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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses


  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 332: Transcriptomic Analysis of the Campylobacter jejuni Response to T4-Like Phage NCTC 12673 Infection

  • Campylobacter jejuni is a frequent foodborne pathogen of humans. As C. jejuni infections commonly arise from contaminated poultry, phage treatments have been proposed to reduce the C. jejuni load on farms to prevent human infections. While a prior report documented the transcriptome of C. jejuni phages during the carrier state life cycle, transcriptomic analysis of a lytic C. jejuni phage infection has not been reported. We used RNA-sequencing to profile the infection of C. jejuni NCTC 11168 by the lytic T4-like myovirus NCTC 12673. Interestingly, we found that the most highly upregulated host genes upon infection make up an uncharacterized operon (cj0423aamp;amp;ndash;cj0425), which includes genes with similarity to T4 superinfection exclusion and antitoxin genes. Other significantly upregulated genes include those involved in oxidative stress defense and the Campylobactermultidrug efflux pump (CmeABC). We found that phage infectivity is altered by mutagenesis of the oxidative stress defense genes catalase (katA), alkyl-hydroxyperoxidase (ahpC), and superoxide dismutase (sodB), and by mutagenesis of the efflux pump genes cmeA and cmeB. This suggests a role for these gene products in phage infection. Together, our results shed light on the phage-host dynamics of an important foodborne pathogen during lytic infection by a T4-like phage.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 331: Pseudomonas PB1-Like Phages: Whole Genomes from Metagenomes Offer Insight into an Abundant Group of Bacteriophages

  • Despite the abundance, ubiquity and impact of environmental viruses, their inherent genomic plasticity and extreme diversity pose significant challenges for the examination of bacteriophages on Earth. Viral metagenomic studies have offered insight into broader aspects of phage ecology and repeatedly uncover genes to which we are currently unable to assign function. A combined effort of phage isolation and metagenomic survey of Chicagoaamp;amp;rsquo;s nearshore waters of Lake Michigan revealed the presence of Pbunaviruses, relatives of the Pseudomonas phage PB1. This prompted our expansive investigation of PB1-like phages. Genomic signatures of PB1-like phages and Pbunaviruses were identified, permitting the unambiguous distinction between the presence/absence of these phages in soils, freshwater and wastewater samples, as well as publicly available viral metagenomic datasets. This bioinformatic analysis led to the de novo assembly of nine novel PB1-like phage genomes from a metagenomic survey of samples collected from Lake Michigan. While this study finds that Pbunaviruses are abundant in various environments of Northern Illinois, genomic variation also exists to a considerable extent within individual communities.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 329: Viral Determinants of Virulence in Tick-Borne Flaviviruses

  • Tick-borne flaviviruses have a global distribution and cause significant human disease, including encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever, and often result in neurologic sequelae. There are two distinct properties that determine the neuropathogenesis of a virus. The ability to invade the central nervous system (CNS) is referred to as the neuroinvasiveness of the agent, while the ability to infect and damage cells within the CNS is referred to as its neurovirulence. Examination of laboratory variants, cDNA clones, natural isolates with varying pathogenicity, and virally encoded immune evasion strategies have contributed extensively to our understanding of these properties. Here we will review the major viral determinants of virulence that contribute to pathogenesis and influence both neuroinvasiveness and neurovirulence properties of tick-borne flaviviruses, focusing particularly on the envelope protein (E), nonstructural protein 5 (NS5), and the 3aamp;amp;prime; untranslated region (UTR).

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 330: Host Long Noncoding RNA lncRNA-PAAN Regulates the Replication of Influenza A Virus

  • The productive infection of influenza A virus (IAV) depends on host factors. However, the involvement of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in IAV infection remains largely uninvestigated. In this work, we have discovered a human lncRNA, named lncRNA-PAAN (PA-associated noncoding RNA) that enhances IAV replication. The level of lncRNA-PAAN increases upon infection of IAV, but not other viruses, nor interferon treatment, suggesting specific up-regulation of lncRNA-PAAN expression by IAV. Silencing lncRNA-PAAN significantly decreases IAV replication through impairing the activity of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). This function of lncRNA-PAAN is a result of its association with viral PA protein, a key component of IAV RNA polymerase complex. Consequently, depletion of lncRNA-PAAN prevents the formation of functional RdRp. Together, these results suggest that lncRNA-PAAN promotes the assembly of viral RNA polymerase, thus warranting efficient viral RNA synthesis. Elucidating the functions of lncRNAs in IAV infection is expected to advance our understanding of IAV pathogenesis and open new avenues to the development of novel anti-IAV therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 328: Whole Genome Analysis of Two Novel Type 2 Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Viruses with Complex Genome Recombination between Lineage 8, 3, and 1 Strains Identified in Southwestern China

  • Recombination among porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome viruses (PRRSVs) is thought to contribute to the emergence of new PRRSV variants. In this study, two newly emerged PRRSV strains, designated SCcd16 and SCya17, are isolated from lung tissues of piglets in Southwestern China. Genome comparative analysis reveals that SCcd16/SCya17 exhibit 93.1%/93.2%, 86.9%/87.0%, 85.3%/85.7%, and 83.6%/82.0% nucleotide similarity to PRRSVs JXA1, VR-2332, QYYZ and NADC30, respectively. They only exhibit 44.8%/45.1% sequence identity with LV (PRRSV-1), indicating that both emergent strains belong to the PRRSV-2 genotype. Genomic sequence alignment shows that SCcd16 and SCya17 have the same discontinuous 30-amino acid (aa) deletion in Nsp2 of the highly pathogenic Chinese PRRSV strain JXA1, when compared to strain VR-2332. Notably, SCya17 shows a unique 5-nt deletion in its 3aamp;amp;rsquo;-UTR. Phylogenetic analysis shows that both of the isolates are classified in the QYYZ-like lineage based on ORF5 genotyping, whereas they appear to constitute an inter-lineage between JXA1-like and QYYZ-like lineages based on their genomic sequences. Furthermore, recombination analyses reveal that the two newly emerged PRRSV isolates share the same novel recombination pattern. They have both likely originated from multiple recombination events between lineage 8 (JXA1-like), lineage 1 (NADC30-like), and lineage 3 (QYYZ-like) strains that have circulated in China recently. The genomic data from SCcd16 and SCya17 indicate that there is on going evolution of PRRSV field strains through genetic recombination, leading to outbreaks in the pig populations in Southwestern China.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 327: The Diversity of Bacterial Lifestyles Hampers Bacteriophage Tenacity

  • Phage therapy is based on a simple concept: the use of a virus (bacteriophage) that is capable of killing specific pathogenic bacteria to treat bacterial infections. Since the pioneering work of Faamp;amp;eacute;lix daamp;amp;rsquo;Herelle, bacteriophages (phages) isolated in vitro have been shown to be of therapeutic value. Over decades of study, a large number of rather complex mechanisms that are used by phages to hijack bacterial resources and to produce their progeny have been deciphered. While these mechanisms have been identified and have been studied under optimal conditions in vitro, much less is known about the requirements for successful viral infections in relevant natural conditions. This is particularly true in the context of phage therapy. Here, we highlight the parameters affecting phage replication in both in vitro and in vivo environments, focusing, in particular, on the mammalian digestive tract. We propose avenues for increasing the knowledge-guided implementation of phages as therapeutic tools.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 326: NS1 Antigenemia and Viraemia Load: Potential Markers of Progression to Dengue Fatal Outcome?

  • Dengue is a worldwide problem characterized by a multifactorial pathogenesis. Considering the viral components, it is known that high viremia or high levels of the secreted nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) may be associated with a more severe disease. We aimed to characterize the NS1 antigenemia and viremia in dengue fatal and non-fatal cases, as potential markers of progression to a fatal outcome. NS1 antigenemia and viremia were determined in Brazilian dengue fatal cases (n = 40) and non-fatal cases (n = 40), representative of the four dengue virus (DENV) serotypes. Overall, the fatal cases presented higher NS1 levels and viremia. Moreover, the fatal cases from secondary infections showed significantly higher NS1 levels than the non-fatal ones. Here, irrespective of the disease outcome, DENV-1 cases presented higher NS1 levels than the other serotypes. However, DENV-2 and DENV-4 fatal cases had higher NS1 antigenemia than the non-fatal cases with the same serotype. The viremia in the fatal cases was higher than in the non-fatal ones, with DENV-3 and DENV-4 presenting higher viral loads. Viral components, such as NS1 and viral RNA, may be factors influencing the disease outcome. However, the host immune status, comorbidities, and access to adequate medical support cannot be ruled out as interfering in the disease outcome.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 325: A Simple and Robust Approach for Evaluation of Antivirals Using a Recombinant Influenza Virus Expressing Gaussia Luciferase

  • Influenza A virus (IAV) causes seasonal epidemics and occasional but devastating pandemics, which are major public health concerns. Because the effectiveness of seasonal vaccines is highly variable and the currently available drugs are limited in their efficacy because of the emergence of drug resistance, there is an urgent need to develop novel antivirals. In this study, we characterized a recombinant IAV-carrying Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) gene and determined its potential as a tool for evaluating therapeutics. We demonstrated that this recombinant IAV is replication-competent in tissue culture and pathogenic in mice, although it is slightly attenuated compared to the parental virus. Luciferase expression correlated well with virus propagation both in vitro and in vivo, providing a simple measure for viral replication in tissue culture and in mouse lungs. To demonstrate the utility of this virus, ribavirin and oseltamivir phosphate were used to treat the IAV-infected cells and mice, and we observed the dose-dependent inhibition of viral replication by a luciferase assay. Moreover, the decreased luciferase expression in the infected lungs could predict the protective efficacy of antiviral interventions as early as day 2 post virus challenge. In summary, this study provides a new and quantitative approach to evaluate antivirals against IAV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 324: Production of Bacteriophages by Listeria Cells Entrapped in Organic Polymers

  • Applications for bacteriophages as antimicrobial agents are increasing. The industrial use of these bacterial viruses requires the production of large amounts of suitable strictly lytic phages, particularly for food and agricultural applications. This work describes a new approach for phage production. Phages H387 (Siphoviridae) and A511 (Myoviridae) were propagated separately using Listeria ivanovii host cells immobilised in alginate beads. The same batch of alginate beads could be used for four successive and efficient phage productions. This technique enables the production of large volumes of high-titer phage lysates in continuous or semi-continuous (fed-batch) cultures.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 323: Phage Therapy Faces Evolutionary Challenges

  • Antibiotic resistance evolution in bacteria indicates that one of the challenges faced by phage therapy is that, sooner or later, bacteria will evolve resistance to phages. Evidently, this is the case of every known antimicrobial therapy, but here this is also part of a ubiquitous natural process of co-evolution between phages and bacteria. Fundamental evolutionary studies hold some clues that are crucial to limit the problematic process of bacterial resistance during phage applications. First, I discuss here the importance of defining evolutionary and ecological factors influencing bacterial resistance and phage counter-defense mechanisms. Then, I comment on the interest of determining the co-evolutionary dynamics between phages and bacteria that may allow for selecting the conditions that will increase the probability of therapeutic success. I go on to suggest the varied strategies that may ensure the long-term success of phage therapy, including analysis of internal phage parameters and personalized treatments. In practical terms, these types of approaches will define evolutionary criteria regarding how to develop, and when to apply, therapeutic phage cocktails. Integrating this perspective in antimicrobial treatments, such as phage therapy, is among the necessary steps to expand its use in the near future, and to ensure its durability and success.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 322: Self-Assembled Nanoporous Biofilms from Functionalized Nanofibrous M13 Bacteriophage

  • Highly periodic and uniform nanostructures, based on a genetically engineered M13 bacteriophage, displayed unique properties at the nanoscale that have the potential for a variety of applications. In this work, we report a multilayer biofilm with self-assembled nanoporous surfaces involving a nanofiber-like genetically engineered 4E-type M13 bacteriophage, which was fabricated using a simple pulling method. The nanoporous surfaces were effectively formed by using the networking-like structural layers of the M13 bacteriophage during self-assembly. Therefore, an external template was not required. The actual M13 bacteriophage-based fabricated multilayered biofilm with porous nanostructures agreed well with experimental and simulation results. Pores formed in the final layer had a diameter of about 150aamp;amp;ndash;500 nm and a depth of about 15aamp;amp;ndash;30 nm. We outline a filter application for this multilayered biofilm that enables selected ions to be extracted from a sodium chloride solution. Here, we describe a simple, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive fabrication approach with large-scale production potential. The technique and the multi-layered biofilms produced may be applied to sensor, filter, plasmonics, and bio-mimetic fields.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 321: The HPV E2 Transcriptional Transactivation Protein Stimulates Cellular DNA Polymerase Epsilon

  • The papillomavirus (PV) protein E2 is one of only two proteins required for viral DNA replication. E2 is the viral transcriptional regulator/activation protein as well as the initiator of viral DNA replication. E2 is known to interact with various cellular DNA replication proteins, including the PV E1 protein, the cellular ssDNA binding complex (RPA), and topoisomerase I. Recently, we observed that cellular DNA polymerase aamp;amp;epsilon; (pol aamp;amp;epsilon;) interacts with the PV helicase protein, E1. E1 stimulates its activity with a very high degree of specificity, implicating pol aamp;amp;epsilon; in PV DNA replication. In this paper, we evaluated whether E2 also shows a functional interaction with pol aamp;amp;epsilon;. We found that E2 stimulates the DNA synthesis activity of pol aamp;amp;epsilon;, independently of pol aamp;amp;epsilon;aamp;amp;rsquo; s processivity factors, RFC, PCNA, and RPA, or E1. This appears to be specific for pol aamp;amp;epsilon;, as cellular DNA polymerase aamp;amp;delta; is unaffected by E1. However, unlike other known stimulatory factors of pol aamp;amp;epsilon;, E2 does not affect the processivity of pol aamp;amp;epsilon;. The domains of E2 were analyzed individually and in combination for their ability to stimulate pol aamp;amp;epsilon;. Both the transactivation and hinge domains were found to be important for this stimulation, while the E2 DNA-binding domain was dispensable. These findings support a role for E2 beyond E1 recruitment in viral DNA replication, demonstrate a novel functional interaction in PV DNA replication, and further implicate cellular pol aamp;amp;epsilon; in PV DNA replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 320: Changes in the EV-A71 Genome through Recombination and Spontaneous Mutations: Impact on Virulence

  • Enterovirus 71 (EV-A71) is a major etiological agent of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that mainly affects young children less than five years old. The onset of severe HFMD is due to neurological complications bringing about acute flaccid paralysis and pulmonary oedema. In this review, we address how genetic events such as recombination and spontaneous mutations could change the genomic organization of EV-A71, leading to an impact on viral virulence. An understanding of the recombination mechanism of the poliovirus and non-polio enteroviruses will provide further evidence of the emergence of novel strains responsible for fatal HFMD outbreaks. We aim to see if the virulence of EV-A71 is contributed solely by the presence of fatal strains or is due to the co-operation of quasispecies within a viral population. The phenomenon of quasispecies within the poliovirus is discussed to reflect viral fitness, virulence and its implications for EV-A71. Ultimately, this review gives an insight into the evolution patterns of EV-A71 by looking into its recombination history and how spontaneous mutations would affect its virulence.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 319: The First Isolation and Whole Genome Sequencing of Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus from Cerebrospinal Fluid of a Patient with Encephalitis

  • Murray Valley Encephalitis virus (MVEV) is a mosquito-borne Flavivirus. Clinical presentation is rare but severe, with a case fatality rate of 15aamp;amp;ndash;30%. Here we report a case of MVEV from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of a patient in the Northern Territory in Australia. Initial diagnosis was performed using both MVEV-specific real-time, and Pan-Flavivirus conventional, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), with confirmation by Sanger sequencing. Subsequent isolation, the first from CSF, was conducted in Vero cells and the observed cytopathic effect was confirmed by increasing viral titre in the real-time PCR. Isolation allowed for full genome sequencing using the Scriptseq V2 RNASeq library preparation kit. A consensus genome for VIDRL-MVE was generated and phylogenetic analysis identified it as Genotype 2. This is the first reported isolation, and full genome sequencing of MVEV from CSF. It is also the first time Genotype 2 has been identified in humans. As such, this case has significant implications for public health surveillance, epidemiology, and the understanding of MVEV evolution.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 318: Small RNA NGS Revealed the Presence of Cherry Virus A and Little Cherry Virus 1 on Apricots in Hungary

  • Fruit trees, such as apricot trees, are constantly exposed to the attack of viruses. As they are propagated in a vegetative way, this risk is present not only in the field, where they remain for decades, but also during their propagation. Metagenomic diagnostic methods, based on next generation sequencing (NGS), offer unique possibilities to reveal all the present pathogens in the investigated sample. Using NGS of small RNAs, a special field of these techniques, we tested leaf samples of different varieties of apricot originating from an isolator house or open field stock nursery. As a result, we identified Cherry virus A (CVA) and little cherry virus 1 (LChV-1) for the first time in Hungary. The NGS results were validated by RT-PCR and also by Northern blot in the case of CVA. Cloned and Sanger sequenced viral-specific PCR products enabled us to investigate their phylogenetic relationships. However, since these pathogens have not been described in our country before, their role in symptom development and modification during co-infection with other viruses requires further investigation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 315: Genetic Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of Small Ruminant Lentiviruses Detected in Spanish Assaf Sheep with Different Mammary Lesions

  • Small Ruminant Lentiviruses (SRLVs) are widespread in many countries and cause economically relevant, slow, and persistent diseases in sheep and goats. Monitoring the genetic diversity of SRLVs is useful to improve the diagnostic tools used in the eradication programs. In this study, SRLVs detected in Spanish Assaf sheep with different grades of lymphoproliferative mastitis were sequenced. Genetic characterization showed that most samples belonged to type A and were closer to Spanish SRLV isolates previously classified as A2/A3. Four samples belonged to subtype B2 and showed higher homology with Italian B2 strains than with Spanish B2 isolates. Amino acid sequences of immuno-dominant epitopes in the gag region were very conserved while more alterations were found in the LTR sequences. No significant correlations were found between grades of mastitis and alterations in the sequences although samples with similar histological features were phylogenetically closer to each other. Broader genetic characterization surveys in samples with different grades of SRLV-lesions are required for evaluating potential correlations between SRLV sequences and the severity of diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 317: Antiviral Effects of Clinically-Relevant Interferon-α and Ribavirin Regimens against Dengue Virus in the Hollow Fiber Infection Model (HFIM)

  • Dengue virus (DENV) is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral illness in humans. Currently, there are no therapeutic agents available to prevent or treat DENV infections. Our objective was to fill this unmet medical need by evaluating the antiviral activity of interferon-aamp;amp;alpha; (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) as a combination therapy against DENV. DENV-infected Vero and Huh-7 cells were exposed to RBV and/or IFN, and the viral burden was quantified over time by plaque assay. Drug-drug interactions for antiviral effect were determined by fitting a mathematical model to the data. We then assessed clinically-relevant exposures of IFN plus RBV using the hollow fiber infection model (HFIM) system. RBV monotherapy was only effective against DENV at toxic concentrations in Vero and Huh-7 cells. IFN, as a single agent, did inhibit DENV replication at physiological concentrations and viral suppression was substantial in Huh-7 cells (Half maximal effective concentration (EC50) = 58.34 IU/mL). As a combination therapy, RBV plus IFN was additive for viral suppression in both cell lines; however, enhancement of antiviral activity at clinically-achievable concentrations was observed only in Huh-7 cells. Finally, clinical exposures of RBV plus IFN suppressed DENV replication by 99% even when treatment was initiated 24 h post-infection in the HFIM. Further evaluation revealed that the antiviral effectiveness of the combination regimen against DENV is mostly attributed to activity associated with IFN. These findings suggest that IFN is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of DENV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 316: Non-Primate Lentiviral Vectors and Their Applications in Gene Therapy for Ocular Disorders

  • Lentiviruses have a number of molecular features in common, starting with the ability to integrate their genetic material into the genome of non-dividing infected cells. A peculiar property of non-primate lentiviruses consists in their incapability to infect and induce diseases in humans, thus providing the main rationale for deriving biologically safe lentiviral vectors for gene therapy applications. In this review, we first give an overview of non-primate lentiviruses, highlighting their common and distinctive molecular characteristics together with key concepts in the molecular biology of lentiviruses. We next examine the bioengineering strategies leading to the conversion of lentiviruses into recombinant lentiviral vectors, discussing their potential clinical applications in ophthalmological research. Finally, we highlight the invaluable role of animal organisms, including the emerging zebrafish model, in ocular gene therapy based on non-primate lentiviral vectors and in ophthalmology research and vision science in general.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 314: Understanding Oxidative Stress in Aedes during Chikungunya and Dengue Virus Infections Using Integromics Analysis

  • Arboviral infection causes dysregulation of cascade of events involving numerous biomolecules affecting fitness of mosquito to combat virus. In response of the viral infection mosquitoaamp;amp;rsquo;s defense mechanism get initiated. Oxidative stress is among the first host responses triggered by the vector. Significant number of information is available showing changes in the transcripts and/or proteins upon Chikungunya virus and Dengue virus mono-infections and as co-infections. In the present study, we collected different -omics data available in the public database along with the data generated in our laboratory related to mono-infections or co-infections of these viruses. We analyzed the data and classified them into their respective pathways to study the role of oxidative stress in combating arboviral infection in Aedes mosquito. The analysis revealed that the oxidative stress related pathways functions in harmonized manner.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 313: The Odd“RB” Phage—Identification of Arabinosylation as a New Epigenetic Modification of DNA in T4-Like Phage RB69

  • In bacteriophages related to T4, hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) is incorporated into the genomic DNA during DNA replication and is then further modified to glucosyl-hmC by phage-encoded glucosyltransferases. Previous studies have shown that RB69 shares a core set of genes with T4 and relatives. However, unlike the other aamp;amp;ldquo;RBaamp;amp;rdquo; phages, RB69 is unable to recombine its DNA with T4 or with the other aamp;amp;ldquo;RBaamp;amp;rdquo; isolates. In addition, despite having homologs to the T4 enzymes used to synthesize hmC, RB69 has no identified homolog to known glucosyltransferase genes. In this study we sought to understand the basis for RB69aamp;amp;rsquo;s behavior using high-pH anion exchange chromatography (HPAEC) and mass spectrometry. Our analyses identified a novel phage epigenetic DNA sugar modification in RB69 DNA, which we have designated arabinosyl-hmC (ara-hmC). We sought a putative glucosyltranserase responsible for this novel modification and determined that RB69 also has a novel transferase gene, ORF003c, that is likely responsible for the arabinosyl-specific modification. We propose that ara-hmC was responsible for RB69 being unable to participate in genetic exchange with other hmC-containing T-even phages, and for its described incipient speciation. The RB69 ara-hmC also likely protects its DNA from some anti-phage type-IV restriction endonucleases. Several T4-related phages, such as E. coli phage JS09 and Shigella phage Shf125875 have homologs to RB69 ORF003c, suggesting the ara-hmC modification may be relatively common in T4-related phages, highlighting the importance of further work to understand the role of this modification and the biochemical pathway responsible for its production.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 312: Comparison of Porcine Airway and Intestinal Epithelial Cell Lines for the Susceptibility and Expression of Pattern Recognition Receptors upon Influenza Virus Infection

  • Influenza viruses infect the epithelial cells of the swine respiratory tract. Cell lines derived from the respiratory tract of pigs could serve as an excellent in vitro model for studying the pathogenesis of influenza viruses. In this study, we examined the replication of influenza viruses in the MK1-OSU cell line, which was clonally derived from pig airway epithelium. MK1-OSU cells expressed both cytokeratin and vimentin proteins and displayed several sugar moieties on the cell membrane. These cells also expressed both Sial2-3Gal and Sial2-6Gal receptors and were susceptible to swine influenza A, but not to human B and C viruses. Interestingly, these cells were also permissive to infection by influenza D virus that utilized 9-O-acetylated glycans. To study the differences in the expression of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) upon influenza virus infection in the respiratory and digestive tract, we compared the protein expression of various PRRs in MK1-OSU cells with that in the SD-PJEC cell line, a clonally derived cell line from the porcine jejunal epithelium. Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR-7) and melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA5) receptors showed decreased expression in influenza A infected MK1-OSU cells, while only TLR-7 expression decreased in SD-PJEC cells. Further research is warranted to study the mechanism behind the virus-mediated suppression of these proteins. Overall, this study shows that the porcine respiratory epithelial cell line, MK1-OSU, could serve as an in-vitro model for studying the pathogenesis and innate immune responses to porcine influenza viruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 311: Landscape Phage: Evolution from Phage Display to Nanobiotechnology

  • The development of phage engineering technology has led to the construction of a novel type of phage display libraryaamp;amp;mdash;a collection of nanofiber materials with diverse molecular landscapes accommodated on the surface of phage particles. These new nanomaterials, called the aamp;amp;ldquo;landscape phageaamp;amp;rdquo;, serve as a huge resource of diagnostic/detection probes and versatile construction materials for the preparation of phage-functionalized biosensors and phage-targeted nanomedicines. Landscape-phage-derived probes interact with biological threat agents and generate detectable signals as a part of robust and inexpensive molecular recognition interfaces introduced in mobile detection devices. The use of landscape-phage-based interfaces may greatly improve the sensitivity, selectivity, robustness, and longevity of these devices. In another area of bioengineering, landscape-phage technology has facilitated the development and testing of targeted nanomedicines. The development of high-throughput phage selection methods resulted in the discovery of a variety of cancer cell-associated phages and phage proteins demonstrating natural proficiency to self-assemble into various drug- and gene-targeting nanovehicles. The application of this new aamp;amp;ldquo;phage-programmed-nanomedicinesaamp;amp;rdquo; concept led to the development of a number of cancer cell-targeting nanomedicine platforms, which demonstrated anticancer efficacy in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. This review was prepared to attract the attention of chemical scientists and bioengineers seeking to develop functionalized nanomaterials and use them in different areas of bioscience, medicine, and engineering.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 310: Development of Phage Lysins as Novel Therapeutics: A Historical Perspective

  • Bacteriophage lysins and related bacteriolytic enzymes are now considered among the top antibiotic alternatives for solving the mounting resistance problem. Over the past 17 years, lysins have been widely developed against Gram-positive and recently Gram-negative pathogens, and successfully tested in a variety of animal models to demonstrate their efficacy. A lysin (CF-301) directed to methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has effectively completed phase 1 human clinical trials, showing safety in this novel therapeutic class. To validate efficacy, CF-301 is currently the first lysin to enter phase 2 human trials to treat hospitalized patients with MRSA bacteremia or endocarditis. If successful, it could be the defining moment leading to the acceptance of lysins as an alternative to small molecule antibiotics. This article is a detailed account of events leading to the first therapeutic use and ultimate development of phage-encoded lysins as novel anti-infectives.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 309: Structure of an Acinetobacter Broad-Range Prophage Endolysin Reveals a C-Terminalα-Helix with the Proposed Role in Activity against Live Bacterial Cells

  • Proteins that include enzymatic domain degrading the bacterial cell wall and a domain providing transport through the bacterial outer membrane are considered as prospective compounds to combat pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. This paper presents an isolation and study of an enzyme of this class naturally encoded in the prophage region of Acinetobacter baumannii AB 5075 genome. Recombinant protein expressed in E. coli exhibits an antimicrobial activity with respect to live cultures of Gram-negative bacteria reducing the population of viable bacteria by 1.5–2 log colony forming units (CFU)/mL. However the protein becomes rapidly inactivated and enables the bacteria to restore the population. AcLys structure determined by X-ray crystallography reveals a predominantly α—helical fold similar to bacteriophage P22 lysozyme. The С-terminal part of AcLys polypeptide chains forms an α—helix enriched by Lys and Arg residues exposed outside of the protein globule. Presumably this type of structure of the C-terminal α—helix has evolved evolutionally enabling the endolysin to pass the inner membrane during the host lysis or, potentially, to penetrate the outer membrane of the Gram-negative bacteria.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 308: The E. coli Global Regulator DksA Reduces Transcription during T4 Infection

  • Bacteriophage T4 relies on host RNA polymerase to transcribe three promoter classes: early (Pe, requires no viral factors), middle (Pm, requires early proteins MotA and AsiA), and late (Pl, requires middle proteins gp55, gp33, and gp45). Using primer extension, RNA-seq, RT-qPCR, single bursts, and a semi-automated method to document plaque size, we investigated how deletion of DksA or ppGpp, two E. coli global transcription regulators, affects T4 infection. Both ppGpp0 and aamp;amp;Delta;dksA increase T4 wild type (wt) plaque size. However, ppGpp0 does not significantly alter burst size or latent period, and only modestly affects T4 transcript abundance, while aamp;amp;Delta;dksA increases burst size (2-fold) without affecting latent period and increases the levels of several Pe transcripts at 5 min post-infection. In a T4motAam infection, aamp;amp;Delta;dksA increases plaque size and shortens latent period, and the levels of specific middle RNAs increase due to more transcription from Peaamp;amp;rsquo;s that extend into these middle genes. We conclude that DksA lowers T4 early gene expression. Consequently, aamp;amp;Delta;dksA results in a more productive wt infection and ameliorates the poor expression of middle genes in a T4motAam infection. As DksA does not inhibit Pe transcription in vitro, regulation may be indirect or perhaps requires additional factors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 307: Nanomedicine and Phage Capsids

  • Studies of phage capsids have at least three potential interfaces with nanomedicine. First, investigation of phage capsid states potentially will provide therapies targeted to similar states of pathogenic viruses. Recently detected, altered radius-states of phage T3 capsids include those probably related to intermediate states of DNA injection and DNA packaging (dynamic states). We discuss and test the idea that some T3 dynamic states include extensive aamp;amp;alpha;-sheet in subunits of the capsidaamp;amp;rsquo;s shell. Second, dynamic states of pathogenic viral capsids are possible targets of innate immune systems. Specifically, aamp;amp;alpha;-sheet-rich innate immune proteins would interfere with dynamic viral states via inter-aamp;amp;alpha;-sheet co-assembly. A possible cause of neurodegenerative diseases is excessive activity of these innate immune proteins. Third, some phage capsids appear to have characteristics useful for improved drug delivery vehicles (DDVs). These characteristics include stability, uniformity and a gate-like sub-structure. Gating by DDVs is needed for (1) drug-loading only with gate opened; (2) closed gate-DDV migration through circulatory systems (no drug leakage-generated toxicity); and (3) drug release only at targets. A gate-like sub-structure is the connector ring of double-stranded DNA phage capsids. Targeting to tumors of phage capsid-DDVs can possibly be achieved via the enhanced permeability and retention effect.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 306: 1-Benzyl-3-cetyl-2-methylimidazolium Iodide (NH125) Is a Broad-Spectrum Inhibitor of Virus Entry with Lysosomotropic Features

  • Cellular kinases are crucial for the transcription/replication of many negative-strand RNA viruses and might serve as targets for antiviral therapy. In this study, a library comprising 80 kinase inhibitors was screened for antiviral activity against vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a prototype member of the family Rhabdoviridae. 1-Benzyl-3-cetyl-2-methylimidazolium iodide (NH125), an inhibitor of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2) kinase, significantly inhibited entry of single-cycle VSV encoding a luciferase reporter. Treatment of virus particles had only minimal effect on virus entry, indicating that the compound primarily acts on the host cell rather than on the virus. Accordingly, resistant mutant viruses were not detected when the virus was passaged in the presence of the drug. Unexpectedly, NH125 led to enhanced, rather than reduced, phosphorylation of eEF2, however, it did not significantly affect cellular protein synthesis. In contrast, NH125 revealed lysosomotropic features and showed structural similarity with N-dodecylimidazole, a known lysosomotropic agent. Related alkylated imidazolium compounds also exhibited antiviral activity, which was critically dependent on the length of the alkyl group. Apart from VSV, NH125 inhibited infection by VSV pseudotypes containing the envelope glycoproteins of viruses that are known to enter cells in a pH-dependent manner, i.e. avian influenza virus (H5N1), Ebola virus, and Lassa virus. In conclusion, we identified an alkylated imidazolium compound which inhibited entry of several viruses not because of the previously postulated inhibition of eEF2 kinase but most likely because of its lysosomotropic properties.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 305: Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Factor 5 Interacts with the NS3 Protein and Promotes Classical Swine Fever Virus Replication

  • Classical swine fever, caused by classical swine fever virus (CSFV), is a highly contagious and high-mortality viral disease, causing huge economic losses in the swine industry worldwide. CSFV non-structural protein 3 (NS3), a multifunctional protein, plays crucial roles in viral replication. However, how NS3 exactly exerts these functions is currently unknown. Here, we identified tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 5 (TRAF5) as a novel binding partner of the NS3 protein via yeast two-hybrid, co-immunoprecipitation and glutathione S-transferase pull-down assays. Furthermore, we observed that TRAF5 promoted CSFV replication in porcine alveolar macrophages (PAMs). Additionally, CSFV infection or NS3 expression upregulated TRAF5 expression, implying that CSFV may exploit TRAF5 via NS3 for better growth. Moreover, CSFV infection and TRAF5 expression activated p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity, and inhibition of p38 MAPK activation by the SB203580 inhibitor suppressed CSFV replication. Notably, TRAF5 overexpression did not promote CSFV replication following inhibition of p38 MAPK activation. Our findings reveal that TRAF5 promotes CSFV replication via p38 MAPK activation. This work provides a novel insight into the role of TRAF5 in CSFV replication capacity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 304: Correction: Won-Kyung Cho; et al. Epimedium Koreanum Nakai Displays Broad Spectrum of Antiviral Activity In Vitro and In Vivo by Inducing Cellular Antiviral State. Viruses 2015, 7, 352–377

  • The authors wish to make the following change to their paper [1].[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 303: Special Issue“Mathematical Modeling of Viral Infections”

  • How an infection will progress in the body is dependent on myriad factors: the rate of spread of the agent, the immune response, what treatment may be applied[...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 302: Preclinical Testing of an Oncolytic Parvovirus in Ewing Sarcoma: Protoparvovirus H-1 Induces Apoptosis and Lytic Infection In Vitro but Fails to Improve Survival In Vivo

  • About 70% of all Ewing sarcoma (EWS) patients are diagnosed under the age of 20 years. Over the last decades little progress has been made towards finding effective treatment approaches for primarily metastasized or refractory Ewing sarcoma in young patients. Here, in the context of the search for novel therapeutic options, the potential of oncolytic protoparvovirus H-1 (H-1PV) to treat Ewing sarcoma was evaluated, its safety having been proven previously tested in adult cancer patients and its oncolytic efficacy demonstrated on osteosarcoma cell cultures. The effects of viral infection were tested in vitro on four human Ewing sarcoma cell lines. Notably evaluated were effects of the virus on the cell cycle and its replication efficiency. Within 24 h after infection, the synthesis of viral proteins was induced. Efficient H-1PV replication was confirmed in all four Ewing sarcoma cell lines. The cytotoxicity of the virus was determined on the basis of cytopathic effects, cell viability, and cell lysis. These in vitro experiments revealed efficient killing of Ewing sarcoma cells by H-1PV at a multiplicity of infection between 0.1 and 5 plaque forming units (PFU)/cell. In two of the four tested cell lines, significant induction of apoptosis by H-1PV was observed. H-1PV thus meets all the in vitro criteria for a virus to be oncolytic towards Ewing sarcoma. In the first xenograft experiments, however, although an antiproliferative effect of intratumoral H-1PV injection was observed, no significant improvement of animal survival was noted. Future projects aiming to validate parvovirotherapy for the treatment of pediatric Ewing sarcoma should focus on combinatorial treatments and will require the use of patient-derived xenografts and immunocompetent syngeneic animal models.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 301: Inhibition of Hepatitis E Virus Spread by the Natural Compound Silvestrol

  • Every year, there are about 20 Mio hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections and 60,000 deaths that are associated with HEV worldwide. At the present, there exists no specific therapy for HEV. The natural compound silvestrol has a potent antiviral effect against the (aamp;amp;minus;)-strand RNA-virus Ebola virus, and also against the (+)-strand RNA viruses Corona-, Picorna-, and Zika virus. The inhibitory effect on virus spread is due to an inhibition of the DEAD-box RNA helicase eIF4A, which is required to unwind structured 5aamp;amp;prime;-untranslated regions (UTRs). This leads to an impaired translation of viral RNA. The HEV (+)-strand RNA genome contains a 5aamp;amp;prime;-capped, short 5aamp;amp;prime;-UTR. This study aims to analyze the impact of silvestrol on the HEV life cycle. Persistently infected A549 cells were instrumental. This study identifies silvestrol as a potent inhibitor of the release of HEV infectious viral particles. This goes along with a strongly reduced HEV capsid protein translation, retention of viral RNA inside the cytoplasm, and without major cytotoxic effects. Interestingly, in parallel silvestrol affects the activity of the antiviral major vault protein (MVP) by translocation from the cytoplasm to the perinuclear membrane. These data further characterize the complex antiviral activity of silvestrol and show silvestrolaamp;amp;rsquo;s broad spectrum of function, since HEV is a virus without complex secondary structures in its genome, but it is still affected.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 300: Virological Sampling of Inaccessible Wildlife with Drones

  • There is growing interest in characterizing the viromes of diverse mammalian species, particularly in the context of disease emergence. However, little is known about virome diversity in aquatic mammals, in part due to difficulties in sampling. We characterized the virome of the exhaled breath (or blow) of the Eastern Australian humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). To achieve an unbiased survey of virome diversity, a meta-transcriptomic analysis was performed on 19 pooled whale blow samples collected via a purpose-built Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV, or drone) approximately 3 km off the coast of Sydney, Australia during the 2017 winter annual northward migration from Antarctica to northern Australia. To our knowledge, this is the first time that UAVs have been used to sample viruses. Despite the relatively small number of animals surveyed in this initial study, we identified six novel virus species from five viral families. This work demonstrates the potential of UAVs in studies of virus disease, diversity, and evolution.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 299: Analysis of 19 Highly Conserved Vibrio cholerae Bacteriophages Isolated from Environmental and Patient Sources Over a Twelve-Year Period

  • The Vibrio cholerae biotype aamp;amp;ldquo;El Toraamp;amp;rdquo; is responsible for all of the current epidemic and endemic cholera outbreaks worldwide. These outbreaks are clonal, and it is hypothesized that they originate from the coastal areas near the Bay of Bengal, where the lytic bacteriophage ICP1 (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh cholera phage 1) specifically preys upon these pathogenic outbreak strains. ICP1 has also been the dominant bacteriophage found in cholera patient stools since 2001. However, little is known about the genomic differences between the ICP1 strains that have been collected over time. Here, we elucidate the pan-genome and the phylogeny of the ICP1 strains by aligning, annotating, and analyzing the genomes of 19 distinct isolates that were collected between 2001 and 2012. Our results reveal that the ICP1 isolates are highly conserved and possess a large core-genome as well as a smaller, somewhat flexible accessory-genome. Despite its overall conservation, ICP1 strains have managed to acquire a number of unknown genes, as well as a CRISPR-Cas system which is known to be critical for its ongoing struggle for co-evolutionary dominance over its host. This study describes a foundation on which to construct future molecular and bioinformatic studies of these V. cholerae-associated bacteriophages.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 298: Baculovirus Surface Display of Immunogenic Proteins for Vaccine Development

  • Vaccination is an efficient way to prevent the occurrence of many infectious diseases in humans. To date, several viral vectors have been utilized for the generation of vaccines. Among them, baculovirusaamp;amp;mdash;categorized as a nonhuman viral vectoraamp;amp;mdash;has been used in wider applications. Its versatile features, like large cloning capacity, nonreplicative nature in mammalian cells, and broad tissue tropism, hold it at an excellent position among vaccine vectors. In addition to ease and safety during swift production, recent key improvements to existing baculovirus vectors (such as inclusion of hybrid promoters, immunostimulatory elements, etc.) have led to significant improvements in immunogenicity and efficacy of surface-displayed antigens. Furthermore, some promising preclinical results have been reported that mirror the scope and practicality of baculovirus as a vaccine vector for human applications in the near future. Herein, this review provides an overview of the induced immune responses by baculovirus surface-displayed vaccines against influenza and other infectious diseases in animal models, and highlights the strategies applied to enhance the protective immune responses against the displayed antigens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 297: Burkholderia cenocepacia Prophages—Prevalence, Chromosome Location and Major Genes Involved

  • Burkholderia cenocepacia, is a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen that belongs to Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) group. BCC representatives carry various pathogenicity factors and can infect humans and plants. Phages as bacterial viruses play a significant role in biodiversity and ecological balance in the environment. Specifically, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and lysogenic conversion (temperate phages) influence microbial diversification and fitness. In this study, we describe the prevalence and gene content of prophages in 16 fully sequenced B. cenocepacia genomes stored in NCBI database. The analysis was conducted in silico by manual and automatic approaches. Sixty-three potential prophage regions were found and classified as intact, incomplete, questionable, and artifacts. The regions were investigated for the presence of known virulence factors, resulting in the location of sixteen potential pathogenicity mechanisms, including toxinaamp;amp;ndash;antitoxin systems (TA), Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS) transporters and responsible for drug resistance. Investigation of the regionaamp;amp;rsquo;s closest neighborhood highlighted three groups of genes with the highest occurrenceaamp;amp;mdash;tRNA-Arg, dehydrogenase family proteins, and ABC transporter substrate-binding proteins. Searches for antiphage systems such as BacteRiophage EXclusion (BREX) and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) in the analyzed strains suggested 10 sequence sets of CRISPR elements. Our results suggest that intact B. cenocepacia prophages may provide an evolutionary advantage to the bacterium, while domesticated prophages may help to maintain important genes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 296: Absence of A3Z3-Related Hypermutations in the env and vif Proviral Genes in FIV Naturally Infected Cats

  • Apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like 3 (APOBEC3; A3) proteins comprise an important family of restriction factors that produce hypermutations on proviral DNA and are able to limit virus replication. Vif, an accessory protein present in almost all lentiviruses, counteracts the antiviral A3 activity. Seven haplotypes of APOBEC3Z3 (A3Z3) were described in domestic cats (hap Iaamp;amp;ndash;VII), and in-vitro studies have demonstrated that these proteins reduce infectivity of vif-defective feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Moreover, hap V is resistant to vif-mediated degradation. However, studies on the effect of A3Z3 in FIV-infected cats have not been developed. Here, the correlation between APOBEC A3Z3 haplotypes in domestic cats and the frequency of hypermutations in the FIV vif and env genes were assessed in a retrospective cohort study with 30 blood samples collected between 2012 and 2016 from naturally FIV-infected cats in Brazil. The vif and env sequences were analyzed and displayed low or undetectable levels of hypermutations, and could not be associated with any specific A3Z3 haplotype.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 295: A Novel Deltaflexivirus that Infects the Plant Fungal Pathogen, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Can Be Transmitted Among Host Vegetative Incompatible Strains

  • Various mycoviruses have been isolated from Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Here, we identified a viral RNA sequence contig, representing a novel virus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum deltaflexivirus 2 (SsDFV2), from an RNA_Seq database. We found that SsDFV2 was harbored in the hypovirulent strain, 228, which grew slowly on potato dextrose agar, produced a few sclerotia, and could not induce typical lesions on detached rapeseed (Brassica napus) leaves. Strain 228 was also infected by Botrytis porri RNA Virus 1 (BpRV1), a virus originally isolated from Botrytis porri. The genome of SsDFV2 comprised 6711 nucleotides, excluding the poly (A) tail, and contained a single large predicted open reading frame encoding a putative viral RNA replicase. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that SsDFV2 is closely related to viruses in the family Deltaflexiviridae; however, it also differs significantly from members of this family, suggesting that it may represent a new species. Further we determined that SsDFV2 could be efficiently transmitted to host vegetative incompatible individuals by dual culture. To our best knowledge, this is the first report that a (+) ssRNA mycovirus can overcome the transmission limitations of the vegetative incompatibility system, a phenomenon that may facilitate the potential use of mycoviruses for the control of crop fungal diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 294: The Interplay of Viral and Host Factors in Chikungunya Virus Infection: Targets for Antiviral Strategies

  • Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has re-emerged as one of the many medically important arboviruses that have spread rampantly across the world in the past decade. Infected patients come down with acute fever and rashes, and a portion of them suffer from both acute and chronic arthralgia. Currently, there are no targeted therapeutics against this debilitating virus. One approach to develop potential therapeutics is by understanding the viral-host interactions. However, to date, there has been limited research undertaken in this area. In this review, we attempt to briefly describe and update the functions of the different CHIKV proteins and their respective interacting host partners. In addition, we also survey the literature for other reported host factors and pathways involved during CHIKV infection. There is a pressing need for an in-depth understanding of the interaction between the host environment and CHIKV in order to generate potential therapeutics.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 293: AIDS Clinical Research in Spain—Large HIV Population, Geniality of Doctors, and Missing Opportunities

  • The first cases of AIDS in Spain were reported in 1982. Since then over 85,000 persons with AIDS have been cumulated, with 60,000 deaths. Current estimates for people living with HIV are of 145,000, of whom 20% are unaware of it. This explains the still high rate of late HIV presenters. Although the HIV epidemic in Spain was originally driven mostly by injection drug users, since the year 2000 men having sex with men (MSM) account for most new incident HIV cases. Currently, MSM represent over 80% of new yearly HIV diagnoses. In the 80s, a subset of young doctors and nurses working at Internal Medicine hospital wards became deeply engaged in attending HIV-infected persons. Before the introduction of antiretrovirals in the earlier 1990s, diagnosis and treatment of opportunistic infections was their major task. A new wave of infectious diseases specialists was born. Following the wide introduction of triple combination therapy in the late 1990s, drug side effects and antiretroviral resistance led to built a core of highly devoted HIV specialists across the country. Since then, HIV medicine has improved and currently is largely conducted by multidisciplinary teams of health care providers working at hospital-based outclinics, where HIV-positive persons are generally seen every six months. Antiretroviral therapy is currently prescribed to roughly 75,000 persons, almost all attended at clinics belonging to the government health public system. Overall, the impact of HIV/AIDS publications by Spanish teams is the third most important in Europe. HIV research in Spain has classically been funded mostly by national and European public agencies along with pharma companies. Chronologically, some of the major contributions of Spanish HIV research are being in the field of tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, leishmaniasis, HIV variants including HIV-2, drug resistance, pharmacology, antiretroviral drug-related toxicities, coinfection with viral hepatitis, design and participation in clinical trials with antiretrovirals, immunopathogenesis, ageing, and vaccine development.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 292: Phage-Derived Peptidoglycan Degrading Enzymes: Challenges and Future Prospects for In Vivo Therapy

  • Peptidoglycan degrading enzymes are of increasing interest as antibacterial agents, especially against multi-drug resistant pathogens. Herein we present a review about the biological features of virion-associated lysins and endolysins, phage-derived enzymes that have naturally evolved to compromise the bacterial peptidoglycan from without and from within, respectively. These natural features may determine the adaptability of the enzymes to kill bacteria in different environments. Endolysins are by far the most studied group of peptidoglycan-degrading enzymes, with several studies showing that they can exhibit potent antibacterial activity under specific conditions. However, the lytic activity of most endolysins seems to be significantly reduced when tested against actively growing bacteria, something that may be related to fact that these enzymes are naturally designed to degrade the peptidoglycan from within dead cells. This may negatively impact the efficacy of the endolysin in treating some infections in vivo. Here, we present a critical view of the methods commonly used to evaluate in vitro and in vivo the antibacterial performance of PG-degrading enzymes, focusing on the major hurdles concerning in vitro-to-in vivo translation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 291: Potential Application of the CRISPR/Cas9 System against Herpesvirus Infections

  • The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been applied in the genome editing and disruption of latent infections for herpesviruses such as the herpes simplex virus, Epsteinaamp;amp;ndash;Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and Kaposiaamp;amp;rsquo;s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. CRISPR/Cas9-directed mutagenesis can introduce similar types of mutations to the viral genome as can bacterial artificial chromosome recombination engineering, which maintains and reconstitutes the viral genome successfully. The cleavage mediated by CRISPR/Cas9 enables the manipulation of disease-associated viral strains with unprecedented efficiency and precision. Additionally, current therapies for herpesvirus productive and latent infections are limited in efficacy and cannot eradicate viruses. CRISPR/Cas9 is potentially adapted for antiviral treatment by specifically targeting viral genomes during latent infections. This review, which focuses on recently published progress, suggests that the CRISPR/Cas9 system is not only a useful tool for basic virology research, but also a promising strategy for the control and prevention of herpesvirus latent infections.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 290: Effects of a Chimeric Lysin against Planktonic and Sessile Enterococcus faecalis Hint at Potential Application in Endodontic Therapy

  • Enterococcus faecalis is a commensal opportunistic pathogen found in the intestine, mouth, and vaginal tract of humans. As an invasive pathogen in the oral cavity, E. faecalis is one of the leading causes of periapical endodontic lesions. However, due to the strong biofilm-forming capacity and tolerance of E. faecalis to conventional antibiotics and treatments, limited therapeutic options are available. In the present study, we investigated the activity of ClyR, a chimeric lysin with extended streptococcal lytic spectrum, against planktonic and sessile E. faecalis cells in vitro and in an ex vivo dental model. Our results showed that ClyR has robust and rapid lytic activity against multiple E. faecalis strains, killing aamp;amp;gt;90% planktonic cells within 1 min at a concentration of 50 aamp;amp;mu;g/mL. The biochemical experiments combined with microscopy analysis revealed that ClyR degrades E. faecalis biofilm with high efficacy in a dose-dependent manner, reducing the survival rate to aamp;amp;lt;40% within biofilms after treatment with 50 aamp;amp;mu;g/mL ClyR for 1 h. In the ex vivo dental model, ClyR showed a significant biofilm removal efficacy, killing aamp;amp;gt;90% viable bacteria within biofilms at a low dose of 50 aamp;amp;mu;g/mL, which is much better than ampicillin and similar to calcium hydroxide, the extensively used routine intracanal medicament in the treatment of endodontics and dental traumatology. The robust activity of ClyR against both planktonic and sessile E. faecalis suggests the potential of ClyR in treating endodontic infections caused by E. faecalis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 289: In Vitro Studies of Lipopolysaccharide-Mediated DNA Release of Podovirus HK620

  • Gram-negative bacteria protect themselves with an outermost layer containing lipopolysaccharide (LPS). O-antigen-specific bacteriophages use tailspike proteins (TSP) to recognize and cleave the O-polysaccharide part of LPS. However, O-antigen composition and structure can be highly variable depending on the environmental conditions. It is important to understand how these changes may influence the early steps of the bacteriophage infection cycle because they can be linked to changes in host range or the occurrence of phage resistance. In this work, we have analyzed how LPS preparations in vitro trigger particle opening and DNA ejection from the E. coli podovirus HK620. Fluorescence-based monitoring of DNA release showed that HK620 phage particles in vitro ejected their genome at velocities comparable to those found for other podoviruses. Moreover, we found that HK620 irreversibly adsorbed to the LPS receptor via its TSP at restrictive low temperatures, without opening the particle but could eject its DNA at permissive temperatures. DNA ejection was solely stimulated by LPS, however, the composition of the O-antigen dictated whether the LPS receptor could start the DNA release from E. coli phage HK620 in vitro. This finding can be significant when optimizing bacteriophage mixtures for therapy, where in natural environments O-antigen structures may rapidly change.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 288: Phage Therapy: What Have We Learned?

  • In this article we explain how current events in the field of phage therapy may positively influence its future development. We discuss the shift in position of the authorities, academia, media, non-governmental organizations, regulatory agencies, patients, and doctors which could enable further advances in the research and application of the therapy. In addition, we discuss methods to obtain optimal phage preparations and suggest the potential of novel applications of phage therapy extending beyond its anti-bacterial action.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 287: Histone Modulation Blocks Treg-Induced Foxp3 Binding to the IL-2 Promoter of Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cells from Feline Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Cats

  • CD8+ T cells are critical for controlling HIV infection. During the chronic phase of lentiviral infection, CD8+ T cells lose their proliferative capacity and exhibit impaired antiviral function. This loss of CD8+ T cell function is due, in part, to CD4+CD25+ T regulatory (Treg) cell-mediated suppression. Our research group has demonstrated that lentivirus-activated CD4+CD25+ Treg cells induce the repressive transcription factor forkhead box P3 (Foxp3) in autologous CD8+ T cells following co-culture. We have recently reported that Treg-induced Foxp3 binds the interleukin-2 (IL-2), interferon-aamp;amp;gamma; (IFN- aamp;amp;gamma;), and tumor necrosis factor-aamp;amp;alpha; (TNF-aamp;amp;alpha;) promoters in virus-specific CD8+ T cells. These data suggest an important role of Foxp3-mediated CD8+ T cell dysfunction in lentiviral infection. To elucidate the mechanism of this suppression, we previously reported that decreased methylation facilitates Foxp3 binding in mitogen-activated CD8+ T cells from feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-infected cats. We demonstrated the reduced binding of Foxp3 to the IL-2 promoter by increasing methylation of CD8+ T cells. In the studies presented here, we ask if another form of epigenetic modulation might alleviate Foxp3-mediated suppression in CD8+ T cells. We hypothesized that decreasing histone acetylation in virus-specific CD8+ T cells would decrease Treg-induced Foxp3 binding to the IL-2 promoter. Indeed, using anacardic acid (AA), a known histone acetyl transferase (HAT) inhibitor, we demonstrate a reduction in Foxp3 binding to the IL-2 promoter in virus-specific CD8+ T cells co-cultured with autologous Treg cells. These data identify a novel mechanism of Foxp3-mediated CD8+ T cell dysfunction during lentiviral infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 286: Post-Exposure Protection in Mice against Sudan Virus by a Two Antibody Cocktail

  • Sudan virus (SUDV) and Ebola viruses (EBOV) are both members of the Ebolavirus genus and have been sources of epidemics and outbreaks for several decades. We present here the generation and characterization of cross-reactive antibodies to both SUDV and EBOV, which were produced in a cell-free system and protective against SUDV in mice. A non-human primate, cynomolgus macaque, was immunized with viral-replicon particles expressing the glycoprotein of SUDV-Boniface (8A). Two separate antibody fragment phage display libraries were constructed after four immunogen injections. Both libraries were screened first against the SUDV and a second library was cross-selected against EBOV-Kikwit. Sequencing of 288 selected clones from the two distinct libraries identified 58 clones with distinct VH and VL sequences. Many of these clones were cross-reactive to EBOV and SUDV and able to neutralize SUDV. Three of these recombinant antibodies (X10B1, X10F3, and X10H2) were produced in the scFv-Fc format utilizing a cell-free production system. Mice that were challenged with SUDV-Boniface receiving 100aamp;amp;micro;g of the X10B1/X10H2 scFv-Fc combination 6 and 48-h post-exposure demonstrated partial protection individually and complete protection as a combination. The data herein suggests these antibodies may be promising candidates for further therapeutic development.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 285: Hepatitis E in High-Income Countries: What Do We Know? And What Are the Knowledge Gaps?

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a positive-strand RNA virus transmitted by the fecalaamp;amp;ndash;oral route. HEV genotypes 1 and 2 infect only humans and cause mainly waterborne outbreaks. HEV genotypes 3 and 4 are widely represented in the animal kingdom, and are mainly transmitted as a zoonosis. For the past 20 years, HEV infection has been considered an imported disease in developed countries, but now there is evidence that HEV is an underrecognized pathogen in high-income countries, and that the incidence of confirmed cases has been steadily increasing over the last decade. In this review, we describe current knowledge about the molecular biology of HEV, its clinical features, its main routes of transmission, and possible therapeutic strategies in developed countries.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 284: The Auxiliary Role of the Amidase Domain in Cell Wall Binding and Exolytic Activity of Staphylococcal Phage Endolysins

  • In response to increasing concern over antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the development of novel antimicrobials has been called for, with bacteriophage endolysins having received considerable attention as alternatives to antibiotics. Most staphylococcal phage endolysins have a modular structure consisting of an N-terminal cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolases/peptidase domain (CHAP), a central amidase domain, and a C-terminal cell wall binding domain (CBD). Despite extensive studies using truncated staphylococcal endolysins, the precise function of the amidase domain has not been determined. Here, a functional analysis of each domain of two S. aureus phage endolysins (LysSA12 and LysSA97) revealed that the CHAP domain conferred the main catalytic activity, while the central amidase domain showed no enzymatic activity in degrading the intact S. aureus cell wall. However, the amidase-lacking endolysins had reduced hydrolytic activity compared to the full-length endolysins. Comparison of the binding affinities of fusion proteins consisting of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) with CBD and GFP with the amidase domain and CBD revealed that the major function of the amidase domain was to enhance the binding affinity of CBD, resulting in higher lytic activity of endolysin. These results suggest an auxiliary binding role of the amidase domain of staphylococcal endolysins, which can be useful information for designing effective antimicrobial and diagnostic agents against S. aureus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 283: Saracatinib Inhibits Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus Replication In Vitro

  • The Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first identified in Saudi Arabia, is an emerging zoonotic pathogen that causes severe acute respiratory illness in humans with a high fatality rate. Since its emergence, MERS-CoV continues to spread to countries outside of the Arabian Peninsula and gives rise to sporadic human infections following the entry of infected individuals to other countries, which can precipitate outbreaks similar to the one that occurred in South Korea in 2015. Current therapeutics against MERS-CoV infection have primarily been adapted from previous drugs used for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome. In search of new potential drug candidates, we screened a library composed of 2334 clinically approved drugs and pharmacologically active compounds. The drug saracatinib, a potent inhibitor of Src-family of tyrosine kinases (SFK), was identified as an inhibitor of MERS-CoV replication in vitro. Our results suggest that saracatinib potently inhibits MERS-CoV at the early stages of the viral life cycle in Huh-7 cells, possibly through the suppression of SFK signaling pathways. Furthermore, saracatinib exhibited a synergistic effect with gemcitabine, an anticancer drug with antiviral activity against several RNA viruses. These data indicate that saracatinib alone or in combination with gemcitabine can provide a new therapeutic option for the treatment of MERS-CoV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 282: K15 Protein of Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesviruses Increases Endothelial Cell Proliferation and Migration through Store-Operated Calcium Entry

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a tumor of the vascular endothelium that is caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). K15 of KSHV is a specific gene encoding a transmembrane protein. Two highly different forms of K15, the predominant (K15P) and minor (K15M) have been identified in different KSHV strains. In genomic locations and protein topology, two K15 alleles resemble the latent membrane protein (LMP) 1 and LMP2A of Epstein–Barr virus. Both K15 proteins have motifs similar to those found in LMP1 and LMP2A. K15 therefore seems to be a hybrid of a distant evolutionary relative of LMP1 and LMP2A. Ca2+ is a second messenger and participates in numerous activities in cells, like proliferation, migration and metastasis. It has been found previously that LMP1 increased Ca2+ influx through store-operated calcium channels and blockade of LMP1 reduced store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE).LMP2A has similar activity. So we sought to determine whether K15 had similar activity. We showed that K15P induced Ca2+ influx and enhanced expression of Orail1, which is a vital protein in SOCE, and overexpression of K15P improved cell motility. Mutant K15P did not show these activities in HEK-293T and EA.hy 926 cells. Our results showed that K15P increased cell proliferation and migration though SOCE and established a novel mechanism for the development of KS and KSHV-associated diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 281: Yeast Derived LysA2 Can Control Bacterial Contamination in Ethanol Fermentation

  • Contamination of fuel-ethanol fermentations continues to be a significant problem for the corn and sugarcane-based ethanol industries. In particular, members of the Lactobacillaceae family are the primary bacteria of concern. Currently, antibiotics and acid washing are two major means of controlling contaminants. However, antibiotic use could lead to increased antibiotic resistance, and the acid wash step stresses the fermenting yeast and has limited effectiveness. Bacteriophage endolysins such as LysA2 are lytic enzymes with the potential to contribute as antimicrobials to the fuel ethanol industries. Our goal was to evaluate the potential of yeast-derived LysA2 as a means of controlling Lactobacillaceae contamination. LysA2 intracellularly produced by Pichia pastoris showed activity comparable to Escherichia coli produced LysA2. Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) with the A4aamp;amp;alpha; peptidoglycan chemotype (L-Lys-D-Asp crosslinkage) were the most sensitive to LysA2, though a few from that chemotype were insensitive. Pichia-expressed LysA2, both secreted and intracellularly produced, successfully improved ethanol productivity and yields in glucose (YPD60) and sucrose-based (sugarcane juice) ethanol fermentations in the presence of a LysA2 susceptible LAB contaminant. LysA2 secreting Sacharomyces cerevisiae did not notably improve production in sugarcane juice, but it did control bacterial contamination during fermentation in YPD60. Secretion of LysA2 by the fermenting yeast, or adding it in purified form, are promising alternative tools to control LAB contamination during ethanol fermentation. Endolysins with much broader lytic spectrums than LysA2 could supplement or replace the currently used antibiotics or the acidic wash.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 280: Multiple, Independent T Cell Lymphomas Arising in an Experimentally FIV-Infected Cat during the Terminal Stage of Infection

  • Our laboratory has serially reported on the virologic and immunopathologic features of a cohort of experimental feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-infected cats for more than eight years. At 8.09 years post infection (PI), one of these animals entered the terminal stage of infection, characterized by undulating hyperthermia, progressive anorexia, weight loss, and pancytopenia; the animal was not responsive to therapeutic interventions, necessitating euthanasia six weeks later (8.20 years PI). Subsequent analyses indicated that neoplastic lymphocytes infiltrated multiple cervical lymph nodes and a band-like region of the mucosal lamina propria within a segment of the intestine. Immunohistochemistry and T cell clonality testing determined that the nodal and intestinal lesions were independently arising from CD3 T cell lymphomas. In-situ RNA hybridization studies indicated that diffuse neoplastic lymphocytes from the cervical lymph node contained abundant viral nucleic acid, while viral nucleic acid was not detectable in lymphocytes from the intestinal lymphoma lesion. The proviral long terminal repeat (LTR) was amplified and sequenced from multiple anatomic sites, and a common clone containing a single nucleotide polymorphism was determined to be defective in response to phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-mediated promoter activation in a reporter gene assay. This assay revealed a previously unidentified PMA response element within the FIV U3 region 3’ to the TATA box. The possible implications of these results on FIV-lymphoma pathogenesis are discussed.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 279: Application of CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing System on MDV-1 Genome for the Study of Gene Function

  • Marekaamp;amp;rsquo;s disease virus (MDV) is a member of alphaherpesviruses associated with Marekaamp;amp;rsquo;s disease, a highly contagious neoplastic disease in chickens. Complete sequencing of the viral genome and recombineering techniques using infectious bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones of Marekaamp;amp;rsquo;s disease virus genome have identified major genes that are associated with pathogenicity. Recent advances in CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing have given opportunities for precise editing of the viral genome for identifying pathogenic determinants. Here we describe the application of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing approaches to delete the Meq and pp38 genes from the CVI988 vaccine strain of MDV. This powerful technology will speed up the MDV gene function studies significantly, leading to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of MDV pathogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 278: Human Metapneumovirus Small Hydrophobic Protein Inhibits Interferon Induction in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

  • Human metapneumovirus (hMPV), a leading cause of respiratory tract infections in infants, encodes a small hydrophobic (SH) protein of unknown function. Here we show that infection of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) with a recombinant virus lacking SH expression (rhMPV-aamp;amp;Delta;SH) enhanced the secretion of type I interferons (IFNs), which required TLR7 and MyD88 expression. HMPV SH protein inhibited TLR7/MyD88/TRAF6 signaling leading to IFN gene transcription, identifying a novel mechanism by which paramyxovirus SH proteins modulate innate immune responses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 277: Lessons Learned in Developing a Commercial FIV Vaccine: The Immunity Required for an Effective HIV-1 Vaccine

  • The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine called Fel-O-Vaxaamp;amp;reg; FIV is the first commercial FIV vaccine released worldwide for the use in domestic cats against global FIV subtypes (Aaamp;amp;ndash;E). This vaccine consists of inactivated dual-subtype (A plus D) FIV-infected cells, whereas its prototype vaccine consists of inactivated dual-subtype whole viruses. Both vaccines in experimental trials conferred moderate-to-substantial protection against heterologous strains from homologous and heterologous subtypes. Importantly, a recent case-control field study of Fel-O-Vax-vaccinated cats with outdoor access and aamp;amp;ge;3 years of annual vaccine boost, resulted in a vaccine efficacy of 56% in Australia where subtype-A viruses prevail. Remarkably, this protection rate is far better than the protection rate of 31.2% observed in the best HIV-1 vaccine (RV144) trial. Current review describes the findings from the commercial and prototype vaccine trials and compares their immune correlates of protection. The studies described in this review demonstrate the overarching importance of ant-FIV T-cell immunity more than anti-FIV antibody immunity in affording protection. Thus, future efforts in developing the next generation FIV vaccine and the first effective HIV-1 vaccine should consider incorporating highly conserved protective T-cell epitopes together with the conserved protective B-cell epitopes, but without inducing adverse factors that eliminate efficacy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 276: Discovery and Biochemical Characterization of PlyP56, PlyN74, and PlyTB40—Bacillus Specific Endolysins

  • Three Bacillus bacteriophage-derived endolysins, designated PlyP56, PlyN74, and PlyTB40, were identified, cloned, purified, and characterized for their antimicrobial properties. Sequence alignment reveals these endolysins have an N-terminal enzymatically active domain (EAD) linked to a C-terminal cell wall binding domain (CBD). PlyP56 has a Peptidase_M15_4/VanY superfamily EAD with a conserved metal binding motif and displays biological dependence on divalent ions for activity. In contrast, PlyN74 and PlyTB40 have T7 lysozyme-type Amidase_2 and carboxypeptidase T-type Amidase_3 EADs, respectively, which are members of the MurNAc-LAA superfamily, but are not homologs and thus do not have a shared protein fold. All three endolysins contain similar SH3-family CBDs. Although minor host range differences were noted, all three endolysins show relatively broad antimicrobial activity against members of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group with the highest lytic activity against B. cereus ATCC 4342. Characterization studies determined the optimal lytic activity for these enzymes was at physiological pH (pH 7.0aamp;amp;ndash;8.0), over a broad temperature range (4aamp;amp;ndash;55 aamp;amp;deg;C), and at low concentrations of NaCl (aamp;amp;lt;50 mM). Direct comparison of lytic activity shows the PlyP56 enzyme to be twice as effective at lysing the cell wall peptidoglycan as PlyN74 or PlyTB40, suggesting PlyP56 is a good candidate for further antimicrobial development as well as bioengineering studies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 275: Live-Cell Imaging of Early Steps of Single HIV-1 Infection

  • Live-cell imaging of single HIV-1 entry offers a unique opportunity to delineate the spatio-temporal regulation of infection. Novel virus labeling and imaging approaches enable the visualization of key steps of HIV-1 entry leading to nuclear import, integration into the host genome, and viral protein expression. Here, we discuss single virus imaging strategies, focusing on live-cell imaging of single virus fusion and productive uncoating that culminates in HIV-1 infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 274: The Occurrence of a Commercial Npro and Erns Double Mutant BVDV-1 Live-Vaccine Strain in Newborn Calves

  • The major source for the spread of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) are in-utero infected, immunotolerant, persistently infected (PI) animals since they shed enormous amounts of viruses throughout their lives. During the sequence-based virus typing of diagnostic ear notch samples performed in the context of the obligatory German BVDV eradication program, the commercial Npro and Erns double mutant BVDV-1 live-vaccine strain KE-9 was detected in seven newborn calves; their mothers were immunized in the first trimester of gestation. Six calves either succumbed or were culled immediately, but the one remaining animal was closely monitored for six months. The viral RNA was detected in the skin sample taken in its first and fifth week of life, but the virus could not be isolated. Further skin biopsies that were taken at monthly intervals as well as every serum and urine sample, nasal, oral, and rectal swabs taken weekly tested BVDV negative. However, neutralizing titers against BVDV-1 remained at a consistently high level. To further control for virus shedding, a BVDV antibody and antigen negative calf was co-housed which remained negative throughout the study. The missing viremia, a lack of excretion of infectious virus and negative follow-up skin samples combined with consistently high antibody titers speak against the induction of the classical persistent infection by vaccination with recombinant KE-9 during gestation. We, therefore, suggest that the epidemiological impact of the RNA/antigen positivity for an extended period in the skin is very low. The detection of live-vaccine viruses in skin biopsies mainly represents a diagnostic issue in countries that implemented ear notch-based control programs; and KE9-specific RT-PCRs or sequence analysis can be used to identify these animals and avoid culling measures.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 273: Following Acute Encephalitis, Semliki Forest Virus is Undetectable in the Brain by Infectivity Assays but Functional Virus RNA Capable of Generating Infectious Virus Persists for Life

  • Alphaviruses are mosquito-transmitted RNA viruses which generally cause acute disease including mild febrile illness, rash, arthralgia, myalgia and more severely, encephalitis. In the mouse, peripheral infection with Semliki Forest virus (SFV) results in encephalitis. With non-virulent strains, infectious virus is detectable in the brain, by standard infectivity assays, for around ten days. As we have shown previously, in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice, infectious virus is detectable for months in the brain. Here we show that in MHC-II-/- mice, with no functional CD4 T-cells, infectious virus is also detectable in the brain for long periods. In contrast, in the brains of CD8-/- mice, virus RNA persists but infectious virus is not detectable. In SCID mice infected with SFV, repeated intraperitoneal administration of anti-SFV immune serum rapidly reduced the titer of infectious virus in the brain to undetectable, however virus RNA persisted. Repeated intraperitoneal passive transfer of immune serum resulted in maintenance of brain virus RNA, with no detectable infectious virus, for several weeks. When passive antibody transfer was stopped, antibody levels declined and infectious virus was again detectable in the brain. In aged immunocompetent mice, previously infected with SFV, immunosuppression of antibody responses many months after initial infection also resulted in renewed ability to detect infectious virus in the brain. In summary, antiviral antibodies control and determine whether infectious virus is detectable in the brain but immune responses cannot clear this infection from the brain. Functional virus RNA capable of generating infectious virus persists and if antibody levels decline, infectious virus is again detectable.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 272: Adaptive Mutations in Influenza A/California/07/2009 Enhance Polymerase Activity and Infectious Virion Production

  • Mice are not natural hosts for influenza A viruses (IAVs), but they are useful models for studying antiviral immune responses and pathogenesis. Serial passage of IAV in mice invariably causes the emergence of adaptive mutations and increased virulence. Here, we report the adaptation of IAV reference strain A/California/07/2009(H1N1) (also known as CA/07) in outbred Swiss Webster mice. Serial passage led to increased virulence and lung titers, and dissemination of the virus to brains. We adapted a deep-sequencing protocol to identify and enumerate adaptive mutations across all genome segments. Among mutations that emerged during mouse-adaptation, we focused on amino acid substitutions in polymerase subunits: polymerase basic-1 (PB1) T156A and F740L and polymerase acidic (PA) E349G. These mutations were evaluated singly and in combination in minigenome replicon assays, which revealed that PA E349G increased polymerase activity. By selectively engineering three PB1 and PA mutations into the parental CA/07 strain, we demonstrated that these mutations in polymerase subunits decreased the production of defective viral genome segments with internal deletions and dramatically increased the release of infectious virions from mouse cells. Together, these findings increase our understanding of the contribution of polymerase subunits to successful host adaptation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 271: Synergistic Viral Replication of Marek’s Disease Virus and Avian Leukosis Virus Subgroup J is Responsible for the Enhanced Pathogenicity in the Superinfection of Chickens

  • Superinfection of Marekaamp;amp;rsquo;s disease virus (MDV) and avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) causes lethal neoplasia and death in chickens. However, whether there is synergism between the two viruses in viral replication and pathogenicity has remained elusive. In this study, we found that the superinfection of MDV and ALV-J increased the viral replication of the two viruses in RNA and protein level, and synergistically promoted the expression of IL-10, IL-6, and TGF-aamp;amp;beta; in chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF). Moreover, MDV and ALV-J protein expression in dual-infected cells detected by confocal laser scanning microscope appeared earlier in the cytoplasm and the nucleus, and caused more severe cytopathy than single infection, suggesting that synergistically increased MDV and ALV-J viral-protein biosynthesis is responsible for the severe cytopathy. In vivo, compared to the single virus infected chickens, the mortality and tumor formation rates increased significantly in MDV and ALV-J dual-infected chickens. Viral loads of MDV and ALV-J in tissues of dual-infected chickens were significantly higher than those of single-infected chickens. Histopathology observation showed that more severe inflammation and tumor cells metastases were present in dual-infected chickens. In the present study, we concluded that synergistic viral replication of MDV and ALV-J is responsible for the enhanced pathogenicity in superinfection of chickens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 270: Avian Influenza Virus Subtype H9N2 Affects Intestinal Microbiota, Barrier Structure Injury, and Inflammatory Intestinal Disease in the Chicken Ileum

  • Avian influenza virus subtype H9N2 (H9N2 AIV) has caused significant losses to the poultry industry due to the high mortality associated with secondary infections attributable to E. coli. This study tries to address the underlying secondary mechanisms after H9N2 AIV infection. Initially, nine day-old specific pathogen-free chickens were assigned to control (uninfected) and H9N2-infected groups, respectively. Using Illumina sequencing, histological examination, and quantitative real-time PCR, it was found that H9N2 AIV caused intestinal microbiota disorder, injury, and inflammatory damage to the intestinal mucosa. Notably, the genera Escherichia, especially E. coli, significantly increased (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.01) at five days post-infection (dpi), while Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, and other probiotic organisms were significantly reduced (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.01). Simultaneously, the mRNA expression of tight junction proteins (ZO-1, claudin 3, and occludin), TFF2, and Muc2 were significantly reduced (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.01), indicating the destruction of the intestinal epithelial cell tight junctions and the damage of mucin layer construction. Moreover, the mRNA expression of proinflammatory cytokines IFN-aamp;amp;gamma;, IL-22, IFN-aamp;amp;alpha;, and IL-17A in intestinal epithelial cells were significantly upregulated, resulting in the inflammatory response and intestinal injury. Our findings may provide a theoretical basis for observed gastroenteritis-like symptoms such as diarrhea and secondary E. coli infection following H9N2 AIV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 269: A Novel Hepadnavirus Identified in an Immunocompromised Domestic Cat in Australia

  • High-throughput transcriptome sequencing allows for the unbiased detection of viruses in host tissues. The application of this technique to immunosuppressed animals facilitates the detection of viruses that might otherwise be excluded or contained in immunocompetent individuals. To identify potential viral pathogens infecting domestic cats we performed high-throughput transcriptome sequencing of tissues from cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). A novel member of the Hepadnaviridae, tentatively named domestic cat hepadnavirus, was discovered in a lymphoma sample and its complete 3187 bp genome characterized. Phylogenetic analysis placed the domestic cat hepadnavirus as a divergent member of mammalian orthohepadnaviruses that exhibits no close relationship to any other virus. DNA extracted from whole blood from pet cats was positive for the novel hepadnavirus by PCR in 6 of 60 (10%) FIV-infected cats and 2 of 63 (3.2%) FIV-uninfected cats. The higher prevalence of hepadnavirus viraemia detected in FIV-infected cats mirrors that seen in human immunodeficiency virus-infected humans coinfected with hepatitis B virus. In summary, we report the first hepadnavirus infection in a carnivore and the first in a companion animal. The natural history, epidemiology and pathogenic potential of domestic cat hepadnavirus merits additional investigation.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 268: Paradoxical Effect of Chloroquine Treatment in Enhancing Chikungunya Virus Infection

  • Since 2005, Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) re-emerged and caused numerous outbreaks in the world, and finally, was introduced into the Americas in 2013. The lack of CHIKV-specific therapies has led to the use of non-specific drugs. Chloroquine, which is commonly used to treat febrile illnesses in the tropics, has been shown to inhibit CHIKV replication in vitro. To assess the in vivo effect of chloroquine, two complementary studies were performed: (i) a prophylactic study in a non-human primate model (NHP); and (ii) a curative study aamp;amp;ldquo;CuraChikaamp;amp;rdquo;, which was performed during the Reunion Island outbreak in 2006 in a human cohort. Clinical, biological, and immunological data were compared between treated and placebo groups. Acute CHIKV infection was exacerbated in NHPs treated with prophylactic administration of chloroquine. These NHPs displayed a higher viremia and slower viral clearance (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.003). Magnitude of viremia was correlated to the type I IFN response (Rho = 0.8, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and severe lymphopenia (Rho = 0.8, p aamp;amp;lt; 0.0001), while treatment led to a delay in both CHIKV-specific cellular and IgM responses (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.02 and p = 0.04, respectively). In humans, chloroquine treatment did not affect viremia or clinical parameters during the acute stage of the disease (D1 to D14), but affected the levels of C-reactive Protein (CRP), IFNaamp;amp;alpha;, IL-6, and MCP1 over time (D1 to D16). Importantly, no positive effect could be detected on prevalence of persistent arthralgia at Day 300. Although inhibitory in vitro, chloroquine as a prophylactic treatment in NHPs enhances CHIKV replication and delays cellular and humoral response. In patients, curative chloroquine treatment during the acute phase decreases the levels of key cytokines, and thus may delay adaptive immune responses, as observed in NHPs, without any suppressive effect on peripheral viral load.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 267: Drug Delivery Strategies for Antivirals against Hepatitis B Virus

  • Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection poses a significant health challenge due to associated morbidity and mortality from cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer that eventually results in the breakdown of liver functionality. Nanotechnology has the potential to play a pivotal role in reducing viral load levels and drug-resistant HBV through drug targeting, thus reducing the rate of evolution of the disease. Apart from tissue targeting, intracellular delivery of a wide range of drugs is necessary to exert a therapeutic action in the affected organelles. This review encompasses the strategies and techniques that have been utilized to target the HBV-infected nuclei in liver hepatocytes, with a significant look at the new insights and most recent advances in drug carriers and their role in anti-HBV therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 266: Ectromelia Virus Affects Mitochondrial Network Morphology, Distribution, and Physiology in Murine Fibroblasts and Macrophage Cell Line

  • Mitochondria are multifunctional organelles that participate in numerous processes in response to viral infection, but they are also a target for viruses. The aim of this study was to define subcellular events leading to alterations in mitochondrial morphology and function during infection with ectromelia virus (ECTV). We used two different cell lines and a combination of immunofluorescence techniques, confocal and electron microscopy, and flow cytometry to address subcellular changes following infection. Early in infection of L929 fibroblasts and RAW 264.7 macrophages, mitochondria gathered around viral factories. Later, the mitochondrial network became fragmented, forming punctate mitochondria that co-localized with the progeny virions. ECTV-co-localized mitochondria associated with the cytoskeleton components. Mitochondrial membrane potential, mitochondrial fissionaamp;amp;ndash;fusion, mitochondrial mass, and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were severely altered later in ECTV infection leading to damage of mitochondria. These results suggest an important role of mitochondria in supplying energy for virus replication and morphogenesis. Presumably, mitochondria participate in transport of viral particles inside and outside of the cell and/or they are a source of membranes for viral envelope formation. We speculate that the observed changes in the mitochondrial network organization and physiology in ECTV-infected cells provide suitable conditions for viral replication and morphogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 265: Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Entry by a Keggin Polyoxometalate

  • Here, we report the anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) potency and underlying mechanisms of a Keggin polyoxometalate (PT-1, K6HPTi2W10O40). Our findings showed that PT-1 exhibited highly potent effects against a diverse group of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) strains and displayed low cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. The time-addition assay revealed that PT-1 acted at an early stage of infection, and these findings were supported by the observation that PT-1 had more potency against Env-pseudotyped virus than vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (VSVG) pseudotyped virus. Surface plasmon resonance binding assays and flow cytometry analysis showed that PT-1 blocked the gp120 binding site in the CD4 receptor. Moreover, PT-1 bound directly to gp41 NHR (N36 peptide), thereby interrupting the core bundle formation of gp41. In conclusion, our data suggested that PT-1 may be developed as a new anti-HIV-1 agent through its effects on entry inhibition.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 264: Strain-Specific Antagonism of the Human H1N1 Influenza A Virus against Equine Tetherin

  • Tetherin/BST-2/CD317 is an interferon-induced host restriction factor that can block the budding of enveloped viruses by tethering them to the cell surface. Many viruses use certain proteins to counteract restriction by tetherin from their natural hosts, but not from other species. The influenza A virus (FLUAV) has a wide range of subtypes with different host tropisms. Human tetherin (huTHN) has been reported to restrict only specific FLUAV strains and the viral hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes determine the sensitivity to huTHN. Whether tetherins from other hosts can block human FLUAV is still unknown. Here, we evaluate the impact of equine tetherin (eqTHN) and huTHN on the replication of A/Sichuan/1/2009 (H1N1) and A/equine/Xinjiang/1/2007 (H3N8) strains. Our results show that eqTHN had higher restriction activity towards both viruses, and its shorter cytoplasmic tail contributed to that activity. We further demonstrated that HA and NA of A/Hamburg/4/2009 (H1N1) could counteract eqTHN. Notably, our results indicate that four amino acids, 13T and 49L of HA and 32T and 80V of NA, were involved in blocking the restriction activity of eqTHN. These findings reveal interspecies restriction by eqTHN towards FLUAV, and the role of the HA and NA proteins in overcoming this restriction.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 263: Encapsidated Host Factors in Alphavirus Particles Influence Midgut Infection of Aedes aegypti

  • Transmission of mosquito-borne viruses requires the efficient infection of both a permissive vertebrate host and a competent mosquito vector. The infectivity of Sindbis virus (SINV), the type species of the Alphavirus genus, is influenced by both the original and new host cell. We have shown that infection of vertebrate cells by SINV, chikungunya virus (CHIKV), and Ross River virus (RRV) produces two subpopulations of virus particles separable based on density. In contrast, a single population of viral particles is produced by mosquito cells. Previous studies demonstrated that the denser vertebrate-derived particles and the mosquito-derived particles contain components of the small subunit of the host cell ribosome, whereas the less dense vertebrate-derived particles do not. Infection of mice with RRV showed that both particle subpopulations are produced in an infected vertebrate, but in a tissue specific manner with serum containing only the less dense version of the virus particles. Previous infectivity studies using SINV particles have shown that the denser particles (SINVHeavy) and mosquito derived particles SINVC6/36 are significantly more infectious in vertebrate cells than the less dense vertebrate derived particles (SINVLight). The current study shows that SINVLight particles, initiate the infection of the mosquito midgut more efficiently than SINVHeavy particles and that this enhanced infectivity is associated with an exacerbated immune response to SINVLight infection in midgut tissues. The enhanced infection of SINVLight is specific to the midgut as intrathoracically injected virus do not exhibit the same fitness advantage. Together, our data indicate a biologically significant role for the SINVLight subpopulation in the efficient transmission from infected vertebrates to the mosquito vector.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 262: Gp120 V5 Is Targeted by the First Wave of Sequential Neutralizing Antibodies in SHIVSF162P3N-Infected Rhesus Macaques

  • Simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection provides a relevant animal model to study HIV-1 neutralization breadth. With previously identified SHIVSF162P3N infected rhesus macaques that did or did not develop neutralization breadth, we characterized the transmitted/founder viruses and initial autologous/homologous neutralizing antibodies in these animals. The plasma viral load and blood CD4 count did not distinguish macaques with and without breadth, and only one tested homologous envelope clone revealed a trend for macaques with breadth to favor an early homologous response. In two macaques with breadth, GB40 and FF69, infected with uncloned SHIVSF162P3N, multiple viral variants were transmitted, and the transmitted variants were not equal in neutralization sensitivity. The targets of initial autologous neutralizing antibodies, arising between 10 and 20 weeks post infection, were mapped to N462 glycan and G460a in gp120 V5 in GB40 and FF69, respectively. Although it is unclear whether these targets are related to later neutralization breadth development, the G460a target but not N462 glycan appeared more common in macaques with breadth than those without. Longitudinal plasmas revealed 2aamp;amp;ndash;3 sequential waves of neutralizing antibodies in macaques with breadth, implicating that 3 sequential envelope variants, if not more, may be required for the broadening of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 261: Properties and Functions of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Gag Domains in Virion Assembly and Budding

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is an important cat pathogen worldwide whose biological and pathophysiological properties resemble those of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Therefore, the study of FIV not only benefits its natural host but is also useful for the development of antiviral strategies directed against HIV-1 infections in humans. FIV assembly results from the multimerization of a single but complex viral polypeptide, the Gag precursor. In this review, we will first give an overview of the current knowledge of the proteins encoded by the FIV pol, env, rev, vif, and orf-A genes, and then we will describe and discuss in detail the critical roles that each of the FIV Gag domains plays in virion morphogenesis. Since retroviral assembly is an attractive target for therapeutic interventions, gaining a better understanding of this process is highly desirable.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 260: Blackcurrant Leaf Chlorosis Associated Virus: Evidence of the Presence of Circular RNA during Infections

  • Blackcurrant leaf chlorosis associated virus (BCLCaV) was detected recently by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and a new and distinct species in the genus Idaeovirus was proposed. Analysis of NGS-derived paired-end reads revealed the existence of bridge reads encompassing the 3′-terminus and 5′-terminus of RNA-2 or RNA-3 of BCLCaV. The full RNA-2 or RNA-3 could be amplified using outward facing or abutting primers; also, RNA-2/RNA-3 could be detected even after three consecutive RNase R enzyme treatments, with denaturation at 95 °C preceding each digestion. Evidencewas obtained indicating that there are circular forms of BCLCaV RNA-2 and RNA-3.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 259: Zika Virus Induces Autophagy in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells

  • Autophagy is a common strategy for cell protection; however, some viruses can in turn adopt cellular autophagy to promote viral replication. Zika virus (ZIKV) is the pathogen that causes Zika viral disease, and it is a mosquito-borne virus. However, its pathogenesis, especially the interaction between ZIKV and target cells during the early stages of infection, is still unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that infecting human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) with ZIKV triggers cellular autophagy. We observed both an increase in the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II and increased accumulation of fluorescent cells with LC3 dots, which are considered to be the two key indicators of autophagy. The ratio of LC3-II/GAPDH in each group was significantly increased at different times after ZIKV infection at different MOIs, indicating that the production of lipidated LC3-II increased. Moreover, both the ratio of LC3-II/GAPDH and the expression of viral NS3 protein increased with increasing time of viral infection. The expression level of p62 decreased gradually from 12 h post-infection. Expression profile of double fluorescent protein labelling LC3 indicated that the autophagy induced by ZIKV infection was a complete process. We further investigated the role of autophagy in ZIKV replication. We demonstrated that either the treatment with inhibitors of autophagosomes formation or short hairpin RNA targeting the Beclin-1 gene, which is critical for the formation of autophagosomes, significantly reduced viral production. Taken together, our results indicate that ZIKV infection induces autophagy of HUVEC, and inhibition of ZIKV-induced autophagy restrains viral replication.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 258: CRISPR/Cas9 Mutagenesis of UL21 in Multiple Strains of Herpes Simplex Virus Reveals Differential Requirements for pUL21 in Viral Replication

  • Studies from multiple laboratories using different strains or species of herpes simplex virus (HSV) with deletions in UL21 have yielded conflicting results regarding the necessity of pUL21 in HSV infection. To resolve this discrepancy, we utilized CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis to isolate pUL21 deficient viruses in multiple HSV backgrounds, and performed a side-by-side comparison of the cell-to-cell spread and replication phenotypes of these viruses. These analyses confirmed previous studies implicating the involvement of pUL21 in cell-to-cell spread of HSV. Cell-to-cell spread of HSV-2 was more greatly affected by the lack of pUL21 than HSV-1, and strain-specific differences in the requirement for pUL21 in cell-to-cell spread were also noted. HSV-2 strain 186 lacking pUL21 was particularly crippled in both cell-to-cell spread and viral replication in non-complementing cells, in comparison to other HSV strains lacking pUL21, suggesting that the strict requirement for pUL21 by strain 186 may not be representative of the HSV-2 species as a whole. This work highlights CRISPR/Cas9 technology as a useful tool for rapidly constructing deletion mutants of alphaherpesviruses, regardless of background strain, and should find great utility whenever strain-specific differences need to be investigated.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 257: Time-Course Microarray Analysis Reveals Differences between Transcriptional Changes in Tomato Leaves Triggered by Mild and Severe Variants of Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid

  • Viroids are small non-capsidated non-coding RNA replicons that utilize host factors for efficient propagation and spread through the entire plant. They can incite specific disease symptoms in susceptible plants. To better understand viroid-plant interactions, we employed microarray analysis to observe the changes of gene expression in“Rutgers” tomato leaves in response to the mild (M) and severe (S23) variants of potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd). The changes were analyzed over a time course of viroid infection development: (i) the pre-symptomatic stage; (ii) early symptoms; (iii) full spectrum of symptoms and (iv) the so-called ‘recovery’ stage, when stem regrowth was observed in severely affected plants. Gene expression profiles differed depending on stage of infection and variant. In S23-infected plants, the expression of over 3000 genes was affected, while M-infected plants showed 3-fold fewer differentiallyexpressed genes, only 20% of which were specific to the M variant. The differentially expressed genes included many genes related to stress; defense; hormone metabolism and signaling; photosynthesis and chloroplasts; cell wall; RNA regulation, processing and binding; protein metabolism and modification and others. The expression levels of several genes were confirmed by nCounter analysis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 255: A Review of the Ongoing Research on Zika Virus Treatment

  • The Zika fever is an arboviral disease resulting from the infection with Zika virus (ZIKV). The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of Aedes mosquitos, mainly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. ZIKV has been detected for decades in African and Asian regions and, since 2007, has spread to other continents; among them, infections are most reported in the Americas. This can be explained by the presence of vectors in highly populated and tropical regions where people are susceptible to contamination. ZIKV has been considered by the World Health Organization a serious public health problem because of the increasing number of cases of congenital malformation and neurological disorders related to its infection, such as microcephaly, Guillain–Barré syndrome, meningoencephalitis, and myelitis. There is no vaccine or specific antiviral against ZIKV. The infection is best prevented by avoiding mosquito bite, and the treatment of infected patients is palliative. In this context, the search for efficient antivirals is necessary but remains challenging. Here, we aim to review the molecules that have been described to interfere with ZIKV life cycle and discuss their potential use in ZIKV therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 256: Bioinformatics Meets Virology: The European Virus Bioinformatics Center’s Second Annual Meeting

  • The Second Annual Meeting of the European Virus Bioinformatics Center (EVBC), held in Utrecht, Netherlands, focused on computational approaches in virology, with topics including (but not limited to) virus discovery, diagnostics, (meta-)genomics, modeling, epidemiology, molecular structure, evolution, and viral ecology. The goals of the Second Annual Meeting were threefold: (i) to bring together virologists and bioinformaticians from across the academic, industrial, professional, and training sectors to share best practice; (ii) to provide a meaningful and interactive scientific environment to promote discussion and collaboration between students, postdoctoral fellows, and both new and established investigators; (iii) to inspire and suggest new research directions and questions. Approximately 120 researchers from around the world attended the Second Annual Meeting of the EVBC this year, including 15 renowned international speakers. This report presents an overview of new developments and novel research findings that emerged during the meeting.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 254: Two Novel Hypovirulence-Associated Mycoviruses in the Phytopathogenic Fungus Botrytis cinerea: Molecular Characterization and Suppression of Infection Cushion Formation

  • Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic fungus causing disease on many important agricultural crops. Two novel mycoviruses, namely Botrytis cinerea hypovirus 1 (BcHV1) and Botrytis cinerea fusarivirus 1 (BcFV1), were fully sequenced. The genome of BcHV1 is 10,214 nt long excluding a poly-A tail and possesses one large open reading frame (ORF) encoding a polyprotein possessing several conserved domains including RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), showing homology to hypovirus-encoded polyproteins. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that BcHV1 may belong to the proposed genus Betahypovirus in the viral family Hypoviridae. The genome of BcFV1 is 8411 nt in length excluding the poly A tail and theoretically processes two major ORFs, namely ORF1 and ORF2. The larger ORF1 encoded polypeptide contains protein domains of an RdRp and a viral helicase, whereas the function of smaller ORF2 remains unknown. The BcFV1 was phylogenetically clustered with other fusariviruses forming an independent branch, indicating BcFV1 was a member in Fusariviridae. Both BcHV1 and BcFV1 were capable of being transmitted horizontally through hyphal anastomosis. Infection by BcHV1 alone caused attenuated virulence without affecting mycelial growth, significantly inhibited infection cushion (IC) formation, and altered expression of several IC-formation-associated genes. However, wound inoculation could fully rescue the virulence phenotype of the BcHV1 infected isolate. These results indicate the BcHV1-associated hypovirulence is caused by the viral influence on IC-formation-associated pathways.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 253: Detection of Specific ZIKV IgM in Travelers Using a Multiplexed Flavivirus Microsphere Immunoassay

  • Zika virus (ZIKV) has spread widely in the Pacific and recently throughout the Americas. Unless detected by RT-PCR, confirming an acute ZIKV infection can be challenging. We developed and validated a multiplexed flavivirus immunoglobulin M (IgM) microsphere immunoassay (flaviMIA) which can differentiate ZIKV-specific IgM from that due to other flavivirus infections in humans. The flaviMIA bound 12 inactivated flavivirus antigens, including those from ZIKV and yellow fever virus (YFV), to distinct anti-flavivirus antibody coupled beads. These beads were used to interrogate sera from patients with suspected ZIKV infection following travel to relevant countries. FlaviMIA results were validated by comparison to the ZIKV plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). The results highlight the complexity of serological ZIKV diagnosis, particularly in patients previously exposed to or vaccinated against other flaviviruses. We confirmed 99 patients with ZIKV infection by a combination of RT-PCR and serology. Importantly, ZIKV antibodies could be discriminated from those ascribed to other flavivirus infections. Serological results were sometimes confounded by the presence of pre-existing antibodies attributed to previous flavivirus infection or vaccination. Where RT-PCR results were negative, testing of appropriately timed paired sera was necessary to demonstrate seroconversion or differentiation of recent from past infection with or exposure to ZIKV.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 252: Genome Sequences of Akhmeta Virus, an Early Divergent Old World Orthopoxvirus

  • Annotated whole genome sequences of three isolates of the Akhmeta virus (AKMV), a novel species of orthopoxvirus (OPXV), isolated from the Akhmeta and Vani regions of the country Georgia, are presented and discussed. The AKMV genome is similar in genomic content and structure to that of the cowpox virus (CPXV), but a lower sequence identity was found between AKMV and Old World OPXVs than between other known species of Old World OPXVs. Phylogenetic analysis showed that AKMV diverged prior to other Old World OPXV. AKMV isolates formed a monophyletic clade in the OPXV phylogeny, yet the sequence variability between AKMV isolates was higher than between the monkeypox virus strains in the Congo basin and West Africa. An AKMV isolate from Vani contained approximately six kb sequence in the left terminal region that shared a higher similarity with CPXV than with other AKMV isolates, whereas the rest of the genome was most similar to AKMV, suggesting recombination between AKMV and CPXV in a region containing several host range and virulence genes.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 251: Clostridium perfringens Virulent Bacteriophage CPS2 and Its Thermostable Endolysin LysCPS2

  • Clostridium perfringens is one of the most common causes of food-borne illness. The increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria requires the development of alternatives to typical antimicrobial treatments. Here, we isolated and characterized a C. perfringens-specific virulent bacteriophage CPS2 from chicken feces. The CPS2 phage contains a 17,961 bp double-stranded DNA genome with 25 putative ORFs, and belongs to the Picovirinae, subfamily of Podoviridae. Bioinformatic analysis of the CPS2 genome revealed a putative endolysin, LysCPS2, which is homologous to the endolysin of Clostridium phage phiZP2 and phiCP7R. The enzyme showed strong lytic activity against C. perfringens with optimum conditions at pH 7.5–10, 25–65 °C, and over a broad range of NaCl concentrations. Interestingly, LysCPS2 was found to be highly thermostable, with up to 30% of its lytic activity remaining after 10 min of incubation at 95 °C. The cell wall binding domain in the C-terminal region of LysCPS2 showed a binding spectrum specific to C. perfringens strains. This is the first report to characterize highly thermostable endolysin isolated from virulent C. perfringens bacteriophage. The enzyme can be used as an alternative biocontrol and detection agent against C. perfringens.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 250: Single Viruses on the Fluorescence Microscope: Imaging Molecular Mobility, Interactions and Structure Sheds New Light on Viral Replication

  • Viruses are simple agents exhibiting complex reproductive mechanisms. Decades of research have provided crucial basic insights, antiviral medication and moderately successful gene therapy trials. The most infectious viral particle is, however, not always the most abundant one in a population, questioning the utility of classic ensemble-averaging virology. Indeed, viral replication is often not particularly efficient, prone to errors or containing parallel routes. Here, we review different single-molecule sensitive fluorescence methods that we employ routinely to investigate viruses. We provide a brief overview of the microscopy hardware needed and discuss the different methods and their application. In particular, we review how we applied (i) single-molecule Faamp;amp;ouml;rster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) to probe the subviral human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) integrase (IN) quaternary structure; (ii) single particle tracking to study interactions of the simian virus 40 with membranes; (iii) 3D confocal microscopy and smFRET to quantify the HIV-1 pre-integration complex content and quaternary structure; (iv) image correlation spectroscopy to quantify the cytosolic HIV-1 Gag assembly, and finally; (v) super-resolution microscopy to characterize the interaction of HIV-1 with tetherin during assembly. We hope this review is an incentive for setting up and applying similar single-virus imaging studies in daily virology practice.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 249: Thiol-Activated Hydrogen Sulfide Donors Antiviral and Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

  • We have recently shown that endogenous hydrogen sulfide (H2S), an important cellular gaseous mediator, exerts an antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity in vitro and in vivo, and that exogenous H2S delivered via the synthetic H2S-releasing compound GYY4137 also has similar properties. In this study, we sought to extend our findings to a novel class of H2S donors, thiol-activated gem-dithiol-based (TAGDDs). In an in vitro model of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, TAGDD-1 treatment significantly reduced viral replication, even when added up to six hours after infection. Using a mouse model of RSV infection, intranasal delivery of TAGDD-1 to infected mice significantly reduced viral replication and lung inflammation, markedly improving clinical disease parameters and pulmonary dysfunction, compared to vehicle treated controls. Overall our results indicate that this novel synthetic class of H2S-releasing compounds exerts antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity in the context of RSV infection and represents a potential novel pharmacological approach to ameliorate viral-induced lung disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 248: Molecular and Clinical Characterization of Chikungunya Virus Infections in Southeast Mexico

  • Chikungunya fever is an arthropod-borne infection caused by Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Even though clinical features of Chikungunya fever in the Mexican population have been described before, there is no detailed information. The aim of this study was to perform a full description of the clinical features in confirmed Chikungunya-infected patients and describe the molecular epidemiology of CHIKV. We evaluated febrile patients who sought medical assistance in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico, from June through July 2015. Infection was confirmed with molecular and serological methods. Viruses were isolated and the E1 gene was sequenced. Phylogeny reconstruction was inferred using maximum-likelihood and maximum clade credibility approaches. We studied 52 patients with confirmed CHIKV infection. They were more likely to have wrist, metacarpophalangeal, and knee arthralgia. Two combinations of clinical features were obtained to differentiate between Chikungunya fever and acute undifferentiated febrile illness. We obtained 10 CHIKV E1 sequences that grouped with the Asian lineage. Seven strains diverged from the formerly reported. Patients infected with the divergent CHIKV strains showed a broader spectrum of clinical manifestations. We defined the complete clinical features of Chikungunya fever in patients from Southeastern Mexico. Our results demonstrate co-circulation of different CHIKV strains in the state of Chiapas.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 247: Multiplex Detection of Aspergillus fumigatus Mycoviruses

  • Mycoviruses are viruses that naturally infect and replicate in fungi. They are widespread in all major fungal groups including plant and animal pathogenic fungi. Several dsRNA mycoviruses have been reported in Aspergillus fumigatus. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification is a version of PCR that enables amplification of different targets simultaneously. This technique has been widely used for detection and differentiation of viruses especially plant viruses such as those which infect tobacco, potato and garlic. For rapid detection, multiplex RT-PCR was developed to screen new isolates for the presence of A. fumigatus mycoviruses. Aspergillus fumigatus chrysovirus (AfuCV), Aspergillus fumigatus partitivirus (AfuPV-1), and Aspergillus fumigatus tetramycovirus-1 (AfuTmV-1) dsRNAs were amplified in separate reactions using a mixture of multiplex primer pairs. It was demonstrated that in the presence of a single infection, primer pair mixtures only amplify the corresponding single virus infection. Mixed infections using dual or triple combinations of dsRNA viruses were also amplified simultaneously using multiplex RT-PCR. Up until now, methods for the rapid detection of Aspergillus mycoviruses have been restricted to small scale dsRNA extraction approaches which are laborious and for large numbers of samples not as sensitive as RT-PCR. The multiplex RT-PCR assay developed here will be useful for studies on determining the incidence of A. fumigatus mycoviruses. This is the first report on multiplex detection of A. fumigatus mycoviruses.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 246: A VP26-mNeonGreen Capsid Fusion HSV-2 Mutant Reactivates from Viral Latency in the Guinea Pig Genital Model with Normal Kinetics

  • Fluorescent herpes simplex viruses (HSV) are invaluable tools for localizing virus in cells, permitting visualization of capsid trafficking and enhancing neuroanatomical research. Fluorescent viruses can also be used to study virus kinetics and reactivation in vivo. Such studies would be facilitated by fluorescent herpes simplex virus recombinants that exhibit wild-type kinetics of replication and reactivation and that are genetically stable. We engineered an HSV-2 strain expressing the fluorescent mNeonGreen protein as a fusion with the VP26 capsid protein. This virus has normal replication and in vivo recurrence phenotypes, providing an essential improved tool for further study of HSV-2 infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 245: Transposition Behavior Revealed by High-Resolution Description of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Saltovirus Integration Sites

  • Transposable phages, also called saltoviruses, of which the Escherichia coli phage Mu is the reference, are temperate phages that multiply their genome through replicative transposition at multiple sites in their host chromosome. The viral genome is packaged together with host DNA at both ends. In the present work, genome sequencing of three Pseudomonas aeruginosa transposable phages, HW12, 2P1, and Ab30, incidentally gave us access to the location of thousands of replicative integration sites and revealed the existence of a variable number of hotspots. Taking advantage of deep sequencing, we then designed an experiment to study 13,000,000 transposon integration sites of bacteriophage Ab30. The investigation revealed the presence of 42 transposition hotspots adjacent to bacterial interspersed mosaic elements (BIME) accounting for 5% of all transposition sites. The rest of the sites appeared widely distributed with the exception of coldspots associated with low G-C content segments, including the putative O-antigen biosynthesis cluster. Surprisingly, 0.4% of the transposition events occurred in a copy of the phage genome itself, indicating that the previously described immunity against such events is slightly leaky. This observation allowed drawing an image of the phage chromosome supercoiling into four loops.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 244: An Ointment Consisting of the Phage Lysin LysGH15 and Apigenin for Decolonization of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus from Skin Wounds

  • Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a common and dangerous pathogen that causes various infectious diseases. Skin damage, such as burn wounds, are at high risk of Staphylococcus aureus colonization and infection, which increases morbidity and mortality. The phage lysin LysGH15 exhibits highly efficient lytic activity against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strains. Apigenin (api) significantly decreases haemolysis of rabbit erythrocytes caused by S. aureus and shows anti-inflammatory function. LysGH15 and api were added to Aquaphor to form an LysGH15-api-Aquaphor (LAA) ointment. The LAA ointment simultaneously exhibited bactericidal activity against S. aureus and inhibited haemolysis. In an LAA-treated mouse model of an MRSA-infected skin wound, the mean bacterial colony count decreased to approximately 102 CFU/mg at 18 h after treatment (and the bacteria became undetectable at 96 h), whereas the mean count in untreated mice was approximately 105 CFU/mg of tissue. The LAA ointment also reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-aamp;amp;alpha;, IL-1aamp;amp;beta;, and IFN-aamp;amp;gamma;) and accelerated wound healing in the mouse model. These data demonstrate the potential efficacy of a combination of LysGH15 and api for use as a topical antimicrobial agent against S. aureus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 243: Characterization of an N-Terminal Non-Core Domain of RAG1 Gene Disrupted Syrian Hamster Model Generated by CRISPR Cas9

  • The accumulating evidence demonstrates that Syrian hamsters have advantages as models for various diseases. To develop a Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) model of human immunodeficiency caused by RAG1 gene mutations, we employed the CRISPR/Cas9 system and introduced an 86-nucleotide frameshift deletion in the hamster RAG1 gene encoding part of the N-terminal non-core domain of RAG1. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated that these hamsters (referred herein as RAG1-86nt hamsters) had atrophic spleen and thymus, and developed significantly less white pulp and were almost completely devoid of splenic lymphoid follicles. The RAG1-nt86 hamsters had barely detectable CD3+ and CD4+ T cells. The expression of B and T lymphocyte-specific genes (CD3γ and CD4 for T cell-specific) and (CD22 and FCMR for B cell-specific) was dramatically reduced, whereas the expression of macrophage-specific (CD68) and natural killer (NK) cell-specific (CD94 and KLRG1) marker genes was increased in the spleen of RAG1-nt86 hamsters compared to wildtype hamsters.Interestingly, despite the impaired development of B and T lymphocytes, the RAG1-86nt hamsters still developed neutralizing antibodies against human adenovirus type C6 (HAdV-C6) upon intranasal infection and were capable of clearing the infectious viruses, albeit with slower kinetics. Therefore, the RAG1-86nt hamster reported herein (similar to the hypomorphic RAG1 mutations in humans that cause Omenn syndrome), may provide a useful model for studying the pathogenesis of the specific RAG1-mutation-induced human immunodeficiency, the host immune response to adenovirus infection and other pathogens as well as for evaluation of cell and gene therapies for treatment of this subset of RAG1 mutation patients.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 242: Inhibition of v-rel-Induced Oncogenesis through microRNA Targeting

  • Several studies have shown that microRNA-targeting is an effective strategy for the selective control of tissue-tropism and pathogenesis of both DNA and RNA viruses. However, the exploitation of microRNA-targeting for the inhibition of transformation by oncogenic viruses has not been studied. The v-rel oncoprotein encoded by reticuloendotheliosis virus T strain (Rev-T) is a member of the rel/NF-aamp;amp;kappa;B family of transcription factors capable of transforming primary chicken spleen and bone marrow cells. Here, by engineering the target sequence of endogenous microRNA miR-142 downstream of the v-rel gene in a Replication-Competent ALV (avian leukosis virus) long terminal repeat (LTR) with a splice acceptor (RCAS) vector and using a v-rel-induced transformation model of chicken embryonic splenocyte cultures, we show that hematopoietic-specific miR-142 can inhibit the v-rel-induced transformation, and that this inhibition effect is due to the silencing of v-rel expression. The data supports the idea that microRNA-targeting can be used to inhibit viral oncogene-induced oncogenesis.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 241: A CRISPR-Cas9-Based Toolkit for Fast and Precise In Vivo Genetic Engineering of Bacillus subtilis Phages

  • Phages are currently under discussion as a solution for the antibiotic crisis, as they may cure diseases caused by multi-drug-resistant pathogens. However, knowledge of phage biology and genetics is limited, which impedes risk assessment of therapeutic applications. In order to enable advances in phage genetic research, the aim of this work was to create a toolkit for simple and fast genetic engineering of phages recruiting Bacillus subtilis as host system. The model organism B. subtilis represents a non-pathogenic surrogate of its harmful relatives, such as Bacillus anthracis or Bacillus cereus. This toolkit comprises the application CutSPR, a bioinformatic tool for rapid primer design, and facilitates the cloning of specific CRISPR-Cas9-based mutagenesis plasmids. The employment of the prophage-free and super-competent B. subtilis TS01 strain enables an easy and fast introduction of specific constructs for in vivo phage mutagenesis. Clean gene deletions and a functional clean gene insertion into the genome of the model phage vB_BsuP-Goe1 served as proof of concept and demonstrate reliability and high efficiency. The here presented toolkit allows comprehensive investigation of the diverse phage genetic pool, a better understanding of phage biology, and safe phage applications.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 240: Complete Nucleotide Sequence Analysis of a Novel Bacillus subtilis-Infecting Bacteriophage BSP10 and Its Effect on Poly-Gamma-Glutamic Acid Degradation

  • While the harmful effects of lactic acid bacterial bacteriophages in the dairy industry are well-established, the importance of Bacillus subtilis-infecting bacteriophages on soybean fermentation is poorly-studied. In this study, we isolated a B. subtilis-infecting bacteriophage BSP10 from Meju (a brick of dried fermented soybean) and further characterized it. This Myoviridae family bacteriophage exhibited a narrow host range against B. subtilis strains (17/52, 32.7%). The genome of bacteriophage BSP10 is 153,767 bp long with 236 open reading frames and 5 tRNAs. Comparative genomics (using dot plot, progressiveMauve alignment, heat-plot, and BLASTN) and phylogenetic analysis strongly suggest its incorporation as a new species in the Nit1virus genus. Furthermore, bacteriophage BSP10 was efficient in the growth inhibition of B. subtilis ATCC 15245 in liquid culture and in Cheonggukjang (a soybean fermented food) fermentation. Artificial contamination of as low as 102 PFU/g of bacteriophage BSP10 during Cheonggukjang fermentation significantly reduced bacterial numbers by up to 112 fold in comparison to the control (no bacteriophage). Moreover, for the first time, we experimentally proved that B. subtilis-infecting bacteriophage greatly enhanced poly-aamp;amp;gamma;-glutamic acid degradation during soybean fermentation, which is likely to negatively affect the functionalities of Cheonggukjang.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 239: Upregulation of the Chemokine Receptor CCR2B in Epstein‒Barr Virus-Positive Burkitt Lymphoma Cell Lines with the Latency III Program

  • CCR2 is the cognate receptor to the chemokine CCL2. CCR2aamp;amp;ndash;CCL2 signaling mediates cancer progression and metastasis dissemination. However, the role of CCR2aamp;amp;ndash;CCL2 signaling in pathogenesis of B-cell malignancies is not clear. Previously, we showed that CCR2B was upregulated in ex vivo peripheral blood B cells upon Epstein‒Barr virus (EBV) infection and in established lymphoblastoid cell lines with the EBV latency III program. EBV latency III is associated with B-cell lymphomas in immunosuppressed patients. The majority of EBV-positive Burkitt lymphoma (BL) tumors are characterized by latency I, but the BL cell lines drift towards latency III during in vitro culture. In this study, the CCR2A and CCR2B expression was assessed in the isogenic EBV-positive BL cell lines with latency I and III using RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and immunostaining analyses. We found that CCR2B is upregulated in the EBV-positive BL cells with latency III. Consequently, we detected the migration of latency III cells toward CCL2. Notably, the G190A mutation, corresponding to SNP CCR2-V64I, was found in one latency III cell line with a reduced migratory response to CCL2. The upregulation of CCR2B may contribute to the enhanced migration of malignant B cells into CCL2-rich compartments.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 238: Phytohormone Signaling of the Resistance to Plum pox virus (PPV, Sharka Disease) Induced by Almond (Prunus dulcis (Miller) Webb) Grafting to Peach (P. persica L. Batsch)

  • Plum pox virus (PPV, sharka) is a limiting factor for peach production, and no natural sources of resistance have been described. Recent studies, however, have demonstrated that grafting the almond cultivar“Garrigues” onto the “GF305” peach infected with Dideron-type (PPV-D) isolates progressively reduces disease symptoms and virus accumulation. Furthermore, grafting “Garrigues” onto “GF305” prior to PPV-D inoculation has been found to completely prevent virus infection, showing that resistance is constitutive and not induced by the virus. To unravel the phytohormone signaling of this mechanism, we analyzed the following phytohormones belonging to the principal hormone classes: the growth-related phytohormones cytokinin trans-zeatin (tZ) and the gibberellins GA3 and GA4; and thestress-related phytohormones ethylene acid precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), and jasmonic acid (JA). PPV inoculation produced a significant increase in GA3 and ABA in peach, and these imbalances were related to the presence of chlorosissymptoms. However, grafting “Garrigues” almond onto the PPV-inoculated “GF305” peach produced the opposite effect, reducing GA3 and ABA contents in parallel to the elimination of symptoms. Our results showed the significant implication of SA in this induced resistance in peach with an additional effect on tZ and JA concentrations. This SA-induced resistance based in the decrease in symptoms seems to be different from Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) and Induced Systemic Resistance (ISR), which are based in other reactions producing necrosis. Further studies are necessary, however, to validate these results against PPV-D isolates in the more aggressive Marcus-type (PPV-M) isolates.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 237: The Role of the Polymeric Immunoglobulin Receptor and Secretory Immunoglobulins during Mucosal Infection and Immunity

  • The gastrointestinal tract houses millions of microbes, and thus has evolved several host defense mechanisms to keep them at bay, and prevent their entry into the host. One such mucosal surface defense is the secretion of secretory immunoglobulins (SIg). Secretion of SIg depends on the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR), which transports polymeric Ig (IgA or IgM) from the basolateral surface of the epithelium to the apical side. Upon reaching the luminal side, a portion of pIgR, called secretory component (SC) is cleaved off to release Ig, forming SIg. Through antigen-specific and non-specific binding, SIg can modulate microbial communities and pathogenic microbes via several mechanisms: agglutination and exclusion from the epithelial surface, neutralization, or via host immunity and complement activation. Given the crucial role of SIg as a microbial scavenger, some pathogens also evolved ways to modulate and utilize pIgR and SIg to facilitate infection. This review will cover the regulation of the pIgR/SIg cycle, mechanisms of SIg-mediated mucosal protection as well as pathogen utilization of SIg.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 236: Computational Analysis of the Interaction Energies between Amino Acid Residues of the Measles Virus Hemagglutinin and Its Receptors

  • Measles virus (MV) causes an acute and highly devastating contagious disease in humans. Employing the crystal structures of three human receptors, signaling lymphocyte-activation molecule (SLAM), CD46, and Nectin-4, in complex with the measles virus hemagglutinin (MVH), we elucidated computationally the details of binding energies between the amino acid residues of MVH and those of the receptors with an ab initio fragment molecular orbital (FMO) method. The calculated inter-fragment interaction energies (IFIEs) revealed a number of significantly interacting amino acid residues of MVH that played essential roles in binding to the receptors. As predicted from previously reported experiments, some important amino-acid residues of MVH were shown to be common but others were specific to interactions with the three receptors. Particularly, some of the (non-polar) hydrophobic residues of MVH were found to be attractively interacting with multiple receptors, thus indicating the importance of the hydrophobic pocket for intermolecular interactions (especially in the case of Nectin-4). In contrast, the electrostatic interactions tended to be used for specific molecular recognition. Furthermore, we carried out FMO calculations for in silico experiments of amino acid mutations, finding reasonable agreements with virological experiments concerning the substitution effect of residues. Thus, the present study demonstrates that the electron-correlated FMO method is a powerful tool to search exhaustively for amino acid residues that contribute to interactions with receptor molecules. It is also applicable for designing inhibitors of MVH and engineered MVs for cancer therapy.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 235: Current Strategies for Inhibition of Chikungunya Infection

  • Increasing incidences of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection and co-infections with Dengue/Zika virus have highlighted the urgency for CHIKV management. Failure in developing effective vaccines or specific antivirals has fuelled further research. This review discusses updated strategies of CHIKV inhibition and provides possible future directions. In addition, it analyzes advances in CHIKV lifecycle, drug-target development, and potential hits obtained by in silico and experimental methods. Molecules identified with anti-CHIKV properties using traditional/rational drug design and their potential to succeed in subsequent stages of drug development have also been discussed. Possibilities of repurposing existing drugs based on their in vitro findings have also been elucidated. Probable modes of interference of these compounds at various stages of infection, including entry and replication, have been highlighted. The use of host factors as targets to identify antivirals against CHIKV has been addressed. While most of the earlier antivirals were effective in the early phases of the CHIKV life cycle, this review is also focused on drug candidates that are effective at multiple stages of its life cycle. Since most of these antivirals require validation in preclinical and clinical models, the challenges regarding this have been discussed and will provide critical information for further research.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 234: Attenuated Phenotype and Immunogenic Characteristics of a Mutated Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Strain in the Rhesus Macaque

  • Herpes simplex virus type 1(HSV-1) presents a conundrum to public health worldwide because of its specific pathogenicity and clinical features. Some experimental vaccines, such as the recombinant viral glycoproteins, exhibit the viral immunogenicity of a host-specific immune response, but none of these has achieved a valid epidemiological protective efficacy in the human population. In the present study, we constructed an attenuated HSV-1 strain M3 through the partial deletion of UL7, UL41, and the latency-associated transcript (LAT) using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The mutant strain exhibited lowered infectivity and virulence in macaques. Neutralization testing and ELISpot detection of the specific T-cell responses confirmed the specific immunity induced by M3 immunization and this immunity defended against the challenges of the wild-type strain and restricted the entry of the wild-type strain into the trigeminal ganglion. These results in rhesus macaques demonstrated the potential of the attenuated vaccine for the prevention of HSV-1 in humans.

  • Viruses, Vol. 10, Pages 233: Probing Molecular Insights into Zika Virus–Host Interactions

  • The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in the Americas surprised all of us because of its rapid spread and association with neurologic disorders including fetal microcephaly, brain and ocular anomalies, and Guillain–Barré syndrome. In response to this global health crisis, unprecedented and world-wide efforts are taking place to study the ZIKV-related human diseases. Much has been learned about this virus in the areas of epidemiology, genetic diversity, protein structures, and clinical manifestations, suchas consequences of ZIKV infection on fetal brain development. However, progress on understanding the molecular mechanism underlying ZIKV-associated neurologic disorders remains elusive. To date, we still lack a good understanding of; (1) what virologic factors are involved in the ZIKV-associated human diseases; (2) which ZIKV protein(s) contributes to the enhanced viral pathogenicity; and (3) how do the newly adapted and pandemic ZIKV strains alter their interactions with the host cells leading to neurologic defects? The goal of this review is to explore the molecular insights into the ZIKV–host interactions with an emphasis on host cell receptor usage for viral entry, cell innate immunity to ZIKV, and the ability of ZIKV to subvert antiviral responses and to cause cytopathic effects. We hope this literature review will inspire additional molecular studies focusing on ZIKV–host Interactions.
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