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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 212: Does BCA3 Play a Role in the HIV-1 Replication Cycle?

  • The cellular role of breast carcinoma-associated protein (BCA3), also known as A-kinase-interacting protein 1 (AKIP-1), is not fully understood. Recently, we reported that full-length, but not C-terminally truncated, BCA3 is incorporated into virions of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, and that BCA3 enhances HIV-1 protease-induced apoptosis. In the present study, we report that BCA3 is associated with purified and subtilisin-treated HIV particles. Using a combination of immune-based methods and confocal microscopy, we show that the C-terminus of BCA3 is required for packaging into HIV-1 particles. However, we were unable to identify an HIV-1 binding domain for BCA3, and we did not observe any effect of incorporated BCA3 on HIV-1 infectivity. Interestingly, the BCA3 C-terminus was previously identified as a binding site for the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A (PKAc), a cellular protein that is specifically packaged into HIV-1 particles. Based on our analysis of PKAcaamp;amp;ndash;BCA3 interactions, we suggest that BCA3 incorporation into HIV-1 particles is mediated by its ability to interact with PKAc.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 211: Gemcitabine and Nucleos(t)ide Synthesis Inhibitors Are Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Drugs that Activate Innate Immunity

  • Nucleoside analogs have been frequently identified as antiviral agents. In recent years, gemcitabine, a cytidine analog in clinical use for the treatment of many solid tumors, was also shown to have antiviral activity against a broad range of viruses. Nucleoside analogs generally interfere with cellular nucleos(t)ide synthesis pathways, resulting in the depletion or imbalance of (d)NTP pools. Intriguingly, a few recent reports have shown that some nucleoside analogs, including gemcitabine, activated innate immunity, inducing the expression of interferon-stimulated genes, through nucleos(t)ide synthesis inhibition. The precise crosstalk between these two independent processes remains to be determined. Nonetheless, we summarize the current knowledge of nucleos(t)ide synthesis inhibition-related innate immunity and propose it as a newly emerging antiviral mechanism of nucleoside analogs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 210: Prior Puma Lentivirus Infection Modifies Early Immune Responses and Attenuates Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Cats

  • We previously showed that cats that were infected with non-pathogenic Puma lentivirus (PLV) and then infected with pathogenic feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) (co-infection with the host adapted/pathogenic virus) had delayed FIV proviral and RNA viral loads in blood, with viral set-points that were lower than cats infected solely with FIV. This difference was associated with global CD4+ T cell preservation, greater interferon gamma (IFN-aamp;amp;gamma;) mRNA expression, and no cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in co-infected cats relative to cats with a single FIV infection. In this study, we reinforced previous observations that prior exposure to an apathogenic lentivirus infection can diminish the effects of acute infection with a second, more virulent, viral exposure. In addition, we investigated whether the viral load differences that were observed between PLV/FIV and FIV infected cats were associated with different immunocyte phenotypes and cytokines. We found that the immune landscape at the time of FIV infection influences the infection outcome. The novel findings in this study advance our knowledge about early immune correlates and documents an immune state that is associated with PLV/FIV co-infection that has positive outcomes for lentiviral diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 209: Phages Make for Jolly Good Stories

  • Phage therapy has an intriguing history. It was widely used from the 1920s until the 1940s. After this period, it was nearly completely forgotten in the Western world, while it continued to be used in the Soviet part of the globe. The study of the history of phage therapy provides valuable input into the present development of the field. Science journalists uncovered much of this history and played an important role in the communication of phage therapy after the fall of the Soviet Union, when it came to the attention of Western researchers and doctors. This interest was fueled by the antibiotic resistance crisis. At this time, communication about phage therapy had a wide potential audience, that encompassed medical experts and researchers, as well as the public, because knowledge about this forgotten therapy was very limited. In such a situation, good communication had and still has the potential to catalyze important discussions among different groups; whereas, bad communication could have considerably hindered and still can hinder the possible renaissance of phage therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 208: Cytoplasmic Translocation of Nucleolar Protein NOP53 Promotes Viral Replication by Suppressing Host Defense

  • NOP53 is a tumor suppressor protein located in the nucleolus and is translocated to the cytoplasm during infection by vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), as shown in our previous study. Cytoplasmic NOP53 interacts with the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) to remove its K63-linked ubiquitination, leading to attenuation of type I interferon IFN-aamp;amp;beta;. In the present study, we found no obvious translocation of NOP53 in infection by a mutant virus lacking ICP4 (HSV-1/d120, replication inadequate). Blocking cytoplasmic translocation of NOP53 by the deletion of its nuclear export sequence (NES) abrogated its ability to support viral replication. These results demonstrated that NOP53 redistribution is related to viral replication. It is interesting that treatment with poly (I:C) or RIG-I-N (a constitutively-active variant) directly induced NOP53 cytoplasmic translocation. To better assess the function of cytoplasmic NOP53 in viral replication, the NOP53-derived protein N3-T, which contains a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-derived cell-penetrating Tat peptide at the C-terminal region of N3 (residues 330aamp;amp;ndash;432), was constructed and expressed. The recombinant N3-T protein formed trimers, attenuated the expression of IFN-aamp;amp;beta; and IFN-stimulated genes, as well as decreased the phosphorylation level of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3). Furthermore, N3-T promoted the efficient replication of enveloped and non-enveloped DNA and RNA viruses belonging to 5 families. Our findings expand the understanding of the mechanism by which viruses utilize the nucleolar protein NOP53 for optimal viral replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 207: CD81 Receptor Regions outside the Large Extracellular Loop Determine Hepatitis C Virus Entry into Hepatoma Cells

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) enters human hepatocytes using four essential entry factors, one of which is human CD81 (hCD81). The tetraspanin hCD81 contains a large extracellular loop (LEL), which interacts with the E2 glycoprotein of HCV. The role of the non-LEL regions of hCD81 (intracellular tails, four transmembrane domains, small extracellular loop and intracellular loop) is poorly understood. Here, we studied the contribution of these domains to HCV susceptibility of hepatoma cells by generating chimeras of related tetraspanins with the hCD81 LEL. Our results show that non-LEL regions in addition to the LEL determine susceptibility of cells to HCV. While closely related tetraspanins (X. tropicalis CD81 and D. rerio CD81) functionally complement hCD81 non-LEL regions, distantly related tetraspanins (C. elegans TSP9 amd D. melanogaster TSP96F) do not and tetraspanins with intermediate homology (hCD9) show an intermediate phenotype. Tetraspanin homology and susceptibility to HCV correlate positively. For some chimeras, infectivity correlates with surface expression. In contrast, the hCD9 chimera is fully surface expressed, binds HCV E2 glycoprotein but is impaired in HCV receptor function. We demonstrate that a cholesterol-coordinating glutamate residue in CD81, which hCD9 lacks, promotes HCV infection. This work highlights the hCD81 non-LEL regions as additional HCV susceptibility-determining factors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 206: Applications of the FIV Model to Study HIV Pathogenesis

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a naturally-occurring retrovirus that infects domestic and non-domestic feline species, producing progressive immune depletion that results in an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Much has been learned about FIV since it was first described in 1987, particularly in regard to its application as a model to study the closely related lentivirus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In particular, FIV and HIV share remarkable structure and sequence organization, utilize parallel modes of receptor-mediated entry, and result in a similar spectrum of immunodeficiency-related diseases due to analogous modes of immune dysfunction. This review summarizes current knowledge of FIV infection kinetics and the mechanisms of immune dysfunction in relation to opportunistic disease, specifically in regard to studying HIV pathogenesis. Furthermore, we present data that highlight changes in the oral microbiota and oral immune system during FIV infection, and outline the potential for the feline model of oral AIDS manifestations to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms of HIV-induced oral disease. Finally, we discuss advances in molecular biology, vaccine development, neurologic dysfunction, and the ability to apply pharmacologic interventions and sophisticated imaging technologies to study experimental and naturally occurring FIV, which provide an excellent, but often overlooked, resource for advancing therapies and the management of HIV/AIDS.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 205: Bacteriophage Applications for Food Production and Processing

  • Foodborne illnesses remain a major cause of hospitalization and death worldwide despite many advances in food sanitation techniques and pathogen surveillance. Traditional antimicrobial methods, such as pasteurization, high pressure processing, irradiation, and chemical disinfectants are capable of reducing microbial populations in foods to varying degrees, but they also have considerable drawbacks, such as a large initial investment, potential damage to processing equipment due to their corrosive nature, and a deleterious impact on organoleptic qualities (and possibly the nutritional value) of foods. Perhaps most importantly, these decontamination strategies kill indiscriminately, including manyaamp;amp;mdash;often beneficialaamp;amp;mdash;bacteria that are naturally present in foods. One promising technique that addresses several of these shortcomings is bacteriophage biocontrol, a green and natural method that uses lytic bacteriophages isolated from the environment to specifically target pathogenic bacteria and eliminate them from (or significantly reduce their levels in) foods. Since the initial conception of using bacteriophages on foods, a substantial number of research reports have described the use of bacteriophage biocontrol to target a variety of bacterial pathogens in various foods, ranging from ready-to-eat deli meats to fresh fruits and vegetables, and the number of commercially available products containing bacteriophages approved for use in food safety applications has also been steadily increasing. Though some challenges remain, bacteriophage biocontrol is increasingly recognized as an attractive modality in our arsenal of tools for safely and naturally eliminating pathogenic bacteria from foods.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 204: Variability Studies of Two Prunus-Infecting Fabaviruses with the Aid of High-Throughput Sequencing

  • During their lifetime, perennial woody plants are expected to face multiple infection events. Furthermore, multiple genotypes of individual virus species may co-infect the same host. This may eventually lead to a situation where plants harbor complex communities of viral species/strains. Using high-throughput sequencing, we describe co-infection of sweet and sour cherry trees with diverse genomic variants of two closely related viruses, namely prunus virus F (PrVF) and cherry virus F (CVF). Both viruses are most homologous to members of the Fabavirus genus (Secoviridae family). The comparison of CVF and PrVF RNA2 genomic sequences suggests that the two viruses may significantly differ in their expression strategy. Indeed, similar to comoviruses, the smaller genomic segment of PrVF, RNA2, may be translated in two collinear proteins while CVF likely expresses only the shorter of these two proteins. Linked with the observation that identity levels between the coat proteins of these two viruses are significantly below the family species demarcation cut-off, these findings support the idea that CVF and PrVF represent two separate Fabavirus species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 203: Remembering Jan Svoboda: A Personal Reflection

  • The Czech scientist Jan Svoboda was a pioneer of Rous sarcoma virus (RSV). In the 1960s, before the discovery of reverse transcriptase, he demonstrated the long-term persistence of the viral genome in non-productive mammalian cells, and he supported the DNA provirus hypothesis of Howard Temin. He showed how the virus can be rescued in the infectious form and elucidated the replication-competent nature of the Prague strain of RSV later used for the identification of the src oncogene. His studies straddled molecular oncology and virology, and he remained an active contributor to the field until his death last year. Throughout the 50 years that I was privileged to know Svoboda as my mentor and friend, I admired his depth of scientific inquiry and his steadfast integrity in the face of political oppression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 202: Concepts in Light Microscopy of Viruses

  • Viruses threaten humans, livestock, and plants, and are difficult to combat. Imaging of viruses by light microscopy is key to uncover the nature of known and emerging viruses in the quest for finding new ways to treat viral disease and deepening the understanding of virusaamp;amp;ndash;host interactions. Here, we provide an overview of recent technology for imaging cells and viruses by light microscopy, in particular fluorescence microscopy in static and live-cell modes. The review lays out guidelines for how novel fluorescent chemical probes and proteins can be used in light microscopy to illuminate cells, and how they can be used to study virus infections. We discuss advantages and opportunities of confocal and multi-photon microscopy, selective plane illumination microscopy, and super-resolution microscopy. We emphasize the prevalent concepts in image processing and data analyses, and provide an outlook into label-free digital holographic microscopy for virus research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 201: Inhibition of Rabies Virus by 1,2,3,4,6-Penta-O-galloyl-β-d-Glucose Involves mTOR-Dependent Autophagy

  • The compound 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-aamp;amp;beta;-d-glucose (PGG), a gallotannin present in various plants such as Rhus chinensis Mill and Paeonia suffruticosa, has a broad spectrum of antiviral effects. The present study investigated its potency against infection of mice with rabies virus (RABV). Results demonstrated that PGG strongly inhibited virus titers (50-fold), viral mRNA expression (up to 90%), and protein synthesis in vitro. Importantly, we found that PGG not only suppressed viral adsorption and entry, but also directly inactivated RABV through suppression of autophagy by mediating activation of the mTOR-dependent autophagy signaling pathway. In vivo, PGG (10 mg/kg) alleviated the clinical symptoms and reduced the mortality of infected mice by 27.3%. Collectively, our results indicate that PGG has potent anti-RABV effect, and merits further investigation as an anti-RABV drug.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 200: Accounting for Space—Quantification of Cell-To-Cell Transmission Kinetics Using Virus Dynamics Models

  • Mathematical models based on ordinary differential equations (ODE) that describe the population dynamics of viruses and infected cells have been an essential tool to characterize and quantify viral infection dynamics. Although an important aspect of viral infection is the dynamics of viral spread, which includes transmission by cell-free virions and direct cell-to-cell transmission, models used so far ignored cell-to-cell transmission completely, or accounted for this process by simple mass-action kinetics between infected and uninfected cells. In this study, we show that the simple mass-action approach falls short when describing viral spread in a spatially-defined environment. Using simulated data, we present a model extension that allows correct quantification of cell-to-cell transmission dynamics within a monolayer of cells. By considering the decreasing proportion of cells that can contribute to cell-to-cell spread with progressing infection, our extension accounts for the transmission dynamics on a single cell level while still remaining applicable to standard population-based experimental measurements. While the ability to infer the proportion of cells infected by either of the transmission modes depends on the viral diffusion rate, the improved estimates obtained using our novel approach emphasize the need to correctly account for spatial aspects when analyzing viral spread.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 199: Role of the ERK1/2 Signaling Pathway in the Replication of Junín and Tacaribe Viruses

  • We have previously shown that the infection of cell cultures with the arenaviruses Junaamp;amp;iacute;n (JUNV), Tacaribe (TCRV), and Pichindaamp;amp;eacute; promotes the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and that this activation is required for the achievement of a productive infection. Here we examined the contribution of ERK1/2 in early steps of JUNV and TCRV multiplication. JUNV adsorption, internalization, and uncoating were not affected by treatment of cultured cells with U0126, an inhibitor of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway. In contrast, U0126 caused a marked reduction in viral protein expression and RNA synthesis, while JUNV RNA synthesis was significantly augmented in the presence of an activator of the ERK1/2 pathway. Moreover, U0126 impaired the expression of a reporter gene in a TCRV-based replicon system, confirming the ability of the compound to hinder arenavirus macromolecular synthesis. By using a cell-based assay, we determined that the inhibitor did not affect the translation of a synthetic TCRV-like mRNA. No changes in the phosphorylation pattern of the translation factor eIF2aamp;amp;alpha; were found in U0126-treated cells. Our results indicate that U0126 impairs viral RNA synthesis, thereby leading to a subsequent reduction in viral protein expression. Thus, we conclude that ERK1/2 signaling activation is required for an efficient arenavirus RNA synthesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 198: Zika Virus in the Male Reproductive Tract

  • Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are resurging across the globe. Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused significant concern in recent years because it can lead to congenital malformations in babies and Guillain-Barraamp;amp;eacute; syndrome in adults. Unlike other arboviruses, ZIKV can be sexually transmitted and may persist in the male reproductive tract. There is limited information regarding the impact of ZIKV on male reproductive health and fertility. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie persistent ZIKV infections in men is critical to developing effective vaccines and therapies. Mouse and macaque models have begun to unravel the pathogenesis of ZIKV infection in the male reproductive tract, with the testes and prostate gland implicated as potential reservoirs for persistent ZIKV infection. Here, we summarize current knowledge regarding the pathogenesis of ZIKV in the male reproductive tract, the development of animal models to study ZIKV infection at this site, and prospects for vaccines and therapeutics against persistent ZIKV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 197: The Hard Way towards an Antibody-Based HIV-1 Env Vaccine: Lessons from Other Viruses

  • Although effective antibody-based vaccines have been developed against multiple viruses, such approaches have so far failed for the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Despite the success of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) that has turned HIV-1 infection into a chronic disease and has reduced the number of new infections worldwide, a vaccine against HIV-1 is still urgently needed. We discuss here the major reasons for the failure of“classical” vaccine approaches, which are mostly due to the biological properties of the virus itself. HIV-1 has developed multiple mechanisms of immune escape, which also account for vaccine failure. So far, no vaccine candidate has been able to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against primary patient viruses from different clades. However, such antibodies were identified in a subset of patients during chronic infection and were shown to protect from infection in animal models and to reduce viremia in first clinical trials. Their detailed characterization has guided structure-based reverse vaccinology approaches to design better HIV-1 envelope (Env) immunogens. Furthermore, conserved Env epitopes have been identified, which are promising candidates in view of clinical applications. Together with new vector-based technologies, considerable progress has been achieved inrecent years towards the development of an effective antibody-based HIV-1 vaccine.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 196: Interferon Independent Non-Canonical STAT Activation and Virus Induced Inflammation

  • Interferons (IFNs) are a group of secreted proteins that play critical roles in antiviral immunity, antitumor activity, activation of cytotoxic T cells, and modulation of host immune responses. IFNs are cytokines, and bind receptors on cell surfaces to trigger signal transduction. The major signaling pathway activated by IFNs is the JAK/STAT (Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription) pathway, a complex pathway involved in both viral and host survival strategies. On the one hand, viruses have evolved strategies to escape from antiviral host defenses evoked by IFN-activated JAK/STAT signaling. On the other hand, viruses have also evolved to exploit the JAK/STAT pathway to evoke activation of certain STATs that somehow promote viral pathogenesis. In this review, recent progress in our understanding of the virus-induced IFN-independent STAT signaling and its potential roles in viral induced inflammation and pathogenesis are summarized in detail, and perspectives are provided.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 195: A New Model for the Dynamics of Hepatitis C Infection: Derivation, Analysis and Implications

  • We review various existing models of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and show that there are inconsistencies between the models and known behaviour of the infection. A new model for HCV infection is proposed, based on various dynamical processes that occur during the infection that are described in the literature. This new model is analysed, and three steady state branches of solutions are found when there is no stem cell generation of hepatocytes. Unusually, the branch of infected solutions that connects the uninfected branch and the pure infection branch can be found analytically and always includes a limit point, subject to a few conditions on the parameters. When the action of stem cells is included, the bifurcation between the pure infection and infected branches unfolds, leaving a single branch of infected solutions. It is shown that this model can generate various viral load profiles that have been described in the literature, which is confirmed by fitting the model to four viral load datasets. Suggestions for possible changes in treatment are made based on the model.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 194: Phylogenetic Analysis and Pathogenicity Assessment of the Emerging Recombinant Subgroup K of Avian Leukosis Virus in South China

  • In recent years, cases of avian leukosis virus (ALV) infection have become more frequent in China. We isolated 6 ALV strains from yellow feather broiler breeders in south China from 2014 to 2016. Their full genomes were sequenced, compared, and analyzed with other reference strains of ALV. The complete genomic nucleotide sequences of GD150509, GD160403, GD160607, GDFX0601, and GDFX0602 were 7482 bp in length, whereas GDFX0603 was 7480 bp. They shared 99.7% to 99.8% identity with each other. Homology analysis showed that the gag, pol, long terminal repeats (LTRs), and the transmembrane region (gp37) of the env genes of the 6 viruses were well conserved to endogenous counterpart sequences (aamp;amp;gt;97.8%). However, the gp85 genes displayed high variability with any known chicken ALV strains. Growth kinetics of DF-1 cells infected with the isolated ALV showed viral titers that were lower than those infected with the GD13 (ALV-A), CD08 (ALV-B), and CHN06 (ALV-J) on day 7 post-infection. The infected Specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chickens could produce continuous viremia, atrophy of immune organs, growth retardation and no tumors were observed. These subgroup ALVs are unique and may be common in south China. The results suggested that updating the control and eradication program of exogenous ALV for yellow feather broiler breeders in south China needs to be considered because of the emergence of the new subgroup viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 193: Full-Genome Characterization and Genetic Evolution of West African Isolates of Bagaza Virus

  • Bagaza virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, first isolated in 1966 in Central African Republic. It has currently been identified in mosquito pools collected in the field in West and Central Africa. Emergence in wild birds in Europe and serological evidence in encephalitis patients in India raise questions on its genetic evolution and the diversity of isolates circulating in Africa. To better understand genetic diversity and evolution of Bagaza virus, we describe the full-genome characterization of 11 West African isolates, sampled from 1988 to 2014. Parameters such as genetic distances, N-glycosylation patterns, recombination events, selective pressures, and its codon adaptation to human genes are assessed. Our study is noteworthy for the observation of N-glycosylation and recombination in Bagaza virus and provides insight into its Indian origin from the 13th century. Interestingly, evidence of Bagaza virus codon adaptation to human house-keeping genes is also observed to be higher than those of other flaviviruses well known in human infections. Genetic variations on genome of West African Bagaza virus could play an important role in generating diversity and may promote Bagaza virus adaptation to other vertebrates and become an important threat in human health.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 192: Full Genome Sequencing Reveals New Southern African Territories Genotypes Bringing Us Closer to Understanding True Variability of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus in Africa

  • Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes a highly contagious disease of cloven-hooved animals that poses a constant burden on farmers in endemic regions and threatens the livestock industries in disease-free countries. Despite the increased number of publicly available whole genome sequences, FMDV data are biased by the opportunistic nature of sampling. Since whole genomic sequences of Southern African Territories (SAT) are particularly underrepresented, this study sequenced 34 isolates from eastern and southern Africa. Phylogenetic analyses revealed two novel genotypes (that comprised 8/34 of these SAT isolates) which contained unusual 5aamp;amp;prime; untranslated and non-structural encoding regions. While recombination has occurred between these sequences, phylogeny violation analyses indicated that the high degree of sequence diversity for the novel SAT genotypes has not solely arisen from recombination events. Based on estimates of the timing of ancestral divergence, these data are interpreted as being representative of un-sampled FMDV isolates that have been subjected to geographical isolation within Africa by the effects of the Great African Rinderpest Pandemic (1887aamp;amp;ndash;1897), which caused a mass die-out of FMDV-susceptible hosts. These findings demonstrate that further sequencing of African FMDV isolates is likely to reveal more unusual genotypes and will allow for better understanding of natural variability and evolution of FMDV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 191: Combination Kinase Inhibitor Treatment Suppresses Rift Valley Fever Virus Replication

  • Viruses must parasitize host cell translational machinery in order to make proteins for viral progeny. In this study, we sought to use this signal transduction conduit against them by inhibiting multiple kinases that influence translation. Previous work indicated that several kinases involved in translation, including p70 S6K, p90RSK, ERK, and p38 MAPK, are phosphorylated following Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) infection. Furthermore, inhibiting p70 S6K through treatment with the FDA approved drug rapamycin prevents RVFV pathogenesis in a mouse model of infection. We hypothesized that inhibiting either p70 S6K, p90RSK, or p90RSKaamp;amp;rsquo;s upstream kinases, ERK and p38 MAPK, would decrease translation and subsequent viral replication. Treatment with the p70 S6K inhibitor PF-4708671 resulted in decreased phosphorylation of translational proteins and reduced RVFV titers. In contrast, treatment with the p90RSK inhibitor BI-D1870, p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580, or the ERK inhibitor PD0325901 alone had minimal influence on RVFV titers. The combination of PF-4708671 and BI-D1870 treatment resulted in robust inhibition of RVFV replication. Likewise, a synergistic inhibition of RVFV replication was observed with p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580 or the ERK inhibitor PD0325901 combined with rapamycin treatment. These findings serve as a proof of concept regarding combination kinase inhibitor treatment for RVFV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 190: Counteracting Akt Activation by HIV Protease Inhibitors in Monocytes/Macrophages

  • Akt signaling plays a central role in many biological processes that are key players in human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) pathogenesis. The persistence of latent reservoirs in successfully treated patients, mainly located in macrophages and latently infected resting CD4+ T cells, remains a major obstacle in HIV-1 eradication. We assessed the in vitro effects of an HIV protease inhibitor (PI) and a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) on HIV-1 Nef-induced Akt activation in macrophages and on HIV-1 reactivation in U1 monocytoid cells. Ex vivo, we investigated the impact of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) on Akt activation, as measured by flow cytometry, and on the viral reservoir size, quantified by qPCR, in monocytes and autologous resting CD4+ T cells from HIV-infected individuals (Trial registration: NCT02858414). We found that, in myeloid cells, both Akt activation and HIV-1 reactivation were inhibited by PI but not by NNRTI in vitro. Our results indicate that cART decreases Akt activation and reduces the size of the HIV reservoir in both monocytes and resting CD4+ T cells. Our study indicates that Akt activation could play a role in HIV reservoir formation, indicating that drugs which target Akt could be efficient for limiting its size in aviremic chronically infected patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 189: Development and Validation of a Microtiter Plate-Based Assay for Determination of Bacteriophage Host Range and Virulence

  • Bacteriophages, which are the natural predators of bacteria, have re-emerged as an attractive alternative to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. Phages are highly specific at the species and strain level and measurement of the phage host range plays an important role in utilizing the phage as antimicrobials. The most common method for phage host range determination has been to spot phage lysates on soft agar overlays and observe plaque formation. In this study, a liquid culture-based assay was developed in a 96-well microtiter plate format to measure the phage host range and virulence for a collection of 15 Salmonella phages against a panel of 20 Salmonella strains representing 11 serovars. This method was compared to a traditional spot method. The majority of the host range results from two methods were in agreement including in cases where a bacterial strain was insensitive to the phage. Each method produced a false-negative result in 19/300 (6%) of the measured phage-host combinations when compared to the other method. The spot method tended to indicate greater phage sensitivity than the microtiter assay even though direct comparisons of the response magnitude between the two methods is difficult since they operate on different mechanisms. The microtiter plate assay was able to provide data on both the phage host range and virulence in greater resolution in a high-throughput format.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 188: Characterizing Phage Genomes for Therapeutic Applications

  • Multi-drug resistance is increasing at alarming rates. The efficacy of phage therapy, treating bacterial infections with bacteriophages alone or in combination with traditional antibiotics, has been demonstrated in emergency cases in the United States and in other countries, however remains to be approved for wide-spread use in the US. One limiting factor is a lack of guidelines for assessing the genomic safety of phage candidates. We present the phage characterization workflow used by our team to generate data for submitting phages to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for authorized use. Essential analysis checkpoints and warnings are detailed for obtaining high-quality genomes, excluding undesirable candidates, rigorously assessing a phage genome for safety and evaluating sequencing contamination. This workflow has been developed in accordance with community standards for high-throughput sequencing of viral genomes as well as principles for ideal phages used for therapy. The feasibility and utility of the pipeline is demonstrated on two new phage genomes that meet all safety criteria. We propose these guidelines as a minimum standard for phages being submitted to the FDA for review as investigational new drug candidates.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 187: Pervasive Chimerism in the Replication-Associated Proteins of Uncultured Single-Stranded DNA Viruses

  • Numerous metagenomic studies have uncovered a remarkable diversity of circular replication-associated protein (Rep)-encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA viruses, the majority of which are uncultured and unclassified. Unlike capsid proteins, the Reps show significant similarity across different groups of CRESS DNA viruses and have conserved domain organization with the N-terminal nuclease and the C-terminal helicase domain. Consequently, Rep is widely used as a marker for identification, classification and assessment of the diversity of CRESS DNA viruses. However, it has been shown that in certain viruses the Rep nuclease and helicase domains display incongruent evolutionary histories. Here, we systematically evaluated the co-evolutionary patterns of the two Rep domains across classified and unclassified CRESS DNA viruses. Our analysis indicates that the Reps encoded by members of the families Bacilladnaviridae, Circoviridae, Geminiviridae, Genomoviridae, Nanoviridae and Smacoviridae display largely congruent evolutionary patterns in the two domains. By contrast, among the unclassified CRESS DNA viruses, 71% appear to have chimeric Reps. Such massive chimerism suggests that unclassified CRESS DNA viruses represent a dynamic population in which exchange of gene fragments encoding the nuclease and helicase domains is extremely common. Furthermore, purging of the chimeric sequences uncovered six monophyletic Rep groups that may represent new families of CRESS DNA viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 186: Feline APOBEC3s, Barriers to Cross-Species Transmission of FIV?

  • The replication of lentiviruses highly depends on host cellular factors, which defines their species-specific tropism. Cellular restriction factors that can inhibit lentiviral replication were recently identified. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) was found to be sensitive to several feline cellular restriction factors, such as apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like 3 (APOBEC3) and tetherin, but FIV evolved to counteract them. Here, we describe the molecular mechanisms by which feline APOBEC3 restriction factors inhibit FIV replication and discuss the molecular interaction of APOBEC3 proteins with the viral antagonizing protein Vif. We speculate that feline APOBEC3 proteins could explain some of the observed FIV cross-species transmissions described in wild Felids.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 185: Remnants of an Ancient Deltaretrovirus in the Genomes of Horseshoe Bats (Rhinolophidae)

  • Endogenous retrovirus (ERV) sequences provide a rich source of information about the long-term interactions between retroviruses and their hosts. However, most ERVs are derived from a subset of retrovirus groups, while ERVs derived from certain other groups remain extremely rare. In particular, only a single ERV sequence has been identified that shows evidence of being related to an ancient Deltaretrovirus, despite the large number of vertebrate genome sequences now available. In this report, we identify a second example of an ERV sequence putatively derived from a past deltaretroviral infection, in the genomes of several species of horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae). This sequence represents a fragment of viral genome derived from a single integration. The time of the integration was estimated to be 11–19 million years ago. This finding, together with the previously identified endogenous Deltaretrovirus in long-fingered bats (Miniopteridae), suggest a close association of bats with ancient deltaretroviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 184: Arbidol (Umifenovir): A Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Drug That Inhibits Medically Important Arthropod-Borne Flaviviruses

  • Arthropod-borne flaviviruses are human pathogens of global medical importance, against which no effective small molecule-based antiviral therapy has currently been reported. Arbidol (umifenovir) is a broad-spectrum antiviral compound approved in Russia and China for prophylaxis and treatment of influenza. This compound shows activities against numerous DNA and RNA viruses. The mode of action is based predominantly on impairment of critical steps in virus-cell interactions. Here we demonstrate that arbidol possesses micromolar-level anti-viral effects (EC50 values ranging from 10.57± 0.74 to 19.16 ± 0.29 µM) in Vero cells infected with Zika virus, West Nile virus, and tick-borne encephalitis virus, three medically important representatives of the arthropod-borne flaviviruses. Interestingly, no antiviral effects of arbidol are observed in virus infected porcine stable kidney cells (PS), human neuroblastoma cells (UKF-NB-4), and human hepatoma cells (Huh-7 cells) indicating that the antiviral effect of arbidol is strongly cell-type dependent. Arbidol shows increasing cytotoxicity when tested in various cell lines, in the order: Huh-7 aamp;amp;lt; HBCA aamp;amp;lt; PS aamp;amp;lt; UKF-NB-4 aamp;amp;lt; Vero with CC50 values ranging from 18.69 ± 0.1 to 89.72 ± 0.19 µM. Antiviral activities and acceptable cytotoxicity profiles suggest that arbidol could be a promising candidate for further investigation as a potential therapeutic agent in selective treatment of flaviviral infections.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 183: Glycosylation of Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase of Influenza A Virus as Signature for Ecological Spillover and Adaptation among Influenza Reservoirs

  • Glycosylation of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) of the influenza provides crucial means for immune evasion and viral fitness in a host population. However, the time-dependent dynamics of each glycosylation sites have not been addressed. We monitored the potential N-linked glycosylation (NLG) sites of over 10,000 HA and NA of H1N1 subtype isolated from human, avian, and swine species over the past century. The results show a shift in glycosylation sites as a hallmark of 1918 and 2009 pandemics, and also for the 1976“abortive pandemic”. Co-segregation of particular glycosylation sites was identified as a characteristic of zoonotic transmission from animal reservoirs, and interestingly, of “reverse zoonosis” of human viruses into swine populations as well. After the 2009 pandemic, recent isolates accrued glycosylation at canonical sites in HA, reflecting gradual seasonal adaptation, and a novel glycosylation in NA as an independent signature for adaptation among humans. Structural predictions indicated a remarkably pleiotropic influence of glycans on multiple HA epitopes for immune evasion, without sacrificing the receptor binding of HA or the activity of NA. The results provided the rationale for establishing the ecological niche of influenza viruses among the reservoir and could be implemented for influenza surveillance and improving pandemic preparedness.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 182: Characterization of a New Staphylococcus aureus Kayvirus Harboring a Lysin Active against Biofilms

  • Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most relevant opportunistic pathogens involved in many biofilm-associated diseases, and is a major cause of nosocomial infections, mainly due to the increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant strains. Consequently, alternative methods to eradicate the pathogen are urgent. It has been previously shown that polyvalent staphylococcal kayviruses and their derived endolysins are excellent candidates for therapy. Here we present the characterization of a new bacteriophage: vB_SauM-LM12 (LM12). LM12 has a broad host range (aamp;amp;gt;90%; 56 strains tested), and is active against several MRSA strains. The genome of LM12 is composed of a dsDNA molecule with 143,625 bp, with average GC content of 30.25% and codes for 227 Coding Sequences (CDSs). Bioinformatics analysis did not identify any gene encoding virulence factors, toxins, or antibiotic resistance determinants. Antibiofilm assays have shown that this phage significantly reduced the number of viable cells (less than one order of magnitude). Moreover, the encoded endolysin also showed activity against biofilms, with a consistent biomass reduction during prolonged periods of treatment (of about one order of magnitude). Interestingly, the endolysin was shown to be much more active against stationary-phase cells and suspended biofilm cells than against intact and scraped biofilms, suggesting that cellular aggregates protected by the biofilm matrix reduced protein activity. Both phage LM12 and its endolysin seem to have a strong antimicrobial effect and broad host range against S. aureus, suggesting their potential to treat S. aureus biofilm infections.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 181: Baculovirus PTP2 Functions as a Pro-Apoptotic Protein

  • The family Baculoviridae encompasses a large number of invertebrate viruses, mainly infecting caterpillars of the order Lepidoptera. The baculovirus Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) induces physiological and behavioral changes in its host Spodoptera exigua, as well as immunological responses, which may affect virus transmission. Here we show that the SeMNPV-encoded protein tyrosine phosphatase 2 (PTP2) induces mild apoptosis in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf) 21 cells upon transient expression. Transient expression of a catalytic-site mutant of ptp2 did not lead to apoptosis, indicating that the phosphatase activity of PTP2 is needed to induce apoptosis. We also found that the caspase level (indicator of apoptosis) was higher in cells transfected with the ptp2 gene than in cells transfected with the catalytic mutant. Adding a caspase inhibitor reduced the level of ptp2-induced apoptosis. Moreover, deletion of the ptp2 gene from the viral genome prevented the induction of apoptosis in S. exigua hemocytes. The virus titer and virulence indices (the viral infectivity and the time to death) were not affected by deletion of the ptp2 gene. However, the viral occlusion body yield from S. exigua larvae infected with the mutant virus lacking the ptp2 gene was much lower than the yield from larvae infected with the wild-type (WT) virus. We hypothesize that the observed pro-apoptotic effects of PTP2 are the result of PTP2-mediated immune suppression in larvae, which consequently leads to higher viral occlusion body yields.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 180: Oral Vaccination with a DNA Vaccine Encoding Capsid Protein of Duck Tembusu Virus Induces Protection Immunity

  • The emergence of duck tembusu virus (DTMUV), a new member of the Flavivirus genus, has caused great economical loss in the poultry industry in China. Since the outbreak and spread of DTMUV is hard to control in a clinical setting, an efficient and low-cost oral delivery DNA vaccine SL7207 (pVAX1-C) based on the capsid protein of DTMUV was developed and evaluated in this study. The antigen capsid protein was expressed from the DNA vaccine SL7207 (pVAX1-C), both in vitro and in vivo. The humoral and cellular immune responses in vivo were observed after oral immunization with the SL7207 (pVAX1-C) DNA vaccine. High titers of the specific antibody against the capsid protein and the neutralizing antibody against the DTMUV virus were both detected after inoculation. The ducks were efficiently protected from lethal DTMUV exposure by the SL7207 (pVAX1-C) vaccine in this experiment. Taken together, we demonstrated that the capsid protein of DTMUV possesses a strong immunogenicity against the DTMUV infection. Moreover, an oral delivery of the DNA vaccine SL7207 (pVAX1-C) utilizing Salmonella SL7207 was an efficient way to protect the ducks against DTMUV infection and provides an economic and fast vaccine delivery strategy for a large scale clinical use.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 179: Tracking the Continuous Evolutionary Processes of an Endogenous Retrovirus of the Domestic Cat: ERV-DC

  • An endogenous retrovirus (ERV) is a remnant of an ancient retroviral infection in the host genome. Although most ERVs have lost their viral productivity, a few ERVs retain their replication capacity. In addition, partially inactivated ERVs can present a potential risk to the host via their encoded virulence factors or the generation of novel viruses by viral recombination. ERVs can also eventually acquire a biological function, and this ability has been a driving force of host evolution. Therefore, the presence of an ERV can be harmful or beneficial to the host. Various reports about paleovirology have revealed each event in ERV evolution, but the continuous processes of ERV evolution over millions of years are mainly unknown. A unique ERV family, ERV-DC, is present in the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) genome. ERV-DC proviruses are phylogenetically classified into three genotypes, and the specific characteristics of each genotype have been clarified: their capacity to produce infectious viruses; their recombination with other retroviruses, such as feline leukemia virus or RD-114; and their biological functions as host antiviral factors. In this review, we describe ERV-DC-related phenomena and discuss the continuous changes in the evolution of this ERV in the domestic cat.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 178: Expert Opinion on Three Phage Therapy Related Topics: Bacterial Phage Resistance, Phage Training and Prophages in Bacterial Production Strains

  • Phage therapy is increasingly put forward as a“new” potential tool in the fight against antibiotic resistant infections. During the “Centennial Celebration of Bacteriophage Research” conference in Tbilisi, Georgia on 26–29 June 2017, an international group of phage researchers committed to elaborate an expert opinion on three contentious phage therapy related issues that are hampering clinical progress in the field of phage therapy. This paper explores and discusses bacterial phage resistance, phage training and the presence of prophages in bacterial production strains while reviewing relevant research findings and experiences.Our purpose is to inform phage therapy stakeholders such as policy makers, officials of the competent authorities for medicines, phage researchers and phage producers, and members of the pharmaceutical industry. This brief also points out potential avenues for future phage therapy research and development as it specifically addresses those overarching questions that currently call for attention whenever phages go into purification processes for application.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 177: Criteria for Selecting Suitable Infectious Diseases for Phage Therapy

  • One of the main issues with phage therapy from its earliest days has been the selection of appropriate disease targets. In early work, when the nature of bacteriophages was unknown, many inappropriate targets were selected, including some now known to have no bacterial involvement whatsoever. More recently, with greatly increased understanding of the highly specific nature of bacteriophages and of their mechanisms of action, it has been possible to select indications with an increased chance of a successful therapeutic outcome. The factors to be considered include the characteristics of the infection to be treated, the characteristics of the bacteria involved, and the characteristics of the bacteriophages themselves. At a later stage all of this information then informs trial design and regulatory considerations. Where the work is undertaken towards the development of a commercial product it is also necessary to consider the planned market, protection of intellectual property, and the sourcing of funding to support the work. It is clear that bacteriophages are not a“magic bullet”. However, with careful and appropriate selection of a limited set of initial targets, it should be possible to obtain proof of concept for the many elements required for the success of phage therapy. In time, success with these initial targets could then support more widespread use.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 176: Rapid Identification of Intact Staphylococcal Bacteriophages Using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

  • Staphylococcus aureus is a major causative agent of infections associated with hospital environments, where antibiotic-resistant strains have emerged as a significant threat. Phage therapy could offer a safe and effective alternative to antibiotics. Phage preparations should comply with quality and safety requirements; therefore, it is important to develop efficient production control technologies. This study was conducted to develop and evaluate a rapid and reliable method for identifying staphylococcal bacteriophages, based on detecting their specific proteins using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) profiling that is among the suggested methods for meeting the regulations of pharmaceutical authorities. Five different phage purification techniques were tested in combination with two MALDI-TOF MS matrices. Phages, either purified by CsCl density gradient centrifugation or as resuspended phage pellets, yielded mass spectra with the highest information value if ferulic acid was used as the MALDI matrix. Phage tail and capsid proteins yielded the strongest signals whereas the culture conditions had no effect on mass spectral quality. Thirty-seven phages from Myoviridae, Siphoviridae or Podoviridae families were analysed, including 23 siphophages belonging to the International Typing Set for human strains of S. aureus, as well as phages in preparations produced by Microgen, Bohemia Pharmaceuticals and MB Pharma. The data obtained demonstrate that MALDI-TOF MS can be used to effectively distinguish between Staphylococcus-specific bacteriophages.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 175: Oropouche Fever: A Review

  • Oropouche fever is an emerging zoonotic disease caused by Oropouche virus (OROV), an arthropod transmitted Orthobunyavirus circulating in South and Central America. During the last 60 years, more than 30 epidemics and over half a million clinical cases attributed to OROV infection have been reported in Brazil, Peru, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago. OROV fever is considered the second most frequent arboviral febrile disease in Brazil after dengue fever. OROV is transmitted through both urban and sylvatic transmission cycles, with the primary vector in the urban cycle being the anthropophilic biting midge Culicoides paraensis. Currently, there is no evidence of direct human-to-human OROV transmission. OROV fever is usually either undiagnosed due to its mild, self-limited manifestations or misdiagnosed because its clinical characteristics are similar to dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever, including malaria as well. At present, there is no specific antiviral treatment, and in the absence of a vaccine for effective prophylaxis of human populations in endemic areas, the disease prevention relies solely on vector control strategies and personal protection measures. OROV fever is considered to have the potential to spread across the American continent and under favorable climatic conditions may expand its geographic distribution to other continents. In view of OROV’s emergence, increased interest for formerly neglected tropical diseases and within the One Health concept, the existing knowledge and gaps of knowledge on OROV fever are reviewed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 174: Genomic Characterization of Sixteen Yersinia enterocolitica-Infecting Podoviruses of Pig Origin

  • Yersinia enterocolitica causes enteric infections in humans and animals. Human infections are often caused by contaminated pork meat. Y. enterocolitica colonizes pig tonsils and pigs secrete both the human pathogen and its specific bacteriophages into the stools. In this work, sixteen Y. enterocolitica—infecting lytic bacteriophages isolated from pig stools originating from several pig farms were characterized. All phages belong to the Podoviridae family and their genomes range between 38,391–40,451 bp in size. The overall genome organization of all the phages resembled that of T7-like phages, having 3–6 host RNA polymerase (RNAP)-specific promoters at the beginning of the genomes and 11–13 phage RNAP-specific promoters as well as 3–5 rho-independent terminators, scattered throughout the genomes. Using a ligation-based approach, the physical termini of the genomes containing direct terminal repeats of 190–224 bp were established. No genes associated with lysogeny nor any toxin, virulence factor or antibiotic resistance genes were present in the genomes. Even though the phages had been isolated from different pig farms the nucleotide sequences of their genomes were 90–97% identical suggesting that the phages were undergoing microevolution within and between the farms. Lipopolysaccharide was found to be the surface receptor of all but one of the phages. The phages are classified as new species within the T7virus genus of Autographivirinae subfamily.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 173: Vitamin E Supplementation Ameliorates Newcastle Disease Virus-Induced Oxidative Stress and Alleviates Tissue Damage in the Brains of Chickens

  • Newcastle disease (ND), characterized by visceral, respiratory, and neurological pathologies, causes heavy economic loss in the poultry industry around the globe. While significant advances have been made in effective diagnosis and vaccine development, molecular mechanisms of ND virus (NDV)-induced neuropathologies remain elusive. In this study, we report the magnitude of oxidative stress and histopathological changes induced by the virulent NDV (ZJ1 strain) and assess the impact of vitamin E in alleviating these pathologies. Comparative profiling of plasma and brains from mock and NDV-infected chicken demonstrated alterations in several oxidative stress makers such as nitric oxide, glutathione, malondialdehyde, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione S-transferase, superoxide dismutase, and catalases. While decreased levels of glutathione and total antioxidant capacity and increased concentrations of malondialdehyde and nitric oxide were observed in NDV-challenged birds at all time points, these alterations were eminent at latter time points (5 days post infection). Additionally, significant decreases in the activities of glutathione S-transferase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase were observed in the plasma and brains collected from NDV-infected chickens. Intriguingly, we observed that supplementation of vitamin E can significantly reduce the alteration of oxidative stress parameters. Under NDV infection, extensive histopathological alterations were observed in chicken brain including neural inflammation, capillary hyperemia, necrosis, and loss of prominent axons, which were reduced with the treatment of vitamin E. Taken together, our findings highlight that neurotropic NDV induces extensive tissue damage in the brain and alters plasma oxidative stress profiles. These findings also demonstrate that supplementing vitamin E ameliorates these pathologies in chickens and proposes its supplementation for NDV-induced stresses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 172: Selection of Potential Therapeutic Bacteriophages that Lyse a CTX-M-15 Extended Spectrumβ-Lactamase Producing Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi Strain from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Recently, a Salmonella Typhi isolate producing CTX-M-15 extended spectrumβ-lactamase (ESBL) and with decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility was isolated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We have selected bacteriophages that show strong lytic activity against this isolate and have potential for phage-based treatment of S. Typhi, and Salmonella in general.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 171: Rapid CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Cloning of Full-Length Epstein-Barr Virus Genomes from Latently Infected Cells

  • Herpesviruses have relatively large DNA genomes of more than 150 kb that are difficult to clone and sequence. Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) cloning of herpesvirus genomes is a powerful technique that greatly facilitates whole viral genome sequencing as well as functional characterization of reconstituted viruses. We describe recently invented technologies for rapid BAC cloning of herpesvirus genomes using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated homology-directed repair. We focus on recent BAC cloning techniques of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genomes and discuss the possible advantages of a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated strategy comparatively with precedent EBV-BAC cloning strategies. We also describe the design decisions of this technology as well as possible pitfalls and points to be improved in the future. The obtained EBV-BAC clones are subjected to long-read sequencing analysis to determine complete EBV genome sequence including repetitive regions. Rapid cloning and sequence determination of various EBV strains will greatly contribute to the understanding of their global geographical distribution. This technology can also be used to clone disease-associated EBV strains and test the hypothesis that they have special features that distinguish them from strains that infect asymptomatically.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 170: Molecular and Antigenic Characterization of Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) from Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV-1) causes heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Recently, a novel PRV (formerly PRV-Om, here called PRV-3), was found in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) with HSMI-like disease. PRV is considered to be an emerging pathogen in farmed salmonids. In this study, molecular and antigenic characterization of PRV-3 was performed. Erythrocytes are the main target cells for PRV, and blood samples that were collected from experimentally challenged fish were used as source of virus. Virus particles were purified by gradient ultracentrifugation and the complete coding sequences of PRV-3 were obtained by Illumina sequencing. When compared to PRV-1, the nucleotide identity of the coding regions was 80.1%, and the amino acid identities of the predicted PRV-3 proteins varied from 96.7% (λ1) to 79.1% (σ3). Phylogenetic analysis showed that PRV-3 belongs to a separate cluster. The region encoding σ3 were sequenced from PRV-3 isolates collected from rainbow trout in Europe. These sequences clustered together, but were distant from PRV-3 that was isolated from rainbow trout in Norway. Bioinformatic analyses of PRV-3 proteins revealed that predicted secondary structures and functional domains were conserved between PRV-3 and PRV-1. Rabbit antisera raised against purified virus or various recombinant virus proteins from PRV-1 all cross-reacted with PRV-3. Our findings indicate that despite different species preferences of the PRV subtypes, several genetic, antigenic, and structural properties are conserved between PRV-1 and-3.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 169: Passion Fruit Chlorotic Mottle Virus: Molecular Characterization of a New Divergent Geminivirus in Brazil

  • Brazil is one of the major passion fruit producers worldwide. Viral diseases are among the most important constraints for passion fruit production. Here we identify and characterize a new passion fruit infecting-virus belonging to the family Geminiviridae: passion fruit chlorotic mottle virus (PCMoV). PCMoV is a divergent geminivirus unlike previously characterized passion fruit-infecting geminiviruses that belonged to the genus Begomovirus. Among the presently known geminiviruses, it is most closely related to, and shares ~62% genome-wide identity with citrus chlorotic dwarf associated virus (CCDaV) and camelia chlorotic dwarf associated virus (CaCDaV). The 3743 nt PCMoV genome encodes a capsid protein (CP) and replication-associated protein (Rep) that respectively share 56 and 60% amino acid identity with those encoded by CaCDaV. The CPs of PCMoV, CCDaV, and CaCDaV cluster with those of begomovirus whereas their Reps with those of becurtoviruses. Hence, these viruses likely represent a lineage of recombinant begomo-like and becurto-like ancestral viruses. Furthermore, PCMoV, CCDaV, and CaCDaV genomes are ~12–30% larger than monopartite geminiviruses and this is primarily due to the encoded movement protein (MP; 891–921 nt) and this MP is most closely related to that encoded by the DNA-B component of bipartite begomoviruses. Hence, PCMoV, CCDaV, and CaCDaV lineage of viruses may represent moleculesin an intermediary step in the evolution of bipartite begomoviruses (~5.3 kb) from monopartite geminiviruses (~2.7–3 kb). An infectious clone of PCMoV systemically infected Nicotiana benthamina, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Passiflora edulis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 168: Exploiting a Phage-Bacterium Interaction System as a Molecular Switch to Decipher Macromolecular Interactions in the Living Cell

  • Pathogenicity islands of Staphylococcus aureus are under the strong control of helper phages, where regulation is communicated at the gene expression level via a family of specific repressor proteins. The repressor proteins are crucial to phage-host interactions and, based on their protein characteristics, may also be exploited as versatile molecular tools. The Stl repressor from this protein family has been recently investigated and although the binding site of Stl on DNA was recently discovered, there is a lack of knowledge on the specific protein segments involved in this interaction. Here, we develop a generally applicable system to reveal the mechanism of the interaction between Stl and its cognate DNA within the cellular environment. Our unbiased approach combines random mutagenesis with high-throughput analysis based on the lac operon to create a well-characterized gene expression system. Our results clearly indicate that, in addition to a previously implicated helix-turn-helix segment, other protein moieties also play decisive roles in the DNA binding capability of Stl. Structural model-based investigations provided a detailed understanding of Stl:DNA complex formation. The robustness and reliability of our novel test system were confirmed by several mutated Stl constructs, as well as by demonstrating the interaction between Stl and dUTPase from the Staphylococcalϕ11 phage. Our system may be applied to high-throughput studies of protein:DNA and protein:protein interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 167: Advances in HIV-1 Vaccine Development

  • An efficacious HIV-1 vaccine is regarded as the best way to halt the ongoing HIV-1 epidemic. However, despite significant efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine, the modestly protective RV144 trial remains the only efficacy trial to provide some level of protection against HIV-1 acquisition. This review will outline the history of HIV vaccine development, novel technologies being applied to HIV vaccinology and immunogen design, as well as the studies that are ongoing to advance our understanding of vaccine-induced immune correlates of protection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 166: Imaging, Tracking and Computational Analyses of Virus Entry and Egress with the Cytoskeleton

  • Viruses have a dual nature: particles are aamp;amp;ldquo;passive substancesaamp;amp;rdquo; lacking chemical energy transformation, whereas infected cells are aamp;amp;ldquo;active substancesaamp;amp;rdquo; turning-over energy. How passive viral substances convert to active substances, comprising viral replication and assembly compartments has been of intense interest to virologists, cell and molecular biologists and immunologists. Infection starts with virus entry into a susceptible cell and delivers the viral genome to the replication site. This is a multi-step process, and involves the cytoskeleton and associated motor proteins. Likewise, the egress of progeny virus particles from the replication site to the extracellular space is enhanced by the cytoskeleton and associated motor proteins. This overcomes the limitation of thermal diffusion, and transports virions and virion components, often in association with cellular organelles. This review explores how the analysis of viral trajectories informs about mechanisms of infection. We discuss the methodology enabling researchers to visualize single virions in cells by fluorescence imaging and tracking. Virus visualization and tracking are increasingly enhanced by computational analyses of virus trajectories as well as in silico modeling. Combined approaches reveal previously unrecognized features of virus-infected cells. Using select examples of complementary methodology, we highlight the role of actin filaments and microtubules, and their associated motors in virus infections. In-depth studies of single virion dynamics at high temporal and spatial resolutions thereby provide deep insight into virus infection processes, and are a basis for uncovering underlying mechanisms of how cells function.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 165: Interaction of the Mouse Polyomavirus Capsid Proteins with Importins Is Required for Efficient Import of Viral DNA into the Cell Nucleus

  • The mechanism used by mouse polyomavirus (MPyV) to overcome the crowded cytosol to reach the nucleus has not been fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the involvement of importinα/β1 mediated transport in the delivery of MPyV genomes into the nucleus. Interactions of the virus with importin β1 were studied by co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assay. For infectivity and nucleus delivery assays, the virus and its capsid proteins mutated in the nuclear localization signals (NLSs) were prepared and produced. We found that at early times post infection, virions bound importin β1 in a time dependent manner with a peak of interactions at 6 h post infection. Mutation analysis revealed that only when the NLSs of both VP1 and VP2/3 were disrupted, virus did notbind efficiently to importin β1 and its infectivity remarkably decreased (by 80%). Nuclear targeting of capsid proteins was improved when VP1 and VP2 were co-expressed. VP1 and VP2 were effectively delivered into the nucleus, even when one of the NLS, either VP1 or VP2, was disrupted. Altogether, our results showed that MPyV virions can use VP1 and/or VP2/VP3 NLSs in concert or individually to bind importins to deliver their genomes into the cell nucleus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 164: Immunization of Domestic Ducks with Live Nonpathogenic H5N3 Influenza Virus Prevents Shedding and Transmission of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Virus to Chickens

  • Wild ducks are known to be able to carry avian influenza viruses over long distances and infect domestic ducks, which in their turn infect domestic chickens. Therefore, prevention of virus transmission between ducks and chickens is important to control the spread of avian influenza. Here we used a low pathogenic wild aquatic bird virus A/duck/Moscow/4182/2010 (H5N3) for prevention of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) transmission between ducks and chickens. We first confirmed that the ducks orally infected with H5N1 HPAIV A/chicken/Kurgan/3/2005 excreted the virus in feces. All chickens that were in contact with the infected ducks became sick, excreted the virus, and died. However, the ducks orally inoculated with 104 50% tissue culture infective doses of A/duck/Moscow/4182/2010 and challenged 14 to 90 days later with H5N1 HPAIV did not excrete the challenge virus. All contact chickens survived and did not excrete the virus. Our results suggest that low pathogenic virus of wild aquatic birds can be used for prevention of transmission of H5N1 viruses between ducks and chickens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 163: In Vitro Characteristics of Phages to Guide‘Real Life’ Phage Therapy Suitability

  • The increasing problem of antibiotic-resistant pathogens has put enormous pressure on healthcare providers to reduce the application of antibiotics and to identify alternative therapies. Phages represent such an alternative with significant application potential, either on their own or in combination with antibiotics to enhance the effectiveness of traditional therapies. However, while phage therapy may offer exciting therapeutic opportunities, its evaluation for safe and appropriate use in humans needs to be guided initially by reliable and appropriate assessment techniques at the laboratory level. Here, we review the process of phage isolation and the application of individual pathogens or reference collections for the development of specific or“off-the-shelf” preparations. Furthermore, we evaluate current characterization approaches to assess the in vitro therapeutic potential of a phage including its spectrum of activity, genome characteristics, storage and administration requirements and effectiveness against biofilms. Lytic characteristics and the ability to overcome anti-phage systems are also covered. These attributes direct phage selection for their ultimate application as antimicrobial agents. We also discuss current pitfalls in this research area and propose that priority should be given to unify current phage characterization approaches.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 162: Deep Sequencing-Based Transcriptome Profiling Reveals Avian Interferon-Stimulated Genes and Provides Comprehensive Insight into Newcastle Disease Virus-Induced Host Responses

  • Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is an avian paramyxovirus that causes significant economic losses to the poultry industry worldwide, with variations in NDV pathogenicity due to the differences in virulence between strains. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the avian innate immune response to NDV infection. In this study, transcriptional profiles were obtained from chick embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) that were infected with the highly virulent NDV Herts/33 strain or the nonvirulent LaSota strain using RNA-seq. This yielded 8433 transcripts that were associated with NDV infection. This list of candidate genes was then further examined using Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses. It showed a high enrichment in the areas of cellular components and metabolic processes, with the cellular components possibly being associated with NDV pathogenicity. Among these 8433 transcripts, 3616 transcripts associated with interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) were obtained; these transcripts are involved in metabolic processes, including protein phosphorylation and protein modification. These results provide further insight into the identification of genes that are involved in NDV infection. The global survey of changes in gene expression performed herein provides new insights into the complicated molecular mechanisms underlying virus and host interactions and will enable the use of new strategies to protect chickens against this virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 161: Invertebrate Iridoviruses: A Glance over the Last Decade

  • Members of the family Iridoviridae (iridovirids) are large dsDNA viruses that infect both invertebrate and vertebrate ectotherms and whose symptoms range in severity from minor reductions in host fitness to systemic disease and large-scale mortality. Several characteristics have been useful for classifying iridoviruses; however, novel strains are continuously being discovered and, in many cases, reliable classification has been challenging. Further impeding classification, invertebrate iridoviruses (IIVs) can occasionally infect vertebrates; thus, host range is often not a useful criterion for classification. In this review, we discuss the current classification of iridovirids, focusing on genomic and structural features that distinguish vertebrate and invertebrate iridovirids and viral factors linked to host interactions in IIV6 (Invertebrate iridescent virus 6). In addition, we show for the first time how complete genome sequences of viral isolates can be leveraged to improve classification of new iridovirid isolates and resolve ambiguous relations. Improved classification of the iridoviruses may facilitate the identification of genus-specific virulence factors linked with diverse host phenotypes and host interactions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 160: Allelic RNA Motifs in Regulating Systemic Trafficking of Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid

  • Intercellular RNA trafficking has been shown as a widely-existing phenomenon that has significant functions in many aspects of biology. Viroids, circular noncoding RNAs that cause plant diseases, have been a model to dissect the role of RNA structural motifs in regulating intercellular RNA trafficking in plants. Recent studies on potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) showed that the RNA motif loop 19 is important for PSTVd to spread from palisade to spongy mesophyll in infected leaves. Here, we performed saturated mutational analysis to uncover all possible functional variants of loop 19 and exploit this data to pinpoint to a three-dimensional structural model of this motif. Interestingly, we found that two distinct structural motifs can replace loop 19 and retain the systemic trafficking capacity. One of the alternative structures rapidly emerged from the inoculation using a loop 19 abolished mutant that is not capable of systemic trafficking. Our observation indicates the flexibility of multiple structural arrangements interchangeably exerting similar function at a particular RNA locus. Taken together, this study deepens the understanding of RNA structural motifs-regulated viroid RNA trafficking, which has broad implications for studying RNA intercellular trafficking as well.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 159: Honey Bee Antiviral Immune Barriers as Affected by Multiple Stress Factors: A Novel Paradigm to Interpret Colony Health Decline and Collapse

  • Any attempt to outline a logical framework in which to interpret the honey bee health decline and its contribution to elevated colony losses should recognize the importance of the multifactorial nature of the responsible syndrome and provide a functional model as a basis for defining and testing working hypotheses. We propose that covert infections by deformed wing virus (DWV) represent a sword of Damocles permanently threatening the survival of honey bee colonies and suggest that any factor affecting the honey beeaamp;amp;rsquo;s antiviral defenses can turn this pathogen into a killer. Here we discuss the available experimental evidence in the framework of a model based on honey bee immune competence as affected by multiple stress factors that is proposed as a conceptual tool for analyzing bee mortality and its underlying mechanisms.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 158: 1st German Phage Symposium—Conference Report

  • In Germany, phage research and application can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. However, with the triumphal march of antibiotics around the world, the significance of bacteriophages faded in most countries, and respective research mainly focused on fundamental questions and niche applications. After a century, we pay tribute to the overuse of antibiotics that led to multidrug resistance and calls for new strategies to combat pathogenic microbes. Against this background, bacteriophages came into the spotlight of researchers and practitioners again resulting in a fast growing“phage community”. In October 2017, part of this community met at the 1st German Phage Symposium to share their knowledge and experiences. The participants discussed open questions and challenges related to phage therapy and the application of phages in general. This report summarizes the presentations given, highlights the main points of the round table discussion and concludes with an outlook for the different aspects of phage application.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 157: Tackling HIV Persistence: Pharmacological versus CRISPR-Based Shock Strategies

  • Jan Svoboda studied aspects of viral latency, in particular with respect to disease induction by avian RNA tumor viruses, which were later renamed as part of the extended retrovirus family. The course of retroviral pathogenesis is intrinsically linked to their unique property of integrating the DNA copy of the retroviral genome into that of the host cell, thus forming the provirus. Retroviral latency has recently become of major clinical interest to allow a better understanding of why we can effectively block the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in infected individuals with antiviral drugs, yet never reach a cure. We will discuss HIV-1 latency and its direct consequence—the formation of long-lasting HIV-1 reservoirs. We next focus on one of the most explored strategies in tackling HIV-1 reservoirs—the “shock and kill” strategy—which describes the broadly explored pharmacological way of kicking the latent provirus, with subsequent killing of the virus-producing cell by the immune system. We furthermore present how the clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and associated protein (Cas) system can be harnessed to reach the same objective by reactivating HIV-1 gene expression from latency. We will review the benefits and drawbacks of these different cure strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 156: Simian Varicella Virus Infects Enteric Neurons andα4β7 Integrin-Expressing Gut-Tropic T-Cells in Nonhuman Primates

  • The pathogenesis of enteric zoster, a rare debilitating complication of reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in the enteric nervous system (ENS), is largely unknown. Infection of monkeys with the closely related Varicellovirus simian varicella virus (SVV) mimics VZV disease in humans. In this study, we determined the applicability of the SVV nonhuman primate model to study Varicellovirus infection of the ENS. We confirmed VZV infection of the gut in latently infected adults and demonstrated that SVV DNA was similarly present in gut of monkeys latently infected with SVV using quantitative real-time PCR. In situ analyses showed that enteric neurons expressed SVV open reading frame (ORF) 63 RNA, but not viral nucleocapsid proteins, suggestive of latent ENS infection. During primary infection, SVV-infected T-cells were detected in gut-draining mesenteric lymph nodes and located in close vicinity to enteric nerves in the gut. Furthermore, flow cytometric analysis of blood from acutely SVV-infected monkeys demonstrated that virus-infected T-cells expressed the gut-homing receptorα4β7 integrin. Collectively, the data demonstrate that SVV infects ENS neurons during primary infection and supports the role of T-cells in virus dissemination to the gut. Because SVV reactivation can be experimentally induced, the SVV nonhuman primate model holds great potential to study the pathogenesis of enteric zoster.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 155: Antiviral and Inflammatory Cellular Signaling Associated with Enterovirus 71 Infection

  • Enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection has become a major threat to global public health, especially in infants and young children. Epidemiological studies have indicated that EV71 infection is responsible for severe and even fatal cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Accumulated evidence indicates that EV71 infection triggers a plethora of interactive signaling pathways, resulting in host immune evasion and inflammatory response. This review mainly covers the effects of EV71 infection on major antiviral and inflammatory cellular signal pathways. EV71 can activate cellular signaling networks including multiple cell surface and intracellular receptors, intracellular kinases, calcium flux, and transcription factors that regulate antiviral innate immunity and inflammatory response. Cellular signaling plays a critical role in the regulation of host innate immune and inflammatory pathogenesis. Elucidation of antiviral and inflammatory cellular signaling pathways initiated by EV71 will not only help uncover the potential mechanisms of EV71 infection-induced pathogenesis, but will also provide clues for the design of therapeutic strategies against EV71 infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 154: Expression of TIM-3 on Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells as a Predictive Biomarker of Decline in HIV-1 RNA Level during ART

  • Depletion and functional impairment of circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are characteristic attributes of HIV-1-infection. The mechanism of dysfunction of pDCs is unclear. Here, we studied the development of phenotype of pDCs in a cohort of HIV-1-infected individuals monitored before the initiation and during a 9-month follow up with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Using polychromatic flow cytometry, we detected significantly higher pDC-surface expression of the HIV-1 receptor CD4, regulatory receptor BDCA-2, Fcaamp;amp;gamma; receptor CD32, pDC dysfunction marker TIM-3, and the marker of killer pDC, TRAIL, in treatment-naaamp;amp;iuml;ve HIV-1-infected individuals before initiation of ART when compared to healthy donors. After 9 months of ART, all of these markers approached but did not reach the expression levels observed in healthy donors. We found that the rate of decline in HIV-1 RNA level over the first 3 months of ART negatively correlated with the expression of TIM-3 on pDCs. We conclude that immunogenic phenotype of pDCs is not significantly restored after sustained suppression of HIV-1 RNA level in ART-treated patients and that the level of the TIM-3 expressed on pDCs in treatment naaamp;amp;iuml;ve patients could be a predictive marker of the rate of decline in the HIV-1 RNA level during ART.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 153: Optimizing Propagation of Staphylococcus aureus Infecting Bacteriophage vB_SauM-phiIPLA-RODI on Staphylococcus xylosus Using Response Surface Methodology

  • The use of bacteriophages for killing pathogenic bacteria is a feasible alternative to antibiotics and disinfectants. To obtain the large quantities of phages required for this application, large-scale production of bacteriophages must be optimized. This study aims to define conditions that maximize the phage yield of the virulent and polyvalent staphylococcal bacteriophage vB_SauM-phiIPLA-RODI in broth culture, using the food-grade species Staphylococcus xylosus as the host strain to reduce the risk of growing massive quantities of pathogenic bacteria and therefore, to ensure the safety of the final phage stock. The effect of four variables, namely initial bacterial concentration (5.66–8.40 log10 colony-forming unit (CFU)/mL), initial phage concentration (5–8 log10 plaque-forming unit (PFU)/mL), temperature (21–40 °C) and agitation (20–250 rpm), on phage yield (response) was studied by using response surface methodology (RSM). Successive experimental designs showed thatagitation did not significantly impact phage yield, while temperature did have a significant effect, with 38 °C being the optimum for phage propagation. The results allowed the design of a model to describe phage yield as a function of the initial bacterial and phage concentrations at fixed agitation (135 rpm), and optimum temperature (38 °C). The maximum experimental phage yield obtained was 9.3 log10 PFU/mL, while that predicted by the model under the optimized conditions (7.07 log10 CFU/mL initial bacterial population and 6.00 log10 PFU/mL initial phage titer) was 9.25 ± 0.30 log10 PFU/mL, with the desirability of 0.96. This yield is comparable to that obtained when the phage was propagated on the original host, Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteriophage phiIPLA-RODI showed the same host range and very similar biofilm removal ability regardless of the staphylococcal species used for itspropagation. The results presented in this study show the suitability of using a food-grade strain of S. xylosus for the propagation of S. aureus infecting phages and the application of RSM to define the optimal propagation conditions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 152: Identification of Ellagic Acid from Plant Rhodiola rosea L. as an Anti-Ebola Virus Entry Inhibitor

  • The recent 2014–2016 West African Ebola virus epidemic underscores the need for the development of novel anti-Ebola therapeutics, due to the high mortality rates of Ebola virus infections and the lack of FDA-approved vaccine or therapy that is available for the prevention and treatment. Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) represent a huge reservoir of bioactive chemicals and many TCMs have been shown to have antiviral activities. 373 extracts from 128 TCMs were evaluated using a high throughput assay to screen for inhibitors of Ebola virus cell entry. Extract of Rhodiola rosea displayed specific and potent inhibition against cell entry of both Ebola virus and Marburg virus. In addition, twenty commercial compounds that were isolated from Rhodiola rosea were evaluated using the pseudotyped Ebola virus entry assay, and it was found that ellagic acid and gallic acid, which are two structurally relatedcompounds, are the most effective ones. The activity of the extract and the two pure compounds were validated using infectious Ebola virus. The time-of-addition experiments suggest that, mechanistically, the Rhodiola rosea extract and the effective compounds act at an early step in the infection cycle following initial cell attachment, but prior to viral/cell membrane fusion. Our findings provide evidence that Rhodiola rosea has potent anti-filovirus properties that may be developed as a novel anti-Ebola treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 151: Identification of a Novel Recombinant Type 2 Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus in China

  • Since the emergence of NADC30-like porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in China in 2013, PRRSVs have undergone rapid evolution. In this study, a novel variant of PRRSV strain (designated SCcd17) was successfully isolated from piglets with clinical signs in Sichuan Province in China in 2017, and the complete genomic sequence was determined. The genome of this new isolate was 15,015 nucleotides (nt) long, and comparative analysis revealed that SCcd17 exhibited 90.2%, 85.2%, 84.9%, and 84.0% nucleotide similarity to PRRSVs NADC30, JXA1, CH-1a, and VR-2332, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the SCcd17 strain was classified into the NADC30-like sub-genotype, in which all the strains contained the unique discontinuous 131-amino acid deletion in nonstructural protein 2 (nsp2) when compared to VR-2332-like viruses. Notably, extensive amino acid substitutions were observed in nsp2 and a unique single amino acid deletion at position 33 of the GP5 is being described for the first time. Strikingly, recombination analysis revealed that SCcd17 was the result of recombination between the NADC30-like, JXA1-like, and VR-2332-like strains at five recombination breakpoints: nsp1α (nt 641), nsp3 (nt 5141), nsp10 (nt 9521), open reading frame 3 (ORF3) (nt 12,581), and ORF4 (nt 13,021). The genomic data of SCcd17 will be helpful for understanding the role of genomic recombination in the evolution of PRRSV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 150: Mutations in the Non-Structural Protein-Coding Sequence of Protoparvovirus H-1PV Enhance the Fitness of the Virus and Show Key Benefits Regarding the Transduction Efficiency of Derived Vectors

  • Single nucleotide changes were introduced into the non-structural (NS) coding sequence of the H-1 parvovirus (PV) infectious molecular clone and the corresponding virus stocks produced, thereby generating H1-PM-I, H1-PM-II, H1-PM-III, and H1-DM. The effects of the mutations on viral fitness were analyzed. Because of the overlapping sequences of NS1 and NS2, the mutations affected either NS2 (H1-PM-II, -III) or both NS1 and NS2 proteins (H1-PM-I, H1-DM). Our results show key benefits of PM-I, PM-II, and DM mutations with regard to the fitness of the virus stocks produced. Indeed, these mutants displayed a higher production of infectious virus in different cell cultures and better spreading capacity than the wild-type virus. This correlated with a decreased particle-to-infectivity (P/I) ratio and stimulation of an early step(s) of the viral cycle prior to viral DNA replication, namely, cell binding and internalization. These mutations also enhance the transduction efficiency of H-1PV-based vectors. In contrast, the PM-III mutation, which affects NS2 at a position downstream of the sequence deleted in Del H-1PV, impaired virus replication and spreading. We hypothesize that the NS2 protein—modified in H1-PM-I, H1-PM-II, and H1-DM—may result in the stimulation of some maturation step(s) of the capsid and facilitate virus entry into subsequently infected cells.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 149: Inhibition of Zika Virus Replication by Silvestrol

  • The Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in 2016 in South America with specific pathogenic outcomes highlighted the need for new antiviral substances with broad-spectrum activities to react quickly to unexpected outbreaks of emerging viral pathogens. Very recently, the natural compound silvestrol isolated from the plant Aglaia foveolata was found to have very potent antiviral effects against the (−)-strand RNA-virus Ebola virus as well as against Corona- and Picornaviruses with a (+)-strand RNA-genome. This antiviral activity is based on the impaired translation of viral RNA by the inhibition of the DEAD-box RNA helicase eukaryotic initiation factor-4A (eIF4A) which is required to unwind structured 5´-untranslated regions (5′-UTRs) of several proto-oncogenes and thereby facilitate their translation. Zika virus is a flavivirus with a positive-stranded RNA-genome harboring a 5′-capped UTR with distinct secondary structure elements. Therefore, we investigated the effects of silvestrol on ZIKV replication in A549 cells and primary human hepatocytes. Two different ZIKV strains were used. In both infected A549 cells and primary human hepatocytes, silvestrol has the potential to exert a significant inhibition of ZIKV replication for both analyzed strains, even though the ancestor strain from Uganda is less sensitive to silvestrol. Our data might contribute to identify host factors involved in the control of ZIKV infection and help to develop antiviral concepts that can be used to treat a variety of viral infections without the risk of resistances because a host protein is targeted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 148: Applying Unique Molecular Identifiers in Next Generation Sequencing Reveals a Constrained Viral Quasispecies Evolution under Cross-Reactive Antibody Pressure Targeting Long Alpha Helix of Hemagglutinin

  • To overcome yearly efforts and costs for the production of seasonal influenza vaccines, new approaches for the induction of broadly protective and long-lasting immune responses have been developed in the past decade. To warrant safety and efficacy of the emerging crossreactive vaccine candidates, it is critical to understand the evolution of influenza viruses in response to these new immune pressures. Here we applied unique molecular identifiers in next generation sequencing to analyze the evolution of influenza quasispecies under in vivo antibody pressure targeting the hemagglutinin (HA) long alpha helix (LAH). Our vaccine targeting LAH of hemagglutinin elicited significant seroconversion and protection against homologous and heterologous influenza virus strains in mice. The vaccine not only significantly reduced lung viral titers, but also induced a well-known bottleneck effect by decreasing virus diversity. In contrast to the classical bottleneck effect, here we showed a significant increase in the frequency of viruses with amino acid sequences identical to that of vaccine targeting LAH domain. No escape mutant emerged after vaccination. These results not only support the potential of a universal influenza vaccine targeting the conserved LAH domains, but also clearly demonstrate that the well-established bottleneck effect on viral quasispecies evolution does not necessarily generate escape mutants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 147: Human-Like Neutralizing Antibodies Protect Mice from Aerosol Exposure with Western Equine Encephalitis Virus

  • Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV) causes symptoms in humans ranging from mild febrile illness to life-threatening encephalitis, and no human medical countermeasures are licensed. A previous study demonstrated that immune serum from vaccinated mice protected against lethal WEEV infection, suggesting the utility of antibodies for pre- and post-exposure treatment. Here, three neutralizing and one binding human-like monoclonal antibodies were evaluated against WEEV aerosol challenge. Dose-dependent protection was observed with two antibodies administered individually, ToR69-3A2 and ToR68-2C3. In vitro neutralization was not a critical factor for protection in this murine model, as ToR69-3A2 is a strong neutralizing antibody, and ToR68-2C3 is a non-neutralizing antibody. This result highlights the importance of both neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies in the protection of mice from WEEV lethality.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 146: Enteric Virome Sensing—Its Role in Intestinal Homeostasis and Immunity

  • Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) sensing commensal microorganisms in the intestine induce tightly controlled tonic signaling in the intestinal mucosa, which is required to maintain intestinal barrier integrity and immune homeostasis. At the same time, PRR signaling pathways rapidly trigger the innate immune defense against invasive pathogens in the intestine. Intestinal epithelial cells and mononuclear phagocytes in the intestine and the gut-associated lymphoid tissues are critically involved in sensing components of the microbiome and regulating immune responses in the intestine to sustain immune tolerance against harmless antigens and to prevent inflammation. These processes have been mostly investigated in the context of the bacterial components of the microbiome so far. The impact of viruses residing in the intestine and the virus sensors, which are activated by these enteric viruses, on intestinal homeostasis and inflammation is just beginning to be unraveled. In this review, we will summarize recent findings indicating an important role of the enteric virome for intestinal homeostasis as well as pathology when the immune system fails to control the enteric virome. We will provide an overview of the virus sensors and signaling pathways, operative in the intestine and the mononuclear phagocyte subsets, which can sense viruses and shape the intestinal immune response. We will discuss how these might interact with resident enteric viruses directly or in context with the bacterial microbiome to affect intestinal homeostasis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 145: Constructing TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 Model Tumor Cells to Evaluate the Anti-Tumor Effects of LMP2-Related Vaccines

  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is related to a variety of malignant tumors, and its encoded protein, latent membrane protein 2 (LMP2), is an effective target antigen that is widely used to construct vector vaccines. However, the model cells carrying LMP2 have still not been established to assess the oncolytic effect of LMP2-related vaccines at present. In this study, TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 tumor cells were constructed as target cells to evaluate the anti-tumor effects of LMP2-assosiated vaccines. The results showed that both LMP2 and Gaussia luciferase (GLuc) genes could be detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 cells. Western blot results showed that the LMP2 and Gaussia luciferase proteins were stably expressed in tumor cells for at least 30 generations. We mixed 5× 104 LMP2-specific mouse splenic lymphocytes with 5 × 103 TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 target cells and found that the target cells were killed as the specific killing effect was obviously enhanced by the increased quantities of LMP2-peptide stimulated spleens. Furthermore, the tumor cells could not be observed in the mice inoculated TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 cells after being immunized with vaccine-LMP2, while the vaccine-NULL immunized mice showed that tumor volume gradually grew with increased inoculation time. These results indicated that the TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 cells stably expressing LMP2 and GLuc produced tumorsin mice, and that the LMP2-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) effectively killed the cells in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that TC-1-GLUC-LMP2 cells can be used as model cells to assess the immune and antitumor effects of LMP2-related vaccines.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 144: Molecular Characterization of a Novel Species of Capillovirus from Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume)

  • With the increased use of high-throughput sequencing methods, new viruses infecting Prunus spp. are being discovered and characterized, especially in the family Betaflexiviridae. Double-stranded RNAs from symptomatic leaves of a Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) tree from Japan were purified and analyzed by Illumina sequencing. Blast comparisons of reconstructed contigs showed that the P. mume sample was infected by a putative novel virus with homologies to Cherry virus A (CVA) and to the newly described Currant virus A (CuVA), both members of genus Capillovirus. Completion of the genome showed the new agent to have a genomic organization typical of capilloviruses, with two overlapping open reading frames encoding a large replication-associated protein fused to the coat protein (CP), and a putative movement protein (MP). This virus shares only, respectively, 63.2% and 62.7% CP amino acid identity with the most closely related viruses, CVA and CuVA. Considering the species demarcation criteria in the family and phylogenetic analyses, this virus should be considered as representing a new viral species in the genus Capillovirus, for which the name of Mume virus A is proposed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 143: Novel Parvoviruses from Wild and Domestic Animals in Brazil Provide New Insights into Parvovirus Distribution and Diversity

  • Parvoviruses (family Parvoviridae) are small, single-stranded DNA viruses. Many parvoviral pathogens of medical, veterinary and ecological importance have been identified. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing (HTS) to investigate the diversity of parvoviruses infecting wild and domestic animals in Brazil. We identified 21 parvovirus sequences (including twelve nearly complete genomes and nine partial genomes) in samples derived from rodents, bats, opossums, birds and cattle in Pernambuco, São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul states. These sequences were investigated using phylogenetic and distance-based approaches and were thereby classified into eight parvovirus species (six of which have not been described previously), representing six distinct genera in the subfamily Parvovirinae. Our findings extend the known biogeographic range of previously characterized parvovirus species and the known host range of three parvovirus genera (Dependovirus, Aveparvovirus and Tetraparvovirus). Moreover, our investigation provides a window into the ecological dynamics of parvovirus infections in vertebrates, revealing that many parvovirus genera contain well-defined sub-lineages that circulate widely throughout the world within particular taxonomic groups of hosts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 142: Rapid Viral Diagnosis of Orthopoxviruses by Electron Microscopy: Optional or a Must?

  • Diagnostic electron microscopy (DEM) was an essential component of viral diagnosis until the development of highly sensitive nucleic acid amplification techniques (NAT). The simple negative staining technique of DEM was applied widely to smallpox diagnosis until the world-wide eradication of the human-specific pathogen in 1980. Since then, the threat of smallpox re-emerging through laboratory escape, molecular manipulation, synthetic biology or bioterrorism has not totally disappeared and would be a major problem in an unvaccinated population. Other animal poxviruses may also emerge as human pathogens. With its rapid results (only a few minutes after arrival of the specimen), no requirement for specific reagents and its“open view”, DEM remains an important component of virus diagnosis, particularly because it can easily and reliably distinguish smallpox virus or any other member of the orthopoxvirus (OPV) genus from parapoxviruses (PPV) and the far more common and less serious herpesviruses (herpes simplex and varicella zoster). Preparation, enrichment, examination, internal standards and suitable organisations are discussed to make clear its continuing value as a diagnostic technique.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 141: Conflict in the Intracellular Lives of Endosymbionts and Viruses: A Mechanistic Look at Wolbachia-Mediated Pathogen-blocking

  • At the forefront of vector control efforts are strategies that leverage host-microbe associations to reduce vectorial capacity. The most promising of these efforts employs Wolbachia, a maternally transmitted endosymbiotic bacterium naturally found in 40% of insects. Wolbachia can spread through a population of insects while simultaneously inhibiting the replication of viruses within its host. Despite successes in using Wolbachia-transfected mosquitoes to limit dengue, Zika, and chikungunya transmission, the mechanisms behind pathogen-blocking have not been fully characterized. Firstly, we discuss how Wolbachia and viruses both require specific host-derived structures, compounds, and processes to initiate and maintain infection. There is significant overlap in these requirements, and infection with either microbe often manifests as cellular stress, which may be a key component of Wolbachia’s anti-viral effect. Secondly, we discuss the current understanding of pathogen-blocking through this lens of cellular stress and develop a comprehensive view of how the lives of Wolbachia and viruses are fundamentally in conflict with each other. A thorough understanding of the genetic and cellular determinants of pathogen-blocking will significantly enhance the ability of vector control programs to deploy and maintain effective Wolbachia-mediated control measures.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 140: The Host Factor Early Growth Response Gene (EGR-1) Regulates Vaccinia virus Infectivity during Infection of Starved Mouse Cells

  • Evolution has equipped poxvirus genomes with the coding capacity for several virus-host interaction products which interfere with host cell gene expression and protein function, creating an adequate intracellular environment for a productive infection. We show here that Vaccinia virus (VACV) induces the expression of the cellular transcription factor EGR-1 (early growth response-1) in Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts (MEFs) through the MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/ERK)/ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinases) pathway, from 3 to 12 h post infection (h.p.i.). By using starved egr-1 knockout (egr-1−/−) MEFs, we demonstrate that VACV replication is reduced by ~1 log in this cell line. Although western blotting and electron microscopy analyses revealed no difference in VACV gene expression or morphogenesis, the specific infectivity of VACV propagated in egr-1−/− MEFs was lower than virus propagated in wild type (WT) cells. This lower infectivity was due to decreased VACV DNA replication during the next cycle of infection. Taken together, these results revealed that EGR-1 appears to facilitate VACV replication in starved fibroblasts by affecting viral particles infectivity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 139: Enterovirus Transmission by Secretory Autophagy

  • Present in many cell types, non-degradative secretory autophagy is a newly discovered pathway in which autophagosomes fuse with the plasma membrane instead of lysosomes. Surprisingly, some viruses exploit secretory autophagy to exit cells non-lytically, shedding into the extracellular environment as particle populations contained within vesicles. As a result, this significantly enhances the infectivity of these viruses. In this paper, this novel cellular exit pathway is highlighted and its advantages for viral transmission discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 138: Alphavirus Nucleocapsid Packaging and Assembly

  • Alphavirus nucleocapsids are assembled in the cytoplasm of infected cells from 240 copies of the capsid protein and the approximately 11 kb positive strand genomic RNA. However, the challenge of how the capsid specifically selects its RNA package and assembles around it has remained an elusive one to solve. In this review, we will summarize what is known about the alphavirus capsid protein, the packaging signal, and their roles in the mechanism of packaging and assembly. We will review the discovery of the packaging signal and how there is as much evidence for, as well as against, its requirement to specify packaging of the genomic RNA. Finally, we will compare this model with those of other viral systems including particular reference to a relatively new idea of RNA packaging based on the presence of multiple minimal packaging signals throughout the genome known as the two stage mechanism. This review will provide a basis for further investigating the fundamental ways of how RNA viruses are able to select their own cargo from the relative chaos that is the cytoplasm.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 137: Beet Necrotic Yellow Vein Virus Noncoding RNA Production Depends on a 5′→3′ Xrn Exoribonuclease Activity

  • The RNA3 species of the beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV), a multipartite positive-stranded RNA phytovirus, contains the‘core’ nucleotide sequence required for its systemic movement in Beta macrocarpa. Within this ‘core’ sequence resides a conserved “coremin” motif of 20 nucleotides that is absolutely essential for long-distance movement. RNA3 undergoes processing steps to yield a noncoding RNA3 (ncRNA3)possessing “coremin” at its 5′ end, a mandatory element for ncRNA3 accumulation. Expression of wild-type (wt) or mutated RNA3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae allows for the accumulation of ncRNA3 species. Screening of S. cerevisiae ribonuclease mutants identified the 5′-to-3′ exoribonuclease Xrn1 as a key enzyme in RNA3 processing that was recapitulated both in vitro and in insect cell extracts. Xrn1 stalled on ncRNA3-containing RNA substrates in these decay assays in a similar fashion as the flavivirus Xrn1-resistant structure (sfRNA). Substitution of the BNYVV-RNA3 ‘core’ sequenceby the sfRNA sequence led to the accumulation of an ncRNA species in yeast in vitro but not in planta and no viral long distance occurred. Interestingly, XRN4 knockdown reduced BNYVV RNA accumulation suggesting a dual role for the ribonuclease in the viral cycle.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 136: The Incidence and Genetic Diversity of Apple Mosaic Virus (ApMV) and Prune Dwarf Virus (PDV) in Prunus Species in Australia

  • Apple mosaic virus (ApMV) and prune dwarf virus (PDV) are amongst the most common viruses infecting Prunus species worldwide but their incidence and genetic diversity in Australia is not known. In a survey of 127 Prunus tree samples collected from five states in Australia, ApMV and PDV occurred in 4 (3%) and 13 (10%) of the trees respectively. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) of amplicons from partial conserved regions of RNA1, RNA2, and RNA3, encoding the methyltransferase (MT), RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), and the coat protein (CP) genes respectively, of ApMV and PDV was used to determine the genetic diversity of the Australian isolates of each virus. Phylogenetic comparison of Australian ApMV and PDV amplicon HTS variants and full length genomes of both viruses with isolates occurring in other countries identified genetic strains of each virus occurring in Australia. A single Australian Prunus infecting ApMV genetic strain was identified as all ApMV isolates sequence variants formed a single phylogenetic group in each of RNA1, RNA2, and RNA3. Two Australian PDV genetic strains were identified based on the combination of observed phylogenetic groups in each of RNA1, RNA2, and RNA3 and one Prunus tree had both strains. The accuracy of amplicon sequence variants phylogenetic analysis based on segments of each virus RNA were confirmed by phylogenetic analysis of full length genome sequences of Australian ApMV and PDV isolates and all published ApMV and PDV genomes from other countries.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 135: Transcriptome Analysis of Epithelioma Papulosum Cyprini Cells Infected by Reovirus Isolated from Allogynogenetic Silver Crucian Carp

  • The present study aimed to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and major signal transduction pathways that were related to the immune response of epithelioma papulosum cyprinid (EPC) cells to reoviruses isolated from allogynogenetic silver crucian carp. The study also lays a theoretical foundation for the pathogenesis and immunity of the reovirus, which is helpful to the breeding of cyprinids fish. Reovirus infected and uninfected EPC cells were analyzed by using a new-generation high-throughput sequencing technology. DEGs were identified, annotated, and classified, and the signal pathways involved in the response to reovirus infection were identified by using bioinformatics tool. The data were assembled into 92,101 contigs with an average length of 835.24 bp and an N50 value of 1432 nt. Differential expression analysis of all the genes identified 3316 DEGs at a false discovery rate (FDR) of aamp;amp;lt;0.01 and a fold-change of≥3, of which 1691 were upregulated genes, 1625 were downregulated, and about 305 were immune-related genes. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis resulted in the annotation of 3941 GO terms, including 2719 biological processes (37,810 unigenes), 376 cell components (7943 unigenes), and 846 molecular functions (11,750 unigenes). KEGG metabolic pathway analysis matched the DEGs from pre-and post-infection EPC cells to 193 pathways, of which 35 were immune-related, including the Toll-like receptor, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, and the JAK-STAT signaling pathways.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 134: A Novel Betabaculovirus Isolated from the Monocot Pest Mocis latipes (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and the Evolution of Multiple-Copy Genes

  • In this report, we described the genome of a novel baculovirus isolated from the monocot insect pest Mocis latipes, the striped grass looper. The genome has 134,272 bp in length with a G + C content of 38.3%. Based on the concatenated sequence of the 38 baculovirus core genes, we found that the virus is a betabaculovirus closely related to the noctuid-infecting betabaculoviruses including Pseudaletia unipuncta granulovirus (PsunGV), Trichoplusia ni granulovirus (TnGV), Helicoverpa armigera granulovirus (HearGV), and Xestia c-nigrum granulovirus (XecnGV). The virus may constitute a new Betabaculovirus species tentatively named Mocis latipes granulovirus (MolaGV). After gene content analysis, five open reading frames (ORFs) were found to be unique to MolaGV and several auxiliary genes were found including iap-3, iap-5, bro-a, bro-b, and three enhancins. The virus genome lacked both chitinase and cathepsin. We then looked at the evolutionary history of the enhancin gene and found that betabaculovirus acquired this gene from an alphabaculovirus followed by several duplication events. Gene duplication also happened to an endonuclease-like gene. Genomic and gene content analyses revealed both a strict collinearity and gene expansion into the genome of the MolaGV-related species. We also characterized the granulin gene using a recombinant Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and found that occlusion bodies were produced into the nucleus of infected cells and presented a polyhedral shape and no occluded virions within. Overall, betabaculovirus genome sequencing is of importance to the field as few genomes are publicly accessible. Mocis latipes is a secondary pest of maize, rice, and wheat crops in Brazil. Certainly, both the discovery and description of novel baculoviruses may lead to development of greener and safer pesticides in order to counteract and effectively control crop damage-causing insect populations

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 133: Antiviral Defense and Innate Immune Memory in the Oyster

  • The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, is becoming a valuable model for investigating antiviral defense in the Lophotrochozoa superphylum. In the past five years, improvements to laboratory-based experimental infection protocols using Ostreid herpesvirus I (OsHV-1) from naturally infected C. gigas combined with next-generation sequencing techniques has revealed that oysters have a complex antiviral response involving the activation of all major innate immune pathways. Experimental evidence indicates C. gigas utilizes an interferon-like response to limit OsHV-1 replication and spread. Oysters injected with a viral mimic (polyI:C) develop resistance to OsHV-1. Improved survival following polyI:C injection was found later in life (within-generational immune priming) and in the next generation (multi-generational immune priming). These studies indicate that the oyster’s antiviral defense system exhibits a form of innate immune-memory. An important priority is to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon. This knowledge will motivate the development of practical and cost-effective treatments for improving oyster health in aquaculture.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 132: High Mobility Group Box 1 Influences HSV1716 Spread and Acts as an Adjuvant to Chemotherapy

  • High Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1) is a multifunctional protein that plays various roles in the processes of inflammation, cancer, and other diseases. Many reports document abundant HMGB1 release following infection with oncolytic viruses (OVs). Further, other groups including previous reports from our laboratory highlight the synergistic effects of OVs with chemotherapy drugs. Here, we show that virus-free supernatants have varying cytotoxic potential, and HMGB1 is actively secreted by two established fibroblast cell lines (NIH 3T3 and 3T6-Swiss albino) following HSV1716 infection in vitro. Further, pharmacologic inhibition or genetic knock-down of HMGB1 reveals a role for HMGB1 in viral restriction, the ability to modulate bystander cell proliferation, and drug sensitivity in 3T6 cells. These data further support the multifactorial role of HMGB1, and suggest it could be a target for modulating the efficacy of oncolytic virus therapies alone or in combination with other frontline cancer treatments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 131: Intermolecular RNA Recombination Occurs at Different Frequencies in Alternate Forms of Brome Mosaic Virus RNA Replication Compartments

  • Positive-strand RNA viruses replicate their genomes in membrane-bound replication compartments. Brome mosaic virus (BMV) replicates in vesicular invaginations of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. BMV has served as a productive model system to study processes like virus-host interactions, RNA replication and recombination. Here we present multiple lines of evidence showing that the structure of the viral RNA replication compartments plays a fundamental role and that recruitment of parental RNAs to a common replication compartment is a limiting step in intermolecular RNA recombination. We show that a previously defined requirement for an RNA recruitment element on both parental RNAs is not to function as a preferred crossover site, but in order for individual RNAs to be recruited into the replication compartments. Moreover, modulating the form of the replication compartments from spherular vesicles (spherules) to more expansive membrane layers increased intermolecular RNA recombination frequency by 200- to 1000-fold. We propose that intermolecular RNA recombination requires parental RNAs to be recruited into replication compartments as monomers, and that recruitment of multiple RNAs into a contiguous space is much more common for layers than for spherules. These results could explain differences in recombination frequencies between viruses that replicate in association with smaller spherules versus larger double-membrane vesicles and convoluted membranes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 130: Utilisation of Chimeric Lyssaviruses to Assess Vaccine Protection against Highly Divergent Lyssaviruses

  • Lyssaviruses constitute a diverse range of viruses with the ability to cause fatal encephalitis known as rabies. Existing human rabies vaccines and post exposure prophylaxes (PEP) are based on inactivated preparations of, and neutralising antibody preparations directed against, classical rabies viruses, respectively. Whilst these prophylaxes are highly efficient at neutralising and preventing a productive infection with rabies virus, their ability to neutralise other lyssaviruses is thought to be limited. The remaining 15 virus species within the lyssavirus genus have been divided into at least three phylogroups that generally predict vaccine protection. Existing rabies vaccines afford protection against phylogroup I viruses but offer little to no protection against phylogroup II and III viruses. As such, work involving sharps with phylogroup II and III must be considered of high risk as no PEP is thought to have any effect on the prevention of a productive infection with these lyssaviruses. Whilst rabies virus itself has been characterised in a number of different animal models, data on the remaining lyssaviruses are scarce. As the lyssavirus glycoprotein is considered to be the sole target of neutralising antibodies we generated a vaccine strain of rabies using reverse genetics expressing highly divergent glycoproteins of West Caucasian Bat lyssavirus and Ikoma lyssavirus. Using these recombinants, we propose that recombinant vaccine strain derived lyssaviruses containing heterologous glycoproteins may be a suitable surrogate for wildtype viruses when assessing vaccine protection for the lyssaviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 129: Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus NSs Protein Supports Infection and Systemic Movement of a Potyvirus and Is a Symptom Determinant

  • Plant viruses are inducers and targets of antiviral RNA silencing. To condition susceptibility, most plant viruses encode silencing suppressor proteins that interfere with antiviral RNA silencing. The NSs protein is an RNA silencing suppressor in orthotospoviruses, such as the tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). The mechanism of RNA silencing suppression by NSs and its role in virus infection and movement are poorly understood. Here, we cloned and tagged TSWV NSs and expressed it from a GFP-tagged turnip mosaic virus (TuMV-GFP) carrying either a wild-type or suppressor-deficient (AS9) helper component proteinase (HC-Pro). When expressed in cis, NSs restored pathogenicity and promoted systemic infection of suppressor-deficient TuMV-AS9-GFP in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana. Inactivating mutations were introduced in NSs RNA-binding domain one. A genetic analysis with active and suppressor-deficient NSs, in combination with wild-type and mutant plants lacking essential components of the RNA silencing machinery, showed that the NSs insert is stable when expressed from a potyvirus. NSs can functionally replace potyviral HC-Pro, condition virus susceptibility, and promote systemic infection and symptom development by suppressing antiviral RNA silencing through a mechanism that partially overlaps that of potyviral HC-Pro. The results presented provide new insight into the mechanism of silencing suppression by NSs and its effect on virus infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 128: Molecular Diagnosis of Felis catus Gammaherpesvirus 1 (FcaGHV1) Infection in Cats of Known Retrovirus Status with and without Lymphoma

  • The pathogenicity of Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 (FcaGHV1), a common infection of domestic cats, is unknown. To explore an association between FcaGHV1 detection and feline lymphoma, a retrospective, cross-sectional, disease-association study was conducted. The infection status of all cats for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus was determined. Neither a molecular diagnosis of FcaGHV1 nor whole-blood FcaGHV1 load was related to outcome in 122 lymphoma cases compared with 71 controls matched for age and sex. Molecular analysis of lymphoma-derived DNA paired with autologous uninvolved tissue did not suggest restriction of FcaGHV1 DNA to tumour tissue. FcaGHV1 DNA detection was associated with significantly shorter survival in lymphoma cases, an observation that could not be adequately explained by treatment differences. In addition, regressive feline leukaemia virus infection was identified as a risk factor for lymphoma. A history of fighting or roaming was identified as a novel epidemiological risk factor for FcaGHV1 detection, lending support to intercat aggression as a potential route of transmission. Studies investigating the cellular location and expression of FcaGHV1 are indicated to assist in ruling out a lymphomagenic role for this virus. Prospective investigation of FcaGHV1 DNA detection as a prognostic marker in feline lymphoma is warranted.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 127: Cellular hnRNP A1 Interacts with Nucleocapsid Protein of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and Impairs Viral Replication

  • The nucleocapsid (N) protein is a major structural component of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which is predicted to be a multifunctional protein in viral replication. Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNP A1) is a cellular protein participating in the splicing of pre-mRNA in the nucleus and translation regulation in the cytoplasm. According to our previous proteomic study about PEDV infection in vivo, hnRNP A1 was thought to be a cellular factor influencing PEDV replication. In this report, PEDV N protein was discovered to colocalize with cellular hnRNP A1 in perinuclear region of PEDV infected cells. Co-immunoprecipitation (CO-IP) results clearly demonstrated that PEDV N protein could bind to human hnRNP A1. Replication of PEDV was inhibited by silencing the expression of hnRNP A1 in CCL-81 cells, suggesting the positive effect of hnRNP A1 on PEDV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 126: Development and Testing of a Method for Validating Chemical Inactivation of Ebola Virus

  • Complete inactivation of infectious Ebola virus (EBOV) is required before a sample may be removed from a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory. The United States Federal Select Agent Program regulations require that procedures used to demonstrate chemical inactivation must be validated in-house to confirm complete inactivation. The objective of this study was to develop a method for validating chemical inactivation of EBOV and then demonstrate the effectiveness of several commonly-used inactivation methods. Samples containing infectious EBOV (Zaire ebolavirus) in different matrices were treated, and the sample was diluted to limit the cytopathic effect of the inactivant. The presence of infectious virus was determined by assessing the cytopathic effect in Vero E6 cells. Crucially, this method did not result in a loss of infectivity in control samples, and we were able to detect less than five infectious units of EBOV (Zaire ebolavirus). We found that TRIzol LS reagent and RNA-Bee inactivated EBOV in serum; TRIzol LS reagent inactivated EBOV in clarified cell culture media; TRIzol reagent inactivated EBOV in tissue and infected Vero E6 cells; 10% neutral buffered formalin inactivated EBOV in tissue; and osmium tetroxide vapors inactivated EBOV on transmission electron microscopy grids. The methods described herein are easily performed and can be adapted to validate inactivation of viruses in various matrices and by various chemical methods.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 125: Human Parainfluenza Virus Type 3 Matrix Protein Reduces Viral RNA Synthesis of HPIV3 by Regulating Inclusion Body Formation

  • Human parainfluenza virus type 3 is one of the main causes of lower respiratory illness in newborns and infants. The role of the matrix protein (M) in viral budding is extensively studied, but the effect of M on viral replication remains to be determined. Using an HPIV3 minigenome assay, we found that M reduced HPIV3 mingenome-encoded reporter activity even though it had an unspecific effect on the expression of cellular genes. Furthermore, the inhibition effect of M on viral RNA synthesis was proven to be independent of its virus-like particles (VLPs)’ release ability. A VLP’s defective mutant (ML302A) decreased the expression of minigenome reporter as wild type M did. Using an immunofluorescence assay, we found that M weakened the formation of inclusion bodies (IBs), although it did not co-localize with the IBs. Moreover, using another mutant, ML305A , which is defective in M-nucleoprotein (N) interaction, we found that ML305A had no effect on reporter activity and IB formation as the wild type of M did. Taken together, we conclude that M reduces the replication of HPIV3 and IB formation by M–N interaction.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 124: Stem Cell-Derived Models of Viral Infections in the Gastrointestinal Tract

  • Studies on the intestinal epithelial response to viral infection have previously been limited by the absence of in vitro human intestinal models that recapitulate the multicellular complexity of the gastrointestinal tract. Recent technological advances have led to the development of“mini-intestine” models, which mimic the diverse cellular nature and physiological activity of the small intestine. Utilizing adult or embryonic intestinal tissue, enteroid and organoid systems, respectively, represent an opportunity to effectively model cellular differentiation, proliferation,and interactions that are specific to the specialized environment of the intestine. Enteroid and organoid systems represent a significant advantage over traditional in vitro methods because they model the structure and function of the small intestine while also maintaining the genetic identity of the host. These more physiologic models also allow for novel approaches to investigate the interaction of enteric viruses with the gastrointestinal tract, making them ideal to study the complexities of host-pathogen interactions in this unique cellular environment. This review aims to provide a summary on the use of human enteroid and organoid systems as models to study virus pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 123:“French Phage Network”—Third Meeting Report

  • In its third year of existence, the French Phage Network ( is pursuing its expansion. With more than 25 groups, mostly based in France, working on the various aspects of phage research, the network has increased its visibility, interactivity, and activity. The third meeting of the network, held on November 2017 at the Gif-sur-Yvette Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) campus, was a great opportunity for many young scientists to present their work and interact with more senior scientists, amongst which several were invited from abroad. Here we provide a summary of the work presented at this occasion during the oral presentations and poster sessions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 122: Together Forever: Bacterial–Viral Interactions in Infection and Immunity

  • Most viruses first encounter host cells at mucosal surfaces, which are typically colonized by a complex ecosystem of microbes collectively referred to as the microbiota. Recent studies demonstrate the microbiota plays an important role in mediating host–viral interactions and determining the outcomes of these encounters. This review outlines recently described examples of how bacteria and viruses impact each other particularly during infectious processes. Mechanistically, these effects can be broadly categorized as reflecting direct bacterial–viral interactions and/or involving microbial impacts upon innate and/or adaptive immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 121: Challenge for One Health: Co-Circulation of Zoonotic H5N1 and H9N2 Avian Influenza Viruses in Egypt

  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses are currently endemic in poultry in Egypt. Eradication of the viruses has been unsuccessful due to improper application of vaccine-based control strategies among other preventive measures. The viruses have evolved rapidly with increased bird-to-human transmission efficacy, thus affecting both animal and public health. Subsequent spread of potentially zoonotic low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H9N2 in poultry has also hindered efficient control of avian influenza. The H5N1 viruses acquired enhanced bird-to-human transmissibility by (1) altering amino acids in hemagglutinin (HA) that enable binding affinity to human-type receptors, (2) loss of the glycosylation site and 130 loop in the HA protein and (3) mutation of E627K in the PB2 protein to enhance viral replication in mammalian hosts. The receptor binding site of HA of Egyptian H9N2 viruses has been shown to contain the Q234L substitution along with a H191 mutation, which can increase human-like receptor specificity. Therefore, co-circulation of H5N1 and H9N2 viruses in poultry farming and live bird markets has increased the risk of human exposure, resulting in complication of the epidemiological situation and raising a concern for potential emergence of a new influenza A virus pandemic. For efficient control of infection and transmission, the efficacy of vaccine and vaccination needs to be improved with a comprehensive control strategy, including enhanced biosecurity, education, surveillance, rapid diagnosis and culling of infected poultry.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 120: Bovine Vaccinia: Insights into the Disease in Cattle

  • Bovine vaccinia (BV), caused by Vaccinia virus (VACV), is a zoonosis characterized by exanthematous lesions in the teats of dairy cows and the hands of milkers and is an important public health issue. Severe VACV-induced lesions in the teats and udder of cows and buffaloes could lead to mastitis and other secondary infections, thereby reducing productivity and resulting in economic losses to the dairy industry. In Brazil, BV re-emerged in the late 1990s and is now endemic in most of the Brazilian territory. In the last 15 years, much effort has been made to know more about this disease and its epidemiology, etiologic agents, and interactions with the host and the environment. In this review, we describe the known dynamics of VACV infection in cattle and the viral shedding routes, as well as the relevance of BV for animal and public health.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 119: Antiviral Effects of ABMA against Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 In Vitro and In Vivo

  • Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is the causative pathogen of genital herpes and is closely associated with the occurrence of cervical cancer and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The absence of an effective vaccine and the emergence of drug resistance to commonly used nucleoside analogs emphasize the urgent need for alternative antivirals against HSV-2. Recently, ABMA [1-adamantyl (5-bromo-2-methoxybenzyl) amine] has been demonstrated to be an inhibitor of several pathogens exploiting host-vesicle transport, which also participates in the HSV-2 lifecycle. Here, we showed that ABMA inhibited HSV-2-induced cytopathic effects and plaque formation with 50% effective concentrations of 1.66 and 1.08μM, respectively. We also preliminarily demonstrated in a time of compound addition assay that ABMA exerted a dual antiviral mechanism by impairing virus entry, as well as the late stages of the HSV-2 lifecycle. Furthermore, in vivo studies showed that ABMA protected BALB/c mice from intravaginal HSV-2 challenge with an improved survival rate of 50% at 5 mg/kg (8.33% for the untreated virus infected control). Consequently, our study has identified ABMA as an effective inhibitor of HSV-2, both in vitro and in vivo, for the first time and presents an alternative to nucleoside analogs for HSV-2infection treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 118: Natural Variation in Resistance to Virus Infection in Dipteran Insects

  • The power and ease of Drosophila genetics and the medical relevance of mosquito-transmitted viruses have made dipterans important model organisms in antiviral immunology. Studies of virus–host interactions at the molecular and population levels have illuminated determinants of resistance to virus infection. Here, we review the sources and nature of variation in antiviral immunity and virus susceptibility in model dipteran insects, specifically the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and vector mosquitoes of the genera Aedes and Culex. We first discuss antiviral immune mechanisms and describe the virus-specificity of these responses. In the following sections, we review genetic and microbiota-dependent variation in antiviral immunity. In the final sections, we explore less well-studied sources of variation, including abiotic factors, sexual dimorphism, infection history, and endogenous viral elements. We borrow from work on other pathogen types and non-dipteran species when it parallels or complements studies in dipterans. Understanding natural variation in virus–host interactions may lead to the identification of novel restriction factors and immune mechanisms and shed light on the molecular determinants of vector competence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 117: San Wu Huangqin Decoction, a Chinese Herbal Formula, Inhibits Influenza a/PR/8/34 (H1N1) Virus Infection In Vitro and In Vivo

  • The San Wu Huangqin Decoction (SWHD), a traditional Chinese medicine formula, is used to treat colds caused by exposure to wind-pathogen, hyperpyrexia, infectious diseases and cancer; moreover, it is used for detoxification. The individual herbs of SWHD, such as Sophora flavescens and Scutellaria baicalensis, exhibit a wide spectrum of antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer and other properties. The Chinese compound formula of SWHD is composed of S. flavescens, S. baicalensis and Rehmannia glutinosa. However, the effect of SWHD on the influenza virus (IFV) and its mechanism remain unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate, for the first time, whether SWHD could be used to treat influenza. Results showed that SWHD could effectively inhibit influenza A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) virus at different stages of viral replication (confirmed through antiviral effect assay, penetration assay, attachment assay and internalization assay) in vitro. It could reduce the infection of the virus in a dose- and time-dependent manner, as confirmed by observing the cell cytopathic effect and calculating the cell viability (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). SWHD demonstrated better antiviral activity than oseltamivir in the evaluation of antiviral prophylaxis on influenza (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). The antiviral activity of SWHD may be related to its regulation ability on the immune system. Western blot, real-time polymerase chain reaction and indirect immunofluorescence assay showed that the expression of the four target viral proteins of the IFV (namely, haemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), nucleoprotein (NP) and matrix-2 (M2)) reduced significantly (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). Moreover, SWHD (23.40 and 11.70 g/kg) significantly alleviated the clinical signs, reduced the mortality and increased the survival time of infected mice (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). The lung index, virus titres, pathological changes in lung tissues and the expression of key proteins of the IFV in mice also decreased (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05). In conclusion, SWHD possessed anti-influenza activity. This work provided a new view of complementary therapy and drug discovery for clinical treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 116: Proviruses with Long-Term Stable Expression Accumulate in Transcriptionally Active Chromatin Close to the Gene Regulatory Elements: Comparison of ASLV-, HIV- and MLV-Derived Vectors

  • Individual groups of retroviruses and retroviral vectors differ in their integration site preference and interaction with the host genome. Hence, immediately after infection genome-wide distribution of integrated proviruses is non-random. During long-term in vitro or persistent in vivo infection, the genomic position and chromatin environment of the provirus affects its transcriptional activity. Thus, a selection of long-term stably expressed proviruses and elimination of proviruses, which have been gradually silenced by epigenetic mechanisms, helps in the identification of genomic compartments permissive for proviral transcription. We compare here the extent and time course of provirus silencing in single cell clones of the K562 human myeloid lymphoblastoma cell line that have been infected with retroviral reporter vectors derived from avian sarcoma/leukosis virus (ASLV), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) and murine leukaemia virus (MLV). While MLV proviruses remain transcriptionally active, ASLV proviruses are prone to rapid silencing. The HIV provirus displays gradual silencing only after an extended time period in culture. The analysis of integration sites of long-term stably expressed proviruses shows a strong bias for some genomic features—especially integration close to the transcription start sites of active transcription units. Furthermore, complex analysis of histone modifications enriched at the site of integration points to the accumulation of proviruses of all three groups in gene regulatory segments, particularly close to the enhancer loci. We conclude that the proximity to active regulatory chromatin segments correlates with stable provirus expression in various retroviral species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 115: The Bacteriophage Lambda CII Phenotypes for Complementation, Cellular Toxicity and Replication Inhibition Are Suppressed in cII-oop Constructs Expressing the Small RNA OOP

  • The temperate bacteriophage lambda (λ) CII protein is a positive regulator of transcription from promoter pE, a component of the lysogenic response. The expression of cII was examined in vectors devoid of phage transcription-modulating elements. Their removal enabled evaluating if the expression of the small RNA OOP, on its own, could suppress CII activities, including complementing for a lysogenic response, cell toxicity and causing rapid cellular loss of ColE1 plasmids. The results confirm that OOP RNA expression from the genetic element pO-oop-to can prevent the ability of plasmid-encoded CII to complement for a lysogenic response, suggesting that it serves as a powerful regulatory pivot in λ development. Plasmids with a pO promoter sequence of 45 nucleotides (pO45), containing the −10 and −35 regions for oop, were non-functional; whereas, plasmids with pO94 prevented CII complementation, CII-dependent plasmid loss and suppressed CII toxicity, suggesting the pO promoter has an extended DNA sequence. All three CII activities were eliminated by the deletion of the COOH-terminal 20 amino acids of CII. Host mutations in the hflA locus, in pcnB and in rpoB influenced CII activities. These studies suggest that the COOH-terminal end of CII likely interacts with the β-subunit of RNA polymerase.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 114: Upregulation of Glucose Uptake and Hexokinase Activity of Primary Human CD4+ T Cells in Response to Infection with HIV-1

  • Infection of primary CD4+ T cells with HIV-1 coincides with an increase in glycolysis. We investigated the expression of glucose transporters (GLUT) and glycolytic enzymes in human CD4+ T cells in response to infection with HIV-1. We demonstrate the co-expression of GLUT1, GLUT3, GLUT4, and GLUT6 in human CD4+ T cells after activation, and their concerted overexpression in HIV-1 infected cells. The investigation of glycolytic enzymes demonstrated activation-dependent expression of hexokinases HK1 and HK2 in human CD4+ T cells, and a highly significant increase in cellular hexokinase enzyme activity in response to infection with HIV-1. HIV-1 infected CD4+ T cells showed a marked increase in expression of HK1, as well as the functionally related voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) protein, but not HK2. The elevation of GLUT, HK1, and VDAC expression in HIV-1 infected cells mirrored replication kinetics and was dependent on virus replication, as evidenced by the use of reverse transcription inhibitors. Finally, we demonstrated that the upregulation of HK1 in HIV-1 infected CD4+ T cells is independent of the viral accessory proteins Vpu, Vif, Nef, and Vpr. Though these data are consistent with HIV-1 dependency on CD4+ T cell glucose metabolism, a cellular response mechanism to infection cannot be ruled out.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 113: Deciphering the Human Virome with Single-Virus Genomics and Metagenomics

  • Single-cell genomics has unveiled the metabolic potential of dominant microbes inhabiting different environments, including the human body. The lack of genomic information for predominant microbes of the human body, such as bacteriophages, hinders our ability to answer fundamental questions about our viral communities. Here, we applied single-virus genomics (SVGs) to natural human salivary samples in combination with viral metagenomics to gain some insights into the viral community structure of the oral cavity. Saliva samples were processed for viral metagenomics (n = 15) and SVGs (n = 3). A total of 1328 uncultured single viruses were sorted by fluorescence-activated virus sorting followed by whole genome amplification. Sequencing of 24 viral single amplified genomes (vSAGs) showed that half of the vSAGs contained viral hallmark genes. Among those bona fide viruses, the uncultured single virus 92-C13 putatively infecting oral Streptococcus-like species was within the top≈10 most abundant viruses in the oral virome. Viral gene network and viral metagenomics analyses of 439 oral viruses from cultures, metagenomics, and SVGs revealed that salivary viruses were tentatively structured into ≈200 major viral clusters, corresponding to approximately genus-level groupings. Data showed that none of the publicly available viral isolates, excepting an Actinomyces phage, were significantly abundant in the oral viromes. In addition, none of the obtained viral contigs and vSAGs from this study were present in all viromes. Overall, the data demonstrates that most viral isolates are not naturally abundant in saliva, and furthermore, the predominant viruses in the oral cavity are yet uncharacterized. Results suggest a variable, complex, and interpersonal viral profile. Finally, we demonstrated the power of SVGs in combination with viral metagenomics to unveil the genetic information of the uncultured viruses of the human virome.
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