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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

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3487-3499: Fitness Impaired Drug Resistant HIV-1 Is Not Compromised in Cell-to-Cell Transmission or Establishment of and Reactivation from Latency

  • Both the presence of latently infected cells and cell-to-cell viral transmission are means whereby HIV can partially evade the inhibitory activities of antiretroviral drugs. The clinical use of a novel integrase inhibitor, dolutegravir (DTG), has established hope that this compound may limit HIV persistence, since no treatment-naïve patient treated with DTG has yet developed resistance against this drug, even though a R263K substitution in integrase confers low-level resistance to this drug in tissue culture. Here, we have studied the impact of R263K on HIV replication capacity and the ability of HIV to establish or be reactivated from latency and/or spread through cell-to-cell transmission. We affirm that DTG-resistant viruses have diminished capacity to replicate and establish infection. However, DTG-resistant viruses were efficiently transmitted via cell-to-cell contacts, and were as likely to establish and be reactivated from latent infection as wildtype viruses. Both cell-to-cell transmission of HIV and the establishment of and reemergence from latency are important for the establishment and maintenance of viral reservoirs. Since the DTG and other drug-resistant viruses studied here do not seem to have been impaired in regard to these activities, studies should be undertaken to characterize HIV reservoirs in patients who have been treated with DTG.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3472-3486: Contribution of Viral Mimics of Cellular Genes to KSHV Infection and Disease

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, also named Human herpesvirus 8 HHV-8) is the cause of Kaposi sarcoma (KS), the most common malignancy in HIV-infected individuals worldwide, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman disease (MCD). KSHV is a double-stranded DNA virus that encodes several homologues of cellular proteins. The structural similarity between viral and host proteins explains why some viral homologues function as their host counterparts, but sometimes at unusual anatomical sites and inappropriate times. In other cases, structural modification in the viral proteins can suppress or override the function of the host homologue, contributing to KSHV-related diseases. For example, viral IL-6 (vIL-6) is sufficiently different from human IL-6 to activate gp130 signaling independent of the α subunit. As a consequence, vIL-6 can activate many cell types that are unresponsive to cellular IL-6, contributing to MCD disease manifestations. Here, we discuss the molecular biology of KSHV homologues of cellular products as conduits of virus/host interaction with a focus on identifying new strategies for therapy of KS and other KSHV-related diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3458-3471: A Filtration Based Technique for Simultaneous SEM and TEM Sample Preparation for the Rapid Detection of Pathogens

  • Diagnostic electron microscopy for infectious diseases has the advantage that“everything” in the specimen can be observed, without a priori knowledge of the likely identity of the microorganisms present in the sample. The classical specimen preparation method used employs a droplet of sample, which allows particles to adsorb to a support film, and is subsequently negative stained. This “grid on drop” procedure has a sensitivity range of approximately 106 viruses per mL if no enrichment procedures are used. In the current investigation we present a novel use of filtration that allows us to detect viruses at concentrations as low as 102 viruses per mL. We present here methods based on filtration, in which total virus, and not virus concentration, is the limiting factor for detection. We show that filtration is more sensitive than conventional negative staining and can detect as few as 5 × 103 particles per sample.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3450-3457: Detection and Identification of the First Viruses in Chia (Salvia hispanica)

  • Chia (Salvia hispanica), an herbaceous plant native to Latin America, has become important in the last 20 years due to its beneficial effects on health. Here, we present the first record and identification of two viruses in chia plants. The comparison of the complete nucleotide sequences showed the presence of two viral species with the typical genome organization of bipartite New World begomovirus, identified as Sida mosaic Bolivia virus 2 and Tomato yellow spot virus, according to the ICTV taxonomic criteria for begomovirus classification. DNA-A from Sida mosaic Bolivia virus 2 exhibited 96.1% nucleotide identity with a Bolivian isolate of Sida micrantha, and Tomato yellow spot virus showed 95.3% nucleotide identity with an Argentine bean isolate. This is the first report of begomoviruses infecting chia as well as of the occurrence of Sida mosaic Bolivia virus 2 in Argentina.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3438-3449: Unusual Influenza A Viruses in Bats

  • Influenza A viruses infect a remarkably diverse number of hosts. Two completely new influenza A virus subtypes were recently discovered in bats, dramatically expanding the host range of the virus. These bat viruses are extremely divergent from all other known strains and likely have unique replication cycles. Phylogenetic analysis indicates long-term, isolated evolution in bats. This is supported by a high seroprevalence in sampled bat populations. As bats represent ~20% of all classified mammals, these findings suggests the presence of a massive cryptic reservoir of poorly characterized influenza A viruses. Here, we review the exciting progress made on understanding these newly discovered viruses, and discuss their zoonotic potential.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3428-3437: Low-Frequency NNRTI-Resistant HIV-1 Variants and Relationship to Mutational Load in Antiretroviral-Naïve Subjects

  • Low-frequency HIV variants possessing resistance mutations against non‑nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI), especially at HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) amino acid (aa) positions K103 and Y181, have been shown to adversely affect treatment response. Therapeutic failure correlates with both the mutant viral variant frequency and the mutational load. We determined the prevalence of NNRTI resistance mutations at several RT aa positions in viruses from 204 antiretroviral (ARV)-naïve HIV-infected individuals using deep sequencing, and examined the relationship between mutant variant frequency and mutational load for those variants. Deep sequencing to ≥0.4% levels found variants with major NNRTI-resistance mutations having a Stanford-HIVdb algorithm value ≥30 for efavirenz and/or nevirapine in 52/204 (25.5%) ARV-naïve HIV-infected persons. Eighteen different major NNRTI mutations were identified at 11 different positions, with the majority of variants being at frequency aamp;amp;gt;1%. The frequency of these variants correlated strongly with the mutational load, but this correlation weakened at low frequencies. Deep sequencing detected additional major NNRTI-resistant viral variants in treatment-naïve HIV-infected individuals. Our study suggests the significance of screening for mutations at all RT aa positions (in addition to K103 and Y181) to estimate the true burden of pre-treatment NNRTI-resistance. An important finding was that variants at low frequency had a wide range of mutational loads (aamp;amp;gt;100-fold) suggesting that frequency alone may underestimate the impact of specific NNRTI-resistant variants. We recommend further evaluation of all low-frequency NNRTI-drug resistant variants with special attention given to the impact of mutational loads of these variants on treatment outcomes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3425-3427: Reply to Comment Clement et al.: (Prevalence of Antibodies against Hantaviruses in Serum and Saliva of Adults Living or Working on Farms in Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

  • We acknowledge Clement and colleagues for their comments [1] on our paper [2]. We agree that many controversies are being discussed by the hantavirus community, particularly surrounding the interpretation of serological results and the designation of new species and strains. Within this setting, we are grateful for the opportunity to respond to the key factual and methodological points raised by Clements et al. [...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3415-3424: Comment on Jameson et al.: Prevalence of Antibodies against Hantaviruses in Serum and Saliva of Adults Living or Working on Farms in Yorkshire, United Kingdom

  • This British hantavirus IgG prevalence study, aimed at 119 asymptomatic farmers in England, and using indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) as screening technique, concluded that rat-transmitted Seoul virus (SEOV) might be the main suspect as hantaviral pathogen in the UK. Exactly the same conclusion, using the same IFA screening technique, resulted from a 1994 serosurvey in the same country, and in 627 clinical cases plus 100 healthy controls. SEOV-positive study subjects were also mainly farmers with heavy rat-exposure, but residing in Northern-Ireland, a region where all other known rodent reservoirs for pathogenic hantaviruses are known to be absent, except the wild rat. A rodent capture action in and around the farms of eight seropositives confirmed SEOV seropositivity in 21.6% of 51 rats. All SEOV seropositives were patients, hospitalized with an acute feverish condition, a majority of which having the clinical picture of hantavirus-induced nephropathy, known as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Leptospirosis, often mimicking perfectly HFRS, was serologically excluded. Thus, SEOV was established as a human hantaviral pathogen in the UK and in Europe 20 years ago.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3400-3414: HIV-1 Env-Specific Memory and Germinal Center B Cells in C57BL/6 Mice

  • Continued efforts to define the immunogenic properties of the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env) are needed to elicit effective antibody (Ab) responses by vaccination. HIV-1 is a highly neutralization-resistant virus due to conformational and glycan shielding of conserved Ab determinants on the virus spike. Elicitation of broadly neutralizing Abs that bind poorly accessible epitope regions on Env is therefore extremely challenging and will likely require selective targeting of specific sub-determinants. To evaluate such approaches there is a pressing need for in vivo studies in both large and small animals, including mice. Currently, most mouse immunization studies are performed in the BALB/c strain; however, the C57BL/6 strain offers improved possibilities for mechanistic studies due to the availability of numerous knock-out strains on this genetic background. Here, we compared Env immunogenicity in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice and found that the magnitude of the antigen-specific response was somewhat lower in C57BL/6 than in BALB/c mice by ELISA but not significantly different by B cell ELISpot measurements. We then established protocols for the isolation of single Env-specific memory B cells and germinal center (GC) B cells from immunized C57BL/6 mice to facilitate future studies of the elicited response at the monoclonal Ab level. We propose that these protocols can be used to gain an improved understanding of the early recruitment of Env-specific B cells to the GC as well as the archiving of such responses in the memory B cell pool following immunization.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3386-3399: Seroprevalence Dynamics of European Bat Lyssavirus Type 1 in a Multispecies Bat Colony

  • We report an active surveillance study of the occurrence of specific antibodies to European Bat Lyssavirus Type 1 (EBLV-1) in bat species, scarcely studied hitherto, that share the same refuge. From 2004 to 2012, 406 sera were obtained from nine bat species. Blood samples were subjected to a modified fluorescent antibody virus neutralization test to determine the antibody titer. EBLV-1-neutralizing antibodies were detected in six of the nine species analyzed (Pipistrellus pipistrellus, P. kuhlii, Hypsugo savii, Plecotus austriacus, Eptesicus serotinus and Tadarida teniotis). Among all bats sampled, female seroprevalence (20.21%, 95% CI: 14.78%–26.57%) was not significantly higher than the seroprevalence in males (15.02%, 95% CI: 10.51%–20.54%). The results showed that the inter-annual variation in the number of seropositive bats in T. teniotis and P. austriacus showed a peak in 2007 (aamp;amp;gt;70% of EBLV-1 prevalence). However, significant differences were observed in the temporal patterns of the seroprevalence modeling of T. teniotis and P. austriacus. The behavioral ecology of these species involved could explain the different annual fluctuations in EBLV-1 seroprevalence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3377-3385: Is Resistance to Dolutegravir Possible When This Drug Is Used in First-Line Therapy?

  • Dolutegravir (DTG) is an HIV integrase inhibitor that was recently approved for therapy by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. When used as part of first-line therapy, DTG is the only HIV drug that has not selected for resistance mutations in the clinic. We believe that this is due to the long binding time of DTG to the integrase enzyme as well as greatly diminished replication capacity on the part of viruses that might become resistant to DTG. We further speculate that DTG might be able to be used in strategies aimed at HIV eradication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3363-3376: Canine Enteric Coronaviruses: Emerging Viral Pathogens with Distinct Recombinant Spike Proteins

  • Canine enteric coronavirus (CCoV) is an alphacoronavirus infecting dogs that is closely related to enteric coronaviruses of cats and pigs. While CCoV has traditionally caused mild gastro-intestinal clinical signs, there are increasing reports of lethal CCoV infections in dogs, with evidence of both gastrointestinal and systemic viral dissemination. Consequently, CCoV is now considered to be an emerging infectious disease of dogs. In addition to the two known serotypes of CCoV, novel recombinant variants of CCoV have been found containing spike protein N-terminal domains (NTDs) that are closely related to those of feline and porcine strains. The increase in disease severity in dogs and the emergence of novel CCoVs can be attributed to the high level of recombination within the spike gene that can occur during infection by more than one CCoV type in the same host.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3348-3362: Assembly and Maturation of a T = 4 Quasi-Equivalent Virus Is Guided by Electrostatic and Mechanical Forces

  • Nudaurelia capensis w virus (NωV) is a eukaryotic RNA virus that is well suited for the study of virus maturation. The virus initially assembles at pH 7.6 into a marginally stable 480-Å procapsid formed by 240 copies of a single type of protein subunit. During maturation, which occurs during apoptosis at pH 5.0, electrostaticforces guide subunit trajectories into a robust 410-Å virion that is buttressed by subunit associated molecular switches. We discuss the competing factors in the virus capsid of requiring near-reversible interactions during initial assembly to avoid kinetic traps, while requiring robust stabilityto survive in the extra-cellular environment. In addition, viruses have a variety of mechanisms to deliver the genome, which must remain off while still inside the infected cell, yet turn on under the proper conditions of infection. We conclude that maturation is the process that provides a solution to these conflicting requirements through a program that is encoded in the procapsid and that leads to stability and infectivity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3334-3347: Divergence of Primary Cognate B- and T-Cell Proliferative Responses to Subcutaneous and Intravenous Immunization with Virus-Like Particles

  • A major advantage of virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines against HIV is their structural identity to wild-type viruses, ensuring that antigen-specific B-cells encounter the envelope protein in its natural conformation. For the induction of affinity-matured antibodies, the B-cells must also obtain help from T-cells that are restricted by linear epitopes. Using B- and T-cell transgenic mouse models, we compared the efficacy of modified HIV-VLPs delivered by subcutaneous and intravenous immunization to stimulate primary B- and T-cell proliferative responses in different lymphoid organs. VLPs containing an influenza virus hemagglutinin epitope within the HIV-Gag protein induced comparable primary cognate T-cell proliferative responses in the draining lymph node and the spleen, irrespective of the delivery route. In contrast, after subcutaneous immunization with HIV-Gag VLPs containing hen egg lysozyme (HEL) on their surface, the proliferative response of transgenic HEL-specific B-cells was restricted to the draining lymph nodes, while intravenous VLP immunization primarily induced a B-cell proliferative response in the spleen. In vitro co-culture experiments further revealed that the presentation of VLP-associated surface antigens by dendritic cells to cognate B-cells is inefficient. This is consistent with a direct triggering of the B-cell proliferative response by the VLPs and suggests that HIV VLPs may indeed be suitable to directly promote the expansion of B-cells specific for conformational epitopes that are unique to functionally-active Env spikes on the virion. Further investigations are warranted to explore potential differences in the quality and protective potency of HIV-specific antibody responses induced by the two routes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3311-3333: Immunogenetics of Small Ruminant Lentiviral Infections

  • The small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV) include the caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) and the Maedi-Visna virus (MVV). Both of these viruses limit production and can be a major source of economic loss to producers. Little is known about how the immune system recognizes and responds to SRLVs, but due to similarities with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), HIV research can shed light on the possible immune mechanisms that control or lead to disease progression. This review will focus on the host immune response to HIV-1 and SRLV, and will discuss the possibility of breeding for enhanced SRLV disease resistance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3293-3310: Fiber-Modified Adenovirus for Central Nervous System Parkinson’s Disease Gene Therapy

  • Gene-based therapies for neurological diseases continue to develop briskly. As disease mechanisms are elucidated, flexible gene delivery platforms incorporating transcriptional regulatory elements, therapeutic genes and targeted delivery are required for the safety and efficacy of these approaches. Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5)-based vectors can carry large genetic payloads to provide this flexibility, but do not transduce neuronal cells efficiently. To address this, we have developed a tropism-modified Ad5 vector with neuron-selective targeting properties for evaluation in models of Parkinson disease therapy. A panel of tropism-modified Ad5 vectors was screened for enhanced gene delivery in a neuroblastoma cell line model system. We used these observations to design and construct an unbiased Ad vector platform, consisting of an unmodified Ad5 and a tropism-modified Ad5 vector containing the fiber knob domain from canine Ad serotype 2 (Ad5-CGW-CK2). Delivery to the substantia nigra or striatum showed that this vector produced a neuronally-restricted pattern of gene expression. Many of the transduced neurons were from regions with afferent projections to the injection site, implicating that the vector binds the presynaptic terminal resulting in presynaptic transduction. We show that Ad5-CGW-CK2 can selectively transduce neurons in the brain and hypothesize that this modular platform is potentially adaptable to clinical use.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3271-3292: Mechanisms of HIV Protein Degradation into Epitopes: Implications for Vaccine Design

  • The degradation of HIV-derived proteins into epitopes displayed by MHC-I or MHC-II are the first events leading to the priming of HIV-specific immune responses and to the recognition of infected cells. Despite a wealth of information about peptidases involved in protein degradation, our knowledge of epitope presentation during HIV infection remains limited. Here we review current data on HIV protein degradation linking epitope production and immunodominance, viral evolution and impaired epitope presentation. We propose that an in-depth understanding of HIV antigen processing and presentation in relevant primary cells could be exploited to identify signatures leading to efficient or inefficient epitope presentation in HIV proteomes, and to improve the design of immunogens eliciting immune responses efficiently recognizing all infected cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3250-3270: Bluetongue Virus Capsid Assembly and Maturation

  • Maturation is an intrinsic phase of the viral life cycle and is often intertwined with egress. In this review we focus on orbivirus maturation by using Bluetongue virus (BTV) as a representative. BTV, a member of the genus Orbivirus within the family Reoviridae, has over the last three decades been subjected to intense molecular study and is thus one of the best understood viruses. BTV is a non-enveloped virus comprised of two concentric protein shells that encapsidate 10 double-stranded RNA genome segments. Upon cell entry, the outer capsid is shed, releasing the core which does not disassemble into the cytoplasm. The polymerase complex within the core then synthesizes transcripts from each genome segment and extrudes these into the cytoplasm where they act as templates for protein synthesis. Newly synthesized ssRNA then associates with the replicase complex prior to encapsidation by inner and outer protein layers of core within virus-triggered inclusion bodies. Maturation of core occurs outside these inclusion bodies (IBs) via the addition of the outer capsid proteins, which appears to be coupled to a non-lytic, exocytic pathway during early infection. Similar to the enveloped viruses, BTV hijacks the exocytosis and endosomal sorting complex required for trafficking (ESCRT) pathway via a non-structural glycoprotein. This exquisitely detailed understanding is assembled from a broad array of assays, spanning numerous and diverse in vitro and in vivo studies. Presented here are the detailed insights of BTV maturation and egress.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3228-3249: The Cellular Bromodomain Protein Brd4 has Multiple Functions in E2-Mediated Papillomavirus Transcription Activation

  • The cellular bromodomain protein Brd4 functions in multiple processes of the papillomavirus life cycle, including viral replication, genome maintenance, and gene transcription through its interaction with the viral protein, E2. However, the mechanisms by which E2 and Brd4 activate viral transcription are still not completely understood. In this study, we show that recruitment of positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb), a functional interaction partner of Brd4 in transcription activation, is important for E2’s transcription activation activity. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analyses demonstrate that P-TEFb is recruited to the actual papillomavirus episomes. We also show that E2’s interaction with cellular chromatin through Brd4 correlates with its papillomavirus transcription activation function since JQ1(+), a bromodomain inhibitor that efficiently dissociates E2-Brd4 complexes from chromatin, potently reduces papillomavirus transcription. Our study identifies a specific function of Brd4 in papillomavirus gene transcription and highlights the potential use of bromodomaininhibitors as a method to disrupt the human papillomavirus (HPV) life cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3181-3227: Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1)-Mediated Apoptosis: New Therapeutic Targets

  • HIV has posed a significant challenge due to the ability of the virus to both impair and evade the host’s immune system. One of the most important mechanisms it has employed to do so is the modulation of the host’s native apoptotic pathways and mechanisms. Viral proteins alter normal apoptotic signaling resulting in increased viral load and the formation of viral reservoirs which ultimately increase infectivity. Both the host’s pro- and anti-apoptotic responses are regulated by the interactions of viral proteins with cell surface receptors or apoptotic pathway components. This dynamic has led to the development of therapies aimed at altering the ability of the virus to modulate apoptotic pathways. These therapies are aimed at preventing or inhibiting viral infection, or treating viral associated pathologies. These drugs target both the viral proteins and the apoptotic pathways of the host. This review will examine the cell types targeted by HIV, the surface receptors exploited by the virus and the mechanisms whereby HIV encoded proteins influence the apoptotic pathways. The viral manipulation of the hosts’ cell type to evade the immune system, establish viral reservoirs and enhance viral proliferation will be reviewed. The pathologies associated with the ability of HIV to alter apoptotic signaling and the drugs and therapies currently under development that target the ability of apoptotic signaling within HIV infection will also be discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3159-3180: Options and Obstacles for Designing a Universal Influenza Vaccine

  • Since the discovery of antibodies specific to a highly conserved stalk region of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA), eliciting such antibodies has been considered the key to developing a universal influenza vaccine that confers broad-spectrum protection against various influenza subtypes. To achieve this goal, a prime/boost immunization strategy has been heralded to redirect host immune responses from the variable globular head domain to the conserved stalk domain of HA. While this approach has been successful in eliciting cross-reactive antibodies against the HA stalk domain, protective efficacy remains relatively poor due to the low immunogenicity of the domain, and the cross-reactivity was only within the same group, rather than among different groups. Additionally, concerns are raised on the possibility of vaccine-associated enhancement of viral infection and whether multiple boost immunization protocols would be considered practical from a clinical standpoint. Live attenuated vaccine hitherto remains unexplored, but is expected to serve as an alternative approach, considering its superior cross-reactivity. This review summarizes recent advancements in the HA stalk-based universal influenza vaccines, discusses the pros and cons of these approaches with respect to the potentially beneficial and harmful effects of neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies, and suggests future guidelines towards the design of a truly protective universal influenza vaccine.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3129-3158: Challenges in Mucosal HIV Vaccine Development: Lessons from Non-Human Primate Models

  • An efficacious HIV vaccine is urgently needed to curb the AIDS pandemic. The modest protection elicited in the phase III clinical vaccine trial in Thailand provided hope that this goal might be achieved. However, new approaches are necessary for further advances. As HIV is transmitted primarily across mucosal surfaces, development of immunity at these sites is critical, but few clinical vaccine trials have targeted these sites or assessed vaccine-elicited mucosal immune responses. Pre-clinical studies in non-human primate models have facilitated progress in mucosal vaccine development by evaluating candidate vaccine approaches, developing methodologies for collecting and assessing mucosal samples, and providing clues to immune correlates of protective immunity for further investigation. In this review we have focused on non-human primate studies which have provided important information for future design of vaccine strategies, targeting of mucosal inductive sites, and assessment of mucosal immunity. Knowledge gained in these studies will inform mucosal vaccine design and evaluation in human clinical trials.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3110-3128: European Bats as Carriers of Viruses with Zoonotic Potential

  • Bats are being increasingly recognized as reservoir hosts of highly pathogenic and zoonotic emerging viruses (Marburg virus, Nipah virus, Hendra virus, Rabies virus, and coronaviruses). While numerous studies have focused on the mentioned highly human-pathogenic bat viruses in tropical regions, little is known on similar human-pathogenic viruses that may be present in European bats. Although novel viruses are being detected, their zoonotic potential remains unclear unless further studies are conducted. At present, it is assumed that the risk posed by bats to the general public is rather low. In this review, selected viruses detected and isolated in Europe are discussed from our point of view in regard to their human-pathogenic potential. All European bat species and their roosts are legally protected and some European species are even endangered. Nevertheless, the increasing public fear of bats and their viruses is an obstacle to their protection. Educating the public regarding bat lyssaviruses might result in reduced threats to both the public and the bats.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3097-3109: Antigenic Properties of N Protein of Hantavirus

  • Hantavirus causes two important rodent-borne viral zoonoses, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in North and South America. Twenty-four species that represent sero- and genotypes have been registered within the genus Hantavirus by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). Among the viral proteins, nucleocapsid (N) protein possesses an immunodominant antigen. The antigenicitiy of N protein is conserved compared with that of envelope glycoproteins. Therefore, N protein has been used for serological diagnoses and seroepidemiological studies. An understanding of the antigenic properties of N protein is important for the interpretation of results from serological tests using N antigen. N protein consists of about 430 amino acids and possesses various epitopes. The N-terminal quarter of N protein bears linear and immunodominant epitopes. However, a serotype-specific and multimerization-dependent antigenic site was found in the C-terminal half of N protein. In this paper, the structure, function, and antigenicity of N protein are reviewed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3080-3096: Locally-Delivered T-Cell-Derived Cellular Vehicles Efficiently Track and Deliver Adenovirus Delta24-RGD to Infiltrating Glioma

  • Oncolytic adenoviral vectors are a promising alternative for the treatment of glioblastoma. Recent publications have demonstrated the advantages of shielding viral particles within cellular vehicles (CVs), which can be targeted towards the tumor microenvironment. Here, we studied T-cells, often having a natural capacity to target tumors, for their feasibility as a CV to deliver the oncolytic adenovirus, Delta24-RGD, to glioblastoma. The Jurkat T-cell line was assessed in co-culture with the glioblastoma stem cell (GSC) line, MGG8, for the optimal transfer conditions of Delta24-RGD in vitro. The effect of intraparenchymal and tail vein injections on intratumoral virus distribution and overall survival was addressed in an orthotopic glioma stem cell (GSC)-based xenograft model. Jurkat T-cells were demonstrated to facilitate the amplification and transfer of Delta24-RGD onto GSCs. Delta24-RGD dosing and incubation time were found to influence the migratory ability of T-cells towards GSCs. Injection of Delta24-RGD-loaded T-cells into the brains of GSC-bearing mice led to migration towards the tumor and dispersion of the virus within the tumor core and infiltrative zones. This occurred after injection into the ipsilateral hemisphere, as well as into the non-tumor-bearing hemisphere. We found that T-cell-mediated delivery of Delta24-RGD led to the inhibition of tumor growth compared to non-treated controls, resulting in prolonged survival (p = 0.007). Systemic administration of virus-loaded T-cells resulted in intratumoral viral delivery, albeit at low levels. Based on these findings, we conclude that T-cell-based CVs are a feasible approach to local Delta24-RGD delivery in glioblastoma, although efficient systemic targeting requires further improvement.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3055-3079: Virus-Vectored Influenza Virus Vaccines

  • Despite the availability of an inactivated vaccine that has been licensed for aamp;amp;gt;50 years, the influenza virus continues to cause morbidity and mortality worldwide. Constant evolution of circulating influenza virus strains and the emergence of new strains diminishes the effectiveness of annual vaccines that rely on a match with circulating influenza strains. Thus, there is a continued need for new, efficacious vaccines conferring cross-clade protection to avoid the need for biannual reformulation of seasonal influenza vaccines. Recombinant virus-vectored vaccines are an appealing alternative to classical inactivated vaccines because virus vectors enable native expression of influenza antigens, even from virulent influenza viruses, while expressed in the context of the vector that can improve immunogenicity. In addition, a vectored vaccine often enables delivery of the vaccine to sites of inductive immunity such as the respiratory tract enabling protection from influenza virus infection. Moreover, the ability to readily manipulate virus vectors to produce novel influenza vaccines may provide the quickest path toward a universal vaccine protecting against all influenza viruses. This review will discuss experimental virus-vectored vaccines for use in humans, comparing them to licensed vaccines and the hurdles faced for licensure of these next-generation influenza virus vaccines.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3019-3054: Paramyxovirus Glycoprotein Incorporation, Assembly and Budding: A Three Way Dance for Infectious Particle Production

  • Paramyxoviruses are a family of negative sense RNA viruses whose members cause serious diseases in humans, such as measles virus, mumps virus and respiratory syncytial virus; and in animals, such as Newcastle disease virus and rinderpest virus. Paramyxovirus particles form by assembly of the viral matrix protein, the ribonucleoprotein complex and the surface glycoproteins at the plasma membrane of infected cells and subsequent viral budding. Two major glycoproteins expressed on the viral envelope, the attachment protein and the fusion protein, promote attachment of the virus to host cells and subsequent virus-cell membrane fusion. Incorporation of the surface glycoproteins into infectious progeny particles requires coordinated interplay between the three viral structural components, driven primarily by the matrix protein. In this review, we discuss recent progress in understanding the contributions of the matrix protein and glycoproteins in driving paramyxovirus assembly and budding while focusing on the viral protein interactions underlying this process and the intracellular trafficking pathways for targeting viral components to assembly sites. Differences in the mechanisms of particle production among the different family members will be highlighted throughout.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2991-3018: The Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Is a Multifunctional Protein

  • The coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) is a structural protein that forms complexes with genomic RNA, interacts with the viral membrane protein during virion assembly and plays a critical role in enhancing the efficiency of virus transcription and assembly. Recent studies have confirmed that N is a multifunctional protein. The aim of this review is to highlight the properties and functions of the N protein, with specific reference to (i) the topology; (ii) the intracellular localization and (iii) the functions of the protein.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2974-2990: Lyssaviruses and Bats: Emergence and Zoonotic Threat

  • The continued detection of zoonotic viral infections in bats has led to the microbial fauna of these mammals being studied at a greater level than ever before. Whilst numerous pathogens have been discovered in bat species, infection with lyssaviruses is of particular significance from a zoonotic perspective as, where human infection has been reported, it is invariably fatal. Here we review the detection of lyssaviruses within different bat species and overview what is understood regarding their maintenance and transmission following both experimental and natural infection. We discuss the relevance of these pathogens as zoonotic agents and the threat of newly discovered viruses to human populations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2960-2973: Review The Emerging Profile of Cross-Resistance among the Nonnucleoside HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors

  • Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are widely used to treat HIV-1-infected individuals; indeed most first-line antiretroviral therapies typically include one NNRTI in combination with two nucleoside analogs. In 2008, the next-generation NNRTI etravirine was approved for the treatment of HIV-infected antiretroviral therapy-experienced individuals, including those with prior NNRTI exposure. NNRTIs are also increasingly being included in strategies to prevent HIV-1 infection. For example: (1) nevirapine is used to prevent mother-to-child transmission; (2) the ASPIRE (MTN 020) study will test whether a vaginal ring containing dapivirine can prevent HIV-1 infection in women; (3) a microbicide gel formulation containing the urea-PETT derivative MIV-150 is in a phase I study to evaluate safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and acceptability; and (4) a long acting rilpivirine formulation is under-development for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Given their widespread use, particularly in resource-limited settings, as well as their low genetic barriers to resistance, there are concerns about overlapping resistance between the different NNRTIs. Consequently, a better understanding of the resistance and cross-resistance profiles among the NNRTI class is important for predicting response to treatment, and surveillance of transmitted drug-resistance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2938-2959: Identification of Cis-Acting Elements on Positive-Strand Subgenomic mRNA Required for the Synthesis of Negative-Strand Counterpart in Bovine Coronavirus

  • It has been demonstrated that, in addition to genomic RNA, sgmRNA is able to serve as a template for the synthesis of the negative-strand [(−)-strand] complement. However, the cis-acting elements on the positive-strand [(+)-strand] sgmRNA required for (−)-strand sgmRNA synthesis have not yet been systematically identified. In this study, we employed real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to analyze the cis-acting elements on bovine coronavirus (BCoV) sgmRNA 7 required for the synthesis of its (−)-strand counterpart by deletion mutagenesis. The major findings are as follows. (1) Deletion of the 5'-terminal leader sequence on sgmRNA 7 decreased the synthesis of the (−)-strand sgmRNA complement. (2) Deletions of the 3' untranslated region (UTR) bulged stem-loop showed no effect on (−)-strand sgmRNA synthesis; however, deletion of the 3' UTR pseudoknot decreased the yield of (−)-strand sgmRNA. (3) Nucleotides positioned from −15 to −34 of the sgmRNA 7 3'-terminal region are required for efficient (−)-strand sgmRNA synthesis. (4) Nucleotide species at the 3'-most position (−1) of sgmRNA 7 is correlated to the efficiency of (−)-strand sgmRNA synthesis. These results together suggest, in principle, that the 5'- and 3'-terminal sequences on sgmRNA 7 harbor cis-acting elements are critical for efficient (−)-strand sgmRNA synthesis in BCoV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2899-2937: Coat as a Dagger: The Use of Capsid Proteins to Perforate Membranes during Non-Enveloped DNA Viruses Trafficking

  • To get access to the replication site, small non-enveloped DNA viruses have to cross the cell membrane using a limited number of capsid proteins, which also protect the viral genome in the extracellular environment. Most of DNA viruses have to reach the nucleus to replicate. The capsid proteins involved in transmembrane penetration are exposed or released during endosomal trafficking of the virus. Subsequently, the conserved domains of capsid proteins interact with cellular membranes and ensure their efficient permeabilization. This review summarizes our current knowledge concerning the role of capsid proteins of small non-enveloped DNA viruses in intracellular membrane perturbation in the early stages of infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2880-2898: Full-Length Genome Analyses of Two New Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) Strains from Mustached Monkeys (C. Cephus) in Gabon Illustrate a Complex Evolutionary History among the SIVmus/mon/gsn Lineage

  • The Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) mus/mon/gsn lineage is a descendant of one of the precursor viruses to the HIV-1/SIVcpz/gor viral lineage. SIVmus and SIVgsn were sequenced from mustached and greater spot nosed monkeys in Cameroon and SIVmon from mona monkeys in Cameroon and Nigeria. In order to further document the genetic diversity of SIVmus, we analyzed two full-length genomes of new strains identified in Gabon. The whole genomes obtained showed the expected reading frames for gag, pol, vif, vpr, tat, rev, env, nef, and also for a vpu gene. Analyses showed that the Gabonese SIVmus strains were closely related and formed a monophyletic clade within the SIVmus/mon/gsn lineage. Nonetheless, within this lineage, the position of both new SIVmus differed according to the gene analyzed. In pol and nef gene, phylogenetic topologies suggested different evolutions for each of the two new SIVmus strains whereas in the other nucleic fragments studied, their positions fluctuated between SIVmon, SIVmus-1, and SIVgsn. In addition, in C1 domain of env, we identified an insertion of seven amino acids characteristic for the SIVmus/mon/gsn and HIV‑1/SIVcpz/SIVgor lineages. Our results show a high genetic diversity of SIVmus in mustached monkeys and suggest cross-species transmission events and recombination within SIVmus/mon/gsn lineage. Additionally, in Central Africa, hunters continue to be exposed to these simian viruses, and this represents a potential threat to humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2858-2879: Resistance Analyses of Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors within Phase 3 Clinical Trials of Treatment-Naive Patients

  • The integrase (IN) strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), raltegravir (RAL), elvitegravir (EVG) and dolutegravir (DTG), comprise the newest drug class approved for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, which joins the existing classes of reverse transcriptase, protease and binding/entry inhibitors. The efficacy of first-line regimens has attained remarkably high levels, reaching undetectable viral loads in 90% of patients by Week 48; however, there remain patients who require a change in regimen due to adverse events, virologic failure with emergent resistance or other issues of patient management. Large, randomized clinical trials conducted in antiretroviral treatment-naive individuals are required for drug approval in this population in the US, EU and other countries, with the primary endpoint for virologic success at Week 48. However, there are differences in the definition of virologic failure and the evaluation of drug resistance among the trials. This review focuses on the methodology and tabulation of resistance to INSTIs in phase 3 clinical trials of first-line regimens and discusses case studies of resistance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2826-2857: Membranous Replication Factories Induced by Plus-Strand RNA Viruses

  • In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about the membranous replication factories of members of plus-strand (+) RNA viruses. We discuss primarily the architecture of these complex membrane rearrangements, because this topic emerged in the last few years as electron tomography has become more widely available. A general denominator is that two“morphotypes” of membrane alterations can be found that are exemplified by flaviviruses and hepaciviruses: membrane invaginations towards the lumen of the endoplasmatic reticulum (ER) and double membrane vesicles, representing extrusions also originating from the ER, respectively. We hypothesize that either morphotype might reflect common pathways and principles that are used by these viruses to form their membranous replication compartments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2796-2825: Mechanism of West Nile Virus Neuroinvasion: A Critical Appraisal

  • West Nile virus (WNV) is an important emerging neurotropic virus, responsible for increasingly severe encephalitis outbreaks in humans and horses worldwide. However, the mechanism by which the virus gains entry to the brain (neuroinvasion) remains poorly understood. Hypotheses of hematogenous and transneural entry have been proposed for WNV neuroinvasion, which revolve mainly around the concepts of blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption and retrograde axonal transport, respectively. However, an over‑representation of in vitro studies without adequate in vivo validation continues to obscure our understanding of the mechanism(s). Furthermore, WNV infection in the current rodent models does not generate a similar viremia and character of CNS infection, as seen in the common target hosts, humans and horses. These differences ultimately question the applicability of rodent models for pathogenesis investigations. Finally, the role of several barriers against CNS insults, such as the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the CSF-brain and the blood-spinal cord barriers, remain largely unexplored,highlighting the infancy of this field. In this review, a systematic and critical appraisal of the current evidence relevant to the possible mechanism(s) of WNV neuroinvasion is conducted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2778-2795: Identification of Luteolin as Enterovirus 71 and Coxsackievirus A16 Inhibitors through Reporter Viruses and Cell Viability-Based Screening

  • Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common pediatric illness mainly caused by infection with enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CA16). The frequent HFMD outbreaks have become a serious public health problem. Currently, no vaccine or antiviral drug for EV71/CA16 infections has been approved. In this study, a two-step screening platform consisting of reporter virus-based assays and cell viability‑based assays was developed to identify potential inhibitors of EV71/CA16 infection. Two types of reporter viruses, a pseudovirus containing luciferase-encoding RNA replicons encapsidated by viral capsid proteins and a full-length reporter virus containing enhanced green fluorescent protein, wereused for primary screening of 400 highly purified natural compounds. Thereafter, a cell viability-based secondary screen was performed for the identified hits to confirm their antiviral activities. Three compounds (luteolin, galangin, and quercetin) were identified, among which luteolin exhibited the most potent inhibition of viral infection. In the cell viability assay and plaque reduction assay, luteolin showed similar 50% effective concentration (EC50) values of about 10 μM. Luteolin targeted the post-attachment stage of EV71 and CA16 infection by inhibiting viral RNA replication. This study suggests that luteolin may serve as a lead compound to develop potent anti-EV71 and CA16 drugs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2762-2777: Prevalence and Genotyping of High Risk Human Papillomavirus in Cervical Cancer Samples from Punjab, Pakistan

  • Cervical cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide. Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is established as the cause of cervical carcinoma, therefore, high risk HPV detection may have prognostic significance for the women who are at increased risk of disease progression. The paucity of data on the incidence of cervical cancer in Pakistan makes it difficult to determine disease burden. Even less information is available regarding the prevalent HPV strains in cervical specimens collected from this region. Cervical cancer is a neglected disease in Pakistan in terms of screening, prevention, and vaccination. Identification and accurate genotyping of the virus burden in cancer specimens is important to inform intervention policies for future management of HPV associated disease and to potentially stratify patients dependent on HPV status. In this study, detection and genotyping of HPV types 16 and 18 from 77 cervical specimens were carried out. Consensus primers GP5+/GP6+, which detect 44 genital HPV types, and type specific primers (TS16 and TS18) were used in conjunction with newly designed type specific primers. Using a combination of these methods of detection, a total of 94.81% (95% CI±4.95) of cervical lesions were positive for HPV. Single infections of HPV16 were detected in 24.68% (95% CI ±9.63) of total samples and HPV18 was found in 25.97% (95% CI ±9.79) samples. Interestingly, a high proportion of samples (40.26%, 95% CI ±10.95) was positive for both HPV16 and 18, indicating a higher incidence of co-infection than previously reported for similar ethnic regions. The HPV genotype of 3.90% of HPV positive samples remained undetected, although these samples were positive with the GP5+/GP6+ primer set indicating infection with an HPV type other than 16 or 18. These data indicate that the overall incidence of high risk HPV infection in cervical cancer and intraepithelial neoplasia specimens in Punjab, Pakistan is in line with the worldwide prevalence, but that the incidence of HPV16 and 18 co-infections in our cohort is higher than that previously reported.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2735-2761: Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) as Production Platform for Vaccines against Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Diseases

  • Respiratory viruses infections caused by influenza viruses, human parainfluenza virus (hPIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and coronaviruses are an eminent threat for public health. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines available for hPIV, RSV and coronaviruses, and the available seasonal influenza vaccines have considerable limitations. With regard to pandemic preparedness, it is important that procedures are in place to respond rapidly and produce tailor made vaccines against these respiratory viruses on short notice. Moreover, especially for influenza there is great need for the development of a universal vaccine that induces broad protective immunity against influenza viruses of various subtypes. Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) is a replication-deficient viral vector that holds great promise as a vaccine platform. MVA can encode one or more foreign antigens and thus functions as a multivalent vaccine. The vector can be used at biosafety level 1, has intrinsic adjuvant capacities and induces humoral and cellular immune responses. However, there are some practical and regulatory issues that need to be addressed in order to develop MVA-based vaccines on short notice at the verge of a pandemic. In this review, we discuss promising novel influenza virus vaccine targets and the use of MVA for vaccine development against various respiratory viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2723-2734: Increased Plasma Cell-Free DNA Level during HTNV Infection: Correlation with Disease Severity and Virus Load

  • Cell-free DNA (cf-DNA) in blood represents a promising DNA damage response triggered by virus infection or trauma, tumor, etc. Hantavirus primarily causes two diseases: haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), depending on different Hantavirus species. The aim of this study was to evaluate plasma cf-DNA levels in acute phase of HFRS, and to correlate plasma cf-DNA with disease severity and plasma Hanttan virus (HTNV) load. We observed the appearance of cf-DNA in 166 plasma samples from 76 HFRS patients: the plasma cf-DNA levels peaked at the hypotensive stage of HFRS, and then decreased gradually. Until the diuretic stage, there was no significant difference in plasma cf-DNA level between patients and the healthy control. Exclusively in the febrile/hypotensive stage, the plasma cf-DNA levels of severe/critical patients were higher than those of the mild/moderate group. Moreover, the plasma cf-DNA value in the early stage of HFRS was correlated with HTNV load and disease severity. In most of the patients, plasma cf-DNA displayed a low-molecular weight appearance, corresponding to the size of apoptotic DNA. In conclusion, the plasma cf-DNA levels were dynamically elevated during HFRS, and correlated with disease severity, which suggests that plasma cf-DNA may be a potential biomarker for the pathogenesis and prognosis of HFRS.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2708-2722: The Role of the Coat Protein A-Domain in P22 Bacteriophage Maturation

  • Bacteriophage P22 has long been considered a hallmark model for virus assembly and maturation. Repurposing of P22 and other similar virus structures for nanotechnology and nanomedicine has reinvigorated the need to further understand the protein-protein interactions that allow for the assembly, as well as the conformational shifts required for maturation. In this work, gp5, the major coat structural protein of P22, has been manipulated in order to examine the mutational effects on procapsid stability and maturation. Insertions to the P22 coat protein A-domain, while widely permissive of procapsid assembly, destabilize the interactions necessary for virus maturation and potentially allow for the tunable adjustment of procapsid stability. Future manipulation of this region of the coat protein subunit can potentially be used to alter the stability of the capsid for controllable disassembly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2698-2707: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Detected in Pico, Azores, Portugal, Revealed a Unique Endemic Strain with More Than 17 Years of Independent Evolution

  • Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is caused by a calicivirus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), which is responsible for high mortality in domestic and wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). RHDV strains were sequenced from wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus) collected in the Azorean island of Pico, Portugal. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the Pico RHDV strains diverge from all of the others described so far, but cluster with the genogroups 1–5 (G1–G5). The genetic distance between the Pico RHDV sequences and each G1, G2 and G3–G5 genogroup (~0.08) is compatible with an RHDV introduction at least 17 years ago. Our results show that in Pico, RHDV is the outcome of an independent evolution from the original RHDV strain that appeared in its European rabbit population. These are the first sequences of RHDV obtained in the subspecies O. c. algirus, outside of its original region, the Iberian Peninsula. Furthermore, we discuss the risk of rabbit translocations from the Azores to the Iberian Peninsula, where the rabbit wild populations are suffering high mortalities.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2673-2697: Challenges, Progress, and Opportunities: Proceedings of the Filovirus Medical Countermeasures Workshop

  • On August 22–23, 2013, agencies within the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sponsored the Filovirus Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) Workshop as an extension of the activities of the Filovirus Animal Non-clinical Group (FANG). The FANG is a federally-recognized multi-Agency group established in 2011 to coordinate and facilitate U.S. government (USG) efforts to develop filovirus MCMs. The workshop brought together government, academic and industry experts to consider the needs for filovirus MCMs and evaluate the status of the product development pipeline. This report summarizes speaker presentations and highlights progress and challenges remaining in the field.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2623-2672: Phages Preying on Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis: Past, Present and Future

  • Many bacteriophages (phages) have been widely studied due to their major role in virulence evolution of bacterial pathogens. However, less attention has been paid to phages preying on bacteria from the Bacillus cereus group and their contribution to the bacterial genetic pool has been disregarded. Therefore, this review brings together the main information for the B. cereus group phages, from their discovery to their modern biotechnological applications. A special focus is given to phages infecting Bacillus anthracis, B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. These phages belong to the Myoviridae, Siphoviridae, Podoviridae and Tectiviridae families. For the sake of clarity, several phage categories have been made according to significant characteristics such as lifestyles and lysogenic states. The main categories comprise the transducing phages, phages with a chromosomal or plasmidial prophage state,γ-like phages and jumbo-phages. The current genomic characterization of some of these phages is also addressed throughout this work and some promising applications are discussed here.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2602-2622: Characterization of a Proposed Dichorhavirus Associated with the Citrus Leprosis Disease and Analysis of the Host Response

  • The causal agents of Citrus leprosis are viruses; however, extant diagnostic methods to identify them have failed to detect known viruses in orange, mandarin, lime and bitter orange trees with severe leprosis symptoms in Mexico, an important citrus producer. Using high throughput sequencing, a virus associated with citrus leprosis was identified, belonging to the proposed Dichorhavirus genus. The virus was termed Citrus Necrotic Spot Virus (CNSV) and contains two negative-strand RNA components; virions accumulate in the cytoplasm and are associated with plasmodesmata—channels interconnecting neighboring cells—suggesting a mode of spread within the plant. The present study provides insights into the nature of this pathogen and the corresponding plant response, which is likely similar to other pathogens that do not spread systemically in plants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2571-2601: New Aspects of the Pathogenesis of Canine Distemper Leukoencephalitis

  • Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a member of the genus morbillivirus, which is known to cause a variety of disorders in dogs including demyelinating leukoencephalitis (CDV-DL). In recent years, substantial progress in understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms of CDV-DL has been made. In vivo and in vitro investigations provided new insights into its pathogenesis with special emphasis on axon-myelin-glia interaction, potential endogenous mechanisms of regeneration, and astroglial plasticity. CDV-DL is characterized by lesions with a variable degree of demyelination and mononuclear inflammation accompanied by a dysregulated orchestration of cytokines as well as matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors. Despite decades of research, several new aspects of the neuropathogenesis of CDV-DL have been described only recently. Early axonal damage seems to represent an initial and progressive lesion in CDV-DL, which interestingly precedes demyelination. Axonopathy may, thus, function as a potential trigger for subsequent disturbed axon-myelin-glia interactions. In particular, the detection of early axonal damage suggests that demyelination is at least in part a secondary event in CDV-DL, thus challenging the dogma of CDV as a purely primary demyelinating disease. Another unexpected finding refers to the appearance of p75 neurotrophin (NTR)-positive bipolar cells during CDV-DL. As p75NTR is a prototype marker for immature Schwann cells, this finding suggests that Schwann cell remyelination might represent a so far underestimated endogenous mechanism of regeneration, though this hypothesis still remains to be proven. Although it is well known that astrocytes represent the major target of CDV infection in CDV-DL, the detection of infected vimentin-positive astrocytes in chronic lesions indicates a crucial role of this cell population in nervous distemper. While glial fibrillary acidic protein represents the characteristic intermediate filament of mature astrocytes, expression of vimentin is generally restricted to immature or reactive astrocytes. Thus, vimentin-positive astrocytes might constitute an important cell population for CDV persistence and spread, as well as lesion progression. In vitro models, such as dissociated glial cell cultures, as well as organotypic brain slice cultures have contributed to a better insight into mechanisms of infection and certain morphological and molecular aspects of CDV-DL. Summarized, recent in vivo and in vitro studies revealed remarkable new aspects of nervous distemper. These new perceptions substantially improved our understanding of the pathogenesis of CDV-DL and might represent new starting points to develop novel treatment strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2551-2570: Facing Antibiotic Resistance: Staphylococcus aureus Phages as a Medical Tool

  • Staphylococcus aureus is a common and often virulent pathogen in humans. This bacterium is widespread, being present on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. Staphylococcus aureus can cause infections with severe outcomes ranging from pustules to sepsis and death. The introduction of antibiotics led to a general belief that the problem of bacterial infections would be solved. Nonetheless, pathogens including staphylococci have evolved mechanisms of drug resistance. Among current attempts to address this problem, phage therapy offers a promising alternative to combat staphylococcal infections. Here, we present an overview of current knowledge on staphylococcal infections and bacteriophages able to kill Staphylococcus, including experimental studies and available data on their clinical use.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2531-2550: RNA Virus Reverse Genetics and Vaccine Design

  • RNA viruses are capable of rapid spread and severe or potentially lethal disease in both animals and humans. The development of reverse genetics systems for manipulation and study of RNA virus genomes has provided platforms for designing and optimizing viral mutants for vaccine development. Here, we review the impact of RNA virus reverse genetics systems on past and current efforts to design effective and safe viral therapeutics and vaccines.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2519-2530: Seroprevalence of Human Herpesvirus 8 and Hepatitis C Virus among Drug Users in Shanghai, China

  • To elucidate and compare the seroprevalence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among Chinese drug users, a cross-sectional study of 441 participants, was conducted in Shanghai, China, from 2012 through 2013. Seventy-seven (17.5%) participants were found to be positive for HHV8 antibodies, while 271 (61.5%) participants were positive for HCV. No significant association between HHV8 seropositivity and drug use characteristics, sexual behaviors, HCV, or syphilis was observed. In contrast, a statistically significant association between HCV seropositivity and injected drug history (OR, 2.18, 95% CI 1.41–3.37) was detected, whereas no statistically significant association between HCV seropositivity and syphilis infection (OR, 7.56, 95% CI 0.94–60.57) were observed. Pairwise comparisons showed no significant differences between latent and lytic antibodies regarding HCV and HHV8 serostatus. The study demonstrated a moderate but elevated prevalence of HHV8 infection among drug users. The discordance between HHV8 and HCV infections suggests that blood borne transmission of HHV8 might not be the predominant mode of transmission in this population, which is in contrast to HCV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2505-2518: A Novel Strain of Porcine Adenovirus Detected in Urinary Bladder Urothelial Cell Culture

  • Contamination of cell cultures is the most common problem encountered in cell culture laboratories. Besides the secondary cell contaminations often occurring in the cell laboratories, the contaminations originating from donor animal or human tissue are equally as common, but usually harder to recognize and as such require special attention. The present study describes the detection of porcine adenovirus (PAdV), strain PAdV-SVN1 in cultures of normal porcine urothelial (NPU) cells isolated from urinary bladders of domestic pigs. NPU cell cultures were evaluated by light microscopy (LM), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and additionally assessed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Characteristic ultrastructure of virions revealed the infection with adenovirus. The adenoviral contamination was further identified by the sequence analysis, which showed the highest similarity to recently described PAdV strain PAdV-WI. Additionally, the cell ultrastructural analysis confirmed the life-cycle characteristic for adenoviruses. To closely mimic the in vivo situation, the majority of research on in vitro models uses cell cultures isolated from human or animal tissue and their subsequent passages. Since the donor tissue could be a potential source of contamination, the microbiological screening of the excised tissue and harvested cell cultures is highly recommended.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2495-2504: Genetic Diversity in HIV-1 Subtype C LTR from Brazil and Mozambique Generates New Transcription Factor-Binding Sites

  • The HIV-1 subtype C has been substituting the subtype B population in southern Brazil. This phenomenon has been previously described in other countries, suggesting that subtype C may possess greater fitness than other subtypes. The HIV-1 long-terminal repeat (LTR) is an important regulatory region critical for the viral life cycle. Sequence insertions immediately upstream of the viral enhancer are known as the most frequent naturally occurring length polimorphisms (MFNLP). Previous reports demonstrated that the MFNLP could lead to the duplication of transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) enhancing the activity of the HIV-1 subtype C LTR. Here, we amplified and sequenced the LTR obtained from proviral DNA samples collected from patients infected with subtype C from the Southern Region of Brazil (naïve or treatment failure) and Mozambique (only naïve). We confirm the presence of different types of insertions in the LTR sequences of both the countries leading to the creation of additional TFBS. In the Brazilian clinical samples, the frequency of the sequence insertion was significantly higher in subjects experiencing treatment failure than in antiretroviral naïve patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2465-2494: In the Shadow of Hemagglutinin: A Growing Interest in Influenza Viral Neuraminidase and Its Role as a Vaccine Antigen

  • Despite the availability of vaccine prophylaxis and antiviral therapeutics, the influenza virus continues to have a significant, annual impact on the morbidity and mortality of human beings, highlighting the continued need for research in the field. Current vaccine strategies predominantly focus on raising a humoral response against hemagglutinin (HA)—the more abundant, immunodominant glycoprotein on the surface of the influenza virus. In fact, anti-HA antibodies are often neutralizing, and are used routinely to assess vaccine immunogenicity. Neuraminidase (NA), the other major glycoprotein on the surface of the influenza virus, has historically served as the target for antiviral drug therapy and is much less studied in the context of humoral immunity. Yet, the quest to discern the exact importance of NA-based protection is decades old. Also, while antibodies against the NA glycoprotein fail to prevent infection of the influenza virus, anti-NA immunity has been shown to lessen the severity of disease, decrease viral lung titers in animal models, and reduce viral shedding. Growing evidence is intimating the possible gains of including the NA antigen in vaccine design, such as expanded strain coverage and increased overall immunogenicity of the vaccine. After giving a tour of general influenza virology, this review aims to discuss the influenza A virus neuraminidase while focusing on both the historical and present literature on the use of NA as a possible vaccine antigen.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2463-2464: Correction: Buranda, T. et al. Equilibrium and Kinetics of Sin Nombre Hantavirus Binding at DAF/CD55 Functionalized Bead Surfaces. Viruses 2014, 6, 1091-1111

  • The procedure for blocking infection with H319 antibodies in polarized Vero E6 cells, grown in transwell inserts, was erroneously omitted on page 1104, Section 3.13. (entitled‘Infectivity Assays’) of [1]. It is important to note that robust blocking with H319 anti-DAF anti-bodies, as shown in Figure 5B, was measured in polarized cells, seeded on filter supports in transwell plates, as described below. [...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2444-2462: Molecular Characterization of Watermelon Chlorotic Stunt Virus (WmCSV) from Palestine

  • The incidence of watermelon chlorotic stunt disease and molecular characterization of the Palestinian isolate of Watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WmCSV-[PAL]) are described in this study. Symptomatic leaf samples obtained from watermelon Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.), and cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants were tested for WmCSV-[PAL] infection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Rolling Circle Amplification (RCA). Disease incidence ranged between 25%–98% in watermelon fields in the studied area, 77% of leaf samples collected from Jenin were found to be mixed infected with WmCSV-[PAL] and SLCV. The full-length DNA-A and DNA-B genomes of WmCSV-[PAL] were amplified and sequenced, and the sequences were deposited in the GenBank. Sequence analysis of virus genomes showed that DNA-A and DNA-B had 97.6%–99.42% and 93.16%–98.26% nucleotide identity with other virus isolates in the region, respectively. Sequence analysis also revealed that the Palestinian isolate of WmCSV shared the highest nucleotide identity with an isolate from Israel suggesting that the virus was introduced to Palestine from Israel.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2428-2443: Efficient Strategy to Generate a Vectored Duck Enteritis Virus Delivering Envelope of Duck Tembusu Virus

  • Duck Tembusu virus (DTMUV) is a recently emerging pathogenic flavivirus that has resulted in a huge economic loss in the duck industry. However, no vaccine is currently available to control this pathogen. Consequently, a practical strategy to construct a vaccine against this pathogen should be determined. In this study, duck enteritis virus (DEV) was examined as a candidate vaccine vector to deliver the envelope (E) of DTMUV. A modified mini-F vector was inserted into the SORF3 and US2 gene junctions of the attenuated DEV vaccine strain C-KCE genome to generate an infectious bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) of C-KCE (vBAC-C-KCE). The envelope (E) gene of DTMUV was inserted into the C-KCE genome through the mating-assisted genetically integrated cloning (MAGIC) strategy, resulting in the recombinant vector, pBAC-C-KCE-E. A bivalent vaccine C-KCE-E was generated by eliminating the BAC backbone. Immunofluorescence and western blot analysis results indicated that the E proteins were vigorously expressed in C-KCE-E-infected chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs). Duck experiments demonstrated that the insertion of the E gene did not alter the protective efficacy of C-KCE. Moreover, C-KCE-E-immunized ducks induced neutralization antibodies against DTMUV. These results demonstrated, for the first time, that recombinant C-KCE-E can serve as a potential bivalent vaccine against DEV and DTMUV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2416-2427: Vaccination against δ-Retroviruses: The Bovine Leukemia Virus Paradigm

  • Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) are closely related d-retroviruses that induce hematological diseases. HTLV-1 infects about 15 million people worldwide, mainly in subtropical areas. HTLV-1 induces a wide spectrum of diseases (e.g., HTLV-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis) and leukemia/lymphoma (adult T-cell leukemia). Bovine leukemia virus is a major pathogen of cattle, causing important economic losses due to a reduction in production, export limitations and lymphoma-associated death. In the absence of satisfactory treatment for these diseases and besides the prevention of transmission, the best option to reduce the prevalence of d-retroviruses is vaccination. Here, we provide an overview of the different vaccination strategies in the BLV model and outline key parameters required for vaccine efficacy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2392-2415: Alphavirus-Based Vaccines

  • Alphavirus vectors have demonstrated high levels of transient heterologous gene expression both in vitro and in vivo and, therefore, possess attractive features for vaccine development. The most commonly used delivery vectors are based on three single-stranded encapsulated alphaviruses, namely Semliki Forest virus, Sindbis virus and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus. Alphavirus vectors have been applied as replication-deficient recombinant viral particles and, more recently, as replication-proficient particles. Moreover, in vitro transcribed RNA, as well as layered DNA vectors have been applied for immunization. A large number of highly immunogenic viral structural proteins expressed from alphavirus vectors have elicited strong neutralizing antibody responses in multispecies animal models. Furthermore, immunization studies have demonstrated robust protection against challenges with lethal doses of virus in rodents and primates. Similarly, vaccination with alphavirus vectors expressing tumor antigens resulted in prophylactic protection against challenges with tumor-inducing cancerous cells. As certain alphaviruses, such as Chikungunya virus, have been associated with epidemics in animals and humans, attention has also been paid to the development of vaccines against alphaviruses themselves. Recent progress in alphavirus vector development and vaccine technology has allowed conducting clinical trials in humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2376-2391: Engineered RNase P Ribozymes Effectively Inhibit Human Cytomegalovirus Gene Expression and Replication

  • RNase P ribozyme can be engineered to be a sequence-specific gene-targeting agent with promising application in both basic research and clinical settings. By using an in vitro selection system, we have previously generated RNase P ribozyme variants that have better catalytic activity in cleaving an mRNA sequence than the wild type ribozyme. In this study, one of the variants was used to target the mRNA encoding human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) essential transcription factor immediate-early protein 2 (IE2). The variant was able to cleave IE2 mRNA in vitro 50-fold better than the wild type ribozyme. A reduction of about 98% in IE2 expression and a reduction of 3500-fold in viral production was observed in HCMV-infected cells expressing the variant compared to a 75% reduction in IE2 expression and a 100-fold reduction in viral production in cells expressing the ribozyme derived from the wild type sequence. These results suggest that ribozyme variants that are selected to be highly active in vitro are also more effective in inhibiting the expression of their targets in cultured cells. Our study demonstrates that RNase P ribozyme variants are efficient in reducing HCMV gene expression and growth and are potentially useful for anti-viral therapeutic application.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2340-2375: Viral Oncolysis — Can Insights from Measles Be Transferred to Canine Distemper Virus?

  • Neoplastic diseases represent one of the most common causes of death among humans and animals. Currently available and applied therapeutic options often remain insufficient and unsatisfactory, therefore new and innovative strategies and approaches are highly needed. Periodically, oncolytic viruses have been in the center of interest since the first anecdotal description of their potential usefulness as an anti-tumor treatment concept. Though first reports referred to an incidental measles virus infection causing tumor regression in a patient suffering from lymphoma several decades ago, no final treatment concept has been developed since then. However, numerous viruses, such as herpes-, adeno- and paramyxoviruses, have been investigated, characterized, and modified with the aim to generate a new anti-cancer treatment option. Among the different viruses, measles virus still represents a highly interesting candidate for such an approach. Numerous different tumors of humans including malignant lymphoma, lung and colorectal adenocarcinoma, mesothelioma, and ovarian cancer, have been studied in vitro and in vivo as potential targets. Moreover, several concepts using different virus preparations are now in clinical trials in humans and may proceed to a new treatment option. Surprisingly, only few studies have investigated viral oncolysis in veterinary medicine. The close relationship between measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV), both are morbilliviruses, and the fact that numerous tumors in dogs exhibit similarities to their human counterpart, indicates that both the virus and species dog represent a highly interesting translational model for future research in viral oncolysis. Several recent studies support such an assumption. It is therefore the aim of the present communication to outline the mechanisms of morbillivirus-mediated oncolysis and to stimulate further research in this potentially expanding field of viral oncolysis in a highly suitable translational animal model for the benefit of humans and dogs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2328-2339: Infection with Non-Lethal West Nile Virus Eg101 Strain Induces Immunity that Protects Mice against the Lethal West Nile Virus NY99 Strain

  • Herein we demonstrate that infection of mice with West Nile virus (WNV) Eg101 provides protective immunity against lethal challenge with WNV NY99. Our data demonstrated that WNV Eg101 is largely non-virulent in adult mice when compared to WNV NY99. By day 6 after infection, WNV-specific IgM and IgG antibodies, and neutralizing antibodies were detected in the serum of all WNV Eg101 infected mice. Plaque reduction neutralization test data demonstrated that serum from WNV Eg101 infected mice neutralized WNV Eg101 and WNV NY99 strains with similar efficiency. Three weeks after infection, WNV Eg101 immunized mice were challenged subcutaneously or intracranially with lethal dose of WNV NY99 and observed for additional three weeks. All the challenged mice were protected against disease and no morbidity and mortality was observed in any mice. In conclusion, our data for the first time demonstrate that infection of mice with WNV Eg101 induced high titers of WNV specific IgM and IgG antibodies, and cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies, and the resulting immunity protected all immunized animals from both subcutaneous and intracranial challenge with WNV NY99. These observations suggest that WNV Eg101 may be a suitable strain for the development of a vaccine in humans against virulent strains of WNV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2287-2327: Peste Des Petits Ruminants Virus Infection of Small Ruminants: A Comprehensive Review

  • Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is caused by a Morbillivirus that belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae. PPR is an acute, highly contagious and fatal disease primarily affecting goats and sheep, whereas cattle undergo sub-clinical infection. With morbidity and mortality rates that can be as high as 90%, PPR is classified as an OIE (Office International des Epizooties)-listed disease. Considering the importance of sheep and goats in the livelihood of the poor and marginal farmers in Africa and South Asia, PPR is an important concern for food security and poverty alleviation. PPR virus (PPRV) and rinderpest virus (RPV) are closely related Morbilliviruses. Rinderpest has been globally eradicated by mass vaccination. Though a live attenuated vaccine is available against PPR for immunoprophylaxis, due to its instability in subtropical climate (thermo-sensitivity), unavailability of required doses and insufficient coverage (herd immunity), the disease control program has not been a great success. Further, emerging evidence of poor cross neutralization between vaccine strain and PPRV strains currently circulating in the field has raised concerns about the protective efficacy of the existing PPR vaccines. This review summarizes the recent advancement in PPRV replication, its pathogenesis, immune response to vaccine and disease control. Attempts have also been made to highlight the current trends in understanding the host susceptibility and resistance to PPR.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2268-2286: The Tumor-Associated Marker, PVRL4 (Nectin-4), Is the Epithelial Receptor for Morbilliviruses

  • PVRL4 (nectin-4) was recently identified as the epithelial receptor for members of the Morbillivirus genus, including measles virus, canine distemper virus and peste des petits ruminants virus. Here, we describe the role of PVRL4 in morbillivirus pathogenesis and its promising use in cancer therapies. This discovery establishes a new paradigm for the spread of virus from lymphocytes to airway epithelial cells and its subsequent release into the environment. Measles virus vaccine strains have emerged as a promising oncolytic platform for cancer therapy in the last ten years. Given that PVRL4 is a well-known tumor-associated marker for several adenocarcinoma (lung, breast and ovary), the measles virus could potentially be used to specifically target, infect and destroy cancers expressing PVRL4.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2259-2267: Clustering of Giant Virus-DNA Based on Variations in Local Entropy

  • We present a method for clustering genomic sequences based on variations in local entropy. We have analyzed the distributions of the block entropies of viruses and plant genomes. A distinct pattern for viruses and plant genomes is observed. These distributions, which describe the local entropic variability of the genomes, are used for clustering the genomes based on the Jensen-Shannon (JS) distances. The analysis of the JS distances between all genomes that infect the chlorella algae shows the host specificity of the viruses. We illustrate the efficacy of this entropy-based clustering technique by the segregation of plant and virus genomes into separate bins.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2242-2258: Controlling Cytomegalovirus: Helping the Immune System Take the Lead

  • Cytomegalovirus, of the Herpesviridae family, has evolved alongside humans for thousands of years with an intricate balance of latency, immune evasion, and transmission. While upwards of 70% of humans have evidence of CMV infection, the majority of healthy people show little to no clinical symptoms of primary infection and CMV disease is rarely observed during persistent infection in immunocompetent hosts. Despite the fact that the majority of infected individuals are asymptomatic, immunologically, CMV hijacks the immune system by infecting and remaining latent in antigen-presenting cells that occasionally reactivate subclinically and present antigen to T cells, eventually causing the inflation of CMV-specific T cells until they can compromise up to 10% of the entire T cell repertoire. Because of this impact on the immune system, as well as its importance in fields such as stem cell and organ transplant, the relationship between CMV and the immune response has been studied in depth. Here we provide a review of many of these studies and insights into how CMV-specific T cells are currently being used therapeutically.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2214-2241: Immunogenetic Factors Affecting Susceptibility of Humans and Rodents to Hantaviruses and the Clinical Course of Hantaviral Disease in Humans

  • We reviewed the associations of immunity-related genes with susceptibility of humans and rodents to hantaviruses, and with severity of hantaviral diseases in humans. Several class I and class II HLA haplotypes were linked with severe or benign hantavirus infections, and these haplotypes varied among localities and hantaviruses. The polymorphism of other immunity-related genes including the C4A gene and a high-producing genotype of TNF gene associated with severe PUUV infection. Additional genes that may contribute to disease or to PUUV infection severity include non-carriage of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) allele 2 and IL-1β (-511) allele 2, polymorphisms of plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) and platelet GP1a. In addition, immunogenetic studies have been conducted to identify mechanisms that could be linked with the persistence/clearance of hantaviruses in reservoirs. Persistence was associated during experimental infections with an upregulation of anti-inflammatory responses. Using natural rodent population samples, polymorphisms and/or expression levels of several genes have been analyzed. These genes were selected based on the literature of rodent or human/hantavirus interactions (some Mhc class II genes, Tnf promoter, and genes encoding the proteins TLR4, TLR7, Mx2 and β3 integrin). The comparison of genetic differentiation estimated between bank vole populations sampled over Europe, at neutral and candidate genes, has allowed to evidence signatures of selection for Tnf, Mx2 and the Drb Mhcclass II genes. Altogether, these results corroborated the hypothesis of an evolution of tolerance strategies in rodents. We finally discuss the importance of these results from the medical and epidemiological perspectives.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2204-2213: Development and Application of Quantitative Detection Method for Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSV) Genogroup IVa

  • Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is a problematic pathogen in olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) aquaculture farms in Korea. Thus, it is necessary to develop a rapid and accurate diagnostic method to detect this virus. We developed a quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) method based on the nucleocapsid (N) gene sequence of Korean VHSV isolate (Genogroup IVa). The slope and R2 values of the primer set developed in this study were−0.2928 (96% efficiency) and 0.9979, respectively. Its comparison with viral infectivity calculated by traditional quantifying method (TCID50) showed a similar pattern of kinetic changes in vitro and in vivo. The qRT-PCR method reduced detection time compared to that of TCID50, making it a very useful tool for VHSV diagnosis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2186-2203: Regional Changes in the Sequence of Cotton Leaf Curl Multan Betasatellite

  • Cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD) in Pakistan and northwestern India is caused by monopartite begomoviruses in association with an essential, disease-specific satellite, Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite (CLCuMB). Following a recent upsurge in CLCuD problems in Sindh province (southern Pakistan), sequences of clones of CLCuMB were obtained from Sindh and Punjab province (central Pakistan), where CLCuD has been a problem since the mid-1980s. The sequences were compared to all sequences of CLCuMB available in the databases. Analysis of the sequences shows extensive sequence variation in CLCuMB, most likely resulting from recombination. The range of sequence variants differ between Sindh, the Punjab and northwestern India. The possible significance of the findings with respect to movement of the CLCuD between the three regions is discussed. Additionally, the lack of sequence variation within the only coding sequence of CLCuMB suggests that the betasatellite is not involved in resistance breaking which became a problem after 2001 in the Punjab and subsequently also in northwestern India.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2155-2185: The DNA Damage Response Induced by Infection with Human Cytomegalovirus and Other Viruses

  • Viruses use different strategies to overcome the host defense system. Recent studies have shown that viruses can induce DNA damage response (DDR). Many of these viruses use DDR signaling to benefit their replication, while other viruses block or inactivate DDR signaling. This review focuses on the effects of DDR and DNA repair on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replication. Here, we review the DDR induced by HCMV infection and its similarities and differences to DDR induced by other viruses. As DDR signaling pathways are critical for the replication of many viruses, blocking these pathways may represent novel therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of certain infectious diseases. Lastly, future perspectives in the field are discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2138-2154: Evidence for Retrovirus and Paramyxovirus Infection of Multiple Bat Species in China

  • Bats are recognized reservoirs for many emerging zoonotic viruses of public health importance. Identifying and cataloguing the viruses of bats is a logical approach to evaluate the range of potential zoonoses of bat origin. We characterized the fecal pathogen microbiome of both insectivorous and frugivorous bats, incorporating 281 individual bats comprising 20 common species, which were sampled in three locations of Yunnan province, by combining reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays and next-generation sequencing. Seven individual bats were paramyxovirus-positive by RT-PCR using degenerate primers, and these paramyxoviruses were mainly classified into three genera (Rubulavirus, Henipavirus and Jeilongvirus). Various additional novel pathogens were detected in the paramyxovirus-positive bats using Illumina sequencing. A total of 7066 assembled contigs (≥200 bp) were constructed, and 105 contigs matched eukaryotic viruses (of them 103 belong to 2 vertebrate virus families, 1 insect virus, and 1 mycovirus), 17 were parasites, and 4913 were homologous to prokaryotic microorganisms. Among the 103 vertebrate viral contigs, 79 displayed low identity (aamp;amp;lt;70%) to known viruses including human viruses at the amino acid level, suggesting that these belong to novel and genetically divergent viruses. Overall, the most frequently identified viruses, particularly in bats from the family Hipposideridae, were retroviruses. The present study expands our understanding of the bat virome in species commonly found in Yunnan, China, and provides insight into the overall diversity of viruses that may be capable of directly or indirectly crossing over into humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2122-2137: Oncolytic Virotherapy of Canine and Feline Cancer

  • Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in companion animals such as dogs and cats. Despite recent progress in the diagnosis and treatment of advanced canine and feline cancer, overall patient treatment outcome has not been substantially improved. Virotherapy using oncolytic viruses is one promising new strategy for cancer therapy. Oncolytic viruses (OVs) preferentially infect and lyse cancer cells, without causing excessive damage to surrounding healthy tissue, and initiate tumor-specific immunity. The current review describes the use of different oncolytic viruses for cancer therapy and their application to canine and feline cancer.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2084-2121: Potential for Introduction of Bat-Borne Zoonotic Viruses into the EU: A Review

  • Bat-borne viruses can pose a serious threat to human health, with examples including Nipah virus (NiV) in Bangladesh and Malaysia, and Marburg virus (MARV) in Africa. To date, significant human outbreaks of such viruses have not been reported in the European Union (EU). However, EU countries have strong historical links with many of the countries where NiV and MARV are present and a corresponding high volume of commercial trade and human travel, which poses a potential risk of introduction of these viruses into the EU. In assessing the risks of introduction of these bat-borne zoonotic viruses to the EU, it is important to consider the location and range of bat species known to be susceptible to infection, together with the virus prevalence, seasonality of viral pulses, duration of infection and titre of virus in different bat tissues. In this paper, we review the current scientific knowledge of all these factors, in relation to the introduction of NiV and MARV into the EU.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2062-2083: Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses in Xenotransplantation—Molecular Aspects

  • In the context of the shortage of organs and other tissues for use in human transplantation, xenotransplantation procedures with material taken from pigs have come under increased consideration. However, there are unclear consequences of the potential transmission of porcine pathogens to humans. Of particular concern are porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs). Three subtypes of PERV have been identified, of which PERV-A and PERV-B have the ability to infect human cells in vitro. The PERV-C subtype does not show this ability but recombinant PERV-A/C forms have demonstrated infectivity in human cells. In view of the risk presented by these observations, the International Xenotransplantation Association recently indicated the existence of four strategies to prevent transmission of PERVs. This article focuses on the molecular aspects of PERV infection in xenotransplantation and reviews the techniques available for the detection of PERV DNA, RNA, reverse transcriptase activity and proteins, and anti-PERV antibodies to enable carrying out these recommendations. These methods could be used to evaluate the risk of PERV transmission in human recipients, enhance the effectiveness and reliability of monitoring procedures, and stimulate discussion on the development of improved, more sensitive methods for the detection of PERVs in the future.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2052-2061: A Novel Adenovirus in Chinstrap Penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) in Antarctica

  • Adenoviruses (family Adenoviridae) infect various organ systems and cause diseases in a wide range of host species. In this study, we examined multiple tissues from Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica), collected in Antarctica during 2009 and 2010, for the presence of novel adenoviruses by PCR. Analysis of a 855-bp region of the hexon gene of a newly identified adenovirus, designated Chinstrap penguin adenovirus 1 (CSPAdV-1), showed nucleotide (amino acid) sequence identity of 71.8% (65.5%) with South Polar skua 1 (SPSAdV-1), 71% (70%) with raptor adenovirus 1 (RAdV-1), 71.4% (67.6%) with turkey adenovirus 3 (TAdV-3) and 61% (61.6%) with frog adenovirus 1 (FrAdV-1). Based on the genetic and phylogenetic analyses, CSPAdV-1 was classified as a member of the genus, Siadenovirus. Virus isolation attempts from kidney homogenates in the MDTC-RP19 (ATCC® CRL-8135™) cell line were unsuccessful. In conclusion, this study provides the first evidence of new adenovirus species in Antarctic penguins.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2038-2051: Characterization of Cytomegalovirus Lung Infection in Non-HIV Infected Children

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a prevalent pathogen in the immunocompromised host and invasive pneumonia is a feared complication of the virus in this population. In this pediatric case series we characterized CMV lung infection in 15 non-HIV infected children (median age 3 years; IQR 0.2–4.9 years), using current molecular and imaging diagnostic modalities, in combination with respiratory signs and symptoms. The most prominent clinical and laboratory findings included cough (100%), hypoxemia (100%), diffuse adventitious breath sounds (100%) and increased respiratory effort (93%). All patients had abnormal lung images characterized by ground glass opacity/consolidation in 80% of cases. CMV was detected in the lung either by CMV PCR in bronchoalveolar lavage (82% detection rate) or histology/immunohistochemistry in lung biopsy (100% detection rate). CMV caused respiratory failure in 47% of children infected and the overall mortality rate was 13.3%. Conclusion: CMV pneumonia is a potential lethal disease in non-HIV infected children that requires a high-index of suspicion. Common clinical and radiological patterns such as hypoxemia, diffuse adventitious lung sounds and ground-glass pulmonary opacities may allow early identification of CMV lung infection in the pediatric population, which may lead to prompt initiation of antiviral therapy and better clinical outcomes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2028-2037: Rapid Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for the Detection of Hantavirus-Specific Antibodies in Divergent Small Mammals

  • We assessed the utility of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of hantavirus-specific antibodies from sera of Oligoryzomys longicaudatus, the principal reservoir of Andes virus (ANDV), using an antigen previously developed for detection of antibodies to Sin Nombre virus (SNV) in sera from Peromyscus maniculatus. The assay uses a protein A/G horseradish peroxidase conjugate and can be performed in as little as 1.5 hours. Serum samples from Oligoryzomys longicaudatus collected in central-south Chile were used and the assay identified several that were antibody positive. This assay can be used for the rapid detection of antibodies to divergent hantaviruses from geographically and phylogenetically distant rodent species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 2012-2027: Dynamics of the Presence of Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus in Honey Bee Colonies with Colony Collapse Disorder

  • The determinants of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a particular case of collapse of honey bee colonies, are still unresolved. Viruses including the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) were associated with CCD. We found an apiary with colonies showing typical CCD characteristics that bore high loads of IAPV, recovered some colonies from collapse and tested the hypothesis if IAPV was actively replicating in them and infectious to healthy bees. We found that IAPV was the dominant pathogen and it replicated actively in the colonies: viral titers decreased from April to September and increased from September to December. IAPV extracted from infected bees was highly infectious to healthy pupae: they showed several-fold amplification of the viral genome and synthesis of the virion protein VP3. The health of recovered colonies was seriously compromised. Interestingly, a rise of IAPV genomic copies in two colonies coincided with their subsequent collapse. Our results do not imply IAPV as the cause of CCD but indicate that once acquired and induced to replication it acts as an infectious factor that affects the health of the colonies and may determine their survival. This is the first follow up outside the US of CCD-colonies bearing IAPV under natural conditions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1992-2011: Viruses and Tetraspanins: Lessons from Single Molecule Approaches

  • Tetraspanins are four-span membrane proteins that are widely distributed in multi-cellular organisms and involved in several infectious diseases. They have the unique property to form a network of protein-protein interaction within the plasma membrane, due to the lateral associations with one another and with other membrane proteins. Tracking tetraspanins at the single molecule level using fluorescence microscopy has revealed the membrane behavior of the tetraspanins CD9 and CD81 in epithelial cell lines, providing a first dynamic view of this network. Single molecule tracking highlighted that these 2 proteins can freely diffuse within the plasma membrane but can also be trapped, permanently or transiently, in tetraspanin-enriched areas. More recently, a similar strategy has been used to investigate tetraspanin membrane behavior in the context of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In this review we summarize the main results emphasizing the relationship in terms of membrane partitioning between tetraspanins, some of their partners such as Claudin-1 and EWI-2, and viral proteins during infection. These results will be analyzed in the context of other membrane microdomains, stressing the difference between raft and tetraspanin-enriched microdomains, but also in comparison with virus diffusion at the cell surface. New advanced single molecule techniques that could help to further explore tetraspanin assemblies will be also discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1974-1991: Universal Influenza Vaccines, a Dream to Be Realized Soon

  • Due to frequent viral antigenic change, current influenza vaccines need to be re-formulated annually to match the circulating strains for battling seasonal influenza epidemics. These vaccines are also ineffective in preventing occasional outbreaks of new influenza pandemic viruses. All these challenges call for the development of universal influenza vaccines capable of conferring broad cross-protection against multiple subtypes of influenza A viruses. Facilitated by the advancement in modern molecular biology, delicate antigen design becomes one of the most effective factors for fulfilling such goals. Conserved epitopes residing in virus surface proteins including influenza matrix protein 2 and the stalk domain of the hemagglutinin draw general interest for improved antigen design. The present review summarizes the recent progress in such endeavors and also covers the encouraging progress in integrated antigen/adjuvant delivery and controlled release technology that facilitate the development of an affordable universal influenza vaccine.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1929-1973: Hantavirus Reservoirs: Current Status with an Emphasis on Data from Brazil

  • Since the recognition of hantavirus as the agent responsible for haemorrhagic fever in Eurasia in the 1970s and, 20 years later, the descovery of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the Americas, the genus Hantavirus has been continually described throughout the World in a variety of wild animals. The diversity of wild animals infected with hantaviruses has only recently come into focus as a result of expanded wildlife studies. The known reservoirs are more than 80, belonging to 51 species of rodents, 7 bats (order Chiroptera) and 20 shrews and moles (order Soricomorpha). More than 80genetically related viruses have been classified within Hantavirus genus; 25 recognized as human pathogens responsible for a large spectrum of diseases in the Old and New World. In Brazil, where the diversity of mammals and especially rodents is considered one of the largest in the world, 9 hantavirus genotypes have been identified in 12 rodent species belonging to the genus Akodon, Calomys, Holochilus, Oligoryzomys, Oxymycterus, Necromys and Rattus. Considering the increasing number of animals that have been implicated as reservoirs of different hantaviruses, the understanding of this diversity is important for evaluating the risk of distinct hantavirus species as human pathogens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1911-1928: Vampire Bat Rabies: Ecology, Epidemiology and Control

  • Extensive surveillance in bat populations in response to recent emerging diseases has revealed that this group of mammals acts as a reservoir for a large range of viruses. However, the oldest known association between a zoonotic virus and a bat is that between rabies virus and the vampire bat. Vampire bats are only found in Latin America and their unique method of obtaining nutrition, blood-feeding or haematophagy, has only evolved in the New World. The adaptations that enable blood-feeding also make the vampire bat highly effective at transmitting rabies virus. Whether the virus was present in pre-Columbian America or was introduced is much disputed, however, the introduction of Old World livestock and associated landscape modification, which continues to the present day, has enabled vampire bat populations to increase. This in turn has provided the conditions for rabies re-emergence to threaten both livestock and human populations as vampire bats target large mammals. This review considers the ecology of the vampire bat that make it such an efficient vector for rabies, the current status of vampire-transmitted rabies and the future prospects for spread by this virus and its control.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1897-1910: Molecular Phylogeny of Hantaviruses Harbored by Insectivorous Bats in Côte d’Ivoire and Vietnam

  • The recent discovery of genetically distinct hantaviruses in multiple species of shrews and moles prompted a further exploration of their host diversification by analyzing frozen, ethanol-fixed and RNAlater®-preserved archival tissues and fecal samples from 533 bats (representing seven families, 28 genera and 53 species in the order Chiroptera), captured in Asia, Africa and the Americas in 1981–2012, using RT-PCR. Hantavirus RNA was detected in Pomona roundleaf bats (Hipposideros pomona) (family Hipposideridae), captured in Vietnam in 1997 and 1999, and in banana pipistrelles (Neoromicia nanus) (family Vespertilionidae), captured in Côte d’Ivoire in 2011. Phylogenetic analysis, based on the full-length S- and partial M- and L-segment sequences using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods, demonstrated that the newfound hantaviruses formed highly divergent lineages, comprising other recently recognized bat-borne hantaviruses in Sierra Leone and China. The detection of bat-associated hantaviruses opens a new era in hantavirology and provides insights into their evolutionary origins.

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

  • Advanced nucleic acid-based technologies are powerful research tools for novel virus discovery but need to be standardized for broader applications such as virus detection in biological products and clinical samples. We have used well-characterized retrovirus stocks to evaluate the limit of detection (LOD) for broad-range PCR with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS or PLEX-ID), RT-PCR assays, and virus microarrays. The results indicated that in the absence of background cellular nucleic acids, PLEX-ID and RT-PCR had a similar LOD for xenotropic murine retrovirus-related virus (XMRV; 3.12 particles perµL) whereas sensitivity of virus detection was 10-fold greater using virus microarrays. When virus was spiked into a background of cellular nucleic acids, the LOD using PLEX-ID remained the same, whereas virus detection by RT-PCR was 10-fold less sensitive, and no virus could be detected by microarrays. Expected endogenous retrovirus (ERV) sequences were detected in cell lines tested and known species-specific viral sequences were detected in bovine serum and porcine trypsin. A follow-up strategy was developed using PCR amplification, nucleotide sequencing, and bioinformatics to demonstrate that an RD114-like retrovirus sequence that was detected by PLEX-ID in canine cell lines (Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) and Cf2Th canine thymus) was due to defective, endogenous gammaretrovirus-related sequences.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1861-1875: Characterization of the Anti-Influenza Activity of the Chinese Herbal Plant Paeonia lactiflora

  • Bai Shao (BS, the root of Paeonia lactiflora Pall.), a common Chinese herb in many recipes used to treat viral infection and liver diseases, is recognized for its ability to nourish menstruation, its Yin convergence, and as an antiperspirant. However, the mechanism and components for its antiviral function remain to be elucidated. In this study, an ethanolic extract of BS was further partitioned into aqueous and organic parts (EAex) for in vitro functional study and in vivo efficacy testing. EAex exhibited an IC50 of 0.016± 0.005 mg/mL against influenza virus A/WSN/33 (H1N1), with broad-spectrum inhibitory activity against different strains of human influenza A viruses, including clinical oseltamivir-resistant isolates and an H1N1pdm strain. The synthesis of both viral RNA and protein was profoundly inhibited when the cells were treated with EAex. A time-of-addition assay demonstrated that EAex exerted its antiviral activity at various stages of the virus replication cycle. We addressed its antiviral activity at virus entry and demonstrated that EAex inhibits viral hemagglutination and viral binding to and penetration into host cells. In vivo animal testing showed that 200 mg/kg/d of EAex offered significant protection against viral infection. We conclude that BS possesses antiviral activity and has the potential for development as an anti-influenza agent.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1837-1860: HIV-1 Latency in Monocytes/Macrophages

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) targets CD4+ T cells and cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. HIV pathogenesis is characterized by the depletion of T lymphocytes and by the presence of a population of cells in which latency has been established called the HIV-1 reservoir. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has significantly improved the life of HIV-1 infected patients. However, complete eradication of HIV-1 from infected individuals is not possible without targeting latent sources of infection. HIV-1 establishes latent infection in resting CD4+ T cells and findings indicate that latency can also be established in the cells of monocyte/macrophage lineage. Monocyte/macrophage lineage includes among others, monocytes, macrophages and brain resident macrophages. These cells are relatively more resistant to apoptosis induced by HIV-1, thus are important stable hideouts of the virus. Much effort has been made in the direction of eliminating HIV-1 resting CD4+ T-cell reservoirs. However, it is impossible to achieve a cure for HIV-1 without considering these neglected latent reservoirs, the cells of monocyte/macrophage lineage. In this review we will describe our current understanding of the mechanism of latency in monocyte/macrophage lineage and how such cells can be specifically eliminated from the infected host.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1823-1836: Dysregulated microRNA Expression in Serum of Non-Vaccinated Children with Varicella

  • Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) may play an important role in pathogen-host interactions and can serve as molecular markers for the detection of infectious diseases. To date, the relationship between circulating miRNAs and varicella-zoster virus (VZV) caused varicella has not been reported. Using TaqMan Low-Density Array (TLDA) analysis, expression levels of miRNAs in serum samples from 29 patients with varicella and 60 patients with Bordetella pertussis (BP), measles virus (MEV) and enterovirus (EV) were analyzed. The array results showed that 247 miRNAs were differentially expressed in sera of the varicella patients compared with healthy controls (215 up-regulated and 32 down-regulated). Through the following qRT-PCR confirmation and receiver operational characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, five miRNAs (miR-197, miR-629, miR-363, miR-132 and miR-122) were shown to distinguish varicella patients from healthy controls and other microbial infections with moderate sensitivity and specificity. A number of significantly enriched pathways regulated by these circulating miRNAs were predicted, and some of them were involved in inflammatory response, nervous system and respiratory system development. Our results, for the first time, revealed that a number of miRNAs were differentially expressed during VZV infection, and these five serum miRNAs have great potential to serve as biomarkers for the diagnosis of VZV infection in varicella patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1801-1822: Hantavirus Gn and Gc Envelope Glycoproteins: Key Structural Units for Virus Cell Entry and Virus Assembly

  • In recent years, ultrastructural studies of viral surface spikes from three different genera within the Bunyaviridae family have revealed a remarkable diversity in their spike organization. Despite this structural heterogeneity, in every case the spikes seem to be composed of heterodimers formed by Gn and Gc envelope glycoproteins. In this review, current knowledge of the Gn and Gc structures and their functions in virus cell entry and exit is summarized. During virus cell entry, the role of Gn and Gc in receptor binding has not yet been determined. Nevertheless, biochemical studies suggest that the subsequent virus-membrane fusion activity is accomplished by Gc. Further, a class II fusion protein conformation has been predicted for Gc of hantaviruses, and novel crystallographic data confirmed such a fold for the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) Gc protein. During virus cell exit, the assembly of different viral components seems to be established by interaction of Gn and Gc cytoplasmic tails (CT) with internal viral ribonucleocapsids. Moreover, recent findings show that hantavirus glycoproteins accomplish important roles during virus budding since they self-assemble into virus-like particles. Collectively, these novel insights provide essential information for gaining a more detailed understanding of Gn and Gc functions in the early and late steps of the hantavirus infection cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1789-1800: High-Level Systemic Expression of Conserved Influenza Epitope in Plants on the Surface of Rod-Shaped Chimeric Particles

  • Recombinant viruses based on the cDNA copy of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) genome carrying different versions of the conserved M2e epitope from influenza virus A cloned into the coat protein (CP) gene were obtained and partially characterized by our group previously; cysteines in the human consensus M2e sequence were changed to serine residues. This work intends to show some biological properties of these viruses following plant infections. Agroinfiltration experiments on Nicotiana benthamiana confirmed the efficient systemic expression of M2e peptides, and two point amino acid substitutions in recombinant CPs significantly influenced the symptoms and development of viral infections. Joint expression of RNA interference suppressor protein p19 from tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) did not affect the accumulation of CP-M2e-ser recombinant protein in non-inoculated leaves. RT-PCR analysis of RNA isolated from either infected leaves or purified TMV-M2e particles proved the genetic stability of TMV‑based viral vectors. Immunoelectron microscopy of crude plant extracts demonstrated that foreign epitopes are located on the surface of chimeric virions. The rod‑shaped geometry of plant-produced M2e epitopes is different from the icosahedral or helical filamentous arrangement of M2e antigens on the carrier virus-like particles (VLP) described earlier. Thereby, we created a simple and efficient system that employs agrobacteria and plant viral vectors in order to produce a candidate broad-spectrum flu vaccine.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1759-1788: Filoviruses in Bats: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

  • Filoviruses, including Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus, pose significant threats to public health and species conservation by causing hemorrhagic fever outbreaks with high mortality rates. Since the first outbreak in 1967, their origins, natural history, and ecology remained elusive until recent studies linked them through molecular, serological, and virological studies to bats. We review the ecology, epidemiology, and natural history of these systems, drawing on examples from other bat-borne zoonoses, and highlight key areas for future research. We compare and contrast results from ecological and virological studies of bats and filoviruses with those of other systems. We also highlight how advanced methods, such as more recent serological assays, can be interlinked with flexible statistical methods and experimental studies to inform the field studies necessary to understand filovirus persistence in wildlife populations and cross-species transmission leading to outbreaks. We highlight the need for a more unified, global surveillance strategy for filoviruses in wildlife, and advocate for more integrated, multi-disciplinary approaches to understand dynamics in bat populations to ultimately mitigate or prevent potentially devastating disease outbreaks.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1715-1758: HIV-1 Latency: An Update of Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies

  • The major obstacle towards HIV-1 eradication is the life-long persistence of the virus in reservoirs of latently infected cells. In these cells the proviral DNA is integrated in the host’s genome but it does not actively replicate, becoming invisible to the host immune system and unaffected by existing antiviral drugs. Rebound of viremia and recovery of systemic infection that follows interruption of therapy, necessitates life-long treatments with problems of compliance, toxicity, and untenable costs, especially in developing countries where the infection hits worst. Extensive research efforts have led to the proposal and preliminary testing of several anti-latency compounds, however, overall, eradication strategies have had, so far, limited clinical success while posing several risks for patients. This review will briefly summarize the more recent advances in the elucidation of mechanisms that regulates the establishment/maintenance of latency and therapeutic strategies currently under evaluation in order to eradicate HIV persistence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1701-1714: Muju Virus, Harbored by Myodes regulus in Korea, Might Represent a Genetic Variant of Puumala Virus, the Prototype Arvicolid Rodent-Borne Hantavirus

  • The genome of Muju virus (MUJV), identified originally in the royal vole (Myodes regulus) in Korea, was fully sequenced to ascertain its genetic and phylogenetic relationship with Puumala virus (PUUV), harbored by the bank vole (My. glareolus), and a PUUV-like virus, named Hokkaido virus (HOKV), in the grey red-backed vole (My. rufocanus) in Japan. Whole genome sequence analysis of the 6544-nucleotide large (L), 3652-nucleotide medium (M) and 1831-nucleotide small (S) segments of MUJV, as well as the amino acid sequences of their gene products, indicated that MUJV strains from different capture sites might represent genetic variants of PUUV, the prototype arvicolid rodent-borne hantavirus in Europe. Distinct geographic-specific clustering of MUJV was found in different provinces in Korea, and phylogenetic analyses revealed that MUJV and HOKV share a common ancestry with PUUV. A better understanding of the taxonomic classification and pathogenic potential of MUJV must await its isolation in cell culture.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1672-1700: Matrix and Backstage: Cellular Substrates for Viral Vaccines

  • Vaccines are complex products that are manufactured in highly dynamic processes. Cellular substrates are one critical component that can have an enormous impact on reactogenicity of the final preparation, level of attenuation of a live virus, yield of infectious units or antigens, and cost per vaccine dose. Such parameters contribute to feasibility and affordability of vaccine programs both in industrialized countries and developing regions. This review summarizes the diversity of cellular substrates for propagation of viral vaccines from primary tissue explants and embryonated chicken eggs to designed continuous cell lines of human and avian origin.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1654-1671: Analysis of Determinants in Filovirus Glycoproteins Required for Tetherin Antagonism

  • The host cell protein tetherin can restrict the release of enveloped viruses from infected cells. The HIV-1 protein Vpu counteracts tetherin by removing it from the site of viral budding, the plasma membrane, and this process depends on specific interactions between the transmembrane domains of Vpu and tetherin. In contrast, the glycoproteins (GPs) of two filoviruses, Ebola and Marburg virus, antagonize tetherin without reducing surface expression, and the domains in GP required for tetherin counteraction are unknown. Here, we show that filovirus GPs depend on the presence of their authentic transmembrane domains for virus-cell fusion and tetherin antagonism. However, conserved residues within the transmembrane domain were dispensable for membrane fusion and tetherin counteraction. Moreover, the insertion of the transmembrane domain into a heterologous viral GP, Lassa virus GPC, was not sufficient to confer tetherin antagonism to the recipient. Finally, mutation of conserved residues within the fusion peptide of Ebola virus GP inhibited virus-cell fusion but did not ablate tetherin counteraction, indicating that the fusion peptide and the ability of GP to drive host cell entry are not required for tetherin counteraction. These results suggest that the transmembrane domains of filoviral GPs contribute to tetherin antagonism but are not the sole determinants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1637-1653: Generation of West Nile Virus Infectious Clones Containing Amino Acid Insertions Between Capsid and Capsid Anchor

  • West Nile virus (WNV) is a positive-sense RNA arbovirus responsible for recent outbreaks of severe neurological disease within the US and Europe. Large-scale analyses of antiviral compounds that inhibit virus replication have been limited due to the lack of an adequate WN reporter virus. Previous attempts to insert a reporter into the 3’ untranslated region of WNV generated unstable viruses, suggesting that this region does not accommodate additional nucleotides. Here, we engineered two WNV infectious clones containing insertions at the Capsid (C)/Capsid Anchor (CA) junction of the viral polyprotein. Recombinant viruses containing a TAT(1-67) or Gaussia Luciferase (GLuc) gene at this location were successfully recovered. However, rapid loss of most, if not all, of the reporter sequence occurred for both viruses, indicating that the reporter viruses were not stable. While the GLuc viruses predominantly reverted back to wild-type WNV length, the TAT viruses retained up to 75 additional nucleotides of the reporter sequence. These additional nucleotides were stable over at least five passages and did not significantly alter WNV fitness. Thus, the C/CA junction of WNV can tolerate additional nucleotides, though insertions are subject to certain constraints.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1612-1636: Superresolution Imaging of Human Cytomegalovirus vMIA Localization in Sub-Mitochondrial Compartments

  • The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) viral mitochondria-localized inhibitor of apoptosis (vMIA) protein, traffics to mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM), where the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contacts the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). vMIA association with the MAM has not been visualized by imaging. Here, we have visualized this by using a combination of confocal and superresolution imaging. Deconvolution of confocal microscopy images shows vMIA localizes away from mitochondrial matrix at the Mitochondria-ER interface. By gated stimulated emission depletion (GSTED) imaging, we show that along this interface vMIA is distributed in clusters. Through multicolor, multifocal structured illumination microscopy (MSIM), we find vMIA clusters localize away from MitoTracker Red, indicating its OMM localization. GSTED and MSIM imaging show vMIA exists in clusters of ~100–150 nm, which is consistent with the cluster size determined by Photoactivated Localization Microscopy (PALM). With these diverse superresolution approaches, we have imaged the clustered distribution of vMIA at the OMM adjacent to the ER. Our findings directly compare the relative advantages of each of these superresolution imaging modalities for imaging components of the MAM and sub-mitochondrial compartments. These studies establish the ability of superresolution imaging to provide valuable insight into viral protein location, particularly in the sub-mitochondrial compartments, and into their clustered organization.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1590-1611: Occult HBV Infection: A Faceless Enemy in Liver Cancer Development

  • The hepatitis B virus (HBV) represents a worldwide public health problem; the virus is present in one third of the global population. However, this rate may in fact be higher due to occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI). This condition is characterized by the presence of the viral genome in the liver of individuals sero-negative for the virus surface antigen (HBsAg). The causes of the absence of HBsAg in serum are unknown, however, mutations have been identified that produce variants not recognized by current immunoassays. Epigenetic and immunological host mechanisms also appear to be involved in HBsAg suppression. Current evidence suggests that OBI maintains its carcinogenic potential, favoring the progression of fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. In common with open HBV infection, OBI can contribute to the establishment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Epidemiological data regarding the global prevalence of OBI vary due to the use of detection methods of different sensitivity and specificity. In Latin America, which is considered an area of low prevalence for HBV, diagnostic screening methods using gene amplification tests for confirmation of OBI are not conducted. This prevents determination of the actual prevalence of OBI, highlighting the need for the implementation of cutting edge technology in epidemiological surveillance systems.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1578-1589: Generation of Recombinant Rabies Virus CVS-11 Expressing eGFP Applied to the Rapid Virus Neutralization Test

  • The determination of levels of rabies virus-neutralizing antibody (VNA) provides the foundation for the quantitative evaluation of immunity effects. The traditional fluorescent antibody virus neutralization test (FAVN) using a challenge virus standard (CVS)-11 strain as a detection antigen and staining infected cells with a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled monoclonal antibody, is expensive and high-quality reagents are often difficult to obtain in developing countries. Indeed, it is essential to establish a rapid, economical, and specific rabies virus neutralization test (VNT). Here, we describe a recombinant virus rCVS-11-eGFP strain that stably expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) based on a reverse genetic system of the CVS-11 strain. Compared to the rCVS-11 strain, the rCVS-11-eGFP strain showed a similar growth property with passaging stability in vitro and pathogenicity in vivo. The rCVS-11-eGFP strain was utilized as a detection antigen to determine the levels of rabies VNAs in 23 human and 29 canine sera; this technique was termed the FAVN-eGFP method. The good reproducibility of FAVN-eGFP was tested with partial serum samples. Neutralization titers obtained from FAVN and FAVN-eGFP were not significantly different. The FAVN-eGFP method allows rapid economical, specific, and high-throughput assessment for the titration of rabies VNAs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1564-1577: Poxviruses in Bats … so What?

  • Poxviruses are important pathogens of man and numerous domestic and wild animal species. Cross species (including zoonotic) poxvirus infections can have drastic consequences for the recipient host. Bats are a diverse order of mammals known to carry lethal viral zoonoses such as Rabies, Hendra, Nipah, and SARS. Consequent targeted research is revealing bats to be infected with a rich diversity of novel viruses. Poxviruses were recently identified in bats and the settings in which they were found were dramatically different. Here, we review the natural history of poxviruses in bats and highlight the relationship of the viruses to each other and their context in the Poxviridae family. In addition to considering the zoonotic potential of these viruses, we reflect on the broader implications of these findings. Specifically, the potential to explore and exploit this newfound relationship to study coevolution and cross species transmission together with fundamental aspects of poxvirus host tropism as well as bat virology and immunology.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1540-1563: Peptide-Based Technologies to Alter Adenoviral Vector Tropism: Ways and Means for Systemic Treatment of Cancer

  • Due to the fundamental progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of human diseases and the arrival of the post-genomic era, increasing numbers of therapeutic genes and cellular targets are available for gene therapy. Meanwhile, the most important challenge is to develop gene delivery vectors with high efficiency through target cell selectivity, in particular under in situ conditions. The most widely used vector system to transduce cells is based on adenovirus (Ad). Recent endeavors in the development of selective Ad vectors that target cells or tissues of interest and spare the alteration of all others have focused on the modification of the virus broad natural tropism. A popular way of Ad targeting is achieved by directing the vector towards distinct cellular receptors. Redirecting can be accomplished by linking custom-made peptides with specific affinity to cellular surface proteins via genetic integration, chemical coupling or bridging with dual-specific adapter molecules. Ideally, targeted vectors are incapable of entering cells via their native receptors. Such altered vectors offer new opportunities to delineate functional genomics in a natural environment and may enable efficient systemic therapeutic approaches. This review provides a summary of current state-of-the-art techniques to specifically target adenovirus-based gene delivery vectors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1525-1539: Comprehensive Characterization of Serum MicroRNA Profile in Response to the Emerging Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus Infection in Humans

  • A novel avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus recently occurred in China and caused 137 human infection cases with a 32.8% mortality rate. Although various detection procedures have been developed, the pathogenesis of this emerging virus in humans remains largely unknown. In this study, we characterized serum microRNA (miRNA) profile in response to H7N9 virus infection using TaqMan Low Density Arrays. Upon infection, a total of 395 miRNAs were expressed in the serum pool of patients, far beyond the 221 in healthy controls. Among the 187 commonly expressed miRNAs, 146 were up-regulated and only 7 down-regulated in patients. Further analysis by quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the serum levels of miR-17, miR-20a, miR-106a and miR-376c were significantly elevated in patients compared with healthy individuals (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to show that each miRNA could discriminate H7N9 patients from controls with area under the curve (AUC) values ranging from 0.622 to 0.898, whereas a combination of miR-17, miR-20a, miR-106a and miR-376c obtained a higher discriminating ability with an AUC value of 0.96. Our findings unravel the significant alterations in serum miRNA expression following virus infection and manifest great potential of circulating miRNAs for the diagnosis of viral diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1502-1524: The Carboxy Terminal Region of the Human Cytomegalovirus Immediate Early 1 (IE1) Protein Disrupts Type II Inteferon Signaling

  • Interferons (IFNs) activate the first lines of defense against viruses, and promote innate and adaptive immune responses to viruses. We report that the immediate early 1 (IE1) protein of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) disrupts signaling by IFNγ. The carboxyl-terminal region of IE1 is required for this function. We found no defect in the initial events in IFNγ signaling or in nuclear accumulation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) in IE1-expressing cells. Moreover, we did not observe an association between disruption of IFNγ signaling and nuclear domain 10 (ND10) disruption. However, there is reduced binding of STAT1 homodimers to target gamma activated sequence (GAS) elements in the presence of IE1. Co-immunoprecipitation studies failed to support a direct interaction between IE1 and STAT1, although these studies revealed that the C-terminal region of IE1 was required for interaction with STAT2. Together, these results indicate that IE1 disrupts IFNγ signaling by interfering with signaling events in the nucleus through a novel mechanism.
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