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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 4254-4281: Public Acceptance of Plant Biotechnology and GM Crops

  • A wide gap exists between the rapid acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops for cultivation by farmers in many countries and in the global markets for food and feed, and the often-limited acceptance by consumers. This review contrasts the advances of practical applications of agricultural biotechnology with the divergent paths—also affecting the development of virus resistant transgenic crops—of political and regulatory frameworks for GM crops and food in different parts of the world. These have also shaped the different opinions of consumers. Important factors influencing consumer’s attitudes are the perception of risks and benefits, knowledge and trust, and personal values. Recent political and societal developments show a hardening of the negative environment for agricultural biotechnology in Europe, a growing discussion—including calls for labeling of GM food—in the USA, and a careful development in China towards a possible authorization of GM rice that takes the societal discussions into account. New breeding techniques address some consumers’ concerns with transgenic crops, but it is not clear yet how consumers’ attitudes towards them will develop. Discussions about agriculture would be more productive, if they would focus less on technologies, but on common aims and underlying values.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4230-4253: Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Mediates RSV Infection in Vitro and in Vivo

  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an important human pathogen associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. The present study tested the hypothesis that RSV infection would increase matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 expression, and that MMP-9 inhibition would decrease RSV replication both in vitro and in vivo. RSV A2 infection of human bronchial epithelial cells increased MMP-9 mRNA and protein release. Cells transfected with siRNA against MMP-9 following RSV infection had lower viral titers. In RSV infected wild-type (WT) mice, MMP-9, airway resistance and viral load peaked at day 2 post infection, and remained elevated on days 4 and 7. RSV infected MMP-9 knockout (KO) mice had decreased lung inflammation. On days 2 and 4 post inoculation, the RSV burden was lower in the MMP-9 KO mice compared to WT controls. In conclusion, our studies demonstrate that RSV infection is a potent stimulus of MMP-9 expression both in vitro and in vivo. Reduction of MMP-9 (via siRNA knockdown, and in MMP-9 KO mice) resulted in decreased viral replication. Our findings suggest MMP-9 is a potential therapeutic target for RSV disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4204-4229: Evaluation of Trichodysplasia Spinulosa-Associated Polyomavirus Capsid Protein as a New Carrier for Construction of Chimeric Virus-Like Particles Harboring Foreign Epitopes

  • Recombinant virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a promising tool for protein engineering. Recently, trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus (TSPyV) viral protein 1 (VP1) was efficiently produced in yeast expression system and shown to self-assemble to VLPs. In the current study, TSPyV VP1 protein was exploited as a carrier for construction of chimeric VLPs harboring selected B and T cell-specific epitopes and evaluated in comparison to hamster polyomavirus VP1 protein. Chimeric VLPs with inserted either hepatitis B virus preS1 epitope DPAFR or a universal T cell-specific epitope AKFVAAWTLKAAA were produced in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Target epitopes were incorporated either at the HI or BC loop of the VP1 protein. The insertion sites were selected based on molecular models of TSPyV VP1 protein. The surface exposure of the insert positions was confirmed using a collection of monoclonal antibodies raised against the intact TSPyV VP1 protein. All generated chimeric proteins were capable to self-assemble to VLPs, which induced a strong immune response in mice. The chimeric VLPs also activated dendritic cells and T cells as demonstrated by analysis of cell surface markers and cytokine production profiles in spleen cell cultures. In conclusion, TSPyV VP1 protein represents a new potential carrier for construction of chimeric VLPs harboring target epitopes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4186-4203: CCR5 Targeted Cell Therapy for HIV and Prevention of Viral Escape

  • Allogeneic transplantation with CCR5-delta 32 (CCR5-d32) homozygous stem cells in an HIV infected individual in 2008, led to a sustained virus control and probably eradication of HIV. Since then there has been a high degree of interest to translate this approach to a wider population. There are two cellular ways to do this. The first one is to use a CCR5 negative cell source e.g., hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to copy the initial finding. However, a recent case of a second allogeneic transplantation with CCR5-d32 homozygous stem cells suffered from viral escape of CXCR4 quasi-species. The second way is to knock down CCR5 expression by gene therapy. Currently, there are five promising techniques, three of which are presently being tested clinically. These techniques include zinc finger nucleases (ZFN), clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein 9 nuclease (CRISPR/Cas9), transcription activator-like effectors nuclease (TALEN), short hairpin RNA (shRNA), and a ribozyme. While there are multiple gene therapy strategies being tested, in this review we reflect on our current knowledge of inhibition of CCR5 specifically and whether this approach allows for consequent viral escape.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4169-4185: BnSGS3 Has Differential Effects on the Accumulation of CMV, ORMV and TuMV in Oilseed Rape

  • Virus diseases greatly affect oilseed rape (Brassica napus) production. Investigating antiviral genes may lead to the development of disease-resistant varieties of oilseed rape. In this study, we examined the effects of the suppressor of gene silencing 3 in Brassica napus (BnSGS3, a putative antiviral gene) with different genus viruses by constructing BnSGS3-overexpressing (BnSGS3-Ov) and BnSGS3-silenced (BnSGS3-Si) oilseed rape (cv. Zhongshuang No. 6) plants. These three viruses are Oilseed rape mosaic virus (ORMV), Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). The native BnSGS3 expressed in all examined tissues with the highest expression in siliques. All three viruses induced BnSGS3 expression, but ORMV induced a dramatic increase in the BnSGS3-Ov plants, followed by TuMV and CMV. Upon inoculation with three different viruses, transcript abundance of BnSGS3 gene follows: BnSGS3-Ov aamp;amp;gt; non-transgenic plants aamp;amp;gt; BnSGS3-Si. The accumulation quantities of ORMV and TuMV exhibited a similar trend. However, CMV accumulation showed an opposite trend where virus accumulations were negatively correlated with BnSGS3 expression. The results suggest that BnSGS3 selectively inhibits CMV accumulation but promotes ORMV and TuMV accumulation. BnSGS3 should be used in different ways (up- and down-regulation) for breeding virus-resistant oilseed rape varieties.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4152-4168: Phylogenetic Studies of the Three RNA Silencing Suppressor Genes of South American CTV Isolates Reveal the Circulation of a Novel Genetic Lineage

  • Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) is the most economically important virus of citrus worldwide. Genetic diversity and population structure of CTV isolates from all citrus growing areas from Uruguay were analyzed by RT-PCR and cloning of the three RNA silencing suppressor genes (p25, p20 and p23). Bayesian phylogenetic analysis revealed the circulation of three known genotypes (VT, T3, T36) in the country, and the presence of a new genetic lineage composed by isolates from around the world, mainly from South America. Nucleotide and amino acid identity values for this new genetic lineage were both higher than 97% for the three analyzed regions. Due to incongruent phylogenetic relationships, recombination analysis was performed using Genetic Algorithms for Recombination Detection (GARD) and SimPlot software. Recombination events between previously described CTV isolates were detected. High intra-sample variation was found, confirming the co-existence of different genotypes into the same plant. This is the first report describing: (1) the genetic diversity of Uruguayan CTV isolates circulating in the country and (2) the circulation of a novel CTV genetic lineage, highly present in the South American region. This information may provide assistance to develop an effective cross-protection program.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4131-4151: Pigeon RIG-I Function in Innate Immunity against H9N2 IAV and IBDV

  • Retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), a cytosolic pattern recognition receptor (PRR), can sense various RNA viruses, including the avian influenza virus (AIV) and infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), and trigger the innate immune response. Previous studies have shown that mammalian RIG-I (human and mice) and waterfowl RIG-I (ducks and geese) are essential for type I interferon (IFN) synthesis during AIV infection. Like ducks, pigeons are also susceptible to infection but are ineffective propagators and disseminators of AIVs, i.e.,“dead end” hosts for AIVs and even highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Consequently, we sought to identify pigeon RIG-I and investigate its roles in the detection of A/Chicken/Shandong/ZB/2007 (H9N2) (ZB07), Gansu/Tianshui (IBDV TS) and Beijing/CJ/1980 (IBDV CJ-801) strains in chicken DF-1 fibroblasts or human 293T cells. Pigeon mRNA encoding the putative pigeon RIG-I analogs was identified. The exogenous expression of enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP)-tagged pigeon RIG-I and caspase activation and recruitment domains (CARDs), strongly induced antiviral gene (IFN-β, Mx, and PKR) mRNA synthesis, decreased viral gene (M gene and VP2) mRNA expression, and reduced the viral titers of ZB07 and IBDV TS/CJ-801 virus strains in chicken DF-1 cells, but not in 293T cells. We also compared the antiviral abilities of RIG-I proteins from waterfowl (duck and goose) and pigeon. Ourdata indicated that waterfowl RIG-I are more effective in the induction of antiviral genes and the repression of ZB07 and IBDV TS/CJ-801 strain replication than pigeon RIG-I. Furthermore, chicken melanoma differentiation associated gene 5(MDA5)/ mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) silencing combined with RIG-I transfection suggested that pigeon RIG-I can restore the antiviral response in MDA5-silenced DF-1 cells but not in MAVS-silenced DF-1 cells. In conclusion, these results demonstrated that pigeon RIG-I and CARDs have a strong antiviral ability against AIV H9N2 and IBDV in chicken DF-1 cells but not in human 293T cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4119-4130: Amino Terminal Region of Dengue Virus NS4A Cytosolic Domain Binds to Highly Curved Liposomes

  • Dengue virus (DENV) is an important human pathogen causing millions of disease cases and thousands of deaths worldwide. Non-structural protein 4A (NS4A) is a vital component of the viral replication complex (RC) and plays a major role in the formation of host cell membrane-derived structures that provide a scaffold for replication. The N-terminal cytoplasmic region of NS4A(1–48) is known to preferentially interact with highly curved membranes. Here, we provide experimental evidence for the stable binding of NS4A(1–48) to small liposomes using a liposome floatation assay and identify the lipid binding sequence by NMR spectroscopy. Mutations L6E;M10E were previouslyshown to inhibit DENV replication and to interfere with the binding of NS4A(1–48) to small liposomes. Our results provide new details on the interaction of the N-terminal region of NS4A with membranes and will prompt studies of the functional relevance of the curvature sensitive membrane anchor at the N-terminus of NS4A.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4093-4118: Exosomes: Implications in HIV-1 Pathogenesis

  • Exosomes are membranous nanovesicles of endocytic origin that carry host and pathogen derived genomic, proteomic, and lipid cargos. Exosomes are secreted by most cell types into the extracellular milieu and are subsequently internalized by recipient cells. Upon internalization, exosomes condition recipient cells by donating their cargos and/or activating various signal transduction pathways, consequently regulating physiological and pathophysiological processes. The role of exosomes in viral pathogenesis, especially human immunodeficiency virus type 1 [HIV-1] is beginning to unravel. Recent research reports suggest that exosomes from various sources play important but different roles in the pathogenesis of HIV-1. From these reports, it appears that the source of exosomes is the defining factor for the exosomal effect on HIV-1. In this review, we will describe how HIV-1 infection is modulated by exosomes and in turn how exosomes are targeted by HIV-1 factors. Finally, we will discuss potentially emerging therapeutic options based on exosomal cargos that may have promise in preventing HIV-1 transmission.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4075-4092: Preclinical Testing Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus Strain GLV-5b451 Expressing an Anti-VEGF Single-Chain Antibody for Canine Cancer Therapy

  • Virotherapy on the basis of oncolytic vaccinia virus (VACV) strains is a novel approach for canine cancer therapy. Here we describe, for the first time, the characterization and the use of VACV strain GLV-5b451 expressing the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) single-chain antibody (scAb) GLAF-2 as therapeutic agent against different canine cancers. Cell culture data demonstrated that GLV-5b451 efficiently infected and destroyed all four tested canine cancer cell lines including: mammary carcinoma (MTH52c), mammary adenoma (ZMTH3), prostate carcinoma (CT1258), and soft tissue sarcoma (STSA-1). The GLV-5b451 virus-mediated production of GLAF-2 antibody was observed in all four cancer cell lines. In addition, this antibody specifically recognized canine VEGF. Finally, in canine soft tissue sarcoma (CSTS) xenografted mice, a single systemic administration of GLV-5b451 was found to be safe and led to anti-tumor effects resulting in the significant reduction and substantial long-term inhibition of tumor growth. A CD31-based immuno-staining showed significantly decreased neo-angiogenesis in GLV-5b451-treated tumors compared to the controls. In summary, these findings indicate that GLV-5b451 has potential for use as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of CSTS.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4047-4074: The Emerging Role of miRNAs in HTLV-1 Infection and ATLL Pathogenesis

  • Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV)-1 is a human retrovirus and the etiological agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), a fatal malignancy of CD4/CD25+ T lymphocytes. In recent years, cellular as well as virus-encoded microRNA (miRNA) have been shown to deregulate signaling pathways to favor virus life cycle. HTLV-1 does not encode miRNA, but several studies have demonstrated that cellular miRNA expression is affected in infected cells. Distinct mechanisms such as transcriptional, epigenetic or interference with miRNA processing machinery have been involved. This article reviews the current knowledge of the role of cellular microRNAs in virus infection, replication, immune escape and pathogenesis of HTLV-1.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3995-4046: Genetic Diversity Underlying the Envelope Glycoproteins of Hepatitis C Virus: Structural and Functional Consequences and the Implications for Vaccine Design

  • In the 26 years since the discovery of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) a major global research effort has illuminated many aspects of the viral life cycle, facilitating the development of targeted antivirals. Recently, effective direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens with aamp;amp;gt;90% cure rates have become available for treatment of chronic HCV infection in developed nations, representing a significant advance towards global eradication. However, the high cost of these treatments results in highly restricted access in developing nations, where the disease burden is greatest. Additionally, the largely asymptomatic nature of infection facilitates continued transmission in at risk groups and resource constrained settings due to limited surveillance. Consequently a prophylactic vaccine is much needed. The HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2 are located on the surface of viral lipid envelope, facilitate viral entry and are the targets for host immunity, in addition to other functions. Unfortunately, the extreme global genetic and antigenic diversity exhibited by the HCV glycoproteins represents a significant obstacle to vaccine development. Here we review current knowledge of HCV envelope protein structure, integrating knowledge of genetic, antigenic and functional diversity to inform rational immunogen design.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3974-3994: Using the Hepatitis C Virus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase as a Model to Understand Viral Polymerase Structure, Function and Dynamics

  • Viral polymerases replicate and transcribe the genomes of several viruses of global health concern such as Hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Ebola virus. For this reason they are key targets for therapies to treat viral infections. Although there is little sequence similarity across the different types of viral polymerases, all of them present a right-hand shape and certain structural motifs that are highly conserved. These features allow their functional properties to be compared, with the goal of broadly applying the knowledge acquired from studying specific viral polymerases to other viral polymerases about which less is known. Here we review the structural and functional properties of the HCV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (NS5B) in order to understand the fundamental processes underlying the replication of viral genomes. We discuss recent insights into the process by which RNA replication occurs in NS5B as well as the role that conformational changes play in this process.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3954-3973: Synthetic RNAs Mimicking Structural Domains in the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Genome Elicit a Broad Innate Immune Response in Porcine Cells Triggered by RIG-I and TLR Activation

  • The innate immune system is the first line of defense against viral infections. Exploiting innate responses for antiviral, therapeutic and vaccine adjuvation strategies is being extensively explored. We have previously described, the ability of small in vitro RNA transcripts, mimicking the sequence and structure of different domains in the non-coding regions of the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) genome (ncRNAs), to trigger a potent and rapid innate immune response. These synthetic non-infectious molecules have proved to have a broad-range antiviral activity and to enhance the immunogenicity of an FMD inactivated vaccine in mice. Here, we have studied the involvement of pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) in the ncRNA-induced innate response and analyzed the antiviral and cytokine profiles elicited in swine cultured cells, as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3937-3953: Tsv-N1: A Novel DNA Algal Virus that Infects Tetraselmis striata

  • Numbering in excess of 10 million per milliliter of water, it is now undisputed that aquatic viruses are one of the major factors shaping the ecology and evolution of Earth’s microbial world. Nonetheless, environmental viral diversity and roles remain poorly understood. Here we report the first thorough characterization of a virus (designated TsV) that infects the coastal marine microalga Tetraselmis striata. Unlike previously known microalgae-infecting viruses, TsV is a small (60 nm) DNA virus, with a 31 kb genome. From a range of eight different strains belonging to the Chlamydomonadaceae family, TsV was only able to infect T. striata. Gene expression dynamics revealed an up-regulation of viral transcripts already 1 h post-infection (p.i.). First clear signs of infection were observed 24 h p.i., with the appearance of viral factories inside the nucleus. TsV assembly was exclusively nuclear. TsV-N1 genome revealed very different from previously known algae viruses (Phycodnaviridae). Putative function and/or homology could be resolved for only 9 of the 33 ORFs encoded. Among those was a surprising DNA polymerase type Delta (only found in Eukaryotes), and two genes with closest homology to genes from human parasites of the urogenital tract. These results support the idea that the diversity of microalgae viruses goes far beyond the Phycodnaviridae family and leave the door open for future studies on implications of microalgae viruses for human health.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3910-3936: Bone Marrow Gene Therapy for HIV/AIDS

  • Bone marrow gene therapy remains an attractive option for treating chronic immunological diseases, including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This technology combines the differentiation and expansion capacity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with long-term expression of therapeutic transgenes using integrating vectors. In this review we summarize the potential of bone marrow gene therapy for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. A broad range of antiviral strategies are discussed, with a particular focus on RNA-based therapies. The idea is to develop a durable gene therapy that lasts the life span of the infected individual, thus contrasting with daily drug regimens to suppress the virus. Different approaches have been proposed to target either the virus or cellular genes encoding co-factors that support virus replication. Some of these therapies have been tested in clinical trials, providing proof of principle that gene therapy is a safe option for treating HIV/AIDS. In this review several topics are discussed, ranging from the selection of the antiviral molecule and the viral target to the optimal vector system for gene delivery and the setup of appropriate preclinical test systems. The molecular mechanisms used to formulate a cure for HIV infection are described, including the latest antiviral strategies and their therapeutic applications. Finally, a potent combination of anti-HIV genes based on our own research program is described.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3891-3909: Optimization and Characterization of Candidate Strain for Coxsackievirus A16 Inactivated Vaccine

  • Coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) and enterovirus 71 (EV71), both of which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), are responsible for large epidemics in Asian and Pacific areas. Although inactivated EV71 vaccines have completed testing in phase III clinical trials in Mainland China, CA16 vaccines are still under development. A Vero cell-based inactivated CA16 vaccine was developed by our group. Screening identified a CA16 vaccine strain (CC024) isolated from HFMD patients, which had broad cross-protective abilities and satisfied all requirements for vaccine production. Identification of the biological characteristics showed that the CA16CC024 strain had the highest titer (107.5 CCID50/mL) in Vero cells, which would benefit the development of an EV71/CA16 divalent vaccine. A potential vaccine manufacturing process was established, including the selection of optimal time for virus harvesting, membrane for diafiltration and concentration, gel-filtration chromatography for the down-stream virus purification and virus inactivation method. Altogether, the analyses suggested that the CC-16, a limiting dilution clone of the CC024 strain, with good genetic stability, high titer and broad-spectrum immunogenicity, would be the best candidate strain for a CA16 inactivated vaccine. Therefore, our study provides valuable information for the development of a Vero cell-based CA16 or EV71-CA16 divalent inactivated vaccine.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3863-3890: Human Papillomaviruses; Epithelial Tropisms, and the Development of Neoplasia

  • Papillomaviruses have evolved over many millions of years to propagate themselves at specific epithelial niches in a range of different host species. This has led to the great diversity of papillomaviruses that now exist, and to the appearance of distinct strategies for epithelial persistence. Many papillomaviruses minimise the risk of immune clearance by causing chronic asymptomatic infections, accompanied by long-term virion-production with only limited viral gene expression. Such lesions are typical of those caused by Beta HPV types in the general population, with viral activity being suppressed by host immunity. A second strategy requires the evolution of sophisticated immune evasion mechanisms, and allows some HPV types to cause prominent and persistent papillomas, even in immune competent individuals. Some Alphapapillomavirus types have evolved this strategy, including those that cause genital warts in young adults or common warts in children. These strategies reflect broad differences in virus protein function as well as differences in patterns of viral gene expression, with genotype-specific associations underlying the recent introduction of DNA testing, and also the introduction of vaccines to protect against cervical cancer. Interestingly, it appears that cellular environment and the site of infection affect viral pathogenicity by modulating viral gene expression. With the high-risk HPV gene products, changes in E6 and E7 expression are thought to account for the development of neoplasias at the endocervix, the anal and cervical transformation zones, and the tonsilar crypts and other oropharyngeal sites. A detailed analysis of site-specific patterns of gene expression and gene function is now prompted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3857-3862: A Viral Pilot for HCMV Navigation?

  • gH/gL virion envelope glycoprotein complexes of herpesviruses serve as entry complexes and mediate viral cell tropism. By binding additional viral proteins, gH/gL forms multimeric complexes which bind to specific host cell receptors. Both Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) express alternative multimeric gH/gL complexes. Relative amounts of these alternative complexes in the viral envelope determine which host cells are preferentially infected. Host cells of EBV can modulate the gH/gL complex complement of progeny viruses by cell type-dependent degradation of one of the associating proteins. Host cells of HCMV modulate the tropism of their virus progenies by releasing or not releasing virus populations with a specific gH/gL complex complement out of a heterogeneous pool of virions. The group of Jeremy Kamil has recently shown that the HCMV ER-resident protein UL148 controls integration of one of the HCMV gH/gL complexes into virions and thus creates a pool of virions which can be routed by different host cells. This first mechanistic insight into regulation of the gH/gL complex complement of HCMV progenies presents UL148 as a pilot candidate for HCMV navigation in its infected host.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3835-3856: Modeling Viral Infectious Diseases and Development of Antiviral Therapies Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Systems

  • The recent biotechnology breakthrough of cell reprogramming and generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which has revolutionized the approaches to study the mechanisms of human diseases and to test new drugs, can be exploited to generate patient-specific models for the investigation of host–pathogen interactions and to develop new antimicrobial and antiviral therapies. Applications of iPSC technology to the study of viral infections in humans have included in vitro modeling of viral infections of neural, liver, and cardiac cells; modeling of human genetic susceptibility to severe viral infectious diseases, such as encephalitis and severe influenza; genetic engineering and genome editing of patient-specific iPSC-derived cells to confer antiviral resistance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3816-3834: Functional Characterization of Cucumis metuliferus Proteinase Inhibitor Gene (CmSPI) in Potyviruses Resistance

  • Proteinase inhibitors are ubiquitous proteins that block the active center or interact allosterically with proteinases and are involved in plant physiological processes and defense responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. The CmSPI gene identified from Cucumis metuliferus encodes a serine type PI (8 kDa) that belongs to potato I type family. To evaluate the effect of silencing CmSPI gene on Papaya ringspot virus resistance, RNA interference (RNAi) with an inter-space hairpin RNA (ihpRNA) construct was introduced into a PRSV-resistant C. metuliferus line. CmSPI was down-regulated in CmSPI RNAi transgenic lines in which synchronously PRSV symptoms were evident at 21 day post inoculation. Alternatively, heterogeneous expression of CmSPI in Nicotiana benthamiana was also conducted and showed that CmSPI can provide resistance to Potato virus Y, another member of Potyvirus, in transgenic N. benthamiana lines. This study demonstrated that CmSPI plays an important role in resistant function against potyviruses in C. metuliferus and N. benthamiana.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3798-3815: The Apis mellifera Filamentous Virus Genome

  • A complete reference genome of the Apis mellifera Filamentous virus (AmFV) was determined using Illumina Hiseq sequencing. The AmFV genome is a double stranded DNA molecule of approximately 498,500 nucleotides with a GC content of 50.8%. It encompasses 247 non-overlapping open reading frames (ORFs), equally distributed on both strands, which cover 65% of the genome. While most of the ORFs lacked threshold sequence alignments to reference protein databases, twenty-eight were found to display significant homologies with proteins present in other large double stranded DNA viruses. Remarkably, 13 ORFs had strong similarity with typical baculovirus domains such as PIFs (per os infectivity factor genes: pif-1, pif-2, pif-3 and p74) and BRO (Baculovirus Repeated Open Reading Frame). The putative AmFV DNA polymerase is of type B, but is only distantly related to those of the baculoviruses. The ORFs encoding proteins involved in nucleotide metabolism had the highest percent identity to viral proteins in GenBank. Other notable features include the presence of several collagen-like, chitin-binding, kinesin and pacifastin domains. Due to the large size of the AmFV genome and the inconsistent affiliation with other large double stranded DNA virus families infecting invertebrates, AmFV may belong to a new virus family.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3789-3797: Learning from Ebola Virus: How to Prevent Future Epidemics

  • The recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone demonstrated that the World Health Organization (WHO) is incapable to control outbreaks of infectious diseases in less developed regions of the world. This essay analyses the causes for the failure of the international response and proposes four measures to improve resilience, early detection and response to future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3768-3788: Cloned Defective Interfering Influenza RNA and a Possible Pan-Specific Treatment of Respiratory Virus Diseases

  • Defective interfering (DI) genomes are characterised by their ability to interfere with the replication of the virus from which they were derived, and other genetically compatible viruses. DI genomes are synthesized by nearly all known viruses and represent a vast natural reservoir of antivirals that can potentially be exploited for use in the clinic. This review describes the application of DI virus to protect from virus-associated diseases in vivo using as an example a highly active cloned influenza A DI genome and virus that protects broadly in preclinical trials against different subtypes of influenza A and against non-influenza A respiratory viruses. This influenza A-derived DI genome protects by two totally different mechanisms: molecular interference with influenza A replication and by stimulating innate immunity that acts against non-influenza A viruses. The review considers what is needed to develop DI genomes to the point of entry into clinical trials.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3741-3767: Tissue Barriers to Arbovirus Infection in Mosquitoes

  • Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) circulate in nature between arthropod vectors and vertebrate hosts. Arboviruses often cause devastating diseases in vertebrate hosts, but they typically do not cause significant pathology in their arthropod vectors. Following oral acquisition of a viremic bloodmeal from a vertebrate host, the arbovirus disease cycle requires replication in the cellular environment of the arthropod vector. Once the vector has become systemically and persistently infected, the vector is able to transmit the virus to an uninfected vertebrate host. In order to systemically infect the vector, the virus must cope with innate immune responses and overcome several tissue barriers associated with the midgut and the salivary glands. In this review we describe, in detail, the typical arbovirus infection route in competent mosquito vectors. Based on what is known from the literature, we explain the nature of the tissue barriers that arboviruses are confronted with in a mosquito vector and how arboviruses might surmount these barriers. We also point out controversial findings to highlight particular areas that are not well understood and require further research efforts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3719-3740: Adenovirus 36 and Obesity: An Overview

  • There is an epidemic of obesity starting about 1980 in both developed and undeveloped countries definitely associated with multiple etiologies. About 670 million people worldwide are obese. The incidence of obesity has increased in all age groups, including children. Obesity causes numerous diseases and the interaction between genetic, metabolic, social, cultural and environmental factors are possible cofactors for the development of obesity. Evidence emerging over the last 20 years supports the hypothesis that viral infections may be associated with obesity in animals and humans. The most widely studied infectious agent possibly linked to obesity is adenovirus 36 (Adv36). Adv36 causes obesity in animals. In humans, Adv36 associates with obesity both in adults and children and the prevalence of Adv36 increases in relation to the body mass index. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that the viral E4orf1 protein (early region 4 open reading frame 1, Adv) mediates the Adv36 effect including its adipogenic potential. The Adv36 infection should therefore be considered as a possible risk factor for obesity and could be a potential new therapeutic target in addition to an original way to understand the worldwide rise of the epidemic of obesity. Here, the data indicating a possible link between viral infection and obesity with a particular emphasis to the Adv36 will be reviewed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3703-3718: Resistance against Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors and Relevance to HIV Persistence

  • Drug resistance prevents the successful treatment of HIV-positive individuals by decreasing viral sensitivity to a drug or a class of drugs. In addition to transmitted resistant viruses, treatment-naïve individuals can be confronted with the problem of drug resistance through de novo emergence of such variants. Resistant viruses have been reported for every antiretroviral drug tested so far, including the integrase strand transfer inhibitors raltegravir, elvitegravir and dolutegravir. However, de novo resistant variants against dolutegravir have been found in treatment-experienced but not in treatment-naïve individuals, a characteristic that is unique amongst antiretroviral drugs. We review here the issue of drug resistance against integrase strand transfer inhibitors as well as both pre-clinical and clinical studies that have led to the identification of the R263K mutation in integrase as a signature resistance substitution for dolutegravir. We also discuss how the topic of drug resistance against integrase strand transfer inhibitors may have relevance in regard to the nature ofthe HIV reservoir and possible HIV curative strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3675-3702: Resistance to Rhabdoviridae Infection and Subversion of Antiviral Responses

  • Interferon (IFN) treatment induces the expression of hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). However, only a selection of their products have been demonstrated to be responsible for the inhibition of rhabdovirus replication in cultured cells; and only a few have been shown to play a role in mediating the antiviral response in vivo using gene knockout mouse models. IFNs inhibit rhabdovirus replication at different stages via the induction of a variety of ISGs. This review will discuss how individual ISG products confer resistance to rhabdoviruses by blocking viral entry, degrading single stranded viral RNA, inhibiting viral translation or preventing release of virions from the cell. Furthermore, this review will highlight how these viruses counteract the host IFN system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3647-3674: Early Events in Chikungunya Virus Infection—From Virus CellBinding to Membrane Fusion

  • Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a rapidly emerging mosquito-borne alphavirus causing millions of infections in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. CHIKV infection often leads to an acute self-limited febrile illness with debilitating myalgia and arthralgia. A potential long-term complication of CHIKV infection is severe joint pain, which can last for months to years. There are no vaccines or specific therapeutics available to prevent or treat infection. This review describes the critical steps in CHIKV cell entry. We summarize the latest studies on the virus-cell tropism, virus-receptor binding, internalization, membrane fusion and review the molecules and compounds that have been described to interfere with virus cell entry. The aim of the review is to give the reader a state-of-the-art overview on CHIKV cell entry and to provide an outlook on potential new avenues in CHIKV research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3625-3646: Ultra Deep Sequencing of a Baculovirus Population Reveals Widespread Genomic Variations

  • Viruses rely on widespread genetic variation and large population size for adaptation. Large DNA virus populations are thought to harbor little variation though natural populations may be polymorphic. To measure the genetic variation present in a dsDNA virus population, we deep sequenced a natural strain of the baculovirus Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus. With 124,221X average genome coverage of our 133,926 bp long consensus, we could detect low frequency mutations (0.025%). K-means clustering was used to classify the mutations in four categories according to their frequency in the population. We found 60 high frequency non-synonymous mutations under balancing selection distributed in all functional classes. These mutants could alter viral adaptation dynamics, either through competitive or synergistic processes. Lastly, we developed a technique for the delimitation of large deletions in next generation sequencing data. We found that large deletions occur along the entire viral genome, with hotspots located in homologous repeat regions (hrs). Present in 25.4% of the genomes, these deletion mutants presumably require functional complementation to complete their infection cycle. They might thus have a large impact on the fitness of the baculovirus population. Altogether, we found a wide breadth of genomic variation in the baculovirus population, suggesting it has high adaptive potential.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3603-3624: Modes of Human T Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Transmission, Replication and Persistence

  • Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that causes cancer (Adult T cell Leukemia, ATL) and a spectrum of inflammatory diseases (mainly HTLV-associated myelopathy—tropical spastic paraparesis, HAM/TSP). Since virions are particularly unstable, HTLV-1 transmission primarily occurs by transfer of a cell carrying an integrated provirus. After transcription, the viral genomic RNA undergoes reverse transcription and integration into the chromosomal DNA of a cell from the newly infected host. The virus then replicates by either one of two modes: (i) an infectious cycle by virus budding and infection of new targets and (ii) mitotic division of cells harboring an integrated provirus. HTLV-1 replication initiates a series of mechanisms in the host including antiviral immunity and checkpoint control of cell proliferation. HTLV-1 has elaborated strategies to counteract these defense mechanisms allowing continuous persistence in humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3586-3602: Genome Characterization, Prevalence and Distribution of a Macula-Like Virus from Apis mellifera and Varroa destructor

  • Around 14 distinct virus species-complexes have been detected in honeybees, each with one or more strains or sub-species. Here we present the initial characterization of an entirely new virus species-complex discovered in honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) and varroa mite (Varroa destructor) samples from Europe and the USA. The virus has a naturally poly-adenylated RNA genome of about 6500 nucleotides with a genome organization and sequence similar to the Tymoviridae (Tymovirales; Tymoviridae), a predominantly plant-infecting virus family. Literature and laboratory analyses indicated that the virus had not previously been described. The virus is very common in French apiaries, mirroring the results from an extensive Belgian survey, but could not be detected in equally-extensive Swedish and Norwegian bee disease surveys. The virus appears to be closely linked to varroa, with the highest prevalence found in varroa samples and a clear seasonal distribution peaking in autumn, coinciding with the natural varroa population development. Sub-genomic RNA analyses show that bees are definite hosts, while varroa is a possible host and likely vector. The tentative name of Bee Macula-like virus (BeeMLV) is therefore proposed. A second, distantly related Tymoviridae-like virus was also discovered in varroa transcriptomes, tentatively named Varroa Tymo-like virus (VTLV).

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3574-3585: Targeting CTCF to Control Virus Gene Expression: A Common Theme amongst Diverse DNA Viruses

  • All viruses target host cell factors for successful life cycle completion. Transcriptional control of DNA viruses by host cell factors is important in the temporal and spatial regulation of virus gene expression. Many of these factors are recruited to enhance virus gene expression and thereby increase virus production, but host cell factors can also restrict virus gene expression and productivity of infection. CCCTC binding factor (CTCF) is a host cell DNA binding protein important for the regulation of genomic chromatin boundaries, transcriptional control and enhancer element usage. CTCF also functions in RNA polymerase II regulation and in doing so can influence co-transcriptional splicing events. Several DNA viruses, including Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) utilize CTCF to control virus gene expression and many studies have highlighted a role for CTCF in the persistence of these diverse oncogenic viruses. CTCF can both enhance and repress virus gene expression and in some cases CTCF increases the complexity of alternatively spliced transcripts. This review article will discuss the function of CTCF in the life cycle of DNA viruses in the context of known host cell CTCF functions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3552-3573: Relevance of Viroporin Ion Channel Activity on Viral Replication and Pathogenesis

  • Modification of host-cell ionic content is a significant issue for viruses, as several viral proteins displaying ion channel activity, named viroporins, have been identified. Viroporins interact with different cellular membranes and self-assemble forming ion conductive pores. In general, these channels display mild ion selectivity, and, eventually, membrane lipids play key structural and functional roles in the pore. Viroporins stimulate virus production through different mechanisms, and ion channel conductivity has been proved particularly relevant in several cases. Key stages of the viral cycle such as virus uncoating, transport and maturation are ion-influenced processes in many viral species. Besides boosting virus propagation, viroporins have also been associated with pathogenesis. Linking pathogenesis either to the ion conductivity or to other functions of viroporins has been elusive for a long time. This article summarizes novel pathways leading to disease stimulated by viroporin ion conduction, such as inflammasome driven immunopathology.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3530-3551: The Human Papillomavirus E6 PDZ Binding Motif: From Life Cycle to Malignancy

  • Cancer-causing HPV E6 oncoproteins are characterized by the presence of a PDZ binding motif (PBM) at their extreme carboxy terminus. It was long thought that this region of E6 had a sole function to confer interaction with a defined set of cellular substrates. However, more recent studies have shown that the E6 PBM has a complex pattern of regulation, whereby phosphorylation within the PBM can regulate interaction with two classes of cellular proteins: those containing PDZ domains and the members of the 14-3-3 family of proteins. In this review, we explore the roles that the PBM and its ligands play in the virus life cycle, and subsequently how these can inadvertently contribute towards the development of malignancy. We also explore how subtle alterations in cellular signal transduction pathways might result in aberrant E6 phosphorylation, which in turn might contribute towards disease progression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3506-3529: Structures and Functions of Pestivirus Glycoproteins: Not Simply Surface Matters

  • Pestiviruses, which include economically important animal pathogens such as bovine viral diarrhea virus and classical swine fever virus, possess three envelope glycoproteins, namely Erns, E1, and E2. This article discusses the structures and functions of these glycoproteins and their effects on viral pathogenicity in cells in culture and in animal hosts. E2 is the most important structural protein as it interacts with cell surface receptors that determine cell tropism and induces neutralizing antibody and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses. All three glycoproteins are involved in virus attachment and entry into target cells. E1-E2 heterodimers are essential for viral entry and infectivity. Erns is unique because it possesses intrinsic ribonuclease (RNase) activity that can inhibit the production of type I interferons and assist in the development of persistent infections. These glycoproteins are localized to the virion surface; however, variations in amino acids and antigenic structures, disulfide bond formation, glycosylation, and RNase activity can ultimately affect the virulence of pestiviruses in animals. Along with mutations that are driven by selection pressure, antigenic differences in glycoproteins influence the efficacy of vaccines and determine the appropriateness of the vaccines that are currently being used in the field.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3500-3505: Less Grease, Please. Phosphatidylethanolamine Is the Only Lipid Required for Replication of a (+)RNA Virus

  • All positive strand RNA viruses of eukaryotes replicate their genomes in association with membranes. These viruses actively change cellular lipid metabolism to build replication membranes enriched in specific lipids. The ubiquitous use of membranes by positive strand RNA viruses apparently holds major evolutionary advantages; however our understanding of the mechanistic role of membranes, let alone of specific lipid components of the membrane bilayer, in the viral replication cycle is minimal. The replication complexes that can be isolated from infected cells, or reconstituted in vitro from crude cell lysates, do not allow controlled manipulation of the membrane constituents thus limiting their usefulness for understanding how exactly membranes support the replication reaction. Recent work from Peter Nagy group demonstrates that replication of a model positive strand RNA virus can be reconstituted in the in vitro reaction with liposomes of chemically defined composition and reveals an exclusive role of phosphatidylethanolamine in sustaining efficient viral RNA replication. This study opens new possibilities for investigation of membrane contribution in the replication process that may ultimately lead to development of novel broad spectrum antiviral compounds targeting the membrane-dependent elements of the replication cycle conserved among diverse groups of viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3483-3499: Pan-Genome Analysis of Brazilian Lineage A Amoebal Mimiviruses

  • Since the recent discovery of Samba virus, the first representative of the family Mimiviridae from Brazil, prospecting for mimiviruses has been conducted in different environmental conditions in Brazil. Recently, we isolated using Acanthamoeba sp. three new mimiviruses, all of lineage A of amoebal mimiviruses: Kroon virus from urban lake water; Amazonia virus from the Brazilian Amazon river; and Oyster virus from farmed oysters. The aims of this work were to sequence and analyze the genome of these new Brazilian mimiviruses (mimi-BR) and update the analysis of the Samba virus genome. The genomes of Samba virus, Amazonia virus and Oyster virus were 97%–99% similar, whereas Kroon virus had a low similarity (90%–91%) with other mimi-BR. A total of 3877 proteins encoded by mimi-BR were grouped into 974 orthologous clusters. In addition, we identified three new ORFans in the Kroon virus genome. Additional work is needed to expand our knowledge of the diversity of mimiviruses from Brazil, including if and why among amoebal mimiviruses those of lineage A predominate in the Brazilian environment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3462-3482: Viroporins, Examples of the Two-Stage Membrane Protein Folding Model

  • Viroporins are small,α-helical, hydrophobic virus encoded proteins, engineered to form homo-oligomeric hydrophilic pores in the host membrane. Viroporins participate in multiple steps of the viral life cycle, from entry to budding. As any other membrane protein, viroporins have to find the way to bury their hydrophobic regions into the lipid bilayer. Once within the membrane, the hydrophobic helices of viroporins interact with each other to form higher ordered structures required to correctly perform their porating activities. This two-step process resembles the two-stage model proposed for membrane protein folding by Engelman and Poppot. In this review we use the membrane protein folding model as a leading thread to analyze the mechanism and forces behind the membrane insertion and folding of viroporins. We start by describing the transmembrane segment architecture of viroporins, including the number and sequence characteristics of their membrane-spanning domains. Next, we connect the differences found among viroporin families to their viral genome organization, and finalize focusing on the pathways used by viroporins in their way to the membrane and on the transmembrane helix-helix interactions required to achieve proper folding and assembly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3443-3461: The Subcellular Localisation of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 16 E7 Protein in Cervical Cancer Cells and Its Perturbation by RNA Aptamers

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract, affecting both men and women. High-risk oncogenic types are responsible for almost 90% of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers including cervical cancer. Some of the HPV“early” genes, particularly E6 and E7, are known to act as oncogenes that promote tumour growth and malignant transformation. Most notably, HPV-16 E7 interacts with the tumour suppressor protein pRb, promoting its degradation, leading to cell cycle dysregulation in infected cells. We have previously shown that an RNA aptamer (termed A2) selectively binds to HPV16 E7 and is able to induce apoptosis in HPV16-transformed cervical carcinoma cell lines (SiHa) through reduction of E7 levels. In this study, we investigated the effects of the A2 aptamer on E7 localisation in order to define its effects on E7 activity. We demonstrate for the first time that E7 localised to the plasma membrane. In addition, we show that A2 enhanced E7 localisation in the ER and that the A2-mediated reduction of E7 was not associated with proteasomal degradation. These data suggest that A2 perturbs normal E7 trafficking through promoting E7 ER retention.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3420-3442: Experimental Inoculation of Egyptian Rousette Bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) with Viruses of the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus Genera

  • The Egyptian rousette bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) is a natural reservoir for marburgviruses and a consistent source of virus spillover to humans. Cumulative evidence suggests various bat species may also transmit ebolaviruses. We investigated the susceptibility of Egyptian rousettes to each of the five known ebolaviruses (Sudan, Ebola, Bundibugyo, Taï Forest, and Reston), and compared findings with Marburg virus. In a pilot study, groups of four juvenile bats were inoculated with one of the ebolaviruses or Marburg virus. In ebolavirus groups, viral RNA tissue distribution was limited, and no bat became viremic. Sudan viral RNA was slightly more widespread, spurring a second, 15-day Sudan virus serial euthanasia study. Low levels of Sudan viral RNA disseminated to multiple tissues at early time points, but there was no viremia or shedding. In contrast, Marburg virus RNA was widely disseminated, with viremia, oral and rectal shedding, and antigen in spleen and liver. This is the first experimental infection study comparing tissue tropism, viral shedding, and clinical and pathologic effects of six different filoviruses in the Egyptian rousette, a known marburgvirus reservoir. Our results suggest Egyptian rousettes are unlikely sources for ebolaviruses in nature, and support a possible single filovirus—single reservoir host relationship.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3392-3419: Plant Translation Factors and Virus Resistance

  • Plant viruses recruit cellular translation factors not only to translate their viral RNAs but also to regulate their replication and potentiate their local and systemic movement. Because of the virus dependence on cellular translation factors, it is perhaps not surprising that many natural plant recessive resistance genes have been mapped to mutations of translation initiation factors eIF4E and eIF4G or their isoforms, eIFiso4E and eIFiso4G. The partial functional redundancy of these isoforms allows specific mutation or knock-down of one isoform to provide virus resistance without hindering the general health of the plant. New possible targets for antiviral strategies have also been identified following the characterization of other plant translation factors (eIF4A-like helicases, eIF3, eEF1A and eEF1B) that specifically interact with viral RNAs and proteins and regulate various aspects of the infection cycle. Emerging evidence that translation repression operates as an alternative antiviral RNA silencing mechanism is also discussed. Understanding the mechanisms that control the development of natural viral resistance and the emergence of virulent isolates in response to these plant defense responses will provide the basis for the selection of new sources of resistance and for the intelligent design of engineered resistance that is broad-spectrum and durable.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3380-3391: NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation by Viroporins of Animal Viruses

  • Viroporins are a group of low-molecular-weight proteins containing about 50–120 amino acid residues, which are encoded by animal viruses. Viroporins are involved in several stages of the viral life cycle, including viral gene replication and assembly, as well as viral particle entry and release. Viroporins also play an important role in the regulation of antiviral innate immune responses, especially in inflammasome formation and activation, to ensure the completion of the viral life cycle. By reviewing the research progress made in recent years on the regulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by viroporins of animal viruses, we aim to understand the importance of viroporins in viral infection and to provide a reference for further research and development of novel antiviral drugs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3361-3379: Genome, Proteome and Structure of a T7-Like Bacteriophage of the Kiwifruit Canker Phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae

  • Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae is an economically significant pathogen responsible for severe bacterial canker of kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.). Bacteriophages infecting this phytopathogen have potential as biocontrol agents as part of an integrated approach to the management of bacterial canker, and for use as molecular tools to study this bacterium. A variety of bacteriophages were previously isolated that infect P. syringae pv. actinidiae, and their basic properties were characterized to provide a framework for formulation of these phages as biocontrol agents. Here, we have examined in more detailφPsa17, a phage with the capacity to infect a broad range of P. syringae pv. actinidiae strains and the only member of the Podoviridae in this collection. Particle morphology was visualized using cryo-electron microscopy, the genome was sequenced, and its structural proteins were analysed using shotgun proteomics. These studies demonstrated that φPsa17 has a 40,525 bp genome, is a member of the T7likevirus genus and is closely related to the pseudomonad phages φPSA2 and gh-1. Eleven structural proteins (one scaffolding) were detected by proteomics and φPsa17 has a capsid of approximately 60 nm in diameter. No genes indicative of a lysogenic lifecycle were identified, suggesting the phage is obligately lytic. These features indicate that φPsa17 may be suitable for formulation as a biocontrol agent of P. syringae pv. actinidiae.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3345-3360: RNase P Ribozymes Inhibit the Replication of Human Cytomegalovirus by Targeting Essential Viral Capsid Proteins

  • An engineered RNase P-based ribozyme variant, which was generated using the in vitro selection procedure, was used to target the overlapping mRNA region of two proteins essential for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replication: capsid assembly protein (AP) and protease (PR). In vitro studies showed that the generated variant, V718-A, cleaved the target AP mRNA sequence efficiently and its activity was about 60-fold higher than that of wild type ribozyme M1-A. Furthermore, we observed a reduction of 98%–99% in AP/PR expression and an inhibition of 50,000 fold in viral growth in cells with V718-A, while a 75% reduction in AP/PR expression and a 500-fold inhibition in viral growth was found in cells with M1-A. Examination of the antiviral effects of the generated ribozyme on the HCMV replication cycle suggested that viral DNA encapsidation was inhibited and as a consequence, viral capsid assembly was blocked when the expression of AP and PR was inhibited by the ribozyme. Thus, our study indicates that the generated ribozyme variant is highly effective in inhibiting HCMV gene expression and blocking viral replication, and suggests that engineered RNase P ribozyme can be potentially developed as a promising gene-targeting agent for anti-HCMV therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3329-3344: Characterisation of Structural Proteins from Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CBPV) Using Mass Spectrometry

  • Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is the etiological agent of chronic paralysis, an infectious and contagious disease in adult honeybees. CBPV is a positive single-stranded RNA virus which contains two major viral RNA fragments. RNA 1 (3674 nt) and RNA 2 (2305 nt) encode three and four putative open reading frames (ORFs), respectively. RNA 1 is thought to encode the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) since the amino acid sequence derived from ORF 3 shares similarities with the RdRP of families Nodaviridae and Tombusviridae. The genomic organization of CBPV and in silico analyses have suggested that RNA 1 encodes non-structural proteins, while RNA 2 encodes structural proteins, which are probably encoded by ORFs 2 and 3. In this study, purified CBPV particles were used to characterize virion proteins by mass spectrometry. Several polypeptides corresponding to proteins encoded by ORF 2 and 3 on RNA 2 were detected. Their role in the formation of the viral capsid is discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3310-3328: Phylodynamics of H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Europe, 2005–2010: Potential for Molecular Surveillance of New Outbreaks

  • Previous Bayesian phylogeographic studies of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) explored the origin and spread of the epidemic from China into Russia, indicating that HPAIV circulated in Russia prior to its detection there in 2005. In this study, we extend this research to explore the evolution and spread of HPAIV within Europe during the 2005–2010 epidemic, using all available sequences of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) gene regions that were collected in Europe and Russia during the outbreak. We use discrete-trait phylodynamic models within a Bayesian statistical framework to explore the evolution of HPAIV. Our results indicate that the genetic diversity and effective population size of HPAIV peaked between mid-2005 and early 2006, followed by drastic decline in 2007, which coincides with the end of the epidemic in Europe. Our results also suggest that domestic birds were the most likely source of the spread of the virus from Russia into Europe. Additionally, estimates of viral dispersal routes indicate that Russia, Romania, and Germany were key epicenters of these outbreaks. Our study quantifies the dynamics of a major European HPAIV pandemic and substantiates the ability of phylodynamic models to improvemolecular surveillance of novel AIVs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3285-3309: Honey Bee Infecting Lake Sinai Viruses

  • Honey bees are critical pollinators of important agricultural crops. Recently, high annual losses of honey bee colonies have prompted further investigation of honey bee infecting viruses. To better characterize the recently discovered and very prevalent Lake Sinai virus (LSV) group, we sequenced currently circulating LSVs, performed phylogenetic analysis, and obtained images of LSV2. Sequence analysis resulted in extension of the LSV1 and LSV2 genomes, the first detection of LSV4 in the US, and the discovery of LSV6 and LSV7. We detected LSV1 and LSV2 in the Varroa destructor mite, and determined that a large proportion of LSV2 is found in the honey bee gut, suggesting that vector-mediated, food-associated, and/or fecal-oral routes may be important for LSV dissemination. Pathogen-specific quantitative PCR data, obtained from samples collected during a small-scale monitoring project, revealed that LSV2, LSV1, Black queen cell virus (BQCV), and Nosema ceranae were more abundant in weak colonies than strong colonies within this sample cohort. Together, these results enhance our current understanding of LSVs and illustrate the importance of future studies aimed at investigating the role of LSVs and other pathogens on honey bee health at both the individual and colony levels.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3261-3284: Viral Membrane Channels: Role and Function in the Virus Life Cycle

  • Viroporins are small, hydrophobic trans-membrane viral proteins that oligomerize to form hydrophilic pores in the host cell membranes. These proteins are crucial for the pathogenicity and replication of viruses as they aid in various stages of the viral life cycle, from genome uncoating to viral release. In addition, the ion channel activity of viroporin causes disruption in the cellular ion homeostasis, in particular the calcium ion. Fluctuation in the calcium level triggers the activation of the host defensive programmed cell death pathways as well as the inflammasome, which in turn are being subverted for the viruses’ replication benefits. This review article summarizes recent developments in the functional investigation of viroporins from various viruses and their contributions to viral replication and virulence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3241-3260: Characterization of Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Integration in the Horse Genome

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 has a unique integration profile in the human genome relative to murine and avian retroviruses. Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is another well-studied lentivirus that can also be used as a promising retro-transfection vector, but its integration into its native host has not been characterized. In this study, we mapped 477 integration sites of the EIAV strain EIAVFDDV13 in fetal equine dermal (FED) cells during in vitro infection. Published integration sites of EIAV and HIV-1 in the human genome were also analyzed as references. Our results demonstrated that EIAVFDDV13 tended to integrate into genes and AT-rich regions, and it avoided integrating into transcription start sites (TSS), which is consistent with EIAV and HIV-1 integration in the human genome. Notably, the integration of EIAVFDDV13 favored long interspersed elements (LINEs) and DNA transposons in the horse genome, whereas the integration of HIV-1 favored short interspersed elements (SINEs) in the human genome. The chromosomal environment near LINEs or DNA transposons potentially influences viral transcription and may be related to the unique EIAV latency states in equids. The data on EIAV integration in its natural host will facilitate studies on lentiviral infection and lentivirus-based therapeutic vectors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3226-3240: RNA Viruses and RNAi: Quasispecies Implications for Viral Escape

  • Due to high mutation rates, populations of RNA viruses exist as a collection of closely related mutants known as a quasispecies. A consequence of error-prone replication is the potential for rapid adaptation of RNA viruses when a selective pressure is applied, including host immune systems and antiviral drugs. RNA interference (RNAi) acts to inhibit protein synthesis by targeting specific mRNAs for degradation and this process has been developed to target RNA viruses, exhibiting their potential as a therapeutic against infections. However, viruses containing mutations conferring resistance to RNAi were isolated in nearly all cases, underlining the problems of rapid viral evolution. Thus, while promising, the use of RNAi in treating or preventing viral diseases remains fraught with the typical complications that result from high specificity of the target, as seen in other antiviral regimens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3204-3225: Exosomes and Their Role in the Life Cycle and Pathogenesis of RNA Viruses

  • Exosomes are membrane-enclosed vesicles actively released into the extracellular space, whose content reflect the physiological/pathological state of the cells they originate from. These vesicles participate in cell-to-cell communication and transfer of biologically active proteins, lipids, and RNAs. Their role in viral infections is just beginning to be appreciated. RNA viruses are an important class of pathogens and affect millions of people worldwide. Recent studies on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV), and Dengue Virus (DENV) have demonstrated that exosomes released from infected cells harbor and deliver many regulatory factors including viral RNA and proteins, viral and cellular miRNA, and other host functional genetic elements to neighboring cells, helping to establish productive infections and modulating cellular responses. Exosomes can either spread or limit an infection depending on the type of pathogen and target cells, and can be exploited as candidates for development of antiviral or vaccine treatments. This review summarizes recent progress made in understanding the role of exosomes in RNA virus infections with an emphasis on their potential contribution to pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3201-3203: Correction: Hollingworth, R.; Grand, R.J. Modulation of DNA Damage and Repair Pathways by Human Tumour Viruses. Viruses 2015, 7, 2542-2591

  • We have noted a number of errors in the references of this manuscript.[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3186-3200: Coordinated DNA Replication by the Bacteriophage T4 Replisome

  • The T4 bacteriophage encodes eight proteins, which are sufficient to carry out coordinated leading and lagging strand DNA synthesis. These purified proteins have been used to reconstitute DNA synthesis in vitro and are a well-characterized model system. Recent work on the T4 replisome has yielded more detailed insight into the dynamics and coordination of proteins at the replication fork. Since the leading and lagging strands are synthesized in opposite directions, coordination of DNA synthesis as well as priming and unwinding is accomplished by several protein complexes. These protein complexes serve to link catalytic activities and physically tether proteins to the replication fork. Essential to both leading and lagging strand synthesis is the formation of a holoenzyme complex composed of the polymerase and a processivity clamp. The two holoenzymes form a dimer allowing the lagging strand polymerase to be retained within the replisome after completion of each Okazaki fragment. The helicase and primase also form a complex known as the primosome, which unwinds the duplex DNA while also synthesizing primers on the lagging strand. Future studies will likely focus on defining the orientations and architecture of protein complexes at the replication fork.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3172-3185: The Effect of Oral Administration of dsRNA on Viral Replication and Mortality in Bombus terrestris

  • Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), a single-stranded RNA virus, has a worldwide distribution and affects honeybees as well as other important pollinators. IAPV infection in honeybees has been successfully repressed by exploiting the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway of the insect’s innate immune response with virus-specific double stranded RNA (dsRNA). Here we investigated the effect of IAPV infection in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris and its tissue tropism. B. terrestris is a common pollinator of wild flowers in Europe and is used for biological pollination in agriculture. Infection experiments demonstrated a similar pathology and tissue tropism in bumblebees as reported for honeybees. The effect of oral administration of virus-specific dsRNA was examined and resulted in an effective silencing of the virus, irrespective of the length. Interestingly, we observed that non-specific dsRNA was also efficient against IAPV. However further study is needed to clarify the precise mechanism behind this effect. Finally we believe that our data are indicative of the possibility to use dsRNA for a broad range viral protection in bumblebees.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3155-3171: Antiviral Potential of a Novel Compound CW-33 against Enterovirus A71 via Inhibition of Viral 2A Protease

  • Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) in the Picornaviridae family causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease, aseptic meningitis, severe central nervous system disease, even death. EV-A71 2A protease cleaves Type I interferon (IFN)-α/β receptor 1 (IFNAR1) to block IFN-induced Jak/STAT signaling. This study investigated anti-EV-A7l activity and synergistic mechanism(s) of a novel furoquinoline alkaloid compound CW-33 alone and in combination with IFN-β Anti-EV-A71 activities of CW-33 alone and in combination with IFN-β were evaluated by inhibitory assays of virus-induced apoptosis, plaque formation, and virus yield. CW-33 showed antiviral activities with an IC50 of near 200 µM in EV-A71 plaque reduction and virus yield inhibition assays. While, anti-EV-A71 activities of CW-33 combined with 100 U/mL IFN-β exhibited a synergistic potency with an IC50 of approximate 1 µM in plaque reduction and virus yield inhibition assays. Molecular docking revealed CW-33 binding to EV-A71 2A protease active sites, correlating with an inhibitory effect of CW33 on in vitro enzymatic activity of recombinant 2A protease IC50 = 53.1 µM). Western blotting demonstrated CW-33 specifically inhibiting 2A protease-mediated cleavage of IFNAR1. CW-33 also recovered Type I IFN-induced Tyk2 and STAT1 phosphorylation as well as 2',5'-OAS upregulation in EV-A71 infected cells. The results demonstrated CW-33 inhibiting viral 2A protease activity to reduce Type I IFN antagonism of EV-A71. Therefore, CW-33 combined with a low-dose of Type I IFN could be applied in developing alternative approaches to treat EV-A71 infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3130-3154: Evaluation of Signature Erosion in Ebola Virus Due to Genomic Drift and Its Impact on the Performance of Diagnostic Assays

  • Genome sequence analyses of the 2014 Ebola Virus (EBOV) isolates revealed a potential problem with the diagnostic assays currently in use; i.e., drifting genomic profiles of the virus may affect the sensitivity or even produce false-negative results. We evaluated signature erosion in ebolavirus molecular assays using an in silico approach and found frequent potential false-negative and false-positive results. We further empirically evaluated many EBOV assays, under real time PCR conditions using EBOV Kikwit (1995) and Makona (2014) RNA templates. These results revealed differences in performance between assays but were comparable between the old and new EBOV templates. Using a whole genome approach and a novel algorithm, termed BioVelocity, we identified new signatures that are unique to each of EBOV, Sudan virus (SUDV), and Reston virus (RESTV). Interestingly, many of the current assay signatures do not fall within these regions, indicating a potential drawback in the past assay design strategies. The new signatures identified in this study may be evaluated with real-time reverse transcription PCR (rRT-PCR) assay development and validation. In addition, we discuss regulatory implications and timely availability to impact a rapidly evolving outbreak using existing but perhaps less than optimal assays versus redesign these assays for addressing genomic changes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3116-3129: Important Role of the IL-32 Inflammatory Network in the Host Response against Viral Infection

  • The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-32 has gained much attention recently because of its important role in the inflammatory network. Since the discovery of IL-32 in 2005, our appreciation for its diverse roles continues to grow. Recent studies have discovered the antiviral effects induced by IL-32 and its associated regulatory mechanisms. The interactions between IL-32 and various cytokines including cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), interferon (IFN)-λ1, interleukin (IL)-6, and soluble IL-6 receptor have been described. This review aims to integrate these new findings into explicit concepts and raises the intriguing possibility of IL-32 as a therapeutic target.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3076-3115: Overview on Sobemoviruses and a Proposal for the Creation of the Family Sobemoviridae

  • The genus Sobemovirus, unassigned to any family, consists of viruses with single-stranded plus-oriented single-component RNA genomes and small icosahedral particles. Currently, 14 species within the genus have been recognized by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) but several new species are to be recognized in the near future. Sobemovirus genomes are compact with a conserved structure of open reading frames and with short untranslated regions. Several sobemoviruses are important pathogens. Moreover, over the last decade sobemoviruses have become important model systems to study plant virus evolution. In the current review we give an overview of the structure and expression of sobemovirus genomes, processing and functions of individual proteins, particle structure, pathology and phylogenesis of sobemoviruses as well as of satellite RNAs present together with these viruses. Based on a phylogenetic analysis we propose that a new family Sobemoviridae should be recognized including the genera Sobemovirus and Polemovirus. Finally, we outline the future perspectives and needs for the research focusing on sobemoviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3053-3075: HIV Rev Assembly on the Rev Response Element (RRE): A Structural Perspective

  • HIV-1 Rev is an ~13 kD accessory protein expressed during the early stage of virus replication. After translation, Rev enters the nucleus and binds the Rev response element (RRE), a ~350 nucleotide, highly structured element embedded in the env gene in unspliced and singly spliced viral RNA transcripts. Rev-RNA assemblies subsequently recruit Crm1 and other cellular proteins to form larger complexes that are exported from the nucleus. Once in the cytoplasm, the complexes dissociate and unspliced and singly-spliced viral RNAs are packaged into nascent virions or translated into viral structural proteins and enzymes, respectively. Rev binding to the RRE is a complex process, as multiple copies of the protein assemble on the RNA in a coordinated fashion via a series of Rev-Rev and Rev-RNA interactions. Our understanding of the nature of these interactions has been greatly advanced by recent studies using X-ray crystallography, small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and single particle electron microscopy as well as biochemical and genetic methodologies. These advances are discussed in detail in this review, along with perspectives on development of antiviral therapies targeting the HIV-1 RRE.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3035-3052: IFITMs from Mycobacteria Confer Resistance to Influenza Virus When Expressed in Human Cells

  • Interferon induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) found in vertebrates restrict infections by specific viruses. IFITM3 is known to be essential for restriction of influenza virus infections in both mice and humans. Vertebrate IFITMs are hypothesized to have derived from a horizontal gene transfer from bacteria to a primitive unicellular eukaryote. Since bacterial IFITMs share minimal amino acid identity with human IFITM3, we hypothesized that examination of bacterial IFITMs in human cells would provide insight into the essential characteristics necessary for antiviral activity of IFITMs. We examined IFITMs from Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium abscessus for potential antiviral activity. Both of these IFITMs conferred a moderate level of resistance to influenza virus in human cells, identifying them as functional homologues of IFITM3. Analysis of sequence elements shared by bacterial IFITMs and IFITM3 identified two hydrophobic domains, putative S-palmitoylation sites, and conserved phenylalanine residues associated with IFITM3 interactions, which are all necessary for IFITM3 antiviral activity. We observed that, like IFITM3, bacterial IFITMs were S-palmitoylated, albeit to a lesser degree. We also demonstrated the ability of a bacterial IFITM to co-immunoprecipitate with IFITM3 suggesting formation of a complex, and also visualized strong co-localization of bacterial IFITMs with IFITM3. However, the mycobacterial IFITMs lack the endocytic-targeting motif conserved in vertebrate IFITM3. As such, these bacterial proteins, when expressed alone, had diminished colocalization with cathepsin B-positive endolysosomal compartments that are the primary site of IFITM3-dependent influenza virus restriction. Though the precise evolutionary origin of vertebrate IFITMs is not known, our results support a model whereby transfer of a bacterial IFITM gene to eukaryotic cells may have provided a selective advantage against viral infection that was refined through the course of vertebrate evolution to include more robust signals for S-palmitoylation and localization to sites of endocytic virus trafficking.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 3019-3034: A Thermophilic Phage Endolysin Fusion to a Clostridium perfringens-Specific Cell Wall Binding Domain Creates an Anti-Clostridium Antimicrobial with Improved Thermostability

  • Clostridium perfringens is the third leading cause of human foodborne bacterial disease and is the presumptive etiologic agent of necrotic enteritis among chickens. Treatment of poultry with antibiotics is becoming less acceptable. Endolysin enzymes are potential replacements for antibiotics. Many enzymes are added to animal feed during production and are subjected to high-heat stress during feed processing. To produce a thermostabile endolysin for treating poultry, an E. coli codon-optimized gene was synthesized that fused the N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase domain from the endolysin of the thermophilic bacteriophageɸGVE2 to the cell-wall binding domain (CWB) from the endolysin of the C. perfringens-specific bacteriophage ɸCP26F. The resulting protein, PlyGVE2CpCWB, lysed C. perfringens in liquid and solid cultures. PlyGVE2CpCWB was most active at pH 8, had peak activity at 10 mM NaCl, 40% activity at 150mM NaCl and was still 16% active at 600 mM NaCl. The protein was able to withstand temperatures up to 50° C and still lyse C. perfringens. Herein, we report the construction and characterization of a thermostable chimeric endolysin that could potentially be utilized as a feed additive to control the bacterium during poultry production.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2999-3018: APOBEC3 Interference during Replication of Viral Genomes

  • Co-evolution of viruses and their hosts has reached a fragile and dynamic equilibrium that allows viral persistence, replication and transmission. In response, infected hosts have developed strategies of defense that counteract the deleterious effects of viral infections. In particular, single-strand DNA editing by Apolipoprotein B Editing Catalytic subunits proteins 3 (APOBEC3s) is a well-conserved mechanism of mammalian innate immunity that mutates and inactivates viral genomes. In this review, we describe the mechanisms of APOBEC3 editing during viral replication, the viral strategies that prevent APOBEC3 activity and the consequences of APOBEC3 modulation on viral fitness and host genome integrity. Understanding the mechanisms involved reveals new prospects for therapeutic intervention.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2980-2998: Recombinant Immunomodulating Lentogenic or Mesogenic Oncolytic Newcastle Disease Virus for Treatment of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

  • Oncolytic Newcastle disease virus (NDV) might be a promising new therapeutic agent for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. We evaluated recombinant NDVs (rNDVs) expressing interferon (rNDV-hIFNβ-F\(_{\rm{0}}\)) or an IFN antagonistic protein (rNDV-NS1-F\(_{\rm{0}}\)), as well as rNDV with increased virulence (rNDV-F\(_{\rm{3aa}}\)) for oncolytic efficacy in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Expression of additional proteins did not hamper virus replication or cytotoxic effects on itself. However, expression of interferon, but not NS1, resulted in loss of multicycle replication. Conversely, increasing the virulence (rNDV-F\(_{\rm{3aa}}\)) resulted in enhanced replication of the virus. Type I interferon was produced in high amounts by all tumor cells inoculated with rNDV-hIFNβ -F\(_{\rm{0}}\), while inoculation with rNDV-NS1-F\(_{\rm{0}}\) resulted in a complete block of interferon production in most cells. Inoculation of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells with rNDV-F\(_{\rm{3aa}}\) caused markedly more cytotoxicity compared to rNDV-F\(_{\rm{0}}\), while inoculation with rNDV-hIFNβ -F\(_{\rm{0}}\) and rNDV-NS1-F\(_{\rm{0}}\) induced cytotoxic effects comparable to those induced by the parental rNDV-F\(_{\rm{0}}\). Evaluation in vivo using mice bearing subcutaneous pancreatic cancer xenografts revealed that only intratumoral injection with rNDV-F\(_{\rm{3aa}}\)resulted in regression of tumors. We conclude that although lentogenic rNDVs harboring proteins that modulate the type I interferon pathway proteins do have an oncolytic effect, a more virulent mesogenic rNDV might be needed to improve oncolytic efficacy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2965-2979: Lentiviral Vector Mediated Claudin1 Silencing Inhibits Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer Cells

  • Breast cancer has a high incidence and mortality rate worldwide. Several viral vectors including lentiviral, adenoviral and adeno-associated viral vectors have been used in gene therapy for various forms of human cancer, and have shown promising effects in controlling tumor development. Claudin1 (CLDN1) is a member of the tetraspan transmembrane protein family that plays a major role in tight junctions and is associated with tumor metastasis. However, the role of CLDN1 in breast cancer is largely unexplored. In this study, we tested the therapeutic potential of silencing CLDN1 expression in two breast cancer (MDA-MB-231 and MCF7) cell lines using lentiviral vector mediated RNA interference. We found that a CLDN1 short hairpin (shRNA) construct efficiently silenced CLDN1 expression in both breast cancer cell lines, and CLDN1 knockdown resulted in reduced cell proliferation, survival, migration and invasion. Furthermore, silencing CLDN1 inhibited epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) by upregulating the epithelial cell marker, E-cadherin, and downregulating mesenchymal markers, smooth muscle cell alpha-actin (SMA) and Snai2. Our data demonstrated that lentiviral vector mediated CLDN1 RNA interference has great potential in breast cancer gene therapy by inhibiting EMT and controlling tumor cell growth.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2943-2964: The Chikungunya Virus Capsid Protein Contains Linear B Cell Epitopes in the N- and C-Terminal Regions that are Dependent on an Intact C-Terminus for Antibody Recognition

  • Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne agent that causes severe arthritic disease in humans and is considered a serious health threat in areas where competent mosquito vectors are prevalent. CHIKV has recently been responsible for several millions of cases of disease, involving over 40 countries. The recent re-emergence of CHIKV and its potential threat to human health has stimulated interest in better understanding of the biology and pathogenesis of the virus, and requirement for improved treatment, prevention and control measures. In this study, we mapped the binding sites of a panel of eleven monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) previously generated towards the capsid protein (CP) of CHIKV. Using N- and C-terminally truncated recombinant forms of the CHIKV CP, two putative binding regions, between residues 1–35 and 140–210, were identified. Competitive binding also revealed that five of the CP-specific mAbs recognized a series of overlapping epitopes in the latter domain. We also identified a smaller, N-terminally truncated product of native CP that may represent an alternative translation productof the CHIKV 26S RNA and have potential functional significance during CHIKV replication. Our data also provides evidence that the C-terminus of CP is required for authentic antigenic structure of CP. This study shows that these anti-CP mAbs will be valuable research tools for further investigatingthe structure and function of the CHIKV CP.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2928-2942: The Roles of Syncytin-Like Proteins in Ruminant Placentation

  • Recent developments in genome sequencing techniques have led to the identification of huge numbers of endogenous retroviruses (ERV) in various mammals. ERVs, which occupy 8%–13% of mammalian genomes, are believed to affect mammalian evolution and biological diversity. Although the functional significance of most ERVs remains to be elucidated, several ERVs are thought to have pivotal roles in host physiology. We and other groups recently identified ERV envelope proteins (e.g., Fematrin-1, Syncytin-Rum1, endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus Env) that may determine the morphogenesis of the unique fused trophoblast cells, termed trinucleate cells and syncytial plaques, found in ruminant placentas; however, there are still a number of outstanding issues with regard to the role of ERVs that remain to be resolved. Here, we review what is known about how these ERVs have contributed to the development of ruminant-specific trophoblast cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2908-2927: Activation of DNA Damage Response Pathways during Lytic Replication of KSHV

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causative agent of several human malignancies. Human tumour viruses such as KSHV are known to interact with the DNA damage response (DDR), the molecular pathways that recognise and repair lesions in cellular DNA. Here it is demonstrated that lytic reactivation of KSHV leads to activation of the ATM and DNA-PK DDR kinases resulting in phosphorylation of multiple downstream substrates. Inhibition of ATM results in the reduction of overall levels of viral replication while inhibition of DNA-PK increases activation of ATM and leads to earlier viral release. There is no activation of the ATR-CHK1 pathway following lytic replication and CHK1 phosphorylation is inhibited at later times during the lytic cycle. Despite evidence of double-strand breaks and phosphorylation of H2AX, 53BP1 foci are not consistently observed in cells containing lytic virus although RPA32 and MRE11 localise to sites of viral DNA synthesis. Activation of the DDR following KSHV lytic reactivation does not result in a G1 cell cycle block and cells are able to proceed to S-phase during the lytic cycle. KSHV appears then to selectively activate DDR pathways, modulate cell cycle progression and recruit DDR proteins to sites of viral replication during the lytic cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2884-2907: Contribution of the Major ND10 Proteins PML, hDaxx and Sp100 to the Regulation of Human Cytomegalovirus Latency and Lytic Replication in the Monocytic Cell Line THP-1

  • Promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies, also termed nuclear domain 10 (ND10), have emerged as nuclear protein accumulations mediating an intrinsic cellular defense against viral infections via chromatin-based mechanisms, however, their contribution to the control of herpesviral latency is still controversial. In this study, we utilized the monocytic cell line THP-1 as an in vitro latency model for human cytomegalovirus infection (HCMV). Characterization of THP-1 cells by immunofluorescence andWestern blot analysis confirmed the expression of all major ND10 components. THP-1 cells with a stable, individual knockdown of PML, hDaxx or Sp100 were generated. Importantly, depletion of the major ND10 proteins did not prevent the terminal cellular differentiation of THP-1 monocytes. After construction of a recombinant, endotheliotropic human cytomegalovirus expressing IE2-EYFP, we investigated whether the depletion of ND10 proteins affects the onset of viral IE gene expression. While after infection of differentiated, THP-1-derived macrophages as well as during differentiation-induced reactivation from latency an increase in the number of IE-expressing cells was readily detectable in the absence of the major ND10 proteins, no effect was observed in non-differentiated monocytes. We conclude that PML, hDaxx and Sp100 primarily act as cellular restriction factors during lytic HCMV replication and during the dynamic process of reactivation but do not serve as key determinants for the establishment of HCMV latency.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2858-2883: Protein-Protein Interactions of Viroporins in Coronaviruses and Paramyxoviruses: New Targets for Antivirals?

  • Viroporins are members of a rapidly growing family of channel-forming small polypeptides found in viruses. The present review will be focused on recent structural and protein-protein interaction information involving two viroporins found in enveloped viruses that target the respiratory tract; (i) the envelope protein in coronaviruses and (ii) the small hydrophobic protein in paramyxoviruses. Deletion of these two viroporins leads to viral attenuation in vivo, whereas data from cell culture shows involvement in the regulation of stress and inflammation. The channel activity and structure of some representative members of these viroporins have been recently characterized in some detail. In addition, searches for protein-protein interactions using yeast-two hybrid techniques have shed light on possible functional roles for their exposed cytoplasmic domains. A deeper analysis of these interactions should not only provide a more complete overview of the multiple functions of these viroporins, but also suggest novel strategies that target protein-protein interactions as much needed antivirals. These should complement current efforts to block viroporin channel activity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2834-2857: The Emerging Roles of Viroporins in ER Stress Response and Autophagy Induction during Virus Infection

  • Viroporins are small hydrophobic viral proteins that oligomerize to form aqueous pores on cellular membranes. Studies in recent years have demonstrated that viroporins serve important functions during virus replication and contribute to viral pathogenicity. A number of viroporins have also been shown to localize to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and/or its associated membranous organelles. In fact, replication of most RNA viruses is closely linked to the ER, and has been found to cause ER stress in the infected cells. On the other hand, autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved“self-eating” mechanism that is also observed in cells infected with RNA viruses. Both ER stress and autophagy are also known to modulate a wide variety of signaling pathways including pro-inflammatory and innate immune response, thereby constituting a major aspect of host-virus interactions. In this review, the potential involvement of viroporins in virus-induced ER stress and autophagy will be discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2816-2833: Hydrogen Peroxide Induce Human Cytomegalovirus Replication through the Activation of p38-MAPK Signaling Pathway

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major risk factor in transplantation and AIDS patients, which induces high morbidity and mortality. These patients infected with HCMV experience an imbalance of redox homeostasis that cause accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the cellular level. H2O2, the most common reactive oxygen species, is the main byproduct of oxidative metabolism. However, the function of H2O2 on HCMV infection is not yet fully understood and the effect and mechanism of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on H2O2-stimulated HCMV replication is unclear. We, therefore, examined the effect of NAC on H2O2-induced HCMV production in human foreskin fibroblast cells. In the present study, we found that H2O2 enhanced HCMV lytic replication through promoting major immediate early (MIE) promoter activity and immediate early (IE) gene transcription. Conversely, NAC inhibited H2O2-upregulated viral IE gene expression and viral replication. The suppressive effect of NAC on CMV in an acute CMV-infected mouse model also showed a relationship between antioxidants and viral lytic replication. Intriguingly, the enhancement of HCMV replication via supplementation with H2O2 was accompanied with the activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Similar to NAC, the p38 inhibitor SB203580 inhibited H2O2-induced p38 phosphorylation and HCMV upregulation, while upregulation of inducible ROS was unaffected. These results directly relate HCMV replication to H2O2, suggesting that treatment with antioxidants may be an attractive preventive and therapeutic strategy for HCMV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2794-2815: Dynamics of Virus-Receptor Interactions in Virus Binding, Signaling, and Endocytosis

  • During viral infection the first challenge that viruses have to overcome is gaining access to the intracellular compartment. The infection process starts when the virus contacts the surface of the host cell. A complex series of events ensues, including diffusion at the host cell membrane surface, binding to receptors, signaling, internalization, and delivery of the genetic information. The focus of this review is on the very initial steps of virus entry, from receptor binding to particle uptake into the host cell. We will discuss how viruses find their receptor, move to sub-membranous regions permissive for entry, and how they hijack the receptor-mediated signaling pathway to promote their internalization.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2771-2793: The Molecular Switch of Telomere Phages: High Binding Specificity of the PY54 Cro Lytic Repressor to a Single Operator Site

  • Temperate bacteriophages possess a molecular switch, which regulates the lytic and lysogenic growth. The genomes of the temperate telomere phages N15, PY54 andɸKO2 harbor a primary immunity region (immB) comprising genes for the prophage repressor, the lytic repressor and a putative antiterminator. The roles of these products are thought to be similar to those of the lambda proteins CI, Cro and Q, respectively. Moreover, the gene order and the location of several operator sites in the prototype telomere phage N15 and in ɸKO2 are also reminiscent of lambda-like phages. By contrast, in silico analyses revealed the presence of only one operator (O\(_{\rm{R}}\)3) in PY54. The purified PY54 Cro protein was used for EMSA studies demonstrating that it exclusively binds to a 16-bp palindromic site (O\(_{\rm{R}}\)3) upstream of the prophage repressor gene. The O\(_{\rm{R}}\)3 operator sequences of PY54 and ɸKO2/N15 only differ by their peripheral base pairs, which are responsible for Cro specificity. PY54 cI and cro transcription is regulated by highly active promoters initiating the synthesis of a homogenious species of leaderless mRNA. The location of the PY54 Cro binding site and of the identified promoters suggests that the lytic repressor suppresses cI transcription but not its own synthesis. The results indicate an unexpected diversity of the growth regulation mechanisms in lambda-related phages.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2745-2770: HCV Core Protein Uses Multiple Mechanisms to Induce Oxidative Stress in Human Hepatoma Huh7 Cells

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is accompanied by the induction of oxidative stress, mediated by several virus proteins, the most prominent being the nucleocapsid protein (HCV core). Here, using the truncated forms of HCV core, we have delineated several mechanisms by which it induces the oxidative stress. The N-terminal 36 amino acids of HCV core induced TGFβ1-dependent expression of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidases 1 and 4, both of which independently contributed to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The same fragment also induced the expression of cyclo-oxygenase 2, which, however, made no input into ROS production. Amino acids 37–191 of HCV core up-regulated the transcription of a ROS generating enzyme cytochrome P450 2E1. Furthermore, the same fragment induced the expression of endoplasmic reticulum oxidoreductin 1α. The latter triggered efflux of Ca2+ from ER to mitochondria via mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter, leading to generation of superoxide anions, and possibly also H2O2. Suppression of any of these pathways in cells expressing the full-length core protein led to a partial inhibition of ROS production. Thus, HCV core causes oxidative stress via several independent pathways, each mediated by a distinct region of the protein.

  • 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.
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