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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 208: Viral RNA Silencing Suppression: The Enigma of Bunyavirus NSs Proteins

  • The Bunyaviridae is a family of arboviruses including both plant- and vertebrate-infecting representatives. The Tospovirus genus accommodates plant-infecting bunyaviruses, which not only replicate in their plant host, but also in their insect thrips vector during persistent propagative transmission. For this reason, they are generally assumed to encounter antiviral RNA silencing in plants and insects. Here we present an overview on how tospovirus nonstructural NSs protein counteracts antiviral RNA silencing in plants and what is known so far in insects. Like tospoviruses, members of the related vertebrate-infecting bunyaviruses classified in the genera Orthobunyavirus, Hantavirus and Phlebovirus also code for a NSs protein. However, for none of them RNA silencing suppressor activity has been unambiguously demonstrated in neither vertebrate host nor arthropod vector. The second part of this review will briefly describe the role of these NSs proteins in modulation of innate immune responses in mammals and elaborate on a hypothetical scenario to explain if and how NSs proteins from vertebrate-infecting bunyaviruses affect RNA silencing. If so, why this discovery has been hampered so far.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 205: The Whitefly Bemisia tabaci Knottin-1 Gene Is Implicated in Regulating the Quantity of Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Ingested and Transmitted by the Insect

  • The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a major pest to agricultural crops. It transmits begomoviruses, such as Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), in a circular, persistent fashion. Transcriptome analyses revealed that B. tabaci knottin genes were responsive to various stresses. Upon ingestion of tomato begomoviruses, two of the four knottin genes were upregulated, knot-1 (with the highest expression) and knot-3. In this study, we examined the involvement of B. tabaci knottin genes in relation to TYLCV circulative transmission. Knottins were silenced by feeding whiteflies with knottin dsRNA via detached tomato leaves. Large amounts of knot-1 transcripts were present in the abdomen of whiteflies, an obligatory transit site of begomoviruses in their circulative transmission pathway; knot-1 silencing significantly depleted the abdomen from knot-1 transcripts. Knot-1 silencing led to an increase in the amounts of TYLCV ingested by the insects and transmitted to tomato test plants by several orders of magnitude. This effect was not observed following knot-3 silencing. Hence, knot-1 plays a role in restricting the quantity of virions an insect may acquire and transmit. We suggest that knot-1 protects B. tabaci against deleterious effects caused by TYLCV by limiting the amount of virus associated with the whitefly vector.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 207: Local Innate Responses to TLR Ligands in the Chicken Trachea

  • The chicken upper respiratory tract is the portal of entry for respiratory pathogens, such as avian influenza virus (AIV). The presence of microorganisms is sensed by pathogen recognition receptors (such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs)) of the innate immune defenses. Innate responses are essential for subsequent induction of potent adaptive immune responses, but little information is available about innate antiviral responses of the chicken trachea. We hypothesized that TLR ligands induce innate antiviral responses in the chicken trachea. Tracheal organ cultures (TOC) were used to investigate localized innate responses to TLR ligands. Expression of candidate genes, which play a role in antiviral responses, was quantified. To confirm the antiviral responses of stimulated TOC, chicken macrophages were treated with supernatants from stimulated TOC, prior to infection with AIV. The results demonstrated that TLR ligands induced the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, type I interferons and interferon stimulated genes in the chicken trachea. In conclusion, TLR ligands induce functional antiviral responses in the chicken trachea, which may act against some pathogens, such as AIV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 204: Inactivation of RNA Viruses by Gamma Irradiation: A Study on Mitigating Factors

  • Effective inactivation of biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) pathogens is vital in order to study these agents safely. Gamma irradiation is a commonly used method for the inactivation of BSL-4 viruses, which among other advantages, facilitates the study of inactivated yet morphologically intact virions. The reported values for susceptibility of viruses to inactivation by gamma irradiation are sometimes inconsistent, likely due to differences in experimental protocols. We analyzed the effects of common sample attributes on the inactivation of a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus expressing the Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein and green fluorescent protein. Using this surrogate virus, we found that sample volume and protein content of the sample modulated viral inactivation by gamma irradiation but that air volume within the sample container and the addition of external disinfectant surrounding the sample did not. These data identify several factors which alter viral susceptibility to inactivation and highlight the usefulness of lower biosafety level surrogate viruses for such studies. Our results underscore the need to validate inactivation protocols of BSL-4 pathogens using“worst-case scenario” procedures to ensure complete sample inactivation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 203: Ectromelia Virus Disease Characterization in the BALB/c Mouse: A Surrogate Model for Assessment of Smallpox Medical Countermeasures

  • In 2007, the United States– Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance concerning animal models for testing the efficacy of medical countermeasures against variola virus (VARV), the etiologic agent for smallpox. Ectromelia virus (ECTV) is naturally-occurring and responsible for severe mortality and morbidity as a result of mousepox disease in the murine model, displaying similarities to variola infection in humans. Due to the increased need of acceptable surrogate animal models for poxvirus disease, we have characterized ECTV infection in the BALB/c mouse. Mice were inoculated intranasally with a high lethaldose (125 PFU) of ECTV, resulting in complete mortality 10 days after infection. Decreases in weight and temperature from baseline were observed eight to nine days following infection. Viral titers via quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and plaque assay were first observed in the blood at 4.5 days post-infection and in tissue (spleen and liver) at 3.5 days post-infection. Adverse clinical signs of disease were first observed four and five days post-infection, with severe signs occurring on day 7. Pathological changes consistent with ECTV infection were first observed five days after infection. Examination of data obtained from these parameters suggests the ECTV BALB/c model is suitable for potential use in medical countermeasures (MCMs) development and efficacy testing.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 202: The Role of Phlebovirus Glycoproteins in Viral Entry, Assembly and Release

  • Bunyaviruses are enveloped viruses with a tripartite RNA genome that can pose a serious threat to animal and human health. Members of the Phlebovirus genus of the family Bunyaviridae are transmitted by mosquitos and ticks to humans and include highly pathogenic agents like Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) as well as viruses that do not cause disease in humans, like Uukuniemi virus (UUKV). Phleboviruses and other bunyaviruses use their envelope proteins, Gn and Gc, for entry into target cells and for assembly of progeny particles in infected cells. Thus, binding of Gn and Gc to cell surface factors promotes viral attachment and uptake into cells and exposure to endosomal low pH induces Gc-driven fusion of the viral and the vesicle membranes. Moreover, Gn and Gc facilitate virion incorporation of the viral genome via their intracellular domains and Gn and Gc interactions allow the formation of a highly ordered glycoprotein lattice on the virion surface. Studies conducted in the last decade provided important insights into the configuration of phlebovirus Gn and Gc proteins in the viral membrane, the cellular factors used by phleboviruses for entry and the mechanisms employed by phlebovirus Gc proteins for membrane fusion. Here, we will review our knowledge on the glycoprotein biogenesis and the role of Gn and Gc proteins in the phlebovirus replication cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 201: Infection Counter: Automated Quantification of in Vitro Virus Replication by Fluorescence Microscopy

  • The ability to accurately and reliably quantify viral infection is essential to basic and translational virology research. Here, we describe a simple and robust automated method for using fluorescence microscopy to estimate the proportion of virally infected cells in a monolayer. We provide details of the automated analysis workflow along with a freely available open-source ImageJ plugin, Infection Counter, for performing image quantification. Using hepatitis C virus (HCV) as an example, we have experimentally verified our method, demonstrating that it is equivalent, if not better, than the established focus-forming assay. Finally, we used Infection Counter to assess the anti-HCV activity of SMBz-CsA, a non-immunosuppressive cyclosporine analogue.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 200: A Phylogenetic Survey on the Structure of the HIV-1 Leader RNA Domain That Encodes the Splice Donor Signal

  • RNA splicing is a critical step in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication cycle because it controls the expression of the complex viral proteome. The major 5′ splice site (5′ss) that is positioned in the untranslated leader of the HIV-1 RNA transcript is of particular interest because it is used for the production of the more than 40 differentially spliced subgenomic mRNAs. HIV-1 splicing needs to be balanced tightly to ensure the proper levels of all viral proteins, including the Gag-Pol proteins that are translated from the unspliced RNA. We previously presented evidence that the major 5′ss is regulated by a repressive local RNA structure, the splice donor (SD) hairpin, that masks the 11 nucleotides (nts) of the 5′ss signal for recognition by U1 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) of the spliceosome machinery. A strikingly different multiple-hairpin RNA conformation was recently proposed for this part of the HIV-1 leader RNA. We therefore inspected the sequence of natural HIV-1 isolates in search for support, in the form of base pair (bp) co-variations, for the different RNA conformations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 199: N-Terminal Domain of Feline Calicivirus (FCV) Proteinase-Polymerase Contributes to the Inhibition of Host Cell Transcription

  • Feline Calicivirus (FCV) infection results in the inhibition of host protein synthesis, known as“shut-off”. However, the precise mechanism of shut-off remains unknown. Here, we found that the FCV strain 2280 proteinase-polymerase (PP) protein can suppress luciferase reporter gene expression driven by endogenous and exogenous promoters. Furthermore, we found that the N-terminal 263 aa of PP (PPN-263) determined its shut-off activity using the expression of truncated proteins. However, the same domain of the FCV strain F9 PP protein failed to inhibit gene expression. A comparison between strains 2280 and F9 indicated that Val27, Ala96 and Ala98 were key sites for the inhibition of host gene expression by strain 2280 PPN-263, and PPN-263 exhibited the ability to shut off host gene expression as long as it contained any two of the three amino acids. Because the N-terminus of the PP protein is required for its proteinase and shut-off activities, we investigated the ability of norovirus 3C-like proteins (3CLP) from the GII.4-1987 and -2012 isolates to interfere with host gene expression. The results showed that 3CLP from both isolates was able to shut off host gene expression, but 3CLP from GII.4-2012 had a stronger inhibitory activity than that from GII.4-1987. Finally, we found that 2280 PP and 3CLP significantly repressed reporter gene transcription but did not affect mRNA translation. Our results provide new insight into the mechanism of the FCV-mediated inhibition of host gene expression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 197: Reporter-Expressing, Replicating-Competent Recombinant Arenaviruses

  • Several arenaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever (HF) disease in humans and pose an important public health problem in their endemic regions. To date, no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-licensed vaccines are available to combat human arenavirus infections, and current anti-arenaviral drug therapy is limited to an off-label use of ribavirin that is only partially effective. The development of arenavirus reverse genetic approaches has provided investigators with a novel and powerful approach for the study of arenavirus biology including virus–host interactions underlying arenavirus induced disease. The use of cell-based minigenome systems has allowed examining the cis- and trans-acting factors involved in arenavirus replication and transcription, as well as particle assembly and budding. Likewise, it is now feasible to rescue infectious arenaviruses containing predetermined mutations in their genomes to investigate virus-host interactions and mechanisms of pathogenesis. The use of reverse genetics approaches has also allowed the generation of recombinant arenaviruses expressing additional genes of interest. These advances in arenavirus molecular genetics have also facilitated the implementation of novel screens to identify anti-arenaviral drugs, and the development of novel strategies for the generation of arenavirus live-attenuated vaccines. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge on reporter-expressing, replicating-competent arenaviruses harboring reporter genes in different locations of the viral genome and their use for studying and understanding arenavirus biology and the identification of anti-arenaviral drugs to combat these important human pathogens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 198: KSHV-Mediated Angiogenesis in Tumor Progression

  • Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), is a malignant human oncovirus belonging to the gamma herpesvirus family. HHV-8 is closely linked to the pathogenesis of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and two other B-cell lymphoproliferative diseases: primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and a plasmablastic variantof multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD). KS is an invasive tumor of endothelial cells most commonly found in untreated HIV-AIDS or immuno-compromised individuals. KS tumors are highly vascularized and have abnormal, excessive neo-angiogenesis, inflammation, and proliferation of infected endothelial cells. KSHV directly induces angiogenesis in an autocrine and paracrine fashion through a complex interplay of various viral and cellular pro-angiogenic and inflammatory factors. KS is believed to originate due to a combination of KSHV’s efficient strategies for evading host immune systems and several pro-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory stimuli. In addition, KSHV infection of endothelial cells produces a wide array of viral oncoproteins with transforming capabilities that regulate multiple host-signaling pathways involved in the activation of angiogenesis. It is likely that the cellular-signaling pathways of angiogenesis and lymph-angiogenesis modulate the rate of tumorigenesis induction by KSHV. This review summarizes the current knowledge on regulating KSHV-mediated angiogenesis by integrating the findings reported thus far on the roles of host and viral genes in oncogenesis, recent developments in cell-culture/animal-model systems, and various anti-angiogenic therapies for treating KSHV-related lymphoproliferative disorders.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 196: Molecular and Genetic Characterization of HIV-1 Tat Exon-1 Gene from Cameroon Shows Conserved Tat HLA-Binding Epitopes: Functional Implications

  • HIV-1 Tat plays a critical role in viral transactivation. Subtype-B Tat has potential use as a therapeutic vaccine. However, viral genetic diversity and population genetics would significantly impact the efficacy of such a vaccine. Over 70% of the 37-million HIV-infected individuals are in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and harbor non-subtype-B HIV-1. Using specimens from 100 HIV-infected Cameroonians, we analyzed the sequences of HIV-1 Tat exon-1, its functional domains, post-translational modifications (PTMs), and human leukocyte antigens (HLA)-binding epitopes. Molecular phylogeny revealed a high genetic diversity with nine subtypes, CRF22_01A1/CRF01_AE, and negative selection in all subtypes. Amino acid mutations in Tat functional domains included N24K (44%), N29K (58%), and N40K (30%) in CRF02_AG, and N24K in all G subtypes. Motifs and phosphorylation analyses showed conserved amidation, N-myristoylation, casein kinase-2 (CK2), serine and threonine phosphorylation sites. Analysis of HLA allelic frequencies showed that epitopes for HLAs A*0205, B*5301, Cw*0401, Cw*0602, and Cw*0702 were conserved in 58%–100% of samples, with B*5301 epitopes having binding affinity scores aamp;amp;gt; 100 in all subtypes. This is the first report of N-myristoylation, amidation, and CK2 sites in Tat; these PTMs and mutations could affect Tat function. HLA epitopes identified could be useful for designing Tat-based vaccines for highly diverse HIV-1 populations, as in SSA.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 195: Cross-Species Antiviral Activity of Goose Interferons against Duck Plague Virus Is Related to Its Positive Self-Feedback Regulation and Subsequent Interferon Stimulated Genes Induction

  • Interferons are a group of antiviral cytokines acting as the first line of defense in the antiviral immunity. Here, we describe the antiviral activity of goose type I interferon (IFNα) and type II interferon (IFNγ) against duck plague virus (DPV). Recombinant goose IFNα and IFNγ proteins of approximately 20 kDa and 18 kDa, respectively, were expressed. Following DPV-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) infection of duck embryo fibroblast cells (DEFs) with IFNα and IFNγ pre-treatment, the number of viral gene copies decreased more than 100-fold, with viral titers dropping approximately 100-fold. Compared to the control, DPV-EGFP cell positivity was decreased by goose IFNα and IFNγ at 36 hpi (3.89%; 0.79%) and 48 hpi (17.05%; 5.58%). In accordance with interferon-stimulated genes being the “workhorse” of IFN activity, the expression of duck myxovirus resistance (Mx) and oligoadenylate synthetases-like (OASL) was significantly upregulated (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) by IFN treatment for 24 h. Interestingly, duck cells and goose cells showed a similar trendof increased ISG expression after goose IFNα and IFNγ pretreatment. Another interesting observation is that the positive feedback regulation of type I IFN and type II IFN by goose IFNα and IFNγ was confirmed in waterfowl for the first time. These results suggest that the antiviral activities ofgoose IFNα and IFNγ can likely be attributed to the potency with which downstream genes are induced by interferon. These findings will contribute to our understanding of the functional significance of the interferon antiviral system in aquatic birds and to the development of interferon-based prophylactic and therapeutic approaches against viral disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 194: RNA Encapsidation and Packaging in the Phleboviruses

  • The Bunyaviridae represents the largest family of segmented RNA viruses, which infect a staggering diversity of plants, animals, and insects. Within the family Bunyaviridae, the Phlebovirus genus includes several important human and animal pathogens, including Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), Uukuniemi virus (UUKV), and the sandfly fever viruses. The phleboviruses have small tripartite RNA genomes that encode a repertoire of 5–7 proteins. These few proteins accomplish the daunting task of recognizing and specifically packaging a tri-segment complement of viral genomic RNA in the midst of an abundance of host components. The critical nucleation events that eventually lead to virion production begin early on in the host cytoplasm as the first strands of nascent viral RNA (vRNA) are synthesized. The interaction between the vRNA and the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein effectively protects and masks the RNA from the host, and also forms the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) architecture that mediates downstream interactions and drives virion formation. Although the mechanism by which all three genomic counterparts areselectively co-packaged is not completely understood, we are beginning to understand the hierarchy of interactions that begins with N-RNA packaging and culminates in RNP packaging into new virus particles. In this review we focus on recent progress that highlights the molecular basis of RNA genome packaging in the phleboviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 192: Coordination of Genomic RNA Packaging with Viral Assembly in HIV-1

  • The tremendous progress made in unraveling the complexities of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication has resulted in a library of drugs to target key aspects of the replication cycle of the virus. Yet, despite this accumulated wealth of knowledge, we still have much to learn about certain viral processes. One of these is virus assembly, where the viral genome and proteins come together to form infectious progeny. Here we review this topic from the perspective of how the route to production of an infectious virion is orchestrated by the viral genome, and we compare and contrast aspects of the assembly mechanisms employed by HIV-1 with those of other RNA viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 193: Determinants of Genomic RNA Encapsidation in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Long Terminal Repeat Retrotransposons Ty1 and Ty3

  • Long-terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons are transposable genetic elements that replicate intracellularly, and can be considered progenitors of retroviruses. Ty1 and Ty3 are the most extensively characterized LTR retrotransposons whose RNA genomes provide the template for both protein translation and genomic RNA that is packaged into virus-like particles (VLPs) and reverse transcribed. Genomic RNAs are not divided into separate pools of translated and packaged RNAs, therefore their trafficking and packaging into VLPs requires an equilibrium between competing events. In this review, we focus on Ty1 and Ty3 genomic RNA trafficking and packaging as essential steps of retrotransposon propagation. We summarize the existing knowledge on genomic RNA sequences and structures essential to these processes, the role of Gag proteins in repression of genomic RNA translation, delivery to VLP assembly sites, and encapsidation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 191: Heat Shock Enhances the Expression of the Human T Cell Leukemia Virus Type-I (HTLV-I) Trans-Activator (Tax) Antigen in Human HTLV-I Infected Primary and Cultured T Cells

  • The environmental factors that lead to the reactivation of human T cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-I) in latently infected T cells in vivo remain unknown. It has been previously shown that heat shock (HS) is a potent inducer of HTLV-I viral protein expression in long-term cultured cell lines. However, the precise HTLV-I protein(s) and mechanisms by which HS induces its effect remain ill-defined. We initiated these studies by first monitoring the levels of the trans-activator (Tax) protein induced by exposure of the HTLV-I infected cell line to HS. HS treatment at 43°C for 30 min for 24 h led to marked increases in the level of Tax antigen expression in all HTLV-I-infected T cell lines tested including a number of HTLV-I-naturally infected T cell lines. HS also increased the expression of functional HTLV-I envelope gp46 antigen, as shown by increased syncytium formation activity. Interestingly, the enhancing effect of HS was partially inhibited by the addition of the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70)-inhibitor pifithlin-μ (PFT). In contrast, the HSP 70-inducer zerumbone (ZER) enhanced Tax expression in the absence of HS. These data suggest that HSP 70 is at least partially involved in HS-mediated stimulation of Tax expression. As expected, HS resulted in enhanced expression of the Tax-inducible host antigens, such as CD83 and OX40. Finally, we confirmed that HS enhanced the levels of Tax and gp46 antigen expression in primary human CD4+ T cells isolated from HTLV-I-infected humanized NOD/SCID/γc null (NOG) mice and HTLV-I carriers. In summary, the data presented herein indicate that HS is one of the environmental factors involved in the reactivation of HTLV-I in vivo via enhanced Tax expression, which may favor HTLV-I expansion in vivo.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 190: Properties of African Cassava Mosaic Virus Capsid Protein Expressed in Fission Yeast

  • The capsid proteins (CPs) of geminiviruses combine multiple functions for packaging the single-stranded viral genome, insect transmission and shuttling between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV) CP was expressed in fission yeast, and purified by SDS gel electrophoresis. After tryptic digestion of this protein, mass spectrometry covered 85% of the amino acid sequence and detected three N-terminal phosphorylation sites (threonine 12, serines 25 and 62). Differential centrifugation of cell extracts separated the CP into two fractions, the supernatant and pellet. Upon isopycnic centrifugation of the supernatant, most of the CP accumulated at densities typical for free proteins, whereas the CP in the pellet fraction showed a partial binding to nucleic acids. Size-exclusion chromatography of the supernatant CP indicated high order complexes. In DNA binding assays, supernatant CP accelerated the migration of ssDNA in agarose gels, which is a first hint for particle formation. Correspondingly, CP shifted ssDNA to the expected densities of virus particles upon isopycnic centrifugation. Nevertheless, electron microscopy did not reveal any twin particles, which are characteristic for geminiviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 188: A Sequence-Independent Strategy for Amplification and Characterisation of Episomal Badnavirus Sequences Reveals Three Previously Uncharacterised Yam Badnaviruses

  • Yam (Dioscorea spp.) plants are potentially hosts to a diverse range of badnavirus species (genus Badnavirus, family Caulimoviridae), but their detection is complicated by the existence of integrated badnavirus sequences in some yam genomes. To date, only two badnavirus genomes have been characterised, namely, Dioscorea bacilliform AL virus (DBALV) and Dioscorea bacilliform SN virus (DBSNV). A further 10 tentative species in yam have been described based on their partial reverse transcriptase (RT)-ribonuclease H (RNaseH) sequences, generically referred to here as Dioscorea bacilliform viruses (DBVs). Further characterisation of DBV species is necessary to determine which represent episomal viruses and which are only present as integrated badnavirus sequences in some yam genomes. In this study, a sequence-independent multiply-primed rolling circle amplification (RCA) method was evaluated for selective amplification of episomal DBV genomes. This resulted in the identification and characterisation of nine complete genomic sequences (7.4–7.7 kbp) of existing and previously undescribed DBV phylogenetic groups from Dioscorea alata and Dioscorea rotundata accessions. These new yam badnavirus genomes expand our understanding of the diversity and genomic organisation of DBVs, and assist the development of improved diagnostic tools. Our findings also suggest that mixed badnavirus infections occur relatively often in West African yam germplasm.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 189: A Truncated Nef Peptide from SIVcpz Inhibits the Production of HIV-1 Infectious Progeny

  • Nef proteins from all primate Lentiviruses, including the simian immunodeficiency virus of chimpanzees (SIVcpz), increase viral progeny infectivity. However, the function of Nef involved with the increase in viral infectivity is still not completely understood. Nonetheless, until now, studies investigating the functions of Nef from SIVcpz have been conducted in the context of the HIV-1 proviruses. In an attempt to investigate the role played by Nef during the replication cycle of an SIVcpz, a Nef-defective derivative was obtained from the SIVcpzWTGab2 clone by introducing a frame shift mutation at a unique restriction site within the nef sequence. This nef-deleted clone expresses an N-terminal 74-amino acid truncated peptide of Nef and was named SIVcpz-tNef. We found that the SIVcpz-tNef does not behave as a classic nef-deleted HIV-1 or simian immunodeficiency virus of macaques SIVmac. Markedly, SIVcpz-tNef progeny from both Hek-293T and Molt producer cells were completely non-infectious. Moreover, the loss in infectivity of SIVcpz-tNef correlated with the inhibition of Gag and GagPol processing. A marked accumulation of Gag and very low levels of reverse transcriptase were detected in viral lysates. Furthermore, these observations were reproduced once the tNef peptide was expressed in trans both in SIVcpzΔNef and HIV-1WT expressing cells, demonstrating that the truncated peptide is a dominant negative for viral processing and infectivity for both SIVcpz and HIV-1. We demonstrated that the truncated Nef peptide binds to GagPol outside the protease region and by doing so probably blocks processing of both GagPol and Gag precursors at a very early stage. This study demonstrates for the first time that naturally-occurring Nef peptides can potently block lentiviral processing and infectivity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 185: Effectiveness of Four Disinfectants against Ebola Virus on Different Materials

  • The West Africa Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak has highlighted the need for effective disinfectants capable of reducing viral load in a range of sample types, equipment and settings. Although chlorine-based products are widely used, they can also be damaging to equipment or apparatus that needs continuous use such as aircraft use for transportation of infected people. Two aircraft cleaning solutions were assessed alongside two common laboratory disinfectants in a contact kill assay with EBOV on two aircraft relevant materials representative of a porous and non-porous surface. A decimal log reduction of viral titre of 4 is required for a disinfectant to be deemed effective and two of the disinfectants fulfilled this criteria under the conditions tested. One product, Ardrox 6092, was found to perform similarly to sodium hypochlorite, but as it does not have the corrosive properties of sodium hypochlorite, it could be an alternative disinfectant solution to be used for decontamination of EBOV on sensitive apparatus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 187: Recombinant Ranaviruses for Studying Evolution of Host–Pathogen Interactions in Ectothermic Vertebrates

  • Ranaviruses (Iridoviridae) are large DNA viruses that are causing emerging infectious diseases at an alarming rate in both wild and captive cold blood vertebrate species all over the world. Although the general biology of these viruses that presents some similarities with poxvirus is characterized, many aspects of their replication cycles, host cell interactions and evolution still remain largely unclear, especially in vivo. Over several years, strategies to generate site-specific ranavirus recombinant, either expressing fluorescent reporter genes or deficient for particular viral genes, have been developed. We review here these strategies, the main ranavirus recombinants characterized and their usefulness for in vitro and in vivo studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 186: Impaired Expression of Cytokines as a Result of Viral Infections with an Emphasis on Small Ruminant Lentivirus Infection in Goats

  • Knowing about the genes involved in immunity, and being able to identify the factors influencing their expressions, helps in gaining awareness of the immune processes. The qPCR method is a useful gene expression analysis tool, but studies on immune system genes are still limited, especially on the caprine immune system. Caprine arthritis encephalitis, a disease caused by small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV), causes economic losses in goat breeding, and there is no therapy against SRLV. The results of studies on vaccines against other viruses are promising. Moreover, the Marker-Assisted Selection strategy against SRLV is possible, as has been shown in sheep breeding. However, there are still many gaps in our knowledge on the caprine immune response to infection. All types of cytokines play pivotal roles in immunity, and SRLV infection influences the expression of many cytokines in different types of cells. This information encouraged the authors to examine the results of studies conducted on SRLV and other viral infections, with an emphasis on the expression of cytokine genes. This review attempts to summarize the results of studies on the expression of cytokines in the context of the SRLV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 183: Newcastle Disease Virus as a Vaccine Vector for Development of Human and Veterinary Vaccines

  • Viral vaccine vectors have shown to be effective in inducing a robust immune response against the vaccine antigen. Newcastle disease virus (NDV), an avian paramyxovirus, is a promising vaccine vector against human and veterinary pathogens. Avirulent NDV strains LaSota and B1 have long track records of safety and efficacy. Therefore, use of these strains as vaccine vectors is highly safe in avian and non-avian species. NDV replicates efficiently in the respiratory track of the host and induces strong local and systemic immune responses against the foreign antigen. As a vaccine vector, NDV can accommodate foreign sequences with a good degree of stability and as a RNA virus, there is limited possibility for recombination with host cell DNA. Using NDV as a vaccine vector in humans offers several advantages over other viral vaccine vectors. NDV is safe in humans due to host range restriction and there is no pre-existing antibody to NDV in the human population. NDV is antigenically distinct from common human pathogens. NDV replicates to high titer in a cell line acceptable for human vaccine development. Therefore, NDV is an attractive vaccine vector for human pathogens for which vaccines are currently not available. NDV is also an attractive vaccine vector for animal pathogens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 184: Regulation of Stress Responses and Translational Control by Coronavirus

  • Similar to other viruses, coronavirus infection triggers cellular stress responses in infected host cells. The close association of coronavirus replication with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) results in the ER stress responses, which impose a challenge to the viruses. Viruses, in turn, have come up with various mechanisms to block or subvert these responses. One of the ER stress responses is inhibition of the global protein synthesis to reduce the amount of unfolded proteins inside the ER lumen. Viruses have evolved the capacity to overcome the protein translation shutoff to ensure viral protein production. Here, we review the strategies exploited by coronavirus to modulate cellular stress response pathways. The involvement of coronavirus-induced stress responses and translational control in viral pathogenesis will also be briefly discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 182: The p22 RNA Silencing Suppressor of the Crinivirus Tomato chlorosis virus is Dispensable for Local Viral Replication but Important for Counteracting an Antiviral RDR6-Mediated Response during Systemic Infection

  • Among the components of the RNA silencing pathway in plants, RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) play fundamental roles in antiviral defence. Here, we demonstrate that the Nicotiana benthamiana RDR6 is involved in defence against the bipartite crinivirus (genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae) Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV). Additionally, by producing a p22-deficient ToCV infectious mutant clone (ToCVΔp22), we studied the role of this viral suppressor of RNA silencing in viral infection in both wild-type and RDR6-silenced N. benthamiana (NbRDR6i) plants. We demonstrate that p22 is dispensable for the replication of ToCV, where RDR6 appears not to have any effect. Furthermore, the finding that ToCV∆p22 systemic accumulation was impaired in wild-type N. benthamiana but not in NbRDR6i plants suggests a role for p22 in counteracting an RDR6-mediated antiviral response of the plant during systemic infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 180: Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of RNA Granules and Viral Infections

  • After viral infection, host cells respond by mounting an anti-viral stress response in order to create a hostile atmosphere for viral replication, leading to the shut-off of mRNA translation (protein synthesis) and the assembly of RNA granules. Two of these RNA granules have been well characterized in yeast and mammalian cells, stress granules (SGs), which are translationally silent sites of RNA triage and processing bodies (PBs), which are involved in mRNA degradation. This review discusses the role of these RNA granules in the evasion of anti-viral stress responses through virus-induced remodeling of cellular ribonucleoproteins (RNPs).

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 181: Development of Neutralization Assay Using an eGFP Chikungunya Virus

  • Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a member of the Alphavirus genus, is an important human emerging/re-emerging pathogen. Currently, there are no effective antiviral drugs or vaccines against CHIKV infection. Herein, we construct an infectious clone of CHIKV and an eGFP reporter CHIKV (eGFP-CHIKV) with an isolated strain (assigned to Asian lineage) from CHIKV-infected patients. The eGFP-CHIKV reporter virus allows for direct visualization of viral replication through the levels of eGFP expression. Using a known CHIKV inhibitor, ribavirin, we confirmed that the eGFP-CHIKV reporter virus could be used to identify inhibitors against CHIKV. Importantly, we developed a novel and reliable eGFP-CHIKV reporter virus-based neutralization assay that could be used for rapid screening neutralizing antibodies against CHIKV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 179: Replication-Competent Influenza A Viruses Expressing Reporter Genes

  • Influenza A viruses (IAV) cause annual seasonal human respiratory disease epidemics. In addition, IAV have been implicated in occasional pandemics with inordinate health and economic consequences. Studying IAV, in vitro or in vivo, requires the use of laborious secondary methodologies to identify virus-infected cells. To circumvent this requirement, replication-competent IAV expressing an easily traceable reporter protein can be used. Here we discuss the development and applications of recombinant replication-competent IAV harboring diverse fluorescent or bioluminescent reporter genes in different locations of the viral genome. These viruses have been employed for in vitro and in vivo studies, such as the screening of neutralizing antibodies or antiviral compounds, the identification of host factors involved in viral replication, cell tropism, the development of vaccines, or the assessment of viral infection dynamics. In summary, reporter-expressing, replicating-competent IAV represent a powerful tool for the study of IAV both in vitro and in vivo.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 177: Badnaviruses: The Current Global Scenario

  • Badnaviruses (Family: Caulimoviridae; Genus: Badnavirus) are non-enveloped bacilliform DNA viruses with a monopartite genome containing about 7.2 to 9.2 kb of dsDNA with three to seven open reading frames. They are transmitted by mealybugs and a few species by aphids in a semi-persistent manner. They are one of the most important plant virus groups and have emerged as serious pathogens affecting the cultivation of several horticultural crops in the tropics, especially banana, black pepper, cocoa, citrus, sugarcane, taro, and yam. Some badnaviruses are also known as endogenous viruses integrated into their host genomes and a few such endogenous viruses can be awakened, e.g., through abiotic stress, giving rise to infective episomal forms. The presence of endogenous badnaviruses poses a new challenge for the fool-proof diagnosis, taxonomy, and management of the diseases. The present review aims to highlight emerging disease problems, virus characteristics, transmission, and diagnosis of badnaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 172: Lambda gpP-DnaB Helicase Sequestration and gpP-RpoB Associated Effects: On Screens for Auxotrophs, Selection for RifR, Toxicity, Mutagenicity, Plasmid Curing

  • The bacteriophage lambda replication initiation protein P exhibits a toxic effect on its Escherichia coli (E. coli) host, likely due to the formation of a dead-end P-DnaB complex, sequestering the replicative DnaB helicase from further activity. Intracellular expression of P triggers SOS-independent cellular filamentation and rapidly cures resident ColE1 plasmids. The toxicity of P is suppressed by alleles of P or dnaB. We asked whether P buildup within a cell can influence E. coli replication fidelity. The influence of P expression from a defective prophage, or when cloned and expressed from a plasmid was examined by screening for auxotrophic mutants, or by selection for rifampicin resistant (RifR) cells acquiring mutations within the rpoB gene encoding theβ-subunit of RNA polymerase (RNAP), nine of which proved unique. Using fluctuation assays, we show that the intracellular expression of P evokes a mutator effect. Most of the RifR mutants remained PS and localized to the Rif binding pocket in RNAP, but a subset acquired a PR phenotype, lost sensitivity to ColE1 plasmid curing, and localized outside of the pocket. One PR mutation was identical to rpo*Q148P, which alleviates the UV-sensitivity of ruv strains defective in the migration and resolution of Holliday junctions and destabilizes stalled RNAP elongation complexes. The results suggest that P-DnaB sequestration is mutagenic and supports an earlier observation that P can interact with RNAP.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 175: DNA Damage Reduces the Quality, but Not the Quantity of Human Papillomavirus 16 E1 and E2 DNA Replication

  • Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are causative agents in almost all cervical carcinomas. HPVs are also causative agents in head and neck cancer, the cases of which are increasing rapidly. Viral replication activates the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway; associated proteins are recruited to replication foci, and this pathway may serve to allow for viral genome amplification. Likewise, HPV genome double-strand breaks (DSBs) could be produced during replication and could lead to linearization and viral integration. Many studies have shown that viral integration into the host genome results in unregulated expression of the viral oncogenes, E6 and E7, promoting HPV-induced carcinogenesis. Previously, we have demonstrated that DNA-damaging agents, such as etoposide, or knocking down viral replication partner proteins, such as topoisomerase IIβ binding protein I (TopBP1), does not reduce the level of DNA replication. Here, we investigated whether these treatments alter the quality of DNA replication by HPV16 E1 and E2. We confirm that knockdown of TopBP1 or treatment with etoposide does not reduce total levels of E1/E2-mediated DNA replication; however, the quality of replication is significantly reduced. The results demonstrate that E1 and E2 continue to replicate under genomically-stressed conditions and that this replication is mutagenic. This mutagenesis would promote the formation of substrates for integration of the viral genome into that of the host, a hallmark of cervical cancer.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 178: Marburg Virus Reverse Genetics Systems

  • The highly pathogenic Marburg virus (MARV) is a member of the Filoviridae family and belongs to the group of nonsegmented negative-strand RNA viruses. Reverse genetics systems established for MARV have been used to study various aspects of the viral replication cycle, analyze host responses, image viral infection, and screen for antivirals. This article provides an overview of the currently established MARV reverse genetic systems based on minigenomes, infectious virus-like particles and full-length clones, and the research that has been conducted using these systems.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 174: Phleboviruses and the Type I Interferon Response

  • The genus Phlebovirus of the family Bunyaviridae contains a number of emerging virus species which pose a threat to both human and animal health. Most prominent members include Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), sandfly fever Naples virus (SFNV), sandfly fever Sicilian virus (SFSV), Toscana virus (TOSV), Punta Toro virus (PTV), and the two new members severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) and Heartland virus (HRTV). The nonstructural protein NSs is well established as the main phleboviral virulence factor in the mammalian host. NSs acts as antagonist of the antiviral type I interferon (IFN) system. Recent progress in the elucidation of the molecular functions of a growing list of NSs proteins highlights the astonishing variety of strategies employed by phleboviruses to evade the IFN system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 176: Mouse Systems to Model Hepatitis C Virus Treatment and Associated Resistance

  • While addition of the first-approved protease inhibitors (PIs), telaprevir and boceprevir, to pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy significantly increased sustained virologic response (SVR) rates, PI-based triple therapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was prone to the emergence of resistant viral variants. Meanwhile, multiple direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs) targeting either the HCV NS3/4A protease, NS5A or NS5B polymerase have been approved and these have varying potencies and distinct propensities to provoke resistance. The pre-clinical in vivo assessment of drug efficacy and resistant variant emergence underwent a great evolution over the last decade. This field had long been hampered by the lack of suitable small animal models that robustly support the entire HCV life cycle. In particular, chimeric mice with humanized livers (humanized mice) and chimpanzees have been instrumental for studying HCV inhibitors and the evolution of drug resistance. In this review, we present the different in vivo HCV infection models and discuss their applicability to assess HCV therapy response and emergence of resistant variants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 173: PKR Activation Favors Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus Replication in Infected Cells

  • The double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase R (PKR) is a Type I interferon (IFN) stimulated gene that has important biological and immunological functions. In viral infections, in general, PKR inhibits or promotes viral replication, but PKR-IPNV interaction has not been previously studied. We investigated the involvement of PKR during infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) infection using a custom-made rabbit antiserum and the PKR inhibitor C16. Reactivity of the antiserum to PKR in CHSE-214 cells was confirmed after IFNα treatment giving an increased protein level. IPNV infection alone did not give increased PKR levels by Western blot, while pre-treatment with PKR inhibitor before IPNV infection gave decreased eukaryotic initiation factor 2-alpha (eIF2α) phosphorylation. This suggests that PKR, despite not being upregulated, is involved in eIF2α phosphorylation during IPNV infection. PKR inhibitor pre-treatment resulted in decreased virus titers, extra- and intracellularly, concomitant with reduction of cells with compromised membranes in IPNV-permissive cell lines. These findings suggest that IPNV uses PKR activation to promote virus replication in infected cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 165: The Feat of Packaging Eight Unique Genome Segments

  • Influenza A viruses (IAVs) harbor a segmented RNA genome that is organized into eight distinct viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complexes. Although a segmented genome may be a major advantage to adapt to new host environments, it comes at the cost of a highly sophisticated genome packaging mechanism. Newly synthesized vRNPs conquer the cellular endosomal recycling machinery to access the viral budding site at the plasma membrane. Genome packaging sequences unique to each RNA genome segment are thought to be key determinants ensuring the assembly and incorporation of eight distinct vRNPs into progeny viral particles. Recent studies using advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques suggest the formation of vRNP sub-bundles (comprising less than eight vRNPs) during their transport on recycling endosomes. The formation of such sub-bundles might be required for efficient packaging of a bundle of eight different genomes segments at the budding site, further highlighting the complexity of IAV genome packaging.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 171: Transcriptional and Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms Affecting HTLV-1 Provirus

  • Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus associated with human diseases, such as adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/Tropic spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). As a retrovirus, its life cycle includes a step where HTLV-1 is integrated into the host genomic DNA and forms proviral DNA. In the chronic phase of the infection, HTLV‑1 is known to proliferate as a provirus via the mitotic division of the infected host cells. There are generally tens of thousands of infected clones within an infected individual. They exist not only in peripheral blood, but also in various lymphoid organs. Viral proteins encoded in HTLV-1 genome play a role in the proliferation and survival of the infected cells. As is the case with other chronic viral infections, HTLV-1 gene expression induces the activation of the host immunity against the virus. Thus, the transcription from HTLV-1 provirus needs to be controlled in order to evade the host immune surveillance. There should be a dynamic and complex regulation in vivo, where an equilibrium between viral antigen expression and host immune surveillance is achieved. The mechanisms regulating viral gene expression from the provirus are a key to understanding the persistent/latent infection with HTLV-1 and its pathogenesis. In this article, we would like to review our current understanding on this topic.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 161: HTLV-1 Infection and Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma—A Tale of Two Proteins: Tax and HBZ

  • HTLV-1 (Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1) is a complex human delta retrovirus that currently infects 10–20 million people worldwide. While HTLV-1 infection is generally asymptomatic, 3%–5% of infected individuals develop a highly malignant and intractable T-cell neoplasm known as adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) decades after infection. How HTLV-1 infection progresses to ATL is not well understood. Two viral regulatory proteins, Tax and HTLV-1 basic zipper protein (HBZ), encoded by the sense and antisense viral transcripts, respectively, are thought to play indispensable roles in the oncogenic process of ATL. This review focuses on the roles of Tax and HBZ in viral replication, persistence, and oncogenesis. Special emphasis is directed towards recent literature on the mechanisms of action of these two proteins and the roles of Tax and HBZ in influencing the outcomes of HTLV-1 infection including senescence induction, viral latency and persistence, genome instability, cell proliferation, and ATL development. Attempts are made to integrate results from cell-based studies of HTLV-1 infection and studies of HTLV-1 proviral integration site preference, clonality, and clonal expansion based on high throughput DNA sequencing. Recent data showing that Tax hijacks key mediators of DNA double-strand break repair signaling—the ubiquitin E3 ligase, ring finger protein 8 (RNF8) and the ubiquitin E2 conjugating enzyme (UBC13)—to activate the canonical nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B-cells (NF-κB) and other signaling pathways will be discussed. A perspective on how the Tax-RNF8 signaling axis might impact genomic instability and how Tax may collaborate with HBZ to drive oncogenesis is provided.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 98: Identification of Vimentin as a Potential Therapeutic Target against HIV Infection

  • A combination of antiviral drugs known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) has shown effectiveness against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). ART has markedly decreased mortality and morbidity among HIV-infected patients, having even reduced HIV transmission. However, an important current disadvantage, resistance development, remains to be solved. Hope is focused on developing drugs against cellular targets. This strategy is expected to prevent the emergence of viral resistance. In this study, using a comparative proteomic approach in MT4 cells treated with an anti-HIV leukocyte extract, we identified vimentin, a molecule forming intermediate filaments in the cell, as a possible target against HIV infection. We demonstrated a strong reduction of an HIV-1 based lentivirus expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) in vimentin knockdown cells, and a noteworthy decrease of HIV-1 capsid protein antigen (CAp24) in those cells using a multiround infectivity assay. Electron micrographs showed changes in the structure of intermediate filaments when MT4 cells were treated with an anti-HIV leukocyte extract. Changes in the structure of intermediate filaments were also observed in vimentin knockdown MT4 cells. A synthetic peptide derived from a cytoskeleton protein showed potent inhibitory activity on HIV-1 infection, and low cytotoxicity. Our data suggest that vimentin can be a suitable target to inhibit HIV-1.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 170: In Vitro Synthesized RNA Generated from cDNA Clones of Both Genomic Components of Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus Replicates in Cucumber Protoplasts

  • Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV), a bipartite whitefly-transmitted virus, constitutes a major threat to commercial cucurbit production worldwide. Here, construction of full-length CYSDV RNA1 and RNA2 cDNA clones allowed the in vitro synthesis of RNA transcripts able to replicate in cucumber protoplasts. CYSDV RNA1 proved competent for replication; transcription of both polarities of the genomic RNA was detectable 24 h post inoculation. Hybridization of total RNA extracted from transfected protoplasts or from naturally CYSDV-infected cucurbits revealed high-level transcription of the p22 subgenomic RNA species. Replication of CYSDV RNA2 following co-transfection with RNA1 was also observed, with similar transcription kinetics. A CYSDV RNA2 cDNA clone (T3CM8Δ) comprising the 5′- and 3′-UTRs plus the 3′-terminal gene, generated a 2.8 kb RNA able to replicate to high levels in protoplasts in the presence of CYSDV RNA1. The clone T3CM8Δ will facilitate reverse genetics studies of CYSDV gene function and RNA replication determinants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 168: Ferrets as a Novel Animal Model for Studying Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections in Immunocompetent and Immunocompromised Hosts

  • Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) is an important cause of severe respiratory tract disease in immunocompromised patients. Animal models are indispensable for evaluating novel intervention strategies in this complex patient population. To complement existing models in rodents and non-human primates, we have evaluated the potential benefits of an HRSV infection model in ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). Nine- to 12-month-old HRSV-seronegative immunocompetent or immunocompromised ferrets were infected with a low-passage wild-type strain of HRSV subgroup A (105 TCID50) administered by intra-tracheal or intra-nasal inoculation. Immune suppression was achieved by bi-daily oral administration of tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and prednisolone. Throat and nose swabs were collected daily and animals were euthanized four, seven, or 21 days post-infection (DPI). Virus loads were determined by quantitative virus culture and qPCR. We observed efficient HRSV replication in both the upper and lower respiratory tract. In immunocompromised ferrets, virus loads reached higher levels and showed delayed clearance as compared to those in immunocompetent animals. Histopathological evaluation of animals euthanized 4 DPI demonstrated that the virus replicated in the respiratory epithelial cells of the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles. These animal models can contribute to an assessment of the efficacy and safety of novel HRSV intervention strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 169: Stress Beyond Translation: Poxviruses and More

  • Poxviruses are large double-stranded DNA viruses that form viral factories in the cytoplasm of host cells. These viruses encode their own transcription machinery, but rely on host translation for protein synthesis. Thus, poxviruses have to cope with and, in most cases, reprogram host translation regulation. Granule structures, called antiviral granules (AVGs), have been observed surrounding poxvirus viral factories. AVG formation is associated with abortive poxvirus infection, and AVGs contain proteins that are typically found in stress granules (SGs). With certain mutant poxviruses lack of immunoregulatory factor(s), we can specifically examine the mechanisms that drive the formation of these structures. In fact, cytoplasmic macromolecular complexes form during many viral infections and contain sensing molecules that can help reprogram transcription. More importantly, the similarity between AVGs and cytoplasmic structures formed during RNA and DNA sensing events prompts us to reconsider the cause and consequence of these AVGs. In this review, we first summarize recent findings regarding how poxvirus manipulates host translation. Next, we compare and contrast SGs and AVGs. Finally, we review recent findings regarding RNA- and especially DNA-sensing bodies observed during viral infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 167: Development of an Oncolytic Adenovirus with Enhanced Spread Ability through Repeated UV Irradiation and Cancer Selection

  • Oncolytic adenoviruses (Ads) have been shown to be safe and have great potential for the treatment of solid tumors. However, the therapeutic efficacy of Ads is antagonized by limited spread within solid tumors. To develop Ads with enhanced spread, viral particles of an E1-wildtype Ad5 dl309 was repeatedly treated with UV type C irradiation and selected for the efficient replication and release from cancer cells. After 72 cycles of treatment and cancer selection, AdUV was isolated. This vector has displayed many favorable characteristics for oncolytic therapy. AdUV was shown to lyse cancer cells more effectively than both E1-deleted and E1-wildtype Ads. This enhanced cancer cell lysis appeared to be related to increased AdUV replication in and release from infected cancer cells. AdUV-treated A549 cells displayed greater expression of the autophagy marker LC3-II during oncolysis and formed larger viral plaques upon cancer cell monolayers, indicating increased virus spread among cancer cells. This study indicates the potential of this approach of irradiation of entire viral particles for the development of oncolytic viruses with designated therapeutic properties.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 166: Alphavirus Infection: Host Cell Shut-Off and Inhibition of Antiviral Responses

  • Alphaviruses cause debilitating disease in humans and animals and are transmitted by blood-feeding arthropods, typically mosquitoes. With a traditional focus on two models, Sindbis virus and Semliki Forest virus, alphavirus research has significantly intensified in the last decade partly due to the re-emergence and dramatic expansion of chikungunya virus in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. As a consequence, alphavirus–host interactions are now understood in much more molecular detail, and important novel mechanisms have been elucidated. It has become clear that alphaviruses not only cause a general host shut-off in infected vertebrate cells, but also specifically suppress different host antiviral pathways using their viral nonstructural proteins, nsP2 and nsP3. Here we review the current state of the art of alphavirus host cell shut-off of viral transcription and translation, and describe recent insights in viral subversion of interferon induction and signaling, the unfolded protein response, and stressgranule assembly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 163: Antiviral Hammerhead Ribozymes Are Effective for Developing Transgenic Suppression of Chikungunya Virus in Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

  • The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging pathogen with widespread distribution in regions of Africa, India, and Asia that threatens to spread into temperate climates with the introduction of its major vector, Aedes albopictus. CHIKV causes a disease frequently misdiagnosed as dengue fever, with potentially life-threatening symptoms that can result in a longer-term debilitating arthritis. The increasing risk of spread from endemic regions via human travel and commerce and the current absence of a vaccine put a significant proportion of the world population at risk for this disease. In this study we designed and tested hammerhead ribozymes (hRzs) targeting CHIKV structural protein genes of the RNA genome as potential antivirals both at the cellular and in vivo level. We employed the CHIKV strain 181/25, which exhibits similar infectivity rates in both Vero cell cultures and mosquitoes. Virus suppression assay performed on transformed Vero cell clones of all seven hRzs demonstrated that all are effective at inhibiting CHIKV in Vero cells, with hRz #9 and #14 being the most effective. piggyBac transformation vectors were constructed using the Ae. aegypti t-RNAval Pol III promoted hRz #9 and #14 effector genes to establish a total of nine unique transgenic Higgs White Eye (HWE) Ae. aegypti lines. Following confirmation of transgene expression by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), comparative TCID50-IFA analysis, in situ Immuno-fluorescent Assays (IFA) and analysis of salivary CHIKV titers demonstrated effective suppression of virus replication at 7 dpi in heterozygous females of each of these transgenic lines compared with control HWE mosquitoes. This report provides a proof that appropriately engineered hRzs are powerful antiviral effector genes suitable for population replacement strategies

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 164: Genomic Characterization of the Genus Nairovirus (Family Bunyaviridae)

  • Nairovirus, one of five bunyaviral genera, includes seven species. Genomic sequence information is limited for members of the Dera Ghazi Khan, Hughes, Qalyub, Sakhalin, and Thiafora nairovirus species. We used next-generation sequencing and historical virus-culture samples to determine 14 complete and nine coding-complete nairoviral genome sequences to further characterize these species. Previously unsequenced viruses include Abu Mina, Clo Mor, Great Saltee, Hughes, Raza, Sakhalin, Soldado, and Tillamook viruses. In addition, we present genomic sequence information on additional isolates of previously sequenced Avalon, Dugbe, Sapphire II, and Zirqa viruses. Finally, we identify Tunis virus, previously thought to be a phlebovirus, as an isolate of Abu Hammad virus. Phylogenetic analyses indicate the need for reassignment of Sapphire II virus to Dera Ghazi Khan nairovirus and reassignment of Hazara, Tofla, and Nairobi sheep disease viruses to novel species. We also propose new species for the Kasokero group (Kasokero, Leopards Hill, Yogue viruses), the Ketarah group (Gossas, Issyk-kul, Keterah/soft tick viruses) and the Burana group (Wēnzhōu tick virus, Huángpí tick virus 1, Tǎchéng tick virus 1). Our analyses emphasize the sister relationship of nairoviruses and arenaviruses, and indicate that several nairo-like viruses (Shāyáng spider virus 1, Xīnzhōu spider virus, Sānxiá water strider virus 1, South Bay virus, Wǔhàn millipede virus 2) require establishment of novel genera in a larger nairovirus-arenavirus supergroup.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 159: Recombinant Sheep Pox Virus Proteins Elicit Neutralizing Antibodies

  • The aim of this work was to evaluate the immunogenicity and neutralizing activity of sheep pox virus (SPPV; genus Capripoxvirus, family Poxviridae) structural proteins as candidate subunit vaccines to control sheep pox disease. SPPV structural proteins were identified by sequence homology with proteins of vaccinia virus (VACV) strain Copenhagen. Four SPPV proteins (SPPV-ORF 060, SPPV-ORF 095, SPPV-ORF 117, and SPPV-ORF 122), orthologs of immunodominant L1, A4, A27, and A33 VACV proteins, respectively, were produced in Escherichia coli. Western blot analysis revealed the antigenic and immunogenic properties of SPPV-060, SPPV-095, SPPV-117 and SPPV-122 proteins when injected with adjuvant into experimental rabbits. Virus-neutralizing activity against SPPV in lamb kidney cell culture was detected for polyclonal antisera raised to SPPV-060, SPPV-117, and SPPV-122 proteins. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the virus-neutralizing activities of antisera raised to SPPV-060, SPPV-117, and SPPV-122 proteins.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 160: Endoplasmic Reticulum: The Favorite Intracellular Niche for Viral Replication and Assembly

  • The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the largest intracellular organelle. It forms a complex network of continuous sheets and tubules, extending from the nuclear envelope (NE) to the plasma membrane. This network is frequently perturbed by positive-strand RNA viruses utilizing the ER to create membranous replication factories (RFs), where amplification of their genomes occurs. In addition, many enveloped viruses assemble progeny virions in association with ER membranes, and viruses replicating in the nucleus need to overcome the NE barrier, requiring transient changes of the NE morphology. This review first summarizes some key aspects of ER morphology and then focuses on the exploitation of the ER by viruses for the sake of promoting the different steps of their replication cycles.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 162: Stress Response and Translation Control in Rotavirus Infection

  • The general stress and innate immune responses are closely linked and overlap at many levels. The outcomes of these responses serve to reprogram host expression patterns to prevent viral invasions. In turn, viruses counter attack these cell responses to ensure their replication. The mechanisms by which viruses attempt to control host cell responses are as varied as the number of different virus families. One of the most recurrent strategies used by viruses to control the antiviral response of the cell is to hijack the translation machinery of the host, such that viral proteins are preferentially synthesized, while the expression of the stress and antiviral responses of the cell are blocked at the translation level. Here, we will review how rotaviruses, an important agent of acute severe gastroenteritis in children, overcome the stress responses of the cell to establish a productive infectious cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 153: Phylogenetic and Molecular Variability Studies Reveal a New Genetic Clade of Citrus leprosis virus C

  • Citrus leprosis virus C (CiLV-C) causes a severe disease affecting citrus orchards in the Western hemisphere. This study reveals the molecular variability of the virus by analyzing four genomic regions (p29, p15, MP and RNA2-intergenic region) distributed over its two RNAs. Nucleotide diversity (π) values were relatively low but statistically different over the analyzed genes and subpopulations, indicating their distinct evolutionary history. Values of πp29 and πMP were higher than those of πp15 and πRNA2–IR, whereas πMP was increased due to novel discovered isolates phylogenetically clustered in a divergent clade that we called SJP. Isolate BR_SP_SJP_01 RNA1 and RNA2 sequences, clade SJP, showed an identity of 85.6% and 88.4%, respectively, with those corresponding to CiLV-C, the type member of the genus Cilevirus, and its RNA2 5′-proximal region was revealed as a minor donor in a putative inter-clade recombination event. In addition to citrus, BR_SP_SJP_01 naturally infects the weed Commelina benghalensis and is efficiently transmitted by Brevipalpus yothersi mites. Our data demonstrated that negative selection was the major force operating in the evaluated viral coding regions and defined amino acids putatively relevant for the biological function of cilevirus proteins. This work provides molecular tools and sets up a framework for further epidemiological studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 158: A Designed “Nested” Dimer of Cyanovirin-N Increases Antiviral Activity

  • Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is an antiviral lectin with potent activity against enveloped viruses, including HIV. The mechanism of action involves high affinity binding to mannose-rich glycans that decorate the surface of enveloped viruses. In the case of HIV, antiviral activity of CV-N is postulated to require multivalent interactions with envelope protein gp120, achieved through a pseudo-repeat of sequence that adopts two near-identical glycan-binding sites, and possibly involves a 3D-domain-swapped dimeric form of CV-N. Here, we present a covalent dimer of CV-N that increases the number of active glycan-binding sites, and we characterize its ability to recognize four glycans in solution. A CV-N variant was designed in which two native repeats were separated by the“nested” covalent insertion of two additional repeats of CV-N, resulting in four possible glycan-binding sites. The resulting Nested CV-N folds into a wild-type-like structure as assessed by circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy, and displays high thermal stability with a Tm of 59 °C, identical to WT. All four glycan-binding domains encompassed by the sequence are functional as demonstrated by isothermal titration calorimetry, which revealed two sets of binding events to dimannose with dissociation constants Kd of 25 μM and 900 μM, assigned to domains B and B’ and domains A and A’ respectively. Nested CV-N displays a slight increase in activity when compared to WT CV-N in both an anti-HIV cellular assay and a fusion assay. This construct conserves the original binding specifityies of domain A and B, thus indicating correct fold of the two CV-N repeats. Thus, rational designcan be used to increase multivalency in antiviral lectins in a controlled manner.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 157: Antiviral Effects of Black Raspberry (Rubus coreanus) Seed and Its Gallic Acid against Influenza Virus Infection

  • Influenza is a serious public health concern worldwide, as it causes significant morbidity and mortality. The emergence of drug-resistant viral strains requires new approaches for the treatment of influenza. In this study, Rubus coreanus seed (RCS) that is left over from the production of wine or juice was found to show antiviral activities against influenza type A and B viruses. Using the time-of-addition plaque assay, viral replication was almost completely abolished by simultaneous treatment with the RCS fraction of less than a 1-kDa molecular weight (RCSF1). One of the polyphenols derived from RCSF1, gallic acid (GA), identified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, showed inhibitory effects against both influenza type A and B viruses, albeit at relatively high concentrations. RCSF1 was bound to hemagglutinin protein, inhibited hemagglutination significantly and disrupted viral particles, whereas GA was found to only disrupt the viral particles by using transmission electron microscopy. In BALB/c mice infected with influenza virus, oral administration of RCSF1 significantly improved the survival rate and reduced the viral titers in the lungs. Our results demonstrate that RCSF1 and GA show potent and broad antiviral activity against influenza A and B type viruses and are promising sources of agents that target virus particles.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 155: Accurate Measurement of the Effects of All Amino-Acid Mutations on Influenza Hemagglutinin

  • Influenza genes evolve mostly via point mutations, and so knowing the effect of every amino-acid mutation provides information about evolutionary paths available to the virus. We and others have combined high-throughput mutagenesis with deep sequencing to estimate the effects of large numbers of mutations to influenza genes. However, these measurements have suffered from substantial experimental noise due to a variety of technical problems, the most prominent of which is bottlenecking during the generation of mutant viruses from plasmids. Here we describe advances that ameliorate these problems, enabling us to measure with greatly improved accuracy and reproducibility the effects of all amino-acid mutations to an H1 influenza hemagglutinin on viral replication in cell culture. The largest improvements come from using a helper virus to reduce bottlenecks when generating viruses from plasmids. Our measurements confirm at much higher resolution the results of previous studies suggesting that antigenic sites on the globular head of hemagglutinin are highly tolerant of mutations. We also show that other regions of hemagglutinin—including the stalk epitopes targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies—have a much lower inherent capacity to tolerate point mutations. The ability to accurately measure the effects of all influenza mutations should enhance efforts to understand and predict viral evolution.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 156: The Role of microRNAs in the Pathogenesis of Herpesvirus Infection

  • MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs important in gene regulation. They are able to regulate mRNA translation through base-pair complementarity. Cellular miRNAs have been involved in the regulation of nearly all cellular pathways, and their deregulation has been associated with several diseases such as cancer. Given the importance of microRNAs to cell homeostasis, it is no surprise that viruses have evolved to take advantage of this cellular pathway. Viruses have been reported to be able to encode and express functional viral microRNAs that target both viral and cellular transcripts. Moreover, viral inhibition of key proteins from the microRNA pathway and important changes in cellular microRNA pool have been reported upon viral infection. In addition, viruses have developed multiple mechanisms to avoid being targeted by cellular microRNAs. This complex interaction between host and viruses to control the microRNA pathway usually favors viral infection and persistence by either reducing immune detection, avoiding apoptosis, promoting cell growth, or promoting lytic or latent infection. One of the best examples of this virus-host-microRNA interplay emanates from members of the Herperviridae family, namely the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), and the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). In this review, we will focus on the general functions of microRNAs and the interactions between herpesviruses, human hosts, and microRNAs and will delve into the related mechanisms that contribute to infection and pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 154: A Tale of Two RNAs during Viral Infection: How Viruses Antagonize mRNAs and Small Non-Coding RNAs in The Host Cell

  • Viral infection initiates an array of changes in host gene expression. Many viruses dampen host protein expression and attempt to evade the host anti-viral defense machinery. Host gene expression is suppressed at several stages of host messenger RNA (mRNA) formation including selective degradation of translationally competent messenger RNAs. Besides mRNAs, host cells also express a variety of noncoding RNAs, including small RNAs, that may also be subject to inhibition upon viral infection. In this review we focused on different ways viruses antagonize coding and noncoding RNAs in the host cell to its advantage.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 119: Cloning the Horse RNA Polymerase I Promoter and Its Application to Studying Influenza Virus Polymerase Activity

  • An influenza virus polymerase reconstitution assay based on the human, dog, or chicken RNA polymerase I (PolI) promoter has been developed and widely used to study the polymerase activity of the influenza virus in corresponding cell types. Although it is an important member of the influenza virus family and has been known for sixty years, no studies have been performed to clone the horse PolI promoter or to study the polymerase activity of equine influenza virus (EIV) in horse cells. In our study, the horse RNA PolI promoter was cloned from fetal equine lung cells. Using the luciferase assay, it was found that a 500 bp horse RNA PolI promoter sequence was required for efficient transcription. Then, using the developed polymerase reconstitution assay based on the horse RNA PolI promoter, the polymerase activity of two EIV strains was compared, and equine myxovirus resistance A protein was identified as having the inhibiting EIV polymerase activity function in horse cells. Our study enriches our knowledge of the RNA PolI promoter of eukaryotic species and provides a useful tool for the study of influenza virus polymerase activity in horse cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 152: Adapting the Stress Response: Viral Subversion of the mTOR Signaling Pathway

  • The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of gene expression, translation and various metabolic processes. Multiple extracellular (growth factors) and intracellular (energy status) molecular signals as well as a variety of stressors are integrated into the mTOR pathway. Viral infection is a significant stress that can activate, reduce or even suppress the mTOR signaling pathway. Consequently, viruses have evolved a plethora of different mechanisms to attack and co-opt the mTOR pathway in order to make the host cell a hospitable environment for replication. A more comprehensive knowledge of different viral interactions may provide fruitful targets for new antiviral drugs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 151: Mutational Analysis of the Rift Valley Fever Virus Glycoprotein Precursor Proteins for Gn Protein Expression

  • The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) M-segment encodes the 78 kD, NSm, Gn, and Gc proteins. The 1st AUG generates the 78 kD-Gc precursor, the 2nd AUG generates the NSm-Gn-Gc precursor, and the 3rd AUG makes the NSm’-Gn-Gc precursor. To understand biological changes due to abolishment of the precursors, we quantitatively measured Gn secretion using a reporter assay, in which a Gaussia luciferase (gLuc) protein is fused to the RVFV M-segment pre-Gn region. Using the reporter assay, the relative expression ofGn/gLuc fusion proteins was analyzed among various AUG mutants. The reporter assay showed efficient secretion of Gn/gLuc protein from the precursor made from the 2nd AUG, while the removal of the untranslated region upstream of the 2nd AUG (AUG2-M) increased the secretion of the Gn/gLuc protein. Subsequently, recombinant MP-12 strains encoding mutations in the pre-Gn region were rescued, and virological phenotypes were characterized. Recombinant MP-12 encoding the AUG2-M mutation replicated slightly less efficiently than the control, indicating that viral replication is further influenced by the biological processes occurring after Gn expression, rather than the Gn abundance. This study showed that, not only the abolishment of AUG, but also the truncation of viral UTR, affects the expression of Gn protein by the RVFV M-segment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 143: Early Bunyavirus-Host Cell Interactions

  • The Bunyaviridae is the largest family of RNA viruses, with over 350 members worldwide. Several of these viruses cause severe diseases in livestock and humans. With an increasing number and frequency of outbreaks, bunyaviruses represent a growing threat to public health and agricultural productivity globally. Yet, the receptors, cellular factors and endocytic pathways used by these emerging pathogens to infect cells remain largely uncharacterized. The focus of this review is on the early steps of bunyavirus infection, from virus binding to penetration from endosomes. We address current knowledge and advances for members from each genus in the Bunyaviridae family regarding virus receptors, uptake, intracellular trafficking and fusion.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 139: Deletion of A44L, A46R and C12L Vaccinia Virus Genes from the MVA Genome Improved the Vector Immunogenicity by Modifying the Innate Immune Response Generating Enhanced and Optimized Specific T-Cell Responses

  • MVA is an attenuated vector that still retains immunomodulatory genes. We have previously reported its optimization after deleting the C12L gene, coding for the IL-18 binding-protein. Here, we analyzed the immunogenicity of MVA vectors harboring the simultaneous deletion of A44L, related to steroid synthesis and A46R, a TLR-signaling inhibitor (MVAΔA44L-A46R); or also including a deletion of C12L (MVAΔC12L/ΔA44L-A46R). The absence of biological activities of the deleted genes in the MVA vectors was demonstrated. Adaptive T-cell responses against VACV epitopes, evaluated in spleen and draining lymph-nodes of C57Bl/6 mice at acute/memory phases, were of higher magnitude in those animals that received deleted MVAs compared to MVAwt. MVAΔC12L/ΔA44L-A46R generated cellular specific memory responses of higher quality characterized by bifunctionality (CD107a/b+/IFN-γ+) and proliferation capacity. Deletion of selected genes from MVA generated innate immune responses with higher levels of determining cytokines related to T-cell response generation, such as IL-12, IFN-γ, as well as IL-1β and IFN-β. This study describes for the first time that simultaneous deletion of the A44L, A46R and C12L genes from MVA improved its immunogenicity by enhancing the host adaptive and innate immune responses, suggesting that this approach comprises an appropriate strategy to increase the MVA vaccine potential.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 140: Factors That Improve RT-QuIC Detection of Prion Seeding Activity

  • Rapid and sensitive detection of prions is important in managing prion diseases. The real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay for prion seeding activity has been applied to many prion diseases and provides for specific antemortem diagnostic testing. We evaluated RT-QuIC’s long-term consistency and varied multiple reaction parameters. Repeated assays of a single scrapie sample using multiple plate readers and recombinant prion protein (rPrPSen) substrates gave comparable results. N-terminal truncated hamster rPrPSen (residues 90–231) hastened both prion-seededand prion-independent reactions but maintained a clear kinetic distinction between the two. Raising temperatures or shaking speeds accelerated RT-QuIC reactions without compromising specificity. When applied to nasal brushings from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients, higher temperatures acceleratedRT-QuIC kinetics, and the use of hamster rPrPSen (90–231) strengthened RT-QuIC responses. Elongation of shaking periods reduced scrapie-seeded reaction times, but continuous shaking promoted false-positive reactions. Furthermore, pH 7.4 provided for more rapid RT-QuIC reactions than more acidic pHs. Additionally, we show that small variations in the amount of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) significantly impacted the assay. Finally, RT-QuIC performed in multiplate thermoshakers followed by fluorescence readings in separate plate readers enhanced assay throughput economically. Collectively, these results demonstrate improved speed, efficacy and practicality of RT-QuIC assays and highlight variables to be optimized for future applications.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 150: Hepatitis C Virus Infection Induces Autophagy as a Prosurvival Mechanism to Alleviate Hepatic ER-Stress Response

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection frequently leads to chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The molecular mechanisms by which HCV infection leads to chronic liver disease and HCC are not well understood. The infection cycle of HCV is initiated by the attachment and entry of virus particles into a hepatocyte. Replication of the HCV genome inside hepatocytes leads to accumulation of large amounts of viral proteins and RNA replication intermediates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), resulting in production of thousands of new virus particles. HCV-infected hepatocytes mount a substantial stress response. How the infected hepatocyte integrates the viral-induced stress response with chronic infection is unknown. The unfolded protein response (UPR), an ER-associated cellular transcriptional response, is activated in HCV infected hepatocytes. Over the past several years, research performed by a number of laboratories, including ours, has shown that HCV induced UPR robustly activates autophagy to sustain viral replication in the infected hepatocyte. Induction of the cellular autophagy response is required to improve survival of infected cells by inhibition of cellular apoptosis. The autophagy response also inhibits the cellular innate antiviral program that usually inhibits HCV replication. In this review, we discuss the physiological implications of the HCV-induced chronic ER-stress response in the liver disease progression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 145: Experimental Infection of Calves by Two Genetically-Distinct Strains of Rift Valley Fever Virus

  • Recent outbreaks of Rift Valley fever in ruminant livestock, characterized by mass abortion and high mortality rates in neonates, have raised international interest in improving vaccine control strategies. Previously, we developed a reliable challenge model for sheep that improves the evaluation of existing and novel vaccines in sheep. This sheep model demonstrated differences in the pathogenesis of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) infection between two genetically-distinct wild-type strains of the virus, Saudi Arabia 2001 (SA01) and Kenya 2006 (Ken06). Here, we evaluated the pathogenicity of these two RVFV strains in mixed breed beef calves. There was a transient increase in rectal temperatures with both virus strains, but this clinical sign was less consistent than previously reported with sheep. Three of the five Ken06-infected animals had an early-onset viremia, one day post-infection (dpi), with viremia lasting at least three days. The same number of SA01-infected animals developed viremia at 2 dpi, but it only persisted through 3 dpi in one animal. The average virus titer for the SA01-infected calves was 1.6 logs less than for the Ken06-infected calves. Calves, inoculated with either strain, seroconverted by 5 dpi and showed time-dependent increases in their virus-neutralizing antibody titers. Consistent with the results obtained in the previous sheep study, elevated liver enzyme levels, more severe liver pathology and higher virus titers occurred with the Ken06 strain as compared to the SA01 strain. These results demonstrate the establishment of a virulent challenge model for vaccine evaluation in calves.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 149: N-Glycans on the Rift Valley Fever Virus Envelope Glycoproteins Gn and Gc Redundantly Support Viral Infection via DC-SIGN

  • Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-transmitted, zoonotic disease that infects humans and ruminants. Dendritic cell specific intercellular adhesion molecule 3 (ICAM-3) grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) acts as a receptor for members of the phlebovirus genus. The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) glycoproteins (Gn/Gc) encode five putative N-glycan sequons (asparagine (N)–any amino acid (X)–serine (S)/threonine (T)) at positions: N438 (Gn), and N794, N829, N1035, and N1077 (Gc). The N-glycosylation profile and significance in viral infection via DC-SIGN have not been elucidated. Gc N-glycosylation was first evaluated by using Gc asparagine (N) to glutamine (Q) mutants. Subsequently, we generated a series of recombinant RVFV MP-12 strain mutants, which encode N-to-Q mutations, and the infectivity of each mutant in Jurkat cells stably expressing DC-SIGN was evaluated. Results showed that Gc N794, N1035, and N1077 were N-glycosylated but N829 was not. Gc N1077 was heterogeneously N-glycosylated. RVFV Gc made two distinct N-glycoforms: “Gc-large” and “Gc-small”, and N1077 was responsible for “Gc-large” band. RVFV showed increased infection of cells expressing DC-SIGN compared to cells lacking DC-SIGN. Infection via DC-SIGN was increased in the presence of either Gn N438 or Gc N1077. Our study showed that N-glycans on the Gc and Gn surface glycoproteins redundantly support RVFV infection via DC-SIGN.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 148: Aerosol Transmission of Filoviruses

  • Filoviruses have become a worldwide public health concern because of their potential for introductions into non-endemic countries through international travel and the international transport of infected animals or animal products. Since it was first identified in 1976, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Sudan, the 2013–2015 western African Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak is the largest, both by number of cases and geographical extension, and deadliest, recorded so far in medical history. The source of ebolaviruses for human index case(s) in most outbreaks is presumptively associated with handling of bush meat or contact with fruit bats. Transmission among humans occurs easily when a person comes in contact with contaminated body fluids of patients, but our understanding of other transmission routes is still fragmentary. This review deals with the controversial issue of aerosol transmission of filoviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 134: Use of Reporter Genes in the Generation of Vaccinia Virus-Derived Vectors

  • Vaccinia virus (VACV) is one of the most extensively-studied viruses of the Poxviridae family. It is easy to genetically modify, so it has become a key tool for many applications. In this context, reporter genes facilitate the study of the role of foreign genes introduced into the genome of VACV. In this review, we describe the type of reporter genes that have been used to generate reporter-expressing VACV and the applications of the recombinant viruses obtained. Reporter-expressing VACV are currently employed in basic and immunology research, in the development of vaccines and cancer treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 146: HACE1 Negatively Regulates Virus-Triggered Type I IFN Signaling by Impeding the Formation of the MAVS-TRAF3 Complex

  • During virus infection, the cascade signaling pathway that leads to the production of proinflammatory cytokines is controlled at multiple levels to avoid detrimental overreaction. HACE1 has been characterized as an important tumor suppressor. Here, we identified HACE1 as an important negative regulator of virus-triggered type I IFN signaling. Overexpression of HACE1 inhibited Sendai virus- or poly (I:C)-induced signaling and resulted in reduced IFNB1 production and enhanced virus replication. Knockdown of HACE1 expression exhibited the opposite effects. Ubiquitin E3 ligase activity of the dead mutant HACE1/C876A had a comparable inhibitory function as WT HACE1, suggesting that the suppressive function of HACE1 on virus-induced signaling is independent of its E3 ligase activity. Further study indicated that HACE1 acted downstream of MAVS and upstream of TBK1. Mechanistic studies showed that HACE1 exerts its inhibitory role on virus-induced signaling by disrupting the MAVS-TRAF3 complex. Therefore, we uncovered a novel function of HACE1 in innate immunity regulation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 147: Biological Characteristics of Experimental Genotype Mixtures of Cydia Pomonella Granulovirus (CpGV): Ability to Control Susceptible and Resistant Pest Populations

  • The detection of resistance in codling moth (Cydia pomonella) populations against the Mexican isolate of its granulovirus (CpGV-M), raised questions on the sustainability of the use of this biological insecticide. In resistant host cells, CpGV-M is not able to complete its replication cycle because replication is blocked at an early step. Virus isolates able to overcome this resistance have been characterized—among them, the CpGV-R5 isolate. In mixed infections on resistant insects, both CpGV-M and CpGV-R5 viruses replicate, while CpGV-M alone does not induce mortality. Genetically heterogeneous virus populations, containing 50% of each CpGV-M and CpGV-R5 appear to control resistant host populations as well as CpGV-R5 alone at the same final concentration, even if the concentration of CpGV-R5 is only half in the former. The use of mixed genotype virus preparations instead of genotypically homogeneous populations may constitute a better approach than traditional methods for the development of baculovirus-based biological insecticides.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 144: The Rabies Virus L Protein Catalyzes mRNA Capping with GDP Polyribonucleotidyltransferase Activity

  • The large (L) protein of rabies virus (RABV) plays multiple enzymatic roles in viral RNA synthesis and processing. However, none of its putative enzymatic activities have been directly demonstrated in vitro. In this study, we expressed and purified a recombinant form of the RABV L protein and verified its guanosine 5′-triphosphatase and GDP polyribonucleotidyltransferase (PRNTase) activities, which are essential for viral mRNA cap formation by the unconventional mechanism. The RABV L protein capped 5′-triphosphorylated but not 5′-diphosphorylated RABV mRNA-start sequences, 5′-AACA(C/U), with GDP to generate the 5′-terminal cap structure G(5′)ppp(5′)A. The 5′-AAC sequence in the substrate RNAs was found to be strictly essential for RNA capping with the RABV L protein. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis showed that some conserved amino acid residues (G1112, T1170, W1201, H1241, R1242, F1285, and Q1286) in the PRNTase motifs A to E of the RABV L protein are required for cap formation. These findings suggest that the putative PRNTase domain in the RABV L protein catalyzes the rhabdovirus-specific capping reaction involving covalent catalysis of the pRNA transfer to GDP, thus offering this domain as a target for developing anti-viral agents.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 142: Mechanisms of Cellular Membrane Reorganization to Support Hepatitis C Virus Replication

  • Like all positive-sense RNA viruses, hepatitis C virus (HCV) induces host membrane alterations for its replication termed the membranous web (MW). Assembling replication factors at a membranous structure might facilitate the processes necessary for genome replication and packaging and shield viral components from host innate immune defenses. The biogenesis of the HCV MW is a complex process involving a concerted effort of HCV nonstructural proteins with a growing list of host factors. Although a comprehensive understanding of MW formation is still missing, a number of important viral and host determinants have been identified. This review will summarize the recent studies that have led to our current knowledge of the role of viral and host factors in the biogenesis of the MWs and discuss how HCV uses this specialized membrane structure for its replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 135: Porcine Circovirus Type 2 Activates CaMMKβ to Initiate Autophagy in PK-15 Cells by Increasing Cytosolic Calcium

  • Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) induces autophagy via the 5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in pig kidney PK-15 cells. However, the underlying mechanisms of AMPK activation in autophagy induction remain unknown. With specific inhibitors and RNA interference (RNAi), we show that PCV2 infection upregulated calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-beta (CaMKKβ) by increasing cytosolic Ca2+ via inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R). Elevation of cytosolic calcium ion (Ca2+) did not seem to involve inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) release from phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) by phosphoinositide phospholipase C-gamma (PLC-γ). CaMKKβ then activated both AMPK and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase I (CaMKI). PCV2 employed CaMKI and Trp-Asp (WD) repeat domain phosphoinositide-interacting protein 1 (WIPI1) as another pathway additional to AMPK signaling in autophagy initiation. Our findings could help better understanding of the signaling pathways of autophagy induction as part of PCV2 pathogenesis. Further research is warranted to study if PCV2 interacts directly with IP3R or indirectly with the molecules that antagonize IP3R activity responsible for increased cytosolic Ca2+ both in PK-15 cells and PCV2-targeted primary cells from pigs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 141: A New Orbivirus Isolated from Mosquitoes in North-Western Australia Shows Antigenic and Genetic Similarity to Corriparta Virus but Does Not Replicate in Vertebrate Cells

  • The discovery and characterisation of new mosquito-borne viruses provides valuable information on the biodiversity of vector-borne viruses and important insights into their evolution. In this study, a broad-spectrum virus screening system, based on the detection of long double-stranded RNA in inoculated cell cultures, was used to investigate the presence of novel viruses in mosquito populations of northern Australia. We detected and isolated a new virus (tentatively named Parry’s Lagoon virus, PLV) from Culex annulirostris, Culex pullus, Mansonia uniformis and Aedes normanensis mosquitoes that shares genomic sequence similarities to Corriparta virus (CORV), a member of the Orbivirus genus of the family Reoviridae. Despite moderate to high (72.2% to 92.2%) amino acid identity across all proteins when compared to CORV, and demonstration of antigenic relatedness, PLV did not replicate in several vertebrate cell lines that were permissive to CORV. This striking phenotypic difference suggests that PLV has evolved to have a very restricted host range, indicative of a mosquito-only life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 138: Pediatric and Adult High-Grade Glioma Stem Cell Culture Models Are Permissive to Lytic Infection with Parvovirus H-1

  • Combining virus-induced cytotoxic and immunotherapeutic effects, oncolytic virotherapy represents a promising therapeutic approach for high-grade glioma (HGG). A clinical trial has recently provided evidence for the clinical safety of the oncolytic parvovirus H-1 (H-1PV) in adult glioblastoma relapse patients. The present study assesses the efficacy of H-1PV in eliminating HGG initiating cells. H-1PV was able to enter and to transduce all HGG neurosphere culture models (n = 6), including cultures derived from adult glioblastoma, pediatric glioblastoma, and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Cytotoxic effects induced by the virus have been observed in all HGG neurospheres at half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) doses of input virus between 1 and 10 plaque forming units per cell. H-1PV infection at this dose range was able to prevent tumorigenicity of NCH421k glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)“stem-like” cells in NOD/SCID mice. Interestingly NCH421R, an isogenic subclone with equal capacity of xenograft formation, but resistant to H-1PV infection could be isolated from the parental NCH421k culture. To reveal changes in gene expression associated with H-1PV resistance we performed a comparative gene expression analysis in these subclones. Several dysregulated genes encoding receptor proteins, endocytosis factors or regulators innate antiviral responses were identified and represent intriguing candidates for to further study molecular mechanisms of H-1PV resistance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 137: Correction: Reynard, O.; et al. Identification of a New Ribonucleoside Inhibitor of Ebola Virus Replication. Viruses 2015, 7, 6233‒6240

  • The Viruses Editorial Office wishes to notify its readers of corrections in [1].[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 136: The Effect of MicroRNA bantam on Baculovirus AcMNPV Infection in Vitro and in Vivo

  • The role of microRNA bantam, one of the most abundant microRNAs in Sf9 cells, was studied for its role in baculovirus infection in vitro and in vivo. The expression level of bantam was increased after AcMNPV infection in Sf9 cells and in Spodoptera litura larvae. In Sf9 cells, application of bantam inhibitor or mimic altered the expression of many virus genes, the most affected gene being lef8, gp41 and p10, the expression level of which was increased by 8, 10 and 40 times, respectively, in the presence of bantam inhibitor. Virus DNA replication was decreased in the presence of bantam mimic and increased in the presence of bantam inhibitor in a dose dependent manner. However, the production of budded virus did not change significantly. Feeding the larvae of S. litura and Spodoptera exigua with bantam antagomiR, a more stable form of the inhibitor, resulted in an abnormal larval growth and a decreased pupation rate. In S. litura, larvae died 3.5 days sooner than the control when bantam antagomiR was applied, together with AcMNPV. In infected S. exigua, larval mortality increased from 47% without antagomiR to 80% with it. The results suggest that microRNA bantam plays an important role in insect growth, as well as in baculovirus-insect interaction.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 130: Making Bunyaviruses Talk: Interrogation Tactics to Identify Host Factors Required for Infection

  • The identification of host cellular genes that act as either proviral or antiviral factors has been aided by the development of an increasingly large number of high-throughput screening approaches. Here, we review recent advances in which these new technologies have been used to interrogate host genes for the ability to impact bunyavirus infection, both in terms of technical advances as well as a summary of biological insights gained from these studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 124: Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Cellular Stress Responses: Impact on Replication and Physiopathology

  • Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, is a major cause of severe acute lower respiratory tract infection in infants, elderly and immunocompromised adults. Despite decades of research, a complete integrated picture of RSV-host interaction is still missing. Several cellular responses to stress are involved in the host-response to many virus infections. The endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by altered endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function leads to activation of the unfolded-protein response (UPR) to restore homeostasis. Formation of cytoplasmic stress granules containing translationally stalled mRNAs is a means to control protein translation. Production of reactive oxygen species is balanced by an antioxidant response to prevent oxidative stress and the resulting damages. In recent years, ongoing research has started to unveil specific regulatory interactions of RSV with these host cellular stress responses. Here, we discuss the latest findings regarding the mechanisms evolved by RSV to induce, subvert or manipulate the ER stress, the stress granule and oxidative stress responses. We summarize the evidence linking these stress responses with the regulation of RSV replication and the associated pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 131: Protein 2B of Coxsackievirus B3 Induces Autophagy Relying on Its Transmembrane Hydrophobic Sequences

  • Coxsackievirus B (CVB) belongs to Enterovirus genus within the Picornaviridae family, and it is one of the most common causative pathogens of viral myocarditis in young adults. The pathogenesis of myocarditis caused by CVB has not been completely elucidated. In CVB infection, autophagy is manipulated to facilitate viral replication. Here we report that protein 2B, one of the non-structural proteins of CVB3, possesses autophagy-inducing capability. The autophagy-inducing motif of protein 2B was identified by the generation of truncated 2B and site-directed mutagenesis. The expression of 2B alone was sufficient to induce the formation of autophagosomes in HeLa cells, while truncated 2B containing the two hydrophobic regions of the protein also induced autophagy. In addition, we demonstrated that a single amino acid substitution (56V→A) in the stem loop in between the two hydrophobic regions of protein 2B abolished the formation of autophagosomes. Moreover, we found that 2B and truncated 2B with autophagy-inducting capability were co-localized with LC3-II. This study indicates that protein 2B relies on its transmembrane hydrophobic regions to induce the formation of autophagosomes, while 56 valine residue in the stem loop of protein 2B might exert critical structural influence on its two hydrophobic regions. These results may provide new insight for understanding the molecular mechanism of autophagy triggered by CVB infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 133: Correspondence of Neutralizing Humoral Immunity and CD4 T Cell Responses in Long Recovered Sudan Virus Survivors

  • Robust humoral and cellular immunity are critical for survival in humans during an ebolavirus infection. However, the interplay between these two arms of immunity is poorly understood. To address this, we examined residual immune responses in survivors of the Sudan virus (SUDV) outbreak in Gulu, Uganda (2000–2001). Cytokine and chemokine expression levels in SUDV stimulated whole blood cultures were assessed by multiplex ELISA and flow cytometry. Antibody and corresponding neutralization titers were also determined. Flow cytometry and multiplex ELISA results demonstrated significantly higher levels of cytokine and chemokine responses in survivors with serological neutralizing activity. This correspondence was not detected in survivors with serum reactivity to SUDV but without neutralization activity. This previously undefined relationship between memory CD4 T cell responses and serological neutralizing capacity in SUDV survivors is key for understanding long lasting immunity in survivors of filovirus infections.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 132: Distinct Morphology of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1-Like Particles

  • The Gag polyprotein is the main retroviral structural protein and is essential for the assembly and release of virus particles. In this study, we have analyzed the morphology and Gag stoichiometry of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-like particles and authentic, mature HTLV-1 particles by using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). HTLV-1-like particles mimicked the morphology of immature authentic HTLV-1 virions. Importantly, we have observed for the first time that the morphology of these virus-like particles (VLPs) has the unique local feature of a flat Gag lattice that does not follow the curvature of the viral membrane, resulting in an enlarged distance between the Gag lattice and the viral membrane. Other morphological features that have been previously observed with other retroviruses include: (1) a Gag lattice with multiple discontinuities; (2) membrane regions associated with the Gag lattice that exhibited a string of bead-like densities at the inner leaflet; and (3) an arrangement of the Gag lattice resembling a railroad track. Measurement of the average size and mass of VLPs and authentic HTLV-1 particles suggested a consistent range of size and Gag copy numbers in these two groups of particles. The unique local flat Gag lattice morphological feature observed suggests that HTLV-1 Gag could be arranged in a lattice structure that is distinct from that of other retroviruses characterized to date.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 129: Re-Designed Recombinant Hepatitis B Virus Vectors Enable Efficient Delivery of Versatile Cargo Genes to Hepatocytes with Improved Safety

  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) takes humans as its sole natural host, and productive infection in vivo is restricted exclusively to hepatocytes in the liver. Consequently, HBV-derived viral vectors are attractive candidates for liver-targeting gene therapies. Previously, we developed a novel recombinant HBV vector, designated 5c3c, from a highly replicative clinical isolate. 5c3c was demonstrated to be capable of efficiently delivering protein or RNA expression into infected primary tupaia hepatocytes (PTH), but the design of 5c3c imposes stringent restrictions on inserted sequences, which have limited its wider adoption. In this work, we addressed issues with 5c3c by re-designing the insertion strategy. The resultant vector, designated 5dCG, was more replicative than parental 5c3c, imposed no specific restrictions on inserted sequences, and allowed insertion of a variety of cargo genes without significant loss of replication efficiency. 5dCG-based recombinant HBV effectively delivered protein and RNA expression into infected PTH. Furthermore, due to the loss of functional core ORF, 5dCG vectors depend on co-infecting wild type HBV for replication and efficient expression of cargo genes. Development of the improved 5dCG vector makes wider applications of recombinant HBV possible, while dependence on co-infecting wild type HBV results in improved safety for certain in vivo applications.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 125: Engineering Hepadnaviruses as Reporter-Expressing Vectors: Recent Progress and Future Perspectives

  • The Hepadnaviridae family of small, enveloped DNA viruses are characterized by a strict host range and hepatocyte tropism. The prototype hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major human pathogen and constitutes a public health problem, especially in high-incidence areas. Reporter-expressing recombinant viruses are powerful tools in both studies of basic virology and development of antiviral therapeutics. In addition, the highly restricted tropism of HBV for human hepatocytes makes it an ideal tool for hepatocyte-targeting in vivo applications such as liver-specific gene delivery. However, compact genome organization and complex replication mechanisms of hepadnaviruses have made it difficult to engineer replication-competent recombinant viruses that express biologically-relevant cargo genes. This review analyzes difficulties associated with recombinant hepadnavirus vector development, summarizes and compares the progress made in this field both historically and recently, and discusses future perspectives regarding both vector design and application.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 128: Divergent Trends of Anti-JCPyV Serum Reactivity and Neutralizing Activity in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Patients during Treatment with Natalizumab

  • The association between natalizumab and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is established, but a reliable clinical risk stratification flow-chart is lacking. New risk factors are needed, such as the possible role of the anti-JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) neutralizing antibody. In this pilot study, we analyzed this parameter during natalizumab treatment. Sequential sera of 38 multiple sclerosis patients during their first year of natalizumab treatment were collected, and grouped according to the number of infusions. For 11 patients, samples were also available after 24 infusions (T24), when progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) risk is higher. The reactivity against VP1, the main JCPyV surface protein, and the anti-JCPyV neutralizing activity were evaluated. During the first year, a lack of correlation between anti-JCPyV antibody response and its neutralizing activity was observed: a significant decrease in anti-JCPyV antibody response was observed (p = 0.0039), not paralleled by a similar trend in the total anti-JCPyV neutralizing activity (p = 0.2239). This lack of correlation was even more evident at T24 when, notwithstanding a significant increase in the anti-JCPyV response (p = 0.0097), a further decrease of the neutralizing activity was observed (p = 0.0062). This is the first study evidencing, prospectively, the lack of correlation between the anti-JCPyV antibody response and its neutralizing activity during natalizumab treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 126: Cloning and Characterization of Sf9 Cell Lamin and the Lamin Conformational Changes during Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus Infection

  • At present, the details of lamina alterations after baculovirus infection remain elusive. In this study, a lamin gene in the Sf9 cell line of Spodoptera frugiperda was cloned. The open reading frame (orf) of the Sf9 lamin was 1860 bp and encoded a protein with a molecular weight of 70 kDa. A transfection assay with a red fluorescence protein (rfp)-lamin fusion protein indicated that Sf9 lamin was localized in the nuclear rim. Transmission electron microscopy observations indicated that Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) nucleocapsids may pass through the nuclear envelope. Immunofluorescence assay indicated that the lamina showed a ruffled staining pattern with the formation of invaginations in the Sf9 cells infected with AcMNPV, while it was evenly distributed at the nuclear periphery of mock-infected cells. Western blotting results indicated that the total amount of lamin in the baculovirus-infected Sf9 cells was significantly decreased compared with the mock-infected cells. These results imply that AcMNPV infection induces structural and biochemical rearrangements of lamina of Sf9 cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 127: Applications of Replicating-Competent Reporter-Expressing Viruses in Diagnostic and Molecular Virology

  • Commonly used tests based on wild-type viruses, such as immunostaining, cannot meet the demands for rapid detection of viral replication, high-throughput screening for antivirals, as well as for tracking viral proteins or virus transport in real time. Notably, the development of replicating-competent reporter-expressing viruses (RCREVs) has provided an excellent option to detect directly viral replication without the use of secondary labeling, which represents a significant advance in virology. This article reviews the applications of RCREVs in diagnostic and molecular virology, including rapid neutralization tests, high-throughput screening systems, identification of viral receptors and virus-host interactions, dynamics of viral infections in vitro and in vivo, vaccination approaches and others. However, there remain various challenges associated with RCREVs, including pathogenicity alterations due to the insertion of a reporter gene, instability or loss of the reporter gene expression, or attenuation of reporter signals in vivo. Despite all these limitations, RCREVs have become powerful tools for both basic and applied virology with the development of new technologies for generating RCREVs, the inventions of novel reporters and the better understanding of regulation of viral replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 122: Dengue Virus Reporter Replicon is a Valuable Tool for Antiviral Drug Discovery and Analysis of Virus Replication Mechanisms

  • Dengue, the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral disease, is caused by the dengue virus (DENV), a member of the Flaviviridae family, and is a considerable public health threat in over 100 countries, with 2.5 billion people living in high-risk areas. However, no specific antiviral drug or licensed vaccine currently targets DENV infection. The replicon system has all the factors needed for viral replication in cells. Since the development of replicon systems, transient and stable reporter replicons, as well as reporter viruses, have been used in the study of various virological aspects of DENV and in the identification of DENV inhibitors. In this review, we summarize the DENV reporter replicon system and its applications in high-throughput screening (HTS) for identification of anti-DENV inhibitors. We also describe the use of this system in elucidation of the mechanisms of virus replication and viral dynamics in vivo and in vitro.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 123: Single-Cell Genomics for Virology

  • Single-cell sequencing technologies, i.e., single cell analysis followed by deep sequencing investigate cellular heterogeneity in many biological settings. It was only in the past year that single-cell sequencing analyses has been applied in the field of virology, providing new ways to explore viral diversity and cell response to viral infection, which are summarized in the present review.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 116: HostPhinder: A Phage Host Prediction Tool

  • The current dramatic increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria has revitalised the interest in bacteriophages as alternative antibacterial treatment. Meanwhile, the development of bioinformatics methods for analysing genomic data places high-throughput approaches for phage characterization within reach. Here, we present HostPhinder, a tool aimed at predicting the bacterial host of phages by examining the phage genome sequence. Using a reference database of 2196 phages with known hosts, HostPhinder predicts the host species of a query phage as the host of the most genomically similar reference phages. As a measure of genomic similarity the number of co-occurring k-mers (DNA sequences of length k) is used. Using an independent evaluation set, HostPhinder was able to correctly predict host genus and species for 81% and 74% of the phages respectively, giving predictions for more phages than BLAST and significantly outperforming BLAST on phages for which both had predictions. HostPhinder predictions on phage draft genomes from the INTESTI phage cocktail corresponded well with the advertised targets of the cocktail. Our study indicates that for most phages genomic similarity correlates well with related bacterial hosts. HostPhinder is available as an interactive web service [1] and as a stand alone download from the Docker registry [2].

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 121: Identification of Host Micro RNAs That Differentiate HIV-1 and HIV-2 Infection Using Genome Expression Profiling Techniques

  • While human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2) share many similar traits, major differences in pathogenesis and clinical outcomes exist between the two viruses. The differential expression of host factors like microRNAs (miRNAs) in response to HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections are thought to influence the clinical outcomes presented by the two viruses. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules which function in transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. MiRNAs play a critical role in many key biological processes and could serve as putative biomarker(s) for infection. Identification of miRNAs that modulate viral life cycle, disease progression, and cellular responses to infection with HIV-1 and HIV-2 could reveal important insights into viral pathogenesis and provide new tools that could serve as prognostic markers and targets for therapeutic intervention. The aim of this study was to elucidate the differential expression profiles of host miRNAs in cells infected with HIV-1 and HIV-2 in order to identify potential differences in virus-host interactions between HIV-1 and HIV-2. Differential expression of host miRNA expression profiles was analyzed using the miRNA profiling polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays. Differentially expressed miRNAs were identified and their putative functional targets identified. The results indicate that hsa-miR 541-3p, hsa-miR 518f-3p, and hsa-miR 195-3p were consistently up-regulated only in HIV-1 infected cells. The expression of hsa-miR 1225-5p, hsa-miR 18a* and hsa-miR 335 were down modulated in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infected cells. Putative functional targets of these miRNAs include genes involved in signal transduction, metabolism, development and cell death.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 108: Conserved Endonuclease Function of Hantavirus L Polymerase

  • Hantaviruses are important emerging pathogens belonging to the Bunyaviridae family. Like other segmented negative strand RNA viruses, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) also known as L protein of hantaviruses lacks an intrinsic“capping activity”. Hantaviruses therefore employ a “cap snatching” strategy acquiring short 5′ RNA sequences bearing 5′cap structures by endonucleolytic cleavage from host cell transcripts. The viral endonuclease activity implicated in cap snatching of hantaviruses has been mapped to the N-terminal domain of the L protein. Using a combination of molecular modeling and structure–function analysis we confirm and extend these findings providing evidence for high conservation of the L endonuclease between Old and New World hantaviruses. Recombinant hantavirus L endonuclease showed catalytic activity and a defined cation preference shared by other viral endonucleases. Based on the previously reported remarkably high activity of hantavirus L endonuclease, we established a cell-based assay for the hantavirus endonuclase function. The robustness of the assay and its high-throughput compatible format makes it suitable for small molecule drug screens to identify novel inhibitors of hantavirus endonuclease. Based on the high degree of similarity to RdRp endonucleases, some candidate inhibitors may be broadly active against hantaviruses and other emerging human pathogenic Bunyaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 120: Characterization of a Novel Polerovirus Infecting Maize in China

  • A novel virus, tentatively named Maize Yellow Mosaic Virus (MaYMV), was identified from the field-grown maize plants showing yellow mosaic symptoms on the leaves collected from the Yunnan Province of China by the deep sequencing of small RNAs. The complete 5642 nucleotide (nt)-long genome of the MaYMV shared the highest nucleotide sequence identity (73%) to Maize Yellow Dwarf Virus-RMV. Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses suggested that MaYMV represents a new member of the genus Polerovirus in the family Luteoviridae. Furthermore, the P0 protein encoded by MaYMV was demonstrated to inhibit both local and systemic RNA silencing by co-infiltration assays using transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana line 16c carrying the GFP reporter gene, which further supported the identification of a new polerovirus. The biologically-active cDNA clone of MaYMV was generated by inserting the full-length cDNA of MaYMV into the binary vector pCB301. RT-PCR and Northern blot analyses showed that this clone was systemically infectious upon agro-inoculation into N. benthamiana. Subsequently, 13 different isolates of MaYMV from field-grown maize plants in different geographical locations of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces of China were sequenced. Analyses of their molecular variation indicate that the 3′ half of P3–P5 read-through protein coding region was the most variable, whereas the coat protein- (CP-) and movement protein- (MP-)coding regions were the most conserved.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 107: Development of a Triple-Color Pseudovirion-Based Assay to Detect Neutralizing Antibodies against Human Papillomavirus

  • Pseudovirion-based neutralization assay is considered the gold standard method for evaluating the immune response to human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. In this study, we developed a multicolor neutralization assay to simultaneously detect the neutralizing antibodies against different HPV types. FluoroSpot was used to interpret the fluorescent protein expression instead of flow cytometry. The results of FluoroSpot and flow cytometry showed good consistency, with R2 aamp;amp;gt; 0.98 for the log-transformed IC50 values. Regardless of the reporter color, the single-, dual-, and triple-color neutralization assays reported identical results for the same samples. In low-titer samples from naturally HPV-infected individuals, there was strong agreement between the single- and triple-color assays, with kappa scores of 0.92, 0.89, and 0.96 for HPV16, HPV18, and HPV58, respectively. Good reproducibility was observed for the triple-color assay, with coefficients of variation of 2.0%–41.5% within the assays and 8.3%–36.2% between the assays. Three triple-color systems, HPV16-18-58, HPV6-33-45, and HPV11-31-52, were developed that could evaluate the immunogenicity of a nonavalent vaccine in three rounds of the assay. With the advantages of an easy-to-use procedure and less sample consumption, the multiple-color assay is more suitable than classical assays for large sero-epidemiological studies and clinical trials and is more amenable to automation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 117: Glutamic Acid Residues in HIV-1 p6 Regulate Virus Budding and Membrane Association of Gag

  • The HIV-1 Gag p6 protein regulates the final abscission step of nascent virions from the cell membrane by the action of its two late (l-) domains, which recruit Tsg101 and ALIX, components of the ESCRT system. Even though p6 consists of only 52 amino acids, it is encoded by one of the most polymorphic regions of the HIV-1 gag gene and undergoes various posttranslational modifications including sumoylation, ubiquitination, and phosphorylation. In addition, it mediates the incorporation of the HIV-1 accessory protein Vpr into budding virions. Despite its small size, p6 exhibits an unusually high charge density. In this study, we show that mutation of the conserved glutamic acids within p6 increases the membrane association of Pr55 Gag followed by enhanced polyubiquitination and MHC-I antigen presentation of Gag-derived epitopes, possibly due to prolonged exposure to membrane bound E3 ligases. The replication capacity of the total glutamic acid mutant E0A was almost completely impaired, which was accompanied by defective virus release that could not be rescued by ALIX overexpression. Altogether, our data indicate that the glutamic acids within p6 contribute to the late steps of viral replication and may contribute to the interaction of Gag with the plasma membrane.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 105: The Correlation between the Virus- and Brain Antigen-Specific B Cell Response in the Blood of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

  • There is a largely divergent body of literature regarding the relationship between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and brain inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, we tested MS patients during relapse (n = 11) and in remission (n = 19) in addition to n = 22 healthy controls to study the correlation between the EBV- and brain-specific B cell response in the blood by enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cytomegalovirus (CMV) was used as a control antigen tested in n = 16 MS patients during relapse and in n = 35 patients in remission. Over the course of the study, n = 16 patients were untreated, while n = 33 patients received immunomodulatory therapy. The data show that there was a moderate correlation between the frequencies of EBV- and brain-reactive B cells in MS patients in remission. In addition we could detect a correlation between the B cell response to EBV and disease activity. There was no evidence of an EBV reactivation. Interestingly, there was also a correlation between the frequencies of CMV- and brain-specific B cells in MS patients experiencing an acute relapse and an elevated B cell response to CMV was associated with higher disease activity. The trend remained when excluding seronegative subjects but was non-significant. These data underline that viral infections might impact the immunopathology of MS, but the exact link between the two entities remains subject of controversy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 111: RNA-Sequencing Reveals the Progression of Phage-Host Interactions between φR1-37 and Yersinia enterocolitica

  • Despite the expanding interest in bacterial viruses (bacteriophages), insights into the intracellular development of bacteriophage and its impact on bacterial physiology are still scarce. Here we investigate during lytic infection the whole-genome transcription of the giant phage vB_YecM_φR1-37 (φR1-37) and its host, the gastroenteritis causing bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica. RNA sequencing reveals that the gene expression of φR1-37 does not follow a pattern typical observed in other lytic bacteriophages, as only selected genes could be classified as typically early, middle or late genes. The majority of the genes appear to be expressed constitutively throughout infection. Additionally, our study demonstrates that transcription occurs mainly from the positive strand, while the negative strand encodes only genes with low to medium expression levels. Interestingly, we also detected the presence of antisense RNA species, as well as one non-coding intragenic RNA species. Gene expression in the phage-infected cell is characterized by the broad replacement of host transcripts with phage transcripts. However, the host response in the late phase of infection was also characterized by up-regulation of several specific bacterial gene products known to be involved in stress response and membrane stability, including the Cpx pathway regulators, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, phage- and cold-shock proteins.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 118: HIV-1 Mutation and Recombination Rates Are Different in Macrophages and T-cells

  • High rates of mutation and recombination help human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to evade the immune system and develop resistance to antiretroviral therapy. Macrophages and T-cells are the natural target cells of HIV-1 infection. A consensus has not been reached as to whether HIV replication results in differential recombination between primary T-cells and macrophages. Here, we used HIV with silent mutation markers along with next generation sequencing to compare the mutation and the recombination rates of HIV directly in T lymphocytes and macrophages. We observed a more than four-fold higher recombination rate of HIV in macrophages compared to T-cells (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and demonstrated that this difference is not due to different reliance on C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) and C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) co-receptors between T-cells and macrophages. We also found that the pattern of recombination across the HIV genome (hot and cold spots) remains constant between T-cells and macrophages despite a three-fold increase in the overall recombination rate. This indicates that the difference in rates is a general feature of HIV DNA synthesis during macrophage infection. In contrast to HIV recombination, we found that T-cells have a 30% higher mutation rate than macrophages (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and that the mutational profile is similar between these cell types. Unexpectedly, we found no association between mutation and recombination in macrophages, in contrast to T-cells. Our data highlights some of the fundamental difference of HIV recombination and mutation amongst these two major target cells of infection. Understanding these differences will provide invaluable insights toward HIV evolution and how the virus evades immune surveillance and anti-retroviral therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 110: Vaccination with the Secreted Glycoprotein G of Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Induces Protective Immunity after Genital Infection

  • Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) infects the genital mucosa and establishes a life-long infection in sensory ganglia. After primary infection HSV-2 may reactivate causing recurrent genital ulcerations. HSV-2 infection is prevalent, and globally more than 400 million individuals are infected. As clinical trials have failed to show protection against HSV-2 infection, new vaccine candidates are warranted. The secreted glycoprotein G (sgG-2) of HSV-2 was evaluated as a prophylactic vaccine in mice using two different immunization and adjuvant protocols. The protocol with three intramuscular immunizations combining sgG-2 with cytosine-phosphate-guanine dinucleotide (CpG) motifs and alum induced almost complete protection from genital and systemic disease after intra-vaginal challenge with HSV-2. Robust immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody titers were detected with no neutralization activity. Purified splenic CD4+ T cells proliferated and produced interferon-γ (IFN-γ) when re-stimulated with the antigen in vitro. sgG-2 + adjuvant intra-muscularly immunized mice showed a significant reduction of infectious HSV-2 and increased IFN-γ levels in vaginal washes. The HSV-2 DNA copy numbers were significantly reduced in dorsal root ganglia, spinal cord, andin serum at day six or day 21 post challenge. We show that a sgG-2 based vaccine is highly effective and can be considered as a novel candidate in the development of a prophylactic vaccine against HSV-2 infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 106: Molecular Insights into Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus

  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne pathogen that causes high morbidity and mortality. Efficacy of vaccines and antivirals to treat human CCHFV infections remains limited and controversial. Research into pathology and underlying molecular mechanisms of CCHFV and other nairoviruses is limited. Significant progress has been made in our understanding of CCHFV replication and pathogenesis in the past decade. Here we review the most recent molecular advances in CCHFV-related research, and provide perspectives on future research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 8, Pages 112: Measles Virus Fusion Protein: Structure, Function and Inhibition

  • Measles virus (MeV), a highly contagious member of the Paramyxoviridae family, causes measles in humans. The Paramyxoviridae family of negative single-stranded enveloped viruses includes several important human and animal pathogens, with MeV causing approximately 120,000 deaths annually. MeV and canine distemper virus (CDV)-mediated diseases can be prevented by vaccination. However, sub-optimal vaccine delivery continues to foster MeV outbreaks. Post-exposure prophylaxis with antivirals has been proposed as a novel strategy to complement vaccination programs by filling herd immunity gaps. Recent research has shown that membrane fusion induced by the morbillivirus glycoproteins is the first critical step for viral entry and infection, and determines cell pathology and disease outcome. Our molecular understanding of morbillivirus-associated membrane fusion has greatly progressed towards the feasibility to control this process by treating the fusion glycoprotein with inhibitory molecules. Current approaches to develop anti-membrane fusion drugs and our knowledge on drug resistance mechanisms strongly suggest that combined therapies will be a prerequisite. Thus, discovery of additional anti-fusion and/or anti-attachment protein small-molecule compounds may eventually translate into realistic therapeutic options.
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