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Jean-Yves Sgro
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Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2168-2184: A Phylogeographic Investigation of African Monkeypox

  • Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by a virus member of the genus Orthopoxvirus and is endemic to Central and Western African countries. Previous work has identified two geographically disjuct clades of monkeypox virus based on the analysis of a few genomes coupled with epidemiological and clinical analyses; however, environmental and geographic causes of this differentiation have not been explored. Here, we expand previous phylogenetic studies by analyzing a larger set of monkeypox virus genomes originating throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to identify possible biogeographic barriers associated with genetic differentiation; and projected ecological niche models onto environmental conditions at three periods in the past to explore the potential role of climate oscillations in the evolution of the two primary clades. Analyses supported the separation of the Congo Basin and West Africa clades; the Congo Basin clade shows much shorter branches, which likely indicate a more recent diversification of isolates within this clade. The area between the Sanaga and Cross Rivers divides the two clades and the Dahomey Gap seems to have also served as a barrier within the West African clade. Contraction of areas with suitable environments for monkeypox virus during the Last Glacial Maximum, suggests that the Congo Basin clade of monkeypox virus experienced a severe bottleneck and has since expanded its geographic range.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2147-2167: BST2/Tetherin Inhibition of Alphavirus Exit

  • Alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Semliki Forest virus (SFV) are small enveloped RNA viruses that bud from the plasma membrane. Tetherin/BST2 is an interferon-induced host membrane protein that inhibits the release of many enveloped viruses via direct tethering of budded particles to the cell surface. Alphaviruses have highly organized structures and exclude host membrane proteins from the site of budding, suggesting that their release might be insensitive to tetherin inhibition. Here, we demonstrated that exogenously-expressed tetherin efficiently inhibited the release of SFV and CHIKV particles from host cells without affecting virus entry and infection. Alphavirus release was also inhibited by the endogenous levels of tetherin in HeLa cells. While rubella virus (RuV) and dengue virus (DENV) have structural similarities to alphaviruses, tetherin inhibited the release of RuV but not DENV. We found that two recently identified tetherin isoforms differing in length at the N-terminus exhibited distinct capabilities in restricting alphavirus release. SFV exit was efficiently inhibited by the long isoform but not the short isoform of tetherin, while both isoforms inhibited vesicular stomatitis virus exit. Thus, in spite of the organized structure of the virus particle, tetherin specifically blocks alphavirus release and shows an interesting isoform requirement.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2126-2146: Genome Variability and Gene Content in Chordopoxviruses: Dependence on Microsatellites

  • To investigate gene loss in poxviruses belonging to the Chordopoxvirinae subfamily, we assessed the gene content of representative members of the subfamily, and determined whether individual genes present in each genome were intact, truncated, or fragmented. When nonintact genes were identified, the early stop mutations (ESMs) leading to gene truncation or fragmentation were analyzed. Of all the ESMs present in these poxvirus genomes, over 65% co-localized with microsatellites—simple sequence nucleotide repeats. On average, microsatellites comprise 24% of the nucleotide sequence of these poxvirus genomes. These simple repeats have been shown to exhibit high rates of variation, and represent a target for poxvirus protein variation, gene truncation, and reductive evolution.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2099-2125: Baculovirus-mediated Gene Delivery and RNAi Applications

  • Baculoviruses are widely encountered in nature and a great deal of data is available about their safety and biology. Recently, these versatile, insect-specific viruses have demonstrated their usefulness in various biotechnological applications including protein production and gene transfer. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies exist and support their use as gene delivery vehicles in vertebrate cells. Recently, baculoviruses have also demonstrated high potential in RNAi applications in which several advantages of the virus make it a promising tool for RNA gene transfer with high safety and wide tropism.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2074-2098: Can Plant Viruses Cross the Kingdom Border and Be Pathogenic to Humans?

  • Phytoviruses are highly prevalent in plants worldwide, including vegetables and fruits. Humans, and more generally animals, are exposed daily to these viruses, among which several are extremely stable. It is currently accepted that a strict separation exists between plant and vertebrate viruses regarding their host range and pathogenicity, and plant viruses are believed to infect only plants. Accordingly, plant viruses are not considered to present potential pathogenicity to humans and other vertebrates. Notwithstanding these beliefs, there are many examples where phytoviruses circulate and propagate in insect vectors. Several issues are raised here that question if plant viruses might further cross the kingdom barrier to cause diseases in humans. Indeed, there is close relatedness between some plant and animal viruses, and almost identical gene repertoires. Moreover, plant viruses can be detected in non-human mammals and humans samples, and there are evidence of immune responses to plant viruses in invertebrates, non-human vertebrates and humans, and of the entry of plant viruses or their genomes into non-human mammal cells and bodies after experimental exposure. Overall, the question raised here is unresolved, and several data prompt the additional extensive study of the interactions between phytoviruses and non-human mammals and humans, and the potential of these viruses to cause diseases in humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2057-2073: Enhancement of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Infection by Seminal Plasma and Semen Amyloids Implicates a New Target for the Prevention of HSV Infection

  • Human herpesviruses cause different infectious diseases, resulting in world-wide health problems. Sexual transmission is a major route for the spread of both herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and -2. Semen plays an important role in carrying the viral particle that invades the vaginal or rectal mucosa and, thereby, initiates viral replication. Previously, we demonstrated that the amyloid fibrils semenogelin (SEM) and semen-derived enhancer of viral infection (SEVI), and seminal plasma (SP) augment cytomegalovirus infection (Tang et al., J. Virol 2013). Whether SEM or SEVI amyloids or SP could also enhance other herpesvirus infections has not been examined. In this study, we found that the two amyloids as well as SP strongly enhance both HSV-1 and -2 infections in cell culture. Along with SP, SEM and SEVI amyloids enhanced viral entry and increased infection rates by more than 10-fold, as assessed by flow cytometry assay and fluorescence microscopy. Viral replication was increased by about 50- to 100-fold. Moreover, viral growth curve assays showed that SEM and SEVI amyloids, as well as SP, sped up the kinetics of HSV replication such that the virus reached its replicative peak more quickly. The interactions of SEM, SEVI, and SP with HSVs are direct. Furthermore, we discovered that the enhancing effects of SP, SEM, and SEVI can be significantly reduced by heparin, a sulfated polysaccharide with an anionic charge. It is probable that heparin abrogates said enhancing effects by interfering with the interaction of the viral particle and the amyloids, which interaction results in the binding of the viral particles and both SEM and SEVI.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2030-2056: Humanized-VHH Transbodies that Inhibit HCV Protease and Replication

  • There is a need for safe and broadly effective anti-HCV agents that can cope with genetic multiplicity and mutations of the virus. In this study, humanized-camel VHHs to genotype 3a HCV serine protease were produced and were linked molecularly to a cell penetrating peptide, penetratin (PEN). Human hepatic (Huh7) cells transfected with the JFH-1 RNA of HCV genotype 2a and treated with the cell penetrable nanobodies (transbodies) had a marked reduction of the HCV RNA intracellularly and in their culture fluids, less HCV foci inside the cells and less amounts of HCV core antigen in culture supernatants compared with the infected cells cultured in the medium alone. The PEN-VHH-treated-transfected cells also had up-regulation of the genes coding for the host innate immune response (TRIF, TRAF3, IRF3, IL-28B and IFN-β), indicating that the cell penetrable nanobodies rescued the host innate immune response from the HCV mediated-suppression. Computerized intermolecular docking revealed that the VHHs bound to residues of the protease catalytic triad, oxyanion loop and/or the NS3 N-terminal portion important fornon-covalent binding of the NS4A protease cofactor protein. The so-produced transbodies have high potential for testing further as a candidate for safe, broadly effective and virus mutation tolerable anti-HCV agents.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2014-2029: Frequent Infection of Human Cancer Xenografts with Murine Endogenous Retroviruses in Vivo

  • Infection of human cancer xenografts in mice with murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) is a long-standing observation, but the likelihood of infection in vivo and its biological consequences are poorly understood. We therefore conducted a prospective study in commonly used xenograft recipient strains. From BALB/c nude mice engrafted with MCF7 human mammary carcinoma cells, we isolated a virus that was virtually identical to Bxv1, a locus encoding replication-competent xenotropic MLV (XMLV). XMLV was detected in 9/17 (53%) independently isolated explants. XMLV was not found in primary leukemias or in THP1 leukemia cells grown in Bxv1-negative NSG (NOD/SCID/γCnull) mice, although MCF7 explants harbored replication-defective MLV proviruses. To assess the significance of infection for xenograft behavior in vivo, we examined changes in growth and global transcription in MCF7 and the highly susceptible Raji Burkitt lymphoma cell line chronically infectedwith XMLV. Raji cells showed a stronger transcriptional response that included up-regulation of chemokines and effectors of innate antiviral immunity. In conclusion, the risk of de novo XMLV infection of xenografts is high in Bxv1 positive mice, while infection can have positive or negative effectson xenograft growth potential with significant consequences for interpretation of many xenograft studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 2006-2013: Serological Evidence of Hantavirus Infection in Apparently Healthy People from Rural and Slum Communities in Southern Chile

  • Hantavirus disease in America has been recognizable because of its rapid progression in clinical cases, occurrence in previously healthy young adults, and high case fatality rate. Hantavirus disease has been proposed now to define the diversity of clinical manifestations. Since 1995, a total of 902 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome have been reported in Chile, caused by Andes virus (ANDV), with overall fatality of 32%. This report describes the sero-epidemiology of hantavirus in apparently healthy people in rural and urban slum communities from southern Chile. Ten of 934 samples yielded a positive result resulting in a seroprevalence of 1.07% (95% confidence intervals: 0.05%–2.0%). A higher proportion of positive samples was found among individuals from rural villages (1.3%) and slums (1.5%) compared with farms (0.5%). Seropositivity was associated with age (p = 0.011), low education level (p = 0.006) and occupations linked to the household (homemaker, retired, or student) (p = 0.016). No evidence of infection was found in 38 sigmodontinae rodents trapped in the peri-domestic environment. Our findings highlight that exposure risk was associated with less documented risk factors, such as women in slum and rural villages, and the occurrence of infection that may have presented as flu-like illness that did not require medical attention or was misdiagnosed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1987-2005: A Piscine Birnavirus Induces Inhibition of Protein Synthesis in CHSE-214 Cells Primarily through the Induction of eIF2α Phosphorylation

  • Inhibition of protein synthesis represents one of the antiviral mechanisms employed by cells and it is also used by viruses for their own propagation. To what extent members of the Birnaviridae family employ such strategies is not well understood. Here we use a type-strain of the Aquabirnavirus, infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), to investigate this phenomenon in vitro. CHSE-214 cells were infected with IPNV and at 3, 12, 24, and 48 hours post infection (hpi) before the cells were harvested and labeled with S35 methionine to assess protein synthesis. eIF2α phosphorylation was examined by Western blot while RT-qPCR was used to assess virus replication and the expression levels of IFN-α, Mx1 and PKR. Cellular responses to IPNV infection were assessed by DNA laddering, Caspase-3 assays and flow cytometry. The results show that the onset and kinetics of eIF2α phosphorylation was similar to that of protein synthesis inhibition as shown by metabolic labeling. Increased virus replication and virus protein formation was observed by 12 hpi, peaking at 24 hpi. Apoptosis was induced in a small fraction (1−2%) of IPNV-infected CHSE cells from 24 hpi while necrotic/late apoptotic cells increased from 10% by 24 hpi to 59% at 48 hpi, as shown by flow cytometry. These results were in accordance with a small decline in cell viability by 24hpi, dropping below 50% by 48 hpi. IPNV induced IFN-α mRNA upregulation by 24 hpi while no change was observed in the expression of Mx1 and PKR mRNA. Collectively, these findings show that IPNV induces inhibition of protein synthesis in CHSE cells through phosphorylation of eIF2α with minimal involvement of apoptosis. The anticipation is that protein inhibition is used by the virus to evade the host innate antiviral responses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1975-1986: Evaluating Environmental Persistence and Disinfection of the Ebola Virus Makona Variant

  • Background: The current disease outbreak caused by the Ebola virus Makona variant (EBOV/Mak) has led to unprecedented morbidity and lethality given its geographic reach and sustained transmission. Sodium hypochlorite and ethanol are well-accepted decontamination agents, however little published evidence supports the selection of appropriate concentrations and contact times. The present study addresses the environmental robustness of EBOV/Mak and evaluates the effectiveness of sodium hypochlorite and ethanol as disinfectants. Methods: EBOV/Mak was suspended in a simulated organic soil load and dried onto surfaces. Viability was measured at 1 hour, 24 hours, 72 hours, and 192 hours. For the evaluation of disinfectants, EBOV/Mak in a simulated organic soil was dried onto stainless steel carriers and disinfected with 0.01% (v/v), 0.1% (v/v), 0.5% (v/v) and 1% (v/v) sodium hypochlorite solutions or 67% (v/v) ethanol at contact times of 1, 5 or 10 minutes. Results: EBOV/Mak persisted longer on steel and plastic surfaces (192 hours) than cotton (aamp;amp;lt;24 hours). Dilute sodium hypochlorite (0.01% and 0.1%) showed little antiviral action, whereas 0.5% and 1% sodium hypochlorite solutions demonstrated recoverable virus at one minute but sterilized surfaces in five minutes. Disinfection with 67% ethanol did not fully clear infectious virions from 3/9 carriers at 1 minute but sterilized all carriers at 5 and 10 minutes. Conclusions: Sodium hypochlorite and ethanol effectively decontaminate EBOV/Mak suspended in a simulated organic load; however, selection of concentration and contact time proves critical.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1960-1974: Gene Acquisition Convergence between Entomopoxviruses and Baculoviruses

  • Organisms from diverse phylogenetic origins can thrive within the same ecological niches. They might be induced to evolve convergent adaptations in response to a similar landscape of selective pressures. Their genomes should bear the signature of this process. The study of unrelated virus lineages infecting the same host panels guarantees a clear identification of phyletically independent convergent adaptation. Here, we investigate the evolutionary history of genes in the accessory genome shared by unrelated insect large dsDNA viruses: the entomopoxviruses (EPVs, Poxviridae) and the baculoviruses (BVs). EPVs and BVs have overlapping ecological niches and have independently evolved similar infection processes. They are, in theory, subjected to the same selective pressures from their host’s immune responses. Their accessory genomes might, therefore, bear analogous genomic signatures of convergent adaption and could point out key genomic mechanisms of adaptation hitherto undetected in viruses. We uncovered 32 homologous, yet independent acquisitions of genes originating from insect hosts, different eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses. We showed different evolutionary levels of gene acquisition convergence in these viruses, underlining a continuous evolutionary process. We found both recent and ancient gene acquisitions possibly involved to the adaptation to both specific and distantly related hosts. Multidirectional and multipartite gene exchange networks appear to constantly drive exogenous gene assimilations, bringing key adaptive innovations and shaping the life histories of large DNA viruses. This evolutionary process might lead to genome level adaptive convergence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1927-1959: Insect-Specific Flaviviruses: A Systematic Review of Their Discovery, Host Range, Mode of Transmission, Superinfection Exclusion Potential and Genomic Organization

  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFs) discovered in the last decade. Historically, these viruses have generated limited interest due to their inability to infect vertebrate cells. This viewpoint has changed in recent years because some ISFs have been shown to enhance or suppress the replication of medically important flaviviruses in co-infected mosquito cells. Additionally, comparative studies between ISFs and medically important flaviviruses can provide a unique perspective as to why some flaviviruses possess the ability to infect and cause devastating disease in humans while others do not. ISFs have been isolated exclusively from mosquitoes in nature but the detection of ISF-like sequences in sandflies and chironomids indicates that they may also infect other dipterans. ISFs can be divided into two distinct phylogenetic groups. The first group currently consists of approximately 12 viruses and includes cell fusing agent virus, Kamiti River virus and Culex flavivirus. These viruses are phylogenetically distinct from all other known flaviviruses. The second group, which is apparently not monophyletic, currently consists of nine viruses and includes Chaoyang virus, Nounané virus and Lammi virus. These viruses phylogenetically affiliate with mosquito/vertebrate flaviviruses despite their apparent insect-restricted phenotype. This article provides a review of the discovery, host range, mode of transmission, superinfection exclusion ability and genomic organization of ISFs. This article also attempts to clarify the ISF nomenclature because some of these viruses have been assigned more than one name due to their simultaneous discoveries by independent research groups.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1902-1926: Archaeal Viruses Multiply: Temporal Screening in a Solar Saltern

  • Hypersaline environments around the world are dominated by archaea and their viruses. To date, very little is known about these viruses and their interaction with the host strains when compared to bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We performed the first culture-dependent temporal screening of haloarchaeal viruses and their hosts in the saltern of Samut Sakhon, Thailand, during two subsequent years (2009, 2010). Altogether we obtained 36 haloarchaeal virus isolates and 36 archaeal strains, significantly increasing the number of known archaeal virus isolates. Interestingly, the morphological distribution of our temporal isolates (head-tailed, pleomorphic, and icosahedral membrane-containing viruses) was similar to the outcome of our previous spatial survey supporting the observations of a global resemblance of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses. Myoviruses represented the most abundant virus morphotype with strikingly broad host ranges. The other viral morphotypes (siphoviruses, as well as pleomorphic and icosahedral internal membrane-containing viruses) were more host-specific. We also identified a group of Halorubrum strains highly susceptible to numerous different viruses (up to 26). This high virus sensitivity, the abundance of broad host range viruses, and the maintenance of infectivity over a period of one year suggest constant interplay of halophilic microorganisms and their viruses within an extreme environment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1871-1901: The Role of Merkel Cell Polyomavirus and Other Human Polyomaviruses in Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer

  • Polyomaviruses are non-enveloped, dsDNA viruses that are common in mammals, including humans. All polyomaviruses encode the large T-antigen and small t-antigen proteins that share conserved functional domains, comprising binding motifs for the tumor suppressors pRb and p53, and for protein phosphatase 2A, respectively. At present, 13 different human polyomaviruses are known, and for some of them their large T-antigen and small t-antigen have been shown to possess oncogenic properties in cell culture and animal models, while similar functions are assumed for the large T- and small t-antigen of other human polyomaviruses. However, so far the Merkel cell polyomavirus seems to be the only human polyomavirus associated with cancer. The large T- and small t-antigen exert their tumorigenic effects through classical hallmarks of cancer: inhibiting tumor suppressors, activating tumor promoters, preventing apoptosis, inducing angiogenesis and stimulating metastasis. This review elaborates on the putative roles of human polyomaviruses in some of the emerging hallmarks of cancer. The reciprocal interactions between human polyomaviruses and the immune system response are discussed, a plausible role of polyomavirus-encoded and polyomavirus-induced microRNA in cancer is described, and the effect of polyomaviruses on energy homeostasis and exosomes is explored. Therapeutic strategies against these emerging hallmarks of cancer are also suggested.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1853-1870: A Current Overview of the Papaya meleira virus, an Unusual Plant Virus

  • Papaya meleira virus (PMeV) is the causal agent of papaya sticky disease, which is characterized by a spontaneous exudation of fluid and aqueous latex from the papaya fruit and leaves. The latex oxidizes after atmospheric exposure, resulting in a sticky feature on the fruit from which the name of the disease originates. PMeV is an isometric virus particle with a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome of approximately 12 Kb. Unusual for a plant virus, PMeV particles are localized on and linked to the polymers present in the latex. The ability of the PMeV to inhabit such a hostile environment demonstrates an intriguing interaction of the virus with the papaya. A hypersensitivity response is triggered against PMeV infection, and there is a reduction in the proteolytic activity of papaya latex during sticky disease. In papaya leaf tissues, stress responsive proteins, mostly calreticulin and proteasome-related proteins, are up regulated and proteins related to metabolism are down-regulated. Additionally, PMeV modifies the transcription of several miRNAs involved in the modulation of genes related to the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Until now, no PMeV resistant papaya genotype has been identified and roguing is the only viral control strategy available. However, a single inoculation of papaya plants with PMeV dsRNA delayed the progress of viral infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1832-1852: In Ovo Delivery of CpG DNA Reduces Avian Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus Induced Mortality and Morbidity

  • Endosomal toll-like receptor-21 and -9 sense CpG DNA activating production of pro-inflammatory mediators with antimicrobial effects. Here, we investigated the induction of antiviral response of in ovo delivered CpG DNA against infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) infection. We found that in ovo delivered CpG DNA significantly reduces ILTV infection pre-hatch correlating with the expression of IL-1β and increase of macrophages in lungs. As assessed in vitro, CpG DNA stimulated avian macrophages could be a potential source of IL-1β and other pro-inflammatory mediators. Since we also found that in ovo CpG DNA delivery maintains increased macrophages in the lungs post-hatch, we infected the chickens on the day of hatch with ILTV. We found that in ovo delivered CpG DNA significantly reduces mortality and morbidity resulting from ILTV infection encountered post-hatch. Thus, CpG DNA can be a candidate innate immune stimulant worthy of further investigation for the control of ILTV infection in chickens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1823-1831: Analysis of HDAC6 and BAG3-Aggresome Pathways in African Swine Fever Viral Factory Formation

  • African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a double-stranded DNA virus causing a hemorrhagic fever disease with high mortality rates and severe economic losses in pigs worldwide. ASFV replicates in perinuclear sites called viral factories (VFs) that are morphologically similar to cellular aggresomes. This fact raises the possibility that both VFs and aggresomes may be the same structure. However, little is known about the process involved in the formation of these viral replication platforms. In order to expand our knowledge on the assembly of ASFV replication sites, we have analyzed the involvement of both canonical aggresome pathways in the formation of ASFV VFs: HDAC6 and BAG3. HDAC6 interacts with a component of the dynein motor complex (dynactin/p150Glued) and ubiquitinated proteins, transporting them to the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) and leading to aggresome formation, while BAG3 is mediating the recruitment of non-ubiquitinated proteins through a similar mechanism. Tubacin-mediated HDAC6 inhibition and silencing of BAG3 pathways, individually or simultaneously, did not prevent ASFV VF formation. These findings show that HDAC6 and Bag3 are not required for VFs formation suggesting that aggresomes and VFs are not the same structures. However, alternative unexplored pathways may be involved in the formation of aggresomes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1804-1822: A Suggested New Bacteriophage Genus, “Kp34likevirus”, within the Autographivirinae Subfamily of Podoviridae

  • Klebsiella pneumoniae phages vB_KpnP_SU503 (SU503) and vB_KpnP_SU552A (SU552A) are virulent viruses belonging to the Autographivirinae subfamily of Podoviridae that infect and kill multi-resistant K. pneumoniae isolates. Phages SU503 and SU552A show high pairwise nucleotide identity to Klebsiella phages KP34 (NC_013649), F19 (NC_023567) and NTUH-K2044-K1-1 (NC_025418). Bioinformatic analysis of these phage genomes show high conservation of gene arrangement and gene content, conserved catalytically active residues of their RNA polymerase, a common and specific lysis cassette, and form a joint cluster in phylogenetic analysis of their conserved genes. Also, we have performed biological characterization of the burst size, latent period, host specificity (together with KP34 and NTUH-K2044-K1-1), morphology, and structural genes as well as sensitivity testing to various conditions. Based on the analyses of these phages, the creation of a new phage genus is suggested within the Autographivirinae, called“Kp34likevirus” after their type phage, KP34. This genus should encompass the recently genome sequenced Klebsiella phages KP34, SU503, SU552A, F19 and NTUH-K2044-K1-1.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1726-1803: The Evolution of Poxvirus Vaccines

  • After Edward Jenner established human vaccination over 200 years ago, attenuated poxviruses became key players to contain the deadliest virus of its own family: Variola virus (VARV), the causative agent of smallpox. Cowpox virus (CPXV) and horsepox virus (HSPV) were extensively used to this end, passaged in cattle and humans until the appearance of vaccinia virus (VACV), which was used in the final campaigns aimed to eradicate the disease, an endeavor that was accomplished by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980. Ever since, naturally evolved strains used for vaccination were introduced into research laboratories where VACV and other poxviruses with improved safety profiles were generated. Recombinant DNA technology along with the DNA genome features of this virus family allowed the generation of vaccines against heterologous diseases, and the specific insertion and deletion of poxvirus genes generated an even broader spectrum of modified viruses with new properties that increase their immunogenicity and safety profile as vaccine vectors. In this review, we highlight the evolution of poxvirus vaccines, from first generation to the current status, pointing out how different vaccines have emerged and approaches that are being followed up in the development of more rational vaccines against a wide range of diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1700-1725: Incorporation of Spike and Membrane Glycoproteins into Coronavirus Virions

  • The envelopes of coronaviruses (CoVs) contain primarily three proteins; the two major glycoproteins spike (S) and membrane (M), and envelope (E), a non-glycosylated protein. Unlike other enveloped viruses, CoVs bud and assemble at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC). For efficient virion assembly, these proteins must be targeted to the budding site and to interact with each other or the ribonucleoprotein. Thus, the efficient incorporation of viral envelope proteins into CoV virions depends on protein trafficking and protein–protein interactions near the ERGIC. The goal of this review is to summarize recent findings on the mechanism of incorporation of the M and S glycoproteins into the CoV virion, focusing on protein trafficking and protein–protein interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1685-1699: Deep Sequencing Reveals the Complete Genome and Evidence for Transcriptional Activity of the First Virus-Like Sequences Identified in Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui Berry)

  • Here, we report the genome sequence and evidence for transcriptional activity of a virus-like element in the native Chilean berry tree Aristotelia chilensis. We propose to name the endogenous sequence as Aristotelia chilensis Virus 1 (AcV1). High-throughput sequencing of the genome of this tree uncovered an endogenous viral element, with a size of 7122 bp, corresponding to the complete genome of AcV1. Its sequence contains three open reading frames (ORFs): ORFs 1 and 2 shares 66%–73% amino acid similarity with members of the Caulimoviridae virus family, especially the Petunia vein clearing virus (PVCV), Petuvirus genus. ORF1 encodes a movement protein (MP); ORF2 a Reverse Transcriptase (RT) and a Ribonuclease H (RNase H) domain; and ORF3 showed no amino acid sequence similarity with any other known virus proteins. Analogous to other known endogenous pararetrovirus sequences (EPRVs), AcV1 is integrated in the genome of Maqui Berry and showed low viral transcriptional activity, which was detected by deep sequencing technology (DNA and RNA-seq). Phylogenetic analysis of AcV1 and other pararetroviruses revealed a closer resemblance with Petuvirus. Overall, our data suggests that AcV1 could be a new member of Caulimoviridae family, genus Petuvirus, and the first evidence of this kind of virus in a fruit plant.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1668-1684: Human Pirh2 is A Novel Inhibitor of Prototype Foamy Virus Replication

  • Prototype foamy virus (PFV) is a member of the unconventional and nonpathogenic retroviruses. PFV causes lifelong chronic infections, which are partially attributable to a number of host cell factors that restrict viral replication. Herein, we identified human p53-induced RING-H2 protein (Pirh2) as a novel inhibitor of prototype foamy virus. Overexpression of Pirh2 decreased the replication of PFV, whereas knockdown of Pirh2 with specific siRNA increased PFV replication. Dual-luciferase assays and coimmunoprecipitation demonstrated that Pirh2 negatively influences the Tas-dependent transcriptional activation of the PFV long terminal repeat (LTR) and internal promoter (IP) by interacting with the transactivator Tas and down-regulating its expression. In addition, the viral inhibitory function of Pirh2 is N-terminal and RING domain dependent. Together, these results indicated that Pirh2 suppresses PFV replication by negatively impacting its transactivator Tas and the transcription of two viral promoters, which may contribute to the latency of PFV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1667: Addendum: Kaźmierczak, Z.; Górski, A.; Dąbrowska, K. Facing Antibiotic Resistance: Staphylococcus aureus Phages as a Medical Tool. Viruses 2014, 6, 2551-2570.

  • The authors would like to add the following Acknowledgements section: “Acknowledgements This work was funded by the National Science Centre in Poland grant UMO-2012/05/E/NZ6/03314.” [...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1651-1666: Tenth International Foamy Virus Conference 2014–Achievements and Perspectives

  • For the past two decades, scientists from around the world, working on different aspects of foamy virus (FV) research, have gathered in different research institutions almost every two years to present their recent results in formal talks, to discuss their ongoing studies informally, and to initiate fruitful collaborations. In this report we review the 2014 anniversary conference to share the meeting summary with the virology community and hope to arouse interest by other researchers to join this exciting field. The topics covered included epidemiology, virus molecular biology, and immunology of FV infection in non-human primates, cattle, and humans with zoonotic FV infections, as well as recent findings on endogenous FVs. Several topics focused on virus replication and interactions between viral and cellular proteins. Use of FV in biomedical research was highlighted with presentations on using FV vectors for gene therapy and FV proteins as scaffold for vaccine antigen presentation. On behalf of the FV community, this report also includes a short tribute to commemorate Prof. Axel Rethwilm, one of the leading experts in the field of retrovirology and foamy viruses, who passed away 29 July 2014.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1642-1650: Presence of Poly(A) Tails at the 3'-Termini of Some mRNAs of a Double-Stranded RNA Virus, Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus

  • Southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV), a new member of the genus Fijivirus, is a double-stranded RNA virus known to lack poly(A) tails. We now showed that some of SRBSDV mRNAs were indeed polyadenylated at the 3' terminus in plant hosts, and investigated the nature of 3' poly(A) tails. The non-abundant presence of SRBSDV mRNAs bearing polyadenylate tails suggested that these viral RNA were subjected to polyadenylation-stimulated degradation. The discovery of poly(A) tails in different families of viruses implies potentially a wide occurrence of the polyadenylation-assisted RNA degradation in viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1627-1641: Glycosylation of KSHV Encoded vGPCR Functions in Its Signaling and Tumorigenicity

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a tumor virus and the etiologic agent of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS). KSHV G protein-coupled receptor (vGPCR) is an oncogene that is implicated in malignancies associated with KHSV infection. In this study, we show that vGPCR undergoes extensive N-linked glycosylation within the extracellular domains, specifically asparagines 18, 22, 31 and 202. An immunofluorescence assay demonstrates that N-linked glycosylation are necessary for vGPCR trafficking to the cellular membrane. Employing vGPCR mutants whose glycosylation sites were ablated, we show that these vGPCR mutants failed to activate downstream signaling in cultured cells and were severely impaired to induce tumor formation in the xenograph nude mouse model. These findings support the conclusion that glycosylation is critical for vGPCR tumorigenesis and imply that chemokine regulation at theplasma membrane is crucial for vGPCR mediated signaling.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1613-1626: Apigenin Restricts FMDV Infection and Inhibits Viral IRES Driven Translational Activity

  • Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious disease of domestic and wild ruminants that is caused by FMD virus (FMDV). FMD outbreaks have occurred in livestock-containing regions worldwide. Apigenin, which is a flavonoid naturally existing in plant, possesses various pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant and antiviral activities. Results show that apigenin can inhibit FMDV-mediated cytopathogenic effect and FMDV replication in vitro. Further studies demonstrate the following: (i) apigenin inhibits FMDV infection at the viral post-entry stage; (ii) apigenin does not exhibit direct extracellular virucidal activity; and (iii) apigenin interferes with the translational activity of FMDV driven by internal ribosome entry site. Studies on applying apigein in vivo are required for drug development and further identification of potential drug targets against FDMV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1599-1612: Development of a Recombination System for the Generation of Occlusion Positive Genetically Modified Anticarsia Gemmatalis Multiple Nucleopolyhedrovirus

  • Anticarsia gemmatalis is an important pest in legume crops in South America and it has been successfully controlled using Anticarsia gemmatalis Multiple Nucleopolyhedrovirus (AgMNPV) in subtropical climate zones. Nevertheless, in temperate climates its speed of kill is too slow. Taking this into account, genetic modification of AgMNPV could lead to improvements of its biopesticidal properties. Here we report the generation of a two-component system that allows the production of recombinant AgMNPV. This system is based on a parental AgMNPV in which the polyhedrin gene (polh) was replaced by a bacterialβ-galactosidase (lacZ) gene flanked by two target sites for the homing endonuclease I-PpoI. Co-transfection of insect cells with linearized (I-PpoI-digested) parental genome and a transfer vector allowed the restitution of polh and the expression of a heterologous gene upon homologous recombination, with a low background of non-recombinant AgMNPV. The system was validated by constructing a recombinant occlusion-positive (polh+) AgMNPV expressing the green fluorescent protein gene (gfp). This recombinant virus infected larvae normally per os and led to the expression of GFP in cell culture aswell as in A. gemmatalis larvae. These results demonstrate that the system is an efficient method for the generation of recombinant AgMNPV expressing heterologous genes, which can be used for manifold purposes, including biotechnological and pharmaceutical applications and the production of orally infectious recombinants with improved biopesticidal properties.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1578-1598: Eradication of HIV-1 from the Macrophage Reservoir: An Uncertain Goal?

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) establishes latency in resting memory CD4+ T cells and cells of myeloid lineage. In contrast to the T cells, cells of myeloid lineage are resistant to the HIV-1 induced cytopathic effect. Cells of myeloid lineage including macrophages are present in anatomical sanctuaries making them a difficult drug target. In addition, the long life span of macrophages as compared to the CD4+ T cells make them important viral reservoirs in infected individuals especially in the late stage of viral infection where CD4+ T cells are largely depleted. In the past decade, HIV-1 persistence in resting CD4+ T cells has gained considerable attention. It is currently believed that rebound viremia following cessation of combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) originates from this source. However, the clinical relevance of this reservoir has been questioned. It is suggested that the resting CD4+ T cells are only one source of residual viremia and other viral reservoirs such as tissue macrophages should be seriously considered. In the present review we will discuss how macrophages contribute to the development of long-lived latent reservoirs and how macrophages can be used as a therapeutic target in eradicating latent reservoir.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1558-1577: Identification of a Common Epitope between Enterovirus 71 and Human MED25 Proteins Which May Explain Virus-Associated Neurological Disease

  • Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a major causative pathogen of hand, foot and mouth disease with especially severe neurologic complications, which mainly account for fatalities from this disease. To date, the pathogenesis of EV71 in the central neurons system has remained unclear. Cytokine-mediated immunopathogenesis and nervous tissue damage by virus proliferation are two widely speculated causes of the neurological disease. To further study the pathogenesis, we identified a common epitope (co-epitope) between EV71 VP1 and human mediator complex subunit 25 (MED25) highly expressed in brain stem. A monoclonal antibody (2H2) against the co-epitope was prepared, and its interaction with MED25 was examined by ELISA, immunofluorescence assay and Western blot in vitro and by live small animal imaging in vivo. Additionally, 2H2 could bind to both VP1 and MED25 with the affinity constant (Kd) of 10−7 M as determined by the ForteBio Octet System. Intravenously injected 2H2 was distributed in brain stem of mice after seven days of EV71 infection. Interestingly, 2H2-like antibodies were detected in the serum of EV71-infected patients. These findings suggest that EV71 infection induces the production of antibodies that can bind to autoantigens expressed in nervous tissue and maybe further trigger autoimmune reactions resulting in neurological disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1540-1557: Viral Interference with Functions of the Cellular Receptor Tyrosine Phosphatase CD45

  • The receptor tyrosine phosphatase CD45 is expressed on the surface of almost all cells of hematopoietic origin. CD45 functions are central to the development of T cells and determine the threshold at which T and B lymphocytes can become activated. Given this pivotal role of CD45 in the immune system, it is probably not surprising that viruses interfere with the activity of CD45 in lymphocytes to dampen the immune response and that they also utilize this molecule to accomplish their replication cycle. Here we report what is known about the interaction of viral proteins with CD45. Moreover, we debate putative interactions of viruses with CD45 in myeloid cells and the resulting consequences—subjects that remain to be investigated. Finally, we summarize the evidence that pathogens were the driving force for the evolution of CD45.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1505-1539: Molecular Genetic Analysis of Orf Virus: A Poxvirus That Has Adapted to Skin

  • Orf virus is the type species of the Parapoxvirus genus of the family Poxviridae. It induces acute pustular skin lesions in sheep and goats and is transmissible to humans. The genome is G+C rich, 138 kbp and encodes 132 genes. It shares many essential genes with vaccinia virus that are required for survival but encodes a number of unique factors that allow it to replicate in the highly specific immune environment of skin. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that both viral interleukin-10 and vascular endothelial growth factor genes have been“captured” from their host during the evolution of the parapoxviruses. Genes such as a chemokine binding protein and a protein that binds granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-2 appear to have evolved from a common poxvirus ancestral gene while three parapoxvirus nuclear factor (NF)-κB signalling pathway inhibitors have no homology to other known NF-κB inhibitors. A homologue of an anaphase-promoting complex subunit that is believed to manipulate the cell cycle and enhance viral DNA synthesis appears to be a specific adaptation for viral-replication in keratinocytes. The review focuses on the unique genes of orf virus, discusses their evolutionary origins and their role in allowing viral-replication in the skin epidermis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1492-1504: Facilitation of Rice Stripe Virus Accumulation in the Insect Vector by Himetobi P Virus VP1

  • The small brown planthopper (SBPH) is the main vector for rice stripe virus (RSV), which causes serious rice stripe disease in East Asia. To characterize the virus-vector interactions, the SBPH cDNA library was screened with RSV ribonucleoprotein (RNP) as bait using a GAL4-based yeast two-hybrid system. The interaction between RSV-RNP and the Himetobi P virus (HiPV, an insect picorna-like virus) VP1 protein was identified. The relationships between HiPV and RSV in SBPH were further investigated, and the results showed that the titer of RSV was commonly higher in single insect that exhibited more VP1 expression. After the VP1 gene was repressed by RNA silencing, the accumulation of RSV decreased significantly in the insect, whereas the virus acquisition ability of SBPH was unaffected, which suggests that HiPV VP1 potentially facilitates the accumulation of RSV in SBPH.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1474-1491: Chondroitin Sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-2 Contributes to the Replication of Infectious Bursal Disease Virus via Interaction with the Capsid Protein VP2

  • Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is a birnavirus that causes a highly contagious immunosuppressive disease in young chickens. The capsid protein VP2 of IBDV plays multiple roles in its life cycle. To more comprehensively understand the functions of VP2 involved in the communication between virus and host, we used yeast two-hybrid screening to identify the cellular factors that interact with this protein. We found that chondroitin sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-2 (CSGalNAcT2), a typical type II transmembrane protein located in Golgi apparatus, could interact with VP2, and we confirmed this interaction by co-immunoprecipitation and confocal laser scanning microscopy assays. Additionally, up-regulation of CSGalNAcT2 during IBDV infection was observed. Overexpression and siRNA-mediated knockdown of CSGalNAcT2 assays suggested that CSGalNAcT2 promoted IBDV replication. Moreover, this enhancing effect of CSGalNAcT2 could be inhibited by Brefeldin A, which is a Golgi-disturbing agent. This indicated that the integrity of Golgi apparatus structure was involved in the function of CSGalNAcT2. Taken together, we concluded that CSGalNAcT2, located in the Golgi apparatus, contributed to the replication of IBDV via interaction with VP2.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1454-1473: Interaction Research on the Antiviral Molecule Dufulin Targeting on Southern Rice Black Streaked Dwarf Virus P9-1 Nonstructural Protein

  • ern rice black streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) causes severe harm to rice production. Unfortunately, studies on effective antiviral drugs against SRBSDV and interaction mechanism of antiviral molecule targeting on SRBSDV have not been reported. This study found dufulin (DFL), an ideal anti-SRBSDV molecule, and investigated the interactions of DFL targeting on the nonstructural protein P9-1. The biological sequence information and bonding characterization of DFL to four kinds of P9-1 protein were described with fluorescence titration (FT) and microscale thermophoresis (MST) assays. The sequence analysis indicated that P9-1 had highly-conserved C- and N-terminal amino acid residues and a hypervariable region that differed from 131 aa to 160 aa. Consequently, wild-type (WT-His-P9-1), 23 C-terminal residues truncated (TR-ΔC23-His-P9-1), 6 N-terminal residues truncated (TR-ΔN6-His-P9-1), and Ser138 site-directed (MU-138-His-P9-1) mutant proteins were expressed. The FT and MST assay results indicated that DFL bounded to WT-His-P9-1 with micromole affinity and the 23 C-terminal amino acids were the potential targeting site. This system, which combines a complete sequence analysis, mutant protein expression, and binding action evaluating system, could further advance the understanding of the interaction abilities between antiviral drugs and their targets.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1429-1453: Modulation of SIV and HIV DNA Vaccine Immunity by Fas-FasL Signaling

  • Signaling through the Fas/Apo-1/CD95 death receptor is known to affect virus-specific cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses. We tested whether modulating the Fas-apoptotic pathway can enhance immune responses to DNA vaccination or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. Mice were electroporated with plasmids expressing a variety of pro- or anti-apoptotic molecules related to Fas signaling and then either LCMV-infected or injected with plasmid DNA expressing SIV or HIV antigens. Whereas Fas or FasL knockout mice had improved CMI, down-regulation of Fas or FasL by shRNA or antibody failed to improve CMI and was accompanied by increases in regulatory T cells (Treg). Two“adjuvant” plasmids were discovered that significantly enhanced plasmid immunizations. The adjuvant effects of Fas-associated death domain (FADD) and of cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (cFLIP) were consistently accompanied by increased effector memory T lymphocytes and increased T cell proliferation. This adjuvant effect was also observed when comparing murine infections with LCMV-Armstrong and its persisting variant LCMV-Clone 13. LCMV-Armstrong was cleared in 100% of mice nine days after infection, while LCMV-Clone 13 persisted in all mice. However, half of the mice pre-electroporatedwith FADD or cFLIP plasmids were able to clear LCMV-Clone 13 by day nine, and, in the case of cFLIP, increased viral clearance was accompanied by higher CMI. Our studies imply that molecules in the Fas pathway are likely to affect a number of events in addition to the apoptosis of cells involved inimmunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1409-1428: Valganciclovir Inhibits Human Adenovirus Replication and Pathology in Permissive Immunosuppressed Female and Male Syrian Hamsters

  • Adenovirus infections of immunocompromised pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients can develop into serious and often deadly multi-organ disease. There are no drugs approved for adenovirus infections. Cidofovir (an analog of 2-deoxycytidine monophosphate) is used at times but it can be nephrotoxic and its efficacy has not been proven in clinical trials. Brincidofovir, a promising lipid-linked derivative of cidofovir, is in clinical trials. Ganciclovir, an analog of 2-deoxyguanosine, has been employed occasionally but with unknown efficacy in the clinic. In this study, we evaluated valganciclovir against disseminated adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) infection in our permissive immunosuppressed Syrian hamster model. We administered valganciclovir prophylactically, beginning 12 h pre-infection or therapeutically starting at Day 1, 2, 3, or 4 post-infection. Valganciclovir significantly increased survival, reduced viral replication in the liver, and mitigated the pathology associated with Ad5 infection. In cultured cells, valganciclovir inhibited Ad5 DNA replication and blocked the transition from early to late stage of infection. Valganciclovir directly inhibited Ad5 DNA polymerase in vitro, which may explain, at least in part, its mechanism of action. Ganciclovir and valganciclovir are approved to treat infections by certain herpesviruses. Our results support the use of valganciclovir to treat disseminated adenovirus infections in immunosuppressed patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1391-1408: Anti-CMV-IgG Positivity of Donors Is Beneficial for alloHSCT Recipients with Respect to the Better Short-Term Immunological Recovery and High Level of CD4+CD25high Lymphocytes

  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from anti-cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G (anti-CMV-IgG) positive donors facilitated immunological recovery post-transplant, which may indicate that chronic CMV infection has an effect on the immune system. This can be seen in the recipients after reconstitution with donor lymphocytes. We evaluated the composition of lymphocytes at hematologic recovery in 99 patients with hematologic malignancies post hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Anti-CMV-IgG seropositivity of the donor was associated with higher proportions of CD4+ (227.963± 304.858 × 106 vs. 102.050 ± 17.247 × 106 cells/L, p = 0.009) and CD4+CD25high (3.456 ± 0.436 × 106 vs. 1.589 ± 0.218 × 106 cells/L, p = 0.003) lymphocytes in the blood at hematologic recovery. The latter parameter exerted a diverse influence on the risk of acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) if low (1.483 ± 0.360 × 106 vs. 3.778 ± 0.484 × 106 cells/L, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and de novo chronic GvHD (cGvHD) if high (3.778 ± 0.780 × 106 vs. 2.042 ± 0.261 × 106 cells/L, p = 0.041). Higher values of CD4+ lymphocytes in patients who received transplants from anti-CMV-IgG-positive donors translated into a reduced demand for IgG support (23/63 vs. 19/33, p = 0.048), and these patients also exhibited reduced susceptibility to cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and/or human herpes 6 virus (HHV6) infection/reactivation (12/50 vs. 21/47, p = 0.032). Finally, highlevels (³0.4%) of CD4+CD25high lymphocytes were significantly associated with better post-transplant survival (56% vs. 38%, four-year survival, p = 0.040). Donors who experience CMV infection/reactivation provide the recipients with lymphocytes, which readily reinforce the recovery of the transplanted patients’ immune system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1373-1390: Impacts of Humanized Mouse Models on the Investigation of HIV-1 Infection: Illuminating the Roles of Viral Accessory Proteins in Vivo

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) encodes four accessory genes: vif, vpu, vpr, and nef. Recent investigations using in vitro cell culture systems have shed light on the roles of these HIV-1 accessory proteins, Vif, Vpr, Vpu, and Nef, in counteracting, modulating, and evading various cellular factors that are responsible for anti-HIV-1 intrinsic immunity. However, since humans are the exclusive target for HIV-1 infection, conventional animal models are incapable of mimicking the dynamics of HIV-1 infection in vivo. Moreover, the effects of HIV-1 accessory proteins on viral infection in vivo remain unclear. To elucidate the roles of HIV-1 accessory proteins in the dynamics of viral infection in vivo, humanized mouse models, in which the mice are xenotransplanted with human hematopoietic stem cells, has been utilized. This review describes the current knowledge of the roles of HIV-1 accessory proteins in viral infection, replication, and pathogenicity in vivo, which are revealed by the studies using humanized mouse models.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1357-1372: Changes of CD4+CD25+ Cells Ratio in Immune Organs from Chickens Challenged with Infectious Bursal Disease Virus Strains with Varying Virulences

  • In the current study, we investigate changes in CD4+CD25+ cells in chickens during infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) infection. The percentage of CD4+CD25+ cells in lymph organs, e.g., the thymus, spleen, bursa of Fabricius and peripheral blood, during the first 1–5 days post infection (dpi) was assessed by flow cytometry. The data revealed a remarkable decrease in the percentage of CD4+CD25+ cells in the thymus from 1 to 5 dpi and in the spleen during early infection. An increase of the percentage of CD4+CD25+ cells among peripheral blood lymphocytes wasobserved during the first two days of IBDV infection. Additionally, CD4+CD25+ cells infiltrated the bursa along with CD4+ cells after IBDV infection. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to measure the mRNA levels of immune-related cytokines in IBDV-infected thymus and bursa of Fabricius tissues. The data revealed that IBDV caused a significant increase in interleukin (IL)-10 mRNA levels, with the Harbin-1 strain (vvIBDV) inducing higher IL-10 expression than the Ts strain. Taken together, our data suggest that chicken CD4+CD25+ cells may participatein IBDV pathogenicity by migrating from their sites of origin and storage, the thymus and spleen, to the virally targeted bursa of Fabricius during IBDV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1344-1356: Both ERK1 and ERK2 Are Required for Enterovirus 71 (EV71) Efficient Replication

  • It has been demonstrated that MEK1, one of the two MEK isoforms in Raf-MEK-ERK1/2 pathway, is essential for successful EV71 propagation. However, the distinct function of ERK1 and ERK2 isoforms, the downstream kinases of MEKs, remains unclear in EV71 replication. In this study, specific ERK siRNAs and selective inhibitor U0126 were applied. Silencing specific ERK did not significantly impact on the EV71-caused biphasic activation of the other ERK isoform, suggesting the EV71-induced activations of ERK1 and ERK2 were non-discriminative and independent to one another. Knockdown of either ERK1 or ERK2 markedly impaired progeny EV71 propagation (both by more than 90%), progeny viral RNA amplification (either by about 30% to 40%) and protein synthesis (both by around 70%), indicating both ERK1 and ERK2 were critical and not interchangeable to EV71 propagation. Moreover, suppression of EV71 replication by inhibiting both early and late phases of ERK1/2 activation showed no significant difference from that of only blocking the late phase, supporting the late phase activation was more importantly responsible for EV71 life cycle. Taken together, this study for the first time identified both ERK1 and ERK2 were required for EV71 efficient replication and further verified the important role of MEK1-ERK1/2 in EV71 replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1332-1343: Human Papillomavirus and Tonsillar and Base of Tongue Cancer

  • In 2007, human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 was recognized as a risk factor by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), where tonsillar and base of tongue cancer (TSCC and BOTSCC) dominate. Furthermore, patients with HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC, had a much better clinical outcome than those with corresponding HPV-negative cancer and other head and neck cancer. More specifically, survival was around 80% for HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC vs. 40% five-year disease free survival, for the corresponding HPV-negative tumors with conventional radiotherapy and surgery, while this could not be observed for HPV-positive OSCC at other sites. In addition, the past 20–40 years in many Western Countries, the incidence of HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC has risen, and aamp;amp;gt;70% are men. This has resulted in a relative increase of patients with HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC that may not need the intensified chemo-radiotherapy (with many more severe debilitating side effects) often given today to patients with head and neck cancer. However, before tapering therapy, one needs to enable selection of patients for such treatment, by identifying clinical and molecular markers that together with HPV-positive status will better predict patient prognosis and response to therapy. To conclude, there is a new increasing group of patients with HPV-positive TSCC and BOTSCC with good clinical outcome, where options for better-tailored therapy are needed. For prevention, it would be of benefit to vaccinate both girls and boys against HPV16 infection. For potentialfuture screening the ways to do so need optimizing.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1313-1331: Selection Pressure in CD8+ T-cell Epitopes in the pol Gene of HIV-1 Infected Individuals in Colombia. A Bioinformatic Approach

  • One of the main characteristics of the human immunodeficiency virus is its genetic variability and rapid adaptation to changing environmental conditions. This variability, resulting from the lack of proofreading activity of the viral reverse transcriptase, generates mutations that could be fixed either by random genetic drift or by positive selection. Among the forces driving positive selection are antiretroviral therapy and CD8+ T-cells, the most important immune mechanism involved in viral control. Here, we describe mutations induced by these selective forces acting on the pol gene of HIV in a group of infected individuals. We used Maximum Likelihood analyses of the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations per site (dN/dS) to study the extent of positive selection in the protease and the reverse transcriptase, using 614 viral sequences from Colombian patients. We also performed computational approaches, docking and algorithmic analyses, to assess whether the positively selected mutations affected binding to the HLA molecules. We found 19 positively-selected codons in drug resistance-associated sites and 22 located within CD8+ T-cell epitopes. A high percentage of mutations in these epitopes has not been previously reported. According to the docking analyses only one of those mutations affected HLA binding. However, algorithmic methods predicted a decrease in the affinity for the HLA molecule in seven mutated peptides. The bioinformatics strategies described here are useful to identify putative positively selected mutations associated with immune escape but should be complemented with an experimental approach to define the impact of these mutations on the functional profile of the CD8+ T-cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1284-1312: The Cryptophlebia Leucotreta Granulovirus—10 Years of Commercial Field Use

  • In the last 15 years, extensive work on the Cryptophlebia leucotreta granulovirus (CrleGV) has been conducted in South Africa, initially in the laboratory, but subsequently also in the field. This culminated in the registration of the first CrleGV-based biopesticide in 2004 (hence, the 10 years of commercial use in the field) and the second one three years later. Since 2000, more than 50 field trials have been conducted with CrleGV against the false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta, on citrus in South Africa. In a representative sample of 13 field trials reported over this period, efficacy (measured by reduction in larval infestation of fruit) ranged between 30% and 92%. Efficacy was shown to persist at a level of 70% for up to 17 weeks after application of CrleGV. This only occurred where the virus was applied in blocks rather than to single trees. The addition of molasses substantially and sometimes significantly enhanced efficacy. It was also established that CrleGV should not be applied at less than ~2× 1013 OBs per ha in order to avoid compromised efficacy. As CrleGV-based products were shown to be at least as effective as chemical alternatives, persistent and compatible with natural enemies, their use is recommended within an integrated program for control of T. leucotreta on citrus and othercrops.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1271-1283: Field Efficacy and Transmission of Fast- and Slow-Killing Nucleopolyhedroviruses that Are Infectious to Adoxophyes honmai (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

  • The smaller tea tortrix, Adoxophyes honmai (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is an economically important pest of tea in Japan. Previous work showed that a fast-killing nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) isolated from A. orana (AdorNPV) and a slow-killing NPV isolated from A. honmai (AdhoNPV) are both infectious to A. honmai larvae. Field application of these different NPVs was conducted against an A. honmai larval population in tea plants, and the control efficacy and transmission rate of the two NPVs were compared. The slow-killing AdhoNPV showed lower field efficacy, in terms of preventing damage caused by A. honmai larvae against the tea plants, than the fast-killing AdorNPV. However, AdhoNPV had a significantly higher horizontal transmission rate than AdorNPV. These results show that AdorNPV is suitable as an inundative agent, while AdhoNPV is an appropriate inoculative agent.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1258-1270: Genetic Diversity of Koala Retroviral Envelopes

  • Genetic diversity, attributable to the low fidelity of reverse transcription, recombination and mutation, is an important feature of infectious retroviruses. Under selective pressure, such as that imposed by superinfection interference, gammaretroviruses commonly adapt their envelope proteins to use alternative receptors to overcome this entry block. The first characterized koala retroviruses KoRV subgroup A (KoRV-A) were remarkable in their absence of envelope genetic variability. Once it was determined that KoRV-A was present in all koalas in US zoos, regardless of their disease status, we sought to isolate a KoRV variant whose presence correlated with neoplastic malignancies. More than a decade after the identification of KoRV-A, we isolated a second subgroup of KoRV, KoRV-B from koalas with lymphomas. The envelope proteins of KoRV-A and KoRV-B are sufficiently divergent to confer the ability to bind and employ distinct receptors for infection. We have now obtained a number of additional KoRV envelope variants. In the present studies we report these variants, and show that they differ from KoRV-A and KoRV-B envelopes in their host range and superinfection interference properties. Thus, there appears to be considerable variation among KoRVs envelope genes suggesting genetic diversity is a factor following the KoRV-A infection process.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1238-1257: Human Endogenous Retrovirus Group E and Its Involvement in Diseases

  • Human endogenous retrovirus group E (HERV-E) elements are stably integrated into the human genome, transmitted vertically in a Mendelian manner, and are endowed with transcriptional activity as alternative promoters or enhancers. Such effects are under the control of the proviral long terminal repeats (LTR) that are organized into three HERV-E phylogenetic subgroups, namely LTR2, LTR2B, and LTR2C. Moreover, HERV-E expression is tissue-specific, and silenced by epigenetic constraints that may be disrupted in cancer, autoimmunity, and human placentation. Interest in HERV-E with regard to these conditions has been stimulated further by concerns regarding the capacity of HERV-E elements to modify the expression of neighboring genes and/or to produce retroviral proteins, including immunosuppressive env peptides, which in turn may induce (auto)-antibody (Ab) production. Finally, better understanding of HERV-E elements may have clinical applications for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1218-1237: From Lesions to Viral Clones: Biological and Molecular Diversity amongst Autochthonous Brazilian Vaccinia Virus

  • Vaccinia virus (VACV) has had an important role for humanity because of its use during the smallpox eradication campaign. VACV is the etiologic agent of the bovine vaccinia (BV), an emerging zoonosis that has been associated with economic, social, veterinary and public health problems, mainly in Brazil and India. Despite the current and historical VACV importance, there is little information about its circulation, prevalence, origins and maintenance in the environment, natural reservoirs and diversity. Brazilian VACV (VACV-BR) are grouped into at least two groups based on genetic and biological diversity: group 1 (G1) and group 2 (G2). In this study, we went to the field and investigated VACV clonal diversity directly from exanthemous lesions, during BV outbreaks. Our results demonstrate that the G1 VACV-BR were more frequently isolated. Furthermore, we were able to co-detect the two variants (G1 and G2) in the same sample. Molecular and biological analysis corroborated previous reports and confirmed the co-circulation of two VACV-BR lineages. The detected G2 clones presented exclusive genetic and biological markers, distinct to reference isolates, including VACV-Western Reserve. Two clones presented a mosaic profile, with both G1 and G2 features based on the molecular analysis of A56R, A26L and C23L genes. Indeed, some SNPs and INDELs in A56R nucleotide sequences were observed among clones of the same virus population, maybe as a result of an increased mutation rate in a mixed population. These results provide information about the diversity profile in VACV populations, highlighting its importance to VACV evolution and maintenance in the environment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1189-1217: Simple Mathematical Models Do Not Accurately Predict Early SIV Dynamics

  • Upon infection of a new host, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replicates in the mucosal tissues and is generally undetectable in circulation for 1–2 weeks post-infection. Several interventions against HIV including vaccines and antiretroviral prophylaxis target virus replication at this earliest stage of infection. Mathematical models have been used to understand how HIV spreads from mucosal tissues systemically and what impact vaccinationand/or antiretroviral prophylaxis has on viral eradication. Because predictions of such models have been rarely compared to experimental data, it remains unclear which processes included in these models are critical for predicting early HIV dynamics. Here we modified the “standard” mathematicalmodel of HIV infection to include two populations of infected cells: cells that are actively producing the virus and cells that are transitioning into virus production mode. We evaluated the effects of several poorly known parameters on infection outcomes in this model and compared model predictions to experimental data on infection of non-human primates with variable doses of simian immunodifficiency virus (SIV). First, we found that the mode of virus production by infected cells (budding vs. bursting) has a minimal impact on the early virus dynamics for a wide range of model parameters, as long as the parameters are constrained to provide the observed rate of SIV load increase in the blood of infected animals. Interestingly and in contrast with previous results, we found that the bursting mode of virus production generally results in a higher probability of viral extinction than the budding mode of virus production. Second, this mathematical model was not able to accurately describe the change in experimentally determined probability of host infection with increasing viral doses. Third and finally, the model was also unable to accurately explain the decline in the time to virus detection with increasing viral dose. These results suggest that, in order to appropriately model early HIV/SIV dynamics, additional factors must be considered in the model development. These may include variability in monkey susceptibility to infection, within-host competition between different viruses for target cells at the initial site of virus replication in the mucosa, innate immune response, and possibly the inclusion of several different tissue compartments. The sobering news is that while an increase in model complexity is needed to explain the available experimental data, testing andrejection of more complex models may require more quantitative data than is currently available.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1153-1188: Advanced Molecular Surveillance of Hepatitis C Virus

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important public health problem worldwide. HCV exploits complex molecular mechanisms, which result in a high degree of intrahost genetic heterogeneity. This high degree of variability represents a challenge for the accurate establishment of genetic relatedness between cases and complicates the identification of sources of infection. Tracking HCV infections is crucial for the elucidation of routes of transmission in a variety of settings. Therefore, implementation of HCV advanced molecular surveillance (AMS) is essential for disease control. Accounting for virulence is also important for HCV AMS and both viral and host factors contribute to the disease outcome. Therefore, HCV AMS requires the incorporation of host factors as an integral component of the algorithms used to monitor disease occurrence. Importantly, implementation of comprehensive global databases and data mining are also needed for the proper study of the mechanisms responsible for HCV transmission. Here, we review molecular aspects associated with HCV transmission, as well as the most recent technological advances used for virus and host characterization. Additionally, the cornerstone discoveries that have defined the pathway for viral characterization are presented and the importance of implementing advanced HCV molecular surveillance is highlighted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1134-1152: Chimeric Rabies Virus-Like Particles Containing Membrane-Anchored GM-CSF Enhances the Immune Response against Rabies Virus

  • Rabies remains an important public health threat in most developing countries. To develop a more effective and safe vaccine against rabies, we have constructed a chimeric rabies virus-like particle (VLP), which containing glycoprotein (G) and matrix protein (M) of rabies virus (RABV) Evelyn-Rokitnicki-Abelseth (ERA) strain, and membrane-anchored granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and it was named of EVLP-G. The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of EVLP-G against RABV were evaluated by intramuscular administration in a mouse model. The EVLP-G was successfully produced in insect cells by coinfection with three recombinant baculoviruses expressing G, M, and GM-CSF, respectively. The membrane-anchored GM-CSF possesses a strong adjuvant activity. More B cells and dendritic cells (DCs) were recruited and/or activated in inguinal lymph nodes in mice immunized with EVLP-G. EVLP-G was found to induce a significantly increased RABV-specific virus-neutralizing antibody and elicit a larger and broader antibody subclass responses compared with the standard rabies VLP (sRVLP, consisting of G and M). The EVLP-G also elicited significantly more IFN-γ- or IL-4-secreting CD4+ and CD8+ T cells than the sRVLP. Moreover, the immune responses induced by EVLP-G protect all vaccinated mice from lethal challenge with RABV. These results suggest that EVLP-G has the potential to be developed as a novel vaccine candidate for the prevention and control of animal rabies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1113-1133: Profiling of Measles-Specific Humoral Immunity in Individuals Following Two Doses of MMR Vaccine Using Proteome Microarrays

  • Introduction: Comprehensive evaluation of measles-specific humoral immunity after vaccination is important for determining new and/or additional correlates of vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy. Methods: We used a novel proteome microarray technology and statistical modeling to identify factors and models associated with measles-specific functional protective immunity in 150 measles vaccine recipients representing the extremes of neutralizing antibody response after two vaccine doses. Results: Our findings demonstrate a high seroprevalence of antibodies directed to the measles virus (MV) phosphoprotein (P), nucleoprotein (N), as well as antibodies to the large polymerase (L) protein (fragment 1234 to 1900 AA). Antibodies to these proteins, in addition to anti-F antibodies (and, to a lesser extent, anti-H antibodies), were correlated with neutralizing antibody titer and/or were associated with and predictive of neutralizing antibody response. Conclusion: Our results identify antibodies to specific measles virus proteins and statistical models for monitoring and assessment of measles-specific functional protective immunity in vaccinated individuals.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1100-1112: The Origin of the Variola Virus

  • The question of the origin of smallpox, one of the major menaces to humankind, is a constant concern for the scientific community. Smallpox is caused by the agent referred to as the variola virus (VARV), which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. In the last century, smallpox was declared eradicated from the human community; however, the mechanisms responsible for the emergence of new dangerous pathogens have yet to be unraveled. Evolutionary analyses of the molecular biological genomic data of various orthopoxviruses, involving a wide range of epidemiological and historical information about smallpox, have made it possible to date the emergence of VARV. Comparisons of the VARV genome to the genomes of the most closely related orthopoxviruses and the examination of the distribution their natural hosts’ ranges suggest that VARV emerged 3000 to 4000 years ago in the east of the African continent. The VARV evolution rate has been estimated to be approximately 2 × 10−6 substitutions/site/year for the central conserved genomic region and 4 × 10−6 substitutions/site/year for the synonymous substitutions in the genome. Presumably, the introduction of camels to Africa and the concurrent changes to the climate were the particular factors that triggered the divergent evolution of a cowpox-like ancestral virus and thereby led to the emergence of VARV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1079-1099: HPV-E7 Delivered by Engineered Exosomes Elicits a Protective CD8+ T Cell-Mediated Immune Response

  • We developed an innovative strategy to induce a cytotoxic T cell (CTL) immune response against protein antigens of choice. It relies on the production of exosomes, i.e., nanovesicles spontaneously released by all cell types. We engineered the upload of huge amounts of protein antigens upon fusion with an anchoring protein (i.e., HIV-1 Nefmut), which is an inactive protein incorporating in exosomes at high levels also when fused with foreign proteins. We compared the immunogenicity of engineered exosomes uploading human papillomavirus (HPV)-E7 with that of lentiviral virus-like particles (VLPs) incorporating equivalent amounts of the same antigen. These exosomes, whose limiting membrane was decorated with VSV-G, i.e., an envelope protein inducing pH-dependent endosomal fusion, proved to be as immunogenic as the cognate VLPs. It is noteworthy that the immunogenicity of the engineered exosomes remained unaltered in the absence of VSV-G. Most important, we provide evidence that the inoculation in mouse of exosomes uploading HPV-E7 induces production of anti-HPV E7 CTLs, blocks the growth of syngeneic tumor cells inoculated after immunization, and controls the development of tumor cells inoculated before the exosome challenge. These results represent the proof-of-concept about both feasibility and efficacy of the Nefmut-based exosome platform for the induction of CD8+ T cell immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1062-1078: Two Year Field Study to Evaluate the Efficacy of Mamestra brassicae Nucleopolyhedrovirus Combined with Proteins Derived from Xestia c-nigrum Granulovirus

  • Japan has only three registered baculovirus biopesticides despite its long history of studies on insect viruses. High production cost is one of the main hindrances for practical use of baculoviruses. Enhancement of insecticidal effect is one possible way to overcome this problem, so there have been many attempts to develop additives for baculoviruses. We found that alkaline soluble proteins of capsules (GVPs) of Xestia c-nigrum granulovirus can increase infectivity of some viruses including Mamestra brassicae nucleopolyhedrovirus (MabrNPV), and previously reported that MabrNPV mixed with GVPs was highly infectious to three important noctuid pests of vegetables in the following order, Helicoverpa armigera, M. brassicae, and Autographa nigrisigna. In this study, small-plot experiments were performed to assess concentrations of MabrNPV and GVPs at three cabbage fields and a broccoli field for the control of M. brassicae. In the first experiment, addition of GVPs (10µg/mL) to MabrNPV at 106 OBs/mL resulted in a significant increase in NPV infection (from 53% to 66%). In the second experiment, the enhancing effect of GVP on NPV infection was confirmed at 10-times lower concentrations of MabrNPV. In the third and fourth experiments, a 50% reduction in GVPs (from 10 µg/mL to 5 µg/mL) did not result in a lowering of infectivity of the formulations containing MabrNPV at 105 OBs/mL. These results indicate that GVPs are promising additives for virus insecticides.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 1020-1061: Myxoma Virus and the Leporipoxviruses: An Evolutionary Paradigm

  • Myxoma virus (MYXV) is the type species of the Leporipoxviruses, a genus of Chordopoxvirinae, double stranded DNA viruses, whose members infect leporids and squirrels, inducing cutaneous fibromas from which virus is mechanically transmitted by biting arthropods. However, in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), MYXV causes the lethal disease myxomatosis. The release of MYXV as a biological control for the wild European rabbit population in Australia, initiated one of the great experiments in evolution. The subsequent coevolution of MYXV and rabbits is a classic example of natural selection acting on virulence as a pathogen adapts to a novel host species. Slightly attenuated mutants of the progenitor virus were more readily transmitted by the mosquito vector because the infected rabbit survived longer, while highly attenuated viruses could be controlled by the rabbit immune response. As a consequence, moderately attenuated viruses came to dominate. This evolution of the virus was accompanied by selection for genetic resistance in the wild rabbit population, which may have created an ongoing co-evolutionary dynamic between resistance and virulence for efficient transmission. This natural experiment was repeated on a continental scale with the release of a separate strain of MYXV in France and its subsequent spread throughout Europe. The selection of attenuated strains of virus and resistant rabbits mirrored the experience in Australia in a very different environment, albeit with somewhat different rates. Genome sequencing of the progenitor virus and the early radiation, as well as those from the 1990s in Australia and Europe, has shown that although MYXV evolved at high rates there was no conserved route to attenuation or back to virulence. In contrast, it seems that these relatively large viral genomes have the flexibility for multiple pathways that converge on a similar phenotype.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 996-1019: Identification of New Respiratory Viruses in the New Millennium

  • The rapid advancement of molecular tools in the past 15 years has allowed for the retrospective discovery of several new respiratory viruses as well as the characterization of novel emergent strains. The inability to characterize the etiological origins of respiratory conditions, particularly in children, led several researchers to pursue the discovery of the underlying etiology of disease. In 2001, this led to the discovery of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and soon following that the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) promoted an increased interest in coronavirology and the latter discovery of human coronavirus (HCoV) NL63 and HCoV-HKU1. Human bocavirus, with its four separate lineages, discovered in 2005, has been linked to acute respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal complications. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) represents the most recent outbreak of a completely novel respiratory virus, which occurred in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and presents a significant threat to human health. This review will detail the most current clinical and epidemiological findings to all respiratory viruses discovered since 2001.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 969-995: Analysis of Pineapple Mealybug Wilt Associated Virus -1 and -2 for Potential RNA Silencing Suppressors and Pathogenicity Factors

  • Higher plants use RNA silencing to defend against viral infections. As a counter defense, plant viruses have evolved proteins that suppress RNA silencing. Mealybug wilt of pineapple (MWP), an important disease of pineapple, has been associated with at least three distinct viruses, Pineapple mealybug wilt associated virus -1, -2, and -3 (PMWaV-1, -2, and -3). Selected open reading frames (ORFs) of PMWaV-1 and PMWaV-2 were screened for their local and systemic suppressor activities in Agrobacterium-mediated transient assays using green fluorescent protein (GFP) in Nicotiana benthamiana. Results indicate that PMWaV-2 utilizes a multiple-component RNA silencing suppression mechanism. Two proteins, p20 and CP, target both local and systemic silencing in N. benthamiana, while the p22 and CPd proteins target only systemic silencing. In the related virus PMWaV-1, we found that only one of the encoded proteins, p61, had only systemic suppressor activity. Of all the proteins tested from both viruses, only the PMWaV-2 p20 protein suppressed local silencing induced by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), but only when low levels of inducing dsRNA were used. None of the proteins analyzed could interfere with the short distance spread of silencing. We examined the mechanism of systemic suppression activity by investigating the effect of PMWaV-2-encoded p20 and CP proteins on secondary siRNAs. Our results suggest that the PMWaV-2 p20 and CP proteins block the systemic silencing signal by repressing production of secondary siRNAs. We also demonstrate that the PMWaV-2 p20 and p22 proteins enhanced the pathogenicity of Potato virus X in N. benthamiana.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 939-968: Differential Expression of HERV-K (HML-2) Proviruses in Cells and Virions of the Teratocarcinoma Cell Line Tera-1

  • Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV-K (HML-2)) proviruses are among the few endogenous retroviral elements in the human genome that retain coding sequence. HML-2 expression has been widely associated with human disease states, including different types of cancers as well as with HIV-1 infection. Understanding of the potential impact of this expression requires that it be annotated at the proviral level. Here, we utilized the high throughput capabilities of next-generation sequencing to profile HML-2 expression at the level of individual proviruses and secreted virions in the teratocarcinoma cell line Tera-1. We identified well-defined expression patterns, with transcripts emanating primarily from two proviruses located on chromosome 22, only one of which was efficiently packaged. Interestingly, there was a preference for transcripts of recently integrated proviruses, over those from other highly expressed but older elements, to be packaged into virions. We also assessed the promoter competence of the 5’ long terminal repeats (LTRs) of expressed proviruses via a luciferase assay following transfection of Tera-1 cells. Consistent with the RNASeq results, we found that the activity of most LTRs corresponded to their transcript levels.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 915-938: HSV-1 gM and the gK/pUL20 Complex Are Important for the Localization of gD and gH/L to Viral Assembly Sites

  • Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), like all herpesviruses, is a large complex DNA virus containing up to 16 different viral membrane proteins in its envelope. The assembly of HSV-1 particles occurs by budding/wrapping at intracellular membranes producing infectious virions contained within the lumen of cytoplasmic membrane-bound compartments that are then released by secretion. To ensure incorporation of all viral membrane proteins into the envelope, they need to be localized to the appropriate intracellular membranes either via the endocytic pathway or by direct targeting to assembly sites from the biosynthetic secretory pathway. Many HSV-1 envelope proteins encode targeting motifs that direct their endocytosis and targeting, while others do not, including the essential entry proteins gD and the gH/gL complex, and so it has been unclear how these envelope proteins reach the appropriate assembly compartments. We now show that efficient endocytosis of gD and gH/gL and their incorporation into mature virions relies upon the presence of the HSV-1 envelope proteins gM and the gK/pUL20 complex. Our data demonstrate both redundant and synergistic roles for gM and gK/pUL20 in controlling the targeting of gD and gH/L to the appropriate intracellular virus assembly compartments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 899-914: The A, B, Cs of Herpesvirus Capsids

  • Assembly of herpesvirus nucleocapsids shares significant similarities with the assembly of tailed dsDNA bacteriophages; however, important differences exist. A unique feature of herpesviruses is the presence of different mature capsid forms in the host cell nucleus during infection. These capsid forms, referred to as A-, B-, and C-capsids, represent empty capsids, scaffold containing capsids and viral DNA containing capsids, respectively. The C-capsids are the closest in form to those encapsidated into mature virions and are considered precursors to infectious virus. The evidence supporting A- and B-capsids as either abortive forms or assembly intermediates has been lacking. Interaction of specific capsid forms with viral tegument proteins has been proposed to be a mechanism for quality control at the point of nuclear egress of mature particles. Here, we will review the available literature on these capsid forms and present data to debate whether A- and B-capsids play an important or an extraneous role in the herpesvirus life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 887-898: Genomic and Phylogenetic Characterization of Novel, Recombinant H5N2 Avian Influenza Virus Strains Isolated from Vaccinated Chickens with Clinical Symptoms in China

  • Infection of poultry with diverse lineages of H5N2 avian influenza viruses has been documented for over three decades in different parts of the world, with limited outbreaks caused by this highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. In the present study, three avian H5N2 influenza viruses, A/chicken/Shijiazhuang/1209/2013, A/chicken/Chiping/0321/2014, and A/chicken/Laiwu/0313/2014, were isolated from chickens with clinical symptoms of avian influenza. Complete genomic and phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that all three isolates are novel recombinant viruses with hemagglutinin (HA) and matrix (M) genes derived from H5N1, and remaining genes derived from H9N2-like viruses. The HA cleavage motif in all three strains (PQIEGRRRKR/GL) is characteristic of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus strain. These results indicate the occurrence of H5N2 recombination and highlight the importance of continued surveillance of the H5N2 subtype virus and reformulation of vaccine strains.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 873-886: Immunological Features of the Non-Structural Proteins of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus

  • Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is currently one of the most important viruses affecting the swine industry worldwide. Despite the large number of papers published each year, the participation of non-structural proteins (nsps) in the immune response is not completely clear. nsps have been involved in the host innate immune response, specifically, nsp1α/β, nsp2, nsp4 and nsp11 have been associated with the immunomodulation capability of the virus. To date, only participation by nsp1, nsp2, nsp4 and nsp7 in the humoral immune response has been reported, with the role of other nsps being overlooked. Furthermore, nsp1, nsp2, nsp5, nsp7 nsp9, nsp10, nsp11 have been implicated in the induction of IFN-γ and probably in the development of the cell-mediated immune response. This review discusses recent reports involving the participation of nsps in the modulation of the innate immune response and their role in the induction of both the humoral and cellular immune responses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 857-872: Evaluation of ViroCyt® Virus Counter for Rapid Filovirus Quantitation

  • Development and evaluation of medical countermeasures for diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics requires production of standardized, reproducible, and well characterized virus preparations. For filoviruses this includes plaque assay for quantitation of infectious virus, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for morphology and quantitation of virus particles, and real-time reverse transcription PCR for quantitation of viral RNA (qRT-PCR). The ViroCyt® Virus Counter (VC) 2100 (ViroCyt, Boulder, CO, USA) is a flow-based instrument capable of quantifying virus particles in solution. Using a proprietary combination of fluorescent dyes that stain both nucleic acid and protein in a single 30 min step, rapid, reproducible, and cost-effective quantification of filovirus particles was demonstrated. Using a seed stock of Ebola virus variant Kikwit, the linear range of the instrument was determined to be 2.8E+06 to 1.0E+09 virus particles per mL with coefficient of variation ranging from 9.4% to 31.5% for samples tested in triplicate. VC particle counts for various filovirus stocks were within one log of TEM particle counts. A linear relationship was established between the plaque assay, qRT-PCR, and the VC. VC results significantly correlated with both plaque assay and qRT-PCR. These results demonstrated that the VC is an easy, fast, and consistent method to quantify filoviruses in stock preparations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 844-856: Complete Genome Analysis of a Rabbit Rotavirus Causing Gastroenteritis in a Human Infant

  • Group A rotaviruses (RVA) are responsible for causing infantile diarrhea both in humans and animals. The molecular characteristics of lapine RVA strains are only studied to a limited extent and so far G3P[14] and G3P[22] were found to be the most common G/P-genotypes. During the 2012-2013 rotavirus season in Belgium, a G3P[14] RVA strain was isolated from stool collected from a two-year-old boy. We investigated whether RVA/Human-wt/BEL/BE5028/2012/G3P[14] is completely of lapine origin or the result of reassortment event(s). Phylogenetic analyses of all gene segments revealed the following genotype constellation: G3-P[14]-I2-R2-C2-M3-A9-N2-T6-E5-H3 and indicated that BE5028 probably represents a rabbit to human interspecies transmission able to cause disease in a human child. Interestingly, BE5028 showed a close evolutionary relationship to RVA/Human-wt/BEL/B4106/2000/G3P[14], another lapine-like strain isolated in a Belgian child in 2000. The phylogenetic analysis of the NSP3 segment suggests the introduction of a bovine(-like) NSP3 into the lapine RVA population in the past 12 years. Sequence analysis of NSP5 revealed a head-to-tail partial duplication, combined with two short insertions and a deletion, indicative of the continuous circulation of this RVA lineage within the rabbit population.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 820-843: The Role of RNA Interference (RNAi) in Arbovirus-Vector Interactions

  • RNA interference (RNAi) was shown over 18 years ago to be a mechanism by which arbovirus replication and transmission could be controlled in arthropod vectors. During the intervening period, research on RNAi has defined many of the components and mechanisms of this antiviral pathway in arthropods, yet a number of unexplored questions remain. RNAi refers to RNA-mediated regulation of gene expression. Originally, the term described silencing of endogenous genes by introduction of exogenous double-stranded (ds)RNA with the same sequence as the gene to be silenced. Further research has shown that RNAi comprises three gene regulation pathways that are mediated by small RNAs: the small interfering (si)RNA, micro (mi)RNA, and Piwi-interacting (pi)RNA pathways. The exogenous (exo-)siRNA pathway is now recognized as a major antiviral innate immune response of arthropods. More recent studies suggest that the piRNA and miRNA pathways might also have important roles in arbovirus-vector interactions. This review will focus on current knowledge of the role of the exo-siRNA pathway as an arthropod vector antiviral response and on emerging research into vector piRNA and miRNA pathway modulation of arbovirus-vector interactions. Although it is assumed that arboviruses must evade the vector’s antiviral RNAi response in order to maintain their natural transmission cycles, the strategies by which this is accomplished are not well defined. RNAi is also an important tool for arthropod gene knock-down in functional genomics studies and in development of arbovirus-resistant mosquito populations. Possible arbovirus strategies for evasion of RNAi and applications of RNAi in functional genomics analysis and arbovirus transmission control will also be reviewed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 798-819: Intranasal Administration of Maleic Anhydride-Modified Human Serum Albumin for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of pediatric viral respiratory tract infections. Neither vaccine nor effective antiviral therapy is available to prevent and treat RSV infection. Palivizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is the only product approved to prevent serious RSV infection, but its high cost is prohibitive in low-income countries. Here, we aimed to identify an effective, safe, and affordable antiviral agent for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of RSV infection in children at high risk. We found that maleic anhydride (ML)-modified human serum albumin (HSA), designated ML-HSA, exhibited potent antiviral activity against RSV and that the percentages of the modified lysines and arginies in ML- are correlated with such anti-RSV activity. ML-HSA inhibited RSV entry and replication by interacting with viral G protein and blocking RSV attachment to the target cells, while ML-HAS neither bound to F protein, nor inhibited F protein-mediated membrane fusion. Intranasal administration of ML-HSA before RSV infection resulted in significant decrease of the viral titers in the lungs of mice. ML-HSA shows promise for further development into an effective, safe, affordable, and easy-to-use intranasal regimen for pre-exposure prophylaxis of RSV infection in children at high risk in both low- and high-income countries.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 781-797: Bioinformatics Tools for Small Genomes, Such as Hepatitis B Virus

  • DNA sequence analysis is undertaken in many biological research laboratories. The workflow consists of several steps involving the bioinformatic processing of biological data. We have developed a suite of web-based online bioinformatic tools to assist with processing, analysis and curation of DNA sequence data. Most of these tools are genome-agnostic, with two tools specifically designed for hepatitis B virus sequence data. Tools in the suite are able to process sequence data from Sanger sequencing, ultra-deep amplicon resequencing (pyrosequencing) and chromatograph (trace files), as appropriate. The tools are available online at no cost and are aimed at researchers without specialist technical computer knowledge. The tools can be accessed at, and the source code is available online at

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 751-780: Aptamers in Diagnostics and Treatment of Viral Infections

  • Aptamers are in vitro selected DNA or RNA molecules that are capable of binding a wide range of nucleic and non-nucleic acid molecules with high affinity and specificity. They have been conducted through the process known as SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment). It serves to reach specificity and considerable affinity to target molecules, including those of viral origin, both proteins and nucleic acids. Properties of aptamers allow detecting virus infected cells or viruses themselves and make them competitive to monoclonal antibodies. Specific aptamers can be used to interfere in each stage of the viral replication cycle and also inhibit its penetration into cells. Many current studies have reported possible application of aptamers as a treatment or diagnostic tool in viral infections, e.g., HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), HBV (Hepatitis B Virus), HCV (Hepatitis C Virus), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), H5N1 avian influenza and recently spread Ebola. This review presents current developments of using aptamers in the diagnostics and treatment of viral diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 739-750: eIF4E as a Control Target for Viruses

  • Translation is a complex process involving diverse cellular proteins, including the translation initiation factor eIF4E, which has been shown to be a protein that is a point for translational regulation. Viruses require components from the host cell to complete their replication cycles. Various studies show how eIF4E and its regulatory cellular proteins are manipulated during viral infections. Interestingly, viral action mechanisms in eIF4E are diverse and have an impact not only on viral protein synthesis, but also on other aspects that are important for the replication cycle, such as the proliferation of infected cells and stimulation of viral reactivation. This review shows how some viruses use eIF4E and its regulatory proteins for their own benefit in order to spread themselves.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 709-738: Poxviral Ankyrin Proteins

  • Multiple repeats of the ankyrin motif (ANK) are ubiquitous throughout the kingdoms of life but are absent from most viruses. The main exception to this is the poxvirus family, and specifically the chordopoxviruses, with ANK repeat proteins present in all but three species from separate genera. The poxviral ANK repeat proteins belong to distinct orthologue groups spread over different species, and align well with the phylogeny of their genera. This distribution throughout the chordopoxviruses indicates these proteins were present in an ancestral vertebrate poxvirus, and have since undergone numerous duplication events. Most poxviral ANK repeat proteins contain an unusual topology of multiple ANK motifs starting at the N-terminus with a C-terminal poxviral homologue of the cellular F-box enabling interaction with the cellular SCF ubiquitin ligase complex. The subtle variations between ANK repeat proteins of individual poxviruses suggest an array of different substrates may be bound by these protein-protein interaction domains and, via the F-box, potentially directed to cellular ubiquitination pathways and possible degradation. Known interaction partners of several of these proteins indicate that the NF-κB coordinated anti-viral response is a key target, whilst some poxviral ANK repeat domains also have an F-box independent affect on viral host-range.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 707-708: Announcing the 2015 Viruses Young Investigator Prize and Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Travel Awards

  • With the goal of recognizing outstanding contributions to the field of virology by early-career investigators, last year Viruses accepted nominations for a 2015 Young Investigator Prize in Virology. The target age was set at 40 and under. Over 50 nominations were received and were evaluated by a panel of judges comprised of Viruses editorial board members.[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 699-706: Morbillivirus Infections: An Introduction

  • Research on morbillivirus infections has led to exciting developments in recent years. Global measles vaccination coverage has increased, resulting in a significant reduction in measles mortality. In 2011 rinderpest virus was declared globally eradicated– only the second virus to be eradicated by targeted vaccination. Identification of new cellular receptors and implementation of recombinant viruses expressing fluorescent proteins in a range of model systems have provided fundamental new insights into the pathogenesis of morbilliviruses, and their interactions with the host immune system. Nevertheless, both new and well-studied morbilliviruses are associated with significant disease in wildlife and domestic animals. This illustrates the need for robust surveillance and a strategic focus on barriers that restrict cross-species transmission.Recent and ongoing measles outbreaks also demonstrate that maintenance of high vaccination coverage for these highly infectious agents is critical. This introduction briefly summarizes the most important current research topics in this field.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 680-698: Host Recovery and Reduced Virus Level in the Upper Leaves after Potato virus Y Infection Occur in Tobacco and Tomato but not in Potato Plants

  • In this study, the recovery phenomenon following infection with Potato virus Y (PVY) was investigated in tobacco (Nicotiana tobaccum), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and potato (Solanum tuberosum) plants. In tobacco plants, infection of severe strains of PVY (PVYN or PVYN:O) induced conspicuous vein clearing and leaf deformation in the first three leaves above the inoculated leaves, but much milder symptoms in the upper leaves. The recovery phenotype was not obvious in tobacco plants infected with PVY strain that induce mild symptoms (PVYO). However, regardless of the virus strains, reduction in PVY RNA levels was similarly observed in the upper leaves of these plants. Removal of the first three leaves above the inoculated leaves interfered with the occurrence of recovery, suggesting that the signal(s) mediating the recovery is likely generated in these leaves. In PVYN or PVYN:O but not in PVYO-infected tobacco plants, the expression of PR-1a transcripts were correlated with the accumulation level of PVY RNA. Reduced level of PVY RNA in the upper leaves was also observed in infected tomato plants, whereas such phenomenon was not observed in potato plants. PVY-derived small RNAs were detected in both tobacco and potato plants and their accumulation levels were correlated with PVY RNA levels. Our results demonstrate that the recovery phenotype following PVY infection is host-specific and not necessarily associated with the expression of PR-1a and generation of PVY small RNAs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 666-679: Evaluation of Virus Inactivation by Formaldehyde to Enhance Biosafety of Diagnostic Electron Microscopy

  • Formaldehyde (FA) fixation of infectious samples is a well-established protocol in diagnostic electron microscopy of viruses. However, published experimental data that demonstrate virus inactivation by these fixation procedures are lacking. Usually, fixation is performed immediately before the sample preparation for microscopy. The fixation procedure should transform viruses in a non–infectious but nonetheless structurally intact form in order to allow a proper diagnosis based on morphology. FA provides an essential advantage in comparison to other disinfectants, because it preserves the ultrastructure of biological material without interfering significantly with the preparation (i.e., the negative staining) and the detection of viruses. To examine the efficiency of FA inactivation, we used Vaccinia virus, Human adenovirus and Murine norovirus as models and treated them with FA under various conditions. Critical parameters for the inactivation efficiency were the temperature, the duration of the FA treatment, and the resistance of the virus in question. Our results show that FA inactivation at low temperature (4 °C) bears a high risk of incomplete inactivation. Higher temperatures (25 °C) are more efficient, although they still require rather long incubationtimes to fully inactivate a complex and highly robust virus like Vaccinia. A protocol, which applied 2% buffered FA for 60 min and a temperature–shift from 25 to 37 °C after 30 min was efficient for the complete inactivation of all test viruses, and therefore has the potential to improve both biosafety and speed of diagnostic electron microscopy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 647-665: Ageratum enation virus—A Begomovirus of Weeds with the Potential to Infect Crops

  • Samples of two Ageratum conyzoides, one Sonchus oleraceus and one turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa) exhibiting virus-like symptoms were collected from Pakistan and Nepal. Full-length begomovirus clones were obtained from the four plant samples and betasatellite clones from three of these. The begomovirus sequences were shown to be isolates of Ageratum enation virus (AEV) with greater than 89.1% nucleotide sequence identity to the 26 AEV sequences available in the databases. The three betasatellite sequences were shown to be isolates of Ageratum yellow leaf curl betasatellite (AYLCB) with greater than 90% identity to the 18 AYLCB sequences available in the databases. The AEV sequences were shown to fall into two distinct strains, for which the names Nepal (consisting of isolates from Nepal, India, and Pakistan—including the isolates identified here) and India (isolates occurring only in India) strains are proposed. For the clones obtained from two AEV isolates, with their AYLCB, infectivity was shown by Agrobacterium-mediated inoculation to Nicotiana benthamiana, N. tabacum, Solanum lycopersicon and A. conyzoides. N. benthamiana plants infected with AEV alone or betasatellite alone showed no symptoms. N. benthamiana plants infected with AEV with its associated betasatellite showed leaf curl symptoms. The findings show that AEV is predominantly a virus of weeds that has the capacity to infect crops. AYLCB appears to be the common partner betasatellite of AEV and is associated with diseases with a range of very different symptoms in the same plant species. The inability to satisfy Koch’s postulates with the cloned components of isolate SOL in A. conyzoides suggests that the etiology may be more complex than a single virus with a single betasatellite.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 634-646: Engineering Viroid Resistance

  • Viroids are non-encapsidated, non-coding, circular, single-stranded RNAs (ssRNAs). They are classified into the families Pospiviroidae and Avsunviroidae, whose members replicate in the nucleus and chloroplast of plant cells, respectively. Viroids have a wide host range, including crop and ornamental plants, and can cause devastating diseases with significant economic losses. Thus, several viroids are world-wide, classified as quarantine pathogens and, hence, there is an urgent need for the development of robust antiviroid strategies. RNA silencing-based technologies seem to be a promising tool in this direction. Here, we review the recent advances concerning the complex interaction of viroids with the host’s RNA silencing machinery, evaluate past and present antiviroid approaches, and finally suggest alternative strategies that could potentially be employed in the future in order to achieve transgenic and non-transgenic viroid-free plants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 604-633: KSHV ORF57, a Protein of Many Faces

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF57 protein (also known as mRNA transcript accumulation (Mta)) is a potent posttranscriptional regulator essential for the efficient expression of KSHV lytic genes and productive KSHV replication. ORF57 possesses numerous activities that promote the expression of viral genes, including the three major functions of enhancement of RNA stability, promotion of RNA splicing, and stimulation of protein translation. The multifunctional nature of ORF57 is driven by its ability to interact with an array of cellular cofactors. These interactions are requiredfor the formation of ORF57-containing ribonucleoprotein complexes at specific binding sites in the target transcripts, referred as Mta-responsive elements (MREs). Understanding of the ORF57 protein conformation has led to the identification of two structurally-distinct domains within the ORF57 polypeptide: an unstructured intrinsically disordered N-terminal domain and a structured α-helix-rich C-terminal domain. The distinct structures of the domains serve as the foundation for their unique binding affinities: the N-terminal domain mediates ORF57 interactions with cellular cofactors and target RNAs, and the C-terminal domain mediates ORF57 homodimerization. In addition, each domain has been found to contribute to the stability of ORF57 protein in infected cells by counteracting caspase- and proteasome-mediated degradation pathways. Together, these new findings provide insight into thefunction and biological properties of ORF57 in the KSHV life cycle and pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 590-603: Mutations in the Reverse Transcriptase and Protease Genes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 from Antiretroviral Naïve and Treated Pediatric Patients

  • The success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is challenged by the emergence of resistance-associated mutations in human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1). In this study, resistance associated mutations in the reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease (PR) genes in antiretroviral therapy (ART) naïve and treated HIV-1 infected pediatric patients from North India were evaluated. Genotyping was successfully performed in 46 patients (30 ART naive and 16 treated) for the RT gene and in 53 patients (27 ART naive and 26 treated) for PR gene and mutations were identified using Stanford HIV Drug Resistance Database. A major drug resistant mutation in RT gene, L74I (NRTI), and two such mutations, K101E and G190A (NNRTI), were observed in two ART naïve patients, while M184V was detected in two ART treated patients. Overall, major resistance associated mutations in RT gene were observed innine (30%) and seven (36%) of ART naïve and treated children respectively. Minor mutations were identified in PR gene in five children. Few non-clade C viral strains (≈30%) were detected, although subtype C was most predominant. The screening of ART naïve children for mutations in HIV-1 RT and protease genes, before and after initiation of ART is desirable for drug efficacy and good prognosis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 559-589: Elevated Cytokines, Thrombin and PAI-1 in Severe HCPS Patients Due to Sin Nombre Virus

  • Sin Nombre Hantavirus (SNV, Bunyaviridae Hantavirus) is a Category A pathogen that causes Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS) with case fatality ratios generally ranging from 30% to 50%. HCPS is characterized by vascular leakage due to dysregulation of the endothelial barrier function. The loss of vascular integrity results in non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema, shock, multi-organ failure and death. Using Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS) measurements, we found that plasma samples drawn from University of New Mexico Hospital patients with serologically-confirmed HCPS, induce loss of cell-cell adhesion in confluent epithelial and endothelial cell monolayers grown in ECIS cultureware. We show that the loss of cell-cell adhesion is sensitive to both thrombin and plasmin inhibitors in mild cases, and to thrombin only inhibition in severe cases, suggesting an increasing prothrombotic state with disease severity. A proteomic profile (2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry) of HCPS plasma samples in our cohort revealed robust antifibrinolytic activity among terminal case patients. The prothrombotic activity is highlighted by acute≥30 to aamp;amp;gt;100 fold increases in active plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) which, preceded death of the subjects within 48 h. Taken together, this suggests that PAI-1 might be a response to the severe pathology as it is expected to reduce plasmin activity and possibly thrombin activity in the terminal patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 543-558: HIV-1 Induced Nuclear Factor I-B (NF-IB) Expression Negatively Regulates HIV-1 Replication through Interaction with the Long Terminal Repeat Region

  • Background: Retroviruses rely on host factors for cell entry, replication, transcription, and other major steps during their life cycle. Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) is well known for utilizing a plethora of strategies to evade the host immune response, including the establishment of latent infection within a subpopulation of susceptible cells. HIV-1 also manipulates cellular factors in latently infected cells and persists for long periods of time, despite the presence of successful highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Results: In this study we demonstrate that Nuclear Factor-IB (NF-IB) is induced during HIV-1 infection and its expression negatively impacts viral replication. During HIV-1 infection in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and the T cell line, Jurkat or during induction of virus replication in latently infected cells, ACH2 and J1.1, we observed a time-dependent alteration in NF-IB expression pattern that correlated with HIV-1 viral expression. Using the Chip assay, we observed an association of NF-IB with the long terminal repeat region of HIV-1 (LTR) (-386 to -453 nt), and this association negatively correlated with HIV-1 transcription. Furthermore, knock-down of NF-IB levels in J1.1 cells resulted in an increase of HIV-1 levels. Knock-down of NF-IB levels in J-Lat-Tat-GFP (A1), (a Jurkat cell GFP reporter model for latent HIV-1 infection) resulted in an increase in GFP levels, indicating a potential negative regulatory role of NF-IB in HIV-1 replication. Conclusion: Overall, our results suggest that NF-IB may play a role in intrinsic antiretroviral defenses against HIV-1. These observations may offer new insights into the correlation of the latently infected host cell types and HIV-1, and help to define new therapeutic approaches for triggering the switch from latency to active replication thereby eliminating HIV-1 latent infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 522-542: Comparative Analysis of Glycoprotein B (gB) of Equine Herpesvirus Type 1 and Type 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) in Cellular Tropism and Cell-to-Cell Transmission

  • Glycoprotein B (gB) plays an important role in alphaherpesvirus cellular entry and acts in concert with gD and the gH/gL complex. To evaluate whether functional differences exist between gB1 and gB4, the corresponding genes were exchanged between the two viruses. The gB4-containing-EHV-1 (EHV-1_gB4) recombinant virus was analyzed for growth in culture, cell tropism, and cell entry rivaling no significant differences when compared to parental virus. We also disrupted a potential integrin-binding motif, which did not affect the function of gB in culture. In contrast, a significant reduction of plaque sizes and growth kinetics of gB1-containing-EHV-4 (EHV-4_gB1) was evident when compared to parental EHV-4 and revertant viruses. The reduction in virus growth may be attributable to the loss of functional interaction between gB and the other envelope proteins involved in virus entry, including gD and gH/gL. Alternatively, gB4 might have an additional function, required for EHV-4 replication, which is not fulfilled by gB1. In conclusion, our results show that the exchange of gB between EHV-1 and EHV-4 is possible, but results in a significant attenuation of virus growth in the case of EHV-4_gB1. The generation of stable recombinant viruses is a valuable tool to address viral entry in a comparative fashion and investigate this aspect of virus replication further.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 511-521: Understanding Ebola Virus Transmission

  • An unprecedented number of Ebola virus infections among healthcare workers and patients have raised questions about our understanding of Ebola virus transmission. Here, we explore different routes of Ebola virus transmission between people, summarizing the known epidemiological and experimental data. From this data, we expose important gaps in Ebola virus research pertinent to outbreak situations. We further propose experiments and methods of data collection that will enable scientists to fill these voids in our knowledge about the transmission of Ebola virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 496-510: Multiple Regions of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus ORF59 RNA are Required for Its Expression Mediated by Viral ORF57 and Cellular RBM15

  • KSHV ORF57 (MTA) promotes RNA stability of ORF59, a viral DNA polymerase processivity factor. Here, we show that the integrity of both ORF59 RNA ends is necessary for ORF57-mediated ORF59 expression and deletion of both 5’ and 3’ regions, or one end region with a central region, of ORF59 RNA prevents ORF57-mediated translation of ORF59. The ORF59 sequence between nt 96633 and 96559 resembles other known MTA-responsive elements (MREs). ORF57 specifically binds to a stem-loop region from nt 96596–96572 of theMRE, which also binds cellular RBM15. Internal deletion of the MRE from ORF59 led to poor export, but accumulation of nuclear ORF59 RNA in the presence of ORF57 or RBM15. Despite of being translatable in the presence of ORF57, this deletion mutant exhibits translational defect in the presence of RBM15. Together, our results provide novel insight into the roles of ORF57 and RBM15 in ORF59 RNA accumulation and protein translation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 7, Pages 480-495: Bovine Lactoferrin Inhibits Toscana Virus Infection by Binding to Heparan Sulphate

  • Toscana virus is an emerging sandfly-borne bunyavirus in Mediterranean Europe responsible for neurological diseases in humans. It accounts for about 80% of paediatric meningitis cases during the summer. Despite the important impact of Toscana virus infection-associated disease on human health, currently approved vaccines or effective antiviral treatments are not available. In this research, we have analyzed the effect of bovine lactoferrin, a bi-globular iron-binding glycoprotein with potent antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities, on Toscana virus infection in vitro. Our results showed that lactoferrin was capable of inhibiting Toscana virus replication in a dose-dependent manner. Results obtained when lactoferrin was added to the cells during different phases of viral infection showed that lactoferrin was able to prevent viral replication when added during the viral adsorption step or during the entire cycle of virus infection, demonstrating that its action takes place in an early phase of viral infection. In particular, our results demonstrated that the anti-Toscana virus action of lactoferrin took place on virus attachment to the cell membrane, mainly through a competition for common glycosaminoglycan receptors. These findings provide further insights on the antiviral activity of bovine lactoferrin.

  • 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.
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