukemias or in THP1 leukemia cells grown in Bxv1-negative NSG (NOD/SCID/γCnull) mice, although MCF7 explants harbored replication-defective MLV proviruses. To assess the significance of infection for xenograft behavior in vivo, we examined changes in growth and global transcription in MCF7 and the highly susceptible Raji Burkitt lymphoma cell line chronically infectedwith XMLV. Raji cells showed a stronger transcriptional response that included up-regulation of chemokines and effectors of innate antiviral immunity. In conclusion, the risk of de novo XMLV infection of xenografts is high in Bxv1 positive mice, while infection can have positive or negative effectson xenograft growth potential with significant consequences for interpretation of many xenograft studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2006-2013: Serological Evidence of Hantavirus Infection in Apparently Healthy People from Rural and Slum Communities in Southern Chile

  • Hantavirus disease in America has been recognizable because of its rapid progression in clinical cases, occurrence in previously healthy young adults, and high case fatality rate. Hantavirus disease has been proposed now to define the diversity of clinical manifestations. Since 1995, a total of 902 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome have been reported in Chile, caused by Andes virus (ANDV), with overall fatality of 32%. This report describes the sero-epidemiology of hantavirus in apparently healthy people in rural and urban slum communities from southern Chile. Ten of 934 samples yielded a positive result resulting in a seroprevalence of 1.07% (95% confidence intervals: 0.05%–2.0%). A higher proportion of positive samples was found among individuals from rural villages (1.3%) and slums (1.5%) compared with farms (0.5%). Seropositivity was associated with age (p = 0.011), low education level (p = 0.006) and occupations linked to the household (homemaker, retired, or student) (p = 0.016). No evidence of infection was found in 38 sigmodontinae rodents trapped in the peri-domestic environment. Our findings highlight that exposure risk was associated with less documented risk factors, such as women in slum and rural villages, and the occurrence of infection that may have presented as flu-like illness that did not require medical attention or was misdiagnosed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1987-2005: A Piscine Birnavirus Induces Inhibition of Protein Synthesis in CHSE-214 Cells Primarily through the Induction of eIF2α Phosphorylation

  • Inhibition of protein synthesis represents one of the antiviral mechanisms employed by cells and it is also used by viruses for their own propagation. To what extent members of the Birnaviridae family employ such strategies is not well understood. Here we use a type-strain of the Aquabirnavirus, infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), to investigate this phenomenon in vitro. CHSE-214 cells were infected with IPNV and at 3, 12, 24, and 48 hours post infection (hpi) before the cells were harvested and labeled with S35 methionine to assess protein synthesis. eIF2α phosphorylation was examined by Western blot while RT-qPCR was used to assess virus replication and the expression levels of IFN-α, Mx1 and PKR. Cellular responses to IPNV infection were assessed by DNA laddering, Caspase-3 assays and flow cytometry. The results show that the onset and kinetics of eIF2α phosphorylation was similar to that of protein synthesis inhibition as shown by metabolic labeling. Increased virus replication and virus protein formation was observed by 12 hpi, peaking at 24 hpi. Apoptosis was induced in a small fraction (1−2%) of IPNV-infected CHSE cells from 24 hpi while necrotic/late apoptotic cells increased from 10% by 24 hpi to 59% at 48 hpi, as shown by flow cytometry. These results were in accordance with a small decline in cell viability by 24hpi, dropping below 50% by 48 hpi. IPNV induced IFN-α mRNA upregulation by 24 hpi while no change was observed in the expression of Mx1 and PKR mRNA. Collectively, these findings show that IPNV induces inhibition of protein synthesis in CHSE cells through phosphorylation of eIF2α with minimal involvement of apoptosis. The anticipation is that protein inhibition is used by the virus to evade the host innate antiviral responses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1975-1986: Evaluating Environmental Persistence and Disinfection of the Ebola Virus Makona Variant

  • Background: The current disease outbreak caused by the Ebola virus Makona variant (EBOV/Mak) has led to unprecedented morbidity and lethality given its geographic reach and sustained transmission. Sodium hypochlorite and ethanol are well-accepted decontamination agents, however little published evidence supports the selection of appropriate concentrations and contact times. The present study addresses the environmental robustness of EBOV/Mak and evaluates the effectiveness of sodium hypochlorite and ethanol as disinfectants. Methods: EBOV/Mak was suspended in a simulated organic soil load and dried onto surfaces. Viability was measured at 1 hour, 24 hours, 72 hours, and 192 hours. For the evaluation of disinfectants, EBOV/Mak in a simulated organic soil was dried onto stainless steel carriers and disinfected with 0.01% (v/v), 0.1% (v/v), 0.5% (v/v) and 1% (v/v) sodium hypochlorite solutions or 67% (v/v) ethanol at contact times of 1, 5 or 10 minutes. Results: EBOV/Mak persisted longer on steel and plastic surfaces (192 hours) than cotton (aamp;amp;lt;24 hours). Dilute sodium hypochlorite (0.01% and 0.1%) showed little antiviral action, whereas 0.5% and 1% sodium hypochlorite solutions demonstrated recoverable virus at one minute but sterilized surfaces in five minutes. Disinfection with 67% ethanol did not fully clear infectious virions from 3/9 carriers at 1 minute but sterilized all carriers at 5 and 10 minutes. Conclusions: Sodium hypochlorite and ethanol effectively decontaminate EBOV/Mak suspended in a simulated organic load; however, selection of concentration and contact time proves critical.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1960-1974: Gene Acquisition Convergence between Entomopoxviruses and Baculoviruses

  • Organisms from diverse phylogenetic origins can thrive within the same ecological niches. They might be induced to evolve convergent adaptations in response to a similar landscape of selective pressures. Their genomes should bear the signature of this process. The study of unrelated virus lineages infecting the same host panels guarantees a clear identification of phyletically independent convergent adaptation. Here, we investigate the evolutionary history of genes in the accessory genome shared by unrelated insect large dsDNA viruses: the entomopoxviruses (EPVs, Poxviridae) and the baculoviruses (BVs). EPVs and BVs have overlapping ecological niches and have independently evolved similar infection processes. They are, in theory, subjected to the same selective pressures from their host’s immune responses. Their accessory genomes might, therefore, bear analogous genomic signatures of convergent adaption and could point out key genomic mechanisms of adaptation hitherto undetected in viruses. We uncovered 32 homologous, yet independent acquisitions of genes originating from insect hosts, different eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses. We showed different evolutionary levels of gene acquisition convergence in these viruses, underlining a continuous evolutionary process. We found both recent and ancient gene acquisitions possibly involved to the adaptation to both specific and distantly related hosts. Multidirectional and multipartite gene exchange networks appear to constantly drive exogenous gene assimilations, bringing key adaptive innovations and shaping the life histories of large DNA viruses. This evolutionary process might lead to genome level adaptive convergence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1927-1959: Insect-Specific Flaviviruses: A Systematic Review of Their Discovery, Host Range, Mode of Transmission, Superinfection Exclusion Potential and Genomic Organization

  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFs) discovered in the last decade. Historically, these viruses have generated limited interest due to their inability to infect vertebrate cells. This viewpoint has changed in recent years because some ISFs have been shown to enhance or suppress the replication of medically important flaviviruses in co-infected mosquito cells. Additionally, comparative studies between ISFs and medically important flaviviruses can provide a unique perspective as to why some flaviviruses possess the ability to infect and cause devastating disease in humans while others do not. ISFs have been isolated exclusively from mosquitoes in nature but the detection of ISF-like sequences in sandflies and chironomids indicates that they may also infect other dipterans. ISFs can be divided into two distinct phylogenetic groups. The first group currently consists of approximately 12 viruses and includes cell fusing agent virus, Kamiti River virus and Culex flavivirus. These viruses are phylogenetically distinct from all other known flaviviruses. The second group, which is apparently not monophyletic, currently consists of nine viruses and includes Chaoyang virus, Nounané virus and Lammi virus. These viruses phylogenetically affiliate with mosquito/vertebrate flaviviruses despite their apparent insect-restricted phenotype. This article provides a review of the discovery, host range, mode of transmission, superinfection exclusion ability and genomic organization of ISFs. This article also attempts to clarify the ISF nomenclature because some of these viruses have been assigned more than one name due to their simultaneous discoveries by independent research groups.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1902-1926: Archaeal Viruses Multiply: Temporal Screening in a Solar Saltern

  • Hypersaline environments around the world are dominated by archaea and their viruses. To date, very little is known about these viruses and their interaction with the host strains when compared to bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We performed the first culture-dependent temporal screening of haloarchaeal viruses and their hosts in the saltern of Samut Sakhon, Thailand, during two subsequent years (2009, 2010). Altogether we obtained 36 haloarchaeal virus isolates and 36 archaeal strains, significantly increasing the number of known archaeal virus isolates. Interestingly, the morphological distribution of our temporal isolates (head-tailed, pleomorphic, and icosahedral membrane-containing viruses) was similar to the outcome of our previous spatial survey supporting the observations of a global resemblance of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses. Myoviruses represented the most abundant virus morphotype with strikingly broad host ranges. The other viral morphotypes (siphoviruses, as well as pleomorphic and icosahedral internal membrane-containing viruses) were more host-specific. We also identified a group of Halorubrum strains highly susceptible to numerous different viruses (up to 26). This high virus sensitivity, the abundance of broad host range viruses, and the maintenance of infectivity over a period of one year suggest constant interplay of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses within an extreme environment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1871-1901: The Role of Merkel Cell Polyomavirus and Other Human Polyomaviruses in Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer

  • Polyomaviruses are non-enveloped, dsDNA viruses that are common in mammals, including humans. All polyomaviruses encode the large T-antigen and small t-antigen proteins that share conserved functional domains, comprising binding motifs for the tumor suppressors pRb and p53, and for protein phosphatase 2A, respectively. At present, 13 different human polyomaviruses are known, and for some of them their large T-antigen and small t-antigen have been shown to possess oncogenic properties in cell culture and animal models, while similar functions are assumed for the large T- and small t-antigen of other human polyomaviruses. However, so far the Merkel cell polyomavirus seems to be the only human polyomavirus associated with cancer. The large T- and small t-antigen exert their tumorigenic effects through classical hallmarks of cancer: inhibiting tumor suppressors, activating tumor promoters, preventing apoptosis, inducing angiogenesis and stimulating metastasis. This review elaborates on the putative roles of human polyomaviruses in some of the emerging hallmarks of cancer. The reciprocal interactions between human polyomaviruses and the immune system response are discussed, a plausible role of polyomavirus-encoded and polyomavirus-induced microRNA in cancer is described, and the effect of polyomaviruses on energy homeostasis and exosomes is explored. Therapeutic strategies against these emerging hallmarks of cancer are also suggested.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1853-1870: A Current Overview of the Papaya meleira virus, an Unusual Plant Virus

  • Papaya meleira virus (PMeV) is the causal agent of papaya sticky disease, which is characterized by a spontaneous exudation of fluid and aqueous latex from the papaya fruit and leaves. The latex oxidizes after atmospheric exposure, resulting in a sticky feature on the fruit from which the name of the disease originates. PMeV is an isometric virus particle with a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome of approximately 12 Kb. Unusual for a plant virus, PMeV particles are localized on and linked to the polymers present in the latex. The ability of the PMeV to inhabit such a hostile environment demonstrates an intriguing interaction of the virus with the papaya. A hypersensitivity response is triggered against PMeV infection, and there is a reduction in the proteolytic activity of papaya latex during sticky disease. In papaya leaf tissues, stress responsive proteins, mostly calreticulin and proteasome-related proteins, are up regulated and proteins related to metabolism are down-regulated. Additionally, PMeV modifies the transcription of several miRNAs involved in the modulation of genes related to the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Until now, no PMeV resistant papaya genotype has been identified and roguing is the only viral control strategy available. However, a single inoculation of papaya plants with PMeV dsRNA delayed the progress of viral infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1832-1852: In Ovo Delivery of CpG DNA Reduces Avian Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus Induced Mortality and Morbidity

  • Endosomal toll-like receptor-21 and -9 sense CpG DNA activating production of pro-inflammatory mediators with antimicrobial effects. Here, we investigated the induction of antiviral response of in ovo delivered CpG DNA against infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) infection. We found that in ovo delivered CpG DNA significantly reduces ILTV infection pre-hatch correlating with the expression of IL-1β and increase of macrophages in lungs. As assessed in vitro, CpG DNA stimulated avian macrophages could be a potential source of IL-1β and other pro-inflammatory mediators. Since we also found that in ovo CpG DNA delivery maintains increased macrophages in the lungs post-hatch, we infected the chickens on the day of hatch with ILTV. We found that in ovo delivered CpG DNA significantly reduces mortality and morbidity resulting from ILTV infection encountered post-hatch. Thus, CpG DNA can be a candidate innate immune stimulant worthy of further investigation for the control of ILTV infection in chickens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1823-1831: Analysis of HDAC6 and BAG3-Aggresome Pathways in African Swine Fever Viral Factory Formation

  • African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a double-stranded DNA virus causing a hemorrhagic fever disease with high mortality rates and severe economic losses in pigs worldwide. ASFV replicates in perinuclear sites called viral factories (VFs) that are morphologically similar to cellular aggresomes. This fact raises the possibility that both VFs and aggresomes may be the same structure. However, little is known about the process involved in the formation of these viral replication platforms. In order to expand our knowledge on the assembly of ASFV replication sites, we have analyzed the involvement of both canonical aggresome pathways in the formation of ASFV VFs: HDAC6 and BAG3. HDAC6 interacts with a component of the dynein motor complex (dynactin/p150Glued) and ubiquitinated proteins, transporting them to the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) and leading to aggresome formation, while BAG3 is mediating the recruitment of non-ubiquitinated proteins through a similar mechanism. Tubacin-mediated HDAC6 inhibition and silencing of BAG3 pathways, individually or simultaneously, did not prevent ASFV VF formation. These findings show that HDAC6 and Bag3 are not required for VFs formation suggesting that aggresomes and VFs are not the same structures. However, alternative unexplored pathways may be involved in the formation of aggresomes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1804-1822: A Suggested New Bacteriophage Genus, “Kp34likevirus”, within the Autographivirinae Subfamily of Podoviridae

  • Klebsiella pneumoniae phages vB_KpnP_SU503 (SU503) and vB_KpnP_SU552A (SU552A) are virulent viruses belonging to the Autographivirinae subfamily of Podoviridae that infect and kill multi-resistant K. pneumoniae isolates. Phages SU503 and SU552A show high pairwise nucleotide identity to Klebsiella phages KP34 (NC_013649), F19 (NC_023567) and NTUH-K2044-K1-1 (NC_025418). Bioinformatic analysis of these phage genomes show high conservation of gene arrangement and gene content, conserved catalytically active residues of their RNA polymerase, a common and specific lysis cassette, and form a joint cluster in phylogenetic analysis of their conserved genes. Also, we have performed biological characterization of the burst size, latent period, host specificity (together with KP34 and NTUH-K2044-K1-1), morphology, and structural genes as well as sensitivity testing to various conditions. Based on the analyses of these phages, the creation of a new phage genus is suggested within the Autographivirinae, called“Kp34likevirus” after their type phage, KP34. This genus should encompass the recently genome sequenced Klebsiella phages KP34, SU503, SU552A, F19 and NTUH-K2044-K1-1.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1726-1803: The Evolution of Poxvirus Vaccines

  • After Edward Jenner established human vaccination over 200 years ago, attenuated poxviruses became key players to contain the deadliest virus of its own family: Variola virus (VARV), the causative agent of smallpox. Cowpox virus (CPXV) and horsepox virus (HSPV) were extensively used to this end, passaged in cattle and humans until the appearance of vaccinia virus (VACV), which was used in the final campaigns aimed to eradicate the disease, an endeavor that was accomplished by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980. Ever since, naturally evolved strains used for vaccination were introduced into research laboratories where VACV and other poxviruses with improved safety profiles were generated. Recombinant DNA technology along with the DNA genome features of this virus family allowed the generation of vaccines against heterologous diseases, and the specific insertion and deletion of poxvirus genes generated an even broader spectrum of modified viruses with new properties that increase their immunogenicity and safety profile as vaccine vectors. In this review, we highlight the evolution of poxvirus vaccines, from first generation to the current status, pointing out how different vaccines have emerged and approaches that are being followed up in the development of more rational vaccines against a wide range of diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1700-1725: Incorporation of Spike and Membrane Glycoproteins into Coronavirus Virions

  • The envelopes of coronaviruses (CoVs) contain primarily three proteins; the two major glycoproteins spike (S) and membrane (M), and envelope (E), a non-glycosylated protein. Unlike other enveloped viruses, CoVs bud and assemble at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC). For efficient virion assembly, these proteins must be targeted to the budding site and to interact with each other or the ribonucleoprotein. Thus, the efficient incorporation of viral envelope proteins into CoV virions depends on protein trafficking and protein–protein interactions near the ERGIC. The goal of this review is to summarize recent findings on the mechanism of incorporation of the M and S glycoproteins into the CoV virion, focusing on protein trafficking and protein–protein interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1685-1699: Deep Sequencing Reveals the Complete Genome and Evidence for Transcriptional Activity of the First Virus-Like Sequences Identified in Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui Berry)

  • Here, we report the genome sequence and evidence for transcriptional activity of a virus-like element in the native Chilean berry tree Aristotelia chilensis. We propose to name the endogenous sequence as Aristotelia chilensis Virus 1 (AcV1). High-throughput sequencing of the genome of this tree uncovered an endogenous viral element, with a size of 7122 bp, corresponding to the complete genome of AcV1. Its sequence contains three open reading frames (ORFs): ORFs 1 and 2 shares 66%–73% amino acid similarity with members of the Caulimoviridae virus family, especially the Petunia vein clearing virus (PVCV), Petuvirus genus. ORF1 encodes a movement protein (MP); ORF2 a Reverse Transcriptase (RT) and a Ribonuclease H (RNase H) domain; and ORF3 showed no amino acid sequence similarity with any other known virus proteins. Analogous to other known endogenous pararetrovirus sequences (EPRVs), AcV1 is integrated in the genome of Maqui Berry and showed low viral transcriptional activity, which was detected by deep sequencing technology (DNA and RNA-seq). Phylogenetic analysis of AcV1 and other pararetroviruses revealed a closer resemblance with Petuvirus. Overall, our data suggests that AcV1 could be a new member of Caulimoviridae family, genus Petuvirus, and the first evidence of this kind of virus in a fruit plant.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1668-1684: Human Pirh2 is A Novel Inhibitor of Prototype Foamy Virus Replication

  • Prototype foamy virus (PFV) is a member of the unconventional and nonpathogenic retroviruses. PFV causes lifelong chronic infections, which are partially attributable to a number of host cell factors that restrict viral replication. Herein, we identified human p53-induced RING-H2 protein (Pirh2) as a novel inhibitor of prototype foamy virus. Overexpression of Pirh2 decreased the replication of PFV, whereas knockdown of Pirh2 with specific siRNA increased PFV replication. Dual-luciferase assays and coimmunoprecipitation demonstrated that Pirh2 negatively influences the Tas-dependent transcriptional activation of the PFV long terminal repeat (LTR) and internal promoter (IP) by interacting with the transactivator Tas and down-regulating its expression. In addition, the viral inhibitory function of Pirh2 is N-terminal and RING domain dependent. Together, these results indicated that Pirh2 suppresses PFV replication by negatively impacting its transactivator Tas and the transcription of two viral promoters, which may contribute to the latency of PFV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1667: Addendum: Kaźmierczak, Z.; Górski, A.; Dąbrowska, K. Facing Antibiotic Resistance: Staphylococcus aureus Phages as a Medical Tool. Viruses 2014, 6, 2551-2570.

  • The authors would like to add the following Acknowledgements section: “Acknowledgements This work was funded by the National Science Centre in Poland grant UMO-2012/05/E/NZ6/03314.” [...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1651-1666: Tenth International Foamy Virus Conference 2014–Achievements and Perspectives

  • For the past two decades, scientists from around the world, working on different aspects of foamy virus (FV) research, have gathered in different research institutions almost every two years to present their recent results in formal talks, to discuss their ongoing studies informally, and to initiate fruitful collaborations. In this report we review the 2014 anniversary conference to share the meeting summary with the virology community and hope to arouse interest by other researchers to join this exciting field. The topics covered included epidemiology, virus molecular biology, and immunology of FV infection in non-human primates, cattle, and humans with zoonotic FV infections, as well as recent findings on endogenous FVs. Several topics focused on virus replication and interactions between viral and cellular proteins. Use of FV in biomedical research was highlighted with presentations on using FV vectors for gene therapy and FV proteins as scaffold for vaccine antigen presentation. On behalf of the FV community, this report also includes a short tribute to commemorate Prof. Axel Rethwilm, one of the leading experts in the field of retrovirology and foamy viruses, who passed away 29 July 2014.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1642-1650: Presence of Poly(A) Tails at the 3'-Termini of Some mRNAs of a Double-Stranded RNA Virus, Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus

  • Southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV), a new member of the genus Fijivirus, is a double-stranded RNA virus known to lack poly(A) tails. We now showed that some of SRBSDV mRNAs were indeed polyadenylated at the 3' terminus in plant hosts, and investigated the nature of 3' poly(A) tails. The non-abundant presence of SRBSDV mRNAs bearing polyadenylate tails suggested that these viral RNA were subjected to polyadenylation-stimulated degradation. The discovery of poly(A) tails in different families of viruses implies potentially a wide occurrence of the polyadenylation-assisted RNA degradation in viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1627-1641: Glycosylation of KSHV Encoded vGPCR Functions in Its Signaling and Tumorigenicity

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a tumor virus and the etiologic agent of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS). KSHV G protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR) is an oncogene that is implicated in malignancies associated with KHSV infection. In this study, we show that vGPCR undergoes extensive N-linked glycosylation within the extracellular domains, specifically asparagines 18, 22, 31 and 202. An immunofluorescence assay demonstrates that N-linked glycosylation are necessary for vGPCR trafficking to the cellular membrane. Employing vGPCR mutants whose glycosylation sites were ablated, we show that these vGPCR mutants failed to activate downstream signaling in cultured cells and were severely impaired to induce tumor formation in the xenograph nude mouse model. These findings support the conclusion that glycosylation is critical for vGPCR tumorigenesis and imply that chemokine regulation at theplasma membrane is crucial for vGPCR mediated signaling.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1613-1626: Apigenin Restricts FMDV Infection and Inhibits Viral IRES Driven Translational Activity

  • Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious disease of domestic and wild ruminants that is caused by FMD virus (FMDV). FMD outbreaks have occurred in livestock-containing regions worldwide. Apigenin, which is a flavonoid naturally existing in plant, possesses various pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant and antiviral activities. Results show that apigenin can inhibit FMDV-mediated cytopathogenic effect and FMDV replication in vitro. Further studies demonstrate the following: (i) apigenin inhibits FMDV infection at the viral post-entry stage; (ii) apigenin does not exhibit direct extracellular virucidal activity; and (iii) apigenin interferes with the translational activity of FMDV driven by internal ribosome entry site. Studies on applying apigein in vivo are required for drug development and further identification of potential drug targets against FDMV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1599-1612: Development of a Recombination System for the Generation of Occlusion Positive Genetically Modified Anticarsia Gemmatalis Multiple Nucleopolyhedrovirus

  • Anticarsia gemmatalis is an important pest in legume crops in South America and it has been successfully controlled using Anticarsia gemmatalis Multiple Nucleopolyhedrovirus (AgMNPV) in subtropical climate zones. Nevertheless, in temperate climates its speed of kill is too slow. Taking this into account, genetic modification of AgMNPV could lead to improvements of its biopesticidal properties. Here we report the generation of a two-component system that allows the production of recombinant AgMNPV. This system is based on a parental AgMNPV in which the polyhedrin gene (polh) was replaced by a bacterialβ-galactosidase (lacZ) gene flanked by two target sites for the homing endonuclease I-PpoI. Co-transfection of insect cells with linearized (I-PpoI-digested) parental genome and a transfer vector allowed the restitution of polh and the expression of a heterologous gene upon homologous recombination, with a low background of non-recombinant AgMNPV. The system was validated by constructing a recombinant occlusion-positive (polh+) AgMNPV expressing the green fluorescent protein gene (gfp). This recombinant virus infected larvae normally per os and led to the expression of GFP in cell culture aswell as in A. gemmatalis larvae. These results demonstrate that the system is an efficient method for the generation of recombinant AgMNPV expressing heterologous genes, which can be used for manifold purposes, including biotechnological and pharmaceutical applications and the production of orally infectious recombinants with improved biopesticidal properties.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1578-1598: Eradication of HIV-1 from the Macrophage Reservoir: An Uncertain Goal?

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) establishes latency in resting memory CD4+ T cells and cells of myeloid lineage. In contrast to the T cells, cells of myeloid lineage are resistant to the HIV-1 induced cytopathic effect. Cells of myeloid lineage including macrophages are present in anatomical sanctuaries making them a difficult drug target. In addition, the long life span of macrophages as compared to the CD4+ T cells make them important viral reservoirs in infected individuals especially in the late stage of viral infection where CD4+ T cells are largely depleted. In the past decade, HIV-1 persistence in resting CD4+ T cells has gained considerable attention. It is currently believed that rebound viremia following cessation of combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) originates from this source. However, the clinical relevance of this reservoir has been questioned. It is suggested that the resting CD4+ T cells are only one source of residual viremia and other viral reservoirs such as tissue macrophages should be seriously considered. In the present review we will discuss how macrophages contribute to the development of long-lived latent reservoirs and how macrophages can be used as a therapeutic target in eradicating latent reservoir.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1558-1577: Identification of a Common Epitope between Enterovirus 71 and Human MED25 Proteins Which May Explain Virus-Associated Neurological Disease

  • Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a major causative pathogen of hand, foot and mouth disease with especially severe neurologic complications, which mainly account for fatalities from this disease. To date, the pathogenesis of EV71 in the central neurons system has remained unclear. Cytokine-mediated immunopathogenesis and nervous tissue damage by virus proliferation are two widely speculated causes of the neurological disease. To further study the pathogenesis, we identified a common epitope (co-epitope) between EV71 VP1 and human mediator complex subunit 25 (MED25) highly expressed in brain stem. A monoclonal antibody (2H2) against the co-epitope was prepared, and its interaction with MED25 was examined by ELISA, immunofluorescence assay and Western blot in vitro and by live small animal imaging in vivo. Additionally, 2H2 could bind to both VP1 and MED25 with the affinity constant (Kd) of 10−7 M as determined by the ForteBio Octet System. Intravenously injected 2H2 was distributed in brain stem of mice after seven days of EV71 infection. Interestingly, 2H2-like antibodies were detected in the serum of EV71-infected patients. These findings suggest that EV71 infection induces the production of antibodies that can bind to autoantigens expressed in nervous tissue and maybe further trigger autoimmune reactions resulting in neurological disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1540-1557: Viral Interference with Functions of the Cellular Receptor Tyrosine Phosphatase CD45

  • The receptor tyrosine phosphatase CD45 is expressed on the surface of almost all cells of hematopoietic origin. CD45 functions are central to the development of T cells and determine the threshold at which T and B lymphocytes can become activated. Given this pivotal role of CD45 in the immune system, it is probably not surprising that viruses interfere with the activity of CD45 in lymphocytes to dampen the immune response and that they also utilize this molecule to accomplish their replication cycle. Here we report what is known about the interaction of viral proteins with CD45. Moreover, we debate putative interactions of viruses with CD45 in myeloid cells and the resulting consequences—subjects that remain to be investigated. Finally, we summarize the evidence that pathogens were the driving force for the evolution of CD45.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1505-1539: Molecular Genetic Analysis of Orf Virus: A Poxvirus That Has Adapted to Skin

  • Orf virus is the type species of the Parapoxvirus genus of the family Poxviridae. It induces acute pustular skin lesions in sheep and goats and is transmissible to humans. The genome is G+C rich, 138 kbp and encodes 132 genes. It shares many essential genes with vaccinia virus that are required for survival but encodes a number of unique factors that allow it to replicate in the highly specific immune environment of skin. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that both viral interleukin-10 and vascular endothelial growth factor genes have been“captured” from their host during the evolution of the parapoxviruses. Genes such as a chemokine binding protein and a protein that binds granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-2 appear to have evolved from a common poxvirus ancestral gene while three parapoxvirus nuclear factor (NF)-κB signalling pathway inhibitors have no homology to other known NF-κB inhibitors. A homologue of an anaphase-promoting complex subunit that is believed to manipulate the cell cycle and enhance viral DNA synthesis appears to be a specific adaptation for viral-replication in keratinocytes. The review focuses on the unique genes of orf virus, discusses their evolutionary origins and their role in allowing viral-replication in the skin epidermis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1492-1504: Facilitation of Rice Stripe Virus Accumulation in the Insect Vector by Himetobi P Virus VP1

  • The small brown planthopper (SBPH) is the main vector for rice stripe virus (RSV), which causes serious rice stripe disease in East Asia. To characterize the virus-vector interactions, the SBPH cDNA library was screened with RSV ribonucleoprotein (RNP) as bait using a GAL4-based yeast two-hybrid system. The interaction between RSV-RNP and the Himetobi P virus (HiPV, an insect picorna-like virus) VP1 protein was identified. The relationships between HiPV and RSV in SBPH were further investigated, and the results showed that the titer of RSV was commonly higher in single insect that exhibited more VP1 expression. After the VP1 gene was repressed by RNA silencing, the accumulation of RSV decreased significantly in the insect, whereas the virus acquisition ability of SBPH was unaffected, which suggests that HiPV VP1 potentially facilitates the accumulation of RSV in SBPH.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1474-1491: Chondroitin Sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-2 Contributes to the Replication of Infectious Bursal Disease Virus via Interaction with the Capsid Protein VP2

  • Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is a birnavirus that causes a highly contagious immunosuppressive disease in young chickens. The capsid protein VP2 of IBDV plays multiple roles in its life cycle. To more comprehensively understand the functions of VP2 involved in the communication between virus and host, we used yeast two-hybrid screening to identify the cellular factors that interact with this protein. We found that chondroitin sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-2 (CSGalNAcT2), a typical type II transmembrane protein located in Golgi apparatus, could interact with VP2, and we confirmed this interaction by co-immunoprecipitation and confocal laser scanning microscopy assays. Additionally, up-regulation of CSGalNAcT2 during IBDV infection was observed. Overexpression and siRNA-mediated knockdown of CSGalNAcT2 assays suggested that CSGalNAcT2 promoted IBDV replication. Moreover, this enhancing effect of CSGalNAcT2 could be inhibited by Brefeldin A, which is a Golgi-disturbing agent. This indicated that the integrity of Golgi apparatus structure was involved in the function of CSGalNAcT2. Taken together, we concluded that CSGalNAcT2, located in the Golgi apparatus, contributed to the replication of IBDV via interaction with VP2.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1454-1473: Interaction Research on the Antiviral Molecule Dufulin Targeting on Southern Rice Black Streaked Dwarf Virus P9-1 Nonstructural Protein

  • ern rice black streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) causes severe harm to rice production. Unfortunately, studies on effective antiviral drugs against SRBSDV and interaction mechanism of antiviral molecule targeting on SRBSDV have not been reported. This study found dufulin (DFL), an ideal anti-SRBSDV molecule, and investigated the interactions of DFL targeting on the nonstructural protein P9-1. The biological sequence information and bonding characterization of DFL to four kinds of P9-1 protein were described with fluorescence titration (FT) and microscale thermophoresis (MST) assays. The sequence analysis indicated that P9-1 had highly-conserved C- and N-terminal amino acid residues and a hypervariable region that differed from 131 aa to 160 aa. Consequently, wild-type (WT-His-P9-1), 23 C-terminal residues truncated (TR-ΔC23-His-P9-1), 6 N-terminal residues truncated (TR-ΔN6-His-P9-1), and Ser138 site-directed (MU-138-His-P9-1) mutant proteins were expressed. The FT and MST assay results indicated that DFL bounded to WT-His-P9-1 with micromole affinity and the 23 C-terminal amino acids were the potential targeting site. This system, which combines a complete sequence analysis, mutant protein expression, and binding action evaluating system, could further advance the understanding of the interaction abilities between antiviral drugs and their targets.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1429-1453: Modulation of SIV and HIV DNA Vaccine Immunity by Fas-FasL Signaling

  • Signaling through the Fas/Apo-1/CD95 death receptor is known to affect virus-specific cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses. We tested whether modulating the Fas-apoptotic pathway can enhance immune responses to DNA vaccination or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. Mice were electroporated with plasmids expressing a variety of pro- or anti-apoptotic molecules related to Fas signaling and then either LCMV-infected or injected with plasmid DNA expressing SIV or HIV antigens. Whereas Fas or FasL knockout mice had improved CMI, down-regulation of Fas or FasL by shRNA or antibody failed to improve CMI and was accompanied by increases in regulatory T cells (Treg). Two“adjuvant” plasmids were discovered that significantly enhanced plasmid immunizations. The adjuvant effects of Fas-associated death domain (FADD) and of cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (cFLIP) were consistently accompanied by increased effector memory T lymphocytes and increased T cell proliferation. This adjuvant effect was also observed when comparing murine infections with LCMV-Armstrong and its persisting variant LCMV-Clone 13. LCMV-Armstrong was cleared in 100% of mice nine days after infection, while LCMV-Clone 13 persisted in all mice. However, half of the mice pre-electroporatedwith FADD or cFLIP plasmids were able to clear LCMV-Clone 13 by day nine, and, in the case of cFLIP, increased viral clearance was accompanied by higher CMI. Our studies imply that molecules in the Fas pathway are likely to affect a number of events in addition to the apoptosis of cells involved inimmunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1409-1428: Valganciclovir Inhibits Human Adenovirus Replication and Pathology in Permissive Immunosuppressed Female and Male Syrian Hamsters

  • Adenovirus infections of immunocompromised pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients can develop into serious and often deadly multi-organ disease. There are no drugs approved for adenovirus infections. Cidofovir (an analog of 2-deoxycytidine monophosphate) is used at times but it can be nephrotoxic and its efficacy has not been proven in clinical trials. Brincidofovir, a promising lipid-linked derivative of cidofovir, is in clinical trials. Ganciclovir, an analog of 2-deoxyguanosine, has been employed occasionally but with unknown efficacy in the clinic. In this study, we evaluated valganciclovir against disseminated adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) infection in our permissive immunosuppressed Syrian hamster model. We administered valganciclovir prophylactically, beginning 12 h pre-infection or therapeutically starting at Day 1, 2, 3, or 4 post-infection. Valganciclovir significantly increased survival, reduced viral replication in the liver, and mitigated the pathology associated with Ad5 infection. In cultured cells, valganciclovir inhibited Ad5 DNA replication and blocked the transition from early to late stage of infection. Valganciclovir directly inhibited Ad5 DNA polymerase in vitro, which may explain, at least in part, its mechanism of action. Ganciclovir and valganciclovir are approved to treat infections by certain herpesviruses. Our results support the use of valganciclovir to treat disseminated adenovirus infections in immunosuppressed patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1391-1408: Anti-CMV-IgG Positivity of Donors Is Beneficial for alloHSCT Recipients with Respect to the Better Short-Term Immunological Recovery and High Level of CD4+CD25high Lymphocytes

  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from anti-cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G (anti-CMV-IgG) positive donors facilitated immunological recovery post-transplant, which may indicate that chronic CMV infection has an effect on the immune system. This can be seen in the recipients after reconstitution with donor lymphocytes. We evaluated the composition of lymphocytes at hematologic recovery in 99 patients with hematologic malignancies post hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Anti-CMV-IgG seropositivity of the donor was associated with higher proportions of CD4+ (227.963± 304.858 × 106 vs. 102.050 ± 17.247 × 106 cells/L, p = 0.009) and CD4+CD25high (3.456 ± 0.436 × 106 vs. 1.589 ± 0.218 × 106 cells/L, p = 0.003) lymphocytes in the blood at hematologic recovery. The latter parameter exerted a diverse influence on the risk of acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) if low (1.483 ± 0.360 × 106 vs. 3.778 ± 0.484 × 106 cells/L, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and de novo chronic GvHD (cGvHD) if high (3.778 ± 0.780 × 106 vs. 2.042 ± 0.261 × 106 cells/L, p = 0.041). Higher values of CD4+ lymphocytes in patients who received transplants from anti-CMV-IgG-positive donors translated into a reduced demand for IgG support (23/63 vs. 19/33, p = 0.048), and these patients also exhibited reduced susceptibility to cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and/or human herpes 6 virus (HHV6) infection/reactivation (12/50 vs. 21/47, p = 0.032). Finally, highlevels (³0.4%) of CD4+CD25high lymphocytes were significantly associated with better post-transplant survival (56% vs. 38%, four-year survival, p = 0.040). Donors who experience CMV infection/reactivation provide the recipients with lymphocytes, which readily reinforce the recovery of the transplanted patients’ immune system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1373-1390: Impacts of Humanized Mouse Models on the Investigation of HIV-1 Infection: Illuminating the Roles of Viral Accessory Proteins in Vivo

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) encodes four accessory genes: vif, vpu, vpr, and nef. Recent investigations using in vitro cell culture systems have shed light on the roles of these HIV-1 accessory proteins, Vif, Vpr, Vpu, and Nef, in counteracting, modulating, and evading various cellular factors that are responsible for anti-HIV-1 intrinsic immunity. However, since humans are the exclusive target for HIV-1 infection, conventional animal models are incapable of mimicking the dynamics of HIV-1 infection in vivo. Moreover, the effects of HIV-1 accessory proteins on viral infection in vivo remain unclear. To elucidate the roles of HIV-1 accessory proteins in the dynamics of viral infection in vivo, humanized mouse models, in which the mice are xenotransplanted with human hematopoietic stem cells, has been utilized. This review describes the current knowledge of the roles of HIV-1 accessory proteins in viral infection, replication, and pathogenicity in vivo, which are revealed by the studies using humanized mouse models.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1357-1372: Changes of CD4+CD25+ Cells Ratio in Immune Organs from Chickens Challenged with Infectious Bursal Disease Virus Strains with Varying Virulences

  • In the current study, we investigate changes in CD4+CD25+ cells in chickens during infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) infection. The percentage of CD4+CD25+ cells in lymph organs, e.g., the thymus, spleen, bursa of Fabricius and peripheral blood, during the first 1–5 days post infection (dpi) was assessed by flow cytometry. The data revealed a remarkable decrease in the percentage of CD4+CD25+ cells in the thymus from 1 to 5 dpi and in the spleen during early infection. An increase of the percentage of CD4+CD25+ cells among peripheral blood lymphocytes wasobserved during the first two days of IBDV infection. Additionally, CD4+CD25+ cells infiltrated the bursa along with CD4+ cells after IBDV infection. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to measure the mRNA levels of immune-related cytokines in IBDV-infected thymus and bursa of Fabricius tissues. The data revealed that IBDV caused a significant increase in interleukin (IL)-10 mRNA levels, with the Harbin-1 strain (vvIBDV) inducing higher IL-10 expression than the Ts strain. Taken together, our data suggest that chicken CD4+CD25+ cells may participatein IBDV pathogenicity by migrating from their sites of origin and storage, the thymus and spleen, to the virally targeted bursa of Fabricius during IBDV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1344-1356: Both ERK1 and ERK2 Are Required for Enterovirus 71 (EV71) Efficient Replication

  • It has been demonstrated that MEK1, one of the two MEK isoforms in Raf-MEK-ERK1/2 pathway, is essential for successful EV71 propagation. However, the distinct function of ERK1 and ERK2 isoforms, the downstream kinases of MEKs, remains unclear in EV71 replication. In this study, specific ERK siRNAs and selective inhibitor U0126 were applied. Silencing specific ERK did not significantly impact on the EV71-caused biphasic activation of the other ERK isoform, suggesting the EV71-induced activations of ERK1 and ERK2 were non-discriminative and independent to one another. Knockdown of either ERK1 or ERK2 markedly impaired progeny EV71 propagation (both by more than 90%), progeny viral RNA amplification (either by about 30% to 40%) and protein synthesis (both by around 70%), indicating both ERK1 and ERK2 were critical and not interchangeable to EV71 propagation. Moreover, suppression of EV71 replication by inhibiting both early and late phases of ERK1/2 activation showed no significant difference from that of only blocking the late phase, supporting the late phase activation was more importantly responsible for EV71 life cycle. Taken together, this study for the first time identified both ERK1 and ERK2 were required for EV71 efficient replication and further verified the important role of MEK1-ERK1/2 in EV71 replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1332-1343: Human Papillomavirus and Tonsillar and Base of Tongue Cancer

  • In 2007, human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 was recognized as a risk factor by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), where tonsillar and base of tongue cancer (TSCC and BOTSCC) dominate. Furthermore, patients with HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC, had a much better clinical outcome than those with corresponding HPV-negative cancer and other head and neck cancer. More specifically, survival was around 80% for HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC vs. 40% five-year disease free survival, for the corresponding HPV-negative tumors with conventional radiotherapy and surgery, while this could not be observed for HPV-positive OSCC at other sites. In addition, the past 20–40 years in many Western Countries, the incidence of HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC has risen, and aamp;amp;gt;70% are men. This has resulted in a relative increase of patients with HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC that may not need the intensified chemo-radiotherapy (with many more severe debilitating side effects) often given today to patients with head and neck cancer. However, before tapering therapy, one needs to enable selection of patients for such treatment, by identifying clinical and molecular markers that together with HPV-positive status will better predict patient prognosis and response to therapy. To conclude, there is a new increasing group of patients with HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC with good clinical outcome, where options for better-tailored therapy are needed. For prevention, it would be of benefit to vaccinate both girls and boys against HPV16 infection. For potentialfuture screening the ways to do so need optimizing.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1313-1331: Selection Pressure in CD8+ T-cell Epitopes in the pol Gene of HIV-1 Infected Individuals in Colombia. A Bioinformatic Approach

  • One of the main characteristics of the human immunodeficiency virus is its genetic variability and rapid adaptation to changing environmental conditions. This variability, resulting from the lack of proofreading activity of the viral reverse transcriptase, generates mutations that could be fixed either by random genetic drift or by positive selection. Among the forces driving positive selection are antiretroviral therapy and CD8+ T-cells, the most important immune mechanism involved in viral control. Here, we describe mutations induced by these selective forces acting on the pol gene of HIV in a group of infected individuals. We used Maximum Likelihood analyses of the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations per site (dN/dS) to study the extent of positive selection in the protease and the reverse transcriptase, using 614 viral sequences from Colombian patients. We also performed computational approaches, docking and algorithmic analyses, to assess whether the positively selected mutations affected binding to the HLA molecules. We found 19 positively-selected codons in drug resistance-associated sites and 22 located within CD8+ T-cell epitopes. A high percentage of mutations in these epitopes has not been previously reported. According to the docking analyses only one of those mutations affected HLA binding. However, algorithmic methods predicted a decrease in the affinity for the HLA molecule in seven mutated peptides. The bioinformatics strategies described here are useful to identify putative positively selected mutations associated with immune escape but should be complemented with an experimental approach to define the impact of these mutations on the functional profile of the CD8+ T-cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1284-1312: The Cryptophlebia Leucotreta Granulovirus—10 Years of Commercial Field Use

  • In the last 15 years, extensive work on the Cryptophlebia leucotreta granulovirus (CrleGV) has been conducted in South Africa, initially in the laboratory, but subsequently also in the field. This culminated in the registration of the first CrleGV-based biopesticide in 2004 (hence, the 10 years of commercial use in the field) and the second one three years later. Since 2000, more than 50 field trials have been conducted with CrleGV against the false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta, on citrus in South Africa. In a representative sample of 13 field trials reported over this period, efficacy (measured by reduction in larval infestation of fruit) ranged between 30% and 92%. Efficacy was shown to persist at a level of 70% for up to 17 weeks after application of CrleGV. This only occurred where the virus was applied in blocks rather than to single trees. The addition of molasses substantially and sometimes significantly enhanced efficacy. It was also established that CrleGV should not be applied at less than ~2× 1013 OBs per ha in order to avoid compromised efficacy. As CrleGV-based products were shown to be at least as effective as chemical alternatives, persistent and compatible with natural enemies, their use is recommended within an integrated program for control of T. leucotreta on citrus and othercrops.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1271-1283: Field Efficacy and Transmission of Fast- and Slow-Killing Nucleopolyhedroviruses that Are Infectious to Adoxophyes honmai (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

  • The smaller tea tortrix, Adoxophyes honmai (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is an economically important pest of tea in Japan. Previous work showed that a fast-killing nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) isolated from A. orana (AdorNPV) and a slow-killing NPV isolated from A. honmai (AdhoNPV) are both infectious to A. honmai larvae. Field application of these different NPVs was conducted against an A. honmai larval population in tea plants, and the control efficacy and transmission rate of the two NPVs were compared. The slow-killing AdhoNPV showed lower field efficacy, in terms of preventing damage caused by A. honmai larvae against the tea plants, than the fast-killing AdorNPV. However, AdhoNPV had a significantly higher horizontal transmission rate than AdorNPV. These results show that AdorNPV is suitable as an inundative agent, while AdhoNPV is an appropriate inoculative agent.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1258-1270: Genetic Diversity of Koala Retroviral Envelopes

  • Genetic diversity, attributable to the low fidelity of reverse transcription, recombination and mutation, is an important feature of infectious retroviruses. Under selective pressure, such as that imposed by superinfection interference, gammaretroviruses commonly adapt their envelope proteins to use alternative receptors to overcome this entry block. The first characterized koala retroviruses KoRV subgroup A (KoRV-A) were remarkable in their absence of envelope genetic variability. Once it was determined that KoRV-A was present in all koalas in US zoos, regardless of their disease status, we sought to isolate a KoRV variant whose presence correlated with neoplastic malignancies. More than a decade after the identification of KoRV-A, we isolated a second subgroup of KoRV, KoRV-B from koalas with lymphomas. The envelope proteins of KoRV-A and KoRV-B are sufficiently divergent to confer the ability to bind and employ distinct receptors for infection. We have now obtained a number of additional KoRV envelope variants. In the present studies we report these variants, and show that they differ from KoRV-A and KoRV-B envelopes in their host range and superinfection interference properties. Thus, there appears to be considerable variation among KoRVs envelope genes suggesting genetic diversity is a factor following the KoRV-A infection process.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1238-1257: Human Endogenous Retrovirus Group E and Its Involvement in Diseases

  • Human endogenous retrovirus group E (HERV-E) elements are stably integrated into the human genome, transmitted vertically in a Mendelian manner, and are endowed with transcriptional activity as alternative promoters or enhancers. Such effects are under the control of the proviral long terminal repeats (LTR) that are organized into three HERV-E phylogenetic subgroups, namely LTR2, LTR2B, and LTR2C. Moreover, HERV-E expression is tissue-specific, and silenced by epigenetic constraints that may be disrupted in cancer, autoimmunity, and human placentation. Interest in HERV-E with regard to these conditions has been stimulated further by concerns regarding the capacity of HERV-E elements to modify the expression of neighboring genes and/or to produce retroviral proteins, including immunosuppressive env peptides, which in turn may induce (auto)-antibody (Ab) production. Finally, better understanding of HERV-E elements may have clinical applications for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1218-1237: From Lesions to Viral Clones: Biological and Molecular Diversity amongst Autochthonous Brazilian Vaccinia Virus

  • Vaccinia virus (VACV) has had an important role for humanity because of its use during the smallpox eradication campaign. VACV is the etiologic agent of the bovine vaccinia (BV), an emerging zoonosis that has been associated with economic, social, veterinary and public health problems, mainly in Brazil and India. Despite the current and historical VACV importance, there is little information about its circulation, prevalence, origins and maintenance in the environment, natural reservoirs and diversity. Brazilian VACV (VACV-BR) are grouped into at least two groups based on genetic and biological diversity: group 1 (G1) and group 2 (G2). In this study, we went to the field and investigated VACV clonal diversity directly from exanthemous lesions, during BV outbreaks. Our results demonstrate that the G1 VACV-BR were more frequently isolated. Furthermore, we were able to co-detect the two variants (G1 and G2) in the same sample. Molecular and biological analysis corroborated previous reports and confirmed the co-circulation of two VACV-BR lineages. The detected G2 clones presented exclusive genetic and biological markers, distinct to reference isolates, including VACV-Western Reserve. Two clones presented a mosaic profile, with both G1 and G2 features based on the molecular analysis of A56R, A26L and C23L genes. Indeed, some SNPs and INDELs in A56R nucleotide sequences were observed among clones of the same virus population, maybe as a result of an increased mutation rate in a mixed population. These results provide information about the diversity profile in VACV populations, highlighting its importance to VACV evolution and maintenance in the environment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1189-1217: Simple Mathematical Models Do Not Accurately Predict Early SIV Dynamics

  • Upon infection of a new host, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replicates in the mucosal tissues and is generally undetectable in circulation for 1–2 weeks post-infection. Several interventions against HIV including vaccines and antiretroviral prophylaxis target virus replication at this earliest stage of infection. Mathematical models have been used to understand how HIV spreads from mucosal tissues systemically and what impact vaccinationand/or antiretroviral prophylaxis has on viral eradication. Because predictions of such models have been rarely compared to experimental data, it remains unclear which processes included in these models are critical for predicting early HIV dynamics. Here we modified the “standard” mathematicalmodel of HIV infection to include two populations of infected cells: cells that are actively producing the virus and cells that are transitioning into virus production mode. We evaluated the effects of several poorly known parameters on infection outcomes in this model and compared model predictions to experimental data on infection of non-human primates with variable doses of simian immunodifficiency virus (SIV). First, we found that the mode of virus production by infected cells (budding vs. bursting) has a minimal impact on the early virus dynamics for a wide range of model parameters, as long as the parameters are constrained to provide the observed rate of SIV load increase in the blood of infected animals. Interestingly and in contrast with previous results, we found that the bursting mode of virus production generally results in a higher probability of viral extinction than the budding mode of virus production. Second, this mathematical model was not able to accurately describe the change in experimentally determined probability of host infection with increasing viral doses. Third and finally, the model was also unable to accurately explain the decline in the time to virus detection with increasing viral dose. These results suggest that, in order to appropriately model early HIV/SIV dynamics, additional factors must be considered in the model development. These may include variability in monkey susceptibility to infection, within-host competition between different viruses for target cells at the initial site of virus replication in the mucosa, innate immune response, and possibly the inclusion of several different tissue compartments. The sobering news is that while an increase in model complexity is needed to explain the available experimental data, testing andrejection of more complex models may require more quantitative data than is currently available.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1153-1188: Advanced Molecular Surveillance of Hepatitis C Virus

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important public health problem worldwide. HCV exploits complex molecular mechanisms, which result in a high degree of intrahost genetic heterogeneity. This high degree of variability represents a challenge for the accurate establishment of genetic relatedness between cases and complicates the identification of sources of infection. Tracking HCV infections is crucial for the elucidation of routes of transmission in a variety of settings. Therefore, implementation of HCV advanced molecular surveillance (AMS) is essential for disease control. Accounting for virulence is also important for HCV AMS and both viral and host factors contribute to the disease outcome. Therefore, HCV AMS requires the incorporation of host factors as an integral component of the algorithms used to monitor disease occurrence. Importantly, implementation of comprehensive global databases and data mining are also needed for the proper study of the mechanisms responsible for HCV transmission. Here, we review molecular aspects associated with HCV transmission, as well as the most recent technological advances used for virus and host characterization. Additionally, the cornerstone discoveries that have defined the pathway for viral characterization are presented and the importance of implementing advanced HCV molecular surveillance is highlighted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1134-1152: Chimeric Rabies Virus-Like Particles Containing Membrane-Anchored GM-CSF Enhances the Immune Response against Rabies Virus

  • Rabies remains an important public health threat in most developing countries. To develop a more effective and safe vaccine against rabies, we have constructed a chimeric rabies virus-like particle (VLP), which containing glycoprotein (G) and matrix protein (M) of rabies virus (RABV) Evelyn-Rokitnicki-Abelseth (ERA) strain, and membrane-anchored granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and it was named of EVLP-G. The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of EVLP-G against RABV were evaluated by intramuscular administration in a mouse model. The EVLP-G was successfully produced in insect cells by coinfection with three recombinant baculoviruses expressing G, M, and GM-CSF, respectively. The membrane-anchored GM-CSF possesses a strong adjuvant activity. More B cells and dendritic cells (DCs) were recruited and/or activated in inguinal lymph nodes in mice immunized with EVLP-G. EVLP-G was found to induce a significantly increased RABV-specific virus-neutralizing antibody and elicit a larger and broader antibody subclass responses compared with the standard rabies VLP (sRVLP, consisting of G and M). The EVLP-G also elicited significantly more IFN-γ- or IL-4-secreting CD4+ and CD8+ T cells than the sRVLP. Moreover, the immune responses induced by EVLP-G protect all vaccinated mice from lethal challenge with RABV. These results suggest that EVLP-G has the potential to be developed as a novel vaccine candidate for the prevention and control of animal rabies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1113-1133: Profiling of Measles-Specific Humoral Immunity in Individuals Following Two Doses of MMR Vaccine Using Proteome Microarrays

  • Introduction: Comprehensive evaluation of measles-specific humoral immunity after vaccination is important for determining new and/or additional correlates of vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy. Methods: We used a novel proteome microarray technology and statistical modeling to identify factors and models associated with measles-specific functional protective immunity in 150 measles vaccine recipients representing the extremes of neutralizing antibody response after two vaccine doses. Results: Our findings demonstrate a high seroprevalence of antibodies directed to the measles virus (MV) phosphoprotein (P), nucleoprotein (N), as well as antibodies to the large polymerase (L) protein (fragment 1234 to 1900 AA). Antibodies to these proteins, in addition to anti-F antibodies (and, to a lesser extent, anti-H antibodies), were correlated with neutralizing antibody titer and/or were associated with and predictive of neutralizing antibody response. Conclusion: Our results identify antibodies to specific measles virus proteins and statistical models for monitoring and assessment of measles-specific functional protective immunity in vaccinated individuals.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1100-1112: The Origin of the Variola Virus

  • The question of the origin of smallpox, one of the major menaces to humankind, is a constant concern for the scientific community. Smallpox is caused by the agent referred to as the variola virus (VARV), which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. In the last century, smallpox was declared eradicated from the human community; however, the mechanisms responsible for the emergence of new dangerous pathogens have yet to be unraveled. Evolutionary analyses of the molecular biological genomic data of various orthopoxviruses, involving a wide range of epidemiological and historical information about smallpox, have made it possible to date the emergence of VARV. Comparisons of the VARV genome to the genomes of the most closely related orthopoxviruses and the examination of the distribution their natural hosts’ ranges suggest that VARV emerged 3000 to 4000 years ago in the east of the African continent. The VARV evolution rate has been estimated to be approximately 2 × 10−6 substitutions/site/year for the central conserved genomic region and 4 × 10−6 substitutions/site/year for the synonymous substitutions in the genome. Presumably, the introduction of camels to Africa and the concurrent changes to the climate were the particular factors that triggered the divergent evolution of a cowpox-like ancestral virus and thereby led to the emergence of VARV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1079-1099: HPV-E7 Delivered by Engineered Exosomes Elicits a Protective CD8+ T Cell-Mediated Immune Response

  • We developed an innovative strategy to induce a cytotoxic T cell (CTL) immune response against protein antigens of choice. It relies on the production of exosomes, i.e., nanovesicles spontaneously released by all cell types. We engineered the upload of huge amounts of protein antigens upon fusion with an anchoring protein (i.e., HIV-1 Nefmut), which is an inactive protein incorporating in exosomes at high levels also when fused with foreign proteins. We compared the immunogenicity of engineered exosomes uploading human papillomavirus (HPV)-E7 with that of lentiviral virus-like particles (VLPs) incorporating equivalent amounts of the same antigen. These exosomes, whose limiting membrane was decorated with VSV-G, i.e., an envelope protein inducing pH-dependent endosomal fusion, proved to be as immunogenic as the cognate VLPs. It is noteworthy that the immunogenicity of the engineered exosomes remained unaltered in the absence of VSV-G. Most important, we provide evidence that the inoculation in mouse of exosomes uploading HPV-E7 induces production of anti-HPV E7 CTLs, blocks the growth of syngeneic tumor cells inoculated after immunization, and controls the development of tumor cells inoculated before the exosome challenge. These results represent the proof-of-concept about both feasibility and efficacy of the Nefmut-based exosome platform for the induction of CD8+ T cell immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1062-1078: Two Year Field Study to Evaluate the Efficacy of Mamestra brassicae Nucleopolyhedrovirus Combined with Proteins Derived from Xestia c-nigrum Granulovirus

  • Japan has only three registered baculovirus biopesticides despite its long history of studies on insect viruses. High production cost is one of the main hindrances for practical use of baculoviruses. Enhancement of insecticidal effect is one possible way to overcome this problem, so there have been many attempts to develop additives for baculoviruses. We found that alkaline soluble proteins of capsules (GVPs) of Xestia c-nigrum granulovirus can increase infectivity of some viruses including Mamestra brassicae nucleopolyhedrovirus (MabrNPV), and previously reported that MabrNPV mixed with GVPs was highly infectious to three important noctuid pests of vegetables in the following order, Helicoverpa armigera, M. brassicae, and Autographa nigrisigna. In this study, small-plot experiments were performed to assess concentrations of MabrNPV and GVPs at three cabbage fields and a broccoli field for the control of M. brassicae. In the first experiment, addition of GVPs (10µg/mL) to MabrNPV at 106 OBs/mL resulted in a significant increase in NPV infection (from 53% to 66%). In the second experiment, the enhancing effect of GVP on NPV infection was confirmed at 10-times lower concentrations of MabrNPV. In the third and fourth experiments, a 50% reduction in GVPs (from 10 µg/mL to 5 µg/mL) did not result in a lowering of infectivity of the formulations containing MabrNPV at 105 OBs/mL. These results indicate that GVPs are promising additives for virus insecticides.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1020-1061: Myxoma Virus and the Leporipoxviruses: An Evolutionary Paradigm

  • Myxoma virus (MYXV) is the type species of the Leporipoxviruses, a genus of Chordopoxvirinae, double stranded DNA viruses, whose members infect leporids and squirrels, inducing cutaneous fibromas from which virus is mechanically transmitted by biting arthropods. However, in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), MYXV causes the lethal disease myxomatosis. The release of MYXV as a biological control for the wild European rabbit population in Australia, initiated one of the great experiments in evolution. The subsequent coevolution of MYXV and rabbits is a classic example of natural selection acting on virulence as a pathogen adapts to a novel host species. Slightly attenuated mutants of the progenitor virus were more readily transmitted by the mosquito vector because the infected rabbit survived longer, while highly attenuated viruses could be controlled by the rabbit immune response. As a consequence, moderately attenuated viruses came to dominate. This evolution of the virus was accompanied by selection for genetic resistance in the wild rabbit population, which may have created an ongoing co-evolutionary dynamic between resistance and virulence for efficient transmission. This natural experiment was repeated on a continental scale with the release of a separate strain of MYXV in France and its subsequent spread throughout Europe. The selection of attenuated strains of virus and resistant rabbits mirrored the experience in Australia in a very different environment, albeit with somewhat different rates. Genome sequencing of the progenitor virus and the early radiation, as well as those from the 1990s in Australia and Europe, has shown that although MYXV evolved at high rates there was no conserved route to attenuation or back to virulence. In contrast, it seems that these relatively large viral genomes have the flexibility for multiple pathways that converge on a similar phenotype.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 996-1019: Identification of New Respiratory Viruses in the New Millennium

  • The rapid advancement of molecular tools in the past 15 years has allowed for the retrospective discovery of several new respiratory viruses as well as the characterization of novel emergent strains. The inability to characterize the etiological origins of respiratory conditions, particularly in children, led several researchers to pursue the discovery of the underlying etiology of disease. In 2001, this led to the discovery of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and soon following that the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) promoted an increased interest in coronavirology and the latter discovery of human coronavirus (HCoV) NL63 and HCoV-HKU1. Human bocavirus, with its four separate lineages, discovered in 2005, has been linked to acute respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal complications. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) represents the most recent outbreak of a completely novel respiratory virus, which occurred in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and presents a significant threat to human health. This review will detail the most current clinical and epidemiological findings to all respiratory viruses discovered since 2001.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 969-995: Analysis of Pineapple Mealybug Wilt Associated Virus -1 and -2 for Potential RNA Silencing Suppressors and Pathogenicity Factors

  • Higher plants use RNA silencing to defend against viral infections. As a counter defense, plant viruses have evolved proteins that suppress RNA silencing. Mealybug wilt of pineapple (MWP), an important disease of pineapple, has been associated with at least three distinct viruses, Pineapple mealybug wilt associated virus -1, -2, and -3 (PMWaV-1, -2, and -3). Selected open reading frames (ORFs) of PMWaV-1 and PMWaV-2 were screened for their local and systemic suppressor activities in Agrobacterium-mediated transient assays using green fluorescent protein (GFP) in Nicotiana benthamiana. Results indicate that PMWaV-2 utilizes a multiple-component RNA silencing suppression mechanism. Two proteins, p20 and CP, target both local and systemic silencing in N. benthamiana, while the p22 and CPd proteins target only systemic silencing. In the related virus PMWaV-1, we found that only one of the encoded proteins, p61, had only systemic suppressor activity. Of all the proteins tested from both viruses, only the PMWaV-2 p20 protein suppressed local silencing induced by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), but only when low levels of inducing dsRNA were used. None of the proteins analyzed could interfere with the short distance spread of silencing. We examined the mechanism of systemic suppression activity by investigating the effect of PMWaV-2-encoded p20 and CP proteins on secondary siRNAs. Our results suggest that the PMWaV-2 p20 and CP proteins block the systemic silencing signal by repressing production of secondary siRNAs. We also demonstrate that the PMWaV-2 p20 and p22 proteins enhanced the pathogenicity of Potato virus X in N. benthamiana.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 939-968: Differential Expression of HERV-K (HML-2) Proviruses in Cells and Virions of the Teratocarcinoma Cell Line Tera-1

  • Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV-K (HML-2)) proviruses are among the few endogenous retroviral elements in the human genome that retain coding sequence. HML-2 expression has been widely associated with human disease states, including different types of cancers as well as with HIV-1 infection. Understanding of the potential impact of this expression requires that it be annotated at the proviral level. Here, we utilized the high throughput capabilities of next-generation sequencing to profile HML-2 expression at the level of individual proviruses and secreted virions in the teratocarcinoma cell line Tera-1. We identified well-defined expression patterns, with transcripts emanating primarily from two proviruses located on chromosome 22, only one of which was efficiently packaged. Interestingly, there was a preference for transcripts of recently integrated proviruses, over those from other highly expressed but older elements, to be packaged into virions. We also assessed the promoter competence of the 5’ long terminal repeats (LTRs) of expressed proviruses via a luciferase assay following transfection of Tera-1 cells. Consistent with the RNASeq results, we found that the activity of most LTRs corresponded to their transcript levels.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 915-938: HSV-1 gM and the gK/pUL20 Complex Are Important for the Localization of gD and gH/L to Viral Assembly Sites

  • Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), like all herpesviruses, is a large complex DNA virus containing up to 16 different viral membrane proteins in its envelope. The assembly of HSV-1 particles occurs by budding/wrapping at intracellular membranes producing infectious virions contained within the lumen of cytoplasmic membrane-bound compartments that are then released by secretion. To ensure incorporation of all viral membrane proteins into the envelope, they need to be localized to the appropriate intracellular membranes either via the endocytic pathway or by direct targeting to assembly sites from the biosynthetic secretory pathway. Many HSV-1 envelope proteins encode targeting motifs that direct their endocytosis and targeting, while others do not, including the essential entry proteins gD and the gH/gL complex, and so it has been unclear how these envelope proteins reach the appropriate assembly compartments. We now show that efficient endocytosis of gD and gH/gL and their incorporation into mature virions relies upon the presence of the HSV-1 envelope proteins gM and the gK/pUL20 complex. Our data demonstrate both redundant and synergistic roles for gM and gK/pUL20 in controlling the targeting of gD and gH/L to the appropriate intracellular virus assembly compartments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 899-914: The A, B, Cs of Herpesvirus Capsids

  • Assembly of herpesvirus nucleocapsids shares significant similarities with the assembly of tailed dsDNA bacteriophages; however, important differences exist. A unique feature of herpesviruses is the presence of different mature capsid forms in the host cell nucleus during infection. These capsid forms, referred to as A-, B-, and C-capsids, represent empty capsids, scaffold containing capsids and viral DNA containing capsids, respectively. The C-capsids are the closest in form to those encapsidated into mature virions and are considered precursors to infectious virus. The evidence supporting A- and B-capsids as either abortive forms or assembly intermediates has been lacking. Interaction of specific capsid forms with viral tegument proteins has been proposed to be a mechanism for quality control at the point of nuclear egress of mature particles. Here, we will review the available literature on these capsid forms and present data to debate whether A- and B-capsids play an important or an extraneous role in the herpesvirus life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 887-898: Genomic and Phylogenetic Characterization of Novel, Recombinant H5N2 Avian Influenza Virus Strains Isolated from Vaccinated Chickens with Clinical Symptoms in China

  • Infection of poultry with diverse lineages of H5N2 avian influenza viruses has been documented for over three decades in different parts of the world, with limited outbreaks caused by this highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. In the present study, three avian H5N2 influenza viruses, A/chicken/Shijiazhuang/1209/2013, A/chicken/Chiping/0321/2014, and A/chicken/Laiwu/0313/2014, were isolated from chickens with clinical symptoms of avian influenza. Complete genomic and phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that all three isolates are novel recombinant viruses with hemagglutinin (HA) and matrix (M) genes derived from H5N1, and remaining genes derived from H9N2-like viruses. The HA cleavage motif in all three strains (PQIEGRRRKR/GL) is characteristic of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus strain. These results indicate the occurrence of H5N2 recombination and highlight the importance of continued surveillance of the H5N2 subtype virus and reformulation of vaccine strains.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 873-886: Immunological Features of the Non-Structural Proteins of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus

  • Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is currently one of the most important viruses affecting the swine industry worldwide. Despite the large number of papers published each year, the participation of non-structural proteins (nsps) in the immune response is not completely clear. nsps have been involved in the host innate immune response, specifically, nsp1α/β, nsp2, nsp4 and nsp11 have been associated with the immunomodulation capability of the virus. To date, only participation by nsp1, nsp2, nsp4 and nsp7 in the humoral immune response has been reported, with the role of other nsps being overlooked. Furthermore, nsp1, nsp2, nsp5, nsp7 nsp9, nsp10, nsp11 have been implicated in the induction of IFN-γ and probably in the development of the cell-mediated immune response. This review discusses recent reports involving the participation of nsps in the modulation of the innate immune response and their role in the induction of both the humoral and cellular immune responses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 857-872: Evaluation of ViroCyt® Virus Counter for Rapid Filovirus Quantitation

  • Development and evaluation of medical countermeasures for diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics requires production of standardized, reproducible, and well characterized virus preparations. For filoviruses this includes plaque assay for quantitation of infectious virus, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for morphology and quantitation of virus particles, and real-time reverse transcription PCR for quantitation of viral RNA (qRT-PCR). The ViroCyt® Virus Counter (VC) 2100 (ViroCyt, Boulder, CO, USA) is a flow-based instrument capable of quantifying virus particles in solution. Using a proprietary combination of fluorescent dyes that stain both nucleic acid and protein in a single 30 min step, rapid, reproducible, and cost-effective quantification of filovirus particles was demonstrated. Using a seed stock of Ebola virus variant Kikwit, the linear range of the instrument was determined to be 2.8E+06 to 1.0E+09 virus particles per mL with coefficient of variation ranging from 9.4% to 31.5% for samples tested in triplicate. VC particle counts for various filovirus stocks were within one log of TEM particle counts. A linear relationship was established between the plaque assay, qRT-PCR, and the VC. VC results significantly correlated with both plaque assay and qRT-PCR. These results demonstrated that the VC is an easy, fast, and consistent method to quantify filoviruses in stock preparations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 844-856: Complete Genome Analysis of a Rabbit Rotavirus Causing Gastroenteritis in a Human Infant

  • Group A rotaviruses (RVA) are responsible for causing infantile diarrhea both in humans and animals. The molecular characteristics of lapine RVA strains are only studied to a limited extent and so far G3P[14] and G3P[22] were found to be the most common G/P-genotypes. During the 2012-2013 rotavirus season in Belgium, a G3P[14] RVA strain was isolated from stool collected from a two-year-old boy. We investigated whether RVA/Human-wt/BEL/BE5028/2012/G3P[14] is completely of lapine origin or the result of reassortment event(s). Phylogenetic analyses of all gene segments revealed the following genotype constellation: G3-P[14]-I2-R2-C2-M3-A9-N2-T6-E5-H3 and indicated that BE5028 probably represents a rabbit to human interspecies transmission able to cause disease in a human child. Interestingly, BE5028 showed a close evolutionary relationship to RVA/Human-wt/BEL/B4106/2000/G3P[14], another lapine-like strain isolated in a Belgian child in 2000. The phylogenetic analysis of the NSP3 segment suggests the introduction of a bovine(-like) NSP3 into the lapine RVA population in the past 12 years. Sequence analysis of NSP5 revealed a head-to-tail partial duplication, combined with two short insertions and a deletion, indicative of the continuous circulation of this RVA lineage within the rabbit population.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 820-843: The Role of RNA Interference (RNAi) in Arbovirus-Vector Interactions

  • RNA interference (RNAi) was shown over 18 years ago to be a mechanism by which arbovirus replication and transmission could be controlled in arthropod vectors. During the intervening period, research on RNAi has defined many of the components and mechanisms of this antiviral pathway in arthropods, yet a number of unexplored questions remain. RNAi refers to RNA-mediated regulation of gene expression. Originally, the term described silencing of endogenous genes by introduction of exogenous double-stranded (ds)RNA with the same sequence as the gene to be silenced. Further research has shown that RNAi comprises three gene regulation pathways that are mediated by small RNAs: the small interfering (si)RNA, micro (mi)RNA, and Piwi-interacting (pi)RNA pathways. The exogenous (exo-)siRNA pathway is now recognized as a major antiviral innate immune response of arthropods. More recent studies suggest that the piRNA and miRNA pathways might also have important roles in arbovirus-vector interactions. This review will focus on current knowledge of the role of the exo-siRNA pathway as an arthropod vector antiviral response and on emerging research into vector piRNA and miRNA pathway modulation of arbovirus-vector interactions. Although it is assumed that arboviruses must evade the vector’s antiviral RNAi response in order to maintain their natural transmission cycles, the strategies by which this is accomplished are not well defined. RNAi is also an important tool for arthropod gene knock-down in functional genomics studies and in development of arbovirus-resistant mosquito populations. Possible arbovirus strategies for evasion of RNAi and applications of RNAi in functional genomics analysis and arbovirus transmission control will also be reviewed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 798-819: Intranasal Administration of Maleic Anhydride-Modified Human Serum Albumin for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of pediatric viral respiratory tract infections. Neither vaccine nor effective antiviral therapy is available to prevent and treat RSV infection. Palivizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is the only product approved to prevent serious RSV infection, but its high cost is prohibitive in low-income countries. Here, we aimed to identify an effective, safe, and affordable antiviral agent for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of RSV infection in children at high risk. We found that maleic anhydride (ML)-modified human serum albumin (HSA), designated ML-HSA, exhibited potent antiviral activity against RSV and that the percentages of the modified lysines and arginies in ML- are correlated with such anti-RSV activity. ML-HSA inhibited RSV entry and replication by interacting with viral G protein and blocking RSV attachment to the target cells, while ML-HAS neither bound to F protein, nor inhibited F protein-mediated membrane fusion. Intranasal administration of ML-HSA before RSV infection resulted in significant decrease of the viral titers in the lungs of mice. ML-HSA shows promise for further development into an effective, safe, affordable, and easy-to-use intranasal regimen for pre-exposure prophylaxis of RSV infection in children at high risk in both low- and high-income countries.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 781-797: Bioinformatics Tools for Small Genomes, Such as Hepatitis B Virus

  • DNA sequence analysis is undertaken in many biological research laboratories. The workflow consists of several steps involving the bioinformatic processing of biological data. We have developed a suite of web-based online bioinformatic tools to assist with processing, analysis and curation of DNA sequence data. Most of these tools are genome-agnostic, with two tools specifically designed for hepatitis B virus sequence data. Tools in the suite are able to process sequence data from Sanger sequencing, ultra-deep amplicon resequencing (pyrosequencing) and chromatograph (trace files), as appropriate. The tools are available online at no cost and are aimed at researchers without specialist technical computer knowledge. The tools can be accessed at, and the source code is available online at

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 751-780: Aptamers in Diagnostics and Treatment of Viral Infections

  • Aptamers are in vitro selected DNA or RNA molecules that are capable of binding a wide range of nucleic and non-nucleic acid molecules with high affinity and specificity. They have been conducted through the process known as SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment). It serves to reach specificity and considerable affinity to target molecules, including those of viral origin, both proteins and nucleic acids. Properties of aptamers allow detecting virus infected cells or viruses themselves and make them competitive to monoclonal antibodies. Specific aptamers can be used to interfere in each stage of the viral replication cycle and also inhibit its penetration into cells. Many current studies have reported possible application of aptamers as a treatment or diagnostic tool in viral infections, e.g., HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), HBV (Hepatitis B Virus), HCV (Hepatitis C Virus), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), H5N1 avian influenza and recently spread Ebola. This review presents current developments of using aptamers in the diagnostics and treatment of viral diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 739-750: eIF4E as a Control Target for Viruses

  • Translation is a complex process involving diverse cellular proteins, including the translation initiation factor eIF4E, which has been shown to be a protein that is a point for translational regulation. Viruses require components from the host cell to complete their replication cycles. Various studies show how eIF4E and its regulatory cellular proteins are manipulated during viral infections. Interestingly, viral action mechanisms in eIF4E are diverse and have an impact not only on viral protein synthesis, but also on other aspects that are important for the replication cycle, such as the proliferation of infected cells and stimulation of viral reactivation. This review shows how some viruses use eIF4E and its regulatory proteins for their own benefit in order to spread themselves.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 709-738: Poxviral Ankyrin Proteins

  • Multiple repeats of the ankyrin motif (ANK) are ubiquitous throughout the kingdoms of life but are absent from most viruses. The main exception to this is the poxvirus family, and specifically the chordopoxviruses, with ANK repeat proteins present in all but three species from separate genera. The poxviral ANK repeat proteins belong to distinct orthologue groups spread over different species, and align well with the phylogeny of their genera. This distribution throughout the chordopoxviruses indicates these proteins were present in an ancestral vertebrate poxvirus, and have since undergone numerous duplication events. Most poxviral ANK repeat proteins contain an unusual topology of multiple ANK motifs starting at the N-terminus with a C-terminal poxviral homologue of the cellular F-box enabling interaction with the cellular SCF ubiquitin ligase complex. The subtle variations between ANK repeat proteins of individual poxviruses suggest an array of different substrates may be bound by these protein-protein interaction domains and, via the F-box, potentially directed to cellular ubiquitination pathways and possible degradation. Known interaction partners of several of these proteins indicate that the NF-κB coordinated anti-viral response is a key target, whilst some poxviral ANK repeat domains also have an F-box independent affect on viral host-range.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 707-708: Announcing the 2015 Viruses Young Investigator Prize and Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Travel Awards

  • With the goal of recognizing outstanding contributions to the field of virology by early-career investigators, last year Viruses accepted nominations for a 2015 Young Investigator Prize in Virology. The target age was set at 40 and under. Over 50 nominations were received and were evaluated by a panel of judges comprised of Viruses editorial board members.[...]
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