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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses

    Viruses

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4140-4164: Integration Site and Clonal Expansion in Human Chronic Retroviral Infection and Gene Therapy

  • Retroviral vectors have been successfully used therapeutically to restore expression of genes in a range of single-gene diseases, including several primary immunodeficiency disorders. Although clinical trials have shown remarkable results, there have also been a number of severe adverse events involving malignant outgrowth of a transformed clonal population. This clonal expansion is influenced by the integration site profile of the viral integrase, the transgene expressed, and the effect of the viral promoters on the neighbouring host genome. Infection with the pathogenic human retrovirus HTLV-1 also causes clonal expansion of cells containing an integrated HTLV-1 provirus. Although the majority of HTLV-1-infected people remain asymptomatic, up to 5% develop an aggressive T cell malignancy. In this review we discuss recent findings on the role of the genomic integration site in determining the clonality and the potential for malignant transformation of cells carrying integrated HTLV-1 or gene therapy vectors, and how these results have contributed to the understanding of HTLV-1 pathogenesis and to improvements in gene therapy vector safety.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4095-4139: Current Perspectives on HIV-1 Antiretroviral Drug Resistance

  • Current advancements in antiretroviral therapy (ART) have turned HIV-1 infection into a chronic and manageable disease. However, treatment is only effective until HIV-1 develops resistance against the administered drugs. The most recent antiretroviral drugs have become superior at delaying the evolution of acquired drug resistance. In this review, the viral fitness and its correlation to HIV-1 mutation rates and drug resistance are discussed while emphasizing the concept of lethal mutagenesis as an alternative therapy. The development of resistance to the different classes of approved drugs and the importance of monitoring antiretroviral drug resistance are also summarized briefly.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4080-4094: The Lysine 65 Residue in HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Function and in Nucleoside Analog Drug Resistance

  • Mutations in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) that confer nucleoside analog RT inhibitor resistance have highlighted the functional importance of several active site residues (M184, Q151 and K65) in RT catalytic function. Of these, K65 residue is notable due to its pivotal position in the dNTP-binding pocket, its involvement in nucleoside analog resistance and polymerase fidelity. This review focuses on K65 residue and summarizes a substantial body of biochemical and structural studies of its role in RT function and the functional consequences of the K65R mutation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4047-4079: Human Viruses and Cancer

  • The first human tumor virus was discovered in the middle of the last century by Anthony Epstein, Bert Achong and Yvonne Barr in African pediatric patients with Burkitt’s lymphoma. To date, seven viruses -EBV, KSHV, high-risk HPV, MCPV, HBV, HCV and HTLV1- have been consistently linked to different types of human cancer, and infections are estimated to account for up to 20% of all cancer cases worldwide. Viral oncogenic mechanisms generally include: generation of genomic instability, increase in the rate of cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, alterations in DNA repair mechanisms and cell polarity changes, which often coexist with evasion mechanisms of the antiviral immune response. Viral agents also indirectly contribute to the development of cancer mainly through immunosuppression or chronic inflammation, but also through chronic antigenic stimulation. There is also evidence that viruses can modulate the malignant properties of an established tumor. In the present work, causation criteria for viruses and cancer will be described, as well as the viral agents that comply with these criteria in human tumors, their epidemiological and biological characteristics, the molecular mechanisms by which they induce cellular transformation and their associated cancers.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4024-4046: Interaction of KSHV with Host Cell Surface Receptors and Cell Entry

  • Virus entry is a complex process characterized by a sequence of events. Since the discovery of KSHV in 1994, tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of KSHV entry into its in vitro target cells. KSHV entry is a complex multistep process involving viral envelope glycoproteins and several cell surface molecules that is utilized by KSHV for its attachment and entry. KSHV has a broad cell tropism and the attachment and receptor engagement on target cells have an important role in determining the cell type-specific mode of entry. KSHV utilizes heparan sulfate, integrins and EphrinA2 molecules as receptors which results in the activation of host cell pre-existing signal pathways that facilitate the subsequent cascade of events resulting in the rapid entry of virus particles, trafficking towards the nucleus followed by viral and host gene expression. KSHV enters human fibroblast cells by dynamin dependant clathrin mediated endocytosis and by dynamin independent macropinocytosis in dermal endothelial cells. Once internalized into endosomes, fusion of the viral envelope with the endosomal membranes in an acidification dependent manner results in the release of capsids which subsequently reaches the nuclear pore vicinity leading to the delivery of viral DNA into the nucleus. In this review, we discuss the principal mechanisms that enable KSHV to interact with the host cell surface receptors as well as the mechanisms that are required to modulate cell signaling machinery for a successful entry.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 4005-4023: KSHV miRNAs Decrease Expression of Lytic Genes in Latently Infected PEL and Endothelial Cells by Targeting Host Transcription Factors

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) microRNAs are encoded in the latency-associated region. Knockdown of KSHV miR-K12-3 and miR-K12-11 increased expression of lytic genes in BC-3 cells, and increased virus production from latently infected BCBL-1 cells. Furthermore, iSLK cells infected with miR-K12-3 and miR-K12-11 deletion mutant viruses displayed increased spontaneous reactivation and were more sensitive to inducers of reactivation than cells infected with wild type KSHV. Predicted binding sites for miR-K12-3 and miR-K12-11 were found in the 3’UTRs of the cellular transcription factors MYB, Ets-1, and C/EBPα, which activate RTA, the KSHV replication and transcription activator. Targeting of MYB by miR-K12-11 was confirmed by cloning the MYB 3’UTR downstream from the luciferase reporter. Knockdown of miR‑K12-11 resulted in increased levels of MYB transcript, and knockdownof miR-K12-3 increased both C/EBPα and Ets-1 transcripts. Thus, miR-K12-11 and miR-K12-3 contribute to maintenance of latency by decreasing RTA expression indirectly, presumably via down‑regulation of MYB, C/EBPα and Ets-1, and possibly other host transcription factors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3991-4004: Arboviral Bottlenecks and Challenges to Maintaining Diversity and Fitness during Mosquito Transmission

  • The term arbovirus denotes viruses that are transmitted by arthropods, such as ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting arthropods. The infection of these vectors produces a certain set of evolutionary pressures on the virus; involving migration from the midgut, where the blood meal containing the virus is processed, to the salivary glands, in order to transmit the virus to the next host. During this process the virus is subject to numerous bottlenecks, stochastic events that significantly reduce the number of viral particles that are able to infect the next stage. This article reviews the latest research on the bottlenecks that occur in arboviruses and the way in which these affect the evolution and fitness of these viruses. In particular we focus on the latest research on three important arboviruses, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and Chikungunya viruses and compare the differing effects of the mosquito bottlenecks on these viruses as well as other evolutionary pressures that affect their evolution and transmission.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3968-3990: Challenges in the Design of a T Cell Vaccine in the Context of HIV-1 Diversity

  • The extraordinary variability of HIV-1 poses a major obstacle to vaccine development. The effectiveness of a vaccine is likely to vary dramatically in different populations infected with different HIV-1 subtypes, unless innovative vaccine immunogens are developed to protect against the range of HIV-1 diversity. Immunogen design for stimulating neutralizing antibody responses focuses on“breadth” – the targeting of a handful of highly conserved neutralizing determinants on the HIV-1 Envelope protein that can recognize the majority of viruses across all HIV-1 subtypes. An effective vaccine will likely require the generation of both broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies and non-neutralizing antibodies, as well as broadly cross-reactive T cells. Several approaches have been taken to design such broadly-reactive and cross-protective T cell immunogens. Artificial sequences have been designed that reduce the genetic distance between a vaccine strain and contemporary circulating viruses; “mosaic” immunogens extend this concept to contain multiple potential T cell epitope (PTE) variants; and further efforts attempt to focus T cell immunity on highly conserved regions of the HIV-1 genome. Thus far, a number of pre-clinical and early clinical studies have been performed assessing these new immunogens. In this review, the potential use of these new immunogens is explored.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3944-3967: Identification of FactorsInfluencing the Puumala Virus Seroprevalence within Its Reservoir in aMontane Forest Environment

  • Puumala virus (PUUV) is a major cause of mild to moderate haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and is transmitted by the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). There has been a high cumulative incidence of recorded human cases in South-eastern Germany since 2004 when the region was first recognized as being endemic for PUUV. As the area is well known for outdoor recreation and the Bavarian Forest National Park (BFNP) is located in the region, the increasing numbers of recorded cases are of concern. To understand the population and environmental effects on the seroprevalence of PUUV in bank voles we trapped small mammals at 23 sites along an elevation gradient from 317 to 1420m above sea level. Generalized linear mixed effects models(GLMEM) were used to explore associations between the seroprevalence of PUUV in bank voles and climate and biotic factors. We found that the seroprevalence of PUUV was low (6%–7%) in 2008 and 2009, and reached 29% in 2010. PUUV seroprevalence was positively associated with the local species diversity and deadwood layer, and negatively associated with mean annual temperature, mean annual solar radiation, and herb layer. Based on these findings, an illustrative risk mapfor PUUV seroprevalence prediction in bank voles was created for an area of the national park. The map will help when planning infrastructure in the national park (e.g., huts, shelters, and trails).

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3925-3943: Regulation of HTLV-1 Tax Stability, Cellular Trafficking and NF-κB Activation by the Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathway

  • Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a complex retrovirus that infects CD4+ T cells and causes adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) in 3%–5% of infected individuals after a long latent period. HTLV-1 Tax is a trans-activating protein that regulates viral gene expression and also modulates cellular signaling pathways to enhance T-cell proliferation and cell survival. The Tax oncoprotein promotes T-cell transformation, in part via constitutive activation of the NF-κB transcription factor; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Ubiquitination is a type of post-translational modification that occurs in a three-step enzymatic cascade mediated by E1, E2 and E3 enzymes and regulates protein stability as well as signal transduction, protein trafficking and the DNA damage response. Emerging studies indicate that Tax hijacks the ubiquitin machinery to activate ubiquitin-dependent kinases and downstream NF-κB signaling. Tax interacts with the E2 conjugating enzyme Ubc13 and is conjugated on C-terminal lysine residues with lysine 63-linked polyubiquitin chains. Tax K63-linked polyubiquitination may serve as a platform for signaling complexes since this modification is critical for interactions with NEMO and IKK. In addition to NF-κB signaling, mono- and polyubiquitination of Tax also regulate its subcellular trafficking and stability. Here, we review recent advances in the diverse roles of ubiquitin in Tax function and how Tax usurps the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway to promote oncogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3907-3924: Protein Folding Activity of the Ribosome (PFAR) –– A Target for Antiprion Compounds

  • Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting mammals. Prions are misfolded amyloid aggregates of the prion protein (PrP), which form when the alpha helical, soluble form of PrP converts to an aggregation-prone, beta sheet form. Thus, prions originate as protein folding problems. The discovery of yeast prion(s) and the development of a red-/white-colony based assay facilitated safe and high-throughput screening of antiprion compounds. With this assay three antiprion compounds; 6-aminophenanthridine (6AP), guanabenz acetate (GA), and imiquimod (IQ) have been identified. Biochemical and genetic studies reveal that these compounds target ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and inhibit specifically the protein folding activity of the ribosome (PFAR). The domain V of the 23S/25S/28S rRNA of the large ribosomal subunit constitutes the active site for PFAR. 6AP and GA inhibit PFAR by competition with the protein substrates for the common binding sites on the domain V rRNA. PFAR inhibition by these antiprion compounds opens up new possibilities for understanding prion formation, propagation and the role of the ribosome therein. In this review, we summarize and analyze the correlation between PFAR and prion processes using the antiprion compounds as tools.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3893-3906: Development and Validation of a Multiplex Reverse Transcription PCR Assay for Simultaneous Detection of Three Papaya Viruses

  • Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), Papaya leaf distortion mosaic virus (PLDMV), and Papaya mosaic virus (PapMV) produce similar symptoms in papaya. Each threatens commercial production of papaya on Hainan Island, China. In this study, a multiplex reverse transcription PCR assay was developed to detect simultaneously these three viruses by screening combinations of mixed primer pairs and optimizing the multiplex RT-PCR reaction conditions. A mixture of three specific primer pairs was used to amplify three distinct fragments of 613 bp from the P3 gene of PRSV, 355 bp from the CP gene of PLDMV, and 205 bp from the CP gene of PapMV, demonstrating the assay’s specificity. The sensitivity of the multiplex RT-PCR was evaluated by showing plasmids containing each of the viral target genes with 1.44 × 103, 1.79 × 103, and 1.91 × 102 copies for the three viruses could be detected successfully. The multiplex RT-PCR was applied successfully for detection of three viruses from 341 field samples collected from 18 counties of Hainan Island, China. Rates of single infections were 186/341 (54.5%), 93/341 (27.3%), and 3/341 (0.9%), for PRSV, PLDMV, and PapMV, respectively; 59/341 (17.3%) of the samples were co-infected with PRSV and PLDMV, which is thefirst time being reported in Hainan Island. This multiplex RT-PCR assay is a simple, rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective method for detecting multiple viruses in papaya and can be used for routine molecular diagnosis and epidemiological studies in papaya.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3875-3892: The Structure of Human Prions: From Biology to Structural Models—Considerations and Pitfalls

  • The Structure of Human Prions: From Biology to Structural Models— Considerations and Pitfalls

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3873-3874: Remembering Professor Walter A. Scott

  • Walter Scott was a Biochemistry professor at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine and a leading figure in the field of HIV drug resistance. His untimely passing in January 2013 marked a loss for his family, as well as for students and colleagues who knew him as a dedicated and unassuming scholar, and a lively scientist with a great sense of humor.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3855-3872: Impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 Sequence Diversity on Antiretroviral Therapy Outcomes

  • Worldwide circulating HIV-1 genomes show extensive variation represented by different subtypes, polymorphisms and drug-resistant strains. Reports on the impact of sequence variation on antiretroviral therapy (ART) outcomes are mixed. In this review, we summarize relevant published data from both resource-rich and resource-limited countries in the last 10 years on the impact of HIV-1 sequence diversity on treatment outcomes. The prevalence of transmission of drug resistant mutations (DRMs) varies considerably, ranging from 0% to 27% worldwide. Factors such as geographic location, access and availability to ART, duration since inception of treatment programs, quality of care, risk-taking behaviors, mode of transmission, and viral subtype all dictate the prevalence in a particular geographical region. Although HIV-1 subtype may not be a good predictor of treatment outcome, review of emerging evidence supports the fact that HIV-1 genome sequence-resulting from natural polymorphisms or drug-associated mutations-matters when it comes to treatment outcomes. Therefore, continued surveillance of drug resistant variants in both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced populations is needed to reduce the transmission of DRMs and to optimize the efficacy of the current ART armamentarium.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3837-3854: A Loop Region in the N-Terminal Domain of Ebola Virus VP40 Is Important in Viral Assembly, Budding, and Egress

  • Ebola virus (EBOV) causes viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and can have clinical fatality rates of ~60%. The EBOV genome consists of negative sense RNA that encodes seven proteins including viral protein 40 (VP40). VP40 is the major Ebola virus matrix protein and regulates assembly and egress of infectious Ebola virus particles. It is well established that VP40 assembles on the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane of human cells to regulate viral budding where VP40 can produce virus like particles (VLPs) without other Ebola virus proteins present. The mechanistic details, however, of VP40 lipid-interactions and protein-protein interactions that are important for viral release remain to be elucidated. Here, we mutated a loop region in the N-terminal domain of VP40 (Lys127, Thr129, and Asn130) and find that mutations (K127A, T129A, and N130A) in this loop region reduce plasma membrane localization of VP40. Additionally, using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and number and brightness analysis we demonstrate these mutations greatly reduce VP40 oligomerization. Lastly, VLP assays demonstrate these mutations significantly reduce VLP release from cells. Taken together, these studies identify an important loop region in VP40 that may be essential to viral egress.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3827-3836: Spread of Oropouche Virus into the Central Nervous System in Mouse

  • Oropouche virus (OROV) is an important cause of arboviral illness in Brazil and other Latin American countries, with most cases clinically manifested as acute febrile illness referred to as Oropouche fever, including myalgia, headache, arthralgia and malaise. However, OROV can also affect the central nervous system (CNS) with clinical neurological implications. Little is known regarding OROV pathogenesis, especially how OROV gains access to the CNS. In the present study, neonatal BALB/c mice were inoculated with OROV by the subcutaneous route and the progression of OROV spread into the CNS was evaluated. Immunohistochemistry revealed that OROV infection advances from posterior parts of the brain, including the periaqueductal gray, toward the forebrain. In the early phases of the infection OROV gains access to neural routes, reaching the spinal cord and ascending to the brain through brainstem regions, with little inflammation. Later, as infection progresses, OROV crosses the blood-brain barrier, resulting in more intense spread into the brain parenchyma, with more severe manifestations of encephalitis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3809-3826: Influenza Vaccines: A Moving Interdisciplinary Field

  • Vaccination is by far the most effective way of preventing morbidity and mortality due to infection of the upper respiratory tract by influenza virus. Current vaccines require yearly vaccine updates as the influenza virus can escape vaccine-induced humoral immunity due to the antigenic variability of its surface antigens. In case of a pandemic, new vaccines become available too late with current vaccine practices. New technologies that allow faster production of vaccine seed strains in combination with alternative production platforms and vaccine formulations may shorten the time gap between emergence of a new influenza virus and a vaccine becoming available. Adjuvants may allow antigen-sparing, allowing more people to be vaccinated with current vaccine production capacity. Adjuvants and universal vaccines can target immune responses to more conserved influenza epitopes, which eventually will result in broader protection for a longer time. In addition, further immunological studies are needed to gain insights in the immune features that contribute to protection from influenza-related disease and mortality, allowing redefinition of correlates of protection beyond virus neutralization in vitro.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3787-3808: From Crescent to Mature Virion: Vaccinia Virus Assembly and Maturation

  • Vaccinia virus (VACV) has achieved unprecedented success as a live viral vaccine for smallpox which mitigated eradication of the disease. Vaccinia virus has a complex virion morphology and recent advances have been made to answer some of the key outstanding questions, in particular, the origin and biogenesis of the virion membrane, the transformation from immature virion (IV) to mature virus (MV), and the role of several novel genes, which were previously uncharacterized, but have now been shown to be essential for VACV virion formation. This new knowledge will undoubtedly contribute to the rational design of safe, immunogenic vaccine candidates, or effective antivirals in the future. This review endeavors to provide an update on our current knowledge of the VACV maturation processes with a specific focus on the initiation of VACV replication through to the formation of mature virions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3778-3786: Effect of Bacteriophage Infection in Combination with Tobramycin on the Emergence of Resistance in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms

  • Bacteriophage infection and antibiotics used individually to reduce biofilm mass often result in the emergence of significant levels of phage and antibiotic resistant cells. In contrast, combination therapy in Escherichia coli biofilms employing T4 phage and tobramycin resulted in greater than 99% and 39% reduction in antibiotic and phage resistant cells, respectively. In P. aeruginosa biofilms, combination therapy resulted in a 60% and 99% reduction in antibiotic and PB-1 phage resistant cells, respectively. Although the combined treatment resulted in greater reduction of E. coli CFUs compared to the use of antibiotic alone, infection of P. aeruginosa biofilms with PB-1 in the presence of tobramycin was only as effective in the reduction of CFUs as the use of antibiotic alone. The study demonstrated phage infection in combination with tobramycin can significantly reduce the emergence of antibiotic and phage resistant cells in both E. coli and P. aeruginosa biofilms, however, a reduction in biomass was dependent on the phage-host system.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3766-3777: Molecular Modeling of Prion Transmission to Humans

  • Using different prion strains, such as the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent and the atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy agents, and using transgenic mice expressing human or bovine prion protein, we assessed the reliability of protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) to model interspecies and genetic barriers to prion transmission. We compared our PMCA results with in vivo transmission data characterized by attack rates, i.e., the percentage of inoculated mice that developed the disease. Using 19 seed/substrate combinations, we observed that a significant PMCA amplification was only obtained when the mouse line used as substrate is susceptible to the corresponding strain. Our results suggest that PMCA provides a useful tool to study genetic barriers to transmission and to study the zoonotic potential of emerging prion strains.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3738-3765: Mutation of the Highly Conserved Ser-40 of the HIV-1 p6 Gag Protein to Phe Causes the Formation of a Hydrophobic Patch, Enhances Membrane Association, and Polyubiquitination of Gag

  • The HIV-1 p6 Gag protein contains two late assembly (l-) domains that recruit proteins of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) pathway to mediate membrane fission between the nascent virion and the cell membrane. It was recently demonstrated that mutation of the highly conserved Ser-40 to Phe (S40F) disturbs CA-SP1 processing, virus morphogenesis, and infectivity. It also causes the formation of filopodia-like structures, while virus release remains unaffected. Here, we show that the mutation S40F, but not the conservative mutation to Asp (S40D) or Asn (S40N), augments membrane association, K48-linked polyubiquitination, entry into the 26S proteasome, and, consequently, enhances MHC-I antigen presentation of Gag derived epitopes. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structure analyses revealed that the newly introduced Phe-40, together with Tyr-36, causes the formation of a hydrophobic patch at the C-terminalα-helix of p6, providing a molecular rationale for the enhanced membrane association of Gag observed in vitro and in HIV-1 expressing cells. The extended exposure of the S40F mutant to unidentified membrane-resident ubiquitin E3-ligases might trigger the polyubiquitination of Gag. The cumulative data support a previous model of a so far undefined property of p6, which, in addition to MA, acts as membrane targeting domain of Gag.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3719-3737: Prion Protein-Specific Antibodies-Development, Modes of Action and Therapeutics Application

  • Prion diseases or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) are lethal neurodegenerative disorders involving the misfolding of the host encoded cellular prion protein, PrPC. This physiological form of the protein is expressed throughout the body, and it reaches the highest levels in the central nervous system where the pathology occurs. The conversion into the pathogenic isoform denoted as prion or PrPSc is the key event in prion disorders. Prominent candidates for the treatment of prion diseases are antibodies and their derivatives. Anti-PrPC antibodies are able to clear PrPSc from cell culture of infected cells. Furthermore, application of anti-PrPC antibodies suppresses prion replication in experimental animal models. Major drawbacks of immunotherapy are immune tolerance, the risks of neurotoxic side effects, limited ability of compounds to cross the blood-brain barrier and their unfavorable pharmacokinetic. The focus of this review is to recapitulate the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms for antibody mediated anti-prion activity. Although relevant for designing immunotherapeutic tools, the characterization of key antibody parameters shaping the molecular mechanism of the PrPC to PrPSc conversion remains elusive. Moreover, this review illustrates the various attempts towards the development of anti-PrP antibody compounds and discusses therapeutic candidates that modulate PrP expression.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3699-3718: A Call to Action to Enhance Filovirus Disease Outbreak Preparedness and Response

  • The frequency and magnitude of recognized and declared filovirus-disease outbreaks have increased in recent years, while pathogenic filoviruses are potentially ubiquitous throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, the efficiency and effectiveness of filovirus-disease outbreak preparedness and response efforts are currently limited by inherent challenges and persistent shortcomings. This paper delineates some of these challenges and shortcomings and provides a proposal for enhancing future filovirus-disease outbreak preparedness and response. The proposal serves as a call for prompt action by the organizations that comprise filovirus-disease outbreak response teams, namely, Ministries of Health of outbreak-prone countries, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—Atlanta, and others.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3683-3698: IFITM Proteins Inhibit Entry Driven by the MERS-Coronavirus Spike Protein: Evidence for Cholesterol-Independent Mechanisms

  • The interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins 1, 2 and 3 inhibit the host cell entry of several enveloped viruses, potentially by promoting the accumulation of cholesterol in endosomal compartments. IFITM3 is essential for control of influenza virus infection in mice and humans. In contrast, the role of IFITM proteins in coronavirus infection is less well defined. Employing a retroviral vector system for analysis of coronavirus entry, we investigated the susceptibility of human-adapted and emerging coronaviruses to inhibition by IFITM proteins. We found that entry of the recently emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is sensitive to inhibition by IFITM proteins. In 293T cells, IFITM-mediated inhibition of cellular entry of the emerging MERS- and SARS-CoV was less efficient than blockade of entry of the globally circulating human coronaviruses 229E and NL63. Similar differences were not observed in A549 cells, suggesting that cellular context and/or IFITM expression levels can impact inhibition efficiency. The differential IFITM-sensitivity of coronaviruses observed in 293T cells afforded the opportunity to investigate whether efficiency of entry inhibition by IFITMs and endosomal cholesterol accumulation correlate. No such correlation was observed. Furthermore, entry mediated by the influenza virus hemagglutinin was robustly inhibited by IFITM3 but was insensitive to accumulation of endosomal cholesterol, indicating that modulation of cholesterol synthesis/transport did not account for the antiviral activity of IFITM3. Collectively, these results show that the emerging MERS-CoV is a target of the antiviral activity of IFITM proteins and demonstrate that mechanisms other than accumulation of endosomal cholesterol can contribute to viral entry inhibition by IFITMs.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3663-3682: Filovirus RefSeq Entries: Evaluation and Selection of Filovirus Type Variants, Type Sequences, and Names

  • Sequence determination of complete or coding-complete genomes of viruses is becoming common practice for supporting the work of epidemiologists, ecologists, virologists, and taxonomists. Sequencing duration and costs are rapidly decreasing, sequencing hardware is under modification for use by non-experts, and software is constantly being improved to simplify sequence data management and analysis. Thus, analysis of virus disease outbreaks on the molecular level is now feasible, including characterization of the evolution of individual virus populations in single patients over time. The increasing accumulation of sequencing data creates a management problem for the curators of commonly used sequence databases and an entry retrieval problem for end users. Therefore, utilizing the data to their fullest potential will require setting nomenclature and annotation standards for virus isolates and associated genomic sequences. The National Center for Biotechnology Information’s (NCBI’s) RefSeq is a non-redundant, curated database for reference (or type) nucleotide sequence records that supplies source data to numerous other databases. Building on recently proposed templates for filovirus variant naming [aamp;amp;lt;virus nameaamp;amp;gt; (aamp;amp;lt;strainaamp;amp;gt;)/aamp;amp;lt;isolation host-suffixaamp;amp;gt;/aamp;amp;lt;country of samplingaamp;amp;gt;/aamp;amp;lt;year of samplingaamp;amp;gt;/aamp;amp;lt;genetic variant designationaamp;amp;gt;-aamp;amp;lt;isolate designationaamp;amp;gt;], we report consensus decisions from a majority of past and currently active filovirus experts on the eight filovirus type variants and isolates to be represented in RefSeq, their final designations, and their associated sequences.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3652-3662: The Ins and Outs of Viral Infection: Keystone Meeting Review

  • Newly observed mechanisms for viral entry, assembly, and exit are challenging our current understanding of the replication cycle of different viruses. To address and better understand these mechanisms, a Keystone Symposium was organized in the snowy mountains of Colorado (“The Ins and Outs of Viral Infection: Entry, Assembly, Exit, and Spread”; 30 March–4 April 2014, Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, Colorado, organized by Karla Kirkegaard, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, and Eric O. Freed). The meeting served to bring together cell biologists, structural biologists, geneticists, and scientists expert in viral pathogenesis to discuss emerging mechanisms of viral ins and outs. The conference was organized around different phases of the viral replication cycle, including cell entry, viral assembly and post-assembly maturation, virus structure, cell exit, and virus spread. This review aims to highlight important topics and themes that emerged during the conference.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3643-3651: Stepping toward a Macaque Model of HIV-1 Induced AIDS

  • HIV-1 exhibits a narrow host range, hindering the development of a robust animal model of pathogenesis. Past studies have demonstrated that the restricted host range of HIV-1 may be largely due to the inability of the virus to antagonize and evade effector molecules of the interferon response in other species. They have also guided the engineering of HIV-1 clones that can replicate in CD4 T-cells of Asian macaque species. However, while replication of these viruses in macaque hosts is persistent, it has been limited and without progression to AIDS. In a new study, Hatziioannou et al., demonstrate for the first time that adapted macaque-tropic HIV-1 can persistently replicate at high levels in pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina), but only if CD8 T-cells are depleted at the time of inoculation. The infection causes rapid disease and recapitulates several aspects of AIDS in humans. Additionally, the virus undergoes genetic changes to further escape innate immunity in association with disease progression. Here, the importance of these findings is discussed, as they relate to pathogenesis and model development.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3612-3642: Retroviral Vectors for Analysis of Viral Mutagenesis and Recombination

  • Retrovirus population diversity within infected hosts is commonly high due in part to elevated rates of replication, mutation, and recombination. This high genetic diversity often complicates the development of effective diagnostics, vaccines, and antiviral drugs. This review highlights the diverse vectors and approaches that have been used to examine mutation and recombination in retroviruses. Retroviral vectors for these purposes can broadly be divided into two categories: those that utilize reporter genes as mutation or recombination targets and those that utilize viral genes as targets of mutation or recombination. Reporter gene vectors greatly facilitate the detection, quantification, and characterization of mutants and/or recombinants, but may not fully recapitulate the patterns of mutagenesis or recombination observed in native viral gene sequences. In contrast, the detection of mutations or recombination events directly in viral genes is more biologically relevant but also typically more challenging and inefficient. We will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the various vectors and approaches used as well as propose ways in which they could be improved.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3584-3611: The Role of Ubiquitin and Ubiquitin-Like Modification Systems in Papillomavirus Biology

  • Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are small DNA viruses that are important etiological agents of a spectrum of human skin lesions from benign to malignant. Because of their limited genome coding capacity they express only a small number of proteins, only one of which has enzymatic activity. Additionally, the HPV productive life cycle is intimately tied to the epithelial differentiation program and they must replicate in what are normally non-replicative cells, thus, these viruses must reprogram the cellular environment to achieve viral reproduction. Because of these limitations and needs, the viral proteins have evolved to co-opt cellular processes primarily through protein-protein interactions with critical host proteins. The ubiquitin post-translational modification system and the related ubiquitin-like modifiers constitute a widespread cellular regulatory network that controls the levels and functions of thousands of proteins, making these systems an attractive target for viral manipulation. This review describes the interactions between HPVs and the ubiquitin family of modifiers, both to regulate the viral proteins themselves and to remodel the host cell to facilitate viral survival and reproduction.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3563-3583: The Adenovirus Genome Contributes to the Structural Stability of the Virion

  • Adenovirus (Ad) vectors are currently the most commonly used platform for therapeutic gene delivery in human gene therapy clinical trials. Although these vectors are effective, many researchers seek to further improve the safety and efficacy of Ad-based vectors through detailed characterization of basic Ad biology relevant to its function as a vector system. Most Ad vectors are deleted of key, or all, viral protein coding sequences, which functions to not only prevent virus replication but also increase the cloning capacity of the vector for foreign DNA. However, radical modifications to the genome size significantly decreases virion stability, suggesting that the virus genome plays a role in maintaining the physical stability of the Ad virion. Indeed, a similar relationship between genome size and virion stability has been noted for many viruses. This review discusses the impact of the genome size on Ad virion stability and emphasizes the need to consider this aspect of virus biology in Ad-based vector design.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3535-3562: Drug Resistance in Non-B Subtype HIV-1: Impact of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes approximately 2.5 million new infections every year, and nearly 1.6 million patients succumb to HIV each year. Several factors, including cross-species transmission and error-prone replication have resulted in extraordinary genetic diversity of HIV groups. One of these groups, known as group M (main) contains nine subtypes (A-D, F-H and J-K) and causes ~95% of all HIV infections. Most reported data on susceptibility and resistance to anti-HIV therapies are from subtype B HIV infections, which are prevalent in developed countries but account for only ~12% of all global HIV infections, whereas non-B subtype HIV infections that account for ~88% of all HIV infections are prevalent primarily in low and middle-income countries. Although the treatments for subtype B infections are generally effective against non-B subtype infections, there are differences in response to therapies. Here, we review how polymorphisms, transmission efficiency of drug-resistant strains, and differences in genetic barrier for drug resistance can differentially alter the response to reverse transcriptase-targeting therapies in various subtypes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3514-3534: Role of microRNAs in Arbovirus/Vector Interactions

  • The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) as small non-coding RNAs in regulation of gene expression has been recognized. They appear to be involved in regulation of a wide range of cellular pathways that affect several biological processes such as development, the immune system, survival, metabolism and host-pathogen interactions. Arthropod-borne viruses impose great economic and health risks around the world. Recent advances in miRNA biology have shed some light on the role of these small RNAs in vector-virus interactions. In this review, I will reflect on our current knowledge on the role of miRNAs in arbovirus-vector interactions and the potential avenues for their utilization in limiting virus replication and/or transmission.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 3500-3513: 1st International Symposium on Stress-Associated RNA Granules in Human Disease and Viral Infection

  • In recent years, important linkages have been made between RNA granules and human disease processes. On June 8-10 of this year, we hosted a new symposium, dubbed the 1st International Symposium on Stress-Associated RNA Granules in Human Disease and Viral Infection. This symposium brought together experts from diverse research disciplines ranging from cancer and neuroscience to infectious disease. This report summarizes speaker presentations and highlights current challenges in the field.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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