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Jean-Yves Sgro
Inst. for Mol.Virology
731B Bock Labs
1525 Linden Drive Madison, WI 53706

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4878-4898: Structural Conservation and Functional Diversity of the Poxvirus Immune Evasion (PIE) Domain Superfamily

  • Poxviruses encode a broad array of proteins that serve to undermine host immune defenses. Structural analysis of four of these seemingly unrelated proteins revealed the recurrent use of a conserved beta-sandwich fold that has not been observed in any eukaryotic or prokaryotic protein. Herein we propose to call this unique structural scaffolding the PIE (Poxvirus Immune Evasion) domain. PIE domain containing proteins are abundant in chordopoxvirinae, with our analysis identifying 20 likely PIE subfamilies among 33 representative genomes spanning 7 genera. For example, cowpox strain Brighton Red appears to encode 10 different PIEs: vCCI, A41, C8, M2, T4 (CPVX203), and the SECRET proteins CrmB, CrmD, SCP-1, SCP-2, and SCP-3. Characterized PIE proteins all appear to be nonessential for virus replication, and all contain signal peptides for targeting to the secretory pathway. The PIE subfamilies differ primarily in the number, size, and location of structural embellishments to the beta-sandwich core that confer unique functional specificities. Reported ligands include chemokines, GM-CSF, IL-2, MHC class I, and glycosaminoglycans. We expect that the list of ligands and receptors engaged by the PIE domain will grow as we come to better understand how this versatile structural architecture can be tailored to manipulate host responses to infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4854-4877: Viral Mimicry to Usurp Ubiquitin and SUMO Host Pathways

  • Posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of proteins include enzymatic changes by covalent addition of cellular regulatory determinants such as ubiquitin (Ub) and small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) moieties. These modifications are widely used by eukaryotic cells to control the functional repertoire of proteins. Over the last decade, it became apparent that the repertoire of ubiquitiylation and SUMOylation regulating various biological functions is not restricted to eukaryotic cells, but is also a feature of human virus families, used to extensively exploit complex host-cell networks and homeostasis. Intriguingly, besides binding to host SUMO/Ub control proteins and interfering with the respective enzymatic cascade, many viral proteins mimic key regulatory factors to usurp this host machinery and promote efficient viral outcomes. Advanced detection methods and functional studies of ubiquitiylation and SUMOylation during virus-host interplay have revealed that human viruses have evolved a large arsenal of strategies to exploit these specific PTM processes. In this review, we highlight the known viral analogs orchestrating ubiquitin and SUMO conjugation events to subvert and utilize basic enzymatic pathways.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4836-4853: Bio-Control of Salmonella Enteritidis in Foods Using Bacteriophages

  • Two lytic phages, vB_SenM-PA13076 (PA13076) and vB_SenM-PC2184 (PC2184), were isolated from chicken sewage and characterized with host strains Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) ATCC13076 and CVCC2184, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that they belonged to the family Myoviridae. The lytic abilities of these two phages in liquid culture showed 104 multiplicity of infection (MOI) was the best in inhibiting bacteria, with PC2184 exhibiting more activity than PA13076. The two phages exhibited broad host range within the genus Salmonella. Phage PA13076 and PC2184 had a lytic effect on 222 (71.4%) and 298 (95.8%) of the 311 epidemic Salmonella isolates, respectively. We tested the effectiveness of phage PA13076 and PC2184 as well as a cocktail combination of both in three different foods (chicken breast, pasteurized whole milk and Chinese cabbage) contaminated with SE. Samples were spiked with 1× 104 CFU individual SE or a mixture of strains (ATCC13076 and CVCC2184), then treated with 1 × 108 PFU individual phage or a two phage cocktail, and incubated at 4 °C or 25 °C for 5 h. In general, the inhibitory effect of phage and phage cocktail was better at 4 °C than that at 25 °C, whereas the opposite result was observed in Chinese cabbage, and phage cocktail was better than either single phage. A significant reduction in bacterial numbers (1.5–4 log CFU/sample, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05) was observed in all tested foods. The two phages on the three food samples were relatively stable,especially at 4 ºC, with the phages exhibiting the greatest stability in milk. Our research shows that our phages have potential effectiveness as a bio-control agent of Salmonella in foods.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4826-4835: New Structure Sheds Light on Selective HIV-1 Genomic RNA Packaging

  • Two copies of unspliced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genomic RNA (gRNA) are preferentially selected for packaging by the group-specific antigen (Gag) polyprotein into progeny virions as a dimer during the late stages of the viral lifecycle. Elucidating the RNA features responsible for selective recognition of the full-length gRNA in the presence of an abundance of other cellular RNAs and spliced viral RNAs remains an area of intense research. The recent nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structure by Keane et al. [1] expands upon previous efforts to determine the conformation of the HIV-1 RNA packaging signal. The data support a secondary structure wherein sequences that constitute the major splice donor site are sequestered through base pairing, and a tertiary structure that adopts a tandem 3-way junction motif that exposes the dimerization initiation site and unpaired guanosines for specific recognition by Gag. While it remains to be established whether this structure is conserved in the context of larger RNA constructs or in the dimer, this study serves as the basis for characterizing large RNA structures using novel NMR techniques, and as a major advance toward understanding how the HIV-1 gRNA is selectively packaged.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4800-4825: Cloak and Dagger: Alternative Immune Evasion and Modulation Strategies of Poxviruses

  • As all viruses rely on cellular factors throughout their replication cycle, to be successful they must evolve strategies to evade and/or manipulate the defence mechanisms employed by the host cell. In addition to their expression of a wide array of host modulatory factors, several recent studies have suggested that poxviruses may have evolved unique mechanisms to shunt or evade host detection. These potential mechanisms include mimicry of apoptotic bodies by mature virions (MVs), the use of viral sub-structures termed lateral bodies for the packaging and delivery of host modulators, and the formation of a second,“cloaked” form of infectious extracellular virus (EVs). Here we discuss these various strategies and how they may facilitate poxvirus immune evasion. Finally we propose a model for the exploitation of the cellular exosome pathway for the formation of EVs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4783-4799: Oral Application of T4 Phage Induces Weak Antibody Production in the Gut and in the Blood

  • A specific humoral response to bacteriophages may follow phage application for medical purposes, and it may further determine the success or failure of the approach itself. We present a long-term study of antibody induction in mice by T4 phage applied per os: 100 days of phage treatment followed by 112 days without the phage, and subsequent second application of phage up to day 240. Serum and gut antibodies (IgM, IgG, secretory IgA) were analyzed in relation to microbiological status of the animals. T4 phage applied orally induced anti-phage antibodies when the exposure was long enough (IgG day 36, IgA day 79); the effect was related to high dosage. Termination of phage treatment resulted in a decrease of IgA again to insignificant levels. Second administration of phage induces secretory IgA sooner than that induced by the first administrations. Increased IgA level antagonized gut transit of active phage. Phage resistant E. coli dominated gut flora very late, on day 92. Thus, the immunological response emerges as a major factor determining phage survival in the gut. Phage proteins Hoc and gp12 were identified as highly immunogenic. A low response to exemplary foreign antigens (from Ebola virus) presented on Hoc was observed, which suggests that phage platforms can be used in oral vaccine design.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4772-4782: Artificial TALE as a Convenient Protein Platform for Engineering Broad-Spectrum Resistance to Begomoviruses

  • Transcription activator–like effectors (TALEs) are a class of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins that utilize a simple and predictable modality to recognize target DNA. This unique characteristic allows for the rapid assembly of artificial TALEs, with high DNA binding specificity, to any target DNA sequences for the creation of customizable sequence-specific nucleases used in genome engineering. Here, we report the use of an artificial TALE protein as a convenient platform for designing broad-spectrum resistance to begomoviruses, one of the most destructive plant virus groups, which cause tremendous losses worldwide. We showed that artificial TALEs, which were assembled based on conserved sequence motifs within begomovirus genomes, could confer partial resistance in transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana to all three begomoviruses tested. Furthermore, the resistance was maintained even in the presence of their betasatellite. These results shed new light on the development of broad-spectrum resistance against DNA viruses, such as begomoviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4756-4771: The Antiviral Effect of Baicalin on Enterovirus 71 In Vitro

  • Baicalin is a flavonoid compound extracted from Scutellaria roots that has been reported to possess antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral activities. However, the antiviral effect of baicalin on enterovirus 71 (EV71) is still unknown. In this study, we found that baicalin showed inhibitory activity on EV71 infection and was independent of direct virucidal or prophylactic effect and inhibitory viral absorption. The expressions of EV71/3D mRNA and polymerase were significantly blocked by baicalin treatment at early stages of EV71 infection. In addition, baicalin could decrease the expressions of FasL and caspase-3, as well as inhibit the apoptosis of EV71-infected human embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells. Altogether, these results indicate that baicalin exhibits potent antiviral effect on EV71 infection, probably through inhibiting EV71/3D polymerase expression and Fas/FasL signaling pathways.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4734-4755: Regulation of the Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway by Human Papillomavirus E6 and E7 Oncoproteins

  • Cell signaling pathways are the mechanisms by which cells transduce external stimuli, which control the transcription of genes, to regulate diverse biological effects. In cancer, distinct signaling pathways, such as the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, have been implicated in the deregulation of critical molecular processes that affect cell proliferation and differentiation. For example, changes in β-catenin localization have been identified in Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers as the lesion progresses. Specifically,β-catenin relocates from the membrane/cytoplasm to the nucleus, suggesting that this transcription regulator participates in cervical carcinogenesis. The E6 and E7 oncoproteins are responsible for the transforming activity of HPV, and some studies have implicated these viral oncoproteins in the regulation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Nevertheless, new interactions of HPV oncoproteins with cellular proteins are emerging, and the study of the biological effects of such interactions will help to understand HPV-related carcinogenesis. Viruses 2015, 7 4735 This review addresses the accumulated evidence of the involvement of the HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins in the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4707-4733: Regulation of the Host Antiviral State by Intercellular Communications

  • Viruses usually induce a profound remodeling of host cells, including the usurpation of host machinery to support their replication and production of virions to invade new cells. Nonetheless, recognition of viruses by the host often triggers innate immune signaling, preventing viral spread and modulating the function of immune cells. It conventionally occurs through production of antiviral factors and cytokines by infected cells. Virtually all viruses have evolved mechanisms to blunt such responses. Importantly, it is becoming increasingly recognized that infected cells also transmit signals to regulate innate immunity in uninfected neighboring cells. These alternative pathways are notably mediated by vesicular secretion of various virus- and host-derived products (miRNAs, RNAs, and proteins) and non-infectious viral particles. In this review, we focus on these newly-described modes of cell-to-cell communications and their impact on neighboring cell functions. The reception of these signals can have anti- and pro-viral impacts, as well as more complex effects in the host such as oncogenesis and inflammation. Therefore, these“broadcasting” functions, which might be tuned by an arms race involving selective evolution driven by either the host or the virus, constitute novel and original regulations of viral infection, either highly localized or systemic.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4676-4706: Structure and Biophysical Properties of a Triple-Stranded Beta-Helix Comprising the Central Spike of Bacteriophage T4

  • Gene product 5 (gp5) of bacteriophage T4 is a spike-shaped protein that functions to disrupt the membrane of the target cell during phage infection. Its C-terminal domain is a long and slenderβ-helix that is formed by three polypeptide chains wrapped around a common symmetry axis akin to three interdigitated corkscrews. The folding and biophysical properties of such triple-stranded β-helices, which are topologically related to amyloid fibers, represent an unsolved biophysical problem.Here, we report structural and biophysical characterization of T4 gp5 β-helix and its truncated mutants of different lengths. A soluble fragment that forms a dimer of trimers and that could comprise a minimal self-folding unit has been identified. Surprisingly, the hydrophobic core of the β-helixis small. It is located near the C-terminal end of the β-helix and contains a centrally positioned and hydrated magnesium ion. A large part of the β-helix interior comprises a large elongated cavity that binds palmitic, stearic, and oleic acids in an extended conformation suggesting that these molecules might participate in the folding of the complete β-helix.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4657-4675: Autophagy Activated by Bluetongue Virus Infection Plays a Positive Role in Its Replication

  • Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an important pathogen of wild and domestic ruminants. Despite extensive study in recent decades, the interplay between BTV and host cells is not clearly understood. Autophagy as a cellular adaptive response plays a part in many viral infections. In our study, we found that BTV1 infection triggers the complete autophagic process in host cells, as demonstrated by the appearance of obvious double-membrane autophagosome-like vesicles, GFP-LC3 dots accumulation, the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II and increased levels of autophagic flux in BSR cells (baby hamster kidney cell clones) and primary lamb lingual epithelial cells upon BTV1 infection. Moreover, the results of a UV-inactivated BTV1 infection assay suggested that the induction of autophagy was dependent on BTV1 replication. Therefore, we investigated the role of autophagy in BTV1 replication. The inhibition of autophagy by pharmacological inhibitors (3-MA, CQ) and RNA interference (siBeclin1) significantly decreased viral protein synthesis and virus yields. In contrast, treating BSR cells with rapamycin, an inducer of autophagy, promoted viral protein expression and the production of infectious BTV1. These findings lead us to conclude that autophagy is activated by BTV1 and contributes to its replication, and provide novel insights into BTV-host interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4640-4656: Flaviviral Replication Complex: Coordination between RNA Synthesis and 5’-RNA Capping

  • Genome replication in flavivirus requires (—) strand RNA synthesis, (+) strand RNA synthesis, and 5’-RNA capping and methylation. To carry out viral genome replication, flavivirus assembles a replication complex, consisting of both viral and host proteins, on the cytoplasmic side of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. Two major components of the replication complex are the viral non-structural (NS) proteins NS3 and NS5. Together they possess all the enzymatic activities required for genome replication, yet how these activities are coordinated during genome replication is not clear. We provide an overview of the flaviviral genome replication process, the membrane-bound replication complex, and recent crystal structures of full-length NS5. We propose a model of how NS3 and NS5 coordinate their activities in the individual steps of (—) RNA synthesis, (+) RNA synthesis, and 5’-RNA capping and methylation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4624-4639: Wolbachia Do Not Induce Reactive Oxygen Species-Dependent Immune Pathway Activation in Aedes albopictus

  • Aedes albopictus is a major vector of dengue (DENV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses, causing millions of infections annually. It naturally carries, at high frequency, the intracellular inherited bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia strains wAlbA and wAlbB; transinfection with the higher-density Wolbachia strain wMel from Drosophila melanogaster led to transmission blocking of both arboviruses. The hypothesis that reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced immune activation plays a role in arbovirus inhibition in this species was examined. In contrast to previous observations in Ae. aegypti, elevation of ROS levels was not observed in either cell lines or mosquito lines carrying the wild-type Wolbachia or higher-density Drosophila Wolbachia strains. There was also no upregulation of genes controlling innate immune pathways or with antioxidant/ROS-producing functions. These data suggest that ROS-mediated immune activation is not an important component of the viral transmission-blocking phenotype in this species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4602-4623: Phage ΦPan70, a Putative Temperate Phage, Controls Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Planktonic, Biofilm and Burn Mouse Model Assays

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the Multi-Drug-Resistant organisms most frequently isolated worldwide and, because of a shortage of new antibiotics, bacteriophages are considered an alternative for its treatment. Previously, P. aeruginosa phages were isolated and best candidates were chosen based on their ability to form clear plaques and their host range. This work aimed to characterize one of those phages,ΦPan70, preliminarily identified as a good candidate for phage-therapy. We performed infection curves, biofilm removal assays, transmission-electron-microscopy, pulsed-field-gel-electrophoresis, and studied the in vivo ΦPan70 biological activity in the burned mouse model. ΦPan70 was classified as a member of the Myoviridae family and, in both planktonic cells and biofilms, was responsible for a significant reduction in the bacterial population. The burned mouse model showed an animal survival between 80% and 100%, significantly different from the control animals (0%). However, analysis of the ΦPan70 genome revealed that it was 64% identical to F10, a temperate P. aeruginosa phage. Gene annotation indicated ΦPan70 as a new, but possible temperate phage, therefore not ideal for phage-therapy. Based on this, we recommend genome sequence analysis as an early step to select candidate phages for potential application in phage-therapy, before entering into a more intensive characterization.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4582-4601: The Interaction between Cyclin B1 and Cytomegalovirus Protein Kinase pUL97 is Determined by an Active Kinase Domain

  • Replication of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is characterized by a tight virus-host cell interaction. Cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CDKs) are functionally integrated into viral gene expression and protein modification. The HCMV-encoded protein kinase pUL97 acts as a CDK ortholog showing structural and functional similarities. Recently, we reported an interaction between pUL97 kinase with a subset of host cyclins, in particular with cyclin T1. Here, we describe an interaction of pUL97 at an even higher affinity with cyclin B1. As a striking feature, the interaction between pUL97 and cyclin B1 proved to be strictly dependent on pUL97 activity, as interaction could be abrogated by treatment with pUL97 inhibitors or by inserting mutations into the conserved kinase domain or the nonconserved C-terminus of pUL97, both producing loss of activity. Thus, we postulate that the mechanism of pUL97-cyclin B1 interaction is determined by an active pUL97 kinase domain.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4563-4581: eEF1A Interacts with the NS5A Protein and Inhibits the Growth of Classical Swine Fever Virus

  • The NS5A protein of classical swine fever virus (CSFV) is involved in the RNA synthesis and viral replication. However, the NS5A-interacting cellular proteins engaged in the CSFV replication are poorly defined. Using yeast two-hybrid screen, the eukaryotic elongation factor 1A (eEF1A) was identified to be an NS5A-binding partner. The NS5A–eEF1A interaction was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation, glutathione S-transferase (GST) pulldown and laser confocal microscopy assays. The domain I of eEF1A was shown to be critical for the NS5A–eEF1A interaction. Overexpression of eEF1A suppressed the CSFV growth markedly, and conversely, knockdown of eEF1A enhanced the CSFV replication significantly. Furthermore, eEF1A, as well as NS5A, was found to reduce the translation efficiency of the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) of CSFV in a dose-dependent manner, as demonstrated by luciferase reporter assay. Streptavidin pulldown assay revealed that eEF1A could bind to the CSFV IRES. Collectively, our results suggest that eEF1A interacts with NS5A and negatively regulates the growth of CSFV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4529-4562: Replication and Inhibitors of Enteroviruses and Parechoviruses

  • The Enterovirus (EV) and Parechovirus genera of the picornavirus family include many important human pathogens, including poliovirus, rhinovirus, EV-A71, EV-D68, and human parechoviruses (HPeV). They cause a wide variety of diseases, ranging from a simple common cold to life-threatening diseases such as encephalitis and myocarditis. At the moment, no antiviral therapy is available against these viruses and it is not feasible to develop vaccines against all EVs and HPeVs due to the great number of serotypes. Therefore, a lot of effort is being invested in the development of antiviral drugs. Both viral proteins and host proteins essential for virus replication can be used as targets for virus inhibitors. As such, a good understanding of the complex process of virus replication is pivotal in the design of antiviral strategies goes hand in hand with a good understanding of the complex process of virus replication. In this review, we will give an overview of the current state of knowledge of EV and HPeV replication and how this can be inhibited by small-molecule inhibitors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4507-4528: Mate-Pair Sequencing as a Powerful Clinical Tool for the Characterization of Cancers with a DNA Viral Etiology

  • DNA viruses are known to be associated with a variety of different cancers. Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are a family of viruses and several of its sub-types are classified as high-risk HPVs as they are found to be associated with the development of a number of different cancers. Almost all cervical cancers appear to be driven by HPV infection and HPV is also found in most cancers of the anus and at least half the cancers of the vulva, penis and vagina, and increasingly found in one sub-type of head and neck cancers namely oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Our understanding of HPVs role in cancer development comes from extensive studies done on cervical cancer and it has just been assumed that HPV plays an identical role in the development of all other cancers arising in the presence of HPV sequences, although this has not been proven. Most invasive cervical cancers have the HPV genome integrated into one or more sites within the human genome. One powerful tool to examine all the sites of HPV integration in a cancer but that also provides a comprehensive view of genomic alterations in that cancer is the use of next generation sequencing of mate-pair libraries produced from the DNA isolated. We will describe how this powerful technology can provide important information about the genomic organization within an individual cancer genome, and how this has demonstrated that HPVs role in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is distinct from that in cervical cancer. We will also describe why the sequencing of mate-pair libraries could be a powerful clinical tool for the management of patients with a DNA viral etiology and how this could quickly transform the care of these patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4488-4506: Genetic Characterization of the Belgian Nephropathogenic Infectious Bronchitis Virus (NIBV) Reference Strain B1648

  • The virulent nephropathogenic infectious bronchitis virus (NIBV) strain B1648 was first isolated in 1984, in Flanders, Belgium. Despite intensive vaccination, B1648 and its variants are still circulating in Europe and North Africa. Here, the full-length genome of this Belgian NIBV reference strain was determined by next generation sequencing (NGS) to understand its evolutionary relationship with other IBV strains, and to identify possible genetic factors that may be associated with the nephropathogenicity. Thirteen open reading frames (ORFs) were predicted in the B1648 strain (51UTR-1a-1b-S-3a-3b-E-M-4b-4c-5a-5b-N-6b-31UTR). ORFs 4b, 4c and 6b, which have been rarely reported in literature, were present in B1648 and most of the other IBV complete genomes. According to phylogenetic analysis of the full-length genome, replicase transcriptase complex, spike protein, partial S1 gene and M protein, B1648 strain clustered with the non-Massachusetts type strains NGA/A116E7/2006, UKr 27-11, QX-like ITA/90254/2005, QX-like CK/SWE/0658946/10, TN20/00, RF-27/99, RF/06/2007 and SLO/266/05. Based on the partial S1 fragment, B1648 clustered with the strains TN20/00, RF-27/99, RF/06/2007 and SLO/266/05 and, further designated as B1648 genotype. The full-length genome of B1648 shared the highest sequence homology with UKr 27-11, Gray, JMK, and NGA/A116E7/2006 (91.2% to 91.6%) and was least related with the reference Beaudette and Massachusetts strains (89.7%). Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analyses indicated that B1648 strain may have played an important role in the evolution of IBV in Europe and North Africa. Further, the nephropathogenicity determinants might be located on the 1a, spike, M and accessory proteins (3a, 3b, 4b, 4c, 5a, 5b and 6b). Overall, strain B1648 is distinct from all the strains reported so far in Europe and other parts of the world.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4482-4487: Special Issue: Gene Therapy with Emphasis on RNA Interference

  • Gene therapy was originally thought to cover replacement of malfunctioning genes in treatment of various diseases. Today, the field has been expanded to application of viral and non-viral vectors for delivery of recombinant proteins for the compensation of missing or insufficient proteins, anti-cancer genes and proteins for destruction of tumor cells, immunostimulatory genes and proteins for stimulation of the host defense system against viral agents and tumors. Recently, the importance of RNA interference and its application in gene therapy has become an attractive alternative for drug development.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4461-4481: Structural and Functional Properties of the Hepatitis C Virus p7 Viroporin

  • The high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the human population has triggered intensive research efforts that have led to the development of curative antiviral therapy. Moreover, HCV has become a role model to study fundamental principles that govern the replication cycle of a positive strand RNA virus. In fact, for most HCV proteins high-resolution X-ray and NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance)-based structures have been established and profound insights into their biochemical and biological properties have been gained. One example is p7, a small hydrophobic protein that is dispensable for RNA replication, but crucial for the production and release of infectious HCV particles from infected cells. Owing to its ability to insert into membranes and assemble into homo-oligomeric complexes that function as minimalistic ion channels, HCV p7 is a member of the viroporin family. This review compiles the most recent findings related to the structure and dual pore/ion channel activity of p7 of different HCV genotypes. The alternative conformations and topologies proposed for HCV p7 in its monomeric and oligomeric state are described and discussed in detail. We also summarize the different roles p7 might play in the HCV replication cycle and highlight both the ion channel/pore-like function and the additional roles of p7 unrelated to its channel activity. Finally, we discuss possibilities to utilize viroporin inhibitors for antagonizing p7 ion channel/pore-like activity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4438-4460: RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerases of Picornaviruses: From the Structure to Regulatory Mechanisms

  • RNA viruses typically encode their own RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) to ensure genome replication within the infected cells. RdRP function is critical not only for the virus life cycle but also for its adaptive potential. The combination of low fidelity of replication and the absence of proofreading and excision activities within the RdRPs result in high mutation frequencies that allow these viruses a rapid adaptation to changing environments. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about structural and functional aspects on RdRP catalytic complexes, focused mainly in the Picornaviridae family. The structural data currently available from these viruses provided high-resolution snapshots for a range of conformational states associated to RNA template-primer binding, rNTP recognition, catalysis and chain translocation. As these enzymes are major targets for the development of antiviral compounds, such structural information is essential for the design of new therapies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4414-4437: Characterization of the HCMV-Specific CD4 T Cell Responses that Are Associated with Protective Immunity

  • Most humans become infected with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Typically, the immune system controls the infection, but the virus persists and can reactivate in states of immunodeficiency. While substantial information is available on the contribution of CD8 T cells and antibodies to anti-HCMV immunity, studies of the TH1, TH2, and TH17 subsets have been limited by the low frequency of HCMV-specific CD4 T cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC). Using the enzyme-linked Immunospotr assay (ELISPOT) that excels in low frequency measurements, we have established these in a sizable cohort of healthy HCMV controllers. Cytokine recall responses were seen in all seropositive donors. Specifically, interferon (IFN)- and/or interleukin (IL)-17 were seen in isolation or with IL-4 in all test subjects. IL-4 recall did not occur in isolation. While the ratios of TH1, TH2, and TH17 cells exhibited substantial variations between different individuals these ratios and the frequencies were relatively stable when tested in samples drawn up to five years apart. IFN- and IL-2 co-expressing polyfunctional cells were seen in most subjects. Around half of the HCMV-specific CD4 cells were in a reversible state of exhaustion. The data provided here established the TH1, TH2, and TH17 characteristic of the CD4 cells that convey immune protection for successful immune surveillance against which reactivity can be compared when the immune surveillance of HCMV fails.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4385-4413: The Virus-Host Interplay: Biogenesis of +RNA Replication Complexes

  • Positive-strand RNA (+RNA) viruses are an important group of human and animal pathogens that have significant global health and economic impacts. Notable members include West Nile virus, Dengue virus, Chikungunya, Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus and enteroviruses of the Picornaviridae family.Unfortunately, prophylactic and therapeutic treatments against these pathogens are limited. +RNA viruses have limited coding capacity and thus rely extensively on host factors for successful infection and propagation. A common feature among these viruses is their ability to dramatically modify cellular membranes to serve as platforms for genome replication and assembly of new virions. These viral replication complexes (VRCs) serve two main functions: To increase replication efficiency by concentrating critical factors and to protect the viral genome from host anti-viral systems. This review summarizes current knowledge of critical host factors recruited to or demonstrated to be involved in the biogenesis and stabilization of +RNA virus VRCs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4369-4384: Characterization of Humoral Responses Induced by an H7N9 Influenza Virus-Like Particle Vaccine in BALB/C Mice

  • In April 2013, human infections with a novel avian influenza (H7N9) virus emerged in China. It has caused serious concerns for public health throughout the world. However, there is presently no effective treatment, and an A (H7N9) H7 subtype influenza vaccine is not available. Vaccination with virus-like particles (VLPs) has showed considerable promise for many other subtype influenza viruses. To produce H7N9 VLPs, full length, unmodified hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), and matrix1 (M1) genes from the A/Wuxi/1/2013(H7N9) were cloned into a pCDNA5.1 FRT vector. By co-transfection, VLPs containing HA, NA, and M1 were secreted by 293T cells. VLPs were purified by ultracentrifugation and injected into mice by the intramuscular route. In animal experiments, humoral and cellular immunoresponse were all triggered by H7N9 VLPs. High levels of specific antibodies and the isotypes of IgG were detected by ELISA. Anamnestic cellular immune responses were examined by detecting specific cytotoxic T cell for IFN-Υ production in ELISPOT assay. The hemagglutination-inhibition (HAI) against the homologous virus was more than 1:64, and cross-reactive HAI titers against the heterologous virus (H1N1 and H3N2) were more than 1:16. Moreover, VLPs immunized mice showed a rapid increase of neutralizing antibodies,with neutralizing antibody titers more than 1:8, which increased four-fold against PBS immunized mice in week four. By week six, the mice had high neutralization ability against the given strain and held a potent homologous virus neutralizing capacity. Thus, VLPs represent a potential strategy for the development of a safe and effective vaccine against novel avian influenza (H7N9) virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4352-4368: Vpu Protein: The Viroporin Encoded by HIV-1

  • Viral protein U (Vpu) is a lentiviral viroporin encoded by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and some simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) strains. This small protein of 81 amino acids contains a single transmembrane domain that allows for supramolecular organization via homoligomerization or interaction with other proteins. The topology and trafficking of Vpu through subcellular compartments result in pleiotropic effects in host cells. Notwithstanding the high variability of its amino acid sequence, the functionality of Vpu is well conserved in pandemic virus isolates. This review outlines our current knowledge on the interactions of Vpu with the host cell. The regulation of cellular physiology by Vpu and the validity of this viroporin as a therapeutic target are also discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4326-4351: Translational Control of the HIV Unspliced Genomic RNA

  • Post-transcriptional control in both HIV-1 and HIV-2 is a highly regulated process that commences in the nucleus of the host infected cell and finishes by the expression of viral proteins in the cytoplasm. Expression of the unspliced genomic RNA is particularly controlled at the level of RNA splicing, export, and translation. It appears increasingly obvious that all these steps are interconnected and they result in the building of a viral ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP) that must be efficiently translated in the cytosolic compartment. This review summarizes our knowledge about the genesis, localization, and expression of this viral RNP.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4303-4325: Papillomavirus Infectious Pathways: A Comparison of Systems

  • The HPV viral lifecycle is tightly linked to the host cell differentiation, causing difficulty in growing virions in culture. A system that bypasses the need for differentiating epithelium has allowed for generation of recombinant particles, such as virus-like particles (VLPs), pseudovirions (PsV), and quasivirions (QV). Much of the research looking at the HPV life cycle, infectivity, and structure has been generated utilizing recombinant particles. While recombinant particles have proven to be invaluable, allowing for a rapid progression of the HPV field, there are some significant differences between recombinant particles and native virions and very few comparative studies using native virions to confirm results are done. This review serves to address the conflicting data in the HPV field regarding native virions and recombinant particles.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4282-4302: Whole-Genome Analysis of a Novel Fish Reovirus (MsReV) Discloses Aquareovirus Genomic Structure Relationship with Host in Saline Environments

  • Aquareoviruses are serious pathogens of aquatic animals. Here, genome characterization and functional gene analysis of a novel aquareovirus, largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides reovirus (MsReV), was described. It comprises 11 dsRNA segments (S1–S11) covering 24,024 bp, and encodes 12 putative proteins including the inclusion forming-related protein NS87 and the fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) protein NS22. The function of NS22 was confirmed by expression in fish cells. Subsequently, MsReV was compared with two representative aquareoviruses, saltwater fish turbot Scophthalmus maximus reovirus (SMReV) and freshwater fish grass carp reovirus strain 109 (GCReV-109). MsReV NS87 and NS22 genes have the same structure and function with those of SMReV, whereas GCReV-109 is either missing the coiled-coil region in NS79 or thegene-encoding NS22. Significant similarities are also revealed among equivalent genome segments between MsReV and SMReV, but a difference is found between MsReV and GCReV-109. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis showed that 13 aquareoviruses could be divided into freshwater and saline environments subgroups, and MsReV was closely related to SMReV in saline environments. Consequently, these viruses from hosts in saline environments have more genomic structural similarities than the viruses from hosts in freshwater. This is the first study of the relationships between aquareovirus genomic structure and their host environments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 4254-4281: Public Acceptance of Plant Biotechnology and GM Crops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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