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Jean-Yves Sgro
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Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses

    Viruses

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 326: Evaluation of microRNA Expression in Patients with Herpes Zoster

  • Reactivated varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which lies latent in the dorsal root ganglions and cranial nerves before its reactivation, is capable of causing herpes zoster (HZ), but the specific mechanism of virus reactivation and latency remains unknown. It was proposed that circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in body fluids could potentially indicate infection. However, the connection between herpes zoster and circulating miRNAs has not been demonstrated. In this study, 41 HZ patients without superinfection were selected. The serum miRNA levels were analyzed by TaqMan low density array (TLDA) and confirmed individually by quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis. Thirty-five age-matched subjects without any infectious diseases or inflammation were selected as controls. The results showed that the serum miRNA expression profiles in 41 HZ patients were different from those of control subjects. Specifically, 18 miRNAs were up-regulated and 126 were down-regulated more than two-fold in HZ patients compared with controls. The subsequent confirmation of these results by qRT-PCR, as well as receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, revealed that six kinds of miRNAs, including miR-190b, miR-571, miR-1276, miR-1303, miR-943, and miR-661, exhibited statistically significant enhanced expression levels (more than four-fold) in HZ patients, compared with those of healthy controls and herpes simplex virus (HSV) patients. Subsequently, it is proposed that these circulating miRNAs are capable of regulating numerous pathways and some may even participate in the inflammatory response or nervous system activity. This study has initially demonstrated that the serum miRNA expression profiles in HZ patients were different from those of uninfected individuals. Additionally, these findings also suggest that six of the altered miRNA could be potentially used as biomarkers to test for latent HZ infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 325: Ion Channel Activity of Vpu Proteins Is Conserved throughout Evolution of HIV-1 and SIV

  • The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protein Vpu is encoded exclusively by HIV-1 and related simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs). The transmembrane domain of the protein has dual functions: it counteracts the human restriction factor tetherin and forms a cation channel. Since these two functions are causally unrelated it remains unclear whether the channel activity has any relevance for viral release and replication. Here we examine structure and function correlates of different Vpu homologs from HIV-1 and SIV to understand if ion channel activity is an evolutionary conserved property of Vpu proteins. An electrophysiological testing of Vpus from different HIV-1 groups (N and P) and SIVs from chimpanzees (SIVcpz), and greater spot-nosed monkeys (SIVgsn) showed that they all generate channel activity in HEK293T cells. This implies a robust and evolutionary conserved channel activity and suggests that cation conductance may also have a conserved functional significance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 324: Capsule-Targeting Depolymerase, Derived from Klebsiella KP36 Phage, as a Tool for the Development of Anti-Virulent Strategy

  • The rise of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, a leading nosocomial pathogen, prompts the need for alternative therapies. We have identified and characterized a novel depolymerase enzyme encoded by Klebsiella phage KP36 (depoKP36), from the Siphoviridae family. To gain insights into the catalytic and structural features of depoKP36, we have recombinantly produced this protein of 93.4 kDa and showed that it is able to hydrolyze a crude exopolysaccharide of a K. pneumoniae host. Using in vitro and in vivo assays, we found that depoKP36 was also effective against a native capsule of clinical K. pneumoniae strains, representing the K63 type, and significantly inhibited Klebsiella-induced mortality of Galleria mellonella larvae in a time-dependent manner. DepoKP36 did not affect the antibiotic susceptibility of Klebsiella strains. The activity of this enzyme was retained in a broad range of pH values (4.0–7.0) and temperatures (up to 45 °C). Consistently, the circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy revealed a highly stability with melting transition temperature (Tm) = 65 °C. In contrast to other phage tailspike proteins, this enzyme was susceptible to sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) denaturation and proteolytic cleavage. The structural studies in solution showed a trimeric arrangement with a high β-sheet content. Our findings identify depoKP36 as a suitable candidate for the development of new treatments for K. pneumoniae infections.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 323: Comparative Proteome Analysis of Porcine Jejunum Tissues in Response to a Virulent Strain of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and Its Attenuated Strain

  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), a predominant cause of acute enteric infection, leads to severe dehydrating diarrhea and mortality in piglets all over the world. A virulent PEDV YN13 strain, isolated in our laboratory, was attenuated to yield an attenuated PEDV strain YN144. To better understand the pathogenesis mechanism and the virus-host interaction during infection with both PEDV YN13 and YN144 strains, a comparative proteomic analysis was carried out to investigate the proteomic changes produced in the primary target organ, using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) labeling, followed by liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A total of 269 and 301 differently expressed proteins (DEPs) were identified in the jejunum tissues of the piglets inoculated with YN13 and YN144, respectively. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that these proteins were involved in stress responses, signal transduction, and the immune system. All of these involved interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) which were up-regulated in jejunums by both of the PEDV-infected groups. Based on the comparative analysis, we proposed that different changes induced by YN13 and YN144 in heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNPA1), eukaryotic initiation factor 4G1 (eIF4G1), and some members in the heat shock protein (HSP) family, may be responsible for differences in their pathogenicity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 322: Chloroquine, an Endocytosis Blocking Agent, Inhibits Zika Virus Infection in Different Cell Models

  • Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in utero might lead to microcephaly and other congenital defects. Since no specific therapy is available thus far, there is an urgent need for the discovery of agents capable of inhibiting its viral replication and deleterious effects. Chloroquine is widely used as an antimalarial drug, anti-inflammatory agent, and it also shows antiviral activity against several viruses. Here we show that chloroquine exhibits antiviral activity against ZIKV in Vero cells, human brain microvascular endothelial cells, human neural stem cells, and mouse neurospheres. We demonstrate that chloroquine reduces the number of ZIKV-infected cells in vitro, and inhibits virus production and cell death promoted by ZIKV infection without cytotoxic effects. In addition, chloroquine treatment partially reveres morphological changes induced by ZIKV infection in mouse neurospheres.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 321: Analyses of Evolutionary Characteristics of the Hemagglutinin-Esterase Gene of Influenza C Virus during a Period of 68 Years Reveals Evolutionary Patterns Different from Influenza A and B Viruses

  • Infections with the influenza C virus causing respiratory symptoms are common, particularly among children. Since isolation and detection of the virus are rarely performed, compared with influenza A and B viruses, the small number of available sequences of the virus makes it difficult to analyze its evolutionary dynamics. Recently, we reported the full genome sequence of 102 strains of the virus. Here, we exploited the data to elucidate the evolutionary characteristics and phylodynamics of the virus compared with influenza A and B viruses. Along with our data, we obtained public sequence data of the hemagglutinin-esterase gene of the virus; the dataset consists of 218 unique sequences of the virus collected from 14 countries between 1947 and 2014. Informatics analyses revealed that (1) multiple lineages have been circulating globally; (2) there have been weak and infrequent selective bottlenecks; (3) the evolutionary rate is low because of weak positive selection and a low capability to induce mutations; and (4) there is no significant positive selection although a few mutations affecting its antigenicity have been induced. The unique evolutionary dynamics of the influenza C virus must be shaped by multiple factors, including virological, immunological, and epidemiological characteristics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 319: Pathogens Inactivated by Low-Energy-Electron Irradiation Maintain Antigenic Properties and Induce Protective Immune Responses

  • Inactivated vaccines are commonly produced by incubating pathogens with chemicals such as formaldehyde orβ-propiolactone. This is a time-consuming process, the inactivation efficiency displays high variability and extensive downstream procedures are often required. Moreover, application of chemicals alters the antigenic components of the viruses or bacteria, resulting in reduced antibody specificity and therefore stimulation of a less effective immune response. An alternative method for inactivation of pathogens is ionizing radiation. It acts very fast and predominantly damages nucleic acids, conserving most of the antigenic structures. However, currently used irradiation technologies (mostly gamma-rays and high energy electrons) require large and complex shielding constructions to protect the environment from radioactivity or X-rays generated during the process. This excludes them from direct integration into biological production facilities. Here, low-energy electron irradiation (LEEI) is presented as an alternative inactivation method for pathogens in liquid solutions. LEEI can be used in normal laboratories, including good manufacturing practice (GMP)- or high biosafety level (BSL)-environments, as only minor shielding is necessary. We show that LEEI efficiently inactivates different viruses (influenza A (H3N8), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1)) and bacteria (Escherichia coli) and maintains their antigenicity. Moreover, LEEI-inactivated influenza A viruses elicit protective immune responses in animals, as analyzed byvirus neutralization assays and viral load determination upon challenge. These results have implications for novel ways of developing and manufacturing inactivated vaccines with improved efficacy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 317: The Expanding Family of Virophages

  • Virophages replicate with giant viruses in the same eukaryotic cells. They are a major component of the specific mobilome of mimiviruses. Since their discovery in 2008, five other representatives have been isolated, 18 new genomes have been described, two of which being nearly completely sequenced, and they have been classified in a new viral family, Lavidaviridae. Virophages are small viruses with approximately 35–74 nm large icosahedral capsids and 17–29 kbp large double-stranded DNA genomes with 16–34 genes, among which a very small set is shared with giant viruses. Virophages have been isolated or detected in various locations and in a broad range of habitats worldwide, including the deep ocean andinland. Humans, therefore, could be commonly exposed to virophages, although currently limited evidence exists of their presence in humans based on serology and metagenomics. The distribution of virophages, the consequences of their infection and the interactions with their giant viral hosts withineukaryotic cells deserve further research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 318: Eleventh International Foamy Virus Conference—Meeting Report

  • The Eleventh International Foamy Virus Conference took place on 9–10 June 2016 at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. The meeting reviewed progress on foamy virus (FV) research, as well as related current topics in retrovirology. FVs are complex retroviruses that are widespread in several animal species. Several research topics on these viruses are relevant to human health: cross-species transmission and viral emergence, vectors for gene therapy, development of antiretroviral drugs, retroviral evolution and its influence on the human genome. In this article, we review the conference presentations on these viruses and highlight the major questions to be answered.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 320: Interactions between the HIV-1 Unspliced mRNA and Host mRNA Decay Machineries

  • The human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) unspliced transcript is used both as mRNA for the synthesis of structural proteins and as the packaged genome. Given the presence of retained introns and instability AU-rich sequences, this viral transcript is normally retained and degraded in the nucleus of host cells unless the viral protein REV is present. As such, the stability of the HIV-1 unspliced mRNA must be particularly controlled in the nucleus and the cytoplasm in order to ensure proper levels of this viral mRNA for translation and viral particle formation. During its journey, the HIV-1 unspliced mRNA assembles into highly specific messenger ribonucleoproteins (mRNPs) containing many different host proteins, amongst which are well-known regulators of cytoplasmic mRNA decay pathways such as up-frameshift suppressor 1 homolog (UPF1), Staufen double-stranded RNA binding protein 1/2 (STAU1/2), or components of miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC) and processing bodies (PBs). More recently, the HIV-1 unspliced mRNA was shown to contain N6-methyladenosine (m6A), allowing the recruitment of YTH N6-methyladenosine RNA binding protein 2 (YTHDF2), an m6A reader host protein involved in mRNA decay. Interestingly, these host proteins involved in mRNA decay were shown to play positive roles in viral gene expression and viral particle assembly, suggesting that HIV-1 interacts with mRNA decay components to successfully accomplish viral replication. This review summarizes the state of the art in terms of the interactions between HIV-1 unspliced mRNA and components of different host mRNA decay machineries.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 313: Erratum: Tahara, M., et al. Measles Virus Hemagglutinin Protein Epitopes: The Basis of Antigenic Stability. Viruses 2016, 8, 216

  • The authors wish to make the following change to their paper [1].[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 316: Comparative Analysis of RNAi-Based Methods to Down-Regulate Expression of Two Genes Expressed at Different Levels in Myzus persicae

  • With the increasing availability of aphid genomic data, it is necessary to develop robust functional validation methods to evaluate the role of specific aphid genes. This work represents the first study in which five different techniques, all based on RNA interference and on oral acquisition of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), were developed to silence two genes, ALY and Eph, potentially involved in polerovirus transmission by aphids. Efficient silencing of only Eph transcripts, which are less abundant than those of ALY, could be achieved by feeding aphids on transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana expressing an RNA hairpin targeting Eph, on Nicotiana benthamiana infected with a Tobacco rattle virus (TRV)-Eph recombinant virus, or on in vitro-synthesized Eph-targeting dsRNA. These experiments showed that the silencing efficiency may differ greatly between genes and that aphid gut cells seem to be preferentially affected by the silencing mechanism after oral acquisition of dsRNA. In addition, the use of plants infected with recombinant TRV proved to be a promising technique to silence aphid genes as it does not require plant transformation. This work highlights the need to pursue development of innovative strategies to reproducibly achieve reduction of expression of aphid genes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 314: Plant Virus Infection and the Ubiquitin Proteasome Machinery: Arms Race along the Endoplasmic Reticulum

  • The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is central to plant virus replication, translation, maturation, and egress. Ubiquitin modification of ER associated cellular and viral proteins, alongside the actions of the 26S proteasome, are vital for the regulation of infection. Viruses can arrogate ER associated ubiquitination as well as cytosolic ubiquitin ligases with the purpose of directing the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) to new targets. Such targets include necessary modification of viral proteins which may stabilize certain complexes, or modification of Argonaute to suppress gene silencing. The UPS machinery also contributes to the regulation of effector triggered immunity pattern recognition receptor immunity. Combining the results of unrelated studies, many positive strand RNA plant viruses appear to interact with cytosolic Ub-ligases to provide novel avenues for controlling the deleterious consequences of disease. Viral interactions with the UPS serve to regulate virus infection in a manner that promotes replication and movement, but also modulates the levels of RNA accumulation to ensure successful biotrophic interactions. In other instances, the UPS plays a central role in cellular immunity. These opposing roles are made evident by contrasting studies where knockout mutations in the UPS can either hamper viruses or lead to more aggressive diseases. Understanding how viruses manipulate ER associated post-translational machineries to better manage virus–host interactions will provide new targets for crop improvement.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 315: Aphis Glycines Virus 2, a Novel Insect Virus with a Unique Genome Structure

  • The invasive soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, is a major pest in soybeans, resulting in substantial economic loss. We analyzed the A. glycines transcriptome to identify sequences derived from viruses of A. glycines. We identified sequences derived from a novel virus named Aphis glycines virus 2 (ApGlV2). The assembled virus genome sequence was confirmed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Sanger sequencing, conserved domains were characterized, and distribution, and transmission examined. This virus has a positive sense, single-stranded RNA genome of ~4850 nt that encodes three proteins. The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of ApGlV2 is a permuted RdRp similar to those of some tetraviruses, while the capsid protein is structurally similar to the capsid proteins of plant sobemoviruses. ApGlV2 also encodes a larger minor capsid protein, which is translated by a readthrough mechanism. ApGlV2 appears to be widespread in A. glycines populations and to persistently infect aphids with a 100% vertical transmission rate. ApGlV2 is susceptible to the antiviral RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. This virus, with its unique genome structure with both plant- and insect-virus characteristics, is of particular interest from an evolutionary standpoint.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 312: Role of Pea Enation Mosaic Virus Coat Protein in the Host Plant and Aphid Vector

  • Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in plant virus–vector interactions is essential for the development of effective control measures for aphid-vectored epidemic plant diseases. The coat proteins (CP) are the main component of the viral capsids, and they are implicated in practically every stage of the viral infection cycle. Pea enation mosaic virus 1 (PEMV1, Enamovirus, Luteoviridae) and Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2, Umbravirus, Tombusviridae) are two RNA viruses in an obligate symbiosis causing the pea enation mosaic disease. Sixteen mutant viruses were generated with mutations in different domains of the CP to evaluate the role of specific amino acids in viral replication, virion assembly, long-distance movement in Pisum sativum, and aphid transmission. Twelve mutant viruses were unable to assemble but were able to replicate in inoculated leaves, move long-distance, and express the CP in newly infected leaves. Four mutant viruses produced virions, but three were not transmissible by the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Three-dimensional modeling of the PEMV CP, combined with biological assays for virion assembly and aphid transmission, allowed for a model of the assembly of PEMV coat protein subunits.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 311: Studies in a Murine Model Confirm the Safety of Griffithsin and Advocate Its Further Development as a Microbicide Targeting HIV-1 and Other Enveloped Viruses

  • Griffithsin (GRFT), a lectin from Griffithsia species, inhibits human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) replication at sub-nanomolar concentrations, with limited cellular toxicity. However, in vivo safety of GRFT is not fully understood, especially following parenteral administration. We first assessed GRFT’s effects in vitro, on mouse peripheral blood mononuclear cell (mPBMC) viability, mitogenicity, and activation using flow-cytometry, as well as cytokine secretion through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Toxicological properties of GRFT were determined after a single subcutaneous administration of 50 mg/kg or 14 daily doses of 10 mg/kg in BALB/c mice. In the context of microbicide development, toxicity of GRFT at 2 mg/kg was determined after subcutaneous, intravaginal, and intraperitoneal administrations, respectively. Interestingly, GRFT caused no significant cell death, mitogenicity, activation, or cytokine release in mPBMCs, validating the usefulness of a mouse model. An excellent safety profile for GRFT was obtained in vivo: no overt changes were observedin animal fitness, blood chemistry or CBC parameters. Following GRFT treatment, reversible splenomegaly was observed with activation of certain spleen B and T cells. However, spleen tissues were not pathologically altered by GRFT (either with a single high dose or chronic doses). Finally, no detectable toxicity was found after mucosal or systemic treatment with 2 mg/kg GRFT, which should be further developed as a microbicide for HIV prevention.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 310: Two Novel Myoviruses from the North of Iraq Reveal Insights into Clostridium difficile Phage Diversity and Biology

  • Bacteriophages (phages) are increasingly being explored as therapeutic agents to combat bacterial diseases, including Clostridium difficile infections. Therapeutic phages need to be able to efficiently target and kill a wide range of clinically relevant strains. While many phage groups have yet to be investigated in detail, those with new and useful properties can potentially be identified when phages from newly studied geographies are characterised. Here, we report the isolation of C. difficile phages from soil samples from the north of Iraq. Two myoviruses, CDKM15 and CDKM9, were selected for detailed sequence analysis on the basis of their broad and potentially useful host range. CDKM9 infects 25/80 strains from 12/20 C. difficile ribotypes, and CDKM15 infects 20/80 strains from 9/20 ribotypes. Both phages can infect the clinically relevant ribotypes R027 and R001. Phylogenetic analysis based on whole genome sequencing revealed that the phages are genetically distinct from each other but closely related to other long-tailed myoviruses. A comparative genomic analysis revealed key differences in the genes predicted to encode for proteins involved in bacterial infection. Notably, CDKM15 carries a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) array with spacers that are homologous to sequences in the CDKM9 genome and of phages from diverse localities. The findings presented suggest a possible shared evolutionary past for these phages and provides evidence of their widespread dispersal.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 308: Host–Pathogen Interactions in Measles Virus Replication and Anti-Viral Immunity

  • The measles virus (MeV) is a contagious pathogenic RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Morbillivirus, that can cause serious symptoms and even fetal complications. Here, we summarize current molecular advances in MeV research, and emphasize the connection between host cells and MeV replication. Although measles has reemerged recently, the potential for its eradication is promising with significant progress in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of its replication and host-pathogen interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 309: The E3 Ubiquitin Ligase TMEM129 Is a Tri-Spanning Transmembrane Protein

  • Misfolded proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are transported back into the cytosol for degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The human cytomegalovirus protein US11 hijacks this ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) pathway to downregulate human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules in virus-infected cells, thereby evading elimination by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Recently, we identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase transmembrane protein 129 (TMEM129) as a key player in this process, where interference with TMEM129 activity in human cells completely abrogates US11-mediated class I degradation. Here, we set out to further characterize TMEM129. We show that TMEM129 is a non-glycosylated protein containing a non-cleaved signal anchor sequence. By glycosylation scanning mutagenesis, we show that TMEM129 is a tri-spanning ER-membrane protein that adopts an Nexo–Ccyto orientation. This insertion in the ER membrane positions the C-terminal really interesting new gene (RING) domain of TMEM129 in the cytosol, making it available to catalyze ubiquitination reactions that are required for cytosolic degradation of secretory proteins.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 305: KSHV Entry and Trafficking in Target Cells—Hijacking of Cell Signal Pathways, Actin and Membrane Dynamics

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is etiologically associated with human endothelial cell hyperplastic Kaposi’s sarcoma and B-cell primary effusion lymphoma. KSHV infection of adherent endothelial and fibroblast cells are used as in vitro models for infection and KSHV enters these cells by host membrane bleb and actin mediated macropinocytosis or clathrin endocytosis pathways, respectively. Infection in endothelial and fibroblast cells is initiated by the interactions between multiple viral envelope glycoproteins and cell surface associated heparan sulfate (HS), integrins (α3β1, αVβ3 and αVβ5), and EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase (EphA2R). This review summarizes the accumulated studies demonstrating that KSHV manipulates the host signal pathways to enter and traffic in the cytoplasm of the target cells, to deliver the viral genome into the nucleus, and initiate viral geneexpression. KSHV interactions with the cell surface receptors is the key platform for the manipulations of host signal pathways which results in the simultaneous induction of FAK, Src, PI3-K, Rho-GTPase, ROS, Dia-2, PKC ζ, c-Cbl, CIB1, Crk, p130Cas and GEF-C3G signal and adaptor molecules that play critical roles in the modulation of membrane and actin dynamics, and in the various steps of the early stages of infection such as entry and trafficking towards the nucleus. The Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport (ESCRT) proteins are also recruited to assist in viral entry and trafficking. In addition, KSHV interactions with the cell surface receptors also induces the host transcription factors NF-κB, ERK1/2, and Nrf2 early during infection to initiate and modulate viral and host gene expression. Nuclear delivery of the viral dsDNA genome is immediately followed by the host innate responses such as the DNA damage response (DDR), inflammasome and interferon responses. Overall, these studies form the initial framework for further studies of simultaneous targeting of KSHV glycoproteins, host receptor, signal molecules and trafficking machinery that would lead into novel therapeutic methods to prevent KSHV infection of target cells and consequently the associated malignancies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 307: A Novel Strain of Tomato Leaf Curl New Delhi Virus Has Spread to the Mediterranean Basin

  • Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) is a whitefly-transmitted bipartite begomovirus (genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae) that causes damage to multiple cultivated plant species mainly belonging to the Solanaceae and Cucurbitaceae families. ToLCNDV was limited to Asian countries until 2012, when it was first reported in Spain, causing severe epidemics in cucurbit crops. Here, we show that a genetically-uniform ToLCNDV population is present in Spain, compatible with a recent introduction. Analyses of ToLCNDV isolates reported from other parts of the world indicated that this virus has a highly heterogeneous population genetically with no evident geographical, plant host or year-based phylogenetic groups observed. Isolates emerging in Spain belong to a strain that seems to have evolved by recombination. Isolates of this strain seem adapted to infecting cucurbits, but poorly infect tomatoes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 306: Epitope Identification and Application for Diagnosis of Duck Tembusu Virus Infections in Ducks

  • Duck Tembusu virus (DTMUV) causes substantial egg drop disease. DTMUV was first identified in China and rapidly spread to Malaysia and Thailand. The antigenicity of the DTMUV E protein has not yet been characterized. Here, we investigated antigenic sites on the E protein using the non-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) 1F3 and 1A5. Two minimal epitopes were mapped to 221LD/NLPW225 and 87YAEYI91 by using phage display and mutagenesis. DTMUV-positive duck sera reacted with the epitopes, thus indicating the importance of the minimal amino acids of the epitopes for antibody-epitope binding. The performance of the dot blotting assay with the corresponding positive sera indicated that YAEYI was DTMUV type-specific, whereas 221LD/NLPW225 was a cross-reactive epitope for West Nile virus (WNV), dengue virus (DENV), and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and corresponded to conserved and variable amino acid sequences among these strains. The structure model of the E protein revealed that YAEYI and LD/NLPW were located on domain (D) II, which confirmed that DII might contain a type-specific non-neutralizing epitope. The YAEYI epitope-based antigen demonstrated its diagnostic potential by reacting with high specificity to serum samples obtained from DTMUV-infected ducks. Based on these observations, a YAEYI-based serological test could be used for DTMUV surveillance and could differentiate DTMUV infections from JEV or WNV infections. These findings provide new insights into the organization of epitopes on flavivirus E proteins that might be valuable for the development of epitope-based serological diagnostic tests for DTMUV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 304: Three-Dimensional Rotating Wall Vessel-Derived Cell Culture Models for Studying Virus-Host Interactions

  • The key to better understanding complex virus-host interactions is the utilization of robust three-dimensional (3D) human cell cultures that effectively recapitulate native tissue architecture and model the microenvironment. A lack of physiologically-relevant animal models for many viruses has limited the elucidation of factors that influence viral pathogenesis and of complex host immune mechanisms. Conventional monolayer cell cultures may support viral infection, but are unable to form the tissue structures and complex microenvironments that mimic host physiology and, therefore, limiting their translational utility. The rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactor was designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to model microgravity and was later found to more accurately reproduce features of human tissue in vivo. Cells grown in RWV bioreactors develop in a low fluid-shear environment, which enables cells to form complex 3D tissue-like aggregates. A wide variety of human tissues (from neuronal to vaginal tissue) have been grown in RWV bioreactors and have been shown to support productive viral infection and physiological meaningful host responses. The in vivo-like characteristics and cellular features of the human 3D RWV-derived aggregates make them ideal model systems to effectively recapitulate pathophysiology and host responses necessary to conduct rigorous basic science, preclinical and translational studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 303: Plant Virus–Insect Vector Interactions: Current and Potential Future Research Directions

  • Acquisition and transmission by an insect vector is central to the infection cycle of the majority of plant pathogenic viruses. Plant viruses can interact with their insect host in a variety of ways including both non-persistent and circulative transmission; in some cases, the latter involves virus replication in cells of the insect host. Replicating viruses can also elicit both innate and specific defense responses in the insect host. A consistent feature is that the interaction of the virus with its insect host/vector requires specific molecular interactions between virus and host, commonly via proteins. Understanding the interactions between plant viruses and their insect host can underpin approaches to protect plants from infection by interfering with virus uptake and transmission. Here, we provide a perspective focused on identifying novel approaches and research directions to facilitate control of plant viruses by better understanding and targeting virus–insect molecular interactions. We also draw parallels with molecular interactions in insect vectors of animal viruses, and consider technical advances for their control that may be more broadly applicable to plant virus vectors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 302: The European Classical Swine Fever Virus Database: Blueprint for a Pathogen-Specific Sequence Database with Integrated Sequence Analysis Tools

  • Molecular epidemiology has become an indispensable tool in the diagnosis of diseases and in tracing the infection routes of pathogens. Due to advances in conventional sequencing and the development of high throughput technologies, the field of sequence determination is in the process of being revolutionized. Platforms for sharing sequence information and providing standardized tools for phylogenetic analyses are becoming increasingly important. The database (DB) of the European Union (EU) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Reference Laboratory for classical swine fever offers one of the world’s largest semi-public virus-specific sequence collections combined with a module for phylogenetic analysis. The classical swine fever (CSF) DB (CSF-DB) became a valuable tool for supporting diagnosis and epidemiological investigations of this highly contagious disease in pigs with high socio-economic impacts worldwide. The DB has been re-designed and now allows for the storage and analysis of traditionally used, well established genomic regions and of larger genomic regions including complete viral genomes. We present an application example for the analysis of highly similar viral sequences obtained in an endemic disease situation and introduce the new geographic “CSF Maps” tool. The concept of this standardized and easy-to-use DB with an integrated genetic typing module is suited to serve as a blueprint for similar platforms for other human or animal viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 301: Recombinant Marek’s Disease Virus as a Vector-Based Vaccine against Avian Leukosis Virus Subgroup J in Chicken

  • Avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) is an immunosuppressive virus that causes considerable economic losses to the chicken industry in China. However, there is currently no effective vaccine to prevent ALV-J infection. In order to reduce the losses caused by ALV-J, we constructed two effective ALV-J vaccines by inserting the ALV-J (strain JL093-1) env or gag+env genes into the US2 gene of the Marek’s disease herpesviruses (MDV) by transfection of overlapping fosmid DNAs, creating two recombinant MDVs, rMDV/ALV-gag+env and rMDV/ALV-env. Analysis of cultured chicken embryo fibroblasts infected with the rMDVs revealed that Env and Gag were successfully expressed and that there was no difference in growth kinetics in cells infected with rMDVs compared with that of cells infected with the parent MDV. Chickens vaccinated with either rMDV revealed that positive serum antibodies were induced. Both rMDVs also effectively reduced the rate of positive viremia in chicken flocks challenged with ALV-J. The protective effect provided by rMDV/ALV-env inoculation was slightly stronger than that provided by rMDV/ALV-gag+env. This represents the first study where a potential rMDV vaccine, expressing ALV-J antigenic genes, has been shown to be effective in the prevention of ALV-J. Our study also opens new avenues for the control of MDV and ALV-J co-infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 300: Cedratvirus, a Double-Cork Structured Giant Virus, is a Distant Relative of Pithoviruses

  • Most viruses are known for the ability to cause symptomatic diseases in humans and other animals. The discovery of Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus and other giant amoebal viruses revealed a considerable and previously unknown area of uncharacterized viral particles. Giant viruses have been isolated from various environmental samples collected from very distant geographic places, revealing a ubiquitous distribution. Their morphological and genomic features are fundamental elements for classifying them. Herein, we report the isolation and draft genome of Cedratvirus, a new amoebal giant virus isolated in Acanthamoeba castellanii, from an Algerian environmental sample. The viral particles are ovoid-shaped, resembling Pithovirus sibericum, but differing notably in the presence of two corks at each extremity of the virion. The draft genome of Cedratvirus—589,068 base pairs in length—is a close relative of the two previously described pithoviruses, sharing 104 and 113 genes with P. sibericum and Pithovirus massiliensis genomes, respectively. Interestingly, analysis of these viruses’ core genome reveals that only 21% of Cedratvirus genes are involved in best reciprocal hits with the two pithoviruses. Phylogeny reconstructions and comparative genomics indicate that Cedratvirus is most closely related to pithoviruses, and questions their membership in an enlarged putative Pithoviridae family.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 299: Acute Hepatitis E: Two Sides of the Same Coin

  • The relevance of acute hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections has been underestimated for a long time. In the past, HEV infection had been interpreted falsely as a disease limited to the tropics until the relevance of autochthonous HEV infections in the Western world became overt. Due to increased awareness, the incidence of diagnosed autochthonous HEV infections (predominantly genotype 3) in industrialized countries has risen within the last decade. The main source of infections in industrialized countries seems to be infected swine meat, while infections with the tropical HEV genotypes 1 and 2 usually are mainly transmitted fecal-orally by contaminated drinking water. In the vast majority of healthy individuals, acute HEV infection is either clinically silent or takes a benign self-limited course. In patients who develop a symptomatic HEV infection, a short prodromal phase with unspecific symptoms is followed by liver specific symptoms like jaundice, itching, uncoloured stool and darkened urine. Importantly, tropical HEV infections may lead to acute liver failure, especially in pregnant women, while autochthonous HEV infections may lead to acute-on-chronic liver failure in patients with underlying liver diseases. Immunosuppressed individuals, such as transplant recipients or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, are at risk for developing chronic hepatitis E, which may lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in the long term. Importantly, specific treatment options for hepatitis E are not approved by the regulation authorities, but off-label ribavirin treatment seems to be effective in the treatment of chronic HEV-infection and may reduce the disease severity in patients suffering from acute liver failure.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 298: The Peculiar Characteristics of Fish Type I Interferons

  • Antiviral type I interferons (IFNs) have been discovered in fish. Genomic studies revealed their considerable number in many species; some genes encode secreted and non-secreted isoforms. Based on cysteine motifs, fish type I IFNs fall in two subgroups, which use two different receptors. Mammalian type I IFN genes are intronless while type III have introns; in fish, all have introns, but structurally, both subgroups belong to type I. Type I IFNs likely appeared early in vertebrates as intron containing genes, and evolved in parallel in tetrapods and fishes. The diversity of their repertoires in fish and mammals is likely a convergent feature, selected as a response to the variety of viral strategies. Several alternative nomenclatures have been established for different taxonomic fish groups, calling for a unified system. The specific functions of each type I gene remains poorly understood, as well as their interactions in antiviral responses. However, distinct induction pathways, kinetics of response, and tissue specificity indicate that fish type I likely are highly specialized, especially in groups where they are numerous such as salmonids or cyprinids. Unravelling their functional integration constitutes the next challenge to understand how these cytokines evolved to orchestrate antiviral innate immunity in vertebrates.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 297: The Importance of Physiologically Relevant Cell Lines for Studying Virus–Host Interactions

  • Viruses interact intimately with the host cell at nearly every stage of replication, and the cell model that is chosen to study virus infection is critically important. Although primary cells reflect the phenotype of healthy cells in vivo better than cell lines, their limited lifespan makes experimental manipulation challenging. However, many tumor-derived and artificially immortalized cell lines have defects in induction of interferon-stimulated genes and other antiviral defenses. These defects can affect virus replication, especially when cells are infected at lower, more physiologically relevant, multiplicities of infection. Understanding the selective pressures and mechanisms underlying the loss of innate signaling pathways is helpful to choose immortalized cell lines without impaired antiviral defense. We describe the trials and tribulations we encountered while searching for an immortalized cell line with intact innate signaling, and how directed immortalization of primary cells avoids many of the pitfalls of spontaneous immortalization.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 280: Comparative Analysis of HaSNPV-AC53 and Derived Strains

  • Complete genome sequences of two Australian isolates of H. armigera single nucleopolyhedrovirus (HaSNPV) and nine strains isolated by plaque selection in tissue culture identified multiple polymorphisms in tissue culture-derived strains compared to the consensus sequence of the parent isolate. Nine open reading frames (ORFs) in all tissue culture-derived strains contained changes in nucleotide sequences that resulted in changes in predicted amino acid sequence compared to the parent isolate. Of these, changes in predicted amino acid sequence of six ORFs were identical in all nine derived strains. Comparison of sequences and maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) of specific ORFs and whole genome sequences were used to compare the isolates and derived strains to published sequence data from other HaSNPV isolates. The Australian isolates and derived strains had greater sequence similarity to New World SNPV isolates from H. zea than to Old World isolates from H. armigera, but with characteristics associated with both. Three distinct geographic clusters within HaSNPV genome sequences were identified: Australia/Americas, Europe/Africa/India, and China. Comparison of sequences and fragmentation of ORFs suggest that geographic movement and passage in vitro result in distinct patterns of baculovirus strain selection and evolution.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 278: Kaumoebavirus, a New Virus That Clusters with Faustoviruses and Asfarviridae

  • In this study, we report the isolation of a new giant virus found in sewage water from the southern area of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), with morphological and genomic resemblance to Faustoviruses. This new giant virus, named Kaumoebavirus, was obtained from co-culture with Vermamoeba vermiformis, an amoeboid protozoa considered to be of special interest to human health and the environment. This new virus has ~250 nm icosahedral capsids and a 350,731 bp DNA genome length. The genome of Kaumoebavirus has a coding density of 86%, corresponding to 465 genes. Most of these genes (59%) are closely related to genes from members of the proposed order Megavirales, and the best matches to its proteins with other members of the Megavirales are Faustoviruses (43%) and Asfarviruses (23%). Unsurprisingly, phylogenetic reconstruction places Kaumoebavirus as a distant relative of Faustoviruses and Asfarviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 279: Rabies Control and Treatment: From Prophylaxis to Strategies with Curative Potential

  • Rabies is an acute, fatal, neurological disease that affects almost all kinds of mammals. Vaccination (using an inactivated rabies vaccine), combined with administration of rabies immune globulin, is the only approved, effective method for post-exposure prophylaxis against rabies in humans. In the search for novel rabies control and treatment strategies, live-attenuated viruses have recently emerged as a practical and promising approach for immunizing and controlling rabies. Unlike the conventional, inactivated rabies vaccine, live-attenuated viruses are genetically modified viruses that are able to replicate in an inoculated recipient without causing adverse effects, while still eliciting robust and effective immune responses against rabies virus infection. A number of viruses with an intrinsic capacity that could be used as putative candidates for live-attenuated rabies vaccine have been intensively evaluated for therapeutic purposes. Additional novel strategies, such as a monoclonal antibody-based approach, nucleic acid-based vaccines, or small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) interfering with virus replication, could further add to the arena of strategies to combat rabies. In this review, we highlight current advances in rabies therapy and discuss the role that they might have in the future of rabies treatment. Given the pronounced and complex impact of rabies on a patient, a combination of these novel modalities has the potential to achieve maximal anti-rabies efficacy, or may even have promising curative effects in the future. However, several hurdles regarding clinical safety considerations and public awareness should be overcome before these approaches can ultimately become clinically relevant therapies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 277: Antiviral Screening of Multiple Compounds against Ebola Virus

  • In light of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus (EBOV) disease in West Africa, there have been renewed efforts to search for effective antiviral countermeasures. A range of compounds currently available with broad antimicrobial activity have been tested for activity against EBOV. Using live EBOV, eighteen candidate compounds were screened for antiviral activity in vitro. The compounds were selected on a rational basis because their mechanisms of action suggested that they had the potential to disrupt EBOV entry, replication or exit from cells or because they had displayed some antiviral activity against EBOV in previous tests. Nine compounds caused no reduction in viral replication despite cells remaining healthy, so they were excluded from further analysis (zidovudine; didanosine; stavudine; abacavir sulphate; entecavir; JB1a; Aimspro; celgosivir; and castanospermine). A second screen of the remaining compounds and the feasibility of appropriateness for in vivo testing removed six further compounds (ouabain; omeprazole; esomeprazole; Gleevec; D-LANA-14; and Tasigna). The three most promising compounds (17-DMAG; BGB324; and NCK-8) were further screened for in vivo activity in the guinea pig model of EBOV disease. Two of the compounds, BGB324 and NCK-8, showed some effect against lethal infection in vivo at the concentrations tested, which warrants further investigation. Further, these data add to the body of knowledge on the antiviral activities of multiple compounds against EBOV and indicate that the scientific community should invest more effort into the development of novel and specific antiviral compounds to treat Ebola virus disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 293: Ubiquitin in Influenza Virus Entry and Innate Immunity

  • Viruses are obligatory cellular parasites. Their mission is to enter a host cell, to transfer the viral genome, and to replicate progeny whilst diverting cellular immunity. The role of ubiquitin is to regulate fundamental cellular processes such as endocytosis, protein degradation, and immune signaling. Many viruses including influenza A virus (IAV) usurp ubiquitination and ubiquitin-like modifications to establish infection. In this focused review, we discuss how ubiquitin and unanchored ubiquitin regulate IAV host cell entry, and how histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), a cytoplasmic deacetylase with ubiquitin-binding activity, mediates IAV capsid uncoating. We also discuss the roles of ubiquitin in innate immunity and its implications in the IAV life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 296: Griffithsin: An Antiviral Lectin with Outstanding Therapeutic Potential

  • Griffithsin (GRFT), an algae-derived lectin, is one of the most potent viral entry inhibitors discovered to date. It is currently being developed as a microbicide with broad-spectrum activity against several enveloped viruses. GRFT can inhibit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection at picomolar concentrations, surpassing the ability of most anti-HIV agents. The potential to inhibit other viruses as well as parasites has also been demonstrated. Griffithsin’s antiviral activity stems from its ability to bind terminal mannoses present in high-mannose oligosaccharides and crosslink these glycans on the surface of the viral envelope glycoproteins. Here, we review structural and biochemical studies that established mode of action and facilitated construction of GRFT analogs, mechanisms that may lead to resistance, and in vitro and pre-clinical results that support the therapeutic potential of this lectin.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 295: The Microtubule Inhibitor Podofilox Inhibits an Early Entry Step of Human Cytomegalovirus

  • Human cytomegalovirus is a ubiquitousβ-herpesvirus that infects many different cell types through an initial binding to cell surface receptors followed by a fusion event at the cell membrane or endocytic vesicle. A recent high-throughput screen to identify compounds that block a step prior to viral gene expression identified podofilox as a potent and nontoxic inhibitor. Time-of-addition studies in combination with quantitative-PCR analysis demonstrated that podofilox limits an early step of virus entry at the cell surface. Podofilox was also able to drastically reduce infection by herpes simplex 1, an α-herpesvirus with a verysimilar entry process to CMV. Podofilox caused a reduced maximal plateau inhibition of infection by viruses with single step binding processes prior to fusion-like Newcastle disease virus, Sendai virus, and influenza A virus or viruses that enter via endocytosis like vesicular stomatitis virus and a clinical-like strain of CMV. These results indicate that microtubules appear to be participating in the post-binding step of virus entry including the pre- and post-penetration events. Modulation of the plasma membrane is required to promote virus entry for herpesviruses, and that podofilox, unlike colchicine or nocodazole, is able to preferentially target microtubule networks at the plasma membrane.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 291: Association of the Host Immune Response with Protection Using a Live Attenuated African Swine Fever Virus Model

  • African swine fever (ASF) is a lethal hemorrhagic disease of swine caused by a double-stranded DNA virus, ASF virus (ASFV). There is no vaccine to prevent the disease and current control measures are limited to culling and restricting animal movement. Swine infected with attenuated strains are protected against challenge with a homologous virulent virus, but there is limited knowledge of the host immune mechanisms generating that protection. Swine infected with Pretoriuskop/96/4 (Pret4) virus develop a fatal severe disease, while a derivative strain lacking virulence-associated gene 9GL (Pret4Δ9GL virus) is completely attenuated. Swine infected with Pret4Δ9GL virus and challenged with the virulent parental virus at 7, 10, 14, 21, and 28 days post infection (dpi) showed a progressive acquisition of protection (from 40% at 7 dpi to 80% at 21 and 28 dpi). This animal model was used to associate the presence of host immune response (ASFV-specific antibody and interferon (IFN)-γ responses, or specific cytokine profiles) and protection against challenge. With the exception of ASFV-specific antibodies in survivors challenged at 21 and 28 dpi, no association between the parameters assessed and protection could be established. These results, encompassing data from 65 immunized swine, underscore the complexity of the system under study, suggesting that protection relies on the concurrence of different host immune mechanisms.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 294: Measles to the Rescue: A Review of Oncolytic Measles Virus

  • Oncolytic virotherapeutic agents are likely to become serious contenders in cancer treatment. The vaccine strain of measles virus is an agent with an impressive range of oncolytic activity in pre-clinical trials with increasing evidence of safety and efficacy in early clinical trials. This paramyxovirus vaccine has a proven safety record and is amenable to careful genetic modification in the laboratory. Overexpression of the measles virus (MV) receptor CD46 in many tumour cells may direct the virus to preferentially enter transformed cells and there is increasing awareness of the importance of nectin-4 and signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM) in oncolysis. Successful attempts to retarget MV by inserting genes for tumour-specific ligands to antigens such as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CD20, CD38, and by engineering the virus to express synthetic microRNA targeting sequences, and“blinding” the virus to the natural viral receptors are exciting measures to increase viral specificity and enhance the oncolytic effect. Sodium iodine symporter (NIS) can also be expressed by MV, which enables in vivo tracking of MV infection. Radiovirotherapy using MV-NIS, chemo-virotherapy to convert prodrugs to their toxic metabolites, and immune-virotherapy including incorporating antibodies against immune checkpoint inhibitors can also increase the oncolytic potential. Anti-viral host immune responses are a recognized barrier to the success of MV, and approaches such as transportingMV to the tumour sites by carrier cells, are showing promise. MV Clinical trials are producing encouraging preliminary results in ovarian cancer, myeloma and cutaneous non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the outcome of currently open trials in glioblastoma multiforme, mesothelioma and squamous cell carcinomaare eagerly anticipated.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 290: The Role of Nuclear Antiviral Factors against Invading DNA Viruses: The Immediate Fate of Incoming Viral Genomes

  • In recent years, it has been suggested that host cells exert intrinsic mechanisms to control nuclear replicating DNA viruses. This cellular response involves nuclear antiviral factors targeting incoming viral genomes. Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is the best-studied model in this context, and it was shown that upon nuclear entry HSV-1 genomes are immediately targeted by components of promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML-NBs) and the nuclear DNA sensor IFI16 (interferon gamma inducible protein 16). Based on HSV-1 studies, together with limited examples in other viral systems, these phenomena are widely believed to be a common cellular response to incoming viral genomes, although formal evidence for each virus is lacking. Indeed, recent studies suggest that the case may be different for adenovirus infection. Here we summarize the existing experimental evidence for the roles of nuclear antiviral factors against incoming viral genomes to better understand cellular responses on a virus-by-virus basis. We emphasize that cells seem to respond differently to different incoming viral genomes and discuss possible arguments for and against a unifying cellular mechanism targeting the incoming genomes of different virus families.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 292: In Vitro and In Vivo Models for the Study of Human Polyomavirus Infection

  • Developments of genome amplification techniques have rapidly expanded the family of human polyomaviruses (PyV). Following infection early in life, PyV persist in their hosts and are generally of no clinical consequence. High-level replication of PyV can occur in patients under immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory therapy and causes severe clinical entities, such as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, polyomavirus-associated nephropathy or Merkel cell carcinoma. The characterization of known and newly-discovered human PyV, their relationship to human health, and the mechanisms underlying pathogenesis remain to be elucidated. Here, we summarize the most widely-used in vitro and in vivo models to study the PyV-host interaction, pathogenesis and anti-viral drug screening. We discuss the strengths and limitations of the different models and the lessons learned.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 289: Cutthroat Trout Virus—Towards a Virus Model to Support Hepatitis E Research

  • Cutthroat trout virus (CTV) is a non-pathogenic fish virus belonging to the Hepeviridae family, and it is distantly related to hepatitis E virus (HEV). Here, we report the development of an efficient cell culture system where CTV can consistently replicate to titers never observed before with a hepevirus. By using the rainbow trout gill (RTGill-W1) cell line, CTV reaches 1010 geq/mL intracellularly and 109 geq/mL extracellularly within 5–6 days in culture. We additionally established a qPCR system to investigate CTV infectivity, and developed a specific antibody directed against the viral capsid protein encoded by ORF2. With these methods, we were able to follow the progressive accumulation of viral RNA and the capsid protein, and their intracellular distribution during virus replication. Virus progeny purified through iodixanol density gradients indicated—that similar to HEV—CTV produced in cell culture is also lipid-associated. The lack of an efficient cell culture system has greatly impeded studies with HEV, a majorhuman pathogen that causes hepatitis worldwide. Although several cell culture systems have recently been established, the replication efficiency of HEV is not robust enough to allow studies on different aspects of the virus replication cycle. Therefore, a surrogate virus that can replicate easily and efficiently in cultured cells would be helpful to boost research studies with hepeviruses. Due to its similarities, but also its key differences to HEV, CTV represents a promising tool to elucidate aspects of the replication cycle of Hepeviridae in general, and HEV in particular.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 281: Hepatitis B Virus Protein X Induces Degradation of Talin-1

  • In the infected human hepatocyte, expression of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) accessory protein X (HBx) is essential to maintain viral replication in vivo. HBx critically interacts with the host damaged DNA binding protein 1 (DDB1) and the associated ubiquitin ligase machinery, suggesting that HBx functions by inducing the degradation of host proteins. To identify such host proteins, we systematically analyzed the HBx interactome. One HBx interacting protein, talin-1 (TLN1), was proteasomally degraded upon HBx expression. Further analysis showed that TLN1 levels indeed modulate HBV transcriptional activity in an HBx-dependent manner. This indicates that HBx-mediated TLN1 degradation is essential and sufficient to stimulate HBV replication. Our data show that TLN1 can act as a viral restriction factor that suppresses HBV replication, and suggest that the HBx relieves this restriction by inducing TLN1 degradation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 288: Where in the Cell Are You? Probing HIV-1 Host Interactions through Advanced Imaging Techniques

  • Viruses must continuously evolve to hijack the host cell machinery in order to successfully replicate and orchestrate key interactions that support their persistence. The type-1 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) is a prime example of viral persistence within the host, having plagued the human population for decades. In recent years, advances in cellular imaging and molecular biology have aided the elucidation of key steps mediating the HIV-1 lifecycle and viral pathogenesis. Super-resolution imaging techniques such as stimulated emission depletion (STED) and photoactivation and localization microscopy (PALM) have been instrumental in studying viral assembly and release through both cell–cell transmission and cell–free viral transmission. Moreover, powerful methods such as Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) have shed light on the protein-protein interactions HIV-1 engages within the host to hijack the cellular machinery. Specific advancements in live cell imaging in combination with the use of multicolor viral particles have become indispensable to unravelling the dynamic nature of these virus-host interactions. In the current review, we outline novel imaging methods that have been used to study the HIV-1 lifecycle and highlight advancements in the cell culture models developed to enhance our understanding of the HIV-1 lifecycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 287: 4EBP-Dependent Signaling Supports West Nile Virus Growth and Protein Expression

  • West Nile virus (WNV) is a (+) sense, single-stranded RNA virus in the Flavivirus genus. WNV RNA possesses an m7GpppNm 5′ cap with 2′-O-methylation that mimics host mRNAs preventing innate immune detection and allowing the virus to translate its RNA genome through the utilization of cap-dependent translation initiation effectors in a wide variety of host species. Our prior work established the requirement of thehost mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) for optimal WNV growth and protein expression; yet, the roles of the downstream effectors of mTORC1 in WNV translation are unknown. In this study, we utilize gene deletion mutants in the ribosomal protein kinase called S6 kinase (S6K) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein (4EBP) pathways downstream of mTORC1 to define the role of mTOR-dependent translation initiation signals in WNV gene expression and growth. We now show that WNV growth and protein expression are dependent on mTORC1 mediated-regulation of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein/eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein (4EBP/eIF4E) interaction and eukaryotic initiation factor 4F (eIF4F) complex formation to support viral growth and viral protein expression. We also show that the canonical signals of mTORC1 activation including ribosomal protein s6 (rpS6) and S6K phosphorylation are not required for WNV growth in these same conditions. Our data suggest that the mTORC1/4EBP/eIF4E signaling axis is activated to support the translation of the WNV genome.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 286: Maporal Hantavirus Causes Mild Pathology in Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus)

  • Rodent-borne hantaviruses can cause two human diseases with many pathological similarities: hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in the western hemisphere and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in the eastern hemisphere. Each virus is hosted by specific reservoir species without conspicuous disease. HCPS-causing hantaviruses require animal biosafety level-4 (ABSL-4) containment, which substantially limits experimental research of interactions between the viruses and their reservoir hosts. Maporal virus (MAPV) is a South American hantavirus not known to cause disease in humans, thus it can be manipulated under ABSL-3 conditions. The aim of this study was to develop an ABSL-3 hantavirus infection model using the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), the natural reservoir host of Sin Nombre virus (SNV), and a virus that is pathogenic in another animal model to examine immune response of a reservoir host species. Deer mice were inoculated with MAPV, and viral RNA was detected in several organs of all deer mice during the 56 day experiment. Infected animals generated both nucleocapsid-specific and neutralizing antibodies. Histopathological lesions were minimal to mild with the peak of the lesions detected at 7–14 days postinfection, mainly in the lungs, heart, and liver. Low to modest levels of cytokine gene expression were detected in spleens and lungs of infected deer mice, and deer mouse primary pulmonary cells generated with endothelial cell growth factors were susceptible to MAPV with viral RNA accumulating in the cellular fraction compared to infected Vero cells. Most features resembled that of SNV infection of deer mice, suggesting this model may be an ABSL-3 surrogate for studying the host response of a New World hantavirus reservoir.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 284: Gene Regulation and Quality Control in Murine Polyomavirus Infection

  • Murine polyomavirus (MPyV) infects mouse cells and is highly oncogenic in immunocompromised hosts and in other rodents. Its genome is a small, circular DNA molecule of just over 5000 base pairs and it encodes only seven polypeptides. While seemingly simply organized, this virus has adopted an unusual genome structure and some unusual uses of cellular quality control pathways that, together, allow an amazingly complex and varied pattern of gene regulation. In this review we discuss how MPyV leverages these various pathways to control its life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 285: Single Amino Acid Substitution N659D in HIV-2 Envelope Glycoprotein (Env) Impairs Viral Release and Hampers BST-2 Antagonism

  • BST-2 or tetherin is a host cell restriction factor that prevents the budding of enveloped viruses at the cell surface, thus impairing the viral spread. Several countermeasures to evade this antiviral factor have been positively selected in retroviruses: the human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) relies on the envelope glycoprotein (Env) to overcome BST-2 restriction. The Env gp36 ectodomain seems involved in this anti-tetherin activity, however residues and regions interacting with BST-2 are not clearly defined. Among 32 HIV-2 ROD Env mutants tested, we demonstrated that the asparagine residue at position 659 located in the gp36 ectodomain is mandatory to exert the anti-tetherin function. Viral release assays in cell lines expressing BST-2 showed a loss of viral release ability for the HIV-2 N659D mutant virus compared to the HIV-2 wild type virus. In bst-2 inactivated H9 cells, those differences were lost. Subtilisin treatment of infected cells demonstrated that the N659D mutant was more tethered at the cell surface. Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments confirmed a direct molecular link between Env and BST-2 and highlighted an inability of the mutant to bind BST-2. We also tested a virus presenting a truncation of 109 amino acids at the C-terminal part of Env, a cytoplasmic tail partial deletionthat is spontaneously selected in vitro. Interestingly, viral release assays and FRET experiments indicated that a full Env cytoplasmic tail was essential in BST-2 antagonism. In HIV-2 infected cells, an efficient Env-mediated antagonism of BST-2 is operated through an intermolecular link involvingthe asparagine 659 residue as well as the C-terminal part of the cytoplasmic tail.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 283: Mutagenic Effects of Ribavirin on Hepatitis E Virus—Viral Extinction versus Selection of Fitness-Enhancing Mutations

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV), an important agent of viral hepatitis worldwide, can cause severe courses of infection in pregnant women and immunosuppressed patients. To date, HEV infections can only be treated with ribavirin (RBV). Major drawbacks of this therapy are that RBV is not approved for administration to pregnant women and that the virus can acquire mutations, which render the intra-host population less sensitive or even resistant to RBV. One of the proposed modes of action of RBV is a direct mutagenic effect on viral genomes, inducing mismatches and subsequent nucleotide substitutions. These transition events can drive the already error-prone viral replication beyond an error threshold, causing viral population extinction. In contrast, the expanded heterogeneous viral population can facilitate selection of mutant viruses with enhanced replication fitness. Emergence of these mutant viruses can lead to therapeutic failure. Consequently, the onset of RBV treatment in chronically HEV-infected individuals can result in two divergent outcomes: viral extinction versus selection of fitness-enhanced viruses. Following an overview of RNA viruses treated with RBV in clinics and a summary of the different antiviral modes of action of this drug, we focus on the mutagenic effect of RBV on HEV intrahost populations, and how HEV is able to overcome lethal mutagenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 282: The Immune Response in Measles: Virus Control, Clearance and Protective Immunity

  • Measles is an acute systemic viral infection with immune system interactions that play essential roles in multiple stages of infection and disease. Measles virus (MeV) infection does not induce type 1 interferons, but leads to production of cytokines and chemokines associated with nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) signaling and activation of the NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing protein (NLRP3) inflammasome. This restricted response allows extensive virus replication and spread during a clinically silent latent period of 10–14 days. The first appearance of the disease is a 2–3 day prodrome of fever, runny nose, cough, and conjunctivitis that is followed by a characteristic maculopapular rash that spreads from the face and trunk to the extremities. The rash is a manifestation of the MeV-specific type 1 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell adaptive immune response with lymphocyte infiltration into tissue sites of MeV replication and coincides with clearance of infectious virus. However, clearance of viral RNA from blood and tissues occurs over weeks to months after resolution of the rash and is associated with a period of immunosuppression. However, during viral RNA clearance, MeV-specific antibody also matures in type and avidity and T cell functions evolve from type 1 to type 2 and 17 responses that promote B cell development. Recovery is associated with sustained levels of neutralizing antibody and life-long protective immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 275: The Role of the Equine Herpesvirus Type 1 (EHV-1) US3-Encoded Protein Kinase in Actin Reorganization and Nuclear Egress

  • The serine-threonine protein kinase encoded by US3 gene (pUS3) of alphaherpesviruses was shown to modulate actin reorganization, cell-to-cell spread, and virus egress in a number of virus species. However, the role of the US3 orthologues of equine herpesvirus type 1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) has not yet been studied. Here, we show that US3 is not essential for virus replication in vitro. However, growth rates and plaque diameters of a US3-deleted EHV-1 and a mutant in which the catalytic active site was destroyed were significantly reduced when compared with parental and revertant viruses or a virus in which EHV-1 US3 was replaced with the corresponding EHV-4 gene. The reduced plaque sizes were consistent with accumulation of primarily enveloped virions in the perinuclear space of the US3-negative EHV-1, a phenotype that was also rescued by the EHV-4 orthologue. Furthermore, actin stress fiber disassembly was significantly more pronounced in cells infected with parental EHV-1, revertant, or the recombinant EHV-1 expressing EHV-4 US3. Finally, we observed that deletion of US3 in EHV-1 did not affect the expression of adhesion molecules on the surface of infected cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 276: Cross- and Co-Packaging of Retroviral RNAs and Their Consequences

  • Retroviruses belong to the family Retroviridae and are ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles that contain a dimeric RNA genome. Retroviral particle assembly is a complex process, and how the virus is able to recognize and specifically capture the genomic RNA (gRNA) among millions of other cellular and spliced retroviral RNAs has been the subject of extensive investigation over the last two decades. The specificity towards RNA packaging requires higher order interactions of the retroviral gRNA with the structural Gag proteins. Moreover, several retroviruses have been shown to have the ability to cross-/co-package gRNA from other retroviruses, despite little sequence homology. This review will compare the determinants of gRNA encapsidation among different retroviruses, followed by an examination of our current understanding of the interaction between diverse viral genomes and heterologous proteins, leading to their cross-/co-packaging. Retroviruses are well-known serious animal and human pathogens, and such a cross-/co-packaging phenomenon could result in the generation of novel viral variants with unknown pathogenic potential. At the same time, however, an enhanced understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in these specific interactions makes retroviruses an attractive target for anti-viral drugs, vaccines, and vectors for human gene therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 274: Morbillivirus Experimental Animal Models: Measles Virus Pathogenesis Insights from Canine Distemper Virus

  • Morbilliviruses share considerable structural and functional similarities. Even though disease severity varies among the respective host species, the underlying pathogenesis and the clinical signs are comparable. Thus, insights gained with one morbillivirus often apply to the other members of the genus. Since the Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes severe and often lethal disease in dogs and ferrets, it is an attractive model to characterize morbillivirus pathogenesis mechanisms and to evaluate the efficacy of new prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. This review compares the cellular tropism, pathogenesis, mechanisms of persistence and immunosuppression of the Measles virus (MeV) and CDV. It then summarizes the contributions made by studies on the CDV in dogs and ferrets to our understanding of MeV pathogenesis and to vaccine and drugs development.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 273: A Single Lineage of Hepatitis E Virus Causes Both  Outbreaks and Sporadic Hepatitis in Sudan

  • Few studies have reported sporadic hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections during non‐outbreak periods in Africa. In this study, the prevalence of HEV infection in Sudan was investigated in 432 patients with acute hepatitis from 12 localities in North Kordofan, and from 152 patients involved in smaller outbreaks of hepatitis in the neighbouring Darfur. HEV infection was diagnosed in 147 (25%) patients: 98 from Kordofan and 49 from Darfur. The mortality was 10%; six of the patients who died from the infection were pregnant women. HEV RNA was detected by quantitative real‐time polymerase chain reaction (RT‐qPCR) in 38 (26%) patients: 22 from Kordofan and 16 from Darfur.Partial open reading frame (ORF) 1 and ORF2 were sequenced from HEV from nine and three patients, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Sudanese strains belonged to genotype 1 (HEV1), and confirmed the segregation of African HEV1 strains into one branch divergent from Asian HEV1. It also revealed that the Sudanese strains from this study and from an outbreak in 2004 formed a separate clade with a common ancestor, distinct from strains from the neighbouring Chad and Egypt. This HEV strain has thus spread in a large area of Sudan, where it has caused both sporadic hepatitis E and outbreaks from at least 2004 and onwards. These data demonstrate that hepatitis E is a constant, on‐going public health problem in Sudan and that there is a need for hepatitis E surveillance, outbreak preparedness, and general improvements of the sanitation in these remote areas of the country.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 272: A Viral Noncoding RNA Complements a Weakened Viral RNA Silencing Suppressor and Promotes Efficient Systemic Host Infection

  • Systemic movement of beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV) in Beta macrocarpa depends on viral RNA3, whereas in Nicotiana benthamiana this RNA is dispensable. RNA3 contains a coremin motif of 20 nucleotides essential for the stabilization of noncoding RNA3 (ncRNA3) and for long‐distance movement in Beta species. Coremin mutants that are unable to accumulate ncRNA3 also do not achieve systemic movement in Beta species. A mutant virus carrying a mutation in the p14 viral suppressor of RNA silencing (VSR), unable to move long distances, can be complemented with the ncRNA3in the lesion phenotype, viral RNA accumulation, and systemic spread. Analyses of the BNYVV VSR mechanism of action led to the identification of the RNA‐dependent RNA polymerase 6 (RDR6) pathway as a target of the virus VSR and the assignment of a VSR function to the ncRNA3.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 271: Atypical Porcine Pestivirus: A Possible Cause of Congenital Tremor Type A‐II in Newborn Piglets

  • Congenital tremor type A‐II in piglets has been regarded as a transmissible disease since the 1970s, possibly caused by a very recently‐described virus: atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV). Here, we describe several strains of APPV in piglets with clinical signs of congenital tremor (10 of 10 farms tested). Piglets ona farm with no history of congenital tremor were PCR‐negative for the virus. To demonstrate a causal relationship between APPV and disease, three gilts were inoculated via intramuscular injection at day 32 of pregnancy. In two of the three litters, vertical transmission of the virus occurred. Clinical signs of congenital tremor were observed in APPV‐infected newborns, yet also two asymptomatic carriers were among the offspring. Piglets of one litter were PCR‐negative for the virus, and these piglets were all without congenital tremors. Long‐term follow up of farm piglets born with congenital tremors showed that the initially high viremia in serum declines at five months of age, but shedding of the virus in feces continues, which explains why the virus remains present at affected farms and causes new outbreaks. We conclude that trans‐placental transmission of APPV and subsequent infection of the fetuses is a very likely cause of congenital tremor type A‐II in piglets.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 270: Zoonotic Hepatitis E Virus: Classification, Animal Reservoirs and Transmission Routes

  • During the past ten years, several new hepatitis E viruses (HEVs) have been identified in various animal species. In parallel, the number of reports of autochthonous hepatitis E in Western countries has increased as well, raising the question of what role these possible animal reservoirs play in human infections. The aim of this review is to present the recent discoveries of animal HEVs and their classification within the Hepeviridae family, their zoonotic and species barrier crossing potential, and possible use as models to study hepatitis E pathogenesis. Lastly, this review describes the transmission pathways identified from animal sources.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 269: Multi-Omics Studies towards Novel Modulators of Influenza A Virus–Host Interaction

  • Human influenza A viruses (IAVs) cause global pandemics and epidemics. These viruses evolve rapidly, making current treatment options ineffective. To identify novel modulators of IAV–host interactions, we re-analyzed our recent transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, phosphoproteomics, and genomics/virtual ligand screening data. We identified 713 potential modulators targeting 199 cellular and two viral proteins. Anti-influenza activity for 48 of them has been reported previously, whereas the antiviral efficacy of the 665 remains unknown. Studying anti-influenza efficacy and immuno/neuro-modulating properties of these compounds and their combinations as well as potential viral and host resistance to them may lead to the discovery of novel modulators of IAV–host interactions, which might be more effective than the currently available anti-influenza therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 267: Enhanced Replication of Hepatitis E Virus Strain 47832c in an A549-Derived Subclonal Cell Line

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a human pathogen with increasing importance. The lack of efficient cell culture systems hampers systematic studies on its replication cycle, virus neutralization and inactivation. Here, several cell lines were inoculated with the HEV genotype 3c strain 47832c, previously isolated from a chronically infected transplant patient. At 14 days after inoculation the highest HEV genome copy numbers were found in A549 cells, followed by PLC/PRF/5 cells, whereas HepG2/C3A, Huh-7 Lunet BLR and MRC-5 cells only weakly supported virus replication. Inoculation of A549-derived subclone cell lines resulted in most cases in reduced HEV replication. However, the subclone A549/D3 was susceptible to lower virus concentrations and resulted in higher virus yields as compared to parental A549 cells. Transcriptome analysis indicated a downregulation of genes for carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAM) 5 and 6, and an upregulation of the syndecan 2 (SDC2) gene in A549/D3 cells compared to A549 cells. However, treatment of A549/D3 cells or A549 cells with CEACAM- or syndecan 2-specific antisera did not influence HEV replication. The results show that cells supporting more efficient HEV replication can be selected from the A549 cell line. The specific mechanisms responsible for the enhanced replication remain unknown.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 264: Emergence of a Latent Indian Cassava Mosaic Virus from Cassava Which Recovered from Infection by a Non-Persistent Sri Lankan Cassava Mosaic Virus

  • The major threat for cassava cultivation on the Indian subcontinent is cassava mosaic disease (CMD) caused by cassava mosaic geminiviruses which are bipartite begomoviruses with DNA A and DNA B components. Indian cassava mosaic virus (ICMV) and Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus (SLCMV) cause CMD in India. Two isolates of SLCMV infected the cassava cultivar Sengutchi in the fields near Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram cities of Kerala State, India. The Malappuram isolate was persistent when maintained in the Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India) greenhouse, whereas the Thiruvananthapuram isolate did not persist. The recovered cassava plants with the non-persistent SLCMV, which were maintained vegetative in quarantine in the University of Basel (Basel, Switzerland) greenhouse, displayed re-emergence of CMD after a six-month period. Interestingly, these plants did not carry SLCMV but carried ICMV. It is interpreted that the field-collected, SLCMV-infected cassava plants were co-infected with low levels of ICMV. The loss of SLCMV in recovered cassava plants, under greenhouse conditions, then facilitated the re-emergence of ICMV. The partial dimer clones of the persistent and non-persistent isolates of SLCMV and the re-emerged isolate of ICMV were infective in Nicotiana benthamiana upon agroinoculation. Studies on pseudo-recombination between SLCMV and ICMV in N. benthamiana provided evidence for trans-replication of ICMV DNA B by SLCMV DNA A.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 265: The VP1u Receptor Restricts Parvovirus B19 Uptake to Permissive Erythroid Cells

  • Parvovirus B19 (B19V) is a small non-enveloped virus and known as the causative agent for the mild childhood disease erythema infectiosum. B19V has an extraordinary narrow tissue tropism, showing only productive infection in erythroid precursor cells in the bone marrow. We recently found that the viral protein 1 unique region (VP1u) contains an N-terminal receptor-binding domain (RBD), which mediates the uptake of the virus into cells of the erythroid lineage. To further investigate the role of the RBD in connection with a B19V-unrelated capsid, we chemically coupled the VP1u of B19V to the bacteriophage MS2 capsid and tested the internalization capacity of the bioconjugate on permissive cells. In comparison, we studied the cellular uptake and infection of B19V along the erythroid differentiation. The results showed that the MS2-VP1u bioconjugate mimicked the specific internalization of the native B19V into erythroid precursor cells, which further coincides with the restricted infection profile. The successful mimicry of B19V uptake demonstrates that the RBD in the VP1u is sufficient for the endocytosis of the viral capsid. Furthermore, the recombinant VP1u competed with B19V uptake into permissive cells, thus excluding a significant alternative uptake mechanism by other receptors. Strikingly, the VP1u receptor appeared to be expressed only on erythropoietin-dependent erythroid differentiation stages that also provide the necessary intracellular factors for a productive infection. Taken together, these findings suggest that the VP1u binds to a yet-unknown erythroid-specific cellular receptor and thus restricts the virus entry to permissive cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 260: Structural Maturation of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase—A Metamorphic Solution to Genomic Instability

  • Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT)—a critical enzyme of the viral life cycle—undergoes a complex maturation process, required so that a pair of p66 precursor proteins can develop conformationally along different pathways, one evolving to form active polymerase and ribonuclease H (RH) domains, while the second forms a non-functional polymerase and a proteolyzed RH domain. These parallel maturation pathways rely on the structural ambiguity of a metamorphic polymerase domain, for which the sequence–structure relationship is not unique. Recent nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies utilizing selective labeling techniques,and structural characterization of the p66 monomer precursor have provided important insights into the details of this maturation pathway, revealing many aspects of the three major steps involved: (1) domain rearrangement; (2) dimerization; and (3) subunit-selective RH domain proteolysis. This review summarizes the major structural changes that occur during the maturation process. We also highlight how mutations, often viewed within the context of the mature RT heterodimer, can exert a major influence on maturation and dimerization. It is further suggested that several steps in the RT maturation pathway may provide attractive targets for drug development.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 268: Molecular Characterization of a Trisegmented Mycovirus from the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides

  • A novel double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) mycovirus, consisting of three dsRNA genome segments and possibly belonging to the family Chrysoviridae, was isolated from the filamentous phytopathogenic fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and designated as Colletotrichum gloeosprioides chrysovirus 1 (CgCV1). The three dsRNAs of the CgCV1 genome with lengths of 3397, 2869, and 2630 bp (dsRNAs1–3) were found to contain a single open reading frame (ORF) putatively encoding the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), a capsid protein, and a protease, respectively, all of which exhibited some degree of sequence similarity to the comparable putative proteins encoded by the genus Chrysovirus. The 5′- and 3′-untranslated regions in each dsRNA segment contained similar sequences that were strictly conserved at the termini. Moreover, isometric virus-like particles (VLPs) with a diameter of approximately 40 nm were extracted from fungal mycelia. Phylogenetic analysis based on the conserved dsRNA1-encoded RdRp showed that CgCV1 is a new virus belonging to the Chrysoviridae family. BLAST analysis revealed the presence of CgCV1-like sequences in the chromosomes of Medicago truncatula and Solanum tuberosum. Moreover, some sequences in the transcriptome shotgun assembly (TSA) library and expressed sequence tag database (ESTdb) of other eudicot and monocot plants were also found to be related to CgCV1.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 266: Vesicular Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Transport—Herpesviruses as Pioneers in Cell Biology

  • Herpesviruses use a vesicle-mediated transfer of intranuclearly assembled nucleocapsids through the nuclear envelope (NE) for final maturation in the cytoplasm. The molecular basis for this novel vesicular nucleo-cytoplasmic transport is beginning to be elucidated in detail. The heterodimeric viral nuclear egress complex (NEC), conserved within the classical herpesviruses, mediates vesicle formation from the inner nuclear membrane (INM) by polymerization into a hexagonal lattice followed by fusion of the vesicle membrane with the outer nuclear membrane (ONM). Mechanisms of capsid inclusion as well as vesicle-membrane fusion, however, are largely unclear. Interestingly, a similar transport mechanism through the NE has been demonstrated in nuclear export of large ribonucleoprotein complexes during Drosophila neuromuscular junction formation, indicating a widespread presence of a novel concept of cellular nucleo-cytoplasmic transport.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 263: Mechanistic Study of Common Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor-Resistant Mutations with K103N and Y181C Substitutions

  • Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are a mainstay of therapy for human immunodeficiency type 1 virus (HIV-1) infections. However, their effectiveness can be hampered by the emergence of resistant mutations. To aid in designing effective NNRTIs against the resistant mutants, it is important to understand the resistance mechanism of the mutations. Here, we investigate the mechanism of the two most prevalent NNRTI-associated mutations with K103N or Y181C substitution. Virus and reverse transcriptase (RT) with K103N/Y188F, K103A, or K103E substitutions and with Y181F, Y188F, or Y181F/Y188F substitutions were employed to study the resistance mechanism of the K103N and Y181C mutants, respectively. Results showed that the virus and RT with K103N/Y188F substitutions displayed similar resistance levels to the virus and RT with K103N substitution versus NNRTIs. Virus and RT containing Y181F, Y188F, or Y181F/Y188F substitution exhibited either enhanced or similar susceptibility to NNRTIs compared with the wild type (WT) virus. These results suggest that the hydrogen bond between N103 and Y188 may not play an important role in the resistance of the K103N variant to NNRTIs. Furthermore, the results from the studies with the Y181 or Y188 variant provide the direct evidence that aromaticπ–π stacking plays a crucial role in the binding of NNRTIs to RT.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 258: Capsid-Targeted Viral Inactivation: A Novel Tactic for Inhibiting Replication in Viral Infections

  • Capsid-targeted viral inactivation (CTVI), a conceptually powerful new antiviral strategy, is attracting increasing attention from researchers. Specifically, this strategy is based on fusion between the capsid protein of a virus and a crucial effector molecule, such as a nuclease (e.g., staphylococcal nuclease, Barrase, RNase HI), lipase, protease, or single-chain antibody (scAb). In general, capsid proteins have a major role in viral integration and assembly, and the effector molecule used in CTVI functions to degrade viral DNA/RNA or interfere with proper folding of viral key proteins, thereby affecting the infectivity of progeny viruses. Interestingly, such a capsid–enzyme fusion protein is incorporated into virions during packaging. CTVI is more efficient compared to other antiviral methods, and this approach is promising for antiviral prophylaxis and therapy. This review summarizes the mechanism and utility of CTVI and provides some successful applications of this strategy, with the ultimate goal of widely implementing CTVI in antiviral research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 262: Zebra Alphaherpesviruses (EHV-1 and EHV-9): Genetic Diversity, Latency and Co-Infections

  • Alphaherpesviruses are highly prevalent in equine populations and co-infections with more than one of these viruses’ strains frequently diagnosed. Lytic replication and latency with subsequent reactivation, along with new episodes of disease, can be influenced by genetic diversity generated by spontaneous mutation and recombination. Latency enhances virus survival by providing an epidemiological strategy for long-term maintenance of divergent strains in animal populations. The alphaherpesviruses equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) and 9 (EHV-9) have recently been shown to cross species barriers, including a recombinant EHV-1 observed in fatal infections of a polar bear and Asian rhinoceros. Little is known about the latency and genetic diversity of EHV-1 and EHV-9, especially among zoo and wild equids. Here, we report evidence of limited genetic diversity in EHV-9 in zebras, whereas there is substantial genetic variability in EHV-1. We demonstrate that zebras can be lytically and latently infected with both viruses concurrently. Such a co-occurrence of infection in zebras suggests that even relatively slow-evolving viruses such as equine herpesviruses have the potential to diversify rapidly by recombination. This has potential consequences for the diagnosis of these viruses and their management in wild and captive equid populations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 253: Transmission of Hepatitis E Virus in Developing Countries

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV), an RNA virus of the Hepeviridae family, has marked heterogeneity. While all five HEV genotypes can cause human infections, genotypes HEV-1 and -2 infect humans alone, genotypes HEV-3 and -4 primarily infect pigs, boars and deer, and genotype HEV-7 primarily infects dromedaries. The global distribution of HEV has distinct epidemiological patterns based on ecology and socioeconomic factors. In resource-poor countries, disease presents as large-scale waterborne epidemics, and few epidemics have spread through person-to-person contact; however, endemic diseases within these countries can potentially spread through person-to-person contact or fecally contaminated water and foods. Vertical transmission of HEV from infected mother to fetus causes high fetal and perinatal mortality. Other means of transmission, such as zoonotic transmission, can fluctuate depending upon the region and strain of the virus. For instance, zoonotic transmission can sometimes play an insignificant role in human infections, such as in India, where human and pig HEV infections are unrelated. However, recently China and Southeast Asia have experienced a zoonotic spread of HEV-4 from pigs to humans and this has become the dominant mode of transmission of hepatitis E in eastern China. Zoonotic HEV infections in humans occur by eating undercooked pig flesh, raw liver, and sausages; through vocational contact; or via pig slurry, which leads to environmental contamination of agricultural products and seafood. Lastly, blood transfusion-associated HEV infections occur in many countries and screening of donors for HEV RNA is currently under serious consideration. To summarize, HEV genotypes 1 and 2 cause epidemic and endemic diseases in resource poor countries, primarily spreading through contaminated drinking water. HEV genotypes 3 and 4 on the other hand, cause autochthonous infections in developed, and many developing countries, by means of a unique zoonotic food-borne transmission.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 261: Cell Culture Models for the Investigation of Hepatitis B and D Virus Infection

  • Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) infections are major causes of liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Despite the presence of an efficient preventive vaccine, more than 250 million patients are chronically infected with HBV. Current antivirals effectively control but only rarely cure chronic infection. While the molecular biology of the two viruses has been characterized in great detail, the absence of robust cell culture models for HBV and/or HDV infection has limited the investigation of virus-host interactions. Native hepatoma cell lines do not allow viral infection, and the culture of primary hepatocytes, the natural host cell for the viruses, implies a series of constraints restricting the possibilities of analyzing virus-host interactions. Recently, the discovery of the sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP) as a key HBV/HDV cell entry factor has opened the door to a new era of investigation, as NTCP-overexpressing hepatoma cells acquire susceptibility to HBV and HDV infections. In this review, we summarize the major cell culture models for HBV and HDV infection, discuss their advantages and limitations and highlight perspectives for future developments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 257: Orchestrating the Selection and Packaging of Genomic RNA by Retroviruses: An Ensemble of Viral and Host Factors

  • Infectious retrovirus particles contain two copies of unspliced viral RNA that serve as the viral genome. Unspliced retroviral RNA is transcribed in the nucleus by the host RNA polymerase II and has three potential fates: (1) it can be spliced into subgenomic messenger RNAs (mRNAs) for the translation of viral proteins; or it can remain unspliced to serve as either (2) the mRNA for the translation of Gag and Gag–Pol; or (3) the genomic RNA (gRNA) that is packaged into virions. The Gag structural protein recognizes and binds the unspliced viral RNA to select it as a genome, which is selected in preference to spliced viral RNAs and cellular RNAs. In this review, we summarize the current state of understanding about how retroviral packaging is orchestrated within the cell and explore potential new mechanisms based on recent discoveries in the field. We discuss the cis-acting elements in the unspliced viral RNA and the properties of the Gag protein that are required for their interaction. In addition,we discuss the role of host factors in influencing the fate of the newly transcribed viral RNA, current models for how retroviruses distinguish unspliced viral mRNA from viral genomic RNA, and the possible subcellular sites of genomic RNA dimerization and selection by Gag. Although this review centers primarily on the wealth of data available for the alpharetrovirus Rous sarcoma virus, in which a discrete RNA packaging sequence has been identified, we have also summarized the cis- and trans-acting factors as well as the mechanisms governing gRNA packaging of other retroviruses for comparison.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 250: The Host Cell Receptors for Measles Virus and Their Interaction with the Viral Hemagglutinin (H) Protein

  • The hemagglutinin (H) protein of measles virus (MeV) interacts with a cellular receptor which constitutes the initial stage of infection. Binding of H to this host cell receptor subsequently triggers the F protein to activate fusion between virus and host plasma membranes. The search for MeV receptors began with vaccine/laboratory virus strains and evolved to more relevant receptors used by wild-type MeV. Vaccine or laboratory strains of measles virus have been adapted to grow in common cell lines such as Vero and HeLa cells, and were found to use membrane cofactor protein (CD46) as a receptor. CD46 is a regulator that normally prevents cells from complement-mediated self-destruction, and is found on the surface of all human cells, with the exception of erythrocytes. Mutations in the H protein, which occur during adaptation and allow the virus to use CD46 as a receptor, have been identified. Wild-type isolates of measles virus cannot use the CD46 receptor. However, both vaccine/laboratory and wild-type strains can use an immune cell receptor called signaling lymphocyte activation molecule family member 1 (SLAMF1; also called CD150) and a recently discovered epithelial receptor known as Nectin-4. SLAMF1 is found on activated B, T, dendritic, and monocyte cells, and is the initial target for infections by measles virus. Nectin-4 is an adherens junction protein found at the basal surfaces of many polarized epithelial cells, including those of the airways. It is also over-expressed on the apical and basal surfaces of many adenocarcinomas, and is a cancer marker for metastasis and tumor survival. Nectin-4 is a secondary exit receptor which allows measles virus to replicate and amplify in the airways, where the virus is expelled from the body in aerosol droplets. The amino acid residues of H protein that are involved in binding to each of the receptors have been identified through X-ray crystallography and site-specific mutagenesis. Recombinant measles“blind” to each of these receptors have been constructed, allowing the virus to selectively infect receptor specific cell lines. Finally, the observations that SLAMF1 is found on lymphomas and that Nectin-4 is expressed on the cell surfaces of many adenocarcinomas highlight the potential of measles virus for oncolytic therapy. Although CD46 is also upregulated on many tumors, it is less useful as a target for cancer therapy, since normal human cells express this protein on their surfaces.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 259: Markers for Ongoing or Previous Hepatitis E Virus Infection Are as Common in Wild Ungulates as in Humans in Sweden

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a human pathogen with zoonotic spread, infecting both domestic and wild animals. About 17% of the Swedish population is immune to HEV, but few cases are reported annually, indicating that most infections are subclinical. However, clinical hepatitis E may also be overlooked. For identified cases, the source of infection is mostly unknown. In order to identify whether HEV may be spread from wild game, the prevalence of markers for past and/or ongoing infection was investigated in sera and stool samples collected from 260 hunted Swedish wild ungulates. HEV markers were found in 43 (17%) of the animals. The most commonly infected animal was moose (Alces alces) with 19 out of 69 animals (28%) showing HEV markers, followed by wild boar (Sus scrofa) with 21 out of 139 animals (15%), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) with 2 out of 30 animals, red deer (Cervus elaphus) with 1 out of 15 animals, and fallow deer (Dama dama) 0 out of 7 animals. Partial open reading frame 1 (ORF1) of the viral genomes from the animals were sequenced and compared with those from 14 endemic human cases. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that three humans were infected with HEV strains similar to those from wild boar. These results indicate that wild animals may be a source of transmission to humans and could be an unrecognized public health concern.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 256: Functional Equivalence of Retroviral MA Domains in Facilitating Psi RNA Binding Specificity by Gag

  • Retroviruses specifically package full-length, dimeric genomic RNA (gRNA) even in the presence of a vast excess of cellular RNA. The“psi” (Ψ) element within the 5′-untranslated region (5′UTR) of gRNA is critical for packaging through interaction with the nucleocapsid (NC) domain of Gag. However, in vitro Gag binding affinity for Ψ versus non-Ψ RNAs is not significantly different. Previous salt-titration binding assays revealed that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag bound to Ψ RNA with high specificity and relatively few charge interactions, whereas binding to non-Ψ RNA was less specific and involved more electrostatic interactions. The NC domain was critical for specific Ψ binding, but surprisingly, a Gag mutant lacking the matrix (MA) domain was less effective at discriminating Ψ from non-Ψ RNA. We now find that Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) Gag also effectively discriminates RSV Ψ from non-Ψ RNA in a MA-dependent manner. Interestingly, Gag chimeras, wherein the HIV-1 and RSV MA domains were swapped, maintained high binding specificity to cognate Ψ RNAs. Using Ψ RNA mutant constructs, determinants responsible for promoting high Gag binding specificity were identified in both systems. Taken together, these studies reveal the functional equivalence of HIV-1 and RSV MA domains in facilitating Ψ RNA selectivity by Gag, as well as Ψ elements that promote this selectivity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 255: Arms Race between Enveloped Viruses and the Host ERAD Machinery

  • Enveloped viruses represent a significant category of pathogens that cause serious diseases in animals. These viruses express envelope glycoproteins that are singularly important during the infection of host cells by mediating fusion between the viral envelope and host cell membranes. Despite low homology at protein levels, three classes of viral fusion proteins have, as of yet, been identified based on structural similarities. Their incorporation into viral particles is dependent upon their proper sub-cellular localization after being expressed and folded properly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, viral protein expression can cause stress in the ER, and host cells respond to alleviate the ER stress in the form of the unfolded protein response (UPR); the effects of which have been observed to potentiate or inhibit viral infection. One important arm of UPR is to elevate the capacity of the ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) pathway, which is comprised of host quality control machinery that ensures proper protein folding. In this review, we provide relevant details regarding viral envelope glycoproteins, UPR, ERAD, and their interactions in host cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 254: Quantification of Lyssavirus-Neutralizing Antibodies Using Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Pseudotype Particles

  • Rabies is a highly fatal zoonotic disease which is primarily caused by rabies virus (RABV) although other members of the genus Lyssavirus can cause rabies as well. As yet, 14 serologically and genetically diverse lyssaviruses have been identified, mostly in bats. To assess the quality of rabies vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations, virus neutralization tests with live RABV are performed in accordance with enhanced biosafety standards. In the present work, a novel neutralization test is presented which takes advantage of a modified vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) from which the glycoprotein G gene has been deleted and replaced by reporter genes. This single-cycle virus was trans-complemented with RABV envelope glycoprotein. Neutralization of this pseudotype virus with RABV reference serum or immune sera from vaccinated mice showed a strong correlation with the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT). Importantly, pseudotype viruses containing the envelope glycoproteins of other lyssaviruses were neutralized by reference serum to a significantly lesser extent or were not neutralized at all. Taken together, a pseudotype virus system has been successfully developed which allows the safe, fast, and sensitive detection of neutralizing antibodies directed against different lyssaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 247: Binding of RNA by the Nucleoproteins of Influenza Viruses A and B

  • This paper describes a biochemical study for making complexes between the nucleoprotein of influenza viruses A and B (A/NP and B/NP) and small RNAs (polyUC RNAs from 5 to 24 nucleotides (nt)), starting from monomeric proteins. We used negative stain electron microscopy, size exclusion chromatography-multi-angle laser light scattering (SEC-MALLS) analysis, and fluorescence anisotropy measurements to show how the NP-RNA complexes evolve. Both proteins make small oligomers with 24-nt RNAs, trimers for A/NP, and dimers, tetramers, and larger complexes for B/NP. With shorter RNAs, the affinities of NP are all in the same range at 50 mM NaCl, showing that the RNAs bind on the same site. The affinity of B/NP for a 24-nt RNA does not change with salt. However, the affinity of A/NP for a 24-nt RNA is lower at 150 and 300 mM NaCl, suggesting that the RNA binds to another site, either on the same protomer or on a neighbour protomer. For our fluorescence anisotropy experiments, we used 6-fluorescein amidite (FAM)-labelled RNAs. By using a (UC)6-FAM3′ RNA with 150 mM NaCl, we observed an interesting phenomenon that gives macromolecular complexes similar to the ribonucleoprotein particles purified from the viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 246: On the Selective Packaging of Genomic RNA by HIV-1

  • Like other retroviruses, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) selectively packages genomic RNA (gRNA) during virus assembly. However, in the absence of the gRNA, cellular messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are packaged. While the gRNA is selected because of its cis-acting packaging signal, the mechanism of this selection is not understood. The affinity of Gag (the viral structural protein) for cellular RNAs at physiological ionic strength is not much higher than that for the gRNA. However, binding to the gRNA is more salt-resistant, implying that it has a higher non-electrostatic component. We have previously studied the spacer 1 (SP1) region of Gag and showed that it can undergo a concentration-dependent conformational transition. We proposed that this transition represents the first step in assembly, i.e., the conversion of Gag to an assembly-ready state. To explain selective packaging of gRNA, we suggest here that binding of Gag to gRNA, with its high non-electrostatic component, triggers this conversion more readily than binding to other RNAs; thus we predict that a Gag–gRNA complex will nucleate particle assembly more efficiently than other Gag–RNA complexes. New data shows that among cellular mRNAs, those with long 3′-untranslated regions (UTR) are selectively packaged. It seems plausible that the 3′-UTR, a stretch of RNA not occupied by ribosomes, offers a favorable binding site for Gag.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 251: Organization, Function, and Therapeutic Targeting of the Morbillivirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Complex

  • The morbillivirus genus comprises major human and animal pathogens, including the highly contagious measles virus. Morbilliviruses feature single stranded negative sense RNA genomes that are wrapped by a plasma membrane-derived lipid envelope. Genomes are encapsidated by the viral nucleocapsid protein forming ribonucleoprotein complexes, and only the encapsidated RNA is transcribed and replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). In this review, we discuss recent breakthroughs towards the structural and functional understanding of the morbillivirus polymerase complex. Considering the clinical burden imposed by members of the morbillivirus genus, the development of novel antiviral therapeutics is urgently needed. The viral polymerase complex presents unique structural and enzymatic properties that can serve as attractive candidates for druggable targets. We evaluate distinct strategies for therapeutic intervention and examine how high-resolution insight into the organization of the polymerase complex may pavethe path towards the structure-based design and optimization of next-generation RdRp inhibitors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 248: The Life-Cycle of the HIV-1 Gag–RNA Complex

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication is a highly regulated process requiring the recruitment of viral and cellular components to the plasma membrane for assembly into infectious particles. This review highlights the recent process of understanding the selection of the genomic RNA (gRNA) by the viral Pr55Gag precursor polyprotein, and the processes leading to its incorporation into viral particles.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 249: Influenza A Virus Hemagglutinin is Required for the Assembly of Viral Components Including Bundled vRNPs at the Lipid Raft

  • The influenza glycoproteins, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), which are associated with the lipid raft, have the potential to initiate virion budding. However, the role of these viral proteins in infectious virion assembly is still unclear. In addition, it is not known how the viral ribonucleoprotein complex (vRNP) is tethered to the budding site. Here, we show that HA is necessary for the efficient progeny virion production and vRNP packaging in the virion. We also found that the level of HA does not affect the bundling of the eight vRNP segments, despite reduced virion production. Detergent solubilization and a subsequent membrane flotation analysis indicated that the accumulation of nucleoprotein, viral polymerases, NA, and matrix protein 1 (M1) in the lipid raft fraction was delayed without HA. Based on our results, we inferred that HA plays a role in the accumulation of viral components, including bundled vRNPs, at the lipid raft.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 252: Analysis of the Langat Virus Genome in Persistent Infection of an Ixodes scapularis Cell Line

  • Tick-borne flaviviruses (TBFVs) cause a broad spectrum of disease manifestations ranging from asymptomatic to mild febrile illness and life threatening encephalitis. These single-stranded positive-sense (ss(+)) RNA viruses are naturally maintained in a persistent infection of ixodid ticks and small-medium sized mammals. The development of cell lines from the ixodid ticks has provided a valuable surrogate system for studying the biology of TBFVs in vitro. When we infected ISE6 cells, an Ixodes scapularis embryonic cell line, with Langat virus (LGTV) we observed that the infection proceeded directly into persistence without any cytopathic effect. Analysis of the viral genome at selected time points showed that no defective genomes were generated during LGTV persistence by 10 weeks of cell passage. This was in contrast to LGTV persistence in 293T cells in which defective viral genomes are detectable by five weeks of serial cell passage. We identified two synonymous nucleotide changes i.e., 1893A→C (29% of 5978 reads at 12 h post infection (hpi)) and 2284T→A (34% of 4191 reads at 12 hpi) in the region encoding for the viral protein E. These results suggested that the mechanisms supporting LGTV persistence are different between tick and mammalian cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 245: Analysis of the Prevalence of HTLV-1 Proviral DNA in Cervical Smears and Carcinomas from HIV Positive and Negative Kenyan Women

  • The oncogenic retrovirus human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is endemic in some countries although its prevalence and relationship with other sexually transmitted infections in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely unknown. A novel endpoint PCR method was used to analyse the prevalence of HTLV-1 proviral DNA in genomic DNA extracted from liquid based cytology (LBC) cervical smears and invasive cervical carcinomas (ICCs) obtained from human immunodeficiency virus-positive (HIV+ve) and HIV-negative (HIV−ve) Kenyan women. Patient sociodemographic details were recorded by structured questionnaire and these data analysed with respect to HIV status, human papillomavirus (HPV) type (Papilocheck®) and cytology. This showed 22/113 (19.5%) of LBC’s from HIV+ve patients were positive for HTLV-1 compared to 4/111 (3.6%) of those from HIV−ve women (p = 0.0002; odds ratio (OR) = 6.42 (2.07–26.56)). Only 1/37 (2.7%) of HIV+ve and none of the 44 HIV−ve ICC samples were positive for HTLV-1. There was also a significant correlation between HTLV-1 infection, numbers of sexual partners (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05) and smoking (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.01). Using this unique method, these data suggest an unexpectedly high prevalence of HTLV-1 DNA in HIV+ve women in this geographical location. However, the low level of HTLV-1 detected in HIV+ve ICC samples was unexpected and the reasons for this are unclear.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 244: A Decrease in Temperature and Humidity Precedes Human Rhinovirus Infections in a Cold Climate

  • Both temperature and humidity may independently or jointly contribute to the risk of human rhinovirus (HRV) infections, either through altered survival and spread of viruses in the environment or due to changes in host susceptibility. This study examined the relationship between short-term variations in temperature and humidity and the risk of HRV infections in a subarctic climate. We conducted a case-crossover study among conscripts (n = 892) seeking medical attention due to respiratory symptoms during their military training and identified 147 HRV cases by real-time PCR. An average temperature, a decline in daily ambient temperature and absolute humidity (AH) during the three preceding days of the onset (hazard period) and two reference periods (a week prior and after the onset) were obtained. The average daily temperature preceding HRV infections was−9.9 ± 4.9 °C and the average AH was 2.2 ± 0.9 g/m3. An average (odds ratios (OR) 1.07 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00–1.15)) and maximal (OR 1.08 (1.01–1.17)) change in temperature increased the risk of HRV infections by 8% per 1 °C decrease. An average (OR 1.20 (CI 1.03–1.40)) and maximal decrease (OR 1.13 (CI 0.96–1.34)) in AH increased the risk of HRV infection by 13% and 20% per 0.5 g/m3 decrease. A higher average temperature during the three preceding days was positively associated with HRV infections (OR 1.07 (CI 1.00–1.15)). A decrease rather than low temperature and humidity per se during the preceding few days increases the risk of HRV infections in a cold climate. The information is applicable to populations residing in cold climates for appropriate personal protection and prevention of adverse health effects.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 241: Effects of Female Sex Hormones on Susceptibility to HSV-2 in Vaginal Cells Grown in Air-Liquid Interface

  • The lower female reproductive tract (FRT) is comprised of the cervix and vagina, surfaces that are continuously exposed to a variety of commensal and pathogenic organisms. Sexually transmitted viruses, such as herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), have to traverse the mucosal epithelial lining of the FRT to establish infection. The majority of current culture systems that model the host-pathogen interactions in the mucosal epithelium have limitations in simulating physiological conditions as they employ a liquid-liquid interface (LLI), in which both apical and basolateral surfaces are submerged in growth medium. We designed the current study to simulate in vivo conditions by growing an immortalized vaginal epithelial cell line (Vk2/E6E7) in culture with an air-liquid interface (ALI) and examined the effects of female sex hormones on their growth, differentiation, and susceptibility to HSV-2 under these conditions, in comparison to LLI cultures. ALI conditions induced Vk2/E6E7 cells to grow into multi-layered cultures compared to the monolayers present in LLI conditions. Vk2 cells in ALI showed higher production of cytokeratin in the presence of estradiol (E2), compared to cells grown in progesterone (P4). Cells grown under ALI conditions were exposed to HSV-2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) and the highest infection and replication was observed in the presence of P4. Altogether, this study suggests that ALI cultures more closely simulate the in vivo conditions of the FRT compared to the conventional LLI cultures. Furthermore, under these conditions P4 was found to confer higher susceptibility to HSV-2 infection in vaginal cells. The vaginal ALI culture system offers a better alternative to study host-pathogen interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 243: Foamy Virus Protein—Nucleic Acid Interactions during Particle Morphogenesis

  • Compared with orthoretroviruses, our understanding of the molecular and cellular replication mechanism of foamy viruses (FVs), a subfamily of retroviruses, is less advanced. The FV replication cycle differs in several key aspects from orthoretroviruses, which leaves established retroviral models debatable for FVs. Here, we review the general aspect of the FV protein-nucleic acid interactions during virus morphogenesis. We provide a summary of the current knowledge of the FV genome structure and essential sequence motifs required for RNA encapsidation as well as Gag and Pol binding in combination with details about the Gag and Pol biosynthesis. This leads us to address open questions in FV RNA engagement, binding and packaging. Based on recent findings, we propose to shift the point of view from individual glycine-arginine-rich motifs having functions in RNA interactions towards envisioning the FV Gag C-terminus as a general RNA binding protein module. We encourage further investigating a potential new retroviral RNA packaging mechanism, which seems more complex in terms of the components that need to be gathered to form an infectious particle. Additional molecular insights into retroviral protein-nucleic acid interactions help us to develop safer, more specific and more efficient vectors in an era of booming genome engineering and gene therapy approaches.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 242: How Polyomaviruses Exploit the ERAD Machinery to Cause Infection

  • To infect cells, polyomavirus (PyV) traffics from the cell surface to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) where it hijacks elements of the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) machinery to penetrate the ER membrane and reach the cytosol. From the cytosol, the virus transports to the nucleus, enabling transcription and replication of the viral genome that leads to lytic infection or cellular transformation. How PyV exploits the ERAD machinery to cross the ER membrane and access the cytosol, a decisive infection step, remains enigmatic. However, recent studies have slowly unraveled many aspects of this process. These emerging insights should advance our efforts to develop more effective therapies against PyV-induced human diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 240: Evaluation of the Cross-Protective Efficacy of a Chimeric Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Constructed Based on Two Field Strains

  • One of the major hurdles to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) vaccinology is the limited or no cross-protection conferred by current vaccines. To overcome this challenge, a PRRS chimeric virus (CV) was constructed using an FL12-based cDNA infectious clone in which open reading frames (ORFs) 3–4 and ORFs 5–6 were replaced with the two Korean field isolates K08-1054 and K07-2273,respectively. This virus was evaluated as a vaccine candidate to provide simultaneous protection against two genetically distinct PRRS virus (PRRSV) strains. Thirty PRRS-negative three-week-old pigs were divided into five groups and vaccinated with CV, K08-1054, K07-2273, VR-2332, or a mock inoculum. At 25 days post-vaccination (dpv), the pigs in each group were divided further into two groups and challenged with either K08-1054 or K07-2273. All of the pigs were observed until 42 dpv and were euthanizedfor pathological evaluation. Overall, the CV-vaccinated group exhibited higher levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), and interleukin-12 (IL-12) expression and of serum virus-neutralizing antibodies compared with the other groups after vaccination and also demonstrated better protection levels against both viruses compared with the challenge control group. Based on these results, it was concluded that CV might be an effective vaccine model that can confer a broader range of cross-protection to various PRRSV strains.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 232: Monitoring of Anti-Hepatitis E Virus Antibody Seroconversion in Asymptomatically Infected Blood Donors: Systematic Comparison of Nine Commercial Anti-HEV IgM and IgG Assays

  • Diagnosis of hepatitis E virus (HEV) is usually determined serologically by detection of the presence of immunoglobulin (Ig)M antibodies or rising anti-HEV IgG titers. However, serological assays have demonstrated a significant variation in their sensitivities and specificities. In this study, we present the systematic comparison of different immunological anti-HEV assays using complete seroconversion panels of 10 virologically confirmed HEV genotype 3 infected individuals. Assay sensitivities were further evaluated by testing serially diluted World Health Organization (WHO) reference reagent for hepatitis E virus antibody and one patient sample infected with HEV genotype 3. Anti-HEV IgM and IgG antibody presence was determined using the immunological assays Wantai HEV IgM/IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (Sanbio, Uden, The Netherlands), recomWell HEV IgM/IgG (Mikrogen, Neuried, Germany), HEV IgM ELISA 3.0, HEV ELISA, HEV ELISA 4.0, Assure HEV IgM Rapid Test (all MP Biomedicals Europe, Illkirch Cedex, France) and Anti-HEV ELISA (IgM/IgG, Euroimmun, Lübeck, Germany). The assays showed differences regarding their analytical and diagnostic sensitivities, with anti-HEV IgM assays (n = 5) being more divergent compared to anti-HEV IgG (n = 4) assays in this study. Considerable variations were observed particularly for the detection period of IgM antibodies. This is the first study systematically characterizing serologic assays on the basis of seroconversion panels, providing sample conformity for a conclusive comparison. Future studies should include the assay comparison covering the four different genotypes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 237: A Defective Interfering Influenza RNA Inhibits Infectious Influenza Virus Replication in Human Respiratory Tract Cells: A Potential New Human Antiviral

  • Defective interfering (DI) viruses arise during the replication of influenza A virus and contain a non-infective version of the genome that is able to interfere with the production of infectious virus. In this study we hypothesise that a cloned DI influenza A virus RNA may prevent infection of human respiratory epithelial cells with infection by influenza A. The DI RNA (244/PR8) was derived by a natural deletion process from segment 1 of influenza A/PR/8/34 (H1N1); it comprises 395 nucleotides and is packaged in the DI virion in place of a full-length genome segment 1. Given intranasally, 244/PR8 DI virus protects mice and ferrets from clinical influenza caused by a number of different influenza A subtypes and interferes with production of infectious influenza A virus in cells in culture. However, evidence that DI influenza viruses are active in cells of the human respiratory tract is lacking. Here we show that 244/PR8 DI RNA is replicated by an influenza A challenge virus in human lung diploid fibroblasts, bronchial epithelial cells, and primary nasal basal cells, and that the yield of challenge virus is significantly reduced in a dose-dependent manner indicating that DI influenza virus has potential as a human antiviral.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 239: From Cells to Virus Particles: Quantitative Methods to Monitor RNA Packaging

  • In cells, positive strand RNA viruses, such as Retroviridae, must selectively recognize their full-length RNA genome among abundant cellular RNAs to assemble and release particles. How viruses coordinate the intracellular trafficking of both RNA and protein components to the assembly sites of infectious particles at the cell surface remains a long-standing question. The mechanisms ensuring packaging of genomic RNA are essential for viral infectivity. Since RNA packaging impacts on several essential functions of retroviral replication such as RNA dimerization, translation and recombination events, there are many studies that require the determination of RNA packaging efficiency and/or RNA packaging ability. Studies of RNA encapsidation rely upon techniques for the identification and quantification of RNA species packaged by the virus. This review focuses on the different approaches available to monitor RNA packaging: Northern blot analysis, ribonuclease protection assay and quantitative reverse transcriptase-coupled polymerase chain reaction as well as the most recent RNA imaging and sequencing technologies. Advantages, disadvantages and limitations of these approaches will be discussed in order to help the investigator to choose the most appropriate technique. Although the review was written with the prototypic simple murine leukemia virus (MLV) and complex human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in mind, the techniques were described in order to benefit to a larger community.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 238: Influenza NA and PB1 Gene Segments Interact during the Formation of Viral Progeny: Localization of the Binding Region within the PB1 Gene

  • The influenza A virus genome comprises eight negative-sense viral RNAs (vRNAs) that form individual ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. In order to incorporate a complete set of each of these vRNAs, the virus uses a selective packaging mechanism that facilitates co-packaging of specific gene segments but whose molecular basis is still not fully understood. Recently, we used a competitive transfection model where plasmids encoding the A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8) and A/Udorn/307/72 (Udorn) PB1 gene segments were competed to show that the Udorn PB1 gene segment is preferentially co-packaged into progeny virions with the Udorn NA gene segment. Here we created chimeric PB1 genes combining both Udorn and PR8 PB1 sequences to further define the location within the Udorn PB1 gene that drives co-segregation of these genes and show that nucleotides 1776–2070 of the PB1 gene are crucial for preferential selection. In vitro assays examining specific interactions between Udorn NA vRNA and purified vRNAs transcribed from chimeric PB1 genes also supported the importance of this region in the PB1-NA interaction. Hence, this work identifies an association between viral genes that are co-selected during packaging. It also reveals a region potentially important in the RNP-RNP interactions within the supramolecular complex that is predicted to form prior to budding to allow one of each segment to be packaged in the viral progeny. Our study lays thefoundation to understand the co-selection of specific genes, which may be critical to the emergence of new viruses with pandemic potential.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 236: Assessment of Domestic Pigs, Wild Boars and Feral Hybrid Pigs as Reservoirs of Hepatitis E Virus in Corsica, France

  • In Corsica, extensive pig breeding systems allow frequent interactions between wild boars and domestic pigs, which are suspected to act as reservoirs of several zoonotic diseases including hepatitis E virus (HEV). In this context, 370 sera and 166 liver samples were collected from phenotypically characterized as pure or hybrid wild boars, between 2009 and 2012. In addition, serum and liver from 208 domestic pigs belonging to 30 farms were collected at the abattoir during the end of 2013. Anti-HEV antibodies were detected in 26% (21%–31.6%) of the pure wild boar, 43.5% (31%–56.7%) of hybrid wild boar and 88% (82.6%–91.9%) of the domestic pig sera. In addition, HEV RNA was detected in five wild boars, three hybrid wild boars and two domestic pig livers tested. Our findings provide evidence that both domestic pig and wild boar (pure and hybrid) act as reservoirs of HEV in Corsica, representing an important zoonotic risk for Corsican hunters and farmers but also for the large population of consumers of raw pig liver specialties produced in Corsica. In addition, hybrid wild boars seem to play an important ecological role in the dissemination of HEV between domestic pig and wild boar populations, unnoticed to date, that deserves further investigation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 234: Performance Evaluation of the VIDAS® Measles IgG Assay and Its Diagnostic Value for Measuring IgG Antibody Avidity in Measles Virus Infection

  • The objective of this study is primarily to compare the performance of the VIDAS® Measles immunoglobulin (Ig)G assay to that of two other serological assays using an immunoassay technique, Enzygnost® Anti-measles Virus/IgG (Siemens) and Measles IgG CAPTURE EIA® (Microimmune). The sensitivity and the agreement of the VIDAS® Measles IgG assay compared to the Enzygnost® Anti-measles Virus/IgG assay and the Measles IgG CAPTURE EIA® assay are 100%, 97.2% and 99.0%, 98.4%, respectively. The very low number of negative sera for IgG antibodies does not allow calculation of specificity. As a secondary objective, we have evaluated the ability of the VIDAS® Measles IgG assayto measure anti-measles virus IgG antibody avidity with the help of the VIDAS® CMV IgG Avidity reagent, using 76 sera from subjects with measles and 238 other sera. Different groups of populations were analyzed. In the primary infection measles group, the mean IgG avidity index was 0.16 (range of 0.07 to 0.93) compared to 0.79 (range of 0.25 to 1) in the serum group positive for IgG antibodies and negative for IgM. These data allow to define a weak anti-measles virus IgG antibody avidity as an avidity index (AI) aamp;amp;lt; 0.3 and a strong avidity as an AI aamp;amp;gt; 0.6. The VIDAS® Measles IgG assay has a performance equivalent to that of other available products. Its use, individual and quick, is well adapted to testing for anti-measles immunity in exposed subjects.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 235: The Host RNAs in Retroviral Particles

  • As they assemble, retroviruses encapsidate both their genomic RNAs and several types of host RNA. Whereas limited amounts of messenger RNA (mRNA) are detectable within virion populations, the predominant classes of encapsidated host RNAs do not encode proteins, but instead include endogenous retroelements and several classes of non-coding RNA (ncRNA), some of which are packaged in significant molar excess to the viral genome. Surprisingly, although the most abundant host RNAs in retroviruses are also abundant in cells, unusual forms of these RNAs are packaged preferentially, suggesting that these RNAs are recruited early in their biogenesis: before associating with their cognate protein partners, and/or from transient or rare RNA populations. These RNAs’ packaging determinants differ from the viral genome’s, and several of the abundantly packaged host ncRNAs serve cells as the scaffolds of ribonucleoprotein particles. Because virion assembly is equally efficient whether or not genomic RNA is available, yet RNA appears critical to the structural integrity of retroviral particles, it seems possible that the selectively encapsidated host ncRNAs might play roles in assembly. Indeed, some host ncRNAs appear to act during replication, as some transfer RNA (tRNA) species may contribute to nuclear import of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcription complexes, and other tRNA interactions with the viral Gag protein aid correct trafficking to plasma membrane assembly sites. However, despite high conservation of packaging for certain host RNAs, replication roles for most of these selectively encapsidated RNAs—if any—have remained elusive.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 233: Quantification of HEV RNA by Droplet Digital PCR

  • The sensitivity of real-time PCR for hepatitis E virus (HEV) RNA quantification differs greatly among techniques. Standardized tools that measure the real quantity of virus are needed. We assessed the performance of a reverse transcription droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) assay that gives absolute quantities of HEV RNA. Analytical and clinical validation was done on HEV genotypes 1, 3 and 4, and was based on open reading frame (ORF)3 amplification. The within-run and between-run reproducibilities were very good, the analytical sensitivity was 80 HEV RNA international units (IU)/mL and linearities of HEV genotype 1, 3 and 4 were very similar. Clinical validation based on 45 samples of genotype 1, 3 or 4 gave results that correlated well with a validated reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) assay (Spearman rs = 0.89, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.0001). The RT-ddPCR assay is a sensitive method and could be a promising tool for standardizing HEV RNA quantification in various sample types.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 231: Subversion of the Immune Response by Rabies Virus

  • Rabies has affected mankind for several centuries and is one of the oldest known zoonoses. It is peculiar how little is known regarding the means by which rabies virus (RABV) evades the immune response and kills its host. This review investigates the complex interplay between RABV and the immune system, including the various means by which RABV evades, or advantageously utilizes, the host immune response in order to ensure successful replication and spread to another host. Different factors that influence immune responses—including age, sex, cerebral lateralization and temperature—are discussed, with specific reference to RABV and the effects on host morbidity and mortality. We also investigate the role of apoptosis and discuss whether it is a detrimental or beneficial mechanism of the host’s response to infection. The various RABV proteins and their roles in immune evasion are examined in depth with reference to important domains and the downstream effects of these interactions. Lastly, an overview of the means by which RABV evades important immune responses is provided. The research discussed in this review will be important in determining the roles of the immune response during RABV infections as well as to highlight important therapeutic target regions and potential strategies for rabies treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 230: Inoculation of Goats, Sheep, and Horses with MERS-CoV Does Not Result in Productive Viral Shedding

  • The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first recognized in 2012 and can cause severe disease in infected humans. Dromedary camels are the reservoir for the virus, although, other than nasal discharge, these animals do not display any overt clinical disease. Data from in vitro experiments suggest that other livestock such as sheep, goats, and horses might also contribute to viral transmission, although field data has not identified any seropositive animals. In order to understand if these animals could be infected, we challenged young goats and horses and adult sheep with MERS-CoV by intranasal inoculation. Minimal or no virus shedding was detected in all of the animals. During the four weeks following inoculation, neutralizing antibodies were detected in the young goats, but not in sheep or horses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 227: A Linear Surface Epitope in a Proline-Rich Region of ORF3 Product of Genotype 1 Hepatitis E Virus

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is one of the viral pathogens causing hepatitis in humans. HEV open reading frame 3 (ORF3) encodes a small multifunctional protein (VP13), which is essential for HEV infection. In this study, a linear epitope was identified in a polyproline (PXXP) motif from VP13 of genotype 1 HEV by using a monoclonal antibody. The epitope was detected in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunoblotting and immunofluorescence assays. Epitope mapping showed that the epitope locates in a proline-rich region containing a PXXP motif in amino acid residues 66-75 of VP13. The epitope was also detected in HEV-infected liver cells and reacted with genotype 1-specific antibodies in an HEV-positive human serum sample. The results demonstrated that the epitope in the PXXP motif of the genotype 1 VP13 is linear and surface-oriented, which should facilitate in-depth studies on the viral protein and HEV biology.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 229: Role of Envelopment in the HEV Life Cycle

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV), an enterically transmitted hepatotropic virus, was thought to be non-enveloped for decades. However, recent studies have revealed that the virus circulating in the patient’s blood is completely cloaked in host membranes and resistant to neutralizing antibodies. The discovery of this novel enveloped form of HEV has raised a series of questions about the fundamental biology of HEV and the way this virus, which has been understudied in the past, interacts with its host. Here, we review recent advances towards understanding this phenomenon and discuss its potential impact on various aspects of the HEV life cycle and immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 219: Proteomic Interaction Patterns between Human Cyclins, the Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Ortholog pUL97 and Additional Cytomegalovirus Proteins

  • The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-encoded cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) ortholog pUL97 associates with human cyclin B1 and other types of cyclins. Here, the question was addressed whether cyclin interaction of pUL97 and additional viral proteins is detectable by mass spectrometry-based approaches. Proteomic data were validated by coimmunoprecipitation (CoIP), Western blot, in vitro kinase and bioinformatic analyses. Our findings suggest that: (i) pUL97 shows differential affinities to human cyclins; (ii) pUL97 inhibitor maribavir (MBV) disrupts the interaction with cyclin B1, but not with other cyclin types; (iii) cyclin H is identified as a new high-affinity interactor of pUL97 in HCMV-infected cells; (iv) even more viral phosphoproteins, including all known substrates of pUL97, are detectable in the cyclin-associated complexes; and (v) a first functional validation of pUL97-cyclin B1 interaction, analyzed by in vitro kinase assay, points to a cyclin-mediated modulation of pUL97 substrate preference. In addition, our bioinformatic analyses suggest individual, cyclin-specific binding interfaces for pUL97-cyclin interaction, which could explain the different strengths of interactions and the selective inhibitory effect of MBV on pUL97-cyclin B1 interaction. Combined, the detection of cyclin-associated proteins in HCMV-infected cells suggests a complex pattern of substrate phosphorylation and a role of cyclins in the fine-modulation of pUL97 activities.
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