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Jean-Yves Sgro
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Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 128: Variability and Global Distribution of Subgenotypes of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus

  • Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a globally-distributed agent responsible for numerous clinical syndromes that lead to major economic losses. Two species, BVDV-1 and BVDV-2, discriminated on the basis of genetic and antigenic differences, are classified in the genus Pestivirus within the Flaviviridae family and distributed on all of the continents. BVDV-1 can be segregated into at least twenty-one subgenotypes (1a–1u), while four subgenotypes have been described for BVDV-2 (2a–2d). With respect to published sequences, the number of virus isolates described for BVDV-1 (88.2%) is considerably higher than for BVDV-2 (11.8%). The most frequently-reported BVDV-1 subgenotype are 1b, followed by 1a and 1c. Thehighest number of various BVDV subgenotypes has been documented in European countries, indicating greater genetic diversity of the virus on this continent. Current segregation of BVDV field isolates and the designation of subgenotypes are not harmonized. While the species BVDV-1 and BVDV-2 can be clearly differentiated independently from the portion of the genome being compared, analysis of different genomic regions can result in inconsistent assignment of some BVDV isolates to defined subgenotypes. To avoid non-conformities the authors recommend the development of a harmonized system for subdivision of BVDV isolates into defined subgenotypes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 129: The Role of Caveolin 1 in HIV Infection and Pathogenesis

  • Caveolin 1 (Cav-1) is a major component of the caveolae structure and is expressed in a variety of cell types including macrophages, which are susceptible to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Caveolae structures are present in abundance in mechanically stressed cells such as endothelial cells and adipocytes. HIV infection induces dysfunction of these cells and promotes pathogenesis. Cav-1 and the caveolae structure are believed to be involved in multiple cellular processes that include signal transduction, lipid regulation, endocytosis, transcytosis, and mechanoprotection. Such a broad biological role of Cav-1/caveolae is bound to have functional cross relationships with several molecular pathways including HIV replication and viral-induced pathogenesis. The current review covers the relationship of Cav-1 and HIV in respect to viral replication, persistence, and the potential role in pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 127: Metagenomic Approaches to Assess Bacteriophages in Various Environmental Niches

  • Bacteriophages are ubiquitous and numerous parasites of bacteria and play a critical evolutionary role in virtually every ecosystem, yet our understanding of the extent of the diversity and role of phages remains inadequate for many ecological niches, particularly in cases in which the host is unculturable. During the past 15 years, the emergence of the field of viral metagenomics has drastically enhanced our ability to analyse the so-called viral‘dark matter’ of the biosphere. Here, we review the evolution of viral metagenomic methodologies, as well as providing an overview of some of the most significant applications and findings in this field of research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 126: Bacterial Virus Ontology; Coordinating across Databases

  • Bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophages, display a great genetic diversity and utilize unique processes for infecting and reproducing within a host cell. All these processes were investigated and indexed in the ViralZone knowledge base. To facilitate standardizing data, a simple ontology of viral life-cycle terms was developed to provide a common vocabulary for annotating data sets. New terminology was developed to address unique viral replication cycle processes, and existing terminology was modified and adapted. Classically, the viral life-cycle is described by schematic pictures. Using this ontology, it can be represented by a combination of successive events: entry, latency, transcription/replication, host–virus interactions and virus release. Each of these parts is broken down into discrete steps. For example enterobacteria phage lambda entry is broken down in: viral attachment to host adhesion receptor, viral attachment to host entry receptor, viral genome ejection and viral genome circularization. To demonstrate the utility of a standard ontology for virus biology, this work was completed by annotating virus data in the ViralZone, UniProtKB and Gene Ontology databases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 125: A Role for the Host DNA Damage Response in Hepatitis B Virus cccDNA Formation—and Beyond?

  • Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection puts more than 250 million people at a greatly increased risk to develop end-stage liver disease. Like all hepadnaviruses, HBV replicates via protein-primed reverse transcription of a pregenomic (pg) RNA, yielding an unusually structured, viral polymerase-linked relaxed-circular (RC) DNA as genome in infectious particles. Upon infection, RC-DNA is converted into nuclear covalently closed circular (ccc) DNA. Associating with cellular proteins into an episomal minichromosome, cccDNA acts as template for new viral RNAs, ensuring formation of progeny virions. Hence, cccDNA represents the viral persistence reservoir that is not directly targeted by current anti-HBV therapeutics. Eliminating cccDNA will thus be at the heart of a cure for chronic hepatitis B. The low production of HBV cccDNA in most experimental models and the associated problems in reliable cccDNA quantitation have long hampered a deeper understanding of cccDNA molecular biology. Recent advancements including cccDNA-dependent cell culture systems have begun to identify select host DNA repair enzymes that HBV usurps for RC-DNA to cccDNA conversion. While this list is bound to grow, it may represent just one facet of a broader interaction with the cellular DNA damage response (DDR), a network of pathways that sense and repair aberrant DNA structures and in the process profoundly affect the cell cycle, up to inducing cell death if repair fails. Given the divergent interactions between other viruses and the DDR it will be intriguing to see how HBV copes with this multipronged host system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 124: A Japanese Encephalitis Virus Vaccine Inducing Antibodies Strongly Enhancing In Vitro Infection Is Protective in Pigs

  • The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is responsible for zoonotic severe viral encephalitis transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. Although birds are reservoirs, pigs play a role as amplifying hosts, and are affected in particular through reproductive failure. Here, we show that a lentiviral JEV vector, expressing JEV prM and E proteins (TRIP/JEV.prME), but not JEV infection induces strong antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) activities for infection of macrophages. Such antibodies strongly promoted infection via Fc receptors. ADE was found at both neutralizing and non-neutralizing serum dilutions. Nevertheless, in vivo JEV challenge of pigs demonstrated comparable protection induced by the TRIP/JEV.prME vaccine or heterologous JEV infection. Thus, either ADE antibodies cause no harm in the presence of neutralizing antibodies or may even have protective effects in vivo in pigs. Additionally, we found that both pre-infected and vaccinated pigs were not fully protected as low levels of viral RNA were found in lymphoid and nervous system tissue in some animals. Strikingly, the virus from the pre-infection persisted in the tonsils throughout the experiment. Finally, despite the vaccination challenge, viral RNA was detected in the oronasal swabs in all vaccinated pigs. These latter data are relevant when JEV vaccination is employed in pigs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 123: Distinct Contributions of Autophagy Receptors in Measles Virus Replication

  • Autophagy is a potent cell autonomous defense mechanism that engages the lysosomal pathway to fight intracellular pathogens. Several autophagy receptors can recognize invading pathogens in order to target them towards autophagy for their degradation after the fusion of pathogen-containing autophagosomes with lysosomes. However, numerous intracellular pathogens can avoid or exploit autophagy, among which is measles virus (MeV). This virus induces a complete autophagy flux, which is required to improve viral replication. We therefore asked how measles virus interferes with autophagy receptors during the course of infection. We report that in addition to NDP52/CALCOCO2 and OPTINEURIN/OPTN, another autophagy receptor, namely T6BP/TAXIBP1, also regulates the maturation of autophagosomes by promoting their fusion with lysosomes, independently of any infection. Surprisingly, only two of these receptors, NDP52 and T6BP, impacted measles virus replication, although independently, and possibly through physical interaction with MeV proteins. Thus, our results suggest that a restricted set of autophagosomes is selectively exploited by measles virus to replicate in the course of infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 122: Stumbling across the Same Phage: Comparative Genomics of Widespread Temperate Phages Infecting the Fish Pathogen Vibrio anguillarum

  • Nineteen Vibrio anguillarum-specific temperate bacteriophages isolated across Europe and Chile from aquaculture and environmental sites were genome sequenced and analyzed for host range, morphology and life cycle characteristics. The phages were classified as Siphoviridae with genome sizes between 46,006 and 54,201 bp. All 19 phages showed high genetic similarity, and 13 phages were genetically identical. Apart from sporadically distributed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genetic diversifications were located in three variable regions (VR1, VR2 and VR3) in six of the phage genomes. Identification of specific genes, such as N6-adenine methyltransferase and lambda like repressor, as well as the presence of a tRNAArg, suggested a both mutualistic and parasitic interaction between phages and hosts. During short term phage exposure experiments, 28% of a V. anguillarum host population was lysogenized by the temperate phages and a genomic analysis of a collection of 31 virulent V. anguillarum showed that the isolated phages were present as prophages in aamp;amp;gt;50% of the strains covering large geographical distances. Further, phage sequences were widely distributed among CRISPR-Cas arrays of publicly available sequenced Vibrios. The observed distribution of these specific temperate Vibriophages across large geographical scales may be explained by efficient dispersal of phages and bacteria in the marine environment combined with a mutualistic interaction between temperate phages and their hosts which selects for co-existence rather than arms race dynamics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 118: Manipulation of Viral MicroRNAs as a Potential Antiviral Strategy for the Treatment of Cytomegalovirus Infection

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection leads to notable morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients. Current antiviral drugs are effective but seriously limited in their long-term use due to their relatively high toxicity. In the present study, we characterized the expression of murine CMV microRNAs (MCMV miRNAs) both in vitro and in vivo. Although 29 miRNAs were detectable during in vitro infection, only 11 miRNAs (classified as Group 1) were detectable during in vivo infection, and as many as 18 viral miRNAs (classified as Group 2) were less detectable (aamp;amp;lt;50% of animals) in both the liver and lungs. In addition, viral miRNA profiles in the blood revealed unstable and reduced expression. We next explored the in vitro effects of viral miRNAs on MCMV replication. The inhibition of Group 1 viral miRNAs had little effect on virus production, but transfected cells overexpressing miR-m01-3-5p, miR-M23-1-5p, miR-M55-1, and miR-m107-1-5p in Group 2 showed statistically lower viral loads than those transfected with control miRNA (29%, 29%, 39%, and 43%, respectively, versus control). Finally, we performed hydrodynamic injection of viral miRNA agomirs and observed lower levels of MCMV recurrence in the livers of animals overexpressing the miR-m01-3-5p or mcmv-miR-M23-1-5p agomirs compared with those of animals transfected with control agomir, confirming the antiviral effects of viral miRNA manipulation in vivo. Therefore, the manipulation of viral miRNA expression shows great therapeutic potential and represents a novel antiviral strategy for the miRNA-based treatment of cytomegalovirus infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 121: Evaluation and Comparison of the Pathogenicity and Host Immune Responses Induced by a G2b Taiwan Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (Strain Pintung 52) and Its Highly Cell-Culture Passaged Strain in Conventional 5-Week-Old Pigs

  • A genogroup 2b (G2b) porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) Taiwan Pintung 52 (PEDVPT) strain was isolated in 2014. The pathogenicity and host antibody responses elicited by low-passage (passage 5; PEDVPT-P5) and high-passage (passage 96; PEDVPT-P96) PEDVPT strains were compared in post-weaning PEDV-seronegative pigs by oral inoculation. PEDVPT-P5-inoculation induced typical diarrhea during 1–9 days post inoculation with fecal viral shedding persisting for 26 days. Compared to PEDVPT-P5, PEDVPT-P96 inoculation induced none-to-mild diarrhea and lower, delayed fecal viral shedding. Although PEDVPT-P96 elicited slightly lower neutralizing antibodies and PEDV-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin A (IgA) titers, a reduction in pathogenicity and viral shedding of the subsequent challenge with PEDVPT-P5 were noted in both PEDVPT-P5- and PEDVPT-P96-inoculated pigs. Alignment and comparison of full-length sequences of PEDVPT-P5 and PEDVPT-P96 revealed 23 nucleotide changesand resultant 19 amino acid substitutions in non-structure proteins 2, 3, 4, 9, 14, 15, spike, open reading frame 3 (ORF3), and membrane proteins with no detectable deletion or insertion. The present study confirmed the pathogenicity of the PEDVPT isolate in conventional post-weaning pigs. Moreover, data regarding viral attenuation and potency of induced antibodies against PEDVPT-P5 identified PEDVPT-P96 as a potential live-attenuated vaccine candidate.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 120: Differentiation and Structure in Sulfolobus islandicus Rod-Shaped Virus Populations

  • In the past decade, molecular surveys of viral diversity have revealed that viruses are the most diverse and abundant biological entities on Earth. In culture, however, most viral isolates that infect microbes are represented by a few variants isolated on type strains, limiting our ability to study how natural variation affects virus-host interactions in the laboratory. We screened a set of 137 hot spring samples for viruses that infect a geographically diverse panel of the hyperthemophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus islandicus. We isolated and characterized eight SIRVs (Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped viruses) from two different regions within Yellowstone National Park (USA). Comparative genomics revealed that all SIRV sequenced isolates share 30 core genes that represent 50–60% of the genome. The core genome phylogeny, as well as the distribution of variable genes (shared by some but not all SIRVs) and the signatures of host-virus interactions recorded on the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) repeat-spacer arrays of S. islandicus hosts, identify different SIRV lineages, each associated with a different geographic location. Moreover, our studies reveal that SIRV core genes do not appear to be under diversifying selection and thus we predict that the abundant and diverse variable genes govern the coevolutionary arms race betweenSIRVs and their hosts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 116: Variation in the Genetic Repertoire of Viruses Infecting Micromonas pusilla Reflects Horizontal Gene Transfer and Links to Their Environmental Distribution

  • Prasinophytes, a group of eukaryotic phytoplankton, has a global distribution and is infected by large double-stranded DNA viruses (prasinoviruses) in the family Phycodnaviridae. This study examines the genetic repertoire, phylogeny, and environmental distribution of phycodnaviruses infecting Micromonas pusilla, other prasinophytes and chlorophytes. Based on comparisons among the genomes of viruses infecting M. pusilla and other phycodnaviruses, as well as the genome from a host isolate of M. pusilla, viruses infecting M. pusilla (MpVs) share a limited set of core genes, but vary strongly in their flexible pan-genome that includes numerous metabolic genes, such as those associated with amino acid synthesis and sugar manipulation. Surprisingly, few of these presumably host-derived genes are shared with M. pusilla, but rather have their closest non-viral homologue in bacteria and other eukaryotes, indicating horizontal gene transfer. A comparative analysis of full-length DNA polymerase (DNApol) genes from prasinoviruses with their overall gene content, demonstrated that the phylogeny of DNApol gene fragments reflects the gene content of the viruses; hence, environmental DNApol gene sequences from prasinoviruses can be used to infer their overall genetic repertoire. Thus, the distribution of virus ecotypes across environmental samples based on DNApol sequences implies substantial underlying differences in gene content that reflect local environmental conditions. Moreover, the high diversity observed in the genetic repertoire of prasinoviruses has been driven by horizontal gene transfer throughout their evolutionary history, resulting in a broad suite of functional capabilities and a high diversity of prasinovirus ecotypes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 119: ATP-Driven Contraction of Phage T3 Capsids with DNA Incompletely Packaged In Vivo

  • Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) cleavage powers packaging of a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) molecule in a pre-assembled capsid of phages that include T3. Several observations constitute a challenge to the conventional view that the shell of the capsid is energetically inert during packaging. Here, we test this challenge by analyzing the in vitro effects of ATP on the shells of capsids generated by DNA packaging in vivo. These capsids retain incompletely packaged DNA (ipDNA) and are called ipDNA-capsids; the ipDNA-capsids are assumed to be products of premature genome maturation-cleavage. They were isolated via preparative Nycodenz buoyant density centrifugation. For some ipDNA-capsids, Nycodenz impermeability increases hydration and generates density so low that shell hyper-expansion must exist to accommodate associated water. Electron microscopy (EM) confirmed hyper-expansion and low permeability and revealed that 3.0 mM magnesium ATP (physiological concentration) causes contraction of hyper-expanded, lowpermeability ipDNA-capsids to less than mature size; 5.0 mM magnesium ATP (border of supraphysiological concentration) or more disrupts them. Additionally, excess sodium ADP reverses 3.0 mM magnesium ATP-induced contraction and re-generates hyper-expansion. The Nycodenz impermeability implies assembly perfection that suggests selection for function in DNA packaging. These findings support the above challenge and can be explained via the assumption that T3 DNA packaging includes a back-up cycle of ATP-driven capsid contraction and hyper-expansion.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 117: Understanding the Complex Patterns Observed during Hepatitis B Virus Therapy

  • Data from human clinical trials have shown that the hepatitis B virus (HBV) follows complex profiles, such as bi-phasic, tri-phasic, stepwise decay and rebound. We utilized a deterministic model of HBV kinetics following antiviral therapy to uncover the mechanistic interactions behind HBV dynamics. Analytical investigation of the model was used to separate the parameter space describing virus decay and rebound. Monte Carlo sampling of the parameter space was used to determine the virological, pharmacological and immunological factors that separate the bi-phasic and tri-phasic virus profiles. We found that the level of liver infection at the start of therapy best separates the decay patterns. Moreover, drug efficacy, ratio between division of uninfected and infected cells, and the strength of cytotoxic immune response are important in assessing the amount of liver damage experienced over time and in quantifying the duration of therapy leading to virus resolution in each of the observed profiles.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 115: Label-Free Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of Chitosan Oligosaccharide-Treated Rice Infected with Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus

  • Southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) has spread from thesouth of China to the north of Vietnam in the past few years and severelyinfluenced rice production. Its long incubation period and early symptoms are not evident; thus, controlling it is difficult. Chitosan oligosaccharide (COS) is a green plant immunomodulator. Early studies showed that preventing and controlling SRBSDV have a certain effect and reduce disease infection rate, but its underlying controlling and preventing mechanism is unclear. In this study, label-free proteomics was used to analyze differentially expressed proteins in rice after COS treatment. The results showed that COS can up-regulate the plant defense-related proteins and down-regulate the protein expression levels of SRBSDV. Meanwhile, quantitative real-time PCR test results showed that COS can improve defense gene expression in rice. Moreover, COS can enhance the defense enzymatic activities of peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase through mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascade pathway, and enhance the rice disease resistance.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 114: TMPRSS2 and MSPL Facilitate Trypsin-Independent Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Replication in Vero Cells

  • Type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs) facilitate the spread and replication of viruses such as influenza and human coronaviruses, although it remains unclear whether TTSPs play a role in the progression of animal coronavirus infections, such as that by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). In this study, TTSPs including TMPRSS2, HAT, DESC1, and MSPL were tested for their ability to facilitate PEDV replication in Vero cells. Our results showed that TMPRSS2 and MSPL played significant roles in the stages of cell–cell fusion and virus–cell fusion, whereas HAT and DESC1 exhibited weaker effects. This activation may be involved in the interaction between TTSPs and the PEDV S protein, as the S protein extensively co-localized with TMPRSS2 and MSPL and could be cleaved by co-expression with TMPRSS2 or MSPL. Moreover, the use of Vero cells expressing TMPRSS2 and MSPL facilitated PEDV replication in the absence of exogenous trypsin. In sum, we identified two host proteases, TMPRSS2 and MSPL, which may provide insights and a novel method for enhancing viral titers, expanding virus production, and improving the adaptability of PEDV isolates in vitro.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 113: Antigenic and Biological Characterization of ORF2–6 Variants at Early Times Following PRRSV Infection

  • Genetic diversity of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) challenges efforts to develop effective and broadly acting vaccines. Although genetic variation in PRRSV has been extensively documented, the effects of this variation on virus phenotype are less well understood. In the present study, PRRSV open reading frame (ORF)2–6 variants predominant during the first six weeks following experimental infection were characterized for antigenic and replication phenotype. There was limited genetic variation during these early times after infection; however, distinct ORF2–6 haplotypes that differed from the NVSL97-7895 inoculum were identified in each of the five pigs examined. Chimeric viruses containing all or part of predominant ORF2–6 haplotypes were constructed and tested in virus neutralization and in vitro replication assays. In two pigs, genetic variation in ORF2–6 resulted in increased resistance to neutralization by autologous sera. Mapping studies indicated that variation in either ORF2–4 or ORF5–6 could confer increased neutralization resistance, but there was no single amino acid substitution that was predictive of neutralization phenotype. Detailed analyses of the early steps in PRRSV replication in the presence and absence of neutralizing antibody revealed both significant inhibition of virion attachment and, independently, a significant delay in the appearance of newly synthesized viral RNA. In all pigs, genetic variation in ORF2–6 also resulted in significant reduction in infectivity on MARC-145 cells, suggesting variation in ORF2–6 may also be important for virus replication in vivo. Together, these data reveal that variation appearing early after infection, though limited, alters important virus phenotypes and contributes to antigenic and biologic diversity of PRRSV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 111: Human Beta Defensin 2 Selectively Inhibits HIV-1 in Highly Permissive CCR6+CD4+ T Cells

  • Chemokine receptor type 6 (CCR6)+CD4+ T cells are preferentially infected and depleted during HIV disease progression, but are preserved in non-progressors. CCR6 is expressed on a heterogeneous population of memory CD4+ T cells that are critical to mucosal immunity. Preferential infection of these cells is associated, in part, with high surface expression of CCR5, CXCR4, andα4β7. In addition, CCR6+CD4+ T cells harbor elevated levels of integrated viral DNA and high levels of proliferation markers. We have previously shown that the CCR6 ligands MIP-3α and human beta defensins inhibit HIV replication. The inhibition required CCR6 and the induction of APOBEC3G. Here, we further characterize the induction of apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme (APOBEC3G) by human beta defensin 2. Human beta defensin 2 rapidly induces transcriptional induction of APOBEC3G that involves extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) activation and the transcription factors NFATc2, NFATc1, and IRF4. We demonstrate that human beta defensin 2 selectively protects primary CCR6+CD4+ T cells infected with HIV-1. The selective protection of CCR6+CD4+ T cell subsets may be critical in maintaining mucosal immune function and preventing disease progression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 112: In Silico Analysis of Epitope-Based Vaccine Candidates against Hepatitis B Virus Polymerase Protein

  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has persisted as a major public health problem due to the lack of an effective treatment for those chronically infected. Therapeutic vaccination holds promise, and targeting HBV polymerase is pivotal for viral eradication. In this research, a computational approach was employed to predict suitable HBV polymerase targeting multi-peptides for vaccine candidate selection. We then performed in-depth computational analysis to evaluate the predicted epitopes’ immunogenicity, conservation, population coverage, and toxicity. Lastly, molecular docking and MHC-peptide complex stabilization assay were utilized to determine the binding energy and affinity of epitopes to the HLA-A0201 molecule. Criteria-based analysis provided four predicted epitopes, RVTGGVFLV, VSIPWTHKV, YMDDVVLGA and HLYSHPIIL. Assay results indicated the lowest binding energy and high affinity to the HLA-A0201 molecule for epitopes VSIPWTHKV and YMDDVVLGA and epitopes RVTGGVFLV and VSIPWTHKV, respectively. Regions 307 to 320 and 377 to 387 were considered to have the highest probability to be involved in B cell epitopes. The T cell and B cell epitopes identified in this study are promising targets for an epitope-focused, peptide-based HBV vaccine, and provide insight into HBV-induced immune response.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 109: A Novel Roseosiphophage Isolated from the Oligotrophic South China Sea

  • The Roseobacter clade is abundant and widespread in marine environments and plays an important role in oceanic biogeochemical cycling. In this present study, a lytic siphophage (labeled vB_DshS-R5C) infecting the strain type of Dinoroseobacter shibae named DFL12T, which is part of the Roseobacter clade, was isolated from the oligotrophic South China Sea. Phage R5C showed a narrow host range, short latent period and low burst size. The genome length of phage R5C was 77, 874 bp with a G+C content of 61.5%. Genomic comparisons detected no genome matches in the GenBank database and phylogenetic analysis based on DNA polymerase I revealed phylogenetic features that were distinct to other phages, suggesting the novelty of R5C. Several auxiliary metabolic genes (e.g., phoH gene, heat shock protein and queuosine biosynthesis genes) were identified in the R5C genome that may be beneficial to the host and/or offer a competitive advantage for the phage. Among siphophages infecting the Roseobacter clade (roseosiphophages), four gene transfer agent-like genes were commonly located with close proximity to structural genes, suggesting that their function may be related to the tail of siphoviruses. The isolation and characterization of R5C demonstrated the high genomic and physiological diversity of roseophages as well as improved our understanding of host–phage interactions and the ecology of the marine Roseobacter.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 108: HIV-Enhancing and HIV-Inhibiting Properties of Cationic Peptides and Proteins

  • Cationic antimicrobial peptides and proteins have historically been ascribed roles in innate immunity that infer killing of microbial and viral pathogens and protection of the host. In the context of sexually transmitted HIV-1, we take an unconventional approach that questions this paradigm. It is becoming increasingly apparent that many of the cationic polypeptides present in the human genital or anorectal mucosa, or human semen, are capable of enhancing HIV-1 infection, often in addition to other reported roles as viral inhibitors. We explore how the in vivo environment may select for or against the HIV-enhancing aspects of these cationic polypeptides by focusing on biological relevance. We stress that the distinction between enhancing and inhibiting HIV-1 infection is not mutually exclusive to specific classes of cationic polypeptides. Understanding how virally enhancing peptides and proteins act to promote sexual transmission of HIV-1 would be important for the design of topical microbicides, mucosal vaccines, and other preventative measures.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 107: A Conserved Residue, Tyrosine (Y) 84, in H5N1 Influenza A Virus NS1 Regulates IFN Signaling Responses to Enhance Viral Infection

  • The non-structural protein, NS1, is a virulence factor encoded by influenza A viruses (IAVs). In this report, we provide evidence that the conserved residue, tyrosine (Y) 84, in a conserved putative SH2-binding domain in A/Duck/Hubei/2004/L-1 [H5N1] NS1 is critical for limiting an interferon (IFN) response to infection. A phenylalanine (F) substitution of this Y84 residue abolishes NS1-mediated downregulation of IFN-inducible STAT phosphorylation, and surface IFNAR1 expression. Recombinant IAV (rIAV) [H1N1] expressing A/Grey Heron/Hong Kong/837/2004 [H5N1] NS1-Y84F (rWSN-GH-NS1-Y84F) replicates to lower titers in human lung epithelial cells and is more susceptible to the antiviral effects of IFN-β treatment compared with rIAV expressing the intact H5N1 NS1 (rWSN-GH-NS1-wt). Cells infected with rWSN-GH-NS1-Y84F express higher levels of IFN stimulated genes (ISGs) associated with an antiviral response compared with cells infected with rWSN-GH-NS1-wt. In mice, intranasal infection with rWSN-GH-NS1-Y84F resulted in a delay in onset of weight loss, reduced lung pathology, lower lung viral titers and higher ISG expression, compared with mice infected with rWSN-GH-NS1-wt. IFN-β treatment of mice infected with rWSN-GH-NS1-Y84F reduced lung viral titers and increased lung ISG expression, but did not alter viral titers and ISG expression in mice infected with rWSN-GH-NS1-wt. Viewed altogether, these data suggest that the virulence associated with this conserved Y84 residue in NS1 is, in part, due to its role in regulating the host IFN response.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 106: Implementation of Objective PASC-Derived Taxon Demarcation Criteria for Official Classification of Filoviruses

  • The mononegaviral family Filoviridae has eight members assigned to three genera and seven species. Until now, genus and species demarcation were based on arbitrarily chosen filovirus genome sequence divergence values (≈50% for genera, ≈30% for species) and arbitrarily chosen phenotypic virus or virion characteristics. Here we report filovirus genome sequence-based taxon demarcation criteria using the publicly accessible PAirwise Sequencing Comparison (PASC) tool of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (Bethesda, MD, USA). Comparison of all available filovirus genomes in GenBank using PASC revealed optimal genus demarcation at the 55–58% sequence diversity threshold range for genera and at the 23–36% sequence diversity threshold range for species. Because these thresholds do not change the current official filovirus classification, these values are now implemented as filovirus taxon demarcation criteria that may solely be used for filovirus classification in case additional data are absent. A near-complete, coding-complete, or complete filovirus genome sequence will now be required to allow official classification of any novel “filovirus.” Classification of filoviruses into existing taxa or determining the need for novel taxa is now straightforward and could even become automated using a presented algorithm/flowchart rooted in RefSeq (type) sequences.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 103: African Swine Fever Virus: A Review

  • African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease of swine which causes high mortality, approaching 100%, in domestic pigs. ASF is caused by a large, double stranded DNA virus, ASF virus (ASFV), which replicates predominantly in the cytoplasm of macrophages and is the only member of the Asfarviridae family, genus Asfivirus. The natural hosts of this virus include wild suids and arthropod vectors of the Ornithodoros genus. The infection of ASFV in its reservoir hosts is usually asymptomatic and develops a persistent infection. In contrast, infection of domestic pigs leads to a lethal hemorrhagic fever for which there is no effective vaccine. Identification of ASFV genes involved in virulence and the characterization of mechanisms used by the virus to evade the immune response of the host are recognized as critical steps in the development of a vaccine. Moreover, the interplay of the viral products with host pathways, which are relevant for virus replication, provides the basic information needed for the identification of potential targets for the development of intervention strategies against this disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 105: Microbial Natural Product Alternariol 5-O-Methyl Ether Inhibits HIV-1 Integration by Blocking Nuclear Import of the Pre-Integration Complex

  • While Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) has significantly decreased the mortality of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, emerging drug resistance to approved HIV-1 integrase inhibitors highlights the need to develop new antivirals with novel mechanisms of action. In this study, we screened a library of microbial natural compounds from endophytic fungus Colletotrichum sp. and identified alternariol 5-O-methyl ether (AME) as a compound that inhibits HIV-1 pre-integration steps. Time-of addition analysis, quantitative real-time PCR, confocal microscopy, and WT viral replication assay were used to elucidate the mechanism. As opposed to the approved integrase inhibitor Raltegravir, AME reduced both the integrated viral DNA and the 2-long terminal repeat (2-LTR) circular DNA, which suggests that AME impairs the nuclear import of viral DNA. Further confocal microscopy studies showed that AME specifically blocks the nuclear import of HIV-1 integrase and pre-integration complex without any adverse effects on the importinα/β and importin β-mediated nuclear import pathway in general. Importantly, AME inhibited Raltegravir-resistant HIV-1 strains and exhibited a broad anti-HIV-1 activity in diverse cell lines. These data collectively demonstrate the potential of AME for further development into a new HIV inhibitor, and suggest the utility of viral DNA nuclear import as a target for anti-HIV drug discovery.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 104: Nasal Infection of Enterovirus D68 Leading to Lower Respiratory Tract Pathogenesis in Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo)

  • Data from EV-D68-infected patients demonstrate that pathological changes in the lower respiratory tract are principally characterized by severe respiratory illness in children and acute flaccid myelitis. However, lack of a suitable animal model for EV-D68 infection has limited the study on the pathogenesis of this critical pathogen, and the development of a vaccine. Ferrets have been widely used to evaluate respiratory virus infections. In the current study, we used EV-D68-infected ferrets as a potential animal to identify impersonal indices, involving clinical features and histopathological changes in the upper and lower respiratory tract (URT and LRT). The research results demonstrate that the EV-D68 virus leads to minimal clinical symptoms in ferrets. According to the viral load detection in the feces, nasal, and respiratory tracts, the infection and shedding of EV-D68 in the ferret model was confirmed, and these results were supported by the EV-D68 VP1 immunofluorescence confocal imaging withα2,6-linked sialic acid (SA) in lung tissues. Furthermore, we detected the inflammatory cytokine/chemokine expression level, which implied high expression levels of interleukin (IL)-1a, IL-8, IL-5, IL-12, IL-13, and IL-17a in the lungs. These data indicate that systemic observation of responses following infection with EV-D68 in ferrets could be used as a model for EV-D68 infection and pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 102: The Broad Host Range and Genetic Diversity of Mammalian and Avian Astroviruses

  • Astroviruses are a diverse family of viruses that infect a wide range of mammalian and avian hosts. Here we describe the phylogenetic diversity and current classification methodology of astroviruses based on the ORF1b and ORF2 genes, highlighting the propensity of astroviruses to undergo interspecies transmission and genetic recombination which greatly increase diversity and complicate attempts at a unified and comprehensive classification strategy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 100: Regulated Entry of Hepatitis C Virus into Hepatocytes

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a model for the study of virus–host interaction and host cell responses to infection. Virus entry into hepatocytes is the first step in the HCV life cycle, and this process requires multiple receptors working together. The scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) and claudin-1 (CLDN1), together with human cluster of differentiation (CD) 81 and occludin (OCLN), constitute the minimal set of HCV entry receptors. Nevertheless, HCV entry is a complex process involving multiple host signaling pathways that form a systematic regulatory network; this network is centrally controlled by upstream regulators epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and transforming growth factor β receptor (TGFβ-R). Further feedback regulation and cell-to-cell spread of the virus contribute to the chronic maintenance of HCV infection. A comprehensive and accurate disclosure of this critical process should provide insights into the viral entry mechanism, and offer new strategies for treatment regimens and targets for HCV therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 101: Cowpox virus: What’s in a Name?

  • Traditionally, virus taxonomy relied on phenotypic properties; however, a sequence-based virus taxonomy has become essential since the recent requirement of a species to exhibit monophyly. The species Cowpox virus has failed to meet this requirement, necessitating a reexamination of this species. Here, we report the genomic sequences of nine Cowpox viruses and, by combining them with the available data of 37 additional genomes, confirm polyphyly of Cowpox viruses and find statistical support based on genetic data for more than a dozen species. These results are discussed in light of the current International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses species definition, as well as immediate and future implications for poxvirus taxonomic classification schemes. Data support the recognition of five monophyletic clades of Cowpox viruses as valid species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 99: Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) Vaccines in the Context of Current Molecular Epidemiology

  • Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is an economically important swine pathogen and, although small, it has the highest evolution rate among DNA viruses. Since the discovery of PCV2 in the late 1990s, this minimalistic virus with a 1.7 kb single-stranded DNA genome and two indispensable genes has become one of the most important porcine pathogens, and presently is subjected to the highest volume of prophylactic intervention in the form of vaccines in global swine production. PCV2 can currently be divided into five different genotypes, PCV2a through PCV2e. It is well documented that PCV2 continues to evolve, which is reflected by changes in the prevalence of genotypes. During 2006, commercial vaccines for PCV2 were introduced on a large scale in a pig population mainly infected with PCV2b. Since 2012, the PCV2d genotype has essentially replaced the previously predominant PCV2b genotype in North America and similar trends are also documented in other geographic regions such as China and South Korea. This is the second major PCV2 genotype shift since the discovery of the virus. The potential increase in virulence of the emergent PCV2 genotype and the efficacy of the current vaccines derived from PCV2a genotype against the PCV2d genotype viruses has received considerable attention. This review attempts to synthesize the understanding of PCV2 biology, experimental studies on the antigenic variability, and molecular epidemiological analysis of the evolution of PCV2 genotypes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 98: Harnessing Local Immunity for an Effective Universal Swine Influenza Vaccine

  • Influenza A virus infections are a global health threat to humans and are endemic in pigs, contributing to decreased weight gain and suboptimal reproductive performance. Pigs are also a source of new viruses of mixed swine, avian, and human origin, potentially capable of initiating human pandemics. Current inactivated vaccines induce neutralising antibody against the immunising strain but rapid escape occurs through antigenic drift of the surface glycoproteins. However, it is known that prior infection provides a degree of cross-protective immunity mediated by cellular immune mechanisms directed at the more conserved internal viral proteins. Here we review new data that emphasises the importance of local immunity in cross-protection and the role of the recently defined tissue-resident memory T cells, as well as locally-produced, and sometimes cross-reactive, antibody. Optimal induction of local immunity may require aerosol delivery of live vaccines, but it remains unclear how long protective local immunity persists. Nevertheless, a universal vaccine might be extremely useful for disease prevention in the face of a pandemic. As a natural host for influenza A viruses, pigs are both a target for a universal vaccine and an excellent model for developing human influenza vaccines.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 97: Historical Perspectives on Flavivirus Research

  • The flaviviruses are small single-stranded RNA viruses that are typically transmitted by mosquito or tick vectors. These“arboviruses” are found around the world and account for a significant number of cases of human disease. The flaviviruses cause diseases ranging from mild or sub-clinical infections to lethal hemorrhagic fever or encephalitis. In many cases, survivors of neurologic flavivirus infections suffer long-term debilitating sequelae. Much like the emergence of West Nile virus in the United States in 1999, the recent emergence of Zika virus in the Americas has significantly increased the awareness of mosquito-borne viruses. The diseases caused by several flaviviruses have been recognized for decades, if not centuries. However, there is still a lot that is unknown about the flaviviruses as the recent experience with Zika virus has taught us. The objective of this review is to provide a general overview and some historical perspective on several flaviviruses that cause significant human disease. In addition, available medical countermeasures and significant gaps in our understanding of flavivirus biology are also discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 96: Immune Tolerant Chronic Hepatitis B: The Unrecognized Risks

  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) progresses through multiple phases, including immune tolerant, immune active, immune control, and, in a subset of patients who achieve immune control, reactivation. The first, the immune tolerant phase, is considered to be prolonged in duration but essentially benign in nature, lacking long-term consequences, and thus not recommended for antiviral therapy. This review challenges the notion that the immune tolerant phase is truly benign and considers the possibility that events during this phase may contribute significantly to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and the premature death of 25% of HBV carriers worldwide. Thus, earlier treatment than recommended by current guidelines should be considered. Low therapeutic coverage exacerbated by restrictive treatment guidelines may facilitate disease progression in many patients but also increase the risk of neonatal and horizontal transmission from untreated mothers to their children. While a prophylactic vaccine exists, there are many areas worldwide where the treatment of adults and the delivery of an effective vaccination course to newborns present difficult challenges.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 95: Interplay between the Hepatitis B Virus and Innate Immunity: From an Understanding to the Development of Therapeutic Concepts

  • The hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects hepatocytes, which are the main cell type composing a human liver. However, the liver is enriched with immune cells, particularly innate cells (e.g., myeloid cells, natural killer and natural killer T-cells (NK/NKT), dendritic cells (DCs)), in resting condition. Hence, the study of the interaction between HBV and innate immune cells is instrumental to: (1) better understand the conditions of establishment and maintenance of HBV infections in this secondary lymphoid organ; (2) define the role of these innate immune cells in treatment failure and pathogenesis; and (3) design novel immune-therapeutic concepts based on the activation/restoration of innate cell functions and/or innate effectors. This review will summarize and discuss the current knowledge we have on this interplay between HBV and liver innate immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 94: Upregulation of miRNA-4776 in Influenza Virus Infected Bronchial Epithelial Cells Is Associated with Downregulation of NFKBIB and Increased Viral Survival

  • Influenza A virus (IAV) infection remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. One key transcription factor that is activated upon IAV infection is nuclear factor Kappa B (NF-κB). NF-κB regulation involves the inhibitor proteins NF-κB inhibitor beta (NFKBIB), (also known as IκB β), which form complexes with NF-κB to sequester it in the cytoplasm. In this study, microarray data showed differential expression of several microRNAs (miRNAs) on exposure to IAV. Target scan analysis revealed that miR-4776, miR-4514 and miR-4742 potentially target NFKBIB messenger RNA (mRNA). Time-course analysis of primary bronchial epithelial cells (HBEpCs) showed that miR-4776 expression is increased within 1 h of infection, followed by its downregulation 4 h post-exposure to IAV. NFKBIB upregulation of miR-4776 correlated with a decrease in NFKBIB expression within 1 h of infection and a subsequent increase in NFKBIB expression 4 h post-infection. In addition, miRNA ago-immunoprecipitation studies and the three prime untranslated region (3’ UTR) luciferase assay confirmed that miR-4776 targets NFKBIB mRNA. Furthermore, uninfected HBEpCs transfected with miR-4776 mimic showed decreased expression of NFKBIB mRNA. Overexpression of NFKBIB protein in IAV infected cells led to lower levels of IAV. Taken together, our data suggest that miRNA-4776 modulates IAV production in infected cells through NFKBIB expression, possibly through the modulation of NF-κB.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 93: Structure-Function Model for Kissing Loop Interactions That Initiate Dimerization of Ty1 RNA

  • The genomic RNA of the retrotransposon Ty1 is packaged as a dimer into virus-like particles. The 5′ terminus of Ty1 RNA harbors cis-acting sequences required for translation initiation, packaging and initiation of reverse transcription (TIPIRT). To identify RNA motifs involved in dimerization and packaging, a structural model of the TIPIRT domain in vitro was developed from single-nucleotide resolution RNA structural data. In general agreement with previous models, the first 326 nucleotides of Ty1 RNA form a pseudoknot with a 7-bp stem (S1), a 1-nucleotide interhelical loop and an 8-bp stem (S2) that delineate two long, structured loops. Nucleotide substitutions that disrupt either pseudoknot stem greatly reduced helper-Ty1-mediated retrotransposition of a mini-Ty1, but only mutations in S2 destabilized mini-Ty1 RNA in cis and helper-Ty1 RNA in trans. Nested in different loops of the pseudoknot are two hairpins with complementary 7-nucleotide motifs at their apices. Nucleotide substitutions in either motif also reduced retrotransposition and destabilized mini- and helper-Ty1 RNA. Compensatory mutations that restore base-pairing in the S2 stem or between the hairpins rescued retrotransposition and RNA stability in cis and trans. These data inform a model whereby a Ty1 RNA kissing complex with two intermolecular kissing-loop interactions initiates dimerization and packaging.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 92: Deep Sequencing Analysis of RNAs from Citrus Plants Grown in a Citrus Sudden Death-Affected Area Reveals Diverse Known and Putative Novel Viruses

  • Citrus sudden death (CSD) has caused the death of approximately four million orange trees in a very important citrus region in Brazil. Although its etiology is still not completely clear, symptoms and distribution of affected plants indicate a viral disease. In a search for viruses associated with CSD, we have performed a comparative high-throughput sequencing analysis of the transcriptome and small RNAs from CSD-symptomatic and -asymptomatic plants using the Illumina platform. The data revealed mixed infections that included Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) as the most predominant virus, followed by the Citrus sudden death-associated virus (CSDaV), Citrus endogenous pararetrovirus (CitPRV) and two putative novel viruses tentatively named Citrus jingmen-like virus (CJLV), and Citrus virga-like virus (CVLV). The deep sequencing analyses were sensitive enough to differentiate two genotypes of both viruses previously associated with CSD-affected plants: CTV and CSDaV. Our data also showed a putative association of the CSD-symptomatic plants with a specific CSDaV genotype and a likely association with CitPRV as well, whereas the two putative novel viruses showed to be more associated with CSD-asymptomatic plants. This is the first high-throughput sequencing-based study of the viral sequences present in CSD-affected citrus plants, and generated valuable information for further CSD studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 91: Dengue Virus Non-Structural Protein 5

  • The World Health Organization estimates that the yearly number of dengue cases averages 390 million. This mosquito-borne virus disease is endemic in over 100 countries and will probably continue spreading, given the observed trend in global warming. So far, there is no antiviral drug available against dengue, but a vaccine has been recently marketed. Dengue virus also serves as a prototype for the study of other pathogenic flaviviruses that are emerging, like West Nile virus and Zika virus. Upon viral entry into the host cell and fusion of the viral lipid membrane with the endosomal membrane, the viral RNA is released and expressed as a polyprotein, that is then matured into three structural and seven non-structural (NS) proteins. The envelope, membrane and capsid proteins form the viral particle while NS1-NS2A-NS2B-NS3-NS4A-NS4B and NS5 assemble inside a cellular replication complex, which is embedded in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived vesicles. In addition to their roles in RNA replication within the infected cell, NS proteins help the virus escape the host innate immunity and reshape the host-cell inner structure. This review focuses on recent progress in characterizing the structure and functions of NS5, a protein responsible for the replication and capping of viral RNA that represents a promising drug target.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 90: Replication and Oncolytic Activity of an Avian Orthoreovirus in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

  • Oncolytic viruses are cancer therapeutics with promising outcomes in pre-clinical and clinical settings. Animal viruses have the possibility to avoid pre-existing immunity in humans, while being safe and immunostimulatory. We isolated an avian orthoreovirus (ARV-PB1), and tested it against a panel of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. We found that ARV-PB1 replicated well and induced strong cytopathic effects. It was determined that one mechanism of cell death was through syncytia formation, resulting in apoptosis and induction of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs). As hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide, we investigated the effect of ARV-PB1 against cells already infected with this virus. Both HCV replicon-containing and infected cells supported ARV-PB1 replication and underwent cytolysis. Finally, we generated in silico models to compare the structures of human reovirus- and ARV-PB1-derived S1 proteins, which are the primary targets of neutralizing antibodies. Tertiary alignments confirmed that ARV-PB1 differs from its human homolog, suggesting that immunity to human reoviruses would not be a barrier to its use. Therefore, ARV-PB1 can potentially expand the repertoire of oncolytic viruses for treatment of human hepatocellular carcinoma and other malignancies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 89: Correction: Ruiz, E. et al. Emerging Interaction Patterns in the Emiliania Huxleyi-EhV System. Viruses 2016, 9, 61

  • The authors wish to make the following change to their paper [...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 88: Chloroviruses Have a Sweet Tooth

  • Chloroviruses are large double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that infect certain isolates of chlorella-like green algae. They contain up to approximately 400 protein-encoding genes and 16 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes. This review summarizes the unexpected finding that many of the chlorovirus genes encode proteins involved in manipulating carbohydrates. These include enzymes involved in making extracellular polysaccharides, such as hyaluronan and chitin, enzymes that make nucleotide sugars, such as GDP-L-fucose and GDP-D-rhamnose and enzymes involved in the synthesis of glycans attached to the virus major capsid proteins. This latter process differs from that of all other glycoprotein containing viruses that traditionally use the host endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi machinery to synthesize and transfer the glycans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 86: Classical Swine Fever—An Updated Review

  • Classical swine fever (CSF) remains one of the most important transboundary viral diseases of swine worldwide. The causative agent is CSF virus, a small, enveloped RNA virus of the genus Pestivirus. Based on partial sequences, three genotypes can be distinguished that do not, however, directly correlate with virulence. Depending on both virus and host factors, a wide range of clinical syndromes can be observed and thus, laboratory confirmation is mandatory. To this means, both direct and indirect methods are utilized with an increasing degree of commercialization. Both infections in domestic pigs and wild boar are of great relevance; and wild boars are a reservoir host transmitting the virus sporadically also to pig farms. Control strategies for epidemic outbreaks in free countries are mainly based on classical intervention measures; i.e., quarantine and strict culling of affected herds. In these countries, vaccination is only an emergency option. However, live vaccines are used for controlling the disease in endemically infected regions in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Americas, and some African countries. Here, we will provide a concise, updated review on virus properties, clinical signs and pathology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and immune responses, diagnosis and vaccination possibilities.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 87: “French Phage Network”—Second Meeting Report

  • The study of bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria) includes a variety of approaches, such as structural biology, genetics, ecology, and evolution, with increasingly important implications for therapeutic and industrial uses. Researchers working with phages in France have recently established a network to facilitate the exchange on complementary approaches, but also to engage new collaborations. Here, we provide a summary of the topics presented during the second meeting of the French Phage Network that took place in Marseille in November 2016

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 85: Deciphering the Multifactorial Susceptibility of Mucosal Junction Cells to HPV Infection and Related Carcinogenesis

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced neoplasms have long been considered to originate from viral infection of the basal cell layer of the squamous mucosa. However, this paradigm has been recently undermined by accumulating data supporting the critical role of a discrete population of squamo-columnar (SC) junction cells in the pathogenesis of cervical (pre)cancers. The present review summarizes the current knowledge on junctional cells, discusses their high vulnerability to HPV infection, and stresses the potential clinical/translational value of the novel dualistic model of HPV-related carcinogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 84: Seasonal Dynamics of Haptophytes and dsDNA Algal Viruses Suggest Complex Virus-Host Relationship

  • Viruses influence the ecology and diversity of phytoplankton in the ocean. Most studies of phytoplankton host–virus interactions have focused on bloom-forming species like Emiliania huxleyi or Phaeocystis spp. The role of viruses infecting phytoplankton that do not form conspicuous blooms have received less attention. Here we explore the dynamics of phytoplankton and algal viruses over several sequential seasons, with a focus on the ubiquitous and diverse phytoplankton division Haptophyta, and their double-stranded DNA viruses, potentially with the capacity to infect the haptophytes. Viral and phytoplankton abundance and diversity showed recurrent seasonal changes, mainly explained by hydrographicconditions. By 454 tag-sequencing we revealed 93 unique haptophyte operational taxonomic units (OTUs), with seasonal changes in abundance. Sixty-one unique viral OTUs, representing Megaviridae and Phycodnaviridae, showed only distant relationship with currently isolated algal viruses. Haptophyte and virus community composition and diversity varied substantially throughout the year, but in an uncoordinated manner. A minority of the viral OTUs were highly abundant at specific time-points, indicating a boom-bust relationship with their host. Most of the viral OTUs were very persistent, which mayrepresent viruses that coexist with their hosts, or able to exploit several host species.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 83: Porcine Circoviruses and Xenotransplantation

  • Allotransplantation and xenotransplantation may be associated with the transmission of pathogens from the donor to the recipient. Whereas in the case of allotransplantation the transmitted microorganisms and their pathogenic effect are well characterized, the possible influence of porcine microorganisms on humans is mostly unknown. Porcine circoviruses (PCVs) are common in pig breeds and they belong to porcine microorganisms that still have not been fully addressed in terms of evaluating the potential risk of xenotransplantation using pig cells, tissues, and organs. Two types of PCVs are known: porcine circovirus (PCV) 1 and PCV2. Whereas PCV1 is apathogenic in pigs, PCV2 may induce severe pig diseases. Although most pigs are subclinically infected, we do not know whether this infection impairs pig transplant functionality, particularly because PCV2 is immunosuppressive. In addition, vaccination against PCV2 is able to prevent diseases, but in most cases not transmission of the virus. Therefore, PCV2 has to be eliminated to obtain xenotransplants from uninfected healthy animals. Although there is evidence that PCV2 does not infect—at least immunocompetent—humans, animals should be screened using sensitive methods to ensure virus elimination by selection, Cesarean delivery, vaccination, or embryo transfer.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 82: Global Transmission Dynamics of Measles in the Measles Elimination Era

  • Although there have been many epidemiological reports of the inter-country transmission of measles, systematic analysis of the global transmission dynamics of the measles virus (MV) is limited. In this study, we applied phylogeographic analysis to characterize the global transmission dynamics of the MV using large-scale genetic sequence data (obtained for 7456 sequences) from 115 countries between 1954 and 2015. These analyses reveal the spatial and temporal characteristics of global transmission of the virus, especially in Australia, China, India, Japan, the UK, and the USA in the period since 1990. The transmission is frequently observed, not only within the same region but also among distant and frequently visited areas. Frequencies of export from measles-endemic countries, such as China, India, and Japan are high but decreasing, while the frequencies from countries where measles is no longer endemic, such as Australia, the UK, and the USA, are low but slightly increasing. The world is heading toward measles eradication, but the disease is still transmitted regionally and globally. Our analysis reveals that countries wherein measles is endemic and those having eliminated the disease (apart from occasional outbreaks) both remain a source of global transmission in this measles elimination era. It is therefore crucial to maintain vigilance in efforts to monitor and eradicate measles globally.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 81: Mechanisms of LTR‐Retroelement Transposition: Lessons from Drosophila melanogaster

  • Long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons occupy a special place among all mobile genetic element families. The structure of LTR retrotransposons that have three open reading frames is identical to DNA forms of retroviruses that are integrated into the host genome. Several lines of evidence suggest that LTR retrotransposons share a common ancestry with retroviruses and thus are highly relevant to understanding mechanisms of transposition. Drosophila melanogaster is an exceptionally convenient model for studying the mechanisms of retrotransposon movement because many such elements in its genome are transpositionally active. Moreover, two LTRretrotransposons of D. melanogaster, gypsy and ZAM, have been found to have infectious properties and have been classified as errantiviruses. Despite numerous studies focusing on retroviral integration process, there is still no clear understanding of integration specificity in a target site. Most LTR retrotransposons non‐specifically integrate into a target site. Site‐specificity of integration at vertebrate retroviruses is rather relative. At the same time, sequence‐specific integration is the exclusive property of errantiviruses and their derivatives with two open reading frames. The possible basis for theerrantivirus integration specificity is discussed in the present review.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 80: Protein-Coding Genes’ Retrocopies and Their Functions

  • Transposable elements, often considered to be not important for survival, significantly contribute to the evolution of transcriptomes, promoters, and proteomes. Reverse transcriptase, encoded by some transposable elements, can be used in trans to produce a DNA copy of any RNA molecule in the cell. The retrotransposition of protein-coding genes requires the presence of reverse transcriptase, which could be delivered by either non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) or LTR transposons. The majority of these copies are in a state of“relaxed” selection and remain “dormant” because they are lacking regulatory regions; however, many become functional. In the course of evolution, they may undergo subfunctionalization, neofunctionalization, or replace their progenitors. Functional retrocopies (retrogenes) can encode proteins, novel or similar to those encoded by their progenitors, can be used as alternative exons or create chimeric transcripts, and can also be involved in transcriptional interference and participate in the epigenetic regulation of parental gene expression. They can also act in trans as natural antisense transcripts, microRNA (miRNA) sponges, or a source of various small RNAs. Moreover, many retrocopies of protein-coding genes are linked to human diseases, especially various types of cancer.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 79: Comparative Study on the Antivirus Activity of Shuang–Huang–Lian Injectable Powder and Its Bioactive Compound Mixture against Human Adenovirus III In Vitro

  • Shuang–Huang–Lian injectable powder (SHL)—a classical purified herbal preparation extracted from Scutellaria baicalensis, Lonicera japonica, and Forsythia suspense—has been used against human adenovirus III (HAdV3) for many years. The combination herb and its major bioactive compounds, including chlorogenic acid, baicalin, and forsythia glycosides A, are effective inhibitors of the virus. However, no comprehensive studies are available on the antiviral effects of SHL against HAdV3. Moreover, it remains unclear whether the mixture of chlorogenic acid, baicalin, and forsythia glycosides A (CBF) has enhanced antiviral activity compared with SHL. Therefore, a comparative study was performed to investigate the combination which is promising for further antiviral drug development. To evaluate their antivirus activity in parallel, the combination ratio and dose of CBF were controlled and consistent with SHL. First, the fingerprint and the ratio of CBF in SHL were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. Then, a plaque reduction assay, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to explore its therapeutic effects on viral infection and replication, respectively. The results showed that SHL and CBF inhibited dose- and time-dependently HAdV3-induced plaque formation in A549 and HEp-2 cells. SHL was more effective than CBF when supplemented prior to and after viral inoculation. SHL prevented viral attachment, internalization, and replication at high concentration and decreased viral levels within and out of cells at non-toxic concentrations in both cell types. Moreover, the expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1ß, and IL-6 was lower and the expression of interferon (IFN)-γ was higher in both cell types treated with SHL than with CBF. In conclusion, SHL is much more effective and slightly less toxic than CBF.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 77: T Cell-Mediated Immunity towards Yellow Fever Virus and Useful Animal Models

  • The 17D line of yellow fever virus vaccines is among the most effective vaccines ever created. The humoral and cellular immunity elicited by 17D has been well characterized in humans. Neutralizing antibodies have long been known to provide protection against challenge with a wild-type virus. However, a well characterized T cell immune response that is robust, long-lived and polyfunctional is also elicited by 17D. It remains unclear whether this arm of immunity is protective following challenge with a wild-type virus. Here we introduce the 17D line of yellow fever virus vaccines, describe the current state of knowledge regarding the immunity directed towards the vaccines in humans and conclude with a discussion of animal models that are useful for evaluating T cell-mediated immune protection to yellow fever virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 78: LTR-Retrotransposons from Bdelloid Rotifers Capture Additional ORFs Shared between Highly Diverse Retroelement Types

  • Rotifers of the class Bdelloidea, microscopic freshwater invertebrates, possess a highlydiversified repertoire of transposon families, which, however, occupy less than 4% of genomic DNA in the sequenced representative Adineta vaga. We performed a comprehensive analysis of A. vaga retroelements, and found that bdelloid long terminal repeat (LTR)retrotransposons, in addition to conserved open reading frame (ORF) 1 and ORF2 corresponding to gag and pol genes, code for an unusually high variety of ORF3 sequences. Retrovirus-like LTR families in A. vaga belong to four major lineages, three of which are rotiferspecific and encode a dUTPase domain. However only one lineage contains a canonical envlike fusion glycoprotein acquired from paramyxoviruses (non-segmented negative-strand RNA viruses), although smaller ORFs with transmembrane domains may perform similar roles. A different ORF3 type encodes a GDSL esterase/lipase, which was previously identified as ORF1 in several clades of non-LTR retrotransposons, and implicated in membrane targeting. Yet another ORF3 type appears in unrelated LTR-retrotransposon lineages, and displays strong homology to DEDDy-type exonucleases involved in 3′-end processing of RNA and single-stranded DNA. Unexpectedly, each of the enzymatic ORF3s is also associated with different subsets of Penelope-like Athena retroelement families. The unusual association of the same ORF types with retroelements from different classes reflects their modular structure with a high degree of flexibility, and points to gene sharing between different groups of retroelements.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 76: Single-Round Infectious Particle Antiviral Screening Assays for the Japanese Encephalitis Virus

  • Japanese Encephalitis virus (JEV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome that contains a big open reading frame (ORF) flanked by 5′- and 3′- untranslated regions (UTRs). Nearly 30,000 JE cases with 10,000 deaths are still annually reported in East Asia. Although the JEV genotype III vaccine has been licensed, it elicits a lower protection against other genotypes. Moreover, no effective treatment for a JE case is developed. This study constructed a pBR322-based and cytomegaloviruses (CMV) promoter-driven JEV replicon for the production of JEV single-round infectious particles (SRIPs) in a packaging cell line expressing viral structural proteins. Genetic instability of JEV genome cDNA in the pBR322 plasmid was associated with the prokaryotic promoter at 5′ end of the JEV genome that triggers the expression of the structural proteins in E. coli. JEV structural proteins were toxic E. coli, thus the encoding region for structural proteins was replaced by a reporter gene (enhanced green fluorescent protein, EGFP) that was in-frame fused with the first eight amino acids of the C protein at N-terminus and the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) 2A peptide at C-terminus in a pBR322-based JEV-EGFP replicon. JEV-EGFP SRIPs generated from JEV-EGFP replicon-transfected packaging cells displayed the infectivity withcytopathic effect induction, self-replication of viral genomes, and the expression of EGFP and viral proteins. Moreover, the combination of JEV-EGFP SRIP plus flow cytometry was used to determine the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of antiviral agents according to fluorescent intensity and positivity of SRIP-infected packaging cells post treatment. MJ-47, a quinazolinone derivative, significantly inhibited JEV-induced cytopathic effect, reducing the replication and expression of JEV-EGFP replicon in vitro. The IC50 value of 6.28 µM for MJ-47 against JEV was determined by the assay of JEV-EGFP SRIP infection in packaging cells plus flow cytometry that was more sensitive, effective, and efficient compared to the traditional plaque assay. Therefore, the system of JEV-EGFP SRIPs plus flow cytometry was a rapid and reliable platform for screening antiviral agents and evaluating antiviral potency.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 74: Structure of Ty1 Internally Initiated RNA Influences Restriction Factor Expression

  • The long-terminal repeat retrotransposon Ty1 is the most abundant mobile genetic element in many Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates. Ty1 retrotransposons contribute to the genetic diversity of host cells, but they can also act as an insertional mutagen and cause genetic instability. Interestingly, retrotransposition occurs at a low level despite a high level of Ty1 RNA, even though S. cerevisiae lacks the intrinsic defense mechanisms that other eukaryotes use to prevent transposon movement. p22 is a recently discovered Ty1 protein that inhibits retrotransposition in a dose-dependent manner. p22 is a truncated form of Gag encoded by internally initiated Ty1i RNA that contains two closely-spaced AUG codons. Mutations of either AUG codon compromise p22 translation. We found that both AUG codons were utilized and that translation efficiency depended on the Ty1i RNA structure. Structural features that stimulated p22 translation were context dependent and present only in Ty1i RNA. Destabilization of the 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR) of Ty1i RNA decreased the p22 level, both in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest that protein factors such as Gag could contribute to the stability and translational activity of Ty1i RNA through specific interactions with structural motifs in the RNA.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 75: HBV DNA Integration: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Implications

  • Chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality. One peculiar observation in cells infected with HBV (or with closely‑related animal hepadnaviruses) is the presence of viral DNA integration in the host cell genome, despite this form being a replicative dead-end for the virus. The frequent finding of somatic integration of viral DNA suggests an evolutionary benefit for the virus; however, the mechanism of integration, its functions, and the clinical implications remain unknown. Here we review the current body of knowledge of HBV DNA integration, with particular focus on the molecular mechanisms and its clinical implications (including the possible consequences of replication-independent antigen expression and its possible role in hepatocellular carcinoma). HBV DNA integration is likely to influence HBV replication, persistence, and pathogenesis, and so deserves greater attention in future studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 73: The Transmembrane Morphogenesis Protein gp1 of Filamentous Phages Contains Walker A and Walker B Motifs Essential for Phage Assembly

  • In contrast to lytic phages, filamentous phages are assembled in the inner membrane and secreted across the bacterial envelope without killing the host. For assembly and extrusion of the phage across the host cell wall, filamentous phages code for membrane-embedded morphogenesis proteins. In the outer membrane of Escherichia coli, the protein gp4 forms a pore-like structure, while gp1 and gp11 form a complex in the inner membrane of the host. By comparing sequences with other filamentous phages, we identified putative Walker A and B motifs in gp1 with a conserved lysine in the Walker A motif (K14), and a glutamic and aspartic acid in the Walker B motif (D88, E89). In this work we demonstrate that both, Walker A and Walker B, are essential for phage production. The crucial role of these key residues suggests that gp1 might be a molecular motor driving phage assembly. We further identified essential residues for the function of the assembly complex. Mutations in three out of six cysteine residues abolish phage production. Similarly, two out of six conserved glycine residues are crucial for gp1 function. We hypothesise that the residues represent molecular hinges allowing domain movement for nucleotide binding and phage assembly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 72: MimiLook: A Phylogenetic Workflow for Detection of Gene Acquisition in Major Orthologous Groups of Megavirales

  • With the inclusion of new members, understanding about evolutionary mechanisms and processes by which members of the proposed order, Megavirales, have evolved has become a key area of interest. The central role of gene acquisition has been shown in previous studies. However, the major drawback in gene acquisition studies is the focus on few MV families or putative families with large variation in their genetic structure. Thus, here we have tried to develop a methodology by which we can detect horizontal gene transfers (HGTs), taking into consideration orthologous groups of distantly related Megavirale families. Here, we report an automated workflow MimiLook, prepared as a Perl command line program, that deduces orthologous groups (OGs) from ORFomes of Megavirales and constructs phylogenetic trees by performing alignment generation, alignment editing and protein-protein BLAST (BLASTP) searching across the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) non-redundant (nr) protein sequence database. Finally, this tool detects statistically validated events of gene acquisitions with the help of the T-REX algorithm by comparing individual gene tree with NCBI species tree. In between the steps, the workflow decides about handling paralogs, filtering outputs, identifying Megavirale specific OGs, detection of HGTs, along with retrieval of information about those OGs that are monophyletic with organisms from cellular domains of life. By implementing MimiLook, we noticed that nine percent of Megavirale gene families (i.e., OGs) have been acquired by HGT, 80% OGs were Megaviralespecific and eight percent were found to be sharing common ancestry with members of cellular domains (Eukaryote, Bacteria, Archaea, Phages or other viruses) and three percent were ambivalent. The results are briefly discussed to emphasize methodology. Also, MimiLook is relevant for detecting evolutionary scenarios in other targeted phyla with user defined modifications. It can be accessed at following link 10.6084/m9.figshare.4653622.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 71: A Chinese Variant Marek’s Disease Virus Strain with Divergence between Virulence and Vaccine Resistance

  • Marek’s disease (MD) virus (MDV) has been evolving continuously, leading to increasing vaccination failure. Here, the MDV field strain BS/15 was isolated from a severely diseased Chinese chicken flock previously vaccinated with CVI988. To explore the causes of vaccination failure, specific-pathogen free (SPF) chickens vaccinated with CVI988 or 814 and unvaccinated controls were challenged with either BS/15 or the reference strain Md5. Both strains induced MD lesions in unvaccinated chickens with similar mortality rates of 85.7% and 80.0% during the experimental period, respectively. However, unvaccinated chickens inoculated with BS/15 exhibited a higher tumor development rate (64.3% vs. 40.0%), but prolonged survival and diminished immune defects compared to Md5-challenged counterparts. These results suggest that BS/15 and Md5 show a similar virulence but manifest with different pathogeniccharacteristics. Moreover, the protective indices of CVI988 and 814 were 33.3 and 66.7 for BS/15, and 92.9 and 100 for Md5, respectively, indicating that neither vaccine could provide efficient protection against BS/15. Taken together, these data suggest that MD vaccination failure is probably due to the existence of variant MDV strains with known virulence and unexpected vaccine resistance. Our findings should be helpful for understanding the pathogenicity and evolution of MDV strains prevalent in China.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 70: How to Name and Classify Your Phage: An Informal Guide

  • With this informal guide, we try to assist both new and experienced phage researchers through two important stages that follow phage discovery; that is, naming and classification. Providing an appropriate name for a bacteriophage is not as trivial as it sounds, and the effects might be long-lasting in databases and in official taxon names. Phage classification is the responsibility of the Bacterial and Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee (BAVS) of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). While the BAVS aims at providing a holistic approach to phage taxonomy, for individual researchers who have isolated and sequenced a new phage, this can be a little overwhelming. We are now providing these researchers with an informal guide to phage naming and classification, taking a“bottom-up” approach from the phage isolate level.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 69: Identifying and Characterizing Interplay between Hepatitis B Virus X Protein and Smc5/6

  • Hepatitis B X protein (HBx) plays an essential role in the hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication cycle, but the function of HBx has been elusive until recently. It was recently shown that transcription from the HBV genome (covalently-closed circular DNA, cccDNA) is inhibited by the structural maintenance of chromosome 5/6 complex (Smc5/6), and that a key function of HBx is to redirect the DNA-damage binding protein 1 (DDB1) E3 ubiquitin ligase to target this complex for degradation. By doing so, HBx alleviates transcriptional repression by Smc5/6 and stimulates HBV gene expression. In this review, we discuss in detail how the interplay between HBx and Smc5/6 was identified and characterized. We also discuss what is known regarding the repression of cccDNA transcription by Smc5/6, the timing of HBx expression, and the potential role of HBx in promoting hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 65: Free-Living Amoebae as Hosts for and Vectors of Intracellular Microorganisms with Public Health Significance

  • Free-living amoebae (FLA) are parasites within both humans and animals causing a wide range of symptoms and act as hosts of, and vehicles for phylogenetically diverse microorganisms, called endocytobionts. The interaction of the FLA with sympatric microorganisms leads to an exceptional diversity within FLA. Some of these bacteria, viruses, and even eukaryotes, can live and replicate intracellularly within the FLA. This relationship provides protection to the microorganisms from external interventions and a dispersal mechanism across various habitats. Among those intracellularly-replicating or -residing organisms there are obligate and facultative pathogenic microorganisms affecting the health of humans or animals and are therefore of interest to Public Health Authorities. Mimiviruses, Pandoraviruses, and Pithoviruses are examples for interesting viral endocytobionts within FLA. Future research is expected to reveal further endocytobionts within free-living amoebae and other protozoa through co-cultivation studies, genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 68: ICAM-1 Binding Rhinoviruses Enter HeLa Cells via Multiple Pathways and Travel to Distinct Intracellular Compartments for Uncoating

  • Of the more than 150 human rhinovirus (RV) serotypes, 89 utilize intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) for cell entry. These belong either to species A or B. We recently demonstrated that RV-B14 and RV-A89, despite binding this same receptor, are routed into distinct endosomal compartments for release of their RNA into the cytosol. To gain insight into the underlying mechanism we now comparatively investigate the port of entry, temperature-dependence of uncoating, and intracellular routing of RV-B3, RV-B14, RV-A16, and RV-A89 in HeLa cells. The effect of various drugs blocking distinct stages on the individual pathways was determined via comparing the number of infected cells in a TissueFaxs instrument. We found that RV-B14 and RV-A89 enter via clathrin-, dynamin-, and cholesterol-dependent pathways, as well as by macropinocytosis. Drugs interfering with actin function similarly blocked entry of all four viruses, indicating their dependence on a dynamic actin network. However, uniquely, RV-A89 was able to produce progeny when internalized at 20°C followed by neutralizing the endosomal pH and further incubation at 37 °C. Blocking dynein-dependent endosomal transport prevented uncoating of RV-A16 and RV-A89, but not of RV-B3 and RV-B14, indicative for routing of RV-A16 and RV-A89 into the endocytic recycling compartment for uncoating. Our results call for caution when developing drugs aimed at targeting entry or intracellular trafficking of all rhinovirus serotypes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 67: Identification of HIV-1 Tat-Associated Proteins Contributing to HIV-1 Transcription and Latency

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat is a virus-encoded trans-activator that plays a central role in viral transcription. We used our recently developed parallel analysis of in vitro translated open reading frames (ORFs) (PLATO) approach to identify host proteins that associate with HIV-1 Tat. From this proteomic assay, we identify 89 Tat-associated proteins (TAPs). We combine our results with other datasets of Tat or long terminal repeat (LTR)-associated proteins. For some of these proteins (NAT10, TINP1, XRCC5, SIN3A), we confirm their strong association with Tat. These TAPs also suppress Tat-mediated HIV-1 transcription. Removing suppression of HIV-1 transcription benefits the reversal of post-integrated, latent HIV-1 proviruses. We demonstrate that these transcriptionally suppressing TAPs contribute to HIV-1 latency in Jurkat latency (J-LAT) cells. Therefore, our proteomic analysis highlights the previously unappreciated TAPs that play a role in maintaining HIV-1 latency and can be further studied as potential pharmacological targets for the“shock and kill” HIV-1 cure strategy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 66: MTase Domain of Dendrolimus punctatus cypovirus VP3 Mediates Virion Attachment and Interacts with Host ALP Protein

  • Dendrolimus punctatus cypovirus (DpCPV) is an important pathogen of D. punctatus, but little is known about the mechanisms of DpCPV infection. Here, we investigated the effects of VP3, VP4 and VP5 structural proteins on the viral invasion. Both the C-terminal of VP3 (methyltransferase (MTase) domain) and VP4 (A-spike) bound to Spodoptera exigua midgut brush border membrane vesicles (BBMVs) in a dose-dependent manner, and the binding was inhibited by purified DpCPV virions. Importantly, anti-MTase and anti-VP4 antibodies inhibited viral binding to S. exigua BBMVs. Using far-Western blots, a 65 kDa protein in Bombyx mori BBMVs, identified as alkaline phosphatase protein (BmALP) by mass spectrometry, specifically interacted with DpCPV MTase. The interaction between MTase and BmALP was verified by co-immunoprecipitation in vitro. Pretreatment of B. mori BBMVs with an anti-ALP antibody or incubation of DpCPV virions with prokaryotically expressed BmALP reduced viral attachment. Additionally, BmALP inhibited DpCPV infection in S. exigua larvae. Our data provide evidence that the MTase domain and A-spike function as viral attachment proteins during the DpCPV infection process, and ALP is the ligand that interacts with DpCPV via the MTase domain. These results augment our understanding of the mechanisms used by cypoviruses to enter their hosts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 63: Simultaneous Detection of Both RNA and DNA Viruses Infecting Dry Bean and Occurrence of Mixed Infections by BGYMV, BCMV and BCMNV in the Central-West Region of Mexico

  • A multiplex reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay was developed to simultaneously detect bean common mosaic virus (BCMV), bean common mosaic necrotic virus (BCMNV), and bean golden yellow mosaic virus (BGYMV) from common bean leaves dried with silica gel using a single total nucleic acid extraction cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) method. A mixture of five specific primers was used to amplify three distinct fragments corresponding to 272 bp from the AC1 gene of BGYMV as well as 469 bp and 746 bp from the CP gene of BCMV and BCMNV, respectively. The three viruses were detected in a single plant or in a bulk of five plants. The multiplex RT-PCR was successfully applied to detect these three viruses from 187 field samples collected from 23 municipalities from the states of Guanajuato, Nayarit and Jalisco, Mexico. Rates of single infections were 14/187 (7.5%), 41/187 (21.9%), and 35/187 (18.7%), for BGYMV, BCMV, and BCMNV, respectively; 29/187 (15.5%) samples were co-infected with two of these viruses and 10/187 (5.3%) with the three viruses. This multiplex RT-PCR assay is a simple, rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective method for detecting these viruses in the common bean and can be used for routine molecular diagnosis and epidemiological studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 64: Targeting TNF and TNF Receptor Pathway in HIV-1 Infection: from Immune Activation to Viral Reservoirs

  • Several cellular functions such as apoptosis, cellular proliferation, inflammation, and immune regulation involve the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF)/TNF receptor (TNFR) pathway. Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) interacts with the TNF/TNFR pathway. The activation of the TNF/TNFR pathway impacts HIV-1 replication, and the TNF/TNFR pathway is the target of HIV-1 proteins. A hallmark of HIV-1 infection is immune activation and inflammation with increased levels of TNF in the plasma and the tissues. Therefore, the control of the TNF/TNFR pathway by new therapeutic approaches could participate in the control of immune activation and impact both viral replication and viral persistence. In this review, we will describe the intricate interplay between HIV-1 proteins and TNF/TNFR signaling and how TNF/TNFR activation modulates HIV-1 replication and discuss new therapeutic approaches, especially anti-TNF therapy, that could control this pathway and ultimately favor the clearance of infected cells to cure HIV-infected patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 62: The Envelope Gene of Hepatitis B Virus Is Implicated in Both Differential Virion Secretion and Genome Replication Capacities between Genotype B and Genotype C Isolates

  • Chronic infection by hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype C is associated with a prolonged replicative phase and an increased risk of liver cancer, compared with genotype B infection. We previously found lower replication capacity but more efficient virion secretion by genotype C than genotype B isolates. Virion secretion requires interaction between core particles and ENVELOPE proteins. In the present study, chimeric constructs between genotype B and genotype C clones were generated to identify the structural basis for differential virion secretion. In addition to dimeric constructs, we also employed 1.1mer constructs, where the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter drove pregenomic RNA transcription. Through transient transfection experiments in Huh7 cells, we found that exchanging the entire envelope gene or just its S region could enhance virion secretion by genotype B clones while diminishing virion secretion by genotype C. Site-directed mutagenesis established the contribution of genotype-specific divergence at codons 108 and 115 in the preS1 region, as well as codon 126 in the S region, to differential virion secretion. Surprisingly, exchanging the envelope gene or just its S region, but not the core gene or 3′ S region, could markedly increase intracellular replicative DNA for genotype C clones but diminish that for genotype B, although the underlying mechanism remains to be clarified.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 61: Emerging Interaction Patterns in the Emiliania huxleyi-EhV System

  • Viruses are thought to be fundamental in driving microbial diversity in the oceanic planktonic realm. That role and associated emerging infection patterns remain particularly elusive for eukaryotic phytoplankton and their viruses. Here we used a vast number of strains from the model system Emiliania huxleyi/Emiliania huxleyi Virus to quantify parameters such as growth rate (µ), resistance (R), and viral production (Vp) capacities. Algal and viral abundances were monitored by flow cytometry during 72-h incubation experiments. The results pointed out higher viral production capacity in generalist EhV strains, and the virus-host infection network showed a strong co-evolution pattern between E. huxleyi and EhV populations. The existence of a trade-off between resistance and growth capacities was not confirmed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 60: Isolation and Characterization of a Shewanella Phage–Host System from the Gut of the Tunicate, Ciona intestinalis

  • Outnumbering all other biological entities on earth, bacteriophages (phages) play critical roles in structuring microbial communities through bacterial infection and subsequent lysis, as well as through horizontal gene transfer. While numerous studies have examined the effects of phages on free-living bacterial cells, much less is known regarding the role of phage infection in host-associated biofilms, which help to stabilize adherent microbial communities. Here we report the cultivation and characterization of a novel strain of Shewanella fidelis from the gut of the marine tunicate Ciona intestinalis, inducible prophages from the S. fidelis genome, and a strain-specific lytic phage recovered from surrounding seawater. In vitro biofilm assays demonstrated that lytic phage infection affects biofilm formation in a process likely influenced by the accumulation and integration of the extracellular DNA released during cell lysis, similar to the mechanism that has been previously shown for prophage induction.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 59: Myeloid C-Type Lectin Receptors in Viral Recognition and Antiviral Immunity

  • Recognition of viral glycans by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) in innate immunity contributes to antiviral immune responses. C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) are PRRs capable of sensing glycans present in viral pathogens to activate antiviral immune responses such as phagocytosis, antigen processing and presentation, and subsequent T cell activation. The ability of CLRs to elicit and shape adaptive immunity plays a critical role in the inhibition of viral spread within the host. However, certain viruses exploit CLRs for viral entry into host cells to avoid immune recognition. To block CLR interactions with viral glycoproteins, antiviral strategies may involve the use of multivalent glycan carrier systems. In this review, we describe the role of CLRs in antiviral immunity and we highlight their dual function in viral clearance and exploitation by viral pathogens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 57: Cross-Regulation between Transposable Elements and Host DNA Replication

  • Transposable elements subvert host cellular functions to ensure their survival. Their interaction with the host DNA replication machinery indicates that selective pressures lead them to develop ancestral and convergent evolutionary adaptations aimed at conserved features of this fundamental process. These interactions can shape the co-evolution of the transposons and their hosts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 58: Virus-Bacteria Interactions: An Emerging Topic in Human Infection

  • Bacteria and viruses often occupy the same niches, however, interest in their potential collaboration in promoting wellness or disease states has only recently gained traction. While the interaction of some bacteria and viruses is well characterized (e.g., influenza virus), researchers are typically more interested in the location of the infection than the manner of cooperation. There are two overarching types of bacterial-virus disease causing interactions: direct interactions that in some way aid the viruses, and indirect interactions aiding bacteria. The virus-promoting direct interactions occur when the virus exploits a bacterial component to facilitate penetration into the host cell. Conversely, indirect interactions result in increased bacterial pathogenesis as a consequence of viral infection. Enteric viruses mainly utilize the direct pathway, while respiratory viruses largely affect bacteria in an indirect fashion. This review focuses on some key examples of how virus-bacteria interactions impact the infection process across the two organ systems, and provides evidence supporting this as an emerging theme in infectious disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 56: Complete and Incomplete Hepatitis B Virus Particles: Formation, Function, and Application

  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a para-retrovirus or retroid virus that contains a double-stranded DNA genome and replicates this DNA via reverse transcription of a RNA pregenome. Viral reverse transcription takes place within a capsid upon packaging of the RNA and the viral reverse transcriptase. A major characteristic of HBV replication is the selection of capsids containing the double-stranded DNA, but not those containing the RNA or the single-stranded DNA replication intermediate, for envelopment during virion secretion. The complete HBV virion particles thus contain an outer envelope, studded with viral envelope proteins, that encloses the capsid, which, in turn, encapsidates the double-stranded DNA genome. Furthermore, HBV morphogenesis is characterized by the release of subviral particles that are several orders of magnitude more abundant than the complete virions. One class of subviral particles are the classical surface antigen particles (Australian antigen) that contain only the viral envelope proteins, whereas the more recently discovered genome-free (empty) virions contain both the envelope and capsid but no genome. In addition, recent evidence suggests that low levels of RNA-containing particles may be released, after all. We will summarize what is currently known about how the complete and incomplete HBV particles are assembled. We will discuss briefly the functions of the subviral particles, which remain largely unknown. Finally, we will explore the utility of the subviral particles, particularly, the potential of empty virions and putative RNA virions as diagnostic markers and the potential of empty virons as a vaccine candidate.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 55: Virological Surveillance of Influenza A Subtypes Isolated in 2014 from Clinical Outbreaks in Canadian Swine

  • Influenza A viruses (IAVs) are respiratory pathogens associated with an acute respiratory disease that occurs year-round in swine production. It is currently one of the most important pathogens in swine populations, with the potential to infect other host species including humans. Ongoing research indicates that the three major subtypes of IAV—H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2—continue to expand in their genetic and antigenic diversity. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive genomic analysis of 16 IAVs isolated from different clinical outbreaks in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan in 2014. We also examined the genetic basis for probable antigenic differences among sequenced viruses. On the basis of phylogenetic analysis, all 13 Canadian H3N2 viruses belonged to cluster IV, eight H3N2 viruses were part of the IV-C cluster, and one virus belonged to the IV-B and one to the IV-D cluster. Based on standards used in this study, three H3N2 viruses could not be clearly classified into any currently established group within cluster IV (A to F). Three H1N2 viruses were part of the H1α cluster.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 54: 1st Workshop of the Canadian Society for Virology

  • The 1st Workshop of the Canadian Society for Virology (CSV2016) was a Special Workshop of the 35th Annual Meeting for the American Society for Virology, held on 18 June 2016 on the beautiful Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. The workshop provided a forum for discussion of recent advances in the field, in an informal setting conducive to interaction with colleagues. CSV2016 featured two internationally-renowned Canadian keynote speakers who discussed translational virology research; American Society for Virology President Grant McFadden (then from University of Florida, now relocated to Arizona State University) who presented his studies of oncolytic poxviruses, while Matthew Miller (McMaster University) reviewed the prospects for a universal influenza vaccine. The workshop also featured a variety of trainee oral and poster presentations, and a panel discussion on the topic of the future of the CSV and virus research in Canada.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 53: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Induces Autophagy to Benefit Its Replication

  • The new porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) has caused devastating economic losses to the swine industry worldwide. Despite extensive research on the relationship between autophagy and virus infection, the concrete role of autophagy in porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) infection has not been reported. In this study, autophagy was demonstrated to be triggered by the effective replication of PEDV through transmission electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, and Western blot analysis. Moreover, autophagy was confirmed to benefit PEDV replication by using autophagy regulators and RNA interference. Furthermore, autophagy might be associated with the expression of inflammatory cytokines and have a positive feedback loop with the NF-κB signaling pathway during PEDV infection. This work is the first attempt to explore the complex interplay between autophagy and PEDV infection. Our findings might accelerate our understanding of the pathogenesis of PEDV infection and provide new insights into the development of effective therapeutic strategies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 52: Coccolithoviruses: A Review of Cross-Kingdom Genomic Thievery and Metabolic Thuggery

  • Coccolithoviruses (Phycodnaviridae) infect and lyse the most ubiquitous and successful coccolithophorid in modern oceans, Emiliania huxleyi. So far, the genomes of 13 of these giant lytic viruses (i.e., Emiliania huxleyi viruses—EhVs) have been sequenced, assembled, and annotated. Here, we performed an in-depth comparison of their genomes to try and contextualize the ecological and evolutionary traits of these viruses. The genomes of these EhVs have from 444 to 548 coding sequences (CDSs). Presence/absence analysis of CDSs identified putative genes with particular ecological significance, namely sialidase, phosphate permease, and sphingolipid biosynthesis. The viruses clustered into distinct clades, based on their DNA polymerase gene as well as full genome comparisons. We discuss the use of such clustering and suggest that a gene-by-gene investigation approach may be more useful when the goal is to reveal differences related to functionally important genes. A multi domain “Best BLAST hit” analysis revealed that 84% of the EhV genes have closer similarities to the domain Eukarya. However, 16% of the EhV CDSs were very similar to bacterial genes, contributing to the idea that a significant portion of the gene flow in the planktonic world inter-crosses the domains of life.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 51: Schrödinger’s Cheshire Cat: Are Haploid Emiliania huxleyi Cells Resistant to Viral Infection or Not?

  • Emiliania huxleyi is the main calcite producer on Earth and is routinely infected by a virus (EhV); a double stranded DNA (dsDNA) virus belonging to the family Phycodnaviridae. E. huxleyi exhibits a haplodiploid life cycle; the calcified diploid stage is non-motile and forms extensive blooms. The haploid phase is a non-calcified biflagellated cell bearing organic scales. Haploid cells are thought to resist infection, through a process deemed the“Cheshire Cat” escape strategy; however, a recent study detected the presence of viral lipids in the same haploid strain. Here we report on the application of an E. huxleyi CCMP1516 EhV-86 combined tiling array (TA) that further confirms an EhV infection in the RCC1217 haploid strain, which grew without any signs of cell lysis. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and PCR verified the presence of viral RNA in the haploid cells, yet indicated an absence of viral DNA, respectively. These infected cells are an alternative stage of the virus life cycle deemed the haplococcolithovirocell. In this instance, the host is both resistant to and infected by EhV, i.e., the viral transcriptome is present in haploid cells whilst there is no evidence of viral lysis. This superimposed state is reminiscent of Schrödinger’s cat; of being simultaneously both dead and alive.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 49: Viral Protein Kinetics of Piscine Orthoreovirus Infection in Atlantic Salmon Blood Cells

  • Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) is ubiquitous in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and the cause of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation. Erythrocytes are important target cells for PRV. We have investigated the kinetics of PRV infection in salmon blood cells. The findings indicate that PRV causes an acute infection of blood cells lasting 1–2 weeks, before it subsides into persistence. A high production of viral proteins occurred initially in the acute phase which significantly correlated with antiviral gene transcription. Globular viral factories organized by the non-structural protein µNS were also observed initially, but were not evident at later stages. Interactions between µNS and the PRV structural proteins λ1, µ1, σ1 and σ3 were demonstrated. Different size variants of µNS and the outer capsid protein µ1 appeared at specific time points during infection. Maximal viral protein load was observed five weeks post cohabitant challenge and was undetectable from seven weeks post challenge. In contrast, viral RNA at a high level could be detected throughout the eight-week trial. A proteolytic cleavage fragment of the µ1 protein was the only viral protein detectable after seven weeks post challenge, indicating that this µ1 fragment may be involved in the mechanisms of persistent infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 48: Porcine Rotaviruses: Epidemiology, Immune Responses and Control Strategies

  • Rotaviruses (RVs) are a major cause of acute viral gastroenteritis in young animals and children worldwide. Immunocompetent adults of different species become resistant to clinical disease due to post-infection immunity, immune system maturation and gut physiological changes. Of the 9 RV genogroups (A–I), RV A, B, and C (RVA, RVB, and RVC, respectively) are associated with diarrhea in piglets. Although discovered decades ago, porcine genogroup E RVs (RVE) are uncommon and their pathogenesis is not studied well. The presence of porcine RV H (RVH), a newly defined distinct genogroup, was recently confirmed in diarrheic pigs in Japan, Brazil, and the US. The complex epidemiology, pathogenicity and high genetic diversity of porcine RVAs are widely recognized and well-studied. More recent data show a significant genetic diversity based on the VP7 gene analysis of RVB and C strains in pigs. In this review, we will summarize previous and recent research to provide insights on historic and current prevalence and genetic diversity of porcine RVs in different geographic regions and production systems. We will also provide a brief overview of immune responses to porcine RVs, available control strategies and zoonotic potential of different RV genotypes. An improved understanding of the above parameters may lead to the development of more optimal strategies to manage RV diarrheal disease in swine and humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 50: A Review of Phage Therapy against Bacterial Pathogens of Aquatic and Terrestrial Organisms

  • Since the discovery of bacteriophage in the early 1900s, there have been numerous attempts to exploit their innate ability to kill bacteria. The purpose of this report is to review current findings and new developments in phage therapy with an emphasis on bacterial diseases of marine organisms, humans, and plants. The body of evidence includes data from studies investigating bacteriophage in marine and land environments as modern antimicrobial agents against harmful bacteria. The goal of this paper is to present an overview of the topic of phage therapy, the use of phage-derived protein therapy, and the hosts that bacteriophage are currently being used against, with an emphasis on the uses of bacteriophage against marine, human, animal and plant pathogens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 47: A Pelagic Microbiome (Viruses to Protists) from a Small Cup of Seawater

  • The aquatic microbiome is composed of a multi-phylotype community of microbes, ranging from the numerically dominant viruses to the phylogenetically diverse unicellular phytoplankton. They influence key biogeochemical processes and form the base of marine food webs, becoming food for secondary consumers. Due to recent advances in next-generation sequencing, this previously overlooked component of our hydrosphere is starting to reveal its true diversity and biological complexity. We report here that 250 mL of seawater is sufficient to provide a comprehensive description of the microbial diversity in an oceanic environment. We found that there was a dominance of the order Caudovirales (59%), with the family Myoviridae being the most prevalent. The families Phycodnaviridae and Mimiviridae made up the remainder of pelagic double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) virome. Consistent with this analysis, the Cyanobacteria dominate (52%) the prokaryotic diversity. While the dinoflagellates and their endosymbionts, the superphylum Alveolata dominates (92%) the microbial eukaryotic diversity. A total of 834 prokaryotic, 346 eukaryotic and 254 unique virus phylotypes were recorded in this relatively small sample of water. We also provide evidence, through a metagenomic-barcoding comparative analysis, that viruses are the likely source of microbial environmental DNA (meDNA). This study opens the door to a more integrated approach to oceanographic sampling and data analysis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 46: A Student’s Guide to Giant Viruses Infecting Small Eukaryotes: From Acanthamoeba to Zooxanthellae

  • The discovery of infectious particles that challenge conventional thoughts concerning“what is a virus” has led to the evolution a new field of study in the past decade. Here, we review knowledge and information concerning “giant viruses”, with a focus not only on some of the best studied systems, but also provide an effort to illuminate systems yet to be better resolved. Weconclude by demonstrating that there is an abundance of new host–virus systems that fall into this “giant” category, demonstrating that this field of inquiry presents great opportunities for future research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 45: Phage Biodiversity in Artisanal Cheese Wheys Reflects the Complexity of the Fermentation Process

  • Dairy fermentations constitute a perfect“breeding ground” for bacteriophages infecting starter cultures, particularly strains of Lactococcus lactis. In modern fermentations, these phages typically belong to one of three groups, i.e., the 936, P335, and c2 phage groups. Traditional production methods present fewer chemical and physical barriers to phage proliferation compared to modern production systems, while the starter cultures used are typically complex, variable, and undefined. In the current study, a variety of cheese whey, animal-derived rennet, and vat swab samples from artisanal cheeses produced in Sicily were analysedfor the presence of lactococcal phages to assess phage diversity in such environments. The complete genomes of 18 representative phage isolates were sequenced, allowing the identification of 10 lactococcal 949 group phages, six P087 group phages, and two members of the 936 group phages. The geneticdiversity of these isolates was examined using phylogenetic analysis as well as a focused analysis of the receptor binding proteins, which dictate specific interactions with the host-encoded receptor. Thermal treatments at 63 °C and 83 °C indicate that the 949 phages are particularly sensitive tothermal treatments, followed by the P087 and 936 isolates, which were shown to be much less sensitive to such treatments. This difference may explain the relatively low frequency of isolation of the so-called “rare” 949 and P087 group phages in modern fermentations.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 43: Marine Prasinoviruses and Their Tiny Plankton Hosts: A Review

  • Viruses play a crucial role in the marine environment, promoting nutrient recycling and biogeochemical cycling and driving evolutionary processes. Tiny marine phytoplankton called prasinophytes are ubiquitous and significant contributors to global primary production and biomass. A number of viruses (known as prasinoviruses) that infect these important primary producers have been isolated and characterised over the past decade. Here we review the current body of knowledge about prasinoviruses and their interactions with their algal hosts. Several genes, including those encoding for glycosyltransferases, methyltransferases and amino acid synthesis enzymes, which have never been identified in viruses of eukaryotes previously, have been detected in prasinovirus genomes. The host organisms are also intriguing; most recently, an immunity chromosome used by a prasinophyte in response to viral infection was discovered. In light of such recent, novel discoveries, we discuss why the cellular simplicity of prasinophytes makes for appealing model host organism–virus systems to facilitate focused and detailed investigations into the dynamics of marine viruses and their intimate associations with host species. We encourage the adoption of the prasinophyte Ostreococcus and its associated viruses as a model host–virus system for examination of cellular and molecular processes in the marine environment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 44: Reverse Transcription in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Long-Terminal Repeat Retrotransposon Ty3

  • Converting the single-stranded retroviral RNA into integration-competent double-stranded DNA is achieved through a multi-step process mediated by the virus-coded reverse transcriptase (RT). With the exception that it is restricted to an intracellular life cycle, replication of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposon Ty3 genome is guided by equivalent events that, while generally similar, show many unique and subtle differences relative to the retroviral counterparts. Until only recently, our knowledge of RT structure and function was guided by a vast body of literature on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enzyme. Although the recently-solved structure of Ty3 RT in the presence of an RNA/DNA hybrid adds little in terms of novelty to the mechanistic basis underlying DNA polymerase and ribonuclease H activity, it highlights quite remarkable topological differences between retroviral and LTR-retrotransposon RTs. The theme of overall similarity but distinct differences extends to the priming mechanisms used by Ty3 RT to initiate (−) and (+) strand DNA synthesis. The unique structural organization of the retrotransposon enzyme and interaction with its nucleic acid substrates, with emphasis on polypurine tract (PPT)-primed initiation of (+) strand synthesis, is the subject of this review.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 42: Non-Canonical Roles of Dengue Virus Non-Structural Proteins

  • The Flaviviridae family comprises a number of human pathogens, which, although sharing structural and functional features, cause diseases with very different outcomes. This can be explained by the plurality of functions exerted by the few proteins coded by viral genomes, with some of these functions shared among members of a same family, but others being unique for each virus species. These non-canonical functions probably have evolved independently and may serve as the base to the development of specific therapies for each of those diseases. Here it is discussed what is currently known about the non-canonical roles of dengue virus (DENV) non-structural proteins (NSPs), which may account for some of the effects specifically observed in DENV infection, but not in other members of the Flaviviridae family. This review explores how DENV NSPs contributes to the physiopathology of dengue, evasion from host immunity, metabolic changes, and redistribution of cellular components during infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 40: Isolation and Characterization of a Double Stranded DNA Megavirus Infecting the Toxin-Producing Haptophyte Prymnesium parvum

  • Prymnesium parvum is a toxin-producing haptophyte that causes harmful algal blooms globally, leading to large-scale fish kills that have severe ecological and economic implications. For the model haptophyte, Emiliania huxleyi, it has been shown that large dsDNA viruses play an important role in regulating blooms and therefore biogeochemical cycling, but much less work has been done looking at viruses that infect P. parvum, or the role that these viruses may play in regulating harmful algal blooms. In this study, we report the isolation and characterization of a lytic nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) collected from the site of a harmful P. parvum bloom. In subsequent experiments, this virus was shown to infect cultures of Prymnesium sp. and showed phylogenetic similarity to the extended Megaviridae family of algal viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 41: Change in Emiliania huxleyi Virus Assemblage Diversity but Not in Host Genetic Composition during an Ocean Acidification Mesocosm Experiment

  • Effects of elevated pCO2 on Emiliania huxleyi genetic diversity and the viruses that infect E. huxleyi (EhVs) have been investigated in large volume enclosures in a Norwegian fjord. Triplicate enclosures were bubbled with air enriched with CO2 to 760 ppmv whilst the other three enclosures were bubbled with air at ambient pCO2; phytoplankton growth was initiated by the addition of nitrate and phosphate. E. huxleyi was the dominant coccolithophore in all enclosures, but no difference in genetic diversity, based on DGGE analysis using primers specific to the calcium binding protein gene (gpa) were detected in any of the treatments. Chlorophyll concentrations and primary production were lower in the three elevated pCO2 treatments than in the ambient treatments. However, although coccolithophores numbers were reduced in two of the high-pCO2 treatments; in the third, there was no suppression of coccolithophores numbers, which were very similar to the three ambient treatments. In contrast, there was considerable variation in genetic diversity in the EhVs, as determined by analysis of the major capsid protein (mcp) gene. EhV diversity was much lower in the high-pCO2 treatment enclosure that did not show inhibition of E. huxleyi growth. Since virus infection is generally implicated as a major factor in terminating phytoplankton blooms, it is suggested that no study of the effect of ocean acidification in phytoplankton can be complete if it does not include an assessment of viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 39: Virus Resistance Is Not Costly in a Marine Alga Evolving under Multiple Environmental Stressors

  • Viruses are important evolutionary drivers of host ecology and evolution. The marine picoplankton Ostreococcus tauri has three known resistance types that arise in response to infection with the Phycodnavirus OtV5: susceptible cells (S) that lyse following viral entry and replication; resistant cells (R) that are refractory to viral entry; and resistant producers (RP) that do not all lyse but maintain some viruses within the population. To test for evolutionary costs of maintaining antiviral resistance, we examined whether O. tauri populations composed of each resistance type differed in their evolutionary responses to several environmental drivers (lower light, lower salt, lower phosphate and a changing environment) in the absence of viruses for approximately 200 generations. We did not detect a cost of resistance as measured by life-history traits (population growth rate, cell size and cell chlorophyll content) and competitive ability. Specifically, all R and RP populations remained resistant to OtV5 lysis for the entire 200-generation experiment, whereas lysis occurred in all S populations, suggesting that resistance is not costly to maintain even when direct selection for resistance was removed, or that there could be a genetic constraint preventing return to a susceptible resistance type. Following evolution, all S population densities dropped when inoculated with OtV5, but not to zero, indicating that lysis was incomplete, and that some cells may have gained a resistance mutation over the evolution experiment. These findings suggest that maintaining resistance in the absence of viruses was not costly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 38: A New Strategy to Reduce Influenza Escape: Detecting Therapeutic Targets Constituted of Invariance Groups

  • The pathogenicity of the different flu species is a real public health problem worldwide. To combat this scourge, we established a method to detect drug targets, reducing the possibility of escape. Besides being able to attach a drug candidate, these targets should have the main characteristic of being part of an essential viral function. The invariance groups that are sets of residues bearing an essential function can be detected genetically. They consist of invariant and synthetic lethal residues (interdependent residues not varying or slightly varying when together). We analyzed an alignment of more than 10,000 hemagglutinin sequences of influenza to detect six invariance groups, close in space, and on the protein surface. In parallel we identified five potential pockets on the surface of hemagglutinin. By combining these results, three potential binding sites were determined that are composed of invariance groups located respectively in the vestigial esterase domain, in the bottom of the stem and in the fusion area. The latter target is constituted of residues involved in the spring-loaded mechanism, an essential step in the fusion process. We propose a model describing how this potential target could block the reorganization of the hemagglutinin HA2 secondary structure and prevent viral entry into the host cell.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 37: Evaluation of Rice Resistance to Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus and Rice Ragged Stunt Virus through Combined Field Tests, Quantitative Real-Time PCR, and Proteome Analysis

  • Diseases caused by southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) and rice ragged stunt virus (RRSV) considerably decrease grain yield. Therefore, determining rice cultivars with high resistance to SRBSDV and RRSV is necessary. In this study, rice cultivars with high resistance to SRBSDV and RRSV were evaluated through field trials in Shidian and Mangshi county, Yunnan province, China. SYBR Green I-based quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis was used to quantitatively detect virus gene expression levels in different rice varieties. The following parameters were applied to evaluate rice resistance: acre yield (A.Y.), incidence of infected plants (I.I.P.), virus load (V.L.), disease index (D.I.), and insect quantity (I.Q.) per 100 clusters. Zhongzheyou1 (Z1) and Liangyou2186 (L2186) were considered the most suitable varieties with integrated higher A.Y., lower I.I.P., V.L., D.I. and I.Q. features. In order to investigate the mechanism of rice resistance, comparative label-free shotgun liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) proteomic approaches were applied to comprehensively describe the proteomics of rice varieties’ SRBSDV tolerance. Systemic acquired resistance (SAR)-related proteins in Z1 and L2186 may result in the superior resistance of these varieties compared with Fengyouxiangzhan (FYXZ).

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 34: Bat Astroviruses: Towards Understanding the Transmission Dynamics of a Neglected Virus Family

  • Bats belong to the order Chiroptera that represents the second largest order of mammals with more than 1200 species and an almost global distribution. Environmental changes and deforestation have severely influenced many ecosystems, intensifying the contact between wildlife and humans. In recent years, bats have been found to harbor a number of different viruses with zoonotic potential, as well as a great diversity of astroviruses, for which the question of zoonotic potential remains unanswered to date. Human astroviruses have been identified as the causative agent for diarrhea in children and immunocompromised patients. For a long time, astroviruses have been considered to be strictly species-specific. However, a great genetic diversity has recently been discovered among animal and human astroviruses that might indicate the potential of these viruses to cross species barriers. Furthermore, our knowledge about the tissue tropism of astroviruses has been expanded to some neurotropic strains that have recently been shown to be responsible for encephalitis in humans and livestock. This review gives an overview on what is known about astroviruses in bats, humans and livestock, especially bovines and pigs. Future research activities are suggested to unravel astrovirus infection dynamics in bat populations to further assess the zoonotic potential of these viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 36: A3R Phage and Staphylococcus aureus Lysate Do Not Induce Neutrophil Degranulation

  • The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of A3R phage and Staphylococcus aureus lysate obtained after phage infection on neutrophil degranulation. The exocytosis of primary and secondary granules from neutrophils was investigated in vitro in whole blood specimens by flow cytometry based on the expression of specific markers of exocytosis (CD63 for primary granules and CD66b for secondary granules). We found that both A3R and S. aureus lysate had no significant effect on the exocytosis of primary and secondary granules. These data suggest that neither A3R virions nor any products of phage-induced lysis of S. aureus are likely to induce neutrophil degranulation in patients who are treated with phage preparations. Since neutrophil granules contain some potentially toxic proteins, our results provide an important argument for the safety of phage therapy. Moreover, these data indicate that the induction of neutrophil degranulation is not likely to contribute to antibacterial effects of phages.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 35: PreC and C Regions of Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus Facilitate Persistent Expression of Surface Antigen of Chimeric WHV-HBV Virus in the Hydrodynamic Injection BALB/c Mouse Model

  • In the hydrodynamic injection (HI) BALB/c mouse model with the overlength viral genome, we have found that woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) could persist for a prolonged period of time (up to 45 weeks), while hepatitis B virus (HBV) was mostly cleared at week four. In this study, we constructed a series of chimeric genomes based on HBV and WHV, in which the individual sequences of a 1.3-fold overlength HBV genome in pBS-HBV1.3 were replaced by their counterparts from WHV. After HI with the WHV-HBV chimeric constructs in BALB/c mice, serum viral antigen, viral DNA (vDNA), and intrahepatic viral antigen expression were analyzed to evaluate the persistence of the chimeric genomes. Interestingly, we found that HI with three chimeric WHV-HBV genomes resulted in persistent antigenemia in mice. All of the persistent chimeric genomes contained the preC region and the part of the C region encoding the N-terminal 1–145 amino acids of the WHV genome. These results indicated that the preC region and the N-terminal part of the C region of the WHV genome may play a role in the persistent antigenemia. The chimeric WHV-HBV genomes were able to stably express viral antigens in the liver and could be further used to express hepadnaviral antigens to study their pathogenic potential.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 32: HCIV-1 and Other Tailless Icosahedral Internal Membrane-Containing Viruses of the Family Sphaerolipoviridae

  • Members of the virus family Sphaerolipoviridae include both archaeal viruses and bacteriophages that possess a tailless icosahedral capsid with an internal membrane. The genera Alpha- and Betasphaerolipovirus comprise viruses that infect halophilic euryarchaea, whereas viruses of thermophilic Thermus bacteria belong to the genus Gammasphaerolipovirus. Both sequence-based and structural clustering of the major capsid proteins and ATPases of sphaerolipoviruses yield three distinct clades corresponding to these three genera. Conserved virion architectural principles observed in sphaerolipoviruses suggest that these viruses belong to the PRD1-adenovirus structural lineage. Here we focus on archaeal alphasphaerolipoviruses and their related putative proviruses. The highest sequence similarities among alphasphaerolipoviruses are observed in the core structural elements of their virions: the two major capsid proteins, the major membrane protein, and a putative packaging ATPase. A recently described tailless icosahedral haloarchaeal virus, Haloarcula californiae icosahedral virus 1 (HCIV-1), has a double-stranded DNA genome and an internal membrane lining the capsid. HCIV-1 shares significant similarities with the other tailless icosahedral internal membrane-containing haloarchaeal viruses of the family Sphaerolipoviridae. The proposal to include a new virus species, Haloarcula virus HCIV1, into the genus Alphasphaerolipovirus was submitted to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) in 2016.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 33: Epidemiology of Classic and Novel Human Astrovirus: Gastroenteritis and Beyond

  • Since they were identified in 1975, human astroviruses have been considered one of the most important agents of viral acute gastroenteritis in children. However, highly divergent astroviruses infecting humans have been recently discovered and associated with extra-intestinal infections. The report of cases of fatal meningitis and encephalitis, especially in immunocompromised individuals, has broadened their disease spectrum. Although zoonotic transmission among animal and human astroviruses has not been clearly recognized, the genetic similarity between some human and animal viruses makes it likely to occur. This review provides an update on the epidemiology of both classic and novel human astroviruses, and a comprehensive view on confirmed or potential association between astrovirus and human disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 31: Genetic Assessment of African Swine Fever Isolates Involved in Outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2005 and 2012 Reveals Co-Circulation of p72 Genotypes I, IX and XIV, Including 19 Variants

  • African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating disease of domestic pigs. It is a socioeconomically important disease, initially described from Kenya, but subsequently reported in most Sub-Saharan countries. ASF spread to Europe, South America and the Caribbean through multiple introductions which were initially eradicated—except for Sardinia—followed by re‑introduction into Europe in 2007. In this study of ASF within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 62 domestic pig samples, collected between 2005–2012, were examined for viral DNA and sequencing at multiple loci: C-terminus of the B646L gene (p72 protein), central hypervariable region (CVR) of the B602L gene, and the E183L gene (p54 protein). Phylogenetic analyses identified three circulating genotypes: I (64.5% of samples), IX (32.3%), and XIV (3.2%). This is the first evidence of genotypes IX and XIV within this country. Examination of the CVR revealed high levels of intra-genotypic variation, with 19 identified variants.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 28: Prevalence and Clinical Impact of Human Pegivirus-1 Infection in HIV-1-Infected Individuals in Yunnan, China

  • Human Pegivirus-1 (HPgV-1) may have a beneficial impact on disease progression in human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection. However, analysis of the genotypic diversity of HPgV-1 and its relevance to the progression of HIV-1 disease remains limited. A total of 1062 HIV-1-infected individuals were recruited in all sixteen prefectures of Yunnan province, China. The reverse transcription nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR), phylogenetic analyses, and clinical data analyses were used to detect HPgV-1 infection, determine genotype, and analyze HPgV-1 genotype impact on HIV-1 disease progression. The overall positive rate of HPgV-1 RNA was 23.4% (248/1062), and the frequency of HPgV-1 infection in injecting drug users (IDUs) (28.5%, 131/460) was significantly higher than in heterosexuals (19.4%, 117/602). Multiple genotypes were identified in 212 subjects with successful sequencing for the E2 gene, including genotype 7 (55.7%), genotype 3 (34.9%), genotype 4 (4.7%), genotype 2 (3.3%), and an unclassified group (1.4%). Moreover, genotype 7 predominated in IDUs, whereas genotype 3 was the most common in heterosexuals. Our results revealed that HPgV-1 genotype 7 groups exhibited significantly lower HIV-1 viral load and higher CD4+ cell counts. This finding suggests that HPgV-1 genotype 7 may be associated with a better progression of HIV-1 disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 9, Pages 30: Microscopic Characterization of the Brazilian Giant Samba Virus

  • Prior to the discovery of the mimivirus in 2003, viruses were thought to be physically small and genetically simple. Mimivirus, with its ~750-nm particle size and its ~1.2-Mbp genome, shattered these notions and changed what it meant to be a virus. Since this discovery, the isolation and characterization of giant viruses has exploded. One of the more recently discovered giant viruses, Samba virus, is a Mimivirus that was isolated from the Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon. Initial characterization of Samba has revealed some structural information, although the preparation techniques used are prone to the generation of structural artifacts. To generate more native-like structural information for Samba, we analyzed the virus through cryo-electron microscopy, cryo-electron tomography, scanning electron microscopy, and fluorescence microscopy. These microscopy techniques demonstrated that Samba particles have a capsid diameter of ~527 nm and a fiber length of ~155 nm, making Samba the largest Mimivirus yet characterized. We also compared Samba to a fiberless mimivirus variant. Samba particles, unlike those of mimivirus, do not appear to be rigid, and quasi-icosahedral, although the two viruses share many common features, including a multi-layered capsid and an asymmetric nucleocapsid, which may be common amongst the Mimiviruses.
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