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

Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Current Issue of Viruses

    Viruses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1483-1501: Using the Nonhuman Primate Model of HCMV to Guide Vaccine Development

  • The natural history of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is inextricably associated with mucosal surfaces. The vast preponderance of primary infections occur following mucosal exposure to infectious virions, and the high seroprevalence of HCMV throughout the world is due to long-term excretion of HCMV in bodily fluids from multiple mucosal sites. Accumulating evidence presents a model where the earliest virus-host interactions following infection dictate the long-term pattern of infection, alter innate immune responses that skew adaptive responses to enable persistence within an immune host, and are essential for reinfection of a host with prior immunity. HCMV has evolved a complex repertoire of viral functions fine-tuned to manipulate the immune environment both locally at the sites of infection and systemically within an infected host. Collectively, viral immune modulation represents a significant impediment for an HCMV vaccine. As HCMV can disseminate beyond mucosal surfaces to reinfect immune hosts, it may not matter whether prior immunity results from prior infection or immunization. A better understanding of the earliest virus-hosts interactions at mucosal surfaces may identify elements of the viral proteome that are especially susceptible to vaccine-mediated disruption and prevent challenge virus from disseminating to distal sites, particularly the maternal-fetal interface.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1473-1482: Characterization of Juquitiba Virus in Oligoryzomys fornesi from Brazilian Cerrado

  • The Juquitiba virus, an agent of Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome, is one of the most widely distributed hantavirus found in South America. It has been detected in Oligoryzomys nigripes, Akodon montensis, Oxymycterus judex, Akodon paranaensis in Brazil and in O. nigripes, Oryzomys sp. and Oligoryzomys fornesi rodents in Argentine, Paraguay and Uruguay. Here, we report the genomic characterization of the complete S segment from the Juquitiba strain, isolated from the lung tissues of O. fornesi, the presumed rodent reservoir of Anajatuba virus in Brazilian Amazon, captured in the Cerrado Biome, Brazil.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1454-1472: A Role for CD81 and Hepatitis C Virus in Hepatoma Mobility

  • Tetraspanins are a family of small proteins that interact with themselves, host transmembrane and cytosolic proteins to form tetraspanin enriched microdomains (TEMs) that regulate important cellular functions. Several tetraspanin family members are linked to tumorigenesis. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an increasing global health burden, in part due to the increasing prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) associated HCC. The tetraspanin CD81 is an essential receptor for HCV, however, its role in hepatoma biology is uncertain. We demonstrate that antibody engagement of CD81 promotes hepatoma spread, which is limited by HCV infection, in an actin-dependent manner and identify an essential role for the C-terminal interaction with Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin (ERM) proteins in this process. We show enhanced hepatoma migration and invasion following expression of CD81 and a reduction in invasive potential upon CD81 silencing. In addition, we reveal poorly differentiated HCC express significantly higher levels of CD81 compared to adjacent non-tumor tissue. In summary, these data support a role for CD81 in regulating hepatoma mobility and propose CD81 as a tumour promoter.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1442-1453: Retrospective Serology Study of Respiratory Virus Infections in Captive Great Apes

  • Great apes are extremely sensitive to infections with human respiratory viruses. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed sera from captive chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans. More than 1000 sera (403 chimpanzee, 77 gorilla, and 535 orang-utan sera) were analyzed for antibodies to the human respiratory viruses RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, hMPV (human metapneumovirus), H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses, and influenza B virus. In all ape species high seroprevalences were found for RSV, hMPV, and influenza B virus. A high percentage of captive chimpanzees also showed evidence of influenza A H1N1 infections, and had low levels of H3N2 antibodies, while in sera from gorillas and orang-utans antibody levels to influenza A and B viruses were much lower or practically absent. Transmission of respiratory viruses was examined in longitudinal sera of young chimpanzees, and in chimpanzee sera taken during health checks. In young animals isolated cases of influenza infections were monitored, but evidence was found for single introductions followed by a rapid dissemination of RSV and hMPV within the group. Implementation of strict guidelines for handling and housing of nonhuman primates was shown to be an efficient method to reduce the introduction of respiratory infections in colonies of captive animals. RSV seroprevalence rates of chimpanzees remained high, probably due to circulating virus in the chimpanzee colony.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1424-1441: IFN-Dependent and -Independent Reduction in West Nile Virus Infectivity in Human Dermal Fibroblasts

  • Although dermal fibroblasts are one of the first cell types exposed to West Nile virus (WNV) during a blood meal by an infected mosquito, little is known about WNV replication within this cell type. Here, we demonstrate that neuroinvasive, WNV-New York (WNV-NY), and nonneuroinvasive, WNV-Australia (WNV-AUS60) strains are able to infect and replicate in primary human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). However, WNV-AUS60 replication and spread within HDFs was reduced compared to that of WNV-NY due to an interferon (IFN)-independent reduction in viral infectivity early in infection. Additionally, replication of both strains was constrained late in infection by an IFN-β-dependent reduction in particle infectivity. Overall, our data indicates that human dermal fibroblasts are capable of supporting WNV replication; however, the low infectivity of particles produced from HDFs late in infection suggests that this cell type likely plays a limited role as a viral reservoir in vivo.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1410-1423: Single-Dose Intranasal Treatment with DEF201 (Adenovirus Vectored Consensus Interferon) Prevents Lethal Disease Due to Rift Valley Fever Virus Challenge

  • Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) causes severe disease in humans and ungulates. The virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes, direct contact with infected tissues or fluids, or aerosol, making it a significant biological threat for which there is no approved vaccine or therapeutic. Herein we describe the evaluation of DEF201, an adenovirus-vectored interferon alpha which addresses the limitations of recombinant interferon alpha protein (cost, short half-life), as a pre- and post-exposure treatment in a lethal hamster RVFV challenge model. DEF201 was delivered intranasally to stimulate mucosal immunity and effectively bypass any pre-existing immunity to the vector. Complete protection against RVFV infection was observed from a single dose of DEF201 administered one or seven days prior to challenge while all control animals succumbed within three days of infection. Efficacy of treatment administered two weeks prior to challenge was limited. Post‑exposure, DEF201 was able to confer significant protection when dosed at 30 min or 6 h, but not at 24 h post-RVFV challenge. Protection was associated with reductions in serum and tissue viral loads. Our findings suggest that DEF201 may be a useful countermeasure against RVFV infection and further demonstrates its broad-spectrum capacity to stimulate single dose protective immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1395-1409: Gene Therapy Targeting HIV Entry

  • Despite the unquestionable success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the treatment of HIV infection, the cost, need for daily adherence, and HIV-associated morbidities that persist despite ART all underscore the need to develop a cure for HIV. The cure achieved following an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) using HIV-resistant cells, and more recently, the report of short-term but sustained, ART-free control of HIV replication following allogeneic HSCT, using HIV susceptible cells, have served to both reignite interest in HIV cure research, and suggest potential mechanisms for a cure. In this review, we highlight some of the obstacles facing HIV cure research today, and explore the roles of gene therapy targeting HIV entry, and allogeneic stem cell transplantation in the development of strategies to cure HIV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1379-1394: Role of Virus-Encoded microRNAs in Avian Viral Diseases

  • With total dependence on the host cell, several viruses have adopted strategies to modulate the host cellular environment, including the modulation of microRNA (miRNA) pathway through virus-encoded miRNAs. Several avian viruses, mostly herpesviruses, have been shown to encode a number of novel miRNAs. These include the highly oncogenic Marek’s disease virus-1 (26 miRNAs), avirulent Marek’s disease virus-2 (36 miRNAs), herpesvirus of turkeys (28 miRNAs), infectious laryngotracheitis virus (10 miRNAs), duck enteritis virus (33 miRNAs) and avian leukosis virus (2 miRNAs). Despite the closer antigenic and phylogenetic relationship among some of the herpesviruses, miRNAs encoded by different viruses showed no sequence conservation, although locations of some of the miRNAs were conserved within the repeat regions of the genomes. However, some of the virus-encoded miRNAs showed significant sequence homology with host miRNAs demonstrating their ability to serve as functional orthologs. For example, mdv1-miR-M4-5p, a functional ortholog of gga-miR-155, is critical for the oncogenicity of Marek’s disease virus. Additionally, we also describe the potential association of the recently described avian leukosis virus subgroup J encoded E (XSR) miRNA in the induction of myeloid tumors in certain genetically-distinct chicken lines. In this review, we describe the advances in our understanding on the role of virus-encoded miRNAs in avian diseases.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1365-1378: Super-Resolution Microscopy: A Virus’ Eye View of the Cell

  • It is difficult to observe the molecular choreography between viruses and host cell components, as they exist on a spatial scale beyond the reach of conventional microscopy. However, novel super-resolution microscopy techniques have cast aside technical limitations to reveal a nanoscale view of virus replication and cell biology. This article provides an introduction to super-resolution imaging; in particular, localisation microscopy, and explores the application of such technologies to the study of viruses and tetraspanins, the topic of this special issue.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1346-1364: HCMV Infection of Human Trophoblast Progenitor Cells of the Placenta Is Neutralized by a Human Monoclonal Antibody to Glycoprotein B and Not by Antibodies to the Pentamer Complex

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the major viral cause of congenital infection and birth defects. Primary maternal infection often results in virus transmission, and symptomatic babies can have permanent neurological deficiencies and deafness. Congenital infection can also lead to intrauterine growth restriction, a defect in placental transport. HCMV replicates in primary cytotrophoblasts (CTBs), the specialized cells of the placenta, and inhibits differentiation/invasion. Human trophoblast progenitor cells (TBPCs) give rise to the mature cell types of the chorionic villi, CTBs and multi-nucleated syncytiotrophoblasts (STBs). Here we report that TBPCs are fully permissive for pathogenic and attenuated HCMV strains. Studies with a mutant virus lacking a functional pentamer complex (gH/gL/pUL128-131A) showed that virion entry into TBPCs is independent of the pentamer. In addition, infection is blocked by a potent human neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb), TRL345, reactive with glycoprotein B (gB), but not mAbs to the pentamer proteins pUL130/pUL131A. Functional studies revealed that neutralization of infection preserved the capacity of TBPCs to differentiate and assemble into trophospheres composed of CTBs and STBs in vitro. Our results indicate that mAbs to gB protect trophoblast progenitors of the placenta and could be included in antibody treatments developed to suppress congenital infection and prevent disease.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1336-1345: Hepatitis A Immunity in the District of Aveiro (Portugal): An Eleven-Year Surveillance Study (2002–2012)

  • Hepatitis A is a common viral liver disease and brings serious health and economic problems as its epidemiologic pattern changes over time. National serosurveys from developed countries have indicated a decline in HAV (hepatitis A virus) seroprevalence over time due to the improvement of economic and sanitation levels. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) immunity rate was surveyed throughout an eleven-year period by sex and age group in Aveiro District. In this retrospective study, blood samples from patients of Aveiro District, in ambulatory regime, collected at the Clinical Analysis Laboratory Avelab between 2002 and 2012 were screened for the presence of antibodies against HAV antigen using a chemiluminescence immunoassay. The global immunity (positive total anti-HAV) was 60% and only 0.3% of the patients presented recent infection by HAV (positive IgM anti-HAV). The HAV immunity was age-dependent (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.05), but no significant differences (p aamp;amp;gt; 0.05) between sexes were observed. The immunity was similar throughout the study period (p aamp;amp;gt; 0.05). The results of this study indicate that young people (especially under 25 years old) from District of Aveiro are susceptible to HAV infection, constituting a high risk group. The elderly should be also a concern in the future of Hepatitis A infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1317-1335: Hantavirus Immunology of Rodent Reservoirs: Current Status and Future Directions

  • Hantaviruses are hosted by rodents, insectivores and bats. Several rodent-borne hantaviruses cause two diseases that share many features in humans, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Eurasia or hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome in the Americas. It is thought that the immune response plays a significant contributory role in these diseases. However, in reservoir hosts that have been closely examined, little or no pathology occurs and infection is persistent despite evidence of adaptive immune responses. Because most hantavirus reservoirs are not model organisms, it is difficult to conduct meaningful experiments that might shed light on how the viruses evade sterilizing immune responses and why immunopathology does not occur. Despite these limitations, recent advances in instrumentation and bioinformatics will have a dramatic impact on understanding reservoir host responses to hantaviruses by employing a systems biology approach to identify important pathways that mediate virus/reservoir relationships.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1294-1316: Playing Hide and Seek: How Glycosylation of the Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Can Modulate the Immune Response to Infection

  • Seasonal influenza A viruses (IAV) originate from pandemic IAV and have undergone changes in antigenic structure, including addition of glycans to the hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein. The viral HA is the major target recognized by neutralizing antibodies and glycans have been proposed to shield antigenic sites on HA, thereby promoting virus survival in the face of widespread vaccination and/or infection. However, addition of glycans can also interfere with the receptor binding properties of HA and this must be compensated for by additional mutations, creating a fitness barrier to accumulation of glycosylation sites. In addition, glycans on HA are also recognized by phylogenetically ancient lectins of the innate immune system and the benefit provided by evasion of humoral immunity is balanced by attenuation of infection. Therefore, a fine balance must exist regarding the optimal pattern of HA glycosylation to offset competing pressures associated with recognition by innate defenses, evasion of humoral immunity and maintenance of virus fitness. In this review, we examine HA glycosylation patterns of IAV associated with pandemic and seasonal influenza and discuss recent advancements in our understanding of interactions between IAV glycans and components of innate and adaptive immunity.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1274-1293: Recent Evidence of Hantavirus Circulation in the American Tropic

  • Hantaan virus was discovered in Korea during the 1970s while other similar viruses were later reported in Asia and Europe. There was no information about hantavirus human infection in the Americas until 1993 when an outbreak was described in the United States. This event promoted new studies to find hantaviruses in the Americas. At first, many studies were conducted in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay, while other Latin American countries began to report the presence of these agents towards the end of the 20th century. More than 30 hantaviruses have been reported in the Western Hemisphere with more frequent cases registered in the southern cone (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil). However there was an important outbreak in 2000 in Panama and some rare events have been described in Peru, Venezuela and French Guiana. Since hantaviruses have only recently emerged as a potential threat in the tropical zones of the Americas, this review compiles recent hantavirus reports in Central America, the Caribbean islands and the northern region of South America. These studies have generated the discovery of new hantaviruses and could help to anticipate the presentation of possible future outbreaks in the region.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1253-1273: Molecular Characterizations of Subcellular Localization Signals in the Nucleocapsid Protein of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus

  • The nucleolus is a dynamic subnuclear structure, which is crucial to the normal operation of the eukaryotic cell. The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein, plays important roles in the process of virus replication and cellular infection. Virus infection and transfection showed that N protein was predominately localized in the cytoplasm, but also found in the nucleolus in Vero E6 cells. Furthermore, by utilizing fusion proteins with green fluorescent protein (GFP), deletion mutations or site-directed mutagenesis of PEDV N protein, coupled with live cell imaging and confocal microscopy, it was revealed that, a region spanning amino acids (aa), 71–90 in region 1 of the N protein was sufficient for nucleolar localization and R87 and R89 were critical for its function. We also identified two nuclear export signals (NES, aa221–236, and 325–364), however, only the nuclear export signal (aa325–364) was found to be functional in the context of the full-length N protein. Finally, the activity of this nuclear export signal (NES) was inhibited by the antibiotic Lepomycin B, suggesting that N is exported by a chromosome region maintenance 1-related export pathway.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1237-1252: Construction of Eukaryotic Expression Vector with mBD1-mBD3 Fusion Genes and Exploring Its Activity against Influenza A Virus

  • Influenza (flu) pandemics have exhibited a great threat to human health throughout history. With the emergence of drug-resistant strains of influenza A virus (IAV), it is necessary to look for new agents for treatment and transmission prevention of the flu. Defensins are small (2–6 kDa) cationic peptides known for their broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Beta-defensins (β-defensins) are mainly produced by barrier epithelial cells and play an important role in attacking microbe invasion by epithelium. In this study, we focused on the anti-influenza A virus activity of mouse β-defensin 1 (mBD1) and β defensin-3 (mBD3) by synthesizing their fusion peptide with standard recombinant methods. The eukaryotic expression vectors pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 were constructed successfully by overlap-PCR and transfected into Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. The MDCK cells transfected by pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 were obtained by G418 screening, and the mBD1-mBD3 stable expression pattern was confirmed in MDCK cells by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence assay. The acquired stable transfected MDCK cells were infected with IAV (A/PR/8/34, H1N1, 0.1 MOI) subsequently and the virus titers in cell culture supernatants were analyzed by TCID50 72 h later. The TCID50 titer of the experimental group was clearly lower than that of the control group (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001). Furthermore, BALB/C mice were injected with liposome-encapsulated pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 through muscle and then challenged with the A/PR/8/34 virus. Results showed the survival rate of 100% and lung index inhibitory rate of 32.6% in pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3group; the TCID50 titer of lung homogenates was clearly lower than that of the control group (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001). This study demonstrates that mBD1-mBD3 expressed by the recombinant plasmid pcDNA3.1(+)/mBD1-mBD3 could inhibit influenza A virus replication both in vitro and in vivo. These observations suggested that the recombinant mBD1-mBD3 might be developed into an agent for influenza prevention and treatment.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1219-1236: Viral Metagenomics: Analysis of Begomoviruses by Illumina High-Throughput Sequencing

  • Traditional DNA sequencing methods are inefficient, lack the ability to discern the least abundant viral sequences, and ineffective for determining the extent of variability in viral populations. Here, populations of single-stranded DNA plant begomoviral genomes and their associated beta- and alpha-satellite molecules (virus-satellite complexes) (genus, Begomovirus; family, Geminiviridae) were enriched from total nucleic acids isolated from symptomatic, field-infected plants, using rolling circle amplification (RCA). Enriched virus-satellite complexes were subjected to Illumina-Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). CASAVA and SeqMan NGen programs were implemented, respectively, for quality control and for de novo and reference-guided contig assembly of viral-satellite sequences. The authenticity of the begomoviral sequences, and the reproducibility of the Illumina-NGS approach for begomoviral deep sequencing projects, were validated by comparing NGS results with those obtained using traditional molecular cloning and Sanger sequencing of viral components and satellite DNAs, also enriched by RCA or amplified by polymerase chain reaction. As the use of NGS approaches, together with advances in software development, make possible deep sequence coverage at a lower cost; the approach described herein will streamline the exploration of begomovirus diversity and population structure from naturally infected plants, irrespective of viral abundance. This is the first report of the implementation of Illumina-NGS to explore the diversity and identify begomoviral-satellite SNPs directly from plants naturally-infected with begomoviruses under field conditions.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1202-1218: Human Cytomegalovirus US28 Facilitates Cell-to-Cell Viral Dissemination

  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes a number of viral proteins with homology to cellular G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These viral GPCRs, including US27, US28, UL33, and UL78, have been ascribed numerous functions during infection, including activating diverse cellular pathways, binding to immunomodulatory chemokines, and impacting virus dissemination. To investigate the role of US28 during virus infection, two variants of the clinical isolate TB40/E were generated: TB40/E-US28YFP expressing a C-terminal yellow fluorescent protein tag, and TB40/E-FLAGYFP in which a FLAG-YFP cassette replaces the US28 coding region. The TB40/E-US28YFP protein localized as large perinuclear fluorescent structures at late times post-infection in fibroblasts, endothelial, and epithelial cells. Interestingly, US28YFP is a non-glycosylated membrane protein throughout the course of infection. US28 appears to impact cell-to-cell spread of virus, as the DUS28 virus (TB40/E-FLAGYFP) generated a log-greater yield of extracellular progeny whose spread could be significantly neutralized in fibroblasts. Most strikingly, in epithelial cells, where dissemination of virus occurs exclusively by the cell-to-cell route, TB40/E-FLAGYFP (DUS28) displayed a significant growth defect. The data demonstrates that HCMV US28 may contribute at a late stage of the viral life cycle to cell-to-cell dissemination of virus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1188-1201: Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus in Honeybee Queens: Evaluating Susceptibility and Infection Routes

  • Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) is known as a disease of worker honey bees. To investigate pathogenesis of the CBPV on the queen, the sole reproductive individual in a colony, we conducted experiments regarding the susceptibility of queens to CBPV. Results from susceptibility experiment showed a similar disease progress in the queens compared to worker bees after infection. Infected queens exhibit symptoms by Day 6 post infection and virus levels reach 1011 copies per head. In a transmission experiment we showed that social interactions may affect the disease progression. Queens with forced contact to symptomatic worker bees acquired an overt infection with up to 1011 virus copies per head in six days. Incontrast, queens in contact with symptomatic worker bees, but with a chance to receive food from healthy bees outside the cage appeared healthy. The virus loads did not exceed 107 in the majority of these queens after nine days. Symptomatic worker bees may transmit sufficient active CBPV particles to the queen through trophallaxis, to cause an overt infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1149-1187: Incorporation of Hepatitis C Virus E1 and E2 Glycoproteins: The Keystones on a Peculiar Virion

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) encodes two envelope glycoproteins, E1 and E2. Their structure and mode of fusion remain unknown, and so does the virion architecture. The organization of the HCV envelope shell in particular is subject to discussion as it incorporates or associates with host-derived lipoproteins, to an extent that the biophysical properties of the virion resemble more very-low-density lipoproteins than of any virus known so far. The recent development of novel cell culture systems for HCV has provided new insights on the assembly of this atypical viral particle. Hence, the extensive E1E2 characterization accomplished for the last two decades in heterologous expression systems can now be brought into the context of a productive HCV infection. This review describes the biogenesis and maturation of HCV envelope glycoproteins, as well as the interplay between viral and host factors required for their incorporation in the viral envelope, in a way that allows efficient entry into target cells and evasion of the host immune response.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1135-1148: Murine Leukemia Virus Uses TREX Components for Efficient Nuclear Export of Unspliced Viral Transcripts

  • Previously we reported that nuclear export of both unspliced and spliced murine leukemia virus (MLV) transcripts depends on the nuclear export factor (NXF1) pathway. Although the mRNA export complex TREX, which contains Aly/REF, UAP56, and the THO complex, is involved in the NXF1-mediated nuclear export of cellular mRNAs, its contribution to the export of MLV mRNA transcripts remains poorly understood. Here, we studied the involvement of TREX components in the export of MLV transcripts. Depletion of UAP56, but not Aly/REF, reduced the level of both unspliced and spliced viral transcripts in the cytoplasm. Interestingly, depletion of THO components, including THOC5 and THOC7, affected only unspliced viral transcripts in the cytoplasm. Moreover, the RNA immunoprecipitation assay showed that only the unspliced viral transcript interacted with THOC5. These results imply that MLV requires UAP56, THOC5 and THOC7, in addition to NXF1, for nuclear export of viral transcripts. Given that naturally intronless mRNAs, but not bulk mRNAs, require THOC5 for nuclear export, it is plausible that THOC5 plays a key role in the export of unspliced MLV transcripts.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1112-1134: Changes in Diversification Patterns and Signatures of Selection during the Evolution of Murinae-Associated Hantaviruses

  • In the last 50 years, hantaviruses have significantly affected public health worldwide, but the exact extent of the distribution of hantavirus diseases, species and lineages and the risk of their emergence into new geographic areas are still poorly known. In particular, the determinants of molecular evolution of hantaviruses circulating in different geographical areas or different host species are poorly documented. Yet, this understanding is essential for the establishment of more accurate scenarios of hantavirus emergence under different climatic and environmental constraints. In this study, we focused on Murinae-associated hantaviruses (mainly Seoul Dobrava and Hantaan virus) using sequences available in GenBank and conducted several complementary phylogenetic inferences. We sought for signatures of selection and changes in patterns and rates of diversification in order to characterize hantaviruses’ molecular evolution at different geographical scales (global and local). We then investigated whether these events were localized in particular geographic areas. Our phylogenetic analyses supported the assumption that RNA virus molecular variations were under strong evolutionary constraints andrevealed changes in patterns of diversification during the evolutionary history of hantaviruses. These analyses provide new knowledge on the molecular evolution of hantaviruses at different scales of time and space.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1091-1111: Equilibrium and Kinetics of Sin Nombre Hantavirus Binding at DAF/CD55 Functionalized Bead Surfaces

  • Decay accelerating factor (DAF/CD55) is targeted by many pathogens for cell entry. It has been implicated as a co-receptor for hantaviruses. To examine the binding of hantaviruses to DAF, we describe the use of Protein G beads for binding human IgG Fc domain-functionalized DAF ((DAF)2-Fc). When mixed with Protein G beads the resulting DAF beads can be used as a generalizable platform for measuring kinetic and equilibrium binding constants of DAF binding targets. The hantavirus interaction has high affinity (24–30 nM; kon ~ 105 M−1s−1, koff ~ 0.0045 s−1). The bivalent (DAF)2-Fc/SNV data agree with hantavirus binding to DAF expressed on Tanoue B cells (Kd = 14.0 nM). Monovalent affinity interaction between SNV and recombinant DAF of 58.0 nM is determined from competition binding. This study servesa dual purpose of presenting a convenient and quantitative approach of measuring binding affinities between DAF and the many cognate viral and bacterial ligands and providing new data on the binding constant of DAF and Sin Nombre hantavirus. Knowledge of the equilibrium binding constant allows for the determination of the relative fractions of bound and free virus particles in cell entry assays. This is important for drug discovery assays for cell entry inhibitors.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1078-1090: Evidence Showing that Tetraspanins Inhibit HIV-1-Induced Cell-Cell Fusion at a Post-Hemifusion Stage

  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission takes place primarily through cell-cell contacts known as virological synapses. Formation of these transient adhesions between infected and uninfected cells can lead to transmission of viral particles followed by separation of the cells. Alternatively, the cells can fuse, thus forming a syncytium. Tetraspanins, small scaffolding proteins that are enriched in HIV-1 virions and actively recruited to viral assembly sites, have been found to negatively regulate HIV-1 Env-induced cell-cell fusion. How these transmembrane proteins inhibit membrane fusion, however, is currently not known. As a first step towards elucidating the mechanism of fusion repression by tetraspanins, e.g., CD9 and CD63, we sought to identify the stage of the fusion process during which they operate. Using a chemical epistasis approach, four fusion inhibitors were employed in tandem with CD9 overexpression. Cells overexpressing CD9 were found to be sensitized to inhibitors targeting the pre-hairpin and hemifusion intermediates, while they were desensitized to an inhibitor of the pore expansion stage. Together with the results of a microscopy-based dye transfer assay, which revealed CD9- and CD63-induced hemifusion arrest, our investigations strongly suggest that tetraspanins block HIV-1-induced cell-cell fusion at the transition from hemifusion to pore opening.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1073-1077: Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Viruses in 2013

  • The editors of Viruses would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2013. [...]

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1049-1072: Genomic and Functional Characteristics of Human Cytomegalovirus Revealed by Next-Generation Sequencing

  • The complete genome of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) was elucidated almost 25 years ago using a traditional cloning and Sanger sequencing approach. Analysis of the genetic content of additional laboratory and clinical isolates has lead to a better, albeit still incomplete, definition of the coding potential and diversity of wild-type HCMV strains. The introduction of a new generation of massively parallel sequencing technologies, collectively called next-generation sequencing, has profoundly increased the throughput and resolution of the genomics field. These increased possibilities are already leading to a better understanding of the circulating diversity of HCMV clinical isolates. The higher resolution of next-generation sequencing provides new opportunities in the study of intrahost viral population structures. Furthermore, deep sequencing enables novel diagnostic applications for sensitive drug resistance mutation detection. RNA-seq applications have changed the picture of the HCMV transcriptome, which resulted in proof of a vast amount of splicing events and alternative transcripts. This review discusses the application of next-generation sequencing technologies, which has provided a clearer picture of the intricate nature of the HCMV genome. The continuing development and application of novel sequencing technologies will further augment our understanding of this ubiquitous, but elusive, herpesvirus.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1037-1048: Development of Lectin-Linked Immunomagnetic Separation for the Detection of Hepatitis A Virus

  • The accuracy and sensitivity of PCR-based methods for detection of hepatitis A virus (HAV) are dependent on the methods used to separate and concentrate the HAV from the infected cells. The pH and ionic strength affect the binding affinity of the virus to cells. In this study, we initially investigated the effects of pH (4.0–10.0) and metal ions (Fe2+, Co2+, Cu2+, Mg2+, K+, and Ca2+) on the binding of HAV to oyster digestive cells. The lowest relative binding (RB) of HAV to the cells was found at pH 4.0 and in FeSO4 solution (64.6% and 68.1%, respectively). To develop an alternative to antibody-dependent immunomagnetic separation prior to detection of HAV using RT-PCR, the binding of HAV to five lectins, peanut agglutinin (PNA), Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA), Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA), Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA-1) and soybean agglutinin (SBA), was evaluated using ELISAs. SBA showed significantlyhigher RB to HAV than the other lectins tested. In addition, HAV could be concentrated within 30 min using SBA-linked magnetic bead separation (SMS) prior to the RT-PCR assay. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using SMS combined with RT-PCR to detect HAV at dilutions ranging from 10−1–10−4 of a HAV stock (titer: 104 TCID50/mL).

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1015-1036: B Cell Response and Mechanisms of Antibody Protection to West Nile Virus

  • West Nile virus (WNV) has become the principal cause of viral encephalitis in North America since its introduction in New York in 1999. This emerging virus is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. While there have been several candidates in clinical trials, there are no approved vaccines or WNV-specific therapies for the treatment of WNV disease in humans. From studies with small animal models and convalescent human patients, a great deal has been learned concerning the immune response to infection with WNV. Here, we provide an overview of a subset of that information regarding the humoral and antibody response generated during WNV infection.

  • Viruses, Vol. 6, Pages 1004-1014: Isolation and Identification of Feline Herpesvirus Type 1 from a South China Tiger in China

  • In 2012, an FHV-1-like virus was isolated from a tiger that presented with clinical signs of sialorrhea, sneezing and purulent rhinorrhea. Isolation was performed with the FK81 cell line, and the virus was identified by PCR, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the phylogenetic analysis of the partial thymidine kinase (TK) and glycoprotein B (gB) genes. A total of 253 bp of the TK gene and 566 bp of the gB gene were amplified from the trachea of the tiger by PCR/RT-PCR method. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the isolate belonged to the same cluster with other FHV-1 strains obtained from GenBank. Herpes-like viruses with an envelope and diameters of approximately 200 nm were observed in the culture supernatants of FK81 cells inoculated with samples from the tiger. The FHV-1 infection was confirmed by an animal challenge experiment in a cat model. Our finding extends the host range of FHV-1 and has implications for FHV-1 infection and South China tiger conservation.
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