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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 456-479: In Search of Pathogens: Transcriptome-Based Identification of Viral Sequences from the Pine Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa)

  • Thaumetopoea pityocampa (pine processionary moth) is one of the most important pine pests in the forests of Mediterranean countries, Central Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Apart from causing significant damage to pinewoods, T. pityocampa occurrence is also an issue for public and animal health, as it is responsible for dermatological reactions in humans and animals by contact with its irritating hairs. High throughput sequencing technologies have allowed the fast and cost-effective generation of genetic information of interest to understand different biological aspects of non-model organisms as well as the identification of potential pathogens. Using these technologies, we have obtained and characterized the transcriptome of T. pityocampa larvae collected in 12 different geographical locations in Turkey. cDNA libraries for Illumina sequencing were prepared from four larval tissues, head, gut, fat body and integument. By pooling the sequences from Illumina platform with those previously published using the Roche 454-FLX and Sanger methods we generated the largest reference transcriptome of T. pityocampa. In addition, this study has also allowed identification of possible viral pathogens with potential application in future biocontrol strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 422-455: Expression, Delivery and Function of Insecticidal Proteins Expressed by Recombinant Baculoviruses

  • Since the development of methods for inserting and expressing genes in baculoviruses, a line of research has focused on developing recombinant baculoviruses that express insecticidal peptides and proteins. These recombinant viruses have been engineered with the goal of improving their pesticidal potential by shortening the time required for infection to kill or incapacitate insect pests and reducing the quantity of crop damage as a consequence. A wide variety of neurotoxic peptides, proteins that regulate insect physiology, degradative enzymes, and other potentially insecticidal proteins have been evaluated for their capacity to reduce the survival time of baculovirus-infected lepidopteran host larvae. Researchers have investigated the factors involved in the efficient expression and delivery of baculovirus-encoded insecticidal peptides and proteins, with much effort dedicated to identifying ideal promoters for driving transcription and signal peptides that mediate secretion of the expressed target protein. Other factors, particularly translational efficiency of transcripts derived from recombinant insecticidal genes and post-translational folding and processing of insecticidal proteins, remain relatively unexplored. The discovery of RNA interference as a gene-specific regulation mechanism offers a new approach for improvement of baculovirus biopesticidal efficacy through genetic modification.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 394-421: The Complete Sequence of the First Spodoptera frugiperda Betabaculovirus Genome: A Natural Multiple Recombinant Virus

  • Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a major pest in maize crops in Colombia, and affects several regions in America. A granulovirus isolated from S. frugiperda (SfGV VG008) has potential as an enhancer of insecticidal activity of previously described nucleopolyhedrovirus from the same insect species (SfMNPV). The SfGV VG008 genome was sequenced and analyzed showing circular double stranded DNA of 140,913 bp encoding 146 putative ORFs that include 37 Baculoviridae core genes, 88 shared with betabaculoviruses, two shared only with betabaculoviruses from Noctuide insects, two shared with alphabaculoviruses, three copies of own genes (paralogs) and the other 14 corresponding to unique genes without representation in the other baculovirus species. Particularly, the genome encodes for important virulence factors such as 4 chitinases and 2 enhancins. The sequence analysis revealed the existence of eight homologous regions (hrs) and also suggests processes of gene acquisition by horizontal transfer including the SfGV VG008 ORFs 046/047 (paralogs), 059, 089 and 099. The bioinformatics evidence indicates that the genome donors of mentioned genes could be alpha- and/or betabaculovirus species. The previous reported ability of SfGV VG008 to naturally co-infect the same host with other virus show a possible mechanism to capture genes and thus improve its fitness.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 378-393: Viral Etiologies of Acute Dehydrating Gastroenteritis in Pakistani Children: Confounding Role of Parechoviruses

  • Despite substantial interventions in the understanding and case management of acute gastroenteritis, diarrheal diseases are still responsible for a notable amount of childhood deaths. Although the rotavirus is known to cause a considerable burden of pediatric diarrheal cases, the roles of other viruses remain undefined for the Pakistani population. This study was based on tertiary care hospital surveillance, from January 2009 to December 2010, including the detection of rotavirus, norovirus, astrovirus, and human parechovirus in children under the age of five using serological or molecular assays. Rotavirus, human parechovirus, norovirus, and astrovirus were detected in 66%, 21%, 19.5%, and 8.5% subjects, respectively. Human parechovirus genotypes, determined through analysis of VP1 gene sequences, showed a great diversity among co-circulating strains. Eighty percent of hospitalized children had dual or multiple viral infections, while 98% parechovirus positive cases were co-infected with rotavirus. The remarkable diversity of viruses associated with the childhood diarrhea in Pakistan calls for large-scale epidemiological surveys, coupled with case control studies, to ascertain their role in clinical manifestations. In addition, these findings also highlight the need for the implementation of up-to-date health interventions, such as the inclusion of a rotavirus vaccine in routine immunization programs for the improvement of quality in child health care.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 352-377: Epimedium koreanum Nakai Displays Broad Spectrum of Antiviral Activity in Vitro and in Vivo by Inducing Cellular Antiviral State

  • Epimedium koreanum Nakai has been extensively used in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases. Despite the plant’s known immune modulatory potential and chemical make-up, scientific information on its antiviral properties and mode of action have not been completely investigated. In this study, the broad antiviral spectrum and mode of action of an aqueous extract from Epimedium koreanum Nakai was evaluated in vitro, and moreover, the protective effect against divergent influenza A subtypes was determined in BALB/c mice. An effective dose of Epimedium koreanum Nakai markedly reduced the replication of Influenza A Virus (PR8), Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV), Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) in RAW264.7 and HEK293T cells. Mechanically, we found that an aqueous extract from Epimedium koreanum Nakai induced the secretion of type I IFN and pro-inflammatory cytokines and the subsequent stimulation of the antiviral state in cells. Among various components present in the extract, quercetin was confirmed to have striking antiviral properties. The oral administration of Epimedium koreanum Nakai exhibited preventive effects on BALB/c mice against lethal doses of highly pathogenic influenza A subtypes (H1N1, H5N2, H7N3 and H9N2). Therefore, an extract of Epimedium koreanumNakai and its components play roles as immunomodulators in the innate immune response, and may be potential candidates for prophylactic or therapeutic treatments against diverse viruses in animal and humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 333-351: The Association between Hantavirus Infection and Selenium Deficiency in Mainland China

  • Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) caused by hantaviruses and transmitted by rodents is a significant public health problem in China, and occurs more frequently in selenium-deficient regions. To study the role of selenium concentration in HFRS incidence we used a multidisciplinary approach combining ecological analysis with preliminary experimental data. The incidence of HFRS in humans was about six times higher in severe selenium-deficient and double in moderate deficient areas compared to non-deficient areas. This association became statistically stronger after correction for other significant environment-related factors (low elevation, few grasslands, or an abundance of forests) and was independent of geographical scale by separate analyses for different climate regions. A case-control study of HFRS patients admitted to the hospital revealed increased activity and plasma levels of selenium binding proteins while selenium supplementation in vitro decreased viral replication in an endothelial cell model after infection with a low multiplicity of infection (MOI). Viral replication with a higher MOI was not affected by selenium supplementation. Our findings indicate that selenium deficiency may contribute to an increased prevalence of hantavirus infections in both humans and rodents. Future studies are needed to further examine the exact mechanism behind this observation before selenium supplementation in deficient areas could be implemented for HFRS prevention.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 320-332: ERVK Polyprotein Processing and Reverse Transcriptase Expression in Human Cell Line Models of Neurological Disease

  • Enhanced expression of the reverse transcriptase (RT) protein encoded by human endogenous retrovirus-K (ERVK) is a promising biomarker for several inflammatory and neurological diseases. However, unlike RT enzymes encoded by exogenous retroviruses, little work has been done to identify ERVK RT isoforms, their expression patterns, and cellular localization. Using Western blot, we showcase the ERVK gag-pro-pol polyprotein processing leading to the production of several ERVK RT isoforms in human neuronal (ReNcell CX) and astrocytic (SVGA) models of neuroinflammatory disease. Since the pro-inflammatory cytokine IFNγ plays a key role in the pathology of several ERVK-associated neurological diseases, we sought to determine if IFNγ can drive ERVK RT expression. IFNγ signalling markedly enhanced ERVK polyprotein and RT expression in both human astrocytes and neurons. RT isoforms were expressed in a cell-type specific pattern and the RT-RNase H form was significantly increased with IFNγ treatment. Fluorescent imaging revealed distinct cytoplasmic, perinuclear and nuclear ERVK RT staining patterns upon IFNγ stimulation of astrocytes and neurons. These findings indicate that ERVK expression is inducible under inflammatory conditions such as IFNγ exposure—and thus, these newly established in vitro models may be useful in exploring ERVK biology in the context of neuroinflammatory disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 306-319: History and Current Status of Development and Use of Viral Insecticides in China

  • The use of insect viruses as biological control agents started in the early 1960s in China. To date, more than 32 viruses have been used to control insect pests in agriculture, forestry, pastures, and domestic gardens in China. In 2014, 57 products from 11 viruses were authorized as commercial viral insecticides by the Ministry of Agriculture of China. Approximately 1600 tons of viral insecticidal formulations have been produced annually in recent years, accounting for about 0.2% of the total insecticide output of China. The development and use of Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus, Mamestra brassicae nucleopolyhedrovirus, Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedrovirus, and Periplaneta fuliginosa densovirus are discussed as case studies. Additionally, some baculoviruses have been genetically modified to improve their killing rate, infectivity, and ultraviolet resistance. In this context, the biosafety assessment of a genetically modified Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus is discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 285-305: Modeling of the Ebola Virus Delta Peptide Reveals a Potential Lytic Sequence Motif

  • Filoviruses, such as Ebola and Marburg viruses, cause severe outbreaks of human infection, including the extensive epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa in 2014. In the course of examining mutations in the glycoprotein gene associated with 2014 Ebola virus (EBOV) sequences, a differential level of conservation was noted between the soluble form of glycoprotein (sGP) and the full length glycoprotein (GP), which are both encoded by the GP gene via RNA editing. In the region of the proteins encoded after the RNA editing site sGP was more conserved than the overlapping region of GP when compared to a distant outlier species, Tai Forest ebolavirus. Half of the amino acids comprising the“delta peptide”, a 40 amino acid carboxy-terminal fragment of sGP, were identical between otherwise widely divergent species. A lysine-rich amphipathic peptide motif was noted at the carboxyl terminus of delta peptide with high structural relatedness to the cytolytic peptide of the non-structural protein 4 (NSP4) of rotavirus. EBOV delta peptide is a candidate viroporin, a cationic pore-forming peptide, and may contribute to EBOV pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 268-284: Bacteriophage-Derived Vectors for Targeted Cancer Gene Therapy

  • Cancer gene therapy expanded and reached its pinnacle in research in the last decade. Both viral and non-viral vectors have entered clinical trials, and significant successes have been achieved. However, a systemic administration of a vector, illustrating safe, efficient, and targeted gene delivery to solid tumors has proven to be a major challenge. In this review, we summarize the current progress and challenges in the targeted gene therapy of cancer. Moreover, we highlight the recent developments of bacteriophage-derived vectors and their contributions in targeting cancer with therapeutic genes following systemic administration.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 252-267: A Polyprotein-Expressing Salmonid Alphavirus Replicon Induces Modest Protection in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar) Against Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis

  • Vaccination is an important strategy for the control and prevention of infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the post-smolt stage in sea-water. In this study, a heterologous gene expression system, based on a replicon construct of salmonid alphavirus (SAV), was used for in vitro and in vivo expression of IPN virus proteins. The large open reading frame of segment A, encoding the polyprotein NH2-pVP2-VP4-VP3-COOH, as well as pVP2, were cloned and expressed by the SAV replicon in Chinook salmon embryo cells (CHSE-214) and epithelioma papulosum cyprini (EPC) cells. The replicon constructs pSAV/polyprotein (pSAV/PP) and pSAV/pVP2 were used to immunize Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) by a single intramuscular injection and tested in a subsequent IPN virus (IPNV) challenge trial. A low to moderate protection against IPN was observed in fish immunized with the replicon vaccine that encoded the pSAV/PP, while the pSAV/pVP2 construct was not found to induce protection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 239-251: Identification of a Novel Human Rhinovirus C Type by Antibody Capture VIDISCA-454

  • Causative agents for more than 30 percent of respiratory infections remain unidentified, suggesting that unknown respiratory pathogens might be involved. In this study, antibody capture VIDISCA-454 (virus discovery cDNA-AFLP combined with Roche 454 high-throughput sequencing) resulted in the discovery of a novel type of rhinovirus C (RV-C). The virus has an RNA genome of at least 7054 nt and carries the characteristics of rhinovirus C species. The gene encoding viral protein 1, which is used for typing, has only 81% nucleotide sequence identity with the closest known RV-C type, and, therefore, the virus represents the first member of a novel type, named RV-C54.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 219-238: Usutu Virus: An Emerging Flavivirus in Europe

  • Usutu virus (USUV) is an African mosquito-borne flavivirus belonging to the Japanese encephalitis virus serocomplex. USUV is closely related to Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus. USUV was discovered in South Africa in 1959. In Europe, the first true demonstration of circulation of USUV was reported in Austria in 2001 with a significant die-off of Eurasian blackbirds. In the subsequent years, USUV expanded to neighboring countries, including Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland, England, Czech Republic, Greece, and Belgium, where it caused unusual mortality in birds. In 2009, the first two human cases of USUV infection in Europe have been reported in Italy, causing meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. This review describes USUV in terms of its life cycle, USUV surveillance from Africa to Europe, human cases, its cellular tropism and pathogenesis, its genetic relationship with other flaviviruses, genetic diversity among USUV strains, its diagnosis, and a discussion of the potential future threat to Asian countries.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 199-218: HIV-1 Replication and the Cellular Eukaryotic Translation Apparatus

  • Eukaryotic translation is a complex process composed of three main steps: initiation, elongation, and termination. During infections by RNA- and DNA-viruses, the eukaryotic translation machinery is used to assure optimal viral protein synthesis. Human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) uses several non-canonical pathways to translate its own proteins, such as leaky scanning, frameshifting, shunt, and cap-independent mechanisms. Moreover, HIV-1 modulates the host translation machinery by targeting key translation factors and overcomes different cellular obstacles that affect protein translation. In this review, we describe how HIV-1 proteins target several components of the eukaryotic translation machinery, which consequently improves viral translation and replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 180-198: The Standard Scrapie Cell Assay: Development, Utility and Prospects

  • Prion diseases are a family of fatal neurodegenerative diseases that involve the misfolding of a host protein, PrPC. Measuring prion infectivity is necessary for determining efficacy of a treatment or infectivity of a prion purification procedure; animal bioassays are, however, very expensive and time consuming. The Standard Scrapie Cell Assay (SSCA) provides an alternative approach. The SSCA facilitates quantitative in vitro analysis of prion strains, titres and biological properties. Given its robust nature and potential for high throughput, the SSCA has substantial utility for in vitro characterization of prions and can be deployed in a number of settings. Here we provide an overview on establishing the SSCA, its use in studies of disease dissemination and pathogenesis, potential pitfalls and a number of remaining challenges.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 154-179: Cell Penetrable Human scFv Specific to Middle Domain of Matrix Protein-1 Protects Mice from Lethal Influenza

  • A new anti-influenza remedy that can tolerate the virus antigenic variation is needed. Influenza virus matrix protein-1 (M1) is highly conserved and pivotal for the virus replication cycle: virus uncoating, assembly and budding. An agent that blocks the M1 functions should be an effective anti-influenza agent. In this study, human scFv that bound to recombinant M1 middle domain (MD) and native M1 of A/H5N1 was produced. Phage mimotope search and computerized molecular docking revealed that the scFv bound to the MD conformational epitope formed by juxtaposed helices 7 and 9 of the M1. The scFv was linked molecularly to a cell penetrable peptide, penetratin (PEN). The PEN-scFv (transbody), when used to treat the cells pre-infected with the heterologous clade/subclade A/H5N1 reduced the viral mRNA intracellularly and in the cell culture fluids. The transbody mitigated symptom severity and lung histopathology of the H5N1 infected mice and caused reduction of virus antigen in the tissues as well as extricated the animals from the lethal challenge in a dose dependent manner. The transbody specific to the M1 MD, either alone or in combination with the cognate human scFvs specific to other influenza virus proteins, should be an effective, safe and mutation tolerable anti-influenza agent.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 116-153: Molecular Biology of KSHV Lytic Reactivation

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) primarily persists as a latent episome in infected cells. During latent infection, only a limited number of viral genes are expressed that help to maintain the viral episome and prevent lytic reactivation. The latent KSHV genome persists as a highly ordered chromatin structure with bivalent chromatin marks at the promoter-regulatory region of the major immediate-early gene promoter. Various stimuli can induce chromatin modifications to an active euchromatic epigenetic mark, leading to the expression of genes required for the transition from the latent to the lytic phase of KSHV life cycle. Enhanced replication and transcription activator (RTA) gene expression triggers a cascade of events, resulting in the modulation of various cellular pathways to support viral DNA synthesis. RTA also binds to the origin of lytic DNA replication to recruit viral, as well as cellular, proteins for the initiation of the lytic DNA replication of KSHV. In this review we will discuss some of the pivotal genetic and epigenetic factors that control KSHV reactivation from the transcriptionally restricted latent program.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 110-115: Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Viruses in 2014

  • The editors of Viruses would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 72-109: KSHV Reactivation and Novel Implications of Protein Isomerization on Lytic Switch Control

  • In Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) oncogenesis, both latency and reactivation are hypothesized to potentiate tumor growth. The KSHV Rta protein is the lytic switch for reactivation. Rta transactivates essential genes via interactions with cofactors such as the cellular RBP-Jk and Oct-1 proteins, and the viral Mta protein. Given that robust viral reactivation would facilitate antiviral responses and culminate in host cell lysis, regulation of Rta’s expression and function is a major determinant of the latent-lytic balance and the fate of infected cells. Our lab recently showed that Rta transactivation requires the cellular peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase Pin1. Our data suggest that proline‑directed phosphorylation regulates Rta by licensing binding to Pin1. Despite Pin1’s ability to stimulate Rta transactivation, unchecked Pin1 activity inhibited virus production. Dysregulation of Pin1 is implicated in human cancers, and KSHV is the latest virus known to co-opt Pin1 function. We propose that Pin1 is a molecular timer that can regulate the balance between viral lytic gene expression and host cell lysis. Intriguing scenarios for Pin1’s underlying activities, and the potential broader significance for isomerization of Rta and reactivation, are highlighted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 52-71: Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Us3 Deletion Mutant is Infective Despite Impaired Capsid Translocation to the Cytoplasm

  • Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) capsids are assembled in the nucleus bud at the inner nuclear membrane into the perinuclear space, acquiring envelope and tegument. In theory, these virions are de-enveloped by fusion of the envelope with the outer nuclear membrane and re-enveloped by Golgi membranes to become infective. Us3 enables the nucleus to cytoplasm capsid translocation. Nevertheless, Us3 is not essential for the production of infective progeny viruses. Determination of phenotype distribution by quantitative electron microscopy, and calculation per mean nuclear or cell volume revealed the following: (i) The number of R7041(∆US3) capsids budding at the inner nuclear membrane was significantly higher than that of wild type HSV-1; (ii) The mean number of R7041(∆US3) virions per mean cell volume was 2726, that of HSV-1 virions 1460 by 24 h post inoculation; (iii) 98% of R7041(∆US3) virions were in the perinuclear space; (iv) The number of R7041(∆US3) capsids in the cytoplasm, including those budding at Golgi membranes, was significantly reduced. Cell associated R7041(∆US3) yields were 2.37 × 108 and HSV-1 yields 1.57 × 108 PFU/mL by 24 h post inoculation. We thus conclude that R7041(∆US3) virions, which acquire envelope and tegument by budding at the inner nuclear membrane into the perinuclear space, are infective.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 37-51: Immune Memory to Sudan Virus: Comparison between Two Separate Disease Outbreaks

  • Recovery from ebolavirus infection in humans is associated with the development of both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses. According to recent studies, individuals that did not survive infection with ebolaviruses appear to have lacked a robust adaptive immune response and the expression of several early innate response markers. However, a comprehensive protective immune profile has yet to be described. Here, we examine cellular memory immune responses among survivors of two separate Ebolavirus outbreaks (EVDs) due to Sudan virus (SUDV) infection in Uganda—Gulu 2000–2001 and Kibaale 2012. Freshly collected blood samples were stimulated with inactivated SUDV, as well as with recombinant SUDV or Ebola virus (EBOV) GP (GP1–649). In addition, ELISA and plaque reduction neutralization assays were performed to determine anti-SUDV IgG titers and neutralization capacity. Cytokine expression was measured in whole blood cultures in response to SUDV and SUDV GP stimulation in both survivor pools, demonstrating recall responses that indicate immune memory. Cytokine responses between groups were similar but had distinct differences. Neutralizing, SUDV-specific IgG activity against irradiated SUDV and SUDV recombinant proteins were detected in both survivor cohorts. Furthermore, humoral and cell-mediated crossreactivity to EBOV and EBOV recombinant GP1–649 was observed in both cohorts. In conclusion, immune responses in both groups of survivors demonstrate persistent recognition of relevant antigens, albeit larger cohorts are required in order to reach greater statistical significance. The differing cytokine responses between Gulu and Kibaale outbreak survivors suggests that each outbreak may not yield identical memory responses and promotes the merits of studying the immune responses among outbreaks of the same virus. Finally, our demonstration of cross-reactive immune recognition suggests that there is potential for developing cross-protective vaccines for ebolaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 27-36: Is the New Variant RHDV Replacing Genogroup 1 in Portuguese Wild Rabbit Populations?

  • The Lagovirus rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), a member of the family Caliciviridae, severely affects European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) populations by causing rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD). RHDV is subdivided in six genogroups but, more recently, a new RHDV variant with a unique genetic and antigenic profile emerged. We performed a study in rabbits found dead in the field during 2013 and 2014 in Portugal to determine the prevalence of this new variant versus the classical RHDV. Fifty-seven liver samples were screened for the presence of RHDV and positive samples were genotyped. All cases of RHDV infection were caused by the new variant. The only former genogroup circulating in Portugal, G1, was not detected. We hence conclude that the new RHDV variant is replacing G1 in Portugal, probably due to a selective advantage. This sudden and rapid replacement emphasizes the necessity of continued monitoring of wild rabbit populations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1-26: Origins of the Endogenous and Infectious Laboratory Mouse Gammaretroviruses

  • The mouse gammaretroviruses associated with leukemogenesis are found in the classical inbred mouse strains and in house mouse subspecies as infectious exogenous viruses (XRVs) and as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) inserted into their host genomes. There are three major mouse leukemia virus (MuLV) subgroups in laboratory mice: ecotropic, xenotropic, and polytropic. These MuLV subgroups differ in host range, pathogenicity, receptor usage and subspecies of origin. The MuLV ERVs are recent acquisitions in the mouse genome as demonstrated by the presence of many full-length nondefective MuLV ERVs that produce XRVs, the segregation of these MuLV subgroups into different house mouse subspecies, and by the positional polymorphism of these loci among inbred strains and individual wild mice. While some ecotropic and xenotropic ERVs can produce XRVs directly, others, especially the pathogenic polytropic ERVs, do so only after recombinations that can involve all three ERV subgroups. Here, I describe individual MuLV ERVs found in the laboratory mice, their origins and geographic distribution in wild mouse subspecies, their varying ability to produce infectious virus and the biological consequences of this expression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5182-5197: Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan: An Arbovirus Attachment Factor Integral to Mosquito Salivary Gland Ducts

  • Variants of the prototype Alphavirus, Sindbis (SINV), were used in per os infections of adult female mosquitoes to investigate arbovirus interaction with the salivary gland (SG). Infection of Aedine mosquitoes with AR339, a heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG)-dependent variant, resulted in gross pathology in the SG lateral lobes while infection with TR339, a HSPG-independent variant, resulted in minimal SG pathology. HSPG was detected in the internal ducts of the SG lateral lobes by immunolabeling but not in the median lobe, or beyond the triad structure and external ducts. Reports that human lactoferrin interacts with HSPG, suggested an interference with virus attachment to receptors on vertebrate cells. Pre-incubation of Aedes albopictus cultured C7-10 cells with bovine lactoferrin (bLF) followed by adsorption of SINV resulted in earlier and greater intensity of cytopathic response to TR339 compared with AR339. Following pre-treatment of C7-10 cells with bLF, plaques from tissue culture-adapted high-titer SINVTaV-GFP-TC were observed at 48 h post-infection (p.i.), while plaques from low-titer SINVTaV-GFP-TC were not observed until 120 h p.i. Confocal optics detected this reporter virus at 30 days p.i. in the SG proximal lateral lobe, a region of HSPG-immunolocalization. Altogether these data suggest an association between SINV and HSPG in the host mosquito.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5145-5181: Cetacean Morbillivirus: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

  • We review the molecular and epidemiological characteristics of cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) and the diagnosis and pathogenesis of associated disease, with six different strains detected in cetaceans worldwide. CeMV has caused epidemics with high mortality in odontocetes in Europe, the USA and Australia. It represents a distinct species within the Morbillivirus genus. Although most CeMV strains are phylogenetically closely related, recent data indicate that morbilliviruses recovered from Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), from Western Australia, and a Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis), from Brazil, are divergent. The signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) cell receptor for CeMV has been characterized in cetaceans. It shares higher amino acid identity with the ruminant SLAM than with the receptors of carnivores or humans, reflecting the evolutionary history of these mammalian taxa. In Delphinidae, three amino acid substitutions may result in a higher affinity for the virus. Infection is diagnosed by histology, immunohistochemistry, virus isolation, RT-PCR, and serology. Classical CeMV-associated lesions include bronchointerstitial pneumonia, encephalitis, syncytia, and lymphoid depletion associated with immunosuppression. Cetaceans that survive the acute disease may develop fatal secondary infections and chronic encephalitis. Endemically infected, gregarious odontocetes probably serve as reservoirs and vectors. Transmission likely occurs through the inhalation of aerosolized virus but mother to fetus transmission was also reported.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5135-5144: Progressive Adaptation of a CpGV Isolate to Codling Moth Populations Resistant to CpGV-M

  • The NPP-R1 isolate of CpGV is able to replicate on CpGV-M-resistant codling moths. However, its efficacy is not sufficient to provide acceptable levels of control in natural (orchard) conditions. A laboratory colony derived from resistant codling moths was established, which exhibited a homogeneous genetic background and a resistance level more than 7000 fold. By successive cycles of replication of NPP-R1 in this colony, we observed a progressive increase in efficacy. After 16 cycles (isolate 2016-r16), the efficacy of the virus isolate was equivalent to that of CpGV-M on susceptible insects. This isolate was able to control both CpGV-M-susceptible and CpGV-M-resistant insects with similar efficacy. No reduction in the levels of occlusion body production in susceptible larvae was observed for 2016-r16 compared to CpGV-M.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5093-5134: Phocine Distemper Virus: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

  • Phocine distemper virus (PDV) was first recognized in 1988 following a massive epidemic in harbor and grey seals in north-western Europe. Since then, the epidemiology of infection in North Atlantic and Arctic pinnipeds has been investigated. In the western North Atlantic endemic infection in harp and grey seals predates the European epidemic, with relatively small, localized mortality events occurring primarily in harbor seals. By contrast, PDV seems not to have become established in European harbor seals following the 1988 epidemic and a second event of similar magnitude and extent occurred in 2002. PDV is a distinct species within the Morbillivirus genus with minor sequence variation between outbreaks over time. There is now mounting evidence of PDV-like viruses in the North Pacific/Western Arctic with serological and molecular evidence of infection in pinnipeds and sea otters. However, despite the absence of associated mortality in the region, there is concern that the virus may infect the large Pacific harbor seal and northern elephant seal populations or the endangered Hawaiian monk seals. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on PDV with particular focus on developments in diagnostics, pathogenesis, immune response, vaccine development, phylogenetics and modeling over the past 20 years.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5077-5092: Genomic Sequencing and Biological Characteristics of a Novel Escherichia Coli Bacteriophage 9g, a Putative Representative of a New Siphoviridae Genus

  • Bacteriophage 9g was isolated from horse feces using Escherichia coli C600 as a host strain. Phage 9g has a slightly elongated capsid 62× 76 nm in diameter and a non-contractile tail about 185 nm long. The complete genome sequence of this bacteriophage consists of 56,703 bp encoding 70 predicted open reading frames. The closest relative of phage 9g is phage PhiJL001 infecting marine alpha-proteobacterium associated with Ircinia strobilina sponge, sharing with phage 9g 51% of amino acid identity in the main capsid protein sequence. The DNA of 9g is resistant to most restriction endonucleases tested, indicating the presence of hypermodified bases. The gene cluster encoding a biosynthesis pathway similar to biosynthesis of theunusual nucleoside queuosine was detected in the phage 9g genome. The genomic map organization is somewhat similar to the typical temperate phage gene layout but no integrase gene was detected. Phage 9g efficiently forms stable associations with its host that continues to produce the phage over multiple passages, but the phage can be easily eliminated via viricide treatment indicating that no true lysogens are formed. Since the sequence, genomic organization and biological properties of bacteriophage 9g are clearly distinct from other known Enterobacteriaceae phages, we propose to consider itas the representative of a novel genus of the Siphoviridae family.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5047-5076: Architectural Insight into Inovirus-Associated Vectors (IAVs) and Development of IAV-Based Vaccines Inducing Humoral and Cellular Responses: Implications in HIV-1 Vaccines

  • Inovirus-associated vectors (IAVs) are engineered, non-lytic, filamentous bacteriophages that are assembled primarily from thousands of copies of the major coat protein gp8 and just five copies of each of the four minor coat proteins gp3, gp6, gp7 and gp9. Inovirus display studies have shown that the architecture of inoviruses makes all coat proteins of the inoviral particle accessible to the outside. This particular feature of IAVs allows foreign antigenic peptides to be displayed on the outer surface of the virion fused to its coat proteins and for more than two decades has been exploited in many applications including antibody or peptide display libraries, drug design, and vaccine development against infectious and non-infectious diseases. As vaccine carriers, IAVs have been shown to elicit both a cellular and humoral response against various pathogens through the display of antibody epitopes on their coat proteins. Despite their high immunogenicity, the goal of developing an effective vaccine against HIV-1 has not yet materialized. One possible limitation of previous efforts was the use of broadly neutralizing antibodies, which exhibited autoreactivity properties. In the past five years, however, new, more potent broadly neutralizing antibodies that do not exhibit autoreactivity properties have been isolated from HIV-1 infected individuals, suggesting that vaccination strategies aimed at producing such broadly neutralizing antibodies may confer protection against infection. The utilization of these new, broadly neutralizing antibodies in combination with the architectural traits of IAVs have driven the current developments in the design of an inovirus-based vaccine against HIV-1. This article reviews the applications of IAVs in vaccine development, with particular emphasis on the design of inoviral-based vaccines against HIV-1.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 5028-5046: CPB1 of Aedes aegypti Interacts with DENV2 E Protein and Regulates Intracellular Viral Accumulation and Release from Midgut Cells

  • Aedes aegypti is a principal vector responsible for the transmission of dengue viruses (DENV). To date, vector control remains the key option for dengue disease management. To develop new vector control strategies, a more comprehensive understanding of the biological interactions between DENV and Ae. aegypti is required. In this study, a cDNA library derived from the midgut of female adult Ae. aegypti was used in yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) screenings against DENV2 envelope (E) protein. Among the many interacting proteins identified, carboxypeptidase B1 (CPB1) was selected, and its biological interaction with E protein in Ae. aegypti primary midgut cells was further validated. Our double immunofluorescent assay showed that CPB1-E interaction occurred in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of the Ae. aegypti primary midgut cells. Overexpression of CPB1 in mosquito cells resulted in intracellular DENV2 genomic RNA or virus particle accumulation, with a lower amount of virus release. Therefore, we postulated that in Ae. aegypti midgut cells, CPB1 binds to the E protein deposited on the ER intraluminal membranes and inhibits DENV2 RNA encapsulation, thus inhibiting budding from the ER, and may interfere with immature virus transportation to the trans-Golgi network.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4999-5027: Interferon Induction by RNA Viruses and Antagonism by Viral Pathogens

  • Interferons are a group of small proteins that play key roles in host antiviral innate immunity. Their induction mainly relies on host pattern recognition receptors (PRR). Host PRR for RNA viruses include Toll-like receptors (TLR) and retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) like receptors (RLR). Activation of both TLR and RLR pathways can eventually lead to the secretion of type I IFNs, which can modulate both innate and adaptive immune responses against viral pathogens. Because of the important roles of interferons, viruses have evolved multiple strategies to evade host TLR and RLR mediated signaling. This review focuses on the mechanisms of interferon induction and antagonism of the antiviral strategy by RNA viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4961-4998: KSHV LANA—The Master Regulator of KSHV Latency

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV), like other human herpes viruses, establishes a biphasic life cycle referred to as dormant or latent, and productive or lytic phases. The latent phase is characterized by the persistence of viral episomes in a highly ordered chromatin structure and with the expression of a limited number of viral genes. Latency Associated Nuclear Antigen (LANA) is among the most abundantly expressed proteins during latency and is required for various nuclear functions including the recruitment of cellular machineries for viral DNA replication and segregation of the replicated genomes to daughter cells. LANA achieves these functions by recruiting cellular proteins including replication factors, chromatin modifying enzymes and cellular mitotic apparatus assembly. LANA directly binds to the terminal repeat region of the viral genome and associates with nucleosomalproteins to tether to the host chromosome. Binding of LANA to TR recruits the replication machinery, thereby initiating DNA replication within the TR. However, other regions of the viral genome can also initiate replication as determined by Single Molecule Analysis of the Replicated DNA (SMARD) approach. Recent, next generation sequence analysis of the viral transcriptome shows the expression of additional genes during latent phase. Here, we discuss the newly annotated latent genes and the role of major latent proteins in KSHV biology.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4946-4960: Porcine Bocavirus: Achievements in the Past Five Years

  • Porcine bocavirus is a recently discovered virus that infects pigs and is classified within the Bocavirus genus (family Parvoviridae, subfamily Parvovirinae). The viral genome constitutes linear single-stranded DNA and has three open reading frames that encode four proteins: NS1, NP1, VP1, and VP2. There have been more than seven genotypes discovered to date. These genotypes have been classified into three groups based on VP1 sequence. Porcine bocavirus is much more prevalent in piglets that are co-infected with other pathogens than in healthy piglets. The virus can be detected using PCR, loop-mediated isothermal amplification, cell cultures, indirect immunofluorescence, and other molecular virology techniques. Porcine bocavirus has been detected in various samples, including stool, serum, lymph nodes, and tonsils. Because this virus was discovered only five years ago, there are still many unanswered questions that require further research. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge and primary research achievements regarding porcine bocavirus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4926-4945: “Ménage à Trois”: The Evolutionary Interplay between JSRV, enJSRVs and Domestic Sheep

  • Sheep betaretroviruses represent a fascinating model to study the complex evolutionary interplay between host and pathogen in natural settings. In infected sheep, the exogenous and pathogenic Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV) coexists with a variety of highly related endogenous JSRVs, referred to as enJSRVs. During evolution, some of them were co-opted by the host as they fulfilled important biological functions, including placental development and protection against related exogenous retroviruses. In particular, two enJSRV loci, enJS56A1 and enJSRV-20, were positively selected during sheep domestication due to their ability to interfere with the replication of related competent retroviruses. Interestingly, viruses escaping these transdominant enJSRVs have recently emerged, probably less than 200 years ago. Overall, these findings suggest that in sheep the process of endogenization is still ongoing and, therefore, the evolutionary interplay between endogenous and exogenous sheep betaretroviruses and their host has not yet reached an equilibrium.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4914-4925: In between: Gypsy in Drosophila melanogaster Reveals New Insights into Endogenous Retrovirus Evolution

  • Retroviruses are RNA viruses that are able to synthesize a DNA copy of their genome and insert it into a chromosome of the host cell. Sequencing of different eukaryote genomes has revealed the presence of many such endogenous retroviral sequences. The mechanisms by which these retroviral sequences have colonized the genome are still unknown, and the endogenous retrovirus gypsy of Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful experimental model for deciphering this process in vivo. Gypsy is expressed in a layer of somatic cells, and then transferred into the oocyte by an unknown mechanism. This critical step is the start of the endogenization process. Moreover gypsy has been shown to have infectious properties, probably due to its envelope gene acquired from a baculovirus. Recently we have also shown that gypsy maternal transmission is reduced in the presence of the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia. These studies demonstrate that gypsy is a unique and powerful model for understanding the endogenization of retroviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4902-4913: Morphologic Differentiation of Viruses beyond the Family Level

  • Electron microscopy has been instrumental in the identification of viruses by being able to characterize a virus to the family level. There are a few cases where morphologic or morphogenesis factors can be used to differentiate further, to the genus level. These include viruses in the families Poxviridae, Reoviridae, Retroviridae, Herpesviridae, Filoviridae, and Bunyaviridae.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4880-4901: Immunology of Bats and Their Viruses: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Bats are reservoir hosts of several high-impact viruses that cause significant human diseases, including Nipah virus, Marburg virus and rabies virus. They also harbor many other viruses that are thought to have caused disease in humans after spillover into intermediate hosts, including SARS and MERS coronaviruses. As is usual with reservoir hosts, these viruses apparently cause little or no pathology in bats. Despite the importance of bats as reservoir hosts of zoonotic and potentially zoonotic agents, virtually nothing is known about the host/virus relationships; principally because few colonies of bats are available for experimental infections, a lack of reagents, methods and expertise for studying bat antiviral responses and immunology, and the difficulty of conducting meaningful field work. These challenges can be addressed, in part, with new technologies that are species-independent that can provide insight into the interactions of bats and viruses, which should clarify how the viruses persist in nature, and what risk factors might facilitate transmission to humans and livestock.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4856-4879: Human Papillomavirus Species-Specific Interaction with the Basement Membrane-Resident Non-Heparan Sulfate Receptor

  • Using a cell culture model where virus is bound to the extracellular matrix (ECM) prior to cell surface binding, we determined that human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) utilizes ECM resident laminin (LN) 332 as an attachment receptor for infectious entry. In presence of LN332, soluble heparin can function as ligand activator rather than competitive inhibitor of HPV16 infection. We also show that the ability to use LN332 binding as a productive attachment step for infectious entry is not conserved amongst HPV types. In the alpha genus, species 9 members (HPV16) attach to ECM via LN332, while members of species 7 (HPV18) are completely inhibited by heparin pre-incubation due to an inability to use LN332. Since HPV species 7 and 9 are preferentially associated with adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, respectively, our data provide first evidence that pre-entry events may contribute to the anatomical-site preference of HPV species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4839-4855: Virus-Like Particles of Chimeric Recombinant Porcine Circovirus Type 2 as Antigen Vehicle Carrying Foreign Epitopes

  • Virus-like particles (VLPs) of chimeric porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) were generated by replacing the nuclear localization signal (NLS; at 1–39 aa) of PCV2 capsid protein (Cap) with classical swine fever virus (CSFV) T-cell epitope (1446–1460 aa), CSFV B-cell epitope (693–716 aa) and CSFV T-cell epitope conjugated with B-cell epitope. The recombinant proteins were expressed using the baculovirus expression system and detected byimmunoblotting and indirect immunofluorescence assay. The abilities to form PCV2 VLPs were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Immunogenicities of the three recombinant proteins were evaluated in mice. Our Results indicated that Cap protein NLS deletion or substitution with CSFV epitopesdid not affect the VLPs assembly. Three chimeric Cap proteins could form VLPs and induce efficient humoral and cellular immunity against PCV2 and CSFV in mice. Results show that PCV2 VLPs can be used as an efficient antigen carrier for delivery of foreign epitopes, and a potential novel vaccine.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4811-4838: Alpharetroviral Vectors: From a Cancer-Causing Agent to a Useful Tool for Human Gene Therapy

  • Gene therapy using integrating retroviral vectors has proven its effectiveness in several clinical trials for the treatment of inherited diseases and cancer. However, vector-mediated adverse events related to insertional mutagenesis were also observed, emphasizing the need for safer therapeutic vectors. Paradoxically, alpharetroviruses, originally discovered as cancer-causing agents, have a more random and potentially safer integration pattern compared to gammaretro- and lentiviruses. In this review, we provide a short overview of the history of alpharetroviruses and explain how they can be converted into state-of-the-art gene delivery tools with improved safety features. We discuss development of alpharetroviral vectors in compliance with regulatory requirements for clinical translation, and provide an outlook on possible future gene therapy applications. Taken together, this review is a broad overview of alpharetroviral vectors spanning the bridge from their parental virus discovery to their potential applicability in clinical settings.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4800-4810: Genotypic Analysis of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus from Patients with Kaposi’s Sarcoma in Xinjiang, China

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causal agent of all forms of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), including AIDS-KS, endemic KS, classic KS and iatrogenic KS. Based on Open reading frame (ORF) K1 sequence analysis, KSHV has been classified into seven major molecular subtypes (A, B, C, D, E, Fand Z). The distribution of KSHV strains varies according to geography and ethnicity. Xinjiang is a unique region where the seroprevalence of KSHV is significantly higher than other parts of China. The genotyping of KSHV strains in this region has not been thoroughly studied. The present study aimed to evaluate the frequency of KSHV genotypes isolated from KS tissues in Classical KS and AIDS KS patients from Xinjiang, China. ORF-K1 of KSHV from tissue samples of 28 KS patients was amplified and sequenced. Two subtypes of KSHV were identified according to K1 genotyping. Twenty-three of them belonged to subtype A, while five of them were subtype C. More genotype A than genotype C strains were found in both Classical KS and AIDS KS. No significant difference was found in the prevalence of different genotype between Classical KS and AIDS KS.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4760-4799: Nomenclature- and Database-Compatible Names for the Two Ebola Virus Variants that Emerged in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2014

  • In 2014, Ebola virus (EBOV) was identified as the etiological agent of a large and still expanding outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa and a much more confined EVD outbreak in Middle Africa. Epidemiological and evolutionary analyses confirmed that all cases of both outbreaks are connected to a single introduction each of EBOV into human populations and that both outbreaks are not directly connected. Coding-complete genomic sequence analyses of isolates revealed that the two outbreaks were caused by two novel EBOV variants, and initial clinical observations suggest that neither of them should be considered strains. Here we present consensus decisions on naming for both variants (West Africa:“Makona”, Middle Africa: “Lomela”) and provide database-compatible full, shortened, and abbreviated names that are in line with recently established filovirus sub-species nomenclatures.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4731-4759: KSHV Targeted Therapy: An Update on Inhibitors of Viral Lytic Replication

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causative agent of Kaposi’s sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma and multicentric Castleman’s disease. Since the discovery of KSHV 20 years ago, there is still no standard treatment and the management of virus-associated malignancies remains toxicand incompletely efficacious. As the majority of tumor cells are latently infected with KSHV, currently marketed antivirals that target the virus lytic cycle have shown inconsistent results in clinic. Nevertheless, lytic replication plays a major role in disease progression and virus dissemination.Case reports and retrospective studies have pointed out the benefit of antiviral therapy in the treatment and prevention of KSHV-associated diseases. As a consequence, potent and selective antivirals are needed. This review focuses on the anti-KSHV activity, mode of action and current status of antiviral drugs targeting KSHV lytic cycle. Among these drugs, different subclasses of viral DNA polymerase inhibitors and compounds that do not target the viral DNA polymerase are being discussed. We also cover molecules that target cellular kinases, as well as the potential of new drug targets and animal models for antiviral testing.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4703-4730: Flavivirus-Mosquito Interactions

  • The Flavivirus genus is in the family Flaviviridae and is comprised of more than 70 viruses. These viruses have a broad geographic range, circulating on every continent except Antarctica. Mosquito-borne flaviviruses, such as yellow fever virus, dengue virus serotypes 1–4, Japanese encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus are responsible for significant human morbidity and mortality in affected regions. This review focuses on what is known about flavivirus-mosquito interactions and presents key data collected from the field and laboratory-based molecular and ultrastructural evaluations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4683-4702: Hepatitis B Virus HBx Protein Interactions with the Ubiquitin Proteasome System

  • The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes acute and chronic hepatitis, and the latter is a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HBV encodes a 17-kDa regulatory protein, HBx, which is required for virus replication. Although the precise contribution(s) of HBx to virus replication is unknown, many viruses target cellular pathways to create an environment favorable for virus replication. The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is a major conserved cellular pathway that controls several critical processes in the cell by regulating the levels of proteins involved in cell cycle, DNA repair, innate immunity, and other processes. We summarize here the interactions of HBx with components of the UPS, including the CUL4 adaptor DDB1, the cullin regulatory complex CSN, and the 26S proteasome. Understanding how these protein interactions benefit virus replication remains a challenge due to limited models in which to study HBV replication. However, studies from other viral systems that similarly target the UPS provide insight into possible strategies used by HBV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4666-4682: Euthanasia Assessment in Ebola Virus Infected Nonhuman Primates

  • Multiple products are being developed for use against filoviral infections. Efficacy for these products will likely be demonstrated in nonhuman primate models of filoviral disease to satisfy licensure requirements under the Animal Rule, or to supplement human data. Typically, the endpoint for efficacy assessment will be survival following challenge; however, there exists no standardized approach for assessing the health or euthanasia criteria for filovirus-exposed nonhuman primates. Consideration of objective criteria is important to (a) ensure test subjects are euthanized without unnecessary distress; (b) enhance the likelihood that animals exhibiting mild or moderate signs of disease are not prematurely euthanized; (c) minimize the occurrence of spontaneous deaths and loss of end-stage samples; (d) enhance the reproducibility of experiments between different researchers; and (e) provide a defensible rationale for euthanasia decisions that withstands regulatory scrutiny. Historic records were compiled for 58 surviving and non-surviving monkeys exposed to Ebola virus at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Clinical pathology parameters were statistically analyzed and those exhibiting predicative value for survival are reported. These findings may be useful for standardization of objective euthanasia assessments in rhesus monkeys exposed to Ebola virus and may serve as a useful approach for other standardization efforts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4664-4665: Correction: Taliaferro, L. et al. Evaluation of the Broad-Range PCR-Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) System and Virus Microarrays for Virus Detection. Viruses 2014, 6, 1876-1896

  • We have noted some inaccuracies in Table 1 and Table 2 of our article“Evaluation of the Broad-Range PCR-Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) System and Virus Microarrays for Virus Detection” (Viruses 2014, 6, 1876–1896) [1].[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4628-4663: Chikungunya Virus–Vector Interactions

  • Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes chikungunya fever, a severe, debilitating disease that often produces chronic arthralgia. Since 2004, CHIKV has emerged in Africa, Indian Ocean islands, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, causing millions of human infections. Central to understanding CHIKV emergence is knowledge of the natural ecology of transmission and vector infection dynamics. This review presents current understanding of CHIKV infection dynamics in mosquito vectors and its relationship to human disease emergence. The following topics are reviewed: CHIKV infection and vector life history traits including transmission cycles, genetic origins, distribution, emergence and spread, dispersal, vector competence, vector immunity and microbial interactions, and co-infection by CHIKV and other arboviruses. The genetics of vector susceptibility and host range changes, population heterogeneity and selection for the fittest viral genomes, dual host cycling and its impact on CHIKV adaptation, viral bottlenecks and intrahost diversity, and adaptive constraints on CHIKV evolution are also discussed. The potential for CHIKV re-emergence and expansion into new areas and prospects for prevention via vector control are also briefly reviewed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4609-4627: Implication of Human Endogenous Retrovirus Envelope Proteins in Placental Functions

  • Human endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) represent 8% of the total human genome. Although the majority of these ancient proviral sequences have only retained non-coding long terminal repeats (LTRs), a number of“endogenized” retroviral genes encode functional proteins. Previous studies have underlined the implication of these ERV-derived proteins in the development and the function of the placenta. In this review, we summarize recent findings showing that two ERV genes, termed Syncytin-1 and Syncytin-2, which encode former envelope (Env) proteins, trigger fusion events between villous cytotrophoblasts and the peripheral multinucleated syncytiotrophoblast layer. Such fusion events maintain the stability of this latter cell structure, which plays an important role in fetal development by the active secretion of various soluble factors, gas exchange and regulation of fetomaternal immunotolerance. We also highlight new studies showing that these ERV proteins, in addition to their localization at the cell surface of cytotrophoblasts, are also incorporated on the surface of various extracellular microvesicles, including exosomes. Such exosome-associated proteins could be involved in the various functions attributed to these vesicles and could provide a form of tropism. Additionally, through their immunosuppressive domains, these ERV proteins could also contribute to fetomaternal immunotolerance in a local and more distal manner. These various aspects of the implication of Syncytin-1 and -2 in placental function are also addressed in the context of the placenta-related disorder, preeclampsia.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4581-4608: HIV Eradication: Combinatorial Approaches to Activate Latent Viruses

  • The concept of eradication of the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) from infected patients has gained much attention in the last few years. While combination Anti-Retroviral Therapy (c-ART) has been extremely effective in suppressing viral replication, it is not curative. This is due to the presence of a reservoir of latent HIV infected cells, which persist in the presence of c-ART. Recently, pharmaceutical approaches have focused on the development of molecules able to induce HIV-1 replication from latently infected cells in order to render them susceptible to viral cytopathic effects and host immune responses. Alternative pathways and transcription complexes function to regulate the activity of the HIV promoter and might serve as molecular targets for compounds to activate latent HIV. A combined therapy coupling various depressors and activators will likely be the most effective in promoting HIV replication while avoiding pleiotropic effects at the cellular level. Moreover, in light of differences among HIV subtypes and variability in integration sites, the combination of multiple agents targeting multiple pathways will increase likelihood of therapeutic effectiveness and prevent mutational escape. This review provides an overview of the mechanisms that can be targeted to induce HIV activation focusing on potential combinatorial approaches.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4571-4580: Role of Host MicroRNAs in Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Pathogenesis

  • MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA species that can bind to both untranslated and coding regions of target mRNAs, causing their degradation or post-transcriptional modification. Currently, over 2500 miRNAs have been identified in the human genome. Burgeoning evidence suggests that dysregulation of human miRNAs can play a role in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases, including cancer. In contrast, only a small subset of human miRNAs has been functionally validated in the pathogenesis of oncogenic viruses, in particular, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). KSHV is the etiologic agent of several human cancers, such as primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), which are mostly seen in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients or other immuno-suppressed subpopulation. This review summarizes recent literature outlining mechanisms for KSHV/viral proteins regulation of cellular miRNAs contributing to viral pathogenesis, as well as recent findings about the unique signature of miRNAs induced by KSHV infection or KSHV-related malignancies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4536-4570: Structure, Function and Dynamics in Adenovirus Maturation

  • Here we review the current knowledge on maturation of adenovirus, a non-enveloped icosahedral eukaryotic virus. The adenovirus dsDNA genome fills the capsid in complex with a large amount of histone-like viral proteins, forming the core. Maturation involves proteolytic cleavage of several capsid and core precursor proteins by the viral protease (AVP). AVP uses a peptide cleaved from one of its targets as a“molecular sled” to slide on the viral genome and reach its substrates, in a remarkable example of one-dimensional chemistry. Immature adenovirus containing the precursor proteins lacks infectivity because of its inability to uncoat. The immature core is more compact and stable than the matureone, due to the condensing action of unprocessed core polypeptides; shell precursors underpin the vertex region and the connections between capsid and core. Maturation makes the virion metastable, priming it for stepwise uncoating by facilitating vertex release and loosening the condensed genome and its attachment to the icosahedral shell. The packaging scaffold protein L1 52/55k is also a substrate for AVP. Proteolytic processing of L1 52/55k disrupts its interactions with other virion components, providing a mechanism for its removal during maturation. Finally, possible roles for maturationof the terminal protein are discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4505-4535: Cholesterol Balance in Prion Diseases and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Prion diseases are transmissible and fatal neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals. They are characterized by the accumulation of PrPSc, an aberrantly folded isoform of the cellular prion protein PrPC, in the brains of affected individuals. PrPC is a cell surface glycoprotein attached to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidyl-inositol (GPI) anchor. Specifically, it is associated with lipid rafts, membrane microdomains enriched in cholesterol and sphinoglipids. It has been established that inhibition of endogenous cholesterol synthesis disturbs lipid raft association of PrPC and prevents PrPSc accumulation in neuronal cells. Additionally, prion conversion is reduced upon interference with cellular cholesterol uptake, endosomal export, or complexation at the plasma membrane. Altogether, these results demonstrate on the one hand the importance of cholesterol for prion propagation. On the other hand, growing evidence suggests that prion infection modulates neuronal cholesterol metabolism. Similar results were reported in Alzheimer’s disease (AD): whereas amyloid β peptide formation is influenced by cellular cholesterol, levels of cholesterol in the brains of affected individuals increase during the clinical course of the disease. In this review, we summarize commonalities of alterations in cholesterol homeostasis and discuss consequences for neuronal function and therapy of prion diseases and AD.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4479-4504: Mosquito Immunity against Arboviruses

  • Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) pose a significant threat to global health, causing human disease with increasing geographic range and severity. The recent availability of the genome sequences of medically important mosquito species has kick-started investigations into the molecular basis of how mosquito vectors control arbovirus infection. Here, we discuss recent findings concerning the role of the mosquito immune system in antiviral defense, interactions between arboviruses and fundamental cellular processes such as apoptosis and autophagy, and arboviral suppression of mosquito defense mechanisms. This knowledge provides insights into co-evolutionary processes between vector and virus and also lays the groundwork for the development of novel arbovirus control strategies that target the mosquito vector.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4465-4478: Analysis of Adaptive Evolution in Lyssavirus Genomes Reveals Pervasive Diversifying Selection during Species Diversification

  • Lyssavirus is a diverse genus of viruses that infect a variety of mammalian hosts, typically causing encephalitis. The evolution of this lineage, particularly the rabies virus, has been a focus of research because of the extensive occurrence of cross-species transmission, and the distinctive geographical patterns present throughout the diversification of these viruses. Although numerous studies have examined pattern-related questions concerning Lyssavirus evolution, analyses of the evolutionary processes acting on Lyssavirus diversification are scarce. To clarify the relevance of positive natural selection in Lyssavirus diversification, we conducted a comprehensive scan for episodic diversifying selection across all lineages and codon sites of the five coding regions in lyssavirus genomes. Although the genomes of these viruses are generally conserved, the glycoprotein (G), RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (L) and polymerase (P) genes were frequently targets of adaptive evolution during the diversification of the genus. Adaptive evolution is particularly manifest in the glycoprotein gene, which was inferred to have experienced the highest density of positively selected codon sites along branches. Substitutions in the L gene were found to be associated with the early diversification of phylogroups. A comparison between the number of positively selected sites inferred along the branches of RABV population branches and Lyssavirus intespecies branches suggested that the occurrence of positive selection was similar on the five coding regions of the genome in both groups.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4447-4464: Host Control of Insect Endogenous Retroviruses: Small RNA Silencing and Immune Response

  • Endogenous retroviruses are relics of ancient infections from retroviruses that managed to integrate into the genome of germline cells and remained vertically transmitted from parent to progeny. Subsequent to the endogenization process, these sequences can move and multiply in the host genome, which can have deleterious consequences and disturb genomic stability. Natural selection favored the establishment of silencing pathways that protect host genomes from the activity of endogenous retroviruses. RNA silencing mechanisms are involved, which utilize piRNAs. The response to exogenous viral infections uses siRNAs, a class of small RNAs that are generated via a distinct biogenesis pathway from piRNAs. However, interplay between both pathways has been identified, and interactions with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal immune responses are also suspected. This review focuses on Diptera (Arthropods) and intends to compile pieces of evidence showing that the RNA silencing pathway of endogenous retrovirus regulation is not independent from immunity and the response to infections. This review will consider the mechanisms that allow the lasting coexistence of viral sequences and host genomes from an evolutionary perspective.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4437-4446: Molecular Markers of Influenza B Lineages and Clades

  • Co-circulation of two influenza B virus lineages, B/Yamagata and B/Victoria, has been recognized since the late 1980s. The assessment of the prevalent lineage and the group of viruses in circulation is of importance in order to decide on the vaccine composition and evaluate its efficacy. The molecular characterization of influenza B viruses in circulation has been the aim of this study; this was approached by identifying and locating nucleotide substitutions in the influenza B virus hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), specific for the lineage and/or clade. By the alignment of 3456 sequences from the influenza GISAID EpiFlu database, a high number of lineage- and group-specific nucleotide positions have been observed in the HA gene, but not in the NA gene. Additionally, an RT-PCR method has been developed, applicable directly to clinical specimens, which amplifies a short HA region that includes a group of unique molecular signatures. Twenty eight influenza B virus-positive respiratory specimens, collected in Tuscany in the seasons 2012–2013 and 2013–2014, were analyzed. The results revealed two clearly distinguishable patterns: one, more frequent, was characterized by all of the nucleotide changes associated with the B/Yamagata lineage (in most cases of Group 2), whereas the other exhibited all of the changes associated withthe B/Victoria lineage. It can be concluded that the analysis of this short HA sequence can permit a rapid, highly sensitive determination of influenza B virus lineages and clades.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4424-4436: Genetic Diversity of PRRS Virus Collected from Air Samples in Four Different Regions of Concentrated Swine Production during a High Incidence Season

  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is one of the most relevant swine diseases in the US, costing the industry millions of dollars per year. Unfortunately, disease control is difficult because of the virus dynamics, as PRRS virus (PRRSV) can be transmitted by air between farms, especially, in regions with high density of swine operations. While long distance airborne transport of PRRSV has been reported, there is little information regarding the dynamics of PRRSV airborne challenge in concentrated regions. The objective of this study was to describe the frequency of detection, dose and diversity of PRRSV in air samples collected across four concentrated production regions during the PRRS-high risk season in the Midwestern US (October–December) in 2012. Between 29% and 42% of the air samples were positive in all four sampling sites. Sequencing of the recovered virus showed a wide diversity of field and vaccine variants. Higher frequency, dose, and diversity of PRRSV were observed in air at locations with higher pig density. These findings suggest that regional spread of PRRSV due to aerosol transmission of PRRSV represents a significant risk to susceptible herds in concentrated regions of domestic pig production where PRRSV is endemic.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4422-4423: Correction: Forrester, N.L.; Coffey, L.L.; Weaver, S.C. Arboviral Bottlenecks and Challenges to Maintaining Diversity and Fitness during Mosquito Transmission. Viruses 2014, 6, 3991–4004

  • In the original manuscript, Forrester, N.L.; Coffey, L.L.; Weaver, S.C. Arboviral Bottlenecks and Challenges to Maintaining Diversity and Fitness during Mosquito Transmission. Viruses 2014, 6, 3991–4004, Figure 1 contains an error, the third bottle was absent from the figure:[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4398-4421: Assessing Proteinase K Resistance of Fish Prion Proteins in a Scrapie-Infected Mouse Neuroblastoma Cell Line

  • The key event in prion pathogenesis is the structural conversion of the normal cellular protein, PrPC, into an aberrant and partially proteinase K resistant isoform, PrPSc. Since the minimum requirement for a prion disease phenotype is the expression of endogenous PrP in the host, species carrying orthologue prion genes, such as fish, could in theory support prion pathogenesis. Our previous work has demonstrated the development of abnormal protein deposition in sea bream brain, following oral challenge of the fish with natural prion infectious material. In this study, we used a prion-infected mouse neuroblastoma cell line for the expression of three different mature fish PrP proteins and the evaluation of the resistance of the exogenously expressed proteins to proteinase K treatment (PK), as an indicator of a possible prion conversion. No evidence of resistance to PK was detected for any of the studied recombinant proteins. Although not indicative of an absolute inability of the fish PrPs to structurally convert to pathogenic isoforms, the absence of PK-resistance may be due to supramolecular and conformational differences between the mammalian and piscine PrPs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4373-4397: Bunyavirus-Vector Interactions

  • The Bunyaviridae family is comprised of more than 350 viruses, of which many within the Hantavirus, Orthobunyavirus, Nairovirus, Tospovirus, and Phlebovirus genera are significant human or agricultural pathogens. The viruses within the Orthobunyavirus, Nairovirus, and Phlebovirus genera are transmitted by hematophagous arthropods, such as mosquitoes, midges, flies, and ticks, and their associated arthropods not only serve as vectors but also as virus reservoirs in many cases. This review presents an overview of several important emerging or re-emerging bunyaviruses and describes what is known about bunyavirus-vector interactions based on epidemiological, ultrastructural, and genetic studies of members of this virus family.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4358-4372: Anti-Glycoprotein G Antibodies of Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Contribute to Complete Protection after Vaccination in Mice and Induce Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity and Complement-Mediated Cytolysis

  • We investigated the role of antibodies against the mature portion of glycoprotein G (mgG-2) of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) in protective immunity after vaccination. Mice were immunized intramuscularly with mgG-2 and oligodeoxynucleotides containing two CpG motifs plus alum as adjuvant. All C57BL/6 mice survived and presented no genital or systemic disease. High levels of immunoglobulin G subclass 1 (IgG1) and IgG2 antibodies were detected and re-stimulated splenic CD4+ T cells proliferated and produced IFN-γ. None of the sera from immunized mice exhibited neutralization, while all sera exerted antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-mediated cytolysis (ACMC) activity. Passive transfer of anti-mgG-2 monoclonal antibodies, or immune serum, to naive C57BL/6 mice did not limit disease progression. Immunized B‑cell KO mice presented lower survival rate and higher vaginal viral titers, as compared with vaccinated B-cell KO mice after passive transfer of immune serum and vaccinated C57BL/6 mice. Sera from mice that were vaccinated subcutaneously and intranasally with mgG-2 presented significantly lower titers of IgG antibodies and lower ADCC and ACMC activity. We conclude that anti-mgG-2 antibodies were of importance to limit genital HSV‑2 infection. ADCC and ACMC activity are potentially important mechanisms in protective immunity, and could tentatively be evaluated in future animal vaccine studies and in clinical trials.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4346-4357: Genetic Characterization of Goutanap Virus, a Novel Virus Related to Negeviruses, Cileviruses and Higreviruses

  • Pools of mosquitoes collected in Côte d’Ivoire and Mexico were tested for cytopathic effects on the mosquito cell line C6/36. Seven pools induced strong cytopathic effects after one to five days post infection and were further investigated by deep sequencing. The genomes of six virus isolates from Côte d’Ivoire showed pairwise nucleotide identities of ~99% among each other and of 56%–60% to Dezidougou virus and Wallerfield virus, two insect-specific viruses belonging to the proposed new taxon Negevirus. The novel virus was tentatively named Goutanap virus. The isolate derived from the Mexican mosquitoes showed 95% pairwise identity to Piura virus and was suggested to be a strain of Piura virus, named C6.7-MX-2008. Phylogenetic inferences based on a concatenated alignment of the methyltransferase, helicase, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase domains showed that the new taxon Negevirus formed two monophyletic clades, named Nelorpivirus and Sandewavirus after the viruses grouping in these clades. Branch lengths separating these clades were equivalent to those of the related genera Cilevirus, Higrevirus and Blunervirus, as well as to those within the family Virgaviridae. Genetic distances and phylogenetic analyses suggest that Nelorpivirus and Sandewavirus might form taxonomic groups on genus level that may define alone or together with Cilevirus, Higrevirus and Blunervirus a viral family.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4332-4345: CMV-Promoter Driven Codon-Optimized Expression Alters the Assembly Type and Morphology of a Reconstituted HERV-K(HML-2)

  • The HERV-K(HML-2) family contains the most recently integrated and best preserved endogenized proviral sequences in the human genome. All known elements have nevertheless been subjected to mutations or deletions that render expressed particles non-infectious. Moreover, these post-insertional mutations hamper the analysis of the general biological properties of this ancient virus family. The expression of consensus sequences and sequences of elements with reverted post-insertional mutations has therefore been very instrumental in overcoming this limitation. We investigated the particle morphology of a recently reconstituted HERV-K113 element termed oriHERV-K113 using thin-section electron microscopy (EM) and could demonstrate that strong overexpression by substitution of the 5'LTR for a CMV promoter and partial codon optimization altered the virus assembly type and morphology. This included a conversion from the regular C-type to an A-type morphology with a mass of cytoplasmic immature cores tethered to the cell membrane and the membranes of vesicles. Overexpression permitted the release and maturation of virions but reduced the envelope content. A weaker boost of virus expression by Staufen-1 was not sufficient to induce these morphological alterations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4314-4331: Mosquito-Borne Viruses and Suppressors of Invertebrate Antiviral RNA Silencing

  • The natural maintenance cycles of many mosquito-borne viruses require establishment of persistent non-lethal infections in the invertebrate host. While the mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood, antiviral responses directed by small RNAs are important in modulating the pathogenesis of viral infections in disease vector mosquitoes. In yet another example of an evolutionary arms race between host and pathogen, some plant and insect viruses have evolved to encode suppressors of RNA silencing (VSRs). Whether or not mosquito-borne viral pathogens encode VSRs has been the subject of debate. While at first there would seem to be little evolutionary benefit to mosquito-borne viruses encoding proteins or sequences that strongly interfere with RNA silencing, we present here a model explaining how the expression of VSRs by these viruses in the vector might be compatible with the establishment of persistence. We also discuss the challenges associated with interrogating these viruses for the presence of suppressor proteins or sequences, as well as the candidates that have been identified in the genomes of mosquito-borne pathogens thus far.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4294-4313: The Insect Microbiome Modulates Vector Competence for Arboviruses

  • Diseases caused by arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses), such as Dengue, West Nile, and Chikungunya, constitute a major global health burden and are increasing in incidence and geographic range. The natural microbiota of insect vectors influences various aspects of host biology, such as nutrition, reproduction, metabolism, and immunity, and recent studies have highlighted the ability of insect-associated bacteria to reduce vector competence for arboviruses and other pathogens. This reduction can occur through mechanisms, such as immune response activation, resource competition, or the production of anti-viral molecules. Studying the interactions between insect vectors and their microbiota is an important step toward developing alternative strategies for arbovirus transmission control.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4280-4293: Japanese Encephalitis Virus Upregulates the Expression of SOCS3 in Mouse Brain and Raw264.7 Cells

  • Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is one of the pathogens that can invade the central nervous system, causing acute infection and inflammation of brain. SOCS3 protein plays a vital role in immune processes and inflammation of the central nervous system. In this study, Raw264.7 cells and suckling mice were infected with JEV, and SOCS3 expression was analyzed by the gene expression profile, semiquantitative RT-PCR, qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blot. Results indicated that 520 genes were found to be differentially expressed (fold change≥ 2.0, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05) in total. The differentially regulated genes were involved in biological processes, such as stimulus response, biological regulation and immune system processes. JEV early infection could induce SOCS3 expression, upregulating both the mRNA and protein levels in Raw264.7 cells in a time-dependent manner. The SOCS3 expression was much lower in Raw264.7 cells infected with inactivated JEV than wild-type JEV. In vivo, SOCS3 protein was also found to upregulate the expression of mRNA and protein in JEV-infected mouse brain. Taken together, our data showed that JEV early infection could induce the upregulation of SOCS3 expression, both in vitro and in vivo, providing the basic theoretical foundation for future research on the invasion mechanism of JEV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4265-4279: A Unique Evolution of the S2 Gene of Equine Infectious Anemia Virus in Hosts Correlated with Particular Infection Statuses

  • Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a member of the Lentivirus genus in the Retroviridae family that exhibits a genomic structure similar to that of HIV-1. The S2 accessory proteins play important roles in viral replication in vivo and in viral pathogenicity; however, studies on S2 evolution in vivo are limited. This study analyzed the evolutionary characteristics of the S2 gene of a pathogenic EIAV strain, EIAVLN40, in four experimentally infected horses. The results demonstrated that 14.7% (10 of 68 residues) of the stable amino acid mutations occurred longitudinally in S2 during a 150-day infection period. Further analysis revealed that six of the ten mutated residues were positively selected during the infection. Alignment and phylogenetic analyses showed that the S2 gene sequences of viruses isolated from the infected horses at the early stage of EIAVLN40 infection were highly homologous and similar to the vaccine-specific sequence. The S2 gene variants isolated from the febrile episodes and late phase of infection became homologous to the S2 gene sequence of the inoculating EIAVLN40 strain. Our results indicate that the S2 gene evolves in diversity and divergence in vivo in different stages of EIAV infection and that this evolution correlates with the pathogenicity of the virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4258-4264: Twenty Years of KSHV

  • Twenty years ago, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) was the oncologic counterpart to Winston Churchill’s Russia: a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. First described by Moritz Kaposi in 1872, who reported it to be an aggressive skin tumor, KS became known over the next century as a slow-growing tumor of elderly men—in fact, most KS patients were expected to die with the tumor rather than from it. Nevertheless, the course and manifestations of the disease varied widely in different clinical contexts. The puzzle of KS came to the forefront as a harbinger of the AIDS epidemic. The articles in this issue of Viruses recount progress made in understanding Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) since its initial description in 1994.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4242-4257: Apple Latent Spherical Virus Vector as Vaccine for the Prevention and Treatment of Mosaic Diseases in Pea, Broad Bean, and Eustoma Plants by Bean Yellow Mosaic Virus

  • We investigated the protective effects of a viral vector based on an Apple latent spherical virus (ALSV) harboring a segment of the Bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV) genome against mosaic diseases in pea, broad bean, and eustoma plants caused by BYMV infection. In pea plants pre-inoculated with the ALSV vaccine and challenge inoculated with BYMV expressing green fluorescence protein, BYMV multiplication occurred in inoculated leaves, but was markedly inhibited in the upper leaves. No mosaic symptoms due to BYMV infection were observed in the challenged plants pre-inoculated with the ALSV vaccine. Simultaneous inoculation with the ALSV vaccine and BYMV also prevented mosaic symptoms in broad bean and eustoma plants, and BYMV accumulation was strongly inhibited in the upper leaves of plants treated with the ALSV vaccine. Pea and eustoma plants were pre-inoculated with BYMV followed by inoculation with the ALSV vaccine to investigate the curative effects of the ALSV vaccine. In both plant species, recovery from mosaic symptoms was observed in upper leaves and BYMV accumulation was inhibited in leaves developing post-ALSV vaccination. These results show that ALSV vaccination not only prevents mosaic diseases in pea, broad bean, and eustoma, but that it is also effective in curing these diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4227-4241: Resistance Patterns Associated with HCV NS5A Inhibitors Provide Limited Insight into Drug Binding

  • Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have significantly improved the treatment of infection with the hepatitis C virus. A promising class of novel antiviral agents targets the HCV NS5A protein. The high potency and broad genotypic coverage are favorable properties. NS5A inhibitors are currently assessed in advanced clinical trials in combination with viral polymerase inhibitors and/or viral protease inhibitors. However, the clinical use of NS5A inhibitors is also associated with new challenges. HCV variants with decreased susceptibility to these drugs can emerge and compromise therapy. In this review, we discuss resistance patterns in NS5A with focus prevalence and implications for inhibitor binding.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4212-4226: PAN’s Labyrinth: Molecular Biology of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) PAN RNA, a Multifunctional Long Noncoding RNA

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is an oncogenic γ-herpesivrus, the causative agent of Kaposi’s sarcoma and body cavity lymphomas. During infection KSHV produces a highly abundant long non-coding polyadenylated RNA that is retained in the nucleus known as PAN RNA. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) are key regulators of gene expression and are known to interact with specific chromatin modification complexes, working in cis and trans to regulate gene expression. Data strongly supports a model where PAN RNA is a multifunctional regulatory transcript that controls KSHV gene expression by mediating the modification of chromatin by targeting the KSHV repressed genome.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4195-4211: Cytoplasmic Dynein Promotes HIV-1 Uncoating

  • Retroviral capsid (CA) cores undergo uncoating during their retrograde transport (toward the nucleus), and/or after reaching the nuclear membrane. However, whether HIV-1 CA core uncoating is dependent upon its transport is not understood. There is some evidence that HIV-1 cores retrograde transport involves cytoplasmic dynein complexes translocating on microtubules. Here we investigate the role of dynein-dependent transport in HIV-1 uncoating. To interfere with dynein function, we depleted dynein heavy chain (DHC) using RNA interference, and we over-expressed p50/dynamitin. In immunofluorescence microscopy experiments, DHC depletion caused an accumulation of CA foci in HIV-1 infected cells. Using a biochemical assay to monitor HIV-1 CA core disassembly in infected cells, we observed an increase in amounts of intact (pelletable) CA cores upon DHC depletion or p50 over-expression. Results from these two complementary assays suggest that inhibiting dynein-mediated transport interferes with HIV-1 uncoating in infected cells, indicating the existence of a functional link between HIV-1 transport and uncoating.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4178-4194: Epidemiology and Transmission of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus

  • This review summarizes the current knowledge pertaining to Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) epidemiology and transmission. Since the identification of KSHV twenty years ago, it is now known to be associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma, and multicentric Castleman’s disease. Many studies have been conducted to understand its epidemiology and pathogenesis and their results clearly show that the worldwide distribution of KSHV is uneven. Some geographical areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Xinjiang region of China, are endemic areas, but Western Europe and United States have a low prevalence in the general population. This makes it imperative to understand the risk factors associated with acquisition of infection. KSHV can be transmitted via sexual contact and non-sexual routes, such as transfusion of contaminated blood and tissues transplants, or via saliva contact. There is now a general consensus that salivary transmission is the main route of transmission, especially in children residing in endemic areas. Therefore, there is a need to better understand the sources of transmission to young children. Additionally, lack of animal models to study transmission, gold standard serological assay and the lack of emphasis on endemic KS research has hampered the efforts to further delineate KSHV transmission in order to design effective prevention strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4165-4177: Long Non-Coding RNA and Epigenetic Gene Regulation of KSHV

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/human herpesvirus 8) is a γ-herpesvirus linked to Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and two lymphoproliferative disorders, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL or body-cavity B-lymphoma [BCBL]) and a subset of Multicentric Castleman’s Disease. During lytic growth, pervasive viral transcription generating a variety of transcripts with uncertain protein-coding potential has been described on a genome-wide scale in β- and γ-herpesviruses. One class of such RNAs is called long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). KSHV encodes a viral lncRNA known as polyadenylated nuclear RNA (PAN RNA), a copious early gene product. PAN RNA has been implicated in KSHV gene expression, replication, and immune modulation. PAN RNA expression is required for optimal expression of the entire KSHV lytic gene expression program. Latent KSHV episomes are coated with viral latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). LANA rapidly dissociates from episomes during reactivation. Here we review recent studies suggesting that PAN RNA may function as a viral lncRNA, including a role in the facilitation of LANA-episomal dissociation during lytic replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4140-4164: Integration Site and Clonal Expansion in Human Chronic Retroviral Infection and Gene Therapy

  • Retroviral vectors have been successfully used therapeutically to restore expression of genes in a range of single-gene diseases, including several primary immunodeficiency disorders. Although clinical trials have shown remarkable results, there have also been a number of severe adverse events involving malignant outgrowth of a transformed clonal population. This clonal expansion is influenced by the integration site profile of the viral integrase, the transgene expressed, and the effect of the viral promoters on the neighbouring host genome. Infection with the pathogenic human retrovirus HTLV-1 also causes clonal expansion of cells containing an integrated HTLV-1 provirus. Although the majority of HTLV-1-infected people remain asymptomatic, up to 5% develop an aggressive T cell malignancy. In this review we discuss recent findings on the role of the genomic integration site in determining the clonality and the potential for malignant transformation of cells carrying integrated HTLV-1 or gene therapy vectors, and how these results have contributed to the understanding of HTLV-1 pathogenesis and to improvements in gene therapy vector safety.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4095-4139: Current Perspectives on HIV-1 Antiretroviral Drug Resistance

  • Current advancements in antiretroviral therapy (ART) have turned HIV-1 infection into a chronic and manageable disease. However, treatment is only effective until HIV-1 develops resistance against the administered drugs. The most recent antiretroviral drugs have become superior at delaying the evolution of acquired drug resistance. In this review, the viral fitness and its correlation to HIV-1 mutation rates and drug resistance are discussed while emphasizing the concept of lethal mutagenesis as an alternative therapy. The development of resistance to the different classes of approved drugs and the importance of monitoring antiretroviral drug resistance are also summarized briefly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4080-4094: The Lysine 65 Residue in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Function and in Nucleoside Analog Drug Resistance

  • Mutations in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) that confer nucleoside analog RT inhibitor resistance have highlighted the functional importance of several active site residues (M184, Q151 and K65) in RT catalytic function. Of these, K65 residue is notable due to its pivotal position in the dNTP-binding pocket, its involvement in nucleoside analog resistance and polymerase fidelity. This review focuses on K65 residue and summarizes a substantial body of biochemical and structural studies of its role in RT function and the functional consequences of the K65R mutation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4047-4079: Human Viruses and Cancer

  • The first human tumor virus was discovered in the middle of the last century by Anthony Epstein, Bert Achong and Yvonne Barr in African pediatric patients with Burkitt’s lymphoma. To date, seven viruses -EBV, KSHV, high-risk HPV, MCPV, HBV, HCV and HTLV1- have been consistently linked to different types of human cancer, and infections are estimated to account for up to 20% of all cancer cases worldwide. Viral oncogenic mechanisms generally include: generation of genomic instability, increase in the rate of cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, alterations in DNA repair mechanisms and cell polarity changes, which often coexist with evasion mechanisms of the antiviral immune response. Viral agents also indirectly contribute to the development of cancer mainly through immunosuppression or chronic inflammation, but also through chronic antigenic stimulation. There is also evidence that viruses can modulate the malignant properties of an established tumor. In the present work, causation criteria for viruses and cancer will be described, as well as the viral agents that comply with these criteria in human tumors, their epidemiological and biological characteristics, the molecular mechanisms by which they induce cellular transformation and their associated cancers.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4024-4046: Interaction of KSHV with Host Cell Surface Receptors and Cell Entry

  • Virus entry is a complex process characterized by a sequence of events. Since the discovery of KSHV in 1994, tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of KSHV entry into its in vitro target cells. KSHV entry is a complex multistep process involving viral envelope glycoproteins and several cell surface molecules that is utilized by KSHV for its attachment and entry. KSHV has a broad cell tropism and the attachment and receptor engagement on target cells have an important role in determining the cell type-specific mode of entry. KSHV utilizes heparan sulfate, integrins and EphrinA2 molecules as receptors which results in the activation of host cell pre-existing signal pathways that facilitate the subsequent cascade of events resulting in the rapid entry of virus particles, trafficking towards the nucleus followed by viral and host gene expression. KSHV enters human fibroblast cells by dynamin dependant clathrin mediated endocytosis and by dynamin independent macropinocytosis in dermal endothelial cells. Once internalized into endosomes, fusion of the viral envelope with the endosomal membranes in an acidification dependent manner results in the release of capsids which subsequently reaches the nuclear pore vicinity leading to the delivery of viral DNA into the nucleus. In this review, we discuss the principal mechanisms that enable KSHV to interact with the host cell surface receptors as well as the mechanisms that are required to modulate cell signaling machinery for a successful entry.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4005-4023: KSHV miRNAs Decrease Expression of Lytic Genes in Latently Infected PEL and Endothelial Cells by Targeting Host Transcription Factors

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) microRNAs are encoded in the latency-associated region. Knockdown of KSHV miR-K12-3 and miR-K12-11 increased expression of lytic genes in BC-3 cells, and increased virus production from latently infected BCBL-1 cells. Furthermore, iSLK cells infected with miR-K12-3 and miR-K12-11 deletion mutant viruses displayed increased spontaneous reactivation and were more sensitive to inducers of reactivation than cells infected with wild type KSHV. Predicted binding sites for miR-K12-3 and miR-K12-11 were found in the 3’UTRs of the cellular transcription factors MYB, Ets-1, and C/EBPα, which activate RTA, the KSHV replication and transcription activator. Targeting of MYB by miR-K12-11 was confirmed by cloning the MYB 3’UTR downstream from the luciferase reporter. Knockdown of miR‑K12-11 resulted in increased levels of MYB transcript, and knockdownof miR-K12-3 increased both C/EBPα and Ets-1 transcripts. Thus, miR-K12-11 and miR-K12-3 contribute to maintenance of latency by decreasing RTA expression indirectly, presumably via down‑regulation of MYB, C/EBPα and Ets-1, and possibly other host transcription factors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3991-4004: Arboviral Bottlenecks and Challenges to Maintaining Diversity and Fitness during Mosquito Transmission

  • The term arbovirus denotes viruses that are transmitted by arthropods, such as ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting arthropods. The infection of these vectors produces a certain set of evolutionary pressures on the virus; involving migration from the midgut, where the blood meal containing the virus is processed, to the salivary glands, in order to transmit the virus to the next host. During this process the virus is subject to numerous bottlenecks, stochastic events that significantly reduce the number of viral particles that are able to infect the next stage. This article reviews the latest research on the bottlenecks that occur in arboviruses and the way in which these affect the evolution and fitness of these viruses. In particular we focus on the latest research on three important arboviruses, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and Chikungunya viruses and compare the differing effects of the mosquito bottlenecks on these viruses as well as other evolutionary pressures that affect their evolution and transmission.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3968-3990: Challenges in the Design of a T Cell Vaccine in the Context of HIV-1 Diversity

  • The extraordinary variability of HIV-1 poses a major obstacle to vaccine development. The effectiveness of a vaccine is likely to vary dramatically in different populations infected with different HIV-1 subtypes, unless innovative vaccine immunogens are developed to protect against the range of HIV-1 diversity. Immunogen design for stimulating neutralizing antibody responses focuses on“breadth” – the targeting of a handful of highly conserved neutralizing determinants on the HIV-1 Envelope protein that can recognize the majority of viruses across all HIV-1 subtypes. An effective vaccine will likely require the generation of both broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies and non-neutralizing antibodies, as well as broadly cross-reactive T cells. Several approaches have been taken to design such broadly-reactive and cross-protective T cell immunogens. Artificial sequences have been designed that reduce the genetic distance between a vaccine strain and contemporary circulating viruses; “mosaic” immunogens extend this concept to contain multiple potential T cell epitope (PTE) variants; and further efforts attempt to focus T cell immunity on highly conserved regions of the HIV-1 genome. Thus far, a number of pre-clinical and early clinical studies have been performed assessing these new immunogens. In this review, the potential use of these new immunogens is explored.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3944-3967: Identification of FactorsInfluencing the Puumala Virus Seroprevalence within Its Reservoir in aMontane Forest Environment

  • Puumala virus (PUUV) is a major cause of mild to moderate haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and is transmitted by the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). There has been a high cumulative incidence of recorded human cases in South-eastern Germany since 2004 when the region was first recognized as being endemic for PUUV. As the area is well known for outdoor recreation and the Bavarian Forest National Park (BFNP) is located in the region, the increasing numbers of recorded cases are of concern. To understand the population and environmental effects on the seroprevalence of PUUV in bank voles we trapped small mammals at 23 sites along an elevation gradient from 317 to 1420m above sea level. Generalized linear mixed effects models(GLMEM) were used to explore associations between the seroprevalence of PUUV in bank voles and climate and biotic factors. We found that the seroprevalence of PUUV was low (6%–7%) in 2008 and 2009, and reached 29% in 2010. PUUV seroprevalence was positively associated with the local species diversity and deadwood layer, and negatively associated with mean annual temperature, mean annual solar radiation, and herb layer. Based on these findings, an illustrative risk mapfor PUUV seroprevalence prediction in bank voles was created for an area of the national park. The map will help when planning infrastructure in the national park (e.g., huts, shelters, and trails).

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3925-3943: Regulation of HTLV-1 Tax Stability, Cellular Trafficking and NF-κB Activation by the Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathway

  • Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a complex retrovirus that infects CD4+ T cells and causes adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) in 3%–5% of infected individuals after a long latent period. HTLV-1 Tax is a trans-activating protein that regulates viral gene expression and also modulates cellular signaling pathways to enhance T-cell proliferation and cell survival. The Tax oncoprotein promotes T-cell transformation, in part via constitutive activation of the NF-κB transcription factor; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Ubiquitination is a type of post-translational modification that occurs in a three-step enzymatic cascade mediated by E1, E2 and E3 enzymes and regulates protein stability as well as signal transduction, protein trafficking and the DNA damage response. Emerging studies indicate that Tax hijacks the ubiquitin machinery to activate ubiquitin-dependent kinases and downstream NF-κB signaling. Tax interacts with the E2 conjugating enzyme Ubc13 and is conjugated on C-terminal lysine residues with lysine 63-linked polyubiquitin chains. Tax K63-linked polyubiquitination may serve as a platform for signaling complexes since this modification is critical for interactions with NEMO and IKK. In addition to NF-κB signaling, mono- and polyubiquitination of Tax also regulate its subcellular trafficking and stability. Here, we review recent advances in the diverse roles of ubiquitin in Tax function and how Tax usurps the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway to promote oncogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3907-3924: Protein Folding Activity of the Ribosome (PFAR) –– A Target for Antiprion Compounds

  • Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting mammals. Prions are misfolded amyloid aggregates of the prion protein (PrP), which form when the alpha helical, soluble form of PrP converts to an aggregation-prone, beta sheet form. Thus, prions originate as protein folding problems. The discovery of yeast prion(s) and the development of a red-/white-colony based assay facilitated safe and high-throughput screening of antiprion compounds. With this assay three antiprion compounds; 6-aminophenanthridine (6AP), guanabenz acetate (GA), and imiquimod (IQ) have been identified. Biochemical and genetic studies reveal that these compounds target ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and inhibit specifically the protein folding activity of the ribosome (PFAR). The domain V of the 23S/25S/28S rRNA of the large ribosomal subunit constitutes the active site for PFAR. 6AP and GA inhibit PFAR by competition with the protein substrates for the common binding sites on the domain V rRNA. PFAR inhibition by these antiprion compounds opens up new possibilities for understanding prion formation, propagation and the role of the ribosome therein. In this review, we summarize and analyze the correlation between PFAR and prion processes using the antiprion compounds as tools.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3893-3906: Development and Validation of a Multiplex Reverse Transcription PCR Assay for Simultaneous Detection of Three Papaya Viruses

  • Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), Papaya leaf distortion mosaic virus (PLDMV), and Papaya mosaic virus (PapMV) produce similar symptoms in papaya. Each threatens commercial production of papaya on Hainan Island, China. In this study, a multiplex reverse transcription PCR assay was developed to detect simultaneously these three viruses by screening combinations of mixed primer pairs and optimizing the multiplex RT-PCR reaction conditions. A mixture of three specific primer pairs was used to amplify three distinct fragments of 613 bp from the P3 gene of PRSV, 355 bp from the CP gene of PLDMV, and 205 bp from the CP gene of PapMV, demonstrating the assay’s specificity. The sensitivity of the multiplex RT-PCR was evaluated by showing plasmids containing each of the viral target genes with 1.44 × 103, 1.79 × 103, and 1.91 × 102 copies for the three viruses could be detected successfully. The multiplex RT-PCR was applied successfully for detection of three viruses from 341 field samples collected from 18 counties of Hainan Island, China. Rates of single infections were 186/341 (54.5%), 93/341 (27.3%), and 3/341 (0.9%), for PRSV, PLDMV, and PapMV, respectively; 59/341 (17.3%) of the samples were co-infected with PRSV and PLDMV, which is thefirst time being reported in Hainan Island. This multiplex RT-PCR assay is a simple, rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective method for detecting multiple viruses in papaya and can be used for routine molecular diagnosis and epidemiological studies in papaya.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3875-3892: The Structure of Human Prions: From Biology to Structural Models—Considerations and Pitfalls

  • The Structure of Human Prions: From Biology to Structural Models— Considerations and Pitfalls

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3873-3874: Remembering Professor Walter A. Scott

  • Walter Scott was a Biochemistry professor at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine and a leading figure in the field of HIV drug resistance. His untimely passing in January 2013 marked a loss for his family, as well as for students and colleagues who knew him as a dedicated and unassuming scholar, and a lively scientist with a great sense of humor.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3855-3872: Impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 Sequence Diversity on Antiretroviral Therapy Outcomes

  • Worldwide circulating HIV-1 genomes show extensive variation represented by different subtypes, polymorphisms and drug-resistant strains. Reports on the impact of sequence variation on antiretroviral therapy (ART) outcomes are mixed. In this review, we summarize relevant published data from both resource-rich and resource-limited countries in the last 10 years on the impact of HIV-1 sequence diversity on treatment outcomes. The prevalence of transmission of drug resistant mutations (DRMs) varies considerably, ranging from 0% to 27% worldwide. Factors such as geographic location, access and availability to ART, duration since inception of treatment programs, quality of care, risk-taking behaviors, mode of transmission, and viral subtype all dictate the prevalence in a particular geographical region. Although HIV-1 subtype may not be a good predictor of treatment outcome, review of emerging evidence supports the fact that HIV-1 genome sequence-resulting from natural polymorphisms or drug-associated mutations-matters when it comes to treatment outcomes. Therefore, continued surveillance of drug resistant variants in both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced populations is needed to reduce the transmission of DRMs and to optimize the efficacy of the current ART armamentarium.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3837-3854: A Loop Region in the N-Terminal Domain of Ebola Virus VP40 Is Important in Viral Assembly, Budding, and Egress

  • Ebola virus (EBOV) causes viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and can have clinical fatality rates of ~60%. The EBOV genome consists of negative sense RNA that encodes seven proteins including viral protein 40 (VP40). VP40 is the major Ebola virus matrix protein and regulates assembly and egress of infectious Ebola virus particles. It is well established that VP40 assembles on the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane of human cells to regulate viral budding where VP40 can produce virus like particles (VLPs) without other Ebola virus proteins present. The mechanistic details, however, of VP40 lipid-interactions and protein-protein interactions that are important for viral release remain to be elucidated. Here, we mutated a loop region in the N-terminal domain of VP40 (Lys127, Thr129, and Asn130) and find that mutations (K127A, T129A, and N130A) in this loop region reduce plasma membrane localization of VP40. Additionally, using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and number and brightness analysis we demonstrate these mutations greatly reduce VP40 oligomerization. Lastly, VLP assays demonstrate these mutations significantly reduce VLP release from cells. Taken together, these studies identify an important loop region in VP40 that may be essential to viral egress.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3827-3836: Spread of Oropouche Virus into the Central Nervous System in Mouse

  • Oropouche virus (OROV) is an important cause of arboviral illness in Brazil and other Latin American countries, with most cases clinically manifested as acute febrile illness referred to as Oropouche fever, including myalgia, headache, arthralgia and malaise. However, OROV can also affect the central nervous system (CNS) with clinical neurological implications. Little is known regarding OROV pathogenesis, especially how OROV gains access to the CNS. In the present study, neonatal BALB/c mice were inoculated with OROV by the subcutaneous route and the progression of OROV spread into the CNS was evaluated. Immunohistochemistry revealed that OROV infection advances from posterior parts of the brain, including the periaqueductal gray, toward the forebrain. In the early phases of the infection OROV gains access to neural routes, reaching the spinal cord and ascending to the brain through brainstem regions, with little inflammation. Later, as infection progresses, OROV crosses the blood-brain barrier, resulting in more intense spread into the brain parenchyma, with more severe manifestations of encephalitis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3809-3826: Influenza Vaccines: A Moving Interdisciplinary Field

  • Vaccination is by far the most effective way of preventing morbidity and mortality due to infection of the upper respiratory tract by influenza virus. Current vaccines require yearly vaccine updates as the influenza virus can escape vaccine-induced humoral immunity due to the antigenic variability of its surface antigens. In case of a pandemic, new vaccines become available too late with current vaccine practices. New technologies that allow faster production of vaccine seed strains in combination with alternative production platforms and vaccine formulations may shorten the time gap between emergence of a new influenza virus and a vaccine becoming available. Adjuvants may allow antigen-sparing, allowing more people to be vaccinated with current vaccine production capacity. Adjuvants and universal vaccines can target immune responses to more conserved influenza epitopes, which eventually will result in broader protection for a longer time. In addition, further immunological studies are needed to gain insights in the immune features that contribute to protection from influenza-related disease and mortality, allowing redefinition of correlates of protection beyond virus neutralization in vitro.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3787-3808: From Crescent to Mature Virion: Vaccinia Virus Assembly and Maturation

  • Vaccinia virus (VACV) has achieved unprecedented success as a live viral vaccine for smallpox which mitigated eradication of the disease. Vaccinia virus has a complex virion morphology and recent advances have been made to answer some of the key outstanding questions, in particular, the origin and biogenesis of the virion membrane, the transformation from immature virion (IV) to mature virus (MV), and the role of several novel genes, which were previously uncharacterized, but have now been shown to be essential for VACV virion formation. This new knowledge will undoubtedly contribute to the rational design of safe, immunogenic vaccine candidates, or effective antivirals in the future. This review endeavors to provide an update on our current knowledge of the VACV maturation processes with a specific focus on the initiation of VACV replication through to the formation of mature virions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3778-3786: Effect of Bacteriophage Infection in Combination with Tobramycin on the Emergence of Resistance in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms

  • Bacteriophage infection and antibiotics used individually to reduce biofilm mass often result in the emergence of significant levels of phage and antibiotic resistant cells. In contrast, combination therapy in Escherichia coli biofilms employing T4 phage and tobramycin resulted in greater than 99% and 39% reduction in antibiotic and phage resistant cells, respectively. In P. aeruginosa biofilms, combination therapy resulted in a 60% and 99% reduction in antibiotic and PB-1 phage resistant cells, respectively. Although the combined treatment resulted in greater reduction of E. coli CFUs compared to the use of antibiotic alone, infection of P. aeruginosa biofilms with PB-1 in the presence of tobramycin was only as effective in the reduction of CFUs as the use of antibiotic alone. The study demonstrated phage infection in combination with tobramycin can significantly reduce the emergence of antibiotic and phage resistant cells in both E. coli and P. aeruginosa biofilms, however, a reduction in biomass was dependent on the phage-host system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3766-3777: Molecular Modeling of Prion Transmission to Humans

  • Using different prion strains, such as the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent and the atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy agents, and using transgenic mice expressing human or bovine prion protein, we assessed the reliability of protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) to model interspecies and genetic barriers to prion transmission. We compared our PMCA results with in vivo transmission data characterized by attack rates, i.e., the percentage of inoculated mice that developed the disease. Using 19 seed/substrate combinations, we observed that a significant PMCA amplification was only obtained when the mouse line used as substrate is susceptible to the corresponding strain. Our results suggest that PMCA provides a useful tool to study genetic barriers to transmission and to study the zoonotic potential of emerging prion strains.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3738-3765: Mutation of the Highly Conserved Ser-40 of the HIV-1 p6 Gag Protein to Phe Causes the Formation of a Hydrophobic Patch, Enhances Membrane Association, and Polyubiquitination of Gag

  • The HIV-1 p6 Gag protein contains two late assembly (l-) domains that recruit proteins of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) pathway to mediate membrane fission between the nascent virion and the cell membrane. It was recently demonstrated that mutation of the highly conserved Ser-40 to Phe (S40F) disturbs CA-SP1 processing, virus morphogenesis, and infectivity. It also causes the formation of filopodia-like structures, while virus release remains unaffected. Here, we show that the mutation S40F, but not the conservative mutation to Asp (S40D) or Asn (S40N), augments membrane association, K48-linked polyubiquitination, entry into the 26S proteasome, and, consequently, enhances MHC-I antigen presentation of Gag derived epitopes. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structure analyses revealed that the newly introduced Phe-40, together with Tyr-36, causes the formation of a hydrophobic patch at the C-terminalα-helix of p6, providing a molecular rationale for the enhanced membrane association of Gag observed in vitro and in HIV-1 expressing cells. The extended exposure of the S40F mutant to unidentified membrane-resident ubiquitin E3-ligases might trigger the polyubiquitination of Gag. The cumulative data support a previous model of a so far undefined property of p6, which, in addition to MA, acts as membrane targeting domain of Gag.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3719-3737: Prion Protein-Specific Antibodies-Development, Modes of Action and Therapeutics Application

  • Prion diseases or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) are lethal neurodegenerative disorders involving the misfolding of the host encoded cellular prion protein, PrPC. This physiological form of the protein is expressed throughout the body, and it reaches the highest levels in the central nervous system where the pathology occurs. The conversion into the pathogenic isoform denoted as prion or PrPSc is the key event in prion disorders. Prominent candidates for the treatment of prion diseases are antibodies and their derivatives. Anti-PrPC antibodies are able to clear PrPSc from cell culture of infected cells. Furthermore, application of anti-PrPC antibodies suppresses prion replication in experimental animal models. Major drawbacks of immunotherapy are immune tolerance, the risks of neurotoxic side effects, limited ability of compounds to cross the blood-brain barrier and their unfavorable pharmacokinetic. The focus of this review is to recapitulate the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms for antibody mediated anti-prion activity. Although relevant for designing immunotherapeutic tools, the characterization of key antibody parameters shaping the molecular mechanism of the PrPC to PrPSc conversion remains elusive. Moreover, this review illustrates the various attempts towards the development of anti-PrP antibody compounds and discusses therapeutic candidates that modulate PrP expression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3699-3718: A Call to Action to Enhance Filovirus Disease Outbreak Preparedness and Response

  • The frequency and magnitude of recognized and declared filovirus-disease outbreaks have increased in recent years, while pathogenic filoviruses are potentially ubiquitous throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, the efficiency and effectiveness of filovirus-disease outbreak preparedness and response efforts are currently limited by inherent challenges and persistent shortcomings. This paper delineates some of these challenges and shortcomings and provides a proposal for enhancing future filovirus-disease outbreak preparedness and response. The proposal serves as a call for prompt action by the organizations that comprise filovirus-disease outbreak response teams, namely, Ministries of Health of outbreak-prone countries, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Atlanta, and others.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3683-3698: IFITM Proteins Inhibit Entry Driven by the MERS-Coronavirus Spike Protein: Evidence for Cholesterol-Independent Mechanisms

  • The interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins 1, 2 and 3 inhibit the host cell entry of several enveloped viruses, potentially by promoting the accumulation of cholesterol in endosomal compartments. IFITM3 is essential for control of influenza virus infection in mice and humans. In contrast, the role of IFITM proteins in coronavirus infection is less well defined. Employing a retroviral vector system for analysis of coronavirus entry, we investigated the susceptibility of human-adapted and emerging coronaviruses to inhibition by IFITM proteins. We found that entry of the recently emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is sensitive to inhibition by IFITM proteins. In 293T cells, IFITM-mediated inhibition of cellular entry of the emerging MERS- and SARS-CoV was less efficient than blockade of entry of the globally circulating human coronaviruses 229E and NL63. Similar differences were not observed in A549 cells, suggesting that cellular context and/or IFITM expression levels can impact inhibition efficiency. The differential IFITM-sensitivity of coronaviruses observed in 293T cells afforded the opportunity to investigate whether efficiency of entry inhibition by IFITMs and endosomal cholesterol accumulation correlate. No such correlation was observed. Furthermore, entry mediated by the influenza virus hemagglutinin was robustly inhibited by IFITM3 but was insensitive to accumulation of endosomal cholesterol, indicating that modulation of cholesterol synthesis/transport did not account for the antiviral activity of IFITM3. Collectively, these results show that the emerging MERS-CoV is a target of the antiviral activity of IFITM proteins and demonstrate that mechanisms other than accumulation of endosomal cholesterol can contribute to viral entry inhibition by IFITMs.
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