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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1759-1788: Filoviruses in Bats: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

  • Filoviruses, including Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus, pose significant threats to public health and species conservation by causing hemorrhagic fever outbreaks with high mortality rates. Since the first outbreak in 1967, their origins, natural history, and ecology remained elusive until recent studies linked them through molecular, serological, and virological studies to bats. We review the ecology, epidemiology, and natural history of these systems, drawing on examples from other bat-borne zoonoses, and highlight key areas for future research. We compare and contrast results from ecological and virological studies of bats and filoviruses with those of other systems. We also highlight how advanced methods, such as more recent serological assays, can be interlinked with flexible statistical methods and experimental studies to inform the field studies necessary to understand filovirus persistence in wildlife populations and cross-species transmission leading to outbreaks. We highlight the need for a more unified, global surveillance strategy for filoviruses in wildlife, and advocate for more integrated, multi-disciplinary approaches to understand dynamics in bat populations to ultimately mitigate or prevent potentially devastating disease outbreaks.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1715-1758: HIV-1 Latency: An Update of Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies

  • The major obstacle towards HIV-1 eradication is the life-long persistence of the virus in reservoirs of latently infected cells. In these cells the proviral DNA is integrated in the host’s genome but it does not actively replicate, becoming invisible to the host immune system and unaffected by existing antiviral drugs. Rebound of viremia and recovery of systemic infection that follows interruption of therapy, necessitates life-long treatments with problems of compliance, toxicity, and untenable costs, especially in developing countries where the infection hits worst. Extensive research efforts have led to the proposal and preliminary testing of several anti-latency compounds, however, overall, eradication strategies have had, so far, limited clinical success while posing several risks for patients. This review will briefly summarize the more recent advances in the elucidation of mechanisms that regulates the establishment/maintenance of latency and therapeutic strategies currently under evaluation in order to eradicate HIV persistence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1701-1714: Muju Virus, Harbored by Myodes regulus in Korea, Might Represent a Genetic Variant of Puumala Virus, the Prototype Arvicolid Rodent-Borne Hantavirus

  • The genome of Muju virus (MUJV), identified originally in the royal vole (Myodes regulus) in Korea, was fully sequenced to ascertain its genetic and phylogenetic relationship with Puumala virus (PUUV), harbored by the bank vole (My. glareolus), and a PUUV-like virus, named Hokkaido virus (HOKV), in the grey red-backed vole (My. rufocanus) in Japan. Whole genome sequence analysis of the 6544-nucleotide large (L), 3652-nucleotide medium (M) and 1831-nucleotide small (S) segments of MUJV, as well as the amino acid sequences of their gene products, indicated that MUJV strains from different capture sites might represent genetic variants of PUUV, the prototype arvicolid rodent-borne hantavirus in Europe. Distinct geographic-specific clustering of MUJV was found in different provinces in Korea, and phylogenetic analyses revealed that MUJV and HOKV share a common ancestry with PUUV. A better understanding of the taxonomic classification and pathogenic potential of MUJV must await its isolation in cell culture.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1672-1700: Matrix and Backstage: Cellular Substrates for Viral Vaccines

  • Vaccines are complex products that are manufactured in highly dynamic processes. Cellular substrates are one critical component that can have an enormous impact on reactogenicity of the final preparation, level of attenuation of a live virus, yield of infectious units or antigens, and cost per vaccine dose. Such parameters contribute to feasibility and affordability of vaccine programs both in industrialized countries and developing regions. This review summarizes the diversity of cellular substrates for propagation of viral vaccines from primary tissue explants and embryonated chicken eggs to designed continuous cell lines of human and avian origin.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1654-1671: Analysis of Determinants in Filovirus Glycoproteins Required for Tetherin Antagonism

  • The host cell protein tetherin can restrict the release of enveloped viruses from infected cells. The HIV-1 protein Vpu counteracts tetherin by removing it from the site of viral budding, the plasma membrane, and this process depends on specific interactions between the transmembrane domains of Vpu and tetherin. In contrast, the glycoproteins (GPs) of two filoviruses, Ebola and Marburg virus, antagonize tetherin without reducing surface expression, and the domains in GP required for tetherin counteraction are unknown. Here, we show that filovirus GPs depend on the presence of their authentic transmembrane domains for virus-cell fusion and tetherin antagonism. However, conserved residues within the transmembrane domain were dispensable for membrane fusion and tetherin counteraction. Moreover, the insertion of the transmembrane domain into a heterologous viral GP, Lassa virus GPC, was not sufficient to confer tetherin antagonism to the recipient. Finally, mutation of conserved residues within the fusion peptide of Ebola virus GP inhibited virus-cell fusion but did not ablate tetherin counteraction, indicating that the fusion peptide and the ability of GP to drive host cell entry are not required for tetherin counteraction. These results suggest that the transmembrane domains of filoviral GPs contribute to tetherin antagonism but are not the sole determinants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1637-1653: Generation of West Nile Virus Infectious Clones Containing Amino Acid Insertions Between Capsid and Capsid Anchor

  • West Nile virus (WNV) is a positive-sense RNA arbovirus responsible for recent outbreaks of severe neurological disease within the US and Europe. Large-scale analyses of antiviral compounds that inhibit virus replication have been limited due to the lack of an adequate WN reporter virus. Previous attempts to insert a reporter into the 3’ untranslated region of WNV generated unstable viruses, suggesting that this region does not accommodate additional nucleotides. Here, we engineered two WNV infectious clones containing insertions at the Capsid (C)/Capsid Anchor (CA) junction of the viral polyprotein. Recombinant viruses containing a TAT(1-67) or Gaussia Luciferase (GLuc) gene at this location were successfully recovered. However, rapid loss of most, if not all, of the reporter sequence occurred for both viruses, indicating that the reporter viruses were not stable. While the GLuc viruses predominantly reverted back to wild-type WNV length, the TAT viruses retained up to 75 additional nucleotides of the reporter sequence. These additional nucleotides were stable over at least five passages and did not significantly alter WNV fitness. Thus, the C/CA junction of WNV can tolerate additional nucleotides, though insertions are subject to certain constraints.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1612-1636: Superresolution Imaging of Human Cytomegalovirus vMIA Localization in Sub-Mitochondrial Compartments

  • The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) viral mitochondria-localized inhibitor of apoptosis (vMIA) protein, traffics to mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM), where the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contacts the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). vMIA association with the MAM has not been visualized by imaging. Here, we have visualized this by using a combination of confocal and superresolution imaging. Deconvolution of confocal microscopy images shows vMIA localizes away from mitochondrial matrix at the Mitochondria-ER interface. By gated stimulated emission depletion (GSTED) imaging, we show that along this interface vMIA is distributed in clusters. Through multicolor, multifocal structured illumination microscopy (MSIM), we find vMIA clusters localize away from MitoTracker Red, indicating its OMM localization. GSTED and MSIM imaging show vMIA exists in clusters of ~100–150 nm, which is consistent with the cluster size determined by Photoactivated Localization Microscopy (PALM). With these diverse superresolution approaches, we have imaged the clustered distribution of vMIA at the OMM adjacent to the ER. Our findings directly compare the relative advantages of each of these superresolution imaging modalities for imaging components of the MAM and sub-mitochondrial compartments. These studies establish the ability of superresolution imaging to provide valuable insight into viral protein location, particularly in the sub-mitochondrial compartments, and into their clustered organization.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1590-1611: Occult HBV Infection: A Faceless Enemy in Liver Cancer Development

  • The hepatitis B virus (HBV) represents a worldwide public health problem; the virus is present in one third of the global population. However, this rate may in fact be higher due to occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI). This condition is characterized by the presence of the viral genome in the liver of individuals sero-negative for the virus surface antigen (HBsAg). The causes of the absence of HBsAg in serum are unknown, however, mutations have been identified that produce variants not recognized by current immunoassays. Epigenetic and immunological host mechanisms also appear to be involved in HBsAg suppression. Current evidence suggests that OBI maintains its carcinogenic potential, favoring the progression of fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. In common with open HBV infection, OBI can contribute to the establishment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Epidemiological data regarding the global prevalence of OBI vary due to the use of detection methods of different sensitivity and specificity. In Latin America, which is considered an area of low prevalence for HBV, diagnostic screening methods using gene amplification tests for confirmation of OBI are not conducted. This prevents determination of the actual prevalence of OBI, highlighting the need for the implementation of cutting edge technology in epidemiological surveillance systems.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1578-1589: Generation of Recombinant Rabies Virus CVS-11 Expressing eGFP Applied to the Rapid Virus Neutralization Test

  • The determination of levels of rabies virus-neutralizing antibody (VNA) provides the foundation for the quantitative evaluation of immunity effects. The traditional fluorescent antibody virus neutralization test (FAVN) using a challenge virus standard (CVS)-11 strain as a detection antigen and staining infected cells with a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled monoclonal antibody, is expensive and high-quality reagents are often difficult to obtain in developing countries. Indeed, it is essential to establish a rapid, economical, and specific rabies virus neutralization test (VNT). Here, we describe a recombinant virus rCVS-11-eGFP strain that stably expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) based on a reverse genetic system of the CVS-11 strain. Compared to the rCVS-11 strain, the rCVS-11-eGFP strain showed a similar growth property with passaging stability in vitro and pathogenicity in vivo. The rCVS-11-eGFP strain was utilized as a detection antigen to determine the levels of rabies VNAs in 23 human and 29 canine sera; this technique was termed the FAVN-eGFP method. The good reproducibility of FAVN-eGFP was tested with partial serum samples. Neutralization titers obtained from FAVN and FAVN-eGFP were not significantly different. The FAVN-eGFP method allows rapid economical, specific, and high-throughput assessment for the titration of rabies VNAs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1564-1577: Poxviruses in Bats … so What?

  • Poxviruses are important pathogens of man and numerous domestic and wild animal species. Cross species (including zoonotic) poxvirus infections can have drastic consequences for the recipient host. Bats are a diverse order of mammals known to carry lethal viral zoonoses such as Rabies, Hendra, Nipah, and SARS. Consequent targeted research is revealing bats to be infected with a rich diversity of novel viruses. Poxviruses were recently identified in bats and the settings in which they were found were dramatically different. Here, we review the natural history of poxviruses in bats and highlight the relationship of the viruses to each other and their context in the Poxviridae family. In addition to considering the zoonotic potential of these viruses, we reflect on the broader implications of these findings. Specifically, the potential to explore and exploit this newfound relationship to study coevolution and cross species transmission together with fundamental aspects of poxvirus host tropism as well as bat virology and immunology.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1540-1563: Peptide-Based Technologies to Alter Adenoviral Vector Tropism: Ways and Means for Systemic Treatment of Cancer

  • Due to the fundamental progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of human diseases and the arrival of the post-genomic era, increasing numbers of therapeutic genes and cellular targets are available for gene therapy. Meanwhile, the most important challenge is to develop gene delivery vectors with high efficiency through target cell selectivity, in particular under in situ conditions. The most widely used vector system to transduce cells is based on adenovirus (Ad). Recent endeavors in the development of selective Ad vectors that target cells or tissues of interest and spare the alteration of all others have focused on the modification of the virus broad natural tropism. A popular way of Ad targeting is achieved by directing the vector towards distinct cellular receptors. Redirecting can be accomplished by linking custom-made peptides with specific affinity to cellular surface proteins via genetic integration, chemical coupling or bridging with dual-specific adapter molecules. Ideally, targeted vectors are incapable of entering cells via their native receptors. Such altered vectors offer new opportunities to delineate functional genomics in a natural environment and may enable efficient systemic therapeutic approaches. This review provides a summary of current state-of-the-art techniques to specifically target adenovirus-based gene delivery vectors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1525-1539: Comprehensive Characterization of Serum MicroRNA Profile in Response to the Emerging Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus Infection in Humans

  • A novel avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus recently occurred in China and caused 137 human infection cases with a 32.8% mortality rate. Although various detection procedures have been developed, the pathogenesis of this emerging virus in humans remains largely unknown. In this study, we characterized serum microRNA (miRNA) profile in response to H7N9 virus infection using TaqMan Low Density Arrays. Upon infection, a total of 395 miRNAs were expressed in the serum pool of patients, far beyond the 221 in healthy controls. Among the 187 commonly expressed miRNAs, 146 were up-regulated and only 7 down-regulated in patients. Further analysis by quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the serum levels of miR-17, miR-20a, miR-106a and miR-376c were significantly elevated in patients compared with healthy individuals (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to show that each miRNA could discriminate H7N9 patients from controls with area under the curve (AUC) values ranging from 0.622 to 0.898, whereas a combination of miR-17, miR-20a, miR-106a and miR-376c obtained a higher discriminating ability with an AUC value of 0.96. Our findings unravel the significant alterations in serum miRNA expression following virus infection and manifest great potential of circulating miRNAs for the diagnosis of viral diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1502-1524: The Carboxy Terminal Region of the Human Cytomegalovirus Immediate Early 1 (IE1) Protein Disrupts Type II Inteferon Signaling

  • Interferons (IFNs) activate the first lines of defense against viruses, and promote innate and adaptive immune responses to viruses. We report that the immediate early 1 (IE1) protein of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) disrupts signaling by IFNγ. The carboxyl-terminal region of IE1 is required for this function. We found no defect in the initial events in IFNγ signaling or in nuclear accumulation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) in IE1-expressing cells. Moreover, we did not observe an association between disruption of IFNγ signaling and nuclear domain 10 (ND10) disruption. However, there is reduced binding of STAT1 homodimers to target gamma activated sequence (GAS) elements in the presence of IE1. Co-immunoprecipitation studies failed to support a direct interaction between IE1 and STAT1, although these studies revealed that the C-terminal region of IE1 was required for interaction with STAT2. Together, these results indicate that IE1 disrupts IFNγ signaling by interfering with signaling events in the nucleus through a novel mechanism.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1483-1501: Using the Nonhuman Primate Model of HCMV to Guide Vaccine Development

  • The natural history of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is inextricably associated with mucosal surfaces. The vast preponderance of primary infections occur following mucosal exposure to infectious virions, and the high seroprevalence of HCMV throughout the world is due to long-term excretion of HCMV in bodily fluids from multiple mucosal sites. Accumulating evidence presents a model where the earliest virus-host interactions following infection dictate the long-term pattern of infection, alter innate immune responses that skew adaptive responses to enable persistence within an immune host, and are essential for reinfection of a host with prior immunity. HCMV has evolved a complex repertoire of viral functions fine-tuned to manipulate the immune environment both locally at the sites of infection and systemically within an infected host. Collectively, viral immune modulation represents a significant impediment for an HCMV vaccine. As HCMV can disseminate beyond mucosal surfaces to reinfect immune hosts, it may not matter whether prior immunity results from prior infection or immunization. A better understanding of the earliest virus-hosts interactions at mucosal surfaces may identify elements of the viral proteome that are especially susceptible to vaccine-mediated disruption and prevent challenge virus from disseminating to distal sites, particularly the maternal-fetal interface.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1473-1482: Characterization of Juquitiba Virus in Oligoryzomys fornesi from Brazilian Cerrado

  • The Juquitiba virus, an agent of Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome, is one of the most widely distributed hantavirus found in South America. It has been detected in Oligoryzomys nigripes, Akodon montensis, Oxymycterus judex, Akodon paranaensis in Brazil and in O. nigripes, Oryzomys sp. and Oligoryzomys fornesi rodents in Argentine, Paraguay and Uruguay. Here, we report the genomic characterization of the complete S segment from the Juquitiba strain, isolated from the lung tissues of O. fornesi, the presumed rodent reservoir of Anajatuba virus in Brazilian Amazon, captured in the Cerrado Biome, Brazil.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1454-1472: A Role for CD81 and Hepatitis C Virus in Hepatoma Mobility

  • Tetraspanins are a family of small proteins that interact with themselves, host transmembrane and cytosolic proteins to form tetraspanin enriched microdomains (TEMs) that regulate important cellular functions. Several tetraspanin family members are linked to tumorigenesis. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an increasing global health burden, in part due to the increasing prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) associated HCC. The tetraspanin CD81 is an essential receptor for HCV, however, its role in hepatoma biology is uncertain. We demonstrate that antibody engagement of CD81 promotes hepatoma spread, which is limited by HCV infection, in an actin-dependent manner and identify an essential role for the C-terminal interaction with Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin (ERM) proteins in this process. We show enhanced hepatoma migration and invasion following expression of CD81 and a reduction in invasive potential upon CD81 silencing. In addition, we reveal poorly differentiated HCC express significantly higher levels of CD81 compared to adjacent non-tumor tissue. In summary, these data support a role for CD81 in regulating hepatoma mobility and propose CD81 as a tumour promoter.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1442-1453: Retrospective Serology Study of Respiratory Virus Infections in Captive Great Apes

  • Great apes are extremely sensitive to infections with human respiratory viruses. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed sera from captive chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans. More than 1000 sera (403 chimpanzee, 77 gorilla, and 535 orang-utan sera) were analyzed for antibodies to the human respiratory viruses RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, hMPV (human metapneumovirus), H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses, and influenza B virus. In all ape species high seroprevalences were found for RSV, hMPV, and influenza B virus. A high percentage of captive chimpanzees also showed evidence of influenza A H1N1 infections, and had low levels of H3N2 antibodies, while in sera from gorillas and orang-utans antibody levels to influenza A and B viruses were much lower or practically absent. Transmission of respiratory viruses was examined in longitudinal sera of young chimpanzees, and in chimpanzee sera taken during health checks. In young animals isolated cases of influenza infections were monitored, but evidence was found for single introductions followed by a rapid dissemination of RSV and hMPV within the group. Implementation of strict guidelines for handling and housing of nonhuman primates was shown to be an efficient method to reduce the introduction of respiratory infections in colonies of captive animals. RSV seroprevalence rates of chimpanzees remained high, probably due to circulating virus in the chimpanzee colony.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1424-1441: IFN-Dependent and -Independent Reduction in West Nile Virus Infectivity in Human Dermal Fibroblasts

  • Although dermal fibroblasts are one of the first cell types exposed to West Nile virus (WNV) during a blood meal by an infected mosquito, little is known about WNV replication within this cell type. Here, we demonstrate that neuroinvasive, WNV-New York (WNV-NY), and nonneuroinvasive, WNV-Australia (WNV-AUS60) strains are able to infect and replicate in primary human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). However, WNV-AUS60 replication and spread within HDFs was reduced compared to that of WNV-NY due to an interferon (IFN)-independent reduction in viral infectivity early in infection. Additionally, replication of both strains was constrained late in infection by an IFN-β-dependent reduction in particle infectivity. Overall, our data indicates that human dermal fibroblasts are capable of supporting WNV replication; however, the low infectivity of particles produced from HDFs late in infection suggests that this cell type likely plays a limited role as a viral reservoir in vivo.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1410-1423: Single-Dose Intranasal Treatment with DEF201 (Adenovirus Vectored Consensus Interferon) Prevents Lethal Disease Due to Rift Valley Fever Virus Challenge

  • Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) causes severe disease in humans and ungulates. The virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes, direct contact with infected tissues or fluids, or aerosol, making it a significant biological threat for which there is no approved vaccine or therapeutic. Herein we describe the evaluation of DEF201, an adenovirus-vectored interferon alpha which addresses the limitations of recombinant interferon alpha protein (cost, short half-life), as a pre- and post-exposure treatment in a lethal hamster RVFV challenge model. DEF201 was delivered intranasally to stimulate mucosal immunity and effectively bypass any pre-existing immunity to the vector. Complete protection against RVFV infection was observed from a single dose of DEF201 administered one or seven days prior to challenge while all control animals succumbed within three days of infection. Efficacy of treatment administered two weeks prior to challenge was limited. Post‑exposure, DEF201 was able to confer significant protection when dosed at 30 min or 6 h, but not at 24 h post-RVFV challenge. Protection was associated with reductions in serum and tissue viral loads. Our findings suggest that DEF201 may be a useful countermeasure against RVFV infection and further demonstrates its broad-spectrum capacity to stimulate single dose protective immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1395-1409: Gene Therapy Targeting HIV Entry

  • Despite the unquestionable success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the treatment of HIV infection, the cost, need for daily adherence, and HIV-associated morbidities that persist despite ART all underscore the need to develop a cure for HIV. The cure achieved following an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) using HIV-resistant cells, and more recently, the report of short-term but sustained, ART-free control of HIV replication following allogeneic HSCT, using HIV susceptible cells, have served to both reignite interest in HIV cure research, and suggest potential mechanisms for a cure. In this review, we highlight some of the obstacles facing HIV cure research today, and explore the roles of gene therapy targeting HIV entry, and allogeneic stem cell transplantation in the development of strategies to cure HIV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1379-1394: Role of Virus-Encoded microRNAs in Avian Viral Diseases

  • With total dependence on the host cell, several viruses have adopted strategies to modulate the host cellular environment, including the modulation of microRNA (miRNA) pathway through virus-encoded miRNAs. Several avian viruses, mostly herpesviruses, have been shown to encode a number of novel miRNAs. These include the highly oncogenic Marek’s disease virus-1 (26 miRNAs), avirulent Marek’s disease virus-2 (36 miRNAs), herpesvirus of turkeys (28 miRNAs), infectious laryngotracheitis virus (10 miRNAs), duck enteritis virus (33 miRNAs) and avian leukosis virus (2 miRNAs). Despite the closer antigenic and phylogenetic relationship among some of the herpesviruses, miRNAs encoded by different viruses showed no sequence conservation, although locations of some of the miRNAs were conserved within the repeat regions of the genomes. However, some of the virus-encoded miRNAs showed significant sequence homology with host miRNAs demonstrating their ability to serve as functional orthologs. For example, mdv1-miR-M4-5p, a functional ortholog of gga-miR-155, is critical for the oncogenicity of Marek’s disease virus. Additionally, we also describe the potential association of the recently described avian leukosis virus subgroup J encoded E (XSR) miRNA in the induction of myeloid tumors in certain genetically-distinct chicken lines. In this review, we describe the advances in our understanding on the role of virus-encoded miRNAs in avian diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1365-1378: Super-Resolution Microscopy: A Virus’ Eye View of the Cell

  • It is difficult to observe the molecular choreography between viruses and host cell components, as they exist on a spatial scale beyond the reach of conventional microscopy. However, novel super-resolution microscopy techniques have cast aside technical limitations to reveal a nanoscale view of virus replication and cell biology. This article provides an introduction to super-resolution imaging; in particular, localisation microscopy, and explores the application of such technologies to the study of viruses and tetraspanins, the topic of this special issue.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1346-1364: HCMV Infection of Human Trophoblast Progenitor Cells of the Placenta Is Neutralized by a Human Monoclonal Antibody to Glycoprotein B and Not by Antibodies to the Pentamer Complex

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the major viral cause of congenital infection and birth defects. Primary maternal infection often results in virus transmission, and symptomatic babies can have permanent neurological deficiencies and deafness. Congenital infection can also lead to intrauterine growth restriction, a defect in placental transport. HCMV replicates in primary cytotrophoblasts (CTBs), the specialized cells of the placenta, and inhibits differentiation/invasion. Human trophoblast progenitor cells (TBPCs) give rise to the mature cell types of the chorionic villi, CTBs and multi-nucleated syncytiotrophoblasts (STBs). Here we report that TBPCs are fully permissive for pathogenic and attenuated HCMV strains. Studies with a mutant virus lacking a functional pentamer complex (gH/gL/pUL128-131A) showed that virion entry into TBPCs is independent of the pentamer. In addition, infection is blocked by a potent human neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb), TRL345, reactive with glycoprotein B (gB), but not mAbs to the pentamer proteins pUL130/pUL131A. Functional studies revealed that neutralization of infection preserved the capacity of TBPCs to differentiate and assemble into trophospheres composed of CTBs and STBs in vitro. Our results indicate that mAbs to gB protect trophoblast progenitors of the placenta and could be included in antibody treatments developed to suppress congenital infection and prevent disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1336-1345: Hepatitis A Immunity in the District of Aveiro (Portugal): An Eleven-Year Surveillance Study (2002–2012)

  • Hepatitis A is a common viral liver disease and brings serious health and economic problems as its epidemiologic pattern changes over time. National serosurveys from developed countries have indicated a decline in HAV (hepatitis A virus) seroprevalence over time due to the improvement of economic and sanitation levels. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) immunity rate was surveyed throughout an eleven-year period by sex and age group in Aveiro District. In this retrospective study, blood samples from patients of Aveiro District, in ambulatory regime, collected at the Clinical Analysis Laboratory Avelab between 2002 and 2012 were screened for the presence of antibodies against HAV antigen using a chemiluminescence immunoassay. The global immunity (positive total anti-HAV) was 60% and only 0.3% of the patients presented recent infection by HAV (positive IgM anti-HAV). The HAV immunity was age-dependent (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05), but no significant differences (p aamp;amp;gt; 0.05) between sexes were observed. The immunity was similar throughout the study period (p aamp;amp;gt; 0.05). The results of this study indicate that young people (especially under 25 years old) from District of Aveiro are susceptible to HAV infection, constituting a high risk group. The elderly should be also a concern in the future of Hepatitis A infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1317-1335: Hantavirus Immunology of Rodent Reservoirs: Current Status and Future Directions

  • Hantaviruses are hosted by rodents, insectivores and bats. Several rodent-borne hantaviruses cause two diseases that share many features in humans, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Eurasia or hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome in the Americas. It is thought that the immune response plays a significant contributory role in these diseases. However, in reservoir hosts that have been closely examined, little or no pathology occurs and infection is persistent despite evidence of adaptive immune responses. Because most hantavirus reservoirs are not model organisms, it is difficult to conduct meaningful experiments that might shed light on how the viruses evade sterilizing immune responses and why immunopathology does not occur. Despite these limitations, recent advances in instrumentation and bioinformatics will have a dramatic impact on understanding reservoir host responses to hantaviruses by employing a systems biology approach to identify important pathways that mediate virus/reservoir relationships.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1294-1316: Playing Hide and Seek: How Glycosylation of the Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Can Modulate the Immune Response to Infection

  • Seasonal influenza A viruses (IAV) originate from pandemic IAV and have undergone changes in antigenic structure, including addition of glycans to the hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein. The viral HA is the major target recognized by neutralizing antibodies and glycans have been proposed to shield antigenic sites on HA, thereby promoting virus survival in the face of widespread vaccination and/or infection. However, addition of glycans can also interfere with the receptor binding properties of HA and this must be compensated for by additional mutations, creating a fitness barrier to accumulation of glycosylation sites. In addition, glycans on HA are also recognized by phylogenetically ancient lectins of the innate immune system and the benefit provided by evasion of humoral immunity is balanced by attenuation of infection. Therefore, a fine balance must exist regarding the optimal pattern of HA glycosylation to offset competing pressures associated with recognition by innate defenses, evasion of humoral immunity and maintenance of virus fitness. In this review, we examine HA glycosylation patterns of IAV associated with pandemic and seasonal influenza and discuss recent advancements in our understanding of interactions between IAV glycans and components of innate and adaptive immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1274-1293: Recent Evidence of Hantavirus Circulation in the American Tropic

  • Hantaan virus was discovered in Korea during the 1970s while other similar viruses were later reported in Asia and Europe. There was no information about hantavirus human infection in the Americas until 1993 when an outbreak was described in the United States. This event promoted new studies to find hantaviruses in the Americas. At first, many studies were conducted in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay, while other Latin American countries began to report the presence of these agents towards the end of the 20th century. More than 30 hantaviruses have been reported in the Western Hemisphere with more frequent cases registered in the southern cone (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil). However there was an important outbreak in 2000 in Panama and some rare events have been described in Peru, Venezuela and French Guiana. Since hantaviruses have only recently emerged as a potential threat in the tropical zones of the Americas, this review compiles recent hantavirus reports in Central America, the Caribbean islands and the northern region of South America. These studies have generated the discovery of new hantaviruses and could help to anticipate the presentation of possible future outbreaks in the region.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1253-1273: Molecular Characterizations of Subcellular Localization Signals in the Nucleocapsid Protein of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus

  • The nucleolus is a dynamic subnuclear structure, which is crucial to the normal operation of the eukaryotic cell. The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein, plays important roles in the process of virus replication and cellular infection. Virus infection and transfection showed that N protein was predominately localized in the cytoplasm, but also found in the nucleolus in Vero E6 cells. Furthermore, by utilizing fusion proteins with green fluorescent protein (GFP), deletion mutations or site-directed mutagenesis of PEDV N protein, coupled with live cell imaging and confocal microscopy, it was revealed that, a region spanning amino acids (aa), 71–90 in region 1 of the N protein was sufficient for nucleolar localization and R87 and R89 were critical for its function. We also identified two nuclear export signals (NES, aa221–236, and 325–364), however, only the nuclear export signal (aa325–364) was found to be functional in the context of the full-length N protein. Finally, the activity of this nuclear export signal (NES) was inhibited by the antibiotic Lepomycin B, suggesting that N is exported by a chromosome region maintenance 1-related export pathway.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1237-1252: Construction of Eukaryotic Expression Vector with mBD1-mBD3 Fusion Genes and Exploring Its Activity against Influenza A Virus

  • Influenza (flu) pandemics have exhibited a great threat to human health throughout history. With the emergence of drug-resistant strains of influenza A virus (IAV), it is necessary to look for new agents for treatment and transmission prevention of the flu. Defensins are small (2–6 kDa) cationic peptides known for their broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Beta-defensins (β-defensins) are mainly produced by barrier epithelial cells and play an important role in attacking microbe invasion by epithelium. In this study, we focused on the anti-influenza A virus activity of mouse β-defensin 1 (mBD1) and β defensin-3 (mBD3) by synthesizing their fusion peptide with standard recombinant methods. The eukaryotic expression vectors pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 were constructed successfully by overlap-PCR and transfected into Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. The MDCK cells transfected by pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 were obtained by G418 screening, and the mBD1-mBD3 stable expression pattern was confirmed in MDCK cells by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence assay. The acquired stable transfected MDCK cells were infected with IAV (A/PR/8/34, H1N1, 0.1 MOI) subsequently and the virus titers in cell culture supernatants were analyzed by TCID50 72 h later. The TCID50 titer of the experimental group was clearly lower than that of the control group (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001). Furthermore, BALB/C mice were injected with liposome-encapsulated pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 through muscle and then challenged with the A/PR/8/34 virus. Results showed the survival rate of 100% and lung index inhibitory rate of 32.6% in pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3group; the TCID50 titer of lung homogenates was clearly lower than that of the control group (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001). This study demonstrates that mBD1-mBD3 expressed by the recombinant plasmid pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 could inhibit influenza A virus replication both in vitro and in vivo. These observations suggested that the recombinant mBD1-mBD3 might be developed into an agent for influenza prevention and treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1219-1236: Viral Metagenomics: Analysis of Begomoviruses by Illumina High-Throughput Sequencing

  • Traditional DNA sequencing methods are inefficient, lack the ability to discern the least abundant viral sequences, and ineffective for determining the extent of variability in viral populations. Here, populations of single-stranded DNA plant begomoviral genomes and their associated beta- and alpha-satellite molecules (virus-satellite complexes) (genus, Begomovirus; family, Geminiviridae) were enriched from total nucleic acids isolated from symptomatic, field-infected plants, using rolling circle amplification (RCA). Enriched virus-satellite complexes were subjected to Illumina-Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). CASAVA and SeqMan NGen programs were implemented, respectively, for quality control and for de novo and reference-guided contig assembly of viral-satellite sequences. The authenticity of the begomoviral sequences, and the reproducibility of the Illumina-NGS approach for begomoviral deep sequencing projects, were validated by comparing NGS results with those obtained using traditional molecular cloning and Sanger sequencing of viral components and satellite DNAs, also enriched by RCA or amplified by polymerase chain reaction. As the use of NGS approaches, together with advances in software development, make possible deep sequence coverage at a lower cost; the approach described herein will streamline the exploration of begomovirus diversity and population structure from naturally infected plants, irrespective of viral abundance. This is the first report of the implementation of Illumina-NGS to explore the diversity and identify begomoviral-satellite SNPs directly from plants naturally-infected with begomoviruses under field conditions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1202-1218: Human Cytomegalovirus US28 Facilitates Cell-to-Cell Viral Dissemination

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes a number of viral proteins with homology to cellular G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These viral GPCRs, including US27, US28, UL33, and UL78, have been ascribed numerous functions during infection, including activating diverse cellular pathways, binding to immunomodulatory chemokines, and impacting virus dissemination. To investigate the role of US28 during virus infection, two variants of the clinical isolate TB40/E were generated: TB40/E-US28YFP expressing a C-terminal yellow fluorescent protein tag, and TB40/E-FLAGYFP in which a FLAG-YFP cassette replaces the US28 coding region. The TB40/E-US28YFP protein localized as large perinuclear fluorescent structures at late times post-infection in fibroblasts, endothelial, and epithelial cells. Interestingly, US28YFP is a non-glycosylated membrane protein throughout the course of infection. US28 appears to impact cell-to-cell spread of virus, as the DUS28 virus (TB40/E-FLAGYFP) generated a log-greater yield of extracellular progeny whose spread could be significantly neutralized in fibroblasts. Most strikingly, in epithelial cells, where dissemination of virus occurs exclusively by the cell-to-cell route, TB40/E-FLAGYFP (DUS28) displayed a significant growth defect. The data demonstrates that HCMV US28 may contribute at a late stage of the viral life cycle to cell-to-cell dissemination of virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1188-1201: Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus in Honeybee Queens: Evaluating Susceptibility and Infection Routes

  • Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is known as a disease of worker honey bees. To investigate pathogenesis of the CBPV on the queen, the sole reproductive individual in a colony, we conducted experiments regarding the susceptibility of queens to CBPV. Results from susceptibility experiment showed a similar disease progress in the queens compared to worker bees after infection. Infected queens exhibit symptoms by Day 6 post infection and virus levels reach 1011 copies per head. In a transmission experiment we showed that social interactions may affect the disease progression. Queens with forced contact to symptomatic worker bees acquired an overt infection with up to 1011 virus copies per head in six days. Incontrast, queens in contact with symptomatic worker bees, but with a chance to receive food from healthy bees outside the cage appeared healthy. The virus loads did not exceed 107 in the majority of these queens after nine days. Symptomatic worker bees may transmit sufficient active CBPV particles to the queen through trophallaxis, to cause an overt infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1149-1187: Incorporation of Hepatitis C Virus E1 and E2 Glycoproteins: The Keystones on a Peculiar Virion

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) encodes two envelope glycoproteins, E1 and E2. Their structure and mode of fusion remain unknown, and so does the virion architecture. The organization of the HCV envelope shell in particular is subject to discussion as it incorporates or associates with host-derived lipoproteins, to an extent that the biophysical properties of the virion resemble more very-low-density lipoproteins than of any virus known so far. The recent development of novel cell culture systems for HCV has provided new insights on the assembly of this atypical viral particle. Hence, the extensive E1E2 characterization accomplished for the last two decades in heterologous expression systems can now be brought into the context of a productive HCV infection. This review describes the biogenesis and maturation of HCV envelope glycoproteins, as well as the interplay between viral and host factors required for their incorporation in the viral envelope, in a way that allows efficient entry into target cells and evasion of the host immune response.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1135-1148: Murine Leukemia Virus Uses TREX Components for Efficient Nuclear Export of Unspliced Viral Transcripts

  • Previously we reported that nuclear export of both unspliced and spliced murine leukemia virus (MLV) transcripts depends on the nuclear export factor (NXF1) pathway. Although the mRNA export complex TREX, which contains Aly/REF, UAP56, and the THO complex, is involved in the NXF1-mediated nuclear export of cellular mRNAs, its contribution to the export of MLV mRNA transcripts remains poorly understood. Here, we studied the involvement of TREX components in the export of MLV transcripts. Depletion of UAP56, but not Aly/REF, reduced the level of both unspliced and spliced viral transcripts in the cytoplasm. Interestingly, depletion of THO components, including THOC5 and THOC7, affected only unspliced viral transcripts in the cytoplasm. Moreover, the RNA immunoprecipitation assay showed that only the unspliced viral transcript interacted with THOC5. These results imply that MLV requires UAP56, THOC5 and THOC7, in addition to NXF1, for nuclear export of viral transcripts. Given that naturally intronless mRNAs, but not bulk mRNAs, require THOC5 for nuclear export, it is plausible that THOC5 plays a key role in the export of unspliced MLV transcripts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1112-1134: Changes in Diversification Patterns and Signatures of Selection during the Evolution of Murinae-Associated Hantaviruses

  • In the last 50 years, hantaviruses have significantly affected public health worldwide, but the exact extent of the distribution of hantavirus diseases, species and lineages and the risk of their emergence into new geographic areas are still poorly known. In particular, the determinants of molecular evolution of hantaviruses circulating in different geographical areas or different host species are poorly documented. Yet, this understanding is essential for the establishment of more accurate scenarios of hantavirus emergence under different climatic and environmental constraints. In this study, we focused on Murinae-associated hantaviruses (mainly Seoul Dobrava and Hantaan virus) using sequences available in GenBank and conducted several complementary phylogenetic inferences. We sought for signatures of selection and changes in patterns and rates of diversification in order to characterize hantaviruses’ molecular evolution at different geographical scales (global and local). We then investigated whether these events were localized in particular geographic areas. Our phylogenetic analyses supported the assumption that RNA virus molecular variations were under strong evolutionary constraints andrevealed changes in patterns of diversification during the evolutionary history of hantaviruses. These analyses provide new knowledge on the molecular evolution of hantaviruses at different scales of time and space.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1091-1111: Equilibrium and Kinetics of Sin Nombre Hantavirus Binding at DAF/CD55 Functionalized Bead Surfaces

  • Decay accelerating factor (DAF/CD55) is targeted by many pathogens for cell entry. It has been implicated as a co-receptor for hantaviruses. To examine the binding of hantaviruses to DAF, we describe the use of Protein G beads for binding human IgG Fc domain-functionalized DAF ((DAF)2-Fc). When mixed with Protein G beads the resulting DAF beads can be used as a generalizable platform for measuring kinetic and equilibrium binding constants of DAF binding targets. The hantavirus interaction has high affinity (24–30 nM; kon ~ 105 M−1s−1, koff ~ 0.0045 s−1). The bivalent (DAF)2-Fc/SNV data agree with hantavirus binding to DAF expressed on Tanoue B cells (Kd = 14.0 nM). Monovalent affinity interaction between SNV and recombinant DAF of 58.0 nM is determined from competition binding. This study servesa dual purpose of presenting a convenient and quantitative approach of measuring binding affinities between DAF and the many cognate viral and bacterial ligands and providing new data on the binding constant of DAF and Sin Nombre hantavirus. Knowledge of the equilibrium binding constant allows for the determination of the relative fractions of bound and free virus particles in cell entry assays. This is important for drug discovery assays for cell entry inhibitors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1078-1090: Evidence Showing that Tetraspanins Inhibit HIV-1-Induced Cell-Cell Fusion at a Post-Hemifusion Stage

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission takes place primarily through cell-cell contacts known as virological synapses. Formation of these transient adhesions between infected and uninfected cells can lead to transmission of viral particles followed by separation of the cells. Alternatively, the cells can fuse, thus forming a syncytium. Tetraspanins, small scaffolding proteins that are enriched in HIV-1 virions and actively recruited to viral assembly sites, have been found to negatively regulate HIV-1 Env-induced cell-cell fusion. How these transmembrane proteins inhibit membrane fusion, however, is currently not known. As a first step towards elucidating the mechanism of fusion repression by tetraspanins, e.g., CD9 and CD63, we sought to identify the stage of the fusion process during which they operate. Using a chemical epistasis approach, four fusion inhibitors were employed in tandem with CD9 overexpression. Cells overexpressing CD9 were found to be sensitized to inhibitors targeting the pre-hairpin and hemifusion intermediates, while they were desensitized to an inhibitor of the pore expansion stage. Together with the results of a microscopy-based dye transfer assay, which revealed CD9- and CD63-induced hemifusion arrest, our investigations strongly suggest that tetraspanins block HIV-1-induced cell-cell fusion at the transition from hemifusion to pore opening.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1073-1077: Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Viruses in 2013

  • The editors of Viruses would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2013.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1049-1072: Genomic and Functional Characteristics of Human Cytomegalovirus Revealed by Next-Generation Sequencing

  • The complete genome of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) was elucidated almost 25 years ago using a traditional cloning and Sanger sequencing approach. Analysis of the genetic content of additional laboratory and clinical isolates has lead to a better, albeit still incomplete, definition of the coding potential and diversity of wild-type HCMV strains. The introduction of a new generation of massively parallel sequencing technologies, collectively called next-generation sequencing, has profoundly increased the throughput and resolution of the genomics field. These increased possibilities are already leading to a better understanding of the circulating diversity of HCMV clinical isolates. The higher resolution of next-generation sequencing provides new opportunities in the study of intrahost viral population structures. Furthermore, deep sequencing enables novel diagnostic applications for sensitive drug resistance mutation detection. RNA-seq applications have changed the picture of the HCMV transcriptome, which resulted in proof of a vast amount of splicing events and alternative transcripts. This review discusses the application of next-generation sequencing technologies, which has provided a clearer picture of the intricate nature of the HCMV genome. The continuing development and application of novel sequencing technologies will further augment our understanding of this ubiquitous, but elusive, herpesvirus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1037-1048: Development of Lectin-Linked Immunomagnetic Separation for the Detection of Hepatitis A Virus

  • The accuracy and sensitivity of PCR-based methods for detection of hepatitis A virus (HAV) are dependent on the methods used to separate and concentrate the HAV from the infected cells. The pH and ionic strength affect the binding affinity of the virus to cells. In this study, we initially investigated the effects of pH (4.0–10.0) and metal ions (Fe2+, Co2+, Cu2+, Mg2+, K+, and Ca2+) on the binding of HAV to oyster digestive cells. The lowest relative binding (RB) of HAV to the cells was found at pH 4.0 and in FeSO4 solution (64.6% and 68.1%, respectively). To develop an alternative to antibody-dependent immunomagnetic separation prior to detection of HAV using RT-PCR, the binding of HAV to five lectins, peanut agglutinin (PNA), Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA), Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA), Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA-1) and soybean agglutinin (SBA), was evaluated using ELISAs. SBA showed significantlyhigher RB to HAV than the other lectins tested. In addition, HAV could be concentrated within 30 min using SBA-linked magnetic bead separation (SMS) prior to the RT-PCR assay. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using SMS combined with RT-PCR to detect HAV at dilutions ranging from 10−1–10−4 of a HAV stock (titer: 104 TCID50/mL).

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1015-1036: B Cell Response and Mechanisms of Antibody Protection to West Nile Virus

  • West Nile virus (WNV) has become the principal cause of viral encephalitis in North America since its introduction in New York in 1999. This emerging virus is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. While there have been several candidates in clinical trials, there are no approved vaccines or WNV-specific therapies for the treatment of WNV disease in humans. From studies with small animal models and convalescent human patients, a great deal has been learned concerning the immune response to infection with WNV. Here, we provide an overview of a subset of that information regarding the humoral and antibody response generated during WNV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1004-1014: Isolation and Identification of Feline Herpesvirus Type 1 from a South China Tiger in China

  • In 2012, an FHV-1-like virus was isolated from a tiger that presented with clinical signs of sialorrhea, sneezing and purulent rhinorrhea. Isolation was performed with the FK81 cell line, and the virus was identified by PCR, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the phylogenetic analysis of the partial thymidine kinase (TK) and glycoprotein B (gB) genes. A total of 253 bp of the TK gene and 566 bp of the gB gene were amplified from the trachea of the tiger by PCR/RT-PCR method. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the isolate belonged to the same cluster with other FHV-1 strains obtained from GenBank. Herpes-like viruses with an envelope and diameters of approximately 200 nm were observed in the culture supernatants of FK81 cells inoculated with samples from the tiger. The FHV-1 infection was confirmed by an animal challenge experiment in a cat model. Our finding extends the host range of FHV-1 and has implications for FHV-1 infection and South China tiger conservation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 986-1003: Hantavirus Public Health Outreach Effectiveness in Three Populations: An Overview of Northwestern New Mexico, Los Santos Panama, and Region IX Chile

  • This research compared the effectiveness of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) outreach programs in New Mexico, Panama, and Chile. Understanding the role of human demographics, disease ecology, and human behavior in the disease process is critical to the examination of community responses in terms of behavior changes. Attitudes, knowledge, and behavior across three populations were measured through the implementation of a self-administered questionnaire (N = 601). Surveys implemented in Chile and Panama in 2004, followed by northwestern New Mexico in 2008, attempted to assess knowledge and behavior change with respect to hantavirus in high- and lower-risk prevalence areas during endemic periods. While levels of concern over contracting hantavirus were lowest in New Mexico, they were highest in Panama. Respondents in Chile showed mid-level concern and exhibited a tendency to practice proper cleaning methods more than in New Mexico and Panama. This indicates that public health messages appear to be more effective in Chile. However, since negative behavior changes, such as sweeping and vacuuming, occur at some level in all three populations, improved messages should help decrease risk of exposure to HPS.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 968-985: Modulation of Homology-Directed Repair in T98G Glioblastoma Cells Due to Interactions between Wildtype p53, Rad51 and HCMV IE1-72

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous pathogen capable of causing life threatening consequences in neonates and immune-compromised individuals. HCMV inflicts site-specific double strand breaks (DSBs) in the cellular genome. DNA damage infliction raises the corollary question of virus modulation of DNA repair. We recently reported HDR was stimulated in wt human foreskin fibroblasts (HFFs) during fully permissive infection or expression of the HCMV protein IE1-72 (IE72). These studies have been extended into semi-permissive T98G glioblastoma cells. T98Gs encode a mutant p53, which may contribute to their high baseline rate of HDR. We fully expected HCMV infection to increase HDR in T98Gs, similar to its effects in HFFs. Surprisingly in T98Gs HCMV infection, or sole expression of IE72, decreased HDR by two-fold. Transient expression of wt p53 in T98Gs also reduced HDR by two-fold. Dual transient expression of wt p53 and IE72 restored high baseline HDR levels. GST pulldown experiments revealed that both IE72 and wt p53 bound the important HDR protein, Rad51. We conclude that the expression of certain HCMV proteins can modulate HDR in an infected cell, dependent upon p53 status. We propose a model of the protein interactions explaining this behavior.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 951-967: More Novel Hantaviruses and Diversifying Reservoir Hosts — Time for Development of Reservoir-Derived Cell Culture Models?

  • Due to novel, improved and high-throughput detection methods, there is a plethora of newly identified viruses within the genus Hantavirus. Furthermore, reservoir host species are increasingly recognized besides representatives of the order Rodentia, now including members of the mammalian orders Soricomorpha/Eulipotyphla and Chiroptera. Despite the great interest created by emerging zoonotic viruses, there is still a gross lack of in vitro models, which reflect the exclusive host adaptation of most zoonotic viruses. The usually narrow host range and genetic diversity of hantaviruses make them an exciting candidate for studying virus-host interactions on a cellular level. To do so, well-characterized reservoir cell lines covering a wide range of bat, insectivore and rodent species are essential. Most currently available cell culture models display a heterologous virus-host relationship and are therefore only of limited value. Here, we review the recently established approaches to generate reservoir-derived cell culture models for the in vitro study of virus-host interactions. These successfully used model systems almost exclusively originate from bats and bat-borne viruses other than hantaviruses. Therefore we propose a parallel approach for research on rodent- and insectivore-borne hantaviruses, taking the generation of novel rodent and insectivore cell lines from wildlife species into account. These cell lines would be also valuable for studies on further rodent-borne viruses, such as orthopox- and arenaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 938-950: In Vitro Evaluation of the Antiviral Activity of the Synthetic Epigallocatechin Gallate Analog-Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) Palmitate against Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus

  • In this study, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) palmitate was synthesized and its anti-porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) activity was studied. Specifically, EGCG palmitate was evaluated for its ability to inhibit PRRSV infection in MARC-145 cells when administered as pre-, post-, or co-treatment. EGCG and ribavirin were used as controls. The results showed that a 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50) of EGCG, EGCG palmitate, and ribavirin was achieved at 2,359.71, 431.42, and 94.06μM, respectively. All three drugs inhibited PRRSV in a dose-dependent manner regardless of the treatment protocol. EGCG palmitate exhibited higher cytotoxicity than EGCG, but lower cytotoxicity than ribavirin. EGCG palmitate anti-PRRSV activity was significantly higher than that of EGCG and ribavirin, both as pre-treatment and post-treatment. Under the former conditions and a tissue culture infectious dose of 10 and 100, the selectivity index (SI) of EGCG palmitate in the inhibition of PRRSV was 3.8 and 2.9 times higher than that of ribavirin when administered as a pre-treatment, while the SI of EGCG palmitate in the inhibition of PRRSV was 3.0 and 1.9 times higher than ribavirin when administered as a post-treatment. Therefore, EGCG palmitate is potentially effective as an anti-PRRSV agent and thus of interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 927-937: Clinical Documentation and Data Transfer from Ebola and Marburg Virus Disease Wards in Outbreak Settings: Health Care Workers’ Experiences and Preferences

  • Understanding human filovirus hemorrhagic fever (FHF) clinical manifestations and evaluating treatment strategies require the collection of clinical data in outbreak settings, where clinical documentation has been limited. Currently, no consensus among filovirus outbreak-response organisations guides best practice for clinical documentation and data transfer. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with health care workers (HCWs) involved in FHF outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa, and with HCWs experienced in documenting and transferring data from high-risk areas (isolation wards or biosafety level 4 laboratories). Methods for data documentation and transfer were identified, described in detail and categorised by requirement for electricity and ranked by interviewee preference. Some methods involve removing paperwork and other objects from the filovirus disease ward without disinfection. We believe that if done properly, these methods are reasonably safe for certain settings. However, alternative methods avoiding the removal of objects, or involving the removal of paperwork or objects after non-damaging disinfection, are available. These methods are not only safer, they are also perceived as safer and likely more acceptable to health workers and members of the community. The use of standardised clinical forms is overdue. Experiments with by sunlight disinfection should continue, and non-damaging disinfection of impregnated paper, suitable tablet computers and underwater cameras should be evaluated under field conditions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 909-926: Recent Observations on Australian Bat Lyssavirus Tropism and Viral Entry

  • Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) is a recently emerged rhabdovirus of the genus lyssavirus considered endemic in Australian bat populations that causes a neurological disease in people indistinguishable from clinical rabies. There are two distinct variants of ABLV, one that circulates in frugivorous bats (genus Pteropus) and the other in insectivorous microbats (genus Saccolaimus). Three fatal human cases of ABLV infection have been reported, the most recent in 2013, and each manifested as acute encephalitis but with variable incubation periods. Importantly, two equine cases also arose recently in 2013, the first occurrence of ABLV in a species other than bats or humans. Similar to other rhabdoviruses, ABLV infects host cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis and subsequent pH-dependent fusion facilitated by its single fusogenic envelope glycoprotein (G). Recent studies have revealed that proposed rabies virus (RABV) receptors are not sufficient to permit ABLV entry into host cells and that the unknown receptor is broadly conserved among mammalian species. However, despite clear tropism differences between ABLV and RABV, the two viruses appear to utilize similar endocytic entry pathways. The recent human and horse infections highlight the importance of continued Australian public health awareness of this emerging pathogen.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 893-908: The Tetraspanin CD151 in Papillomavirus Infection

  • Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are non-enveloped DNA tumor viruses that infect skin and mucosa. The most oncogenic subtype, HPV16, causes various types of cancer, including cervical, anal, and head and neck cancers. During the multistep process of infection, numerous host proteins are required for the delivery of virus genetic information into the nucleus of target cells. Over the last two decades, many host-cell proteins such as heparan sulfate proteoglycans, integrins, growth factor receptors, actin and the tetraspanin CD151 have been described to be involved in the process of infectious entry of HPV16. Tetraspanins have the ability to organize membrane microdomains and to directly influence the function of associated molecules, including binding of receptors to their ligands, receptor oligomerization and signal transduction. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on CD151, and CD151-associated partners during HPV infection and discuss the underlying mechanisms.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 875-892: CD81-Receptor Associations — Impact for Hepatitis C Virus Entry and Antiviral Therapies

  • Tetraspanins are integral transmembrane proteins organized in microdomains displaying specific and direct interactions with other tetraspanins and molecular partners. Among them, CD81 has been implicated in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. CD81 also plays a crucial role in pathogen entry into host cells, including hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry into hepatocytes. HCV is a major cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV entry into hepatocytes is a complex process that requires the coordinated interaction of viral and host factors for the initiation of infection, including CD81, scavenger receptor BI, claudin-1, occludin, membrane-bound host cell kinases, Niemann-Pick C1 Like 1, Harvey rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (HRas), CD63 and transferrin receptor 1. Furthermore, recent data in HCV model systems have demonstrated that targeting critical components of tetraspanins and associated cell membrane proteins open new avenues to prevent and treat viral infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 856-874: Anti-Tumor Effects of an Oncolytic Adenovirus Expressing Hemagglutinin-Neuraminidase of Newcastle Disease Virus in Vitro and in Vivo

  • Oncolytic virotherapy has been an attractive drug platform for targeted therapy of cancer over the past few years. Viral vectors can be used to target and lyse cancer cells, but achieving good efficacy and specificity with this treatment approach is a major challenge. Here, we assessed the ability of a novel dual-specific anti-tumor oncolytic adenovirus, expressing the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene from the Newcastle disease virus under the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) promoter (Ad-hTERTp-E1a-HN), to inhibit esophageal cancer EC-109 cells in culture and to reduce tumor burden in xenografted BALB/c nude mice. In vitro, infection with Ad-hTERT-E1a-HN could inhibit the growth of EC-109 cells significantly and also protect normal human liver cell line L02 from growth suppression in 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays. Ad-hTERT-E1a-HN also effectively and selectively decreased the sialic acid level on EC-109 cells, but not on L02 cells. Furthermore, Ad-hTERT-E1a-HN was shown to induce the apoptosis pathway via acridine orange and ethidium bromide staining (AO/EB staining), increase reactive oxygen species (ROS), reduce mitochondrial membrane potential and release cytochrome c. In vivo, xenografted BALB/c nude mice were treated via intratumoral or intravenous injections of Ad-hTERT-E1a-HN. Although both treatments showed an obvious suppression in tumor volume, only Ad-hTERT-E1a-HN delivered via intratumoral injection elicited a complete response to treatment. These results reinforced previous findings and highlighted the potential therapeutic application of Ad-hTERT-E1a-HN for treatment of esophageal cancer in clinical trials.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 832-855: The Evolution of Adenoviral Vectors through Genetic and Chemical Surface Modifications

  • A long time has passed since the first clinical trial with adenoviral (Ad) vectors. Despite being very promising, Ad vectors soon revealed their limitations in human clinical trials. The pre-existing immunity, the marked liver tropism and the high toxicity of first generation Ad (FG-Ad) vectors have been the main challenges for the development of new approaches. Significant effort toward the development of genetically and chemically modified adenoviral vectors has enabled researchers to create more sophisticated vectors for gene therapy, with an improved safety profile and a higher transduction ability of different tissues. In this review, we will describe the latest findings in the high-speed, evolving field of genetic and chemical modifications of adenoviral vectors, a field in which different disciplines, such as biomaterial research, virology and immunology, co-operate synergistically to create better gene therapy tools for modern challenges.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 808-831: Noncanonical Expression of a Murine Cytomegalovirus Early Protein CD8 T-Cell Epitope as an Immediate Early Epitope Based on Transcription from an Upstream Gene

  • Viral CD8 T-cell epitopes, represented by viral peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex class-I (MHC-I) glycoproteins, are often identified by“reverse immunology”, a strategy not requiring biochemical and structural knowledge of the actual viral protein from which they are derived by antigen processing. Instead, bioinformatic algorithms predicting the probability of C-terminal cleavage in the proteasome, as well as binding affinity to the presenting MHC-I molecules, are applied to amino acid sequences deduced from predicted open reading frames (ORFs) based on the genomic sequence. If the protein corresponding to an antigenic ORF is known, it is usually inferred that the kinetic class of the protein also defines the phase in theviral replicative cycle during which the respective antigenic peptide is presented for recognition by CD8 T cells. We have previously identified a nonapeptide from the predicted ORFm164 of murine cytomegalovirus that is presented by the MHC-I allomorph H-2 Dd and that is immunodominant in BALB/c (H-2d haplotype) mice. Surprisingly, although the ORFm164 protein gp36.5 is expressed as an Early (E) phase protein, the m164 epitope is presented already during the Immediate Early (IE) phase, based on the expression of an upstream mRNA starting within ORFm167 and encompassing ORFm164.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 782-807: HCMV Reprogramming of Infected Monocyte Survival and Differentiation: A Goldilocks Phenomenon

  • The wide range of disease pathologies seen in multiple organ sites associated with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection results from the systemic hematogenous dissemination of the virus, which is mediated predominately by infected monocytes. In addition to their role in viral spread, infected monocytes are also known to play a key role in viral latency and life-long persistence. However, in order to utilize infected monocytes for viral spread and persistence, HCMV must overcome a number of monocyte biological hurdles, including their naturally short lifespan and their inability to support viral gene expression and replication. Our laboratory has shown that HCMV is able to manipulate the biology of infected monocytes in order to overcome these biological hurdles by inducing the survival and differentiation of infected monocytes into long-lived macrophages capable of supporting viral gene expression and replication. In this current review, we describe the unique aspects of how HCMV promotes monocyte survival and differentiation by inducing a“finely-tuned” macrophage cell type following infection. Specifically, we describe the induction of a uniquely polarized macrophage subset from infected monocytes, which we argue is the ideal cellular environment for the initiation of viral gene expression and replication and, ultimately, viralspread and persistence within the infected host.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 752-781: Experimental Infections of Wild Birds with West Nile Virus

  • Avian models of West Nile virus (WNV) disease have become pivotal in the study of infection pathogenesis and transmission, despite the intrinsic constraints that represents this type of experimental research that needs to be conducted in biosecurity level 3 (BSL3) facilities. This review summarizes the main achievements of WNV experimental research carried out in wild birds, highlighting advantages and limitations of this model. Viral and host factors that determine the infection outcome are analyzed in detail, as well as recent discoveries about avian immunity, viral transmission, and persistence achieved through experimental research. Studies of laboratory infections in the natural host will help to understand variations in susceptibility and reservoir competence among bird species, as well as in the epidemiological patterns found in different affected areas.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 727-751: Identification by Mass Spectrometry and Immune Response Analysis of Guinea Pig Cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) Pentameric Complex Proteins GP129, 131 and 133

  • Development of a vaccine against congenital infection with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major public health priority. A potential vaccine target receiving considerable recent attention is the pentameric complex (PC) of HCMV proteins consisting of gL, gH, UL128, UL130, and UL131, since some antibodies against these target proteins are capable of potently neutralizing virus at epithelial and endothelial cell surfaces. Recently, homologous proteins have been described for guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), consisting of gH, gL, and the GPCMV proteins GP129, GP131, and GP133. To investigate these proteins as potential vaccine targets, expression of GP129-GP133 transcripts was confirmed by reverse-transcriptase PCR. Mass spectrometry combined with western blot assays demonstrated the presence of GP129, GP131, and GP133 proteins in virus particles. Recombinant proteins corresponding to these PC proteins were generated in baculovirus, and as GST fusion proteins. Recombinant proteins were noted to be immunoreactive with convalescent sera from infected animals, suggesting that these proteins are recognized in the humoral immune response to GPCMV infection. These analyses support the study of PC-based recombinant vaccines in the GPCMV congenital infection model.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 709-726: Quantifying Susceptibility of CD4+ Stem Memory T-Cells to Infection by Laboratory Adapted and Clinical HIV-1 Strains

  • CD4+ T cells are principal targets for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. CD4+ T cell subsets are heterogeneous cell populations, divided by functional and phenotypic differences into naïve and memory T cells. The memory CD4+ T cells are further segregated into central, effector and transitional memory cell subsets by functional, phenotypic and homeostatic characteristics. Defining the distribution of HIV-1 infection in different T cell subsets is important, as this can play a role in determining the size and composition of the viral reservoir. Both central memory and transitional memory CD4+ T cells have been described as long-lived viral reservoirs for HIV. Recently, the newly described stem memory T cell subset has also been implicated as a long-lived HIV reservoir. Using green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter strains of HIV-1 and multi parameter flow cytometry, we developed an assay to simultaneously quantify the susceptibility of stem memory (TSCM), central memory, effector memory, transitional memory and naïve CD4+ T cell subsets, to HIV-1 infection in vitro.We show that TSCM are susceptible to infection with laboratory adapted and clinical HIV-1 strains. Our system facilitates the quantitation of HIV-1 infection in alternative T cell subsets by CCR5- and CXCR4-using viruses across different HIV-1 subtypes, and will be useful for studies of HIV-1 pathogenesis and viral reservoirs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 683-708: Targeting Host Factors to Treat West Nile and Dengue Viral Infections

  • West Nile (WNV) and Dengue (DENV) viruses are major arboviral human pathogens belonging to the genus Flavivirus. At the current time, there are no approved prophylactics (e.g., vaccines) or specific therapeutics available to prevent or treat human infections by these pathogens. Due to their minimal genome, these viruses require many host molecules for their replication and this offers a therapeutic avenue wherein host factors can be exploited as treatment targets. Since several host factors appear to be shared by many flaviviruses the strategy may result in pan-flaviviral inhibitors and may also attenuate the rapid emergence of drug resistant mutant viruses. The scope of this strategy is greatly enhanced by the recent en masse identification of host factors impacting on WNV and DENV infection. Excellent proof-of-principle experimental demonstrations for host-targeted control of infection and infection-induced pathogenesis have been reported for both WNV and DENV. These include exploiting not only those host factors supporting infection, but also targeting host processes contributing to pathogenesis and innate immune responses. While these early studies validated the host-targeting approach, extensive future investigations spanning a range of aspects are needed for a successful deployment in humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 661-682: Intracellular Trafficking of the Human Cytomegalovirus-Encoded 7-trans-Membrane Protein Homologs pUS27 and pUL78 during Viral Infection: A Comparative Analysis

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes four G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) homologs, termed pUS27, pUS28, pUL33, and pUL78. In contrast to the extensively characterized vGPCRs pUS28 and pUL33, knowledge concerning pUS27 and pUL78 is limited. Previous studies already demonstrated constitutive internalization of pUS27 and pUL78, as well as an association with the endosomal machinery, however, these results were mainly obtained using transiently transfected cells. To explore the subcellular localization of both receptors during viral infection, we constructed recombinant HCMVs expressing tagged vGPCRs. Colocalization analyses revealed a predominant association of pUS27 or pUL78 with the trans-Golgi network or the endoplasmic reticulum, respectively. Intriguingly, our data emphasize that protein sorting is highly regulated by viral functions as we detected dramatic changes in the colocalization of pUS27 and pUL78 with endosomal markers during progression of HCMV replication. Furthermore, we observed cell type-dependent differences in trafficking of both vGPCRs between fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Most importantly, infection experiments with a recombinant HCMV carrying tagged versions of pUS27 and pUL78 simultaneously, revealed that these two proteins do not colocalize during viral infection. This contrasts to results of transient expression experiments. In conclusion, our results highlight the importance to investigate vGPCR trafficking in a viral context.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 640-660: The Use of Chimeric Virus-like Particles Harbouring a Segment of Hantavirus Gc Glycoprotein to Generate a Broadly-Reactive Hantavirus-Specific Monoclonal Antibody

  • Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against viral glycoproteins have important diagnostic and therapeutic applications. In most cases, the MAbs specific to viral glycoproteins are raised against intact virus particles. The biosynthesis of viral glycoproteins in heterologous expression systems such as bacteria, yeast, insect or mammalian cells is often problematic due to their low expression level, improper folding and limited stability. To generate MAbs against hantavirus glycoprotein Gc, we have used initially a recombinant yeast-expressed full-length Puumala virus (PUUV) Gc protein. However, this approach was unsuccessful. As an alternative recombinant antigen, chimeric virus-like particles (VLPs) harboring a segment of PUUV Gc glycoprotein were generated in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A 99 amino acid (aa)-long segment of Gc protein was inserted into the major capsid protein VP1 of hamster polyomavirus at previously defined positions: either site #1 (aa 80–89) or site #4 (aa 280–289). The chimeric proteins were found to self-assemble to VLPs as evidenced by electron microscopy. Chimeric VLPs induced an efficient insert-specific antibody response in immunized mice. Monoclonal antibody (clone #10B8) of IgG isotype specific to hantavirus Gc glycoprotein was generated. It recognized recombinant full-length PUUV Gc glycoprotein both in ELISA and Western blot assay and reacted specifically with hantavirus-infected cells in immunofluorescence assay. Epitope mapping studies revealed the N-terminally located epitope highly conserved among differenthantavirus strains. In conclusion, our approach to use chimeric VLPs was proven useful for the generation of virus-reactive MAb against hantavirus Gc glycoprotein. The generated broadly-reactive MAb #10B8 might be useful for various diagnostic applications.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 624-639: Respiratory Syncytial Virus Persistence in Macrophages Upregulates Fcgamma Receptors Expression

  • Viruses can persist in differentiated cells (i.e., macrophages) over long periods of time, altering host cells functions but not inducing their death. We had previously reported that, in early passages (14–40) of a murine macrophage-like cell line persistently infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (MfP), FcgR-mediated phagocytosis and expression of FcgRIIB/RIII on the cell membrane were increased with respect to mock-infected macrophages (MfN). In this work, we explored the mechanism underlying such effects. Increases in FcgR expression and FcgR-mediated phagocytosis are preserved after more than 87 passages of the persistently infected culture. We analyzed the expression of FcgR isoforms at both mRNA and protein levels, and found out that RSV persistence distinctly affects the expression of FcgR isoforms. We also observed that the increase in FcgRs expression results neither from soluble factors (cytokines) or viral products released by the infected cells, nor from an increase in the rate of FcgR internalization. Our results suggest that RSV persistence in macrophages induceintracellular effects that have an impact on FcgRs gene expression at both mRNA and protein levels, and that the characteristics of RSV persistence were preserved for over 87 passages.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 606-623: Clinical Manifestations and Outcomes of West Nile Virus Infection

  • Since the emergence of West Nile virus (WNV) in North America in 1999, understanding of the clinical features, spectrum of illness and eventual functional outcomes of human illness has increased tremendously. Most human infections with WNV remain clinically silent. Among those persons developing symptomatic illness, most develop a self-limited febrile illness. More severe illness with WNV (West Nile neuroinvasive disease, WNND) is manifested as meningitis, encephalitis or an acute anterior (polio) myelitis. These manifestations are generally more prevalent in older persons or those with immunosuppression. In the future, a more thorough understanding of the long-term physical, cognitive and functional outcomes of persons recovering from WNV illness will be important in understanding the overall illness burden.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 582-605: Role of Human Cytomegalovirus Tegument Proteins in Virion Assembly

  • Like other herpesviruses, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) contains a unique proteinaceous layer between the virion envelope and capsid, termed the tegument. Upon infection, the contents of the tegument layer are delivered to the host cell, along with the capsid and the viral genome, where they facilitate the initial stages of virus replication. The tegument proteins also play important roles in virion assembly and this dual nature makes them attractive potential targets for antiviral therapies. While our knowledge regarding tegument protein function during the initiation of infection has been the subject of intense study, their roles in assembly are much less well understood. In this review, we will focus on recent studies that highlight the functions of HCMV tegument proteins during assembly, and pose key questions for further investigation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 573-581: Pretreatment of Mice with Oligonucleotide prop5 Protects Them from Influenza Virus Infections

  • Influenza A virus is a successful parasite and requires host factors to complete its life cycle. Prop5 is an antisense oligonucleotide, targeting programmed cell death protein 5 (PDCD5). In this study, we tested the antiviral activity of prop5 against mouse-adapted A/FM/1/47 strain of influenza A virus in a mouse model. Prop5 intranasally administered the mice at dosages of 10 and 20 mg/kg/d at 24 h and 30 min before infection, provided 80% and 100% survival rates and prolonged mean survival days in comparison with influenza virus-infected mice (both p aamp;amp;lt; 0.01). Moreover, viral titres in mice pretreated with prop5, at dose of 10 and 20 mg/kg/d, had declined significantly on day two, four, and six post-infection compared with the yields in infected mice (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05 or p aamp;amp;lt; 0.01); lung index in mice pretreated with prop5 (20 mg/kg/d) had been inhibited on day six post-infection (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). Western blotting and immunohistochemistry showed that prop5 could down-regulate the PDCD5 protein expression levels in lung tissues of infected mice. These data indicate that antisense oligonucleotide prop5 is a promising drug for prophylaxis and control influenza virus infections and provides an insight into the host-pathogen interaction.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 535-572: CD81 and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection

  • Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is a global public health problem affecting over 160 million individuals worldwide. Its symptoms include chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV is an enveloped RNA virus mainly targeting liver cells and for which the initiation of infection occurs through a complex multistep process involving a series of specific cellular entry factors. This process is likely mediated through the formation of a tightly orchestrated complex of HCV entry factors at the plasma membrane. Among HCV entry factors, the tetraspanin CD81 is one of the best characterized and it is undoubtedly a key player in the HCV lifecycle. In this review, we detail the current knowledge on the involvement of CD81 in the HCV lifecycle, as well as in the immune response to HCV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 524-534: Prevalence of Antibodies against Hantaviruses in Serum and Saliva of Adults Living or Working on Farms in Yorkshire, United Kingdom

  • Hantaviruses are an established cause of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe. Following a confirmed case of HFRS in the UK, in an individual residing on a farm in North Yorkshire and the Humber, a tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England, and the subsequent isolation of a Seoul hantavirus from rats trapped on the patient’s farm, it was considered appropriate to further investigate the public health risk of this virus in the region. Of a total 119 individuals tested, nine (7.6%) were seropositive for hantavirus antibodies. Seven of the seropositive samples showed a stronger reaction to Seoul and Hantaan comparedto other clinically relevant hantaviruses. Observation of rodents during the day, in particular mice, was associated with a reduced risk of seropositivity. In addition to one region known to be at risk following an acute case, five further potential risk areas have been identified. This study supports recently published evidence that hantaviruses are likely to be of public health interest in the region.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 516-523: Long-Term Single-Dose Efficacy of a Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-Based Andes Virus Vaccine in Syrian Hamsters

  • Andes virus (ANDV) is highly pathogenic in humans and is the primary etiologic agent of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in South America. Case-fatality rates are as high as 50% and there are no approved vaccines or specific therapies for infection. Our laboratory has recently developed a replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based vaccine that expressed the glycoproteins of Andes virus in place of the native VSV glycoprotein (G). This vaccine is highly efficacious in the Syrian hamster model of HCPS when given 28 days before challenge with ANDV, or when given around the time of challenge (peri-exposure), and even protects when administered post-exposure. Herein, we sought to test the durability of the immune response to a single dose of this vaccine in Syrian hamsters. This vaccine was efficacious in hamsters challenged intranasally with ANDV 6 months after vaccination (p = 0.025), but animals were not significantly protected following 1 year of vaccination (p = 0.090). The decrease in protection correlated with a reduction of measurable neutralizing antibody responses, and suggests that a more robust vaccination schedule might be required to provide long-term immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 507-515: Analysis of an Outbreak of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome in College Students in Xi’an, China

  • The aim of the present study was to analyze an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), caused by a Hantavirus, in college students in the northern urban area of Xi’an in 2012. The outbreak affected six students and included two deaths. The epidemiological survey revealed that both of the deceased cases were misdiagnosed initially, and treatment was delayed. Furthermore, a higher rodent population density and lower HFRS vaccine coverage were observed in theaffected area, which indicates a possible role in the outbreak. Rattus norvegicus (Rn) and Mus musculus (Mm) were the predominant host populations in the area. Genotyping revealed that all HVs from patients and rodents were Hantaan virus (HTNV). Sequence analysis of the S segments revealed that theHTNVs reported in this study had high similarity with strains reported in 2011 and 1985, but these viruses diverged from a strain isolated in 1984 and the HTNV prototype strain 76-118. Detection of anti-HV IgG and amplification of the S segment of HTNV from a non-natural HTNV reservoir indicates that further investigations by increased rodent trapping are necessary.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 489-506: Structural Analyses of Avocado sunblotch viroid Reveal Differences in the Folding of Plus and Minus RNA Strands

  • Viroids are small pathogenic circular single-stranded RNAs, present in two complementary sequences, named plus and minus, in infected plant cells. A high degree of complementarities between different regions of the RNAs allows them to adopt complex structures. Since viroids are naked non-coding RNAs, interactions with host factors appear to be closely related to their structural and catalytic characteristics. Avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd), a member of the family Avsunviroidae, replicates via a symmetric RNA-dependant rolling-circle process, involving self-cleavage via hammerhead ribozymes. Consequently, it is assumed that ASBVd plus and minus strands adopt similar structures. Moreover, by computer analyses, a quasi-rod-like secondary structure has been predicted. Nevertheless, secondary and tertiary structures of both polarities of ASBVd remain unsolved. In this study, we analyzed the characteristic of each strand of ASBVd through biophysical analyses. We report that ASBVd transcripts of plus and minus polarities exhibit differences in electrophoretic mobility under native conditions and in thermal denaturation profiles. Subsequently, the secondary structures of plus and minus polarities of ASBVd were probed using the RNA-selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) method. The models obtained show that both polarities fold into different structures. Moreover, our results suggest the existence of a kissing-loop interaction within the minus strand that may play a role in in vivo viroid life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 476-488: Human Cytomegalovirus UL34 Early and Late Proteins Are Essential for Viral Replication

  • UL34 is one of the ~50 genes of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) required for replication in cell culture in human fibroblasts. UL34 encodes highly related early (UL34a) and late (UL34b) proteins that are virtually identical, with the early protein containing an additional 21 amino terminal amino acids. The UL34 proteins are sequence-specific DNA‑binding proteins that localize to the nucleus. The HCMV genome contains 14 to 15 UL34 binding sites; two of the UL34 binding sites contribute to transcriptional regulation of two other viral genes, US3 and US9. The roles of the remaining binding sites and the requirement for both UL34 proteins during viral infection remain unknown. We examined the contributions of the early and late UL34 proteins to viral replication by generating HCMV-containing bacterial artificial chromosomes with the initiation codon for the early or the late protein mutated. Neither virus was able to replicate, demonstrating that UL34 expression is required throughout the viral replication cycle. A marked decrease in viral gene expression for each of the mutants suggests that UL34 proteins may contribute generally to transcriptional regulation. Intracellular localization studies demonstrated that UL34 colocalizes with the major immediate early protein, IE2, and the viral DNA polymerase processivity factor, UL44, to viral DNA replication centers. In conclusion, sustained UL34 protein expression is required for viral replication. The sequence-specific DNA binding ability of UL34 proteins, their localization to viral DNA replication centers and their general effects on viral gene expressions suggests that UL34 proteins contribute to the establishment of a nuclear environment necessary for viral gene expression and DNA replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 448-475: Molecular and Biological Characterization of a New Isolate of Guinea Pig Cytomegalovirus

  • Development of a vaccine against congenital infection with human cytomegalovirus is complicated by the issue of re-infection, with subsequent vertical transmission, in women with pre-conception immunity to the virus. The study of experimental therapeutic prevention of re-infection would ideally be undertaken in a small animal model, such as the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) model, prior to human clinical trials. However, the ability to model re-infection in the GPCMV model has been limited by availability of only one strain of virus, the 22122 strain, isolated in 1957. In this report, we describe the isolation of a new GPCMV strain, the CIDMTR strain. This strain demonstrated morphological characteristics of a typical Herpesvirinae by electron microscopy. Illumina and PacBio sequencing demonstrated a genome of 232,778 nt. Novel open reading frames ORFs not found in reference strain 22122 included an additional MHC Class I homolog near the right genome terminus. The CIDMTR strain was capable of dissemination in immune compromised guinea pigs, and was found to be capable of congenital transmission in GPCMV-immune dams previously infected with salivary gland‑adapted strain 22122 virus. The availability of a new GPCMV strain should facilitate study of re-infection in this small animal model.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 428-447: Passive Immunization against HIV/AIDS by Antibody Gene Transfer

  • Despite tremendous efforts over the course of many years, the quest for an effective HIV vaccine by the classical method of active immunization remains largely elusive. However, two recent studies in mice and macaques have now demonstrated a new strategy designated as Vectored ImmunoProphylaxis (VIP), which involves passive immunization by viral vector-mediated delivery of genes encoding broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) for in vivo expression. Robust protection against virus infection was observed in preclinical settings when animals were given VIP to express monoclonal neutralizing antibodies. This unorthodox approach raises new promise for combating the ongoing global HIV pandemic. In this article, we survey the status of antibody gene transfer, review the revolutionary progress on isolation of extremely bnAbs, detail VIP experiments against HIV and its related virus conduced in humanized mice and macaque monkeys, and discuss the pros and cons of VIP and its opportunities and challenges towards clinical applications to control HIV/AIDS endemics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 404-427: Noncoding Subgenomic Flavivirus RNA: Multiple Functions in West Nile Virus Pathogenesis and Modulation of Host Responses

  • Flaviviruses are a large group of positive strand RNA viruses transmitted by arthropods that include many human pathogens such as West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), yellow fever virus, dengue virus, and tick-borne encephalitis virus. All members in this genus tested so far are shown to produce a unique subgenomic flavivirus RNA (sfRNA) derived from the 3' untranslated region (UTR). sfRNA is a product of incomplete degradation of genomic RNA by the cell 5'–3' exoribonuclease XRN1 which stalls at highly ordered secondary RNA structures at the beginning of the 3'UTR. Generation of sfRNA results in inhibition of XRN1 activity leading to an increase in stability of many cellular mRNAs. Mutant WNV deficient in sfRNA generation was highly attenuated displaying a marked decrease in cytopathicity in cells and pathogenicity in mice. sfRNA has also been shown to inhibit the antiviral activity of IFN-α/β by yet unknown mechanism and of the RNAi pathway by likely serving as a decoy substrate for Dicer. Thus, sfRNA is involved in modulating multiple cellular pathways to facilitate viral pathogenicity; however the overlying mechanism linking all these multiple functions of sfRNA remains to be elucidated.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 391-403: Pseudo-Mannosylated DC-SIGN Ligands as Potential Adjuvants for HIV Vaccines

  • The development of new and effective adjuvants may play a fundamental role in improving HIV vaccine efficacy. New classes of vaccine adjuvants activate innate immunity receptors, notably toll like receptors (TLRs). Adjuvants targeting the C-Type lectin receptor DC-SIGN may be alternative or complementary to adjuvants based on TRL activation. Herein we evaluate the ability of the glycomimetic DC-SIGN ligand Polyman 19 (PM 19) to modulate innate immune responses. Results showed that PM 19 alone, or in combination with TLR agonists, induces the expression of cytokines,β chemokines and co-stimulatory molecules that may, in turn, modulate adaptive immunity and exert anti-viral effects. These results indicate that the suitability of this compound as a vaccine adjuvant should be further evaluated.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 371-390: HSV-2 Vaccine: Current Status and Insight into Factors for Developing an Efficient Vaccine

  • Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), a globally sexually transmitted virus, and also one of the main causes of genital ulcer diseases, increases susceptibility to HIV-1. Effective vaccines to prevent HSV-2 infection are not yet available, but are currently being developed. To facilitate this process, the latest progress in development of these vaccines is reviewed in this paper. A summary of the most promising HSV-2 vaccines tested in animals in the last five years is presented, including the main factors, and new ideas for developing an effective vaccine from animal experiments and human clinical trials. Experimental results indicate that future HSV-2 vaccines may depend on a strategy that targets mucosal immunity. Furthermore, estradiol, which increases the effectiveness of vaccines, may be considered as an adjuvant. Therefore, this review is expected to provide possible strategies for development of future HSV-2 vaccines.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 354-370: Analysis of Essential Viral Gene Functions after Highly Efficient Adenofection of Cells with Cloned Human Cytomegalovirus Genomes

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has a large 240 kb genome that may encode more than 700 gene products with many of them remaining uncharacterized. Mutagenesis of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-cloned CMV genomes has greatly facilitated the analysis of viral gene functions. However, the roles of essential proteins often remain particularly elusive because their investigation requires the cumbersome establishment of suitable complementation systems. Here, we show that HCMV genomes can be introduced into cells with unprecedented efficiency by applying a transfection protocol based on replication-defective, inactivated adenovirus particles (adenofection). Upon adenofection of several permissive cell types with HCMV genomes carrying mutations in essential genes, transfection rates of up to 60% were observed and viral proteins of all kinetic classes were found expressed. This enabled further analyses of the transfected cells by standard biochemical techniques. Remarkably, HCMV genomes lacking elements essential for viral DNA replication, such as the lytic origin of replication, still expressed several late proteins. In conclusion, adenofection allows the study of essential HCMV genes directly in BAC-transfected cells without the need for sophisticated complementation strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 340-353: First Molecular Evidence for Puumala Hantavirus in Poland

  • Puumala virus (PUUV) causes mild to moderate cases of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), and is responsible for the majority of hantavirus infections of humans in Fennoscandia, Central and Western Europe. Although there are relatively many PUUV sequences available from different European countries, little is known about the presence of this virus in Poland. During population studies in 2009 a total of 45 bank voles were trapped at three sites in north-eastern Poland, namely islands on Dejguny and Dobskie Lakes and in a forest near Mikołajki. S and M segment-specific RT-PCR assays detected PUUV RNA in three animals from the Mikołajki site. The obtained partial S and M segment sequences demonstrated the highest similarity to the corresponding segments of a PUUV strain from Latvia. Analysis of chest cavity fluid samples by IgG ELISA using a yeast-expressed PUUV nucleocapsid protein resulted in the detection of two seropositive samples, both being also RT-PCR positive. Interestingly, at the trapping site in Mikołajki PUUV-positive bank voles belong to the Carpathian and Eastern genetic lineages within this species. In conclusion, we herein present the first molecular evidence for PUUV in the rodent reservoir from Poland.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 336-339: Preface of the Special Issue: “Recent CMV Research”

  • This Viruses Special Issue on Recent Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Research is dedicated to the patients who have suffered CMV infection and to their parents, families and caregivers. We are including as a Preface to this issue the insights of a young college student, Kayla Dufrene, who suffered congenital CMV infection and contacted me and Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, to interview us to learn more about CMV. As I was just returning to the DC area from the 4th Congenital CMV Conference in San Francisco, I was particularly receptive to her request. When we met Kayla, we were both impressed with her personal strength and ability to cope with her disabilities and needed medical treatments. Despite it all, Kayla has an exceptionally positive outlook on life, feeling even lucky. She has not only coped, but has transcended her difficulties. I am proud to say that she was on the Dean’s List (Figure 1) at Gallaudet University. Ultimately, her hope lies in our fields’ efforts to develop a vaccine to prevent CMV disease in other children.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 319-335: Brd4-Mediated Nuclear Retention of the Papillomavirus E2 Protein Contributes to Its Stabilization in Host Cells

  • Papillomavirus E2 is a multifunctional viral protein that regulates many aspects of the viral life cycle including viral episome maintenance, transcriptional activation, and repression. E2 is degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Cellular bromodomain protein Brd4 has been implicated in the stabilization of the E2 protein. E2 normally shuttles between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. In this study, we demonstrate that E2 ubiquitylation mostly occurs in the cytoplasm. We also find that the interaction with Brd4 promotes nuclear retention of papillomavirus E2 proteins and contributes to their stabilization in the nucleus. Compared to wild type E2 proteins, nuclear-localization-defective mutants are rapidly degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway; however, co-expression of Brd4 redirects these mutants into the nucleus and significantly increases their stability. We further demonstrate that tethering E2 proteins to chromatin as either double-bromodomain fusion proteins or histone 2B (H2B) fusion proteins significantly stabilizes the E2 proteins. Our studies suggest that chromatin recruitment of the E2 protein via interaction with Brd4 prevents E2 ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation in the cytoplasm, leading to its stabilization in the nucleus. These studies bring new insights for understanding Brd4-mediated E2 stabilization, and provide an additional mechanism by which the chromatin-associated Brd4 regulates E2 functions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 301-318: Evidence of Epstein-Barr Virus Association with Gastric Cancer and Non-Atrophic Gastritis

  • Different lines of evidence support an association between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and gastric cancer (GC). The main understood risk factor to develop GC is infection by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which triggers a local inflammatory response critical for progression from gastritis to GC. The role of EBV in early inflammatory gastric lesions has been poorly studied. A recent study proposed a cutoff value of 2000 EBV particles to identify patients with increased chances of infection of the gastric epithelium, which may favor the inflammatory process. To better understand the role of EBV in cancer progression, we analyzed 75 samples of GC, 147 control samples of non-tumor gastric tissue derived from GC patients and 75 biopsies from patients with non-atrophic gastritis (NAG). A first-round PCR was used for EBV detection in tumor and non-tumor controls and a more sensitive nested PCR for gastritis samples; both PCRs had lower detection limits above the proposed cutoff value. With this strategy 10.67% of GC, 1.3% of non-tumor controls and 8% of gastritis samples were found positive. An EBER1 in situ hybridization showed EBV infection of epithelial cells in GC and in a third of NAG samples, while in the other NAGs infection was restricted to the mononuclear cell infiltrate. EBV-positive GCs were enriched in lace and cribriform patterns, while these rare patterns were not observed in EBV negative samples. Our results support a role for EBV in GC and early precursor lesions, either as directly oncogenic infecting epithelial cells or indirectly as an inflammatory trigger.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 284-300: Structural and Functional Comparisons of Retroviral Envelope Protein C-Terminal Domains: Still Much to Learn

  • Retroviruses are a family of viruses that cause a broad range of pathologies in animals and humans, from the apparently harmless, long-term genomic insertion of endogenous retroviruses, to tumors induced by the oncogenic retroviruses and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) resulting from human immunodeficiency virus infection. Disease can be the result of diverse mechanisms, including tumorigenesis induced by viral oncogenes or immune destruction, leading to the gradual loss of CD4 T-cells. Of the virally encoded proteins common to all retroviruses, the envelope (Env) displays perhaps the most diverse functionality. Env is primarily responsible for binding the cellular receptor and for effecting the fusion process, with these functions mediated by protein domains localized to the exterior of the virus. The remaining C-terminal domain may have the most variable functionality of all retroviral proteins. The C-terminal domains from three prototypical retroviruses are discussed, focusing on the different structures and functions, which include fusion activation, tumorigenesis and viral assembly and lifecycle influences. Despite these genetic and functional differences, however, the C-terminal domains of these viruses share a common feature in the modulation of Env ectodomain conformation. Despite their differences, perhaps each system still has information to share with the others.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 264-283: Understanding the Process of Envelope Glycoprotein Incorporation into Virions in Simian and Feline Immunodeficiency Viruses

  • The lentiviral envelope glycoproteins (Env) mediate virus entry by interacting with specific receptors present at the cell surface, thereby determining viral tropism and pathogenesis. Therefore, Env incorporation into the virions formed by assembly of the viral Gag polyprotein at the plasma membrane of the infected cells is a key step in the replication cycle of lentiviruses. Besides being useful models of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in humans and valuable tools for developing AIDS therapies and vaccines, simian and feline immunodeficiency viruses (SIV and FIV, respectively) are relevant animal retroviruses; the study of which provides important information on how lentiviral replication strategies have evolved. In this review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms underlying the incorporation of the SIV and FIV Env glycoproteins into viral particles.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 243-263: Gene Therapy Strategies to Exploit TRIM Derived Restriction Factors against HIV-1

  • Restriction factors are a collection of antiviral proteins that form an important aspect of the innate immune system. Their constitutive expression allows immediate response to viral infection, ahead of other innate or adaptive immune responses. We review the molecular mechanism of restriction for four categories of restriction factors; TRIM5, tetherin, APOBEC3G and SAMHD1 and go on to consider how the TRIM5 and TRIMCyp proteins in particular, show promise for exploitation using gene therapy strategies. Such approaches could form an important alternative to current anti-HIV-1 drug regimens, especially if combined with strategies to eradicate HIV reservoirs. Autologous CD4+ T cells or their haematopoietic stem cell precursors engineered to express TRIMCyp restriction factors, and provided in a single therapeutic intervention could then be used to restore functional immunity with a pool of cells protected against HIV. We consider the challenges ahead and consider how early clinical phase testing may best be achieved.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 223-242: Functional Characterization of a Bidirectional Plant Promoter from Cotton Leaf Curl Burewala Virus Using an Agrobacterium-Mediated Transient Assay

  • The C1 promoter expressing the AC1 gene, and V1 promoter expressing the AV1 gene are located in opposite orientations in the large intergenic region of the Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus (CLCuBuV) genome. Agro-infiltration was used to transiently express putative promoter constructs in Nicotiana tabacum and Gossypium hirsutum leaves, which was monitored by a GUS reporter gene, and revealed that the bidirectional promoter of CLCuBuV transcriptionally regulates both the AC1 and AV1 genes. The CLCuBuV C1 gene promoter showed a strong, consistent transient expression of the reporter gene (GUS) in N. tabacum and G. hirsutum leaves and exhibited GUS activity two- to three-fold higher than the CaMV 35S promoter. The CLCuBuV bidirectional gene promoter is a nearly constitutive promoter that contains basic conserved elements. Many cis-regulatory elements (CREs) were also analyzed within the bidirectional plant promoters of CLCuBuV and closely related geminiviruses, which may be helpful in understanding the transcriptional regulation of both the virus and host plant.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 201-222: Estimating Hantavirus Risk in Southern Argentina: A GIS-Based Approach Combining Human Cases and Host Distribution

  • We use a Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) approach along with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques to examine the potential distribution of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) caused by Andes virus (ANDV) in southern Argentina and, more precisely, define and estimate the area with the highest infection probability for humans, through the combination with the distribution map for the competent rodent host (Oligoryzomys longicaudatus). Sites with confirmed cases of HPS in the period 1995–2009 were mostly concentrated in a narrow strip (~90 km × 900 km) along the Andes range from northern Neuquén to central Chubut province. This area is characterized by high mean annual precipitation (~1,000 mm on average), but dry summers (less than 100 mm), very low percentages of bare soil (~10% on average) and low temperatures in the coldest month (minimum average temperature −1.5 °C), as compared to the HPS-free areas, features that coincide with sub-Antarctic forests and shrublands (especially those dominated by the invasive plant Rosa rubiginosa), where rodent host abundances and ANDV prevalences are known to be the highest. Through the combination of predictive distribution maps of the reservoir host and disease cases, we found that the area with the highest probability for HPS to occur overlaps only 28% with the most suitable habitat for O. longicaudatus. With this approach, we made a step forward in the understanding of the risk factors that need to be considered in the forecasting and mapping of risk at the regional/national scale. We propose the implementation and use of thematic maps, such as the one built here, as a basic tool allowing public health authorities to focus surveillance efforts and normally scarce resources for prevention and control actions in vast areas like southern Argentina.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 189-200: Association of an Alphasatellite with Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus and Ageratum Yellow Vein Virus in Japan Is Suggestive of a Recent Introduction

  • Samples were collected in 2011 from tomato plants exhibiting typical tomato leaf curl disease symptoms in the vicinity of Komae, Japan. PCR mediated amplification, cloning and sequencing of all begomovirus components from two plants from different fields showed the plants to be infected by Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) and Ageratum yellow vein virus (AYVV). Both viruses have previously been shown to be present in Japan, although this is the first identification of AYVV on mainland Japan; the virus previously having been shown to be present on the Okinawa Islands. The plant harboring AYVV was also shown to contain the betasatellite Tomato leaf curl Java betasatellite (ToLCJaB), a satellite not previously shown to be present in Japan. No betasatellite was associated with the TYLCV infected tomato plants analyzed here, consistent with earlier findings for this virus in Japan. Surprisingly both plants were also found to harbor an alphasatellite; no alphasatellites having previously been reported from Japan. The alphasatellite associated with both viruses was shown to be Sida yellow vein China alphasatellite which has previously only been identified in the Yunnan Province of China and Nepal. The results suggest that further begomoviruses, and their associated satellites, are being introduced to Japan. The significance of these findings is discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 172-188: Proteomic Analyses of Human Cytomegalovirus Strain AD169 Derivatives Reveal Highly Conserved Patterns of Viral and Cellular Proteins in Infected Fibroblasts

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) particle morphogenesis in infected cells is an orchestrated process that eventually results in the release of enveloped virions. Proteomic analysis has been employed to reveal the complexity in the protein composition of these extracellular particles. Only limited information is however available regarding the proteome of infected cells preceding the release of HCMV virions. We used quantitative mass spectrometry to address the pattern of viral and cellular proteins in cells, infected with derivatives of the AD169 laboratory strain. Our analyses revealed a remarkable conservation in the patterns of viral and of abundant cellular proteins in cells, infected for 2 hours, 2 days, or 4 days. Most viral proteins increased in abundance as the infection progressed over time. Of the proteins that were reliably detectable by mass spectrometry, only IE1 (pUL123), pTRS1, and pIRS1 were downregulated at 4 days after infection. In addition, little variation of viral proteins in the virions of the different viruses was detectable, independent of the expression of the major tegument protein pp65. Taken together these data suggest that there is little variation in the expression program of viral and cellular proteins in cells infected with related HCMVs, resulting in a conserved pattern of viral proteins ultimately associated with extracellular virions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 151-171: Were the English Sweating Sickness and the Picardy Sweat Caused by Hantaviruses?

  • The English sweating sickness caused five devastating epidemics between 1485 and 1551, England was hit hardest, but on one occasion also mainland Europe, with mortality rates between 30% and 50%. The Picardy sweat emerged about 150 years after the English sweat disappeared, in 1718, in France. It caused 196 localized outbreaks and apparently in its turn disappeared in 1861. Both diseases have been the subject of numerous attempts to define their origin, but so far all efforts were in vain. Although both diseases occurred in different time frames and were geographically not overlapping, a common denominator could be what we know today as hantavirus infections. This review aims to shed light on the characteristics of both diseases from contemporary as well as current knowledge and suggests hantavirus infection as the most likely cause for the English sweating sickness as well as for the Picardy sweat.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 137-150: ABSL-4 Aerobiology Biosafety and Technology at the NIH/NIAID Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

  • The overall threat of a viral pathogen to human populations is largely determined by the modus operandi and velocity of the pathogen that is transmitted among humans. Microorganisms that can spread by aerosol are considered a more challenging enemy than those that require direct body-to-body contact for transmission, due to the potential for infection of numerous people rather than a single individual. Additionally, disease containment is much more difficult to achieve for aerosolized viral pathogens than for pathogens that spread solely via direct person-to-person contact. Thus, aerobiology has become an increasingly necessary component for studying viral pathogens that are naturally or intentionally transmitted by aerosol. The goal of studying aerosol viral pathogens is to improve public health preparedness and medical countermeasure development. Here, we provide a brief overview of the animal biosafety level 4 Aerobiology Core at the NIH/NIAID Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 106-136: Historical Perspective, Development and Applications of Next-Generation Sequencing in Plant Virology

  • Next-generation high throughput sequencing technologies became available at the onset of the 21st century. They provide a highly efficient, rapid, and low cost DNA sequencing platform beyond the reach of the standard and traditional DNA sequencing technologies developed in the late 1970s. They are continually improved to become faster, more efficient and cheaper. They have been used in many fields of biology since 2004. In 2009, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies began to be applied to several areas of plant virology including virus/viroid genome sequencing, discovery and detection, ecology and epidemiology, replication and transcription. Identification and characterization of known and unknown viruses and/or viroids in infected plants are currently among the most successful applications of these technologies. It is expected that NGS will play very significant roles in many research and non-research areas of plant virology.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 89-105: Identification of Cellular Proteins that Interact with Human Cytomegalovirus Immediate-Early Protein 1 by Protein Array Assay

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) gene expression during infection is characterized as a sequential process including immediate-early (IE), early (E), and late (L)-stage gene expression. The most abundantly expressed gene at the IE stage of infection is the major IE (MIE) gene that produces IE1 and IE2. IE1 has been the focus of study because it is an important protein, not only for viral gene expression but also for viral replication. It is believed that IE1 plays important roles in viral gene regulation by interacting with cellular proteins. In the current study, we performed protein array assays and identified 83 cellular proteins that interact with IE1. Among them, seven are RNA-binding proteins that are important in RNA processing; more than half are nuclear proteins that are involved in gene regulations. Tumorigenesis-related proteins are also found to interact with IE1, implying that the role of IE1 in tumorigenesis might need to be reevaluated. Unexpectedly, cytoplasmic proteins, such as Golgi autoantigen and GGA1 (both related to the Golgi trafficking protein), are also found to be associated with IE1. We also employed a coimmunoprecipitation assay to test the interactions of IE1 and some of the proteins identified in the protein array assays and confirmed that the results from the protein array assays are reliable. Many of the proteins identified by the protein array assay have not been previously reported. Therefore, the functions of the IE1-protein interactions need to be further explored in the future.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 69-88: Flavivirus Entry Receptors: An Update

  • Flaviviruses enter host cells by endocytosis initiated when the virus particles interact with cell surface receptors. The current model suggests that flaviviruses use at least two different sets of molecules for infectious entry: attachment factors that concentrate and/or recruit viruses on the cell surface and primary receptor(s) that bind to virions and direct them to the endocytic pathway. Here, we present the currently available knowledge regarding the flavivirus receptors described so far with specific attention to C-type lectin receptors and the phosphatidylserine receptors, T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain (TIM) and TYRO3, AXL and MER (TAM). Their role in flavivirus attachment and entry as well as their implication in the virus biology will be discussed in depth.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 54-68: CCR5 as a Natural and Modulated Target for Inhibition of HIV

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection of target cells requires CD4 and a co-receptor, predominantly the chemokine receptor CCR5. CCR5-delta32 homozygosity results in a truncated protein providing natural protection against HIV infection—this without detrimental effects to the host—and transplantation of CCR5-delta32 stem cells in a patient with HIV (“Berlin patient”) achieved viral eradication. As a more feasible approach gene-modification strategies are being developed to engineer cellular resistance to HIV using autologous cells. We have developed a dual therapeutic anti-HIV lentiviral vector (LVsh5/C46) that down-regulates CCR5 and inhibits HIV-1 fusion via cell surface expression of the gp41-derived peptide, C46. This construct, effective against multiple strains of both R5- and X4-tropic HIV-1, is being testedin Phase I/II trials by engineering HIV-resistant hematopoietic cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 13-53: Replication Cycle and Molecular Biology of the West Nile Virus

  • West Nile virus (WNV) is a member of the genus Flavivirus in the family Flaviviridae. Flaviviruses replicate in the cytoplasm of infected cells and modify the host cell environment. Although much has been learned about virion structure and virion-endosomal membrane fusion, the cell receptor(s) used have not been definitively identified and little is known about the early stages of the virus replication cycle. Members of the genus Flavivirus differ from members of the two other genera of the family by the lack of a genomic internal ribosomal entry sequence and the creation of invaginations in the ER membrane rather than double-membrane vesicles that are used as the sites of exponential genome synthesis. The WNV genome 3' and 5' sequences that form the long distance RNA-RNA interaction required for minus strand initiation have been identified and contact sites on the 5' RNA stem loop for NS5 have been mapped. Structures obtained for many of the viral proteins have provided information relevant to their functions. Viral nonstructural protein interactions are complex and some may occur only in infected cells. Although interactions between many cellular proteins and virus components have been identified, the functions of most of these interactions have not been delineated.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1-12: Stem-Cell-Based Gene Therapy for HIV Infection

  • Despite the enormous success of combined anti-retroviral therapy, HIV infection is still a lifelong disease and continues to spread rapidly worldwide. There is a pressing need to develop a treatment that will cure HIV infection. Recent progress in stem cell manipulation and advancements in humanized mouse models have allowed rapid developments of gene therapy for HIV treatment. In this review, we will discuss two aspects of HIV gene therapy using human hematopoietic stem cells. The first is to generate immune systems resistant to HIV infection while the second strategy involves enhancing anti-HIV immunity to eliminate HIV infected cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 5, Pages 3213-3230: The Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Ortholog pUL97 of Human Cytomegalovirus Interacts with Cyclins

  • The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-encoded protein kinase, pUL97, is considered a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) ortholog, due to shared structural and functional characteristics. The primary mechanism of CDK activation is binding to corresponding cyclins, including cyclin T1, which is the usual regulatory cofactor of CDK9. This study provides evidence of direct interaction between pUL97 and cyclin T1 using yeast two-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation analyses. Confocal immunofluorescence revealed partial colocalization of pUL97 with cyclin T1 in subnuclear compartments, most pronounced in viral replication centres. The distribution patterns of pUL97 and cyclin T1 were independent of HCMV strain and host cell type. The sequence domain of pUL97 responsible for the interaction with cyclin T1 was between amino acids 231–280. Additional co-immunoprecipitation analyses showed cyclin B1 and cyclin A as further pUL97 interaction partners. Investigation of the pUL97-cyclin T1 interaction in an ATP consumption assay strongly suggested phosphorylation of pUL97 by the CDK9/cyclin T1 complex in a substrate concentration-dependent manner. This is the first demonstration of interaction between a herpesviral CDK ortholog and cellular cyclins.

  • Viruses, Vol. 5, Pages 3192-3212: Make Yourself at Home: Viral Hijacking of the PI3K/Akt Signaling Pathway

  • As viruses do not possess genes encoding for proteins required for translation, energy metabolism or membrane biosynthesis, they are classified as obligatory intracellular parasites that depend on a host cell to replicate. This genome limitation forces them to gain control over cellular processes to ensure their successful propagation. A diverse spectrum of virally encoded proteins tackling a broad spectrum of cellular pathways during most steps of the viral life cycle ranging from the host cell entry to viral protein translation has evolved. Since the host cell PI3K/Akt signaling pathway plays a critical regulatory role in many cellular processes including RNA processing, translation, autophagy and apoptosis, many viruses, in widely varying ways, target it. This review focuses on a number of remarkable examples of viral strategies, which exploit the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway for effective viral replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 5, Pages 3171-3191: The p36 Isoform of Murine Cytomegalovirus m152 Protein Suffices for Mediating Innate and Adaptive Immune Evasion

  • The MHC-class I (MHC-I)-like viral (MHC-Iv) m152 gene product of murine cytomegalovirus (mCMV) was the first immune evasion molecule described for a member of theβ-subfamily of herpesviruses as a paradigm for analogous functions of human cytomegalovirus proteins. Notably, by interacting with classical MHC-I molecules and with MHC-I-like RAE1 family ligands of the activatory natural killer (NK) cell receptor NKG2D, it inhibits presentation of antigenic peptides to CD8 T cells and the NKG2D-dependent activation of NK cells, respectively, thus simultaneously interfering with adaptive and innate immune recognition of infected cells. Although the m152 gene product exists in differentially glycosylated isoforms whose individual contributions to immune evasion are unknown, it has entered the scientific literature as m152/gp40, based on the quantitatively most prominent isoform but with no functional justification. By construction of a recombinant mCMV in which all three N-glycosylation sites are mutated (N61Q, N208Q, and N241Q), we show here that N-linked glycosylation is not essential for functional interaction of the m152 immune evasion protein with either MHC-I or RAE1. These data add an important functional detail to recent structural analysis of the m152/RAE1g complex that has revealed N-glycosylations at positions Asn61 and Asn208 of m152distant from the m152/RAE1g interface.

  • Viruses, Vol. 5, Pages 3142-3170: The Role of Innate Immunity in Conditioning Mosquito Susceptibility to West Nile Virus

  • Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) represent an emerging threat to human and livestock health globally. In particular, those transmitted by mosquitoes present the greatest challenges to disease control efforts. An understanding of the molecular basis for mosquito innate immunity to arbovirus infection is therefore critical to investigations regarding arbovirus evolution, virus-vector ecology, and mosquito vector competence. In this review, we discuss the current state of understanding regarding mosquito innate immunity to West Nile virus. We draw from the literature with respect to other virus-vector pairings to attempt to draw inferences to gaps in our knowledge about West Nile virus and relevant vectors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 5, Pages 3119-3141: Gene Therapy Strategies for HIV/AIDS: Preclinical Modeling in Humanized Mice

  • In the absence of an effective vaccine and lack of a complete cure, gene therapy approaches to control HIV infection offer feasible alternatives. Due to the chronic nature of infection, a wide window of opportunity exists to gene modify the HIV susceptible cells that continuously arise from the bone marrow source. To evaluate promising gene therapy approaches that employ various anti-HIV therapeutic molecules, an ideal animal model is necessary to generate important efficacy and preclinical data. In this regard, the humanized mouse models that harbor human hematopoietic cells susceptible to HIV infection provide a suitable in vivo system. This review summarizes the currently used humanized mouse models and different anti-HIV molecules utilized for conferring HIV resistance. Humanized mouse models are compared for their utility in this context and provide perspectives for new directions.
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