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.
The editors of Viruses would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2013.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) were estimated in 102 serum samples from 63 hospitalized Greek patients with hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) caused by Dobrava/Belgrade virus. Significantly higher VEGF levels were seen in the severe when compared with non-severe cases (mean values 851.96 pg/mL and 326.75 pg/mL, respectively; p = 0.003), while a significant difference was observed among groups based on the day after the onset of illness. In both severe and non-severe cases, VEGF peaked in the second week of illness; however, elevation of VEGF in the severe cases started later and remained high until convalescence, suggesting that the role of VEGF was associated with repair of vascular damage rather than with increased permeability.
Prior to 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) was a bit player in the screenplay of global vector-borne viral diseases. First discovered in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937, this Culex sp.-transmitted virus was known for causing small human febrile outbreaks in Africa and the Middle East. Prior to 1995, the last major human WNV outbreak was in the 1950s in Israel. The epidemiology and ecology of WNV began to change in the mid-1990s when an epidemic of human encephalitis occurred in Romania. The introduction of WNV into Eastern Europe was readily explained by bird migration between Africa and Europe. The movement of WNV from Africa to Europe could not, however, predict its surprising jump across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City and the surrounding areas of the United States (U.S.). This movement of WNV from the Eastern to Western Hemisphere in 1999, and its subsequent dissemination throughout two continents in less than ten years is widely recognized as one of the most significant events in arbovirology during the last two centuries. This paper documents the early events of the introduction into and the spread of WNV in the Western Hemisphere.
Slovenia is a very diverse country from a natural geography point of view, with many different habitats within a relatively small area, in addition to major geological and climatic differences. It is therefore not surprising that several small mammal species have been confirmed to harbour hantaviruses: A. flavicollis (Dobrava virus), A. agrarius (Dobrava virus–Kurkino), M. glareolus (Puumala virus), S. areanus (Seewis virus),M. agrestis, M. arvalis and M. subterraneus (Tula virus). Three of the viruses, namely the Dobrava, Dobrava–Kurkino and Puumala viruses, cause disease in humans, with significant differences in the severity of symptoms. Due to changes in haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome cases (HFRS) epidemiology, a detailed study on phylogenetic diversity and molecular epidemiology of pathogenic and non-pathogenic hantaviruses circulating in ecologically diverse endemic regions was performed. The study presents one of the largest collections of hantavirus L, M and S sequences obtained from hosts and patients within a single country. Several genetic lineages were determined for each hantavirus species, with higher diversity among non-pathogenic compared to pathogenic viruses. For pathogenic hantaviruses, a significant geographicclustering of human- and rodent-derived sequences was confirmed. Several geographic and ecological factors were recognized as influencing and limiting the formation of endemic areas.
Substantial success has been achieved in the development and implementation of West Nile (WN) vaccines for horses; however, no human WN vaccines are approved. This review focuses on the construction, pre-clinical and clinical characterization of ChimeriVax-WN02 for humans, a live chimeric vaccine composed of a yellow fever (YF) 17D virus in which the prM-E envelope protein genes are replaced with the corresponding genes of the WN NY99 virus. Pre-clinical studies demonstrated that ChimeriVax-WN02 was significantly less neurovirulent than YF 17D in mice and rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys. The vaccine elicited neutralizing antibody titers after inoculation in hamsters and monkeys and protected immunized animals from lethal challenge including intracerebral inoculation of high dose of WN NY99 virus. Safety, viremia and immunogenicity of ChimeriVax-WN02 were assessed in one phase I study and in two phase II clinical trials. No safety signals were detected in the three clinical trials with no remarkable differences in incidence of adverse events (AEs) between vaccine and placebo recipients. Viremia was transient and the mean viremia levels were low. The vaccine elicited strong and durable neutralizing antibody and cytotoxic T cell responses. WN epidemiology impedes a classical licensure pathway; therefore, innovative licensure strategies should be explored.
West Nile virus (WNV; Flavivirus; Flaviviridae) is the cause of the most widespread arthropod-borne viral disease in the world and the largest outbreak of neuroinvasive disease ever observed. Mosquito-borne outbreaks are influenced by intrinsic (e.g., vector and viral genetics, vector and host competence, vector life-history traits) and extrinsic (e.g., temperature, rainfall, human land use) factors that affect virus activity and mosquito biology in complex ways. The concept of vectorial capacity integrates these factors to address interactions of the virus with the arthropod host, leading to a clearer understanding of their complex interrelationships, how they affect transmission of vector-borne disease, and how they impact human health. Vertebrate factors including host competence, population dynamics, and immune status also affect transmission dynamics. The complexity of these interactions are further exacerbated by the fact that not only can divergent hosts differentially alter the virus, but the virus also can affect both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts in ways that significantly alter patterns of virus transmission. This chapter concentrates on selected components of the virus-vector-vertebrate interrelationship, focusing specifically on how interactions between vector, virus, and environment shape the patterns and intensity of WNV transmission.
To gain comprehensive genetic information of circulating avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) isolates in China, analysis of the phylogenetic tree, entropy of the amino acid sequences, and the positive selection as well as computational recombinations of S1, M and N genes of 23 IBV isolates was conducted in the present study. The phylogenetic trees based on the S1, M and N genes exhibited considerably different topology and the CK/CH/LSC/99I-type isolates were the predominant IBVs based on the phylogenetic analysis of S1 gene. Results of entropy of amino acid sequences revealed that the S1 gene had the largest variation; the M gene had less variation than the N gene. Positive selections were detected in not only S1 but also M and N gene proteins. In addition, five S1 gene recombinants between vaccine strain 4/91 and CK/CH/LSC/99I-type field isolate were confirmed. In conclusion, multiple IBV genotypes co-circulated; genetic diversity and positive selections existed in S1, M and N genes; 4/91 vaccine recombinants emerged in China. Our results show that field IBVs in China are continuing to evolve and vaccine strains may have an important role in the appearance of new IBV strains via recombination. In addition, the present study indicates that IBV evolution is driven by both generations of genetic diversity and selection.
The outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) in 1999 in the USA, and its continued spread throughout the Americas, parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, underscored the need for WNV antiviral development. Here, we review the current status of WNV drug discovery. A number of approaches have been used to search for inhibitors of WNV, including viral infection-based screening, enzyme-based screening, structure-based virtual screening, structure-based rationale design, and antibody-based therapy. These efforts have yielded inhibitors of viral or cellular factors that are critical for viral replication. For small molecule inhibitors, no promising preclinical candidate has been developed; most of the inhibitors could not even be advanced to the stage of hit-to-lead optimization due to their poor drug-like properties. However, several inhibitors developed for related members of the family Flaviviridae, such as dengue virus and hepatitis C virus, exhibited cross-inhibition of WNV, suggesting the possibility to re-purpose these antivirals for WNV treatment. Most promisingly, therapeutic antibodies have shown excellent efficacy in mouse model; one of such antibodies has been advanced into clinical trial. The knowledge accumulated during the past fifteen years has provided better rationale for the ongoing WNV and other flavivirus antiviral development.
Equine infectious anemia (EIA), identified in 1843  as an infectious disease of horses and as a viral infection in 1904, remains a concern in veterinary medicine today. Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) has served as an animal model of HIV-1/AIDS research since the original identification of HIV. Similar to other lentiviruses, EIAV has a high propensity for genomic sequence and antigenic variation, principally in its envelope (Env) proteins. However, EIAV possesses a unique and dynamic disease presentation that has facilitated comprehensive analyses of the interactions between the evolving virus population, progressive host immune responses, and the definition of viral and host correlates of immune control and vaccine efficacy. Summarized here are key findings in EIAV that have provided important lessons toward understanding long term immune control of lentivirus infections and the parameters for development of an enduring broadly protective AIDS vaccine.
The combination of genetic modification and hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation may provide the necessary means to develop an alternative treatment option to conventional antiretroviral therapy. As HSCs give rise to all hematopoietic cell types susceptible to HIV infection, modification of HSCs is an ideal strategy for the development of infection-resistant immune cell populations. Although promising results have been obtained in multiple animal models, additional evidence is needed to convincingly demonstrate the feasibility of this approach as a treatment of HIV-1 infected patients. Here, we review the potential of HSC transplantation and the recently identified limitations of this approach. Using the Berlin Patient as a model for a functional cure, we contrast the confines of autologous versus allogeneic transplantation. Finally, we suggest that although autologous, gene-modified HSC-transplantation may significantly reduce plasma viremia, reaching the lower detection limits currently obtainable through daily HAART will remain a challenging endeavor that will require innovative combinatorial therapies.
ToChLPV and PepGMV are Begomoviruses that have adapted to a wide host range and are able to cause major diseases in agronomic crops. We analyzed the efficacy of induced resistance to PepGMV in Nicotiana benthamiana plants with two constructs: one construct with homologous sequences derived from PepGMV, and the other construct with heterologous sequences derived from ToChLPV. Plants protected with the heterologous construct showed an efficacy to decrease the severity of symptoms of 45%, while plants protected with the homologous construct showed an efficacy of 80%. Plants protected with the heterologous construct showed a reduction of incidence of 42.86%, while the reduction of incidence in plants protected with the homologous construct was 57.15%. The efficacy to decrease viral load was 95.6% in plants protected with the heterologous construct, and 99.56% in plants protected with the homologous construct. We found, in both constructs, up-regulated key components of the RNAi pathway. This demonstrates that the efficacy of the constructs was due to the activation of the gene silencing mechanism, and is reflected in the decrease of viral genome copies, as well as in recovery phenotype. We present evidence that both constructs are functional and can efficiently induce transient resistance against PepGMV infections. This observation guarantees a further exploration as a strategy to control complex Begomovirus diseases in the field.
Giant viruses and amoebae are common in freshwater, where they can coexist with other living multicellular organisms. We screened leeches from the species Hirudo medicinalis for giant viruses. We analyzed five H. medicinalis obtained from Tunisia (3) and France (2). The leeches were decontaminated and then dissected to remove internal parts for co-culture with Acanthamoeba polyphaga. The genomes of isolated viruses were sequenced on a 454 Roche instrument, and a comparative genomics analysis was performed. One Mimivirus was isolated and the strain was named Hirudovirus. The genome assembly generated two scaffolds, which were 1,155,382 and 25,660 base pairs in length. Functional annotations were identified for 47% of the genes, which corresponds to 466 proteins. The presence of Mimividae in the same ecological niche as wild Hirudo may explain the presence of the mimivirus in the digestive tract of the leech, and several studies have already shown that viruses can persist in the digestive tracts of leeches fed contaminated blood. As leeches can be used medically and Mimiviruses have the potential to be an infectious agent in humans, patients treated with leeches should be surveyed to investigate a possible connection.
Over the past 15 years we have been investigating an alternative approach to treating HIV-1/AIDS, based on the creation of a disease-resistant immune system through transplantation of autologous, gene-modified (HIV-1-resistant) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (GM-HSPC). We propose that the expression of selected RNA-based HIV-1 inhibitors in the CD4+ cells derived from GM-HSPC will protect them from HIV-1 infection and results in a sufficient immune repertoire to control HIV-1 viremia resulting in a functional cure for HIV-1/AIDS. Additionally, it is possible that the subset of protected T cells will also be able to facilitate the immune-based elimination of latently infected cells if they can be activated to express viral antigens. Thus, a single dose of disease resistant GM-HSPC could provide an effective treatment for HIV-1+ patients who require (or desire) an alternative to lifelong antiretroviral chemotherapy. We describe herein the results from several pilot clinical studies in HIV-1 patients and our strategies to develop second generation vectors and clinical strategies for HIV-1+ patients with malignancy who require ablative chemotherapy as part of treatment and others without malignancy. The important issues related to stem cell source, patient selection, conditioning regimen and post-infusion correlative studies become increasingly complex and are discussed herein.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in infants and young children. A small percentage of these individuals develop severe and even fatal disease. To better understand the pathogenesis of severe disease and develop therapies unique to the less-developed infant immune system, a model of infant disease is needed. The neonatal lamb pulmonary development and physiology is similar to that of infants, and sheep are susceptible to ovine, bovine, or human strains of RSV. RSV grown in Vero (African green monkey) cells has a truncated attachment G glycoprotein as compared to that grown in HEp-2 cells. We hypothesized that the virus grown in HEp-2 cells would cause more severe clinical symptoms and cause more severe pathology. To confirm the hypothesis, lambs were inoculated simultaneously by two different delivery methods (intranasal and nebulized inoculation) with either Vero-grown or HEp-2-grown RSV Memphis 37 (M37) strain of virus to compare viral infection and disease symptoms. Lambs infected with HEp-2 cell-derived virus by either intranasal or nebulization inoculation had significantly higher levels of viral RNA in lungs as well as greater clinical disease including both gross and histopathologic lesions compared to lambs similarly inoculated with Vero-grown virus. Thus, our results provide convincing in vivo evidence for differences in viral infectivity that corroborate previous in vitro mechanistic studies demonstrating differences in the G glycoprotein expression by RSV grown in Vero cells.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a neurotropic flavivirus that cycles between mosquitoes and birds but that can also infect humans, horses, and other vertebrate animals. In most humans, WNV infection remains subclinical. However, 20%–40% of those infected may develop WNV disease, with symptoms ranging from fever to meningoencephalitis. A large variety of WNV strains have been described worldwide. Based on their genetic differences, they have been classified into eight lineages; the pathogenic strains belong to lineages 1 and 2. Ten years ago, Beasley et al. (2002) found that dramatic differences exist in the virulence and neuroinvasion properties of lineage 1 and lineage 2 WNV strains. Further insights on how WNV interacts with its hosts have recently been gained; the virus acts either at the periphery or on the central nervous system (CNS), and these observed differences could help explain the differential virulence and neurovirulence of WNV strains. This review aims to summarize the current state of knowledge on factors that trigger WNV dissemination and CNS invasion as well as on the inflammatory response andCNS damage induced by WNV. Moreover, we will discuss how WNV strains differentially interact with the innate immune system and CNS cells, thus influencing WNV pathogenesis.
The results of the genital human papillomavirus (HPV) detection in 439 cervical samples by cervical cytology were compared with sequencing analysis and a newly developed HPV genotyping 9G membrane test. The excellent sensitivity and specificity of the HPV genotyping 9G membrane test was assured by a signal to noise ratio of more than 300 and a target hybridization to non-target hybridization ratio of 300 ~ 400 at 25°C. The final results can be obtained in 29 min by simple loading of the hybridization and washing solutions and scanning the membranes without any drying steps or special handling. The 100% identical results of the HPV genotyping 9G membrane test with sequencing results in 439 clinical samples demonstrate significant clinical application for this test. HPV genotyping 9G membrane tests can identify and discriminate five HR-HPV genotypes which are prevalent in almost 87% of cervical cancer cases. Its simple handling makes the HPV genotyping 9G membrane test a very convenient platform for accurate HPV genotyping.
Human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) disease have been reported in Italy since 2008. So far, most cases have been identified in north-eastern Italy, where, in 2012, the largest outbreak of WNV infection ever recorded in Italy occurred. Most cases of the 2012 outbreak were identified in the Veneto region, where a special surveillance plan for West Nile fever was in place. In this outbreak, 25 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease and 17 cases of fever were confirmed. In addition, 14 WNV RNA-positive blood donors were identified by screening of blood and organ donations and two cases of asymptomatic infection were diagnosed by active surveillance of subjects at risk of WNV exposure. Two cases of death due to WNND were reported. Molecular testing demonstrated the presence of WNV lineage 1 in all WNV RNA-positive patients and, in 15 cases, infection by the novel Livenza strain was ascertained. Surveillance in other Italian regions notified one case of neuroinvasive disease in the south of Italy and two cases in Sardinia. Integrated surveillance for WNV infection remains a public health priority in Italy and vector control activities have been strengthened in areas of WNV circulation.
Primary infection with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) results in the establishment of a lifelong infection of the host which is aided by the ability of HCMV to undergo a latent infection. One site of HCMV latency in vivo is in haematopoietic progenitor cells, resident in the bone marrow, with genome carriage and reactivation being restricted to the cells of the myeloid lineage. Until recently, HCMV latency has been considered to be relatively quiescent with the virus being maintained essentially as a“silent partner” until conditions are met that trigger reactivation. However, advances in techniques to study global changes in gene expression have begun to show that HCMV latency is a highly active process which involves expression of specific latency-associated viral gene products which orchestrate major changes in the latently infected cell. These changes are argued to help maintain latent infection and to modulate the cellular environment to the benefit of latent virus. In this review, we will discuss these new findings and how they impact not only on our understanding of the biologyof HCMV latency but also how they could provide tantalising glimpses into mechanisms that could become targets for the clearance of latent HCMV.
The past pandemic strain H1N1 (A (H1N1)pdm09) has now become a common component of current seasonal influenza viruses. It has changed the pre-existing immunity of the human population to succeeding infections. In the present study, a total of 14,210 distinct sequences downloaded from National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database were used for the analysis. The epitope compositions in A (H1N1)pdm09, classic seasonal strains, swine strains as well as highly virulent avian strain H5N1, identified with the aid of the Immune Epitope DataBase (IEDB), were compared at genomic level. The result showed that A (H1N1) pdm09 contains the 90% of B-cell epitopes for broadly cross-reactive antibodies (EBCA), which is in consonance with the recent reports on the experimental identification of new epitopes or antibodies for this virus and the binding tests with influenza virus protein HA of different subtypes. Our analysis supports that high proportional EBCA depends on the epitope pattern of A (H1N1)pdm09 virus. This study may be helpful for better understanding of A (H1N1)pdm09 and the production of new influenza vaccines.
Retroviruses exploit nuclear trafficking machinery at several distinct stages in their replication cycles. In this review, we will focus primarily on nucleocytoplasmic trafficking events that occur after the completion of reverse transcription and proviral integration. First, we will discuss nuclear export of unspliced viral RNA transcripts, which serves two essential roles: as the mRNA template for the translation of viral structural proteins and as the genome for encapsidation into virions. These full-length viral RNAs must overcome the cell’s quality control measures to leave the nucleus by co-opting host factors or encoding viral proteins to mediate nuclear export of unspliced viral RNAs. Next, we will summarize the most recent findings on the mechanisms of Gag nuclear trafficking and discuss potential roles for nuclear localization of Gag proteins in retrovirus replication.
Despite the great success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in ameliorating the course of HIV infection, alternative therapeutic approaches are being pursued because of practical problems associated with life-long therapy. The eradication of HIV in the so-called“Berlin patient” who received a bone marrow transplant from a CCR5-negative donor has rekindled interest in genome engineering strategies to achieve the same effect. Precise gene editing within the cells is now a realistic possibility with recent advances in understanding the DNA repair mechanisms, DNA interaction with transcription factors and bacterial defense mechanisms. Within the past few years, four novel technologies have emerged that can be engineered for recognition of specific DNA target sequences to enable site-specific gene editing: Homing Endonuclease, ZFN, TALEN, and CRISPR/Cas9 system. The most recent CRISPR/Cas9 system uses a short stretch of complementary RNA bound to Cas9 nuclease to recognize and cleave target DNA, as opposed to the previous technologies that use DNA binding motifs of either zinc finger proteins or transcription activator-like effector molecules fused to an endonuclease to mediate sequence-specific DNA cleavage. Unlike RNA interference, which requires the continued presence of effector moieties to maintain gene silencing, the newer technologies allow permanent disruption of the targeted gene after a single treatment. Here, we review the applications, limitations and future prospects of novel gene-editing strategies for use as HIV therapy.
Baculovirus-insect cell technologies are applied in the production of complex proteins, veterinary and human vaccines, gene delivery vectors‚ and biopesticides. Better understanding of how baculoviruses and insect cells interact would facilitate baculovirus-based production. While complete genomic sequences are available for over 58 baculovirus species, little insect genomic information is known. The release of the Bombyx mori and Plutella xylostella genomes, the accumulation of EST sequences for several Lepidopteran species, and especially the availability of two genome-scale analysis tools, namely oligonucleotide microarrays and next generation sequencing (NGS), have facilitated expression studies to generate a rich picture of insect gene responses to baculovirus infections. This review presents current knowledge on the interaction dynamics of the baculovirus-insect system‚ which is relatively well studied in relation to nucleocapsid transportation, apoptosis, and heat shock responses, but is still poorly understood regarding responses involved in pro-survival pathways, DNA damage pathways, protein degradation, translation, signaling pathways, RNAi pathways, and importantly metabolic pathways for energy, nucleotide and amino acid production. We discuss how the two genome-scale transcriptomic tools can be applied for studying such pathways and suggest that proteomics and metabolomics can produce complementary findings to transcriptomic studies.
Andes virus, ANDV, harbored by wild rodents, causes the highly lethal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) upon transmission to humans resulting in death in 30% to 50% of the cases. As there is no treatment for this disease, we systematically tested the efficacy of ribavirin in vitro and in an animal model. In vitro assays confirmed antiviral activity and determined that the most effective doses were 40µg/mL and above. We tested three different concentrations of ribavirin for their capability to prevent HPS in the ANDV hamster model following an intranasal challenge. While the highest level of ribavirin (200 mg/kg) was toxic to the hamster, both the middle (100 mg/kg) and the lowest concentration (50 mg/kg) prevented HPS in hamsters without toxicity. Specifically, 8 of 8 hamsters survived intranasal challenge for both of those groups whereas 7 of 8 PBS control-treated animals developed lethal HPS. Further, we report that administration of ribavirin at 50 mg/kg/day starting on days 6, 8, 10, or 12 post-infection resulted in significant protection against HPS in all groups. Administration of ribavirin at 14 days post-infection also provided a significant level of protection against lethal HPS. These data provide in vivo evidence supporting the potential use of ribavirin as a post-exposure treatment to prevent HPS after exposure by the respiratory route.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a small enveloped DNA virus that belongs to the Hepadnaviridae family. HBV can cause acute and persistent infection which can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a crucial role in the main cellular events. The dysregulation of their expression has been linked to the development of the cancer as well as to viral interference. This chapter will describe the involvement of miRNAs in the case of HBV infection and their implication in the development of the HBV-related diseases.
Bats are natural reservoirs for many mammalian coronaviruses, which have received renewed interest after the discovery of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) CoV in humans. This study describes the identification and molecular characterization of alphacoronaviruses and betacoronaviruses in bats in Italy, from 2010 to 2012. Sixty-nine faecal samples and 126 carcasses were tested using pan-coronavirus RT-PCR. Coronavirus RNAs were detected in seven faecal samples and nine carcasses. A phylogenetic analysis of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase sequence fragments aided in identifying two alphacoronaviruses from Kuhl’s pipistrelle (Pipistrellus kuhlii), three clade 2b betacoronaviruses from lesser horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus hipposideros), and 10 clade 2c betacoronaviruses from Kuhl’s pipistrelle, common noctule (Nyctalus noctula), and Savi’s pipistrelle (Hypsugo savii). This study fills a substantive gap in the knowledge on bat-CoV ecology in Italy, and extends the current knowledge on clade 2c betacoronaviruses with new sequences obtained from bats that have not been previously described as hosts of these viruses.
Post-transcriptional gene regulation by small RNAs is now established as an important branch of the gene regulatory system. Many different classes of small RNAs have been discovered; among these are short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNA (miRNAs). Though differences in the processing and function of small RNAs exist between plants and animals, both groups utilize small RNA-mediated gene regulation in response to pathogens. Host encoded miRNAs and siRNAs are generated from viral RNA function in host defense and pathogenic resistance in plants. In animals, miRNAs are key regulators in both immune system development and in immune function. Pathogens, in particular viruses, have evolved mechanisms to usurp the host’s small RNA-mediated regulatory system. Overall, small RNAs are a major component of host defense and immunity in eukaryotes. The goal of this review is to summarize our current knowledge of the involvement of eukaryotic small RNA pathways in host defense and viral pathogenesis.
West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes annual epidemics of encephalitic disease throughout the world. Despite the ongoing risk to public health, no approved vaccines or therapies exist for use in humans to prevent or combat WNV infection. The innate immune response is critical for controlling WNV replication, limiting virus-induced pathology, and programming protective humoral and cell-mediated immunity to WNV infection. The RIG-I like receptors, Toll-like receptors, and Nod-like receptors detect and respond to WNV by inducing a potent antiviral defense program, characterized by production of type I IFN, IL-1β and expression of antiviral effector genes. Recent research efforts have focused on uncovering the mechanisms of innate immune sensing, antiviral effector genes that inhibit WNV, and countermeasures employed by WNV to antagonize innate immune cellular defenses. In this review, we highlight the major research findings pertaining to innate immune regulation of WNV infection.
During the early stages of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, the innate immune system creates a pro-inflammatory microenvironment by recruiting innate immune cells to eliminate the infected cells, initiating an effective acquired immune response. However, HPV exhibits a wide range of strategies for evading immune-surveillance, generating an anti-inflammatory microenvironment. The administration of new adjuvants, such as TLR (Toll-like receptors) agonists and alpha-galactosylceramide, has been demonstrated to reverse the anti-inflammatory microenvironment by down-regulating a number of adhesion molecules and chemo-attractants and activating keratinocytes, dendritic (DC), Langerhans (LC), natural killer (NK) or natural killer T (NKT) cells; thus, promoting a strong specific cytotoxic T cell response. Therefore, these adjuvants show promise for the treatment of HPV generated lesions and may be useful to elucidate the unknown roles of immune cells in the natural history of HPV infection. This review focuses on HPV immune evasion mechanisms and on the proposed response of the innate immune system, suggesting a role for the surrounding pro-inflammatory microenvironment and the NK and NKT cells in the clearance of HPV infections.
The diagnosis of Small Ruminant Lentivirus (SRLV) is based on clinical signs, pathological lesions and laboratory testing. No standard reference test for the diagnosis of maedi visna has been validated up to the present, and it is puzzling that tests which detect antibodies against the virus and tests which detect the proviral genome may render opposite results. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence in milk throughout a lactation period of specific antibodies by ELISA and of SRLV proviral DNA by a PCR of the highly conserved pol region. A six-month study was conducted with the milk of 28 ewes and 31 goats intensively reared. The percentage of animals with antibodies against SRLV increased throughout the study period. Seroprevalence in sheep was 28% at the beginning of the study and by the end it had increased up to 52.4%. In goats, initial seroprevalence of 5.6% increased to 16%. The percentage of PCR positive ewes was stable throughout the study period. Of the positive sheep, 21.4% were PCR-positive before antibodies could be detected and most of them became PCR-negative shortly after the first detection of antibodies. This might suggest that antibodies have a neutralizing effect. In addition, an equal percentage of sheep were always PCR-negative but either became ELISA-positive or was always ELISA-positive, which might support this hypothesis. On the other hand, the PCR results in goats did not follow any pattern and oscillated between 35.3% and 55.6% depending on the month. Most goats positive by PCR failed to develop antibodies in the 6 months tested. We may conclude that the infection and the antibody response to it follow a different trend in sheep and goats.
Since late 2010, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has rapidly disseminated all over the China and caused considerable morbidity and high mortality (up to 100%) in neonatal piglets. 79.66% (141 of 177) pig farms in 29 provinces (excluding Tibet and Hainan, China) and 72.27% (417 of 577) samples were positive for PEDV confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The full-length S genes of representative field strains were sequenced. 33 field strains share 93.5%–99.9% homologies with each other at the nucleotide sequence level and 92.3%–99.8% homologies with each other at the amino acids sequence level. Most field strains have nucleotide deletion and insertion regions, and show lower homologies (93.5%–94.2%) with Chinese classical strain CH/S, however higher homologies (97.1%–99.3%) with recent strain CHGD-1. The phylogenetic analysis showed there are classical strains and variants prevailing in pig herd in China. PEDV has a high detection rate in pig herds in China. Sequence analysis indicated the S genes of recent field strains have heterogeneity and the variants are predominant.
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has vastly improved outcomes for patients infected with HIV, yet it is a lifelong regimen that is expensive and has significant side effects. Retroviral gene therapy is a promising alternative treatment for HIV/AIDS; however, inefficient gene delivery to hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has so far limited the efficacy of this approach. Foamy virus (FV) vectors are derived from non-pathogenic viruses that are not endemic to the human population. FV vectors have been used to deliver HIV-inhibiting transgenes to human HSCs, and they have several advantages relative to other retroviral vectors. These include an attractive safety profile, broad tropism, a large transgene capacity, and the ability to persist in quiescent cells. In addition, the titers of FV vectors are not reduced by anti-HIV transgenes that affect the production of lentivirus (LV) vectors. Thus FV vectors are very promising for anti-HIV gene therapy. This review covers the advantages of FV vectors and describes their preclinical development for anti-HIV gene therapy.
CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes are adaptive immune cells that play a key role in the immune response to pathogens. They have been extensively studied in a variety of model systems and the mechanisms by which they function are well described. However, the responses by these cell types vary widely from pathogen to pathogen. In this review, we will discuss the role of CD8 and CD4 T cells in the immune response to West Nile virus infection.
Bacteriophage (phage), viruses that infect bacteria only, have become promising vectors for targeted systemic delivery of genes to cancer, although, with poor efficiency. We previously designed an improved phage vector by incorporating cis genetic elements of adeno-associated virus (AAV). This novel AAV/phage hybrid (AAVP) specifically targeted systemic delivery of therapeutic genes into tumors. To advance the AAVP vector, we recently introduced the stress-inducible Grp78 tumor specific promoter and found that this dual tumor-targeted AAVP provides persistent gene expression, over time, in cancer cells compared to silenced gene expression from the CMV promoter in the parental AAVP. Herein, we investigated the effect of histone deacetylation and DNA methylation on AAVP-mediated gene expression in cancer cells and explored the effect of cell confluence state on AAVP gene expression efficacy. Using a combination of AAVP expressing the GFP reporter gene, flow cytometry, inhibitors of histone deacetylation, and DNA methylation, we have demonstrated that histone deacetylation and DNA methylation are associated with silencing of gene expression from the CMV promoter in the parental AAVP. Importantly, inhibitors of histone deacetylases boost gene expression in cancer cells from the Grp78 promoter in the dual tumor-targeted AAVP. However, cell confluence had no effect on AAVP-guided gene expression. Our findings prove that combination of histone deacetylase inhibitor drugs with the Grp78 promoter is an effective approach to improve AAVP-mediated gene expression in cancer cells and should be considered for AAVP-based clinical cancer gene therapy.
Kobuviruses comprise three species, the Aichivirus A, Aichivirus B, and Aichivirus C (porcine kobuvirus). Porcine kobuvirus is endemic to pig farms and is not restricted geographically but, rather, is distributed worldwide. The complete genomic sequences of four porcine kobuvirus strains isolated during a diarrhea outbreak in piglets in the Gansu province of China were determined. Two of these strains exhibited variations relative to the traditional strains. The potential 3C/3D cleavage sites of the variant strains were Q/C, which differed from the Q/S in the traditional porcine kobuvirus genome. A 90-nucleotide deletion in the 2B protein and a single nucleotide insertion in the 3′UTR were found in the variant strains. The VP1 regions of all four porcine kobuviruses in our study were highly variable (81%–86%). Ten common amino acid mutations were found specifically at certain positions within the VP1 region. Significant recombination sites were identified using SimPlot scans of whole genome sequences. Porcine kobuviruses were also detected in pig serum, indicating that the virus can escape the gastrointestinal tract and travel to the circulatory system. These findings suggest that mutations and recombination events may have contributed to the high level of geneticdiversity of porcine kobuviruses and serve as a driving force in its evolution.
Human metapneumovirus (hMPV), first described in 2001 , is responsible for causing serious respiratory illness in young children, the elderly and immunocompromised patients. Four distinct lineages of hMPV have been identified with the original nomenclature for these subgroups (A1, A2, B1 and B2), reported by van den Hoogen et al. , utilised by many. An alternate terminology (1A, 1B, 2A and 2B) was also published by Ishiguro et al. in 2004  which has been adopted by others. However, this has caused some confusion in the interpretation of publication results as the terminology is similar yet describes different subtypes. As a result, a number of investigators have made a submission to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV, ICTV taxonomic proposal 2012.012V) for the official adoption of the original terminology as an approved nomenclature for hMPV . We welcome this officially approved nomenclature which should provide clarification of these subtypes in future. Therefore to assist with the interpretation of our recently published research in the 2012 special issue of Viruses: Pneumoviruses and Metapneumoviruses entitled“Diversity in Glycosaminoglycan Binding Amongst hMPV G Protein Lineages”  we have updated the Figure 3 in this letter (see Figure 1), showing the proposed ICTV terminology compared to the Ishiguro classification (used in our publication). Note that in the original publication the alphanumeric order for the Ishiguro classification was transposed (e.g., 1A was referred to as A1).
Phage display has become an established, widely used method for selection of peptides, antibodies or alternative scaffolds. The use of phage display for the selection of antigens from genomic or cDNA libraries of pathogens which is an alternative to the classical way of identifying immunogenic proteins is not well-known. In recent years several new applications for oligopeptide phage display in disease related fields have been developed which has led to the identification of various new antigens. These novel identified immunogenic proteins provide new insights into host pathogen interactions and can be used for the development of new diagnostic tests and vaccines. In this review we focus on the M13 oligopeptide phage display system for pathogen research but will also give examples for lambda phage display and for applications in other disease related fields. In addition, a detailed technical work flow for the identification of immunogenic oligopeptides using the pHORF system is given. The described identification of immunogenic proteins of pathogens using oligopeptide phage display can be linked to antibody phage display resulting in a vaccine pipeline.
Plant-infecting viruses of the genera Alpha- and Betacryptovirus within the family Partitiviridae cause no visible effects on their hosts and are only transmitted by cell division and through gametes. The bipartite dsRNA genome is encoding a RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and a coat protein (CP). Aside from sequence and structural analysis, the investigation of protein interactions is another step towards virus characterization. Therefore, ORFs of two type members White Clover Cryptic Virus 1 and 2 (WCCV-1 and WCCV-2), as well as the related viruses from Red Clover and Dill were introduced into a bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay. We showed CP-CP dimerization for all tested viruses with localization for alphacryptoviruses at the nuclear membrane and for betacryptoviruses close to cell walls within the cytoplasm. For CPs of WCCV-1 and WCCV-2, deletion mutants were created to determine internal interaction sites. Moreover, RdRp self-interaction was found for all viruses, whereas CP-RdRp interactions were only detectable for the alphacryptoviruses. An intra-genus test of CPs was successful in various virus combinations, whereas an inter-genus interaction of WCCV-1CP and WCCV-2CP was absent. This is the first report of in vivo protein interactions of members in the family Partitiviridae, indicating distinct features of the alpha- and betacryptoviruses.