The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of gene expression, translation and various metabolic processes. Multiple extracellular (growth factors) and intracellular (energy status) molecular signals as well as a variety of stressors are integrated into the mTOR pathway. Viral infection is a significant stress that can activate, reduce or even suppress the mTOR signaling pathway. Consequently, viruses have evolved a plethora of different mechanisms to attack and co-opt the mTOR pathway in order to make the host cell a hospitable environment for replication. A more comprehensive knowledge of different viral interactions may provide fruitful targets for new antiviral drugs.
The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) M-segment encodes the 78 kD, NSm, Gn, and Gc proteins. The 1st AUG generates the 78 kD-Gc precursor, the 2nd AUG generates the NSm-Gn-Gc precursor, and the 3rd AUG makes the NSm’-Gn-Gc precursor. To understand biological changes due to abolishment of the precursors, we quantitatively measured Gn secretion using a reporter assay, in which a Gaussia luciferase (gLuc) protein is fused to the RVFV M-segment pre-Gn region. Using the reporter assay, the relative expression ofGn/gLuc fusion proteins was analyzed among various AUG mutants. The reporter assay showed efficient secretion of Gn/gLuc protein from the precursor made from the 2nd AUG, while the removal of the untranslated region upstream of the 2nd AUG (AUG2-M) increased the secretion of the Gn/gLuc protein. Subsequently, recombinant MP-12 strains encoding mutations in the pre-Gn region were rescued, and virological phenotypes were characterized. Recombinant MP-12 encoding the AUG2-M mutation replicated slightly less efficiently than the control, indicating that viral replication is further influenced by the biological processes occurring after Gn expression, rather than the Gn abundance. This study showed that, not only the abolishment of AUG, but also the truncation of viral UTR, affects the expression of Gn protein by the RVFV M-segment.
The Bunyaviridae is the largest family of RNA viruses, with over 350 members worldwide. Several of these viruses cause severe diseases in livestock and humans. With an increasing number and frequency of outbreaks, bunyaviruses represent a growing threat to public health and agricultural productivity globally. Yet, the receptors, cellular factors and endocytic pathways used by these emerging pathogens to infect cells remain largely uncharacterized. The focus of this review is on the early steps of bunyavirus infection, from virus binding to penetration from endosomes. We address current knowledge and advances for members from each genus in the Bunyaviridae family regarding virus receptors, uptake, intracellular trafficking and fusion.
MVA is an attenuated vector that still retains immunomodulatory genes. We have previously reported its optimization after deleting the C12L gene, coding for the IL-18 binding-protein. Here, we analyzed the immunogenicity of MVA vectors harboring the simultaneous deletion of A44L, related to steroid synthesis and A46R, a TLR-signaling inhibitor (MVAΔA44L-A46R); or also including a deletion of C12L (MVAΔC12L/ΔA44L-A46R). The absence of biological activities of the deleted genes in the MVA vectors was demonstrated. Adaptive T-cell responses against VACV epitopes, evaluated in spleen and draining lymph-nodes of C57Bl/6 mice at acute/memory phases, were of higher magnitude in those animals that received deleted MVAs compared to MVAwt. MVAΔC12L/ΔA44L-A46R generated cellular specific memory responses of higher quality characterized by bifunctionality (CD107a/b+/IFN-γ+) and proliferation capacity. Deletion of selected genes from MVA generated innate immune responses with higher levels of determining cytokines related to T-cell response generation, such as IL-12, IFN-γ, as well as IL-1β and IFN-β. This study describes for the first time that simultaneous deletion of the A44L, A46R and C12L genes from MVA improved its immunogenicity by enhancing the host adaptive and innate immune responses, suggesting that this approach comprises an appropriate strategy to increase the MVA vaccine potential.
Rapid and sensitive detection of prions is important in managing prion diseases. The real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay for prion seeding activity has been applied to many prion diseases and provides for specific antemortem diagnostic testing. We evaluated RT-QuIC’s long-term consistency and varied multiple reaction parameters. Repeated assays of a single scrapie sample using multiple plate readers and recombinant prion protein (rPrPSen) substrates gave comparable results. N-terminal truncated hamster rPrPSen (residues 90–231) hastened both prion-seededand prion-independent reactions but maintained a clear kinetic distinction between the two. Raising temperatures or shaking speeds accelerated RT-QuIC reactions without compromising specificity. When applied to nasal brushings from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients, higher temperatures acceleratedRT-QuIC kinetics, and the use of hamster rPrPSen (90–231) strengthened RT-QuIC responses. Elongation of shaking periods reduced scrapie-seeded reaction times, but continuous shaking promoted false-positive reactions. Furthermore, pH 7.4 provided for more rapid RT-QuIC reactions than more acidic pHs. Additionally, we show that small variations in the amount of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) significantly impacted the assay. Finally, RT-QuIC performed in multiplate thermoshakers followed by fluorescence readings in separate plate readers enhanced assay throughput economically. Collectively, these results demonstrate improved speed, efficacy and practicality of RT-QuIC assays and highlight variables to be optimized for future applications.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection frequently leads to chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The molecular mechanisms by which HCV infection leads to chronic liver disease and HCC are not well understood. The infection cycle of HCV is initiated by the attachment and entry of virus particles into a hepatocyte. Replication of the HCV genome inside hepatocytes leads to accumulation of large amounts of viral proteins and RNA replication intermediates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), resulting in production of thousands of new virus particles. HCV-infected hepatocytes mount a substantial stress response. How the infected hepatocyte integrates the viral-induced stress response with chronic infection is unknown. The unfolded protein response (UPR), an ER-associated cellular transcriptional response, is activated in HCV infected hepatocytes. Over the past several years, research performed by a number of laboratories, including ours, has shown that HCV induced UPR robustly activates autophagy to sustain viral replication in the infected hepatocyte. Induction of the cellular autophagy response is required to improve survival of infected cells by inhibition of cellular apoptosis. The autophagy response also inhibits the cellular innate antiviral program that usually inhibits HCV replication. In this review, we discuss the physiological implications of the HCV-induced chronic ER-stress response in the liver disease progression.
Recent outbreaks of Rift Valley fever in ruminant livestock, characterized by mass abortion and high mortality rates in neonates, have raised international interest in improving vaccine control strategies. Previously, we developed a reliable challenge model for sheep that improves the evaluation of existing and novel vaccines in sheep. This sheep model demonstrated differences in the pathogenesis of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) infection between two genetically-distinct wild-type strains of the virus, Saudi Arabia 2001 (SA01) and Kenya 2006 (Ken06). Here, we evaluated the pathogenicity of these two RVFV strains in mixed breed beef calves. There was a transient increase in rectal temperatures with both virus strains, but this clinical sign was less consistent than previously reported with sheep. Three of the five Ken06-infected animals had an early-onset viremia, one day post-infection (dpi), with viremia lasting at least three days. The same number of SA01-infected animals developed viremia at 2 dpi, but it only persisted through 3 dpi in one animal. The average virus titer for the SA01-infected calves was 1.6 logs less than for the Ken06-infected calves. Calves, inoculated with either strain, seroconverted by 5 dpi and showed time-dependent increases in their virus-neutralizing antibody titers. Consistent with the results obtained in the previous sheep study, elevated liver enzyme levels, more severe liver pathology and higher virus titers occurred with the Ken06 strain as compared to the SA01 strain. These results demonstrate the establishment of a virulent challenge model for vaccine evaluation in calves.
Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-transmitted, zoonotic disease that infects humans and ruminants. Dendritic cell specific intercellular adhesion molecule 3 (ICAM-3) grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) acts as a receptor for members of the phlebovirus genus. The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) glycoproteins (Gn/Gc) encode five putative N-glycan sequons (asparagine (N)–any amino acid (X)–serine (S)/threonine (T)) at positions: N438 (Gn), and N794, N829, N1035, and N1077 (Gc). The N-glycosylation profile and significance in viral infection via DC-SIGN have not been elucidated. Gc N-glycosylation was first evaluated by using Gc asparagine (N) to glutamine (Q) mutants. Subsequently, we generated a series of recombinant RVFV MP-12 strain mutants, which encode N-to-Q mutations, and the infectivity of each mutant in Jurkat cells stably expressing DC-SIGN was evaluated. Results showed that Gc N794, N1035, and N1077 were N-glycosylated but N829 was not. Gc N1077 was heterogeneously N-glycosylated. RVFV Gc made two distinct N-glycoforms: “Gc-large” and “Gc-small”, and N1077 was responsible for “Gc-large” band. RVFV showed increased infection of cells expressing DC-SIGN compared to cells lacking DC-SIGN. Infection via DC-SIGN was increased in the presence of either Gn N438 or Gc N1077. Our study showed that N-glycans on the Gc and Gn surface glycoproteins redundantly support RVFV infection via DC-SIGN.
Filoviruses have become a worldwide public health concern because of their potential for introductions into non-endemic countries through international travel and the international transport of infected animals or animal products. Since it was first identified in 1976, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Sudan, the 2013–2015 western African Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak is the largest, both by number of cases and geographical extension, and deadliest, recorded so far in medical history. The source of ebolaviruses for human index case(s) in most outbreaks is presumptively associated with handling of bush meat or contact with fruit bats. Transmission among humans occurs easily when a person comes in contact with contaminated body fluids of patients, but our understanding of other transmission routes is still fragmentary. This review deals with the controversial issue of aerosol transmission of filoviruses.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) is one of the most extensively-studied viruses of the Poxviridae family. It is easy to genetically modify, so it has become a key tool for many applications. In this context, reporter genes facilitate the study of the role of foreign genes introduced into the genome of VACV. In this review, we describe the type of reporter genes that have been used to generate reporter-expressing VACV and the applications of the recombinant viruses obtained. Reporter-expressing VACV are currently employed in basic and immunology research, in the development of vaccines and cancer treatment.
During virus infection, the cascade signaling pathway that leads to the production of proinflammatory cytokines is controlled at multiple levels to avoid detrimental overreaction. HACE1 has been characterized as an important tumor suppressor. Here, we identified HACE1 as an important negative regulator of virus-triggered type I IFN signaling. Overexpression of HACE1 inhibited Sendai virus- or poly (I:C)-induced signaling and resulted in reduced IFNB1 production and enhanced virus replication. Knockdown of HACE1 expression exhibited the opposite effects. Ubiquitin E3 ligase activity of the dead mutant HACE1/C876A had a comparable inhibitory function as WT HACE1, suggesting that the suppressive function of HACE1 on virus-induced signaling is independent of its E3 ligase activity. Further study indicated that HACE1 acted downstream of MAVS and upstream of TBK1. Mechanistic studies showed that HACE1 exerts its inhibitory role on virus-induced signaling by disrupting the MAVS-TRAF3 complex. Therefore, we uncovered a novel function of HACE1 in innate immunity regulation.
The detection of resistance in codling moth (Cydia pomonella) populations against the Mexican isolate of its granulovirus (CpGV-M), raised questions on the sustainability of the use of this biological insecticide. In resistant host cells, CpGV-M is not able to complete its replication cycle because replication is blocked at an early step. Virus isolates able to overcome this resistance have been characterized—among them, the CpGV-R5 isolate. In mixed infections on resistant insects, both CpGV-M and CpGV-R5 viruses replicate, while CpGV-M alone does not induce mortality. Genetically heterogeneous virus populations, containing 50% of each CpGV-M and CpGV-R5 appear to control resistant host populations as well as CpGV-R5 alone at the same final concentration, even if the concentration of CpGV-R5 is only half in the former. The use of mixed genotype virus preparations instead of genotypically homogeneous populations may constitute a better approach than traditional methods for the development of baculovirus-based biological insecticides.
The large (L) protein of rabies virus (RABV) plays multiple enzymatic roles in viral RNA synthesis and processing. However, none of its putative enzymatic activities have been directly demonstrated in vitro. In this study, we expressed and purified a recombinant form of the RABV L protein and verified its guanosine 5′-triphosphatase and GDP polyribonucleotidyltransferase (PRNTase) activities, which are essential for viral mRNA cap formation by the unconventional mechanism. The RABV L protein capped 5′-triphosphorylated but not 5′-diphosphorylated RABV mRNA-start sequences, 5′-AACA(C/U), with GDP to generate the 5′-terminal cap structure G(5′)ppp(5′)A. The 5′-AAC sequence in the substrate RNAs was found to be strictly essential for RNA capping with the RABV L protein. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis showed that some conserved amino acid residues (G1112, T1170, W1201, H1241, R1242, F1285, and Q1286) in the PRNTase motifs A to E of the RABV L protein are required for cap formation. These findings suggest that the putative PRNTase domain in the RABV L protein catalyzes the rhabdovirus-specific capping reaction involving covalent catalysis of the pRNA transfer to GDP, thus offering this domain as a target for developing anti-viral agents.
Like all positive-sense RNA viruses, hepatitis C virus (HCV) induces host membrane alterations for its replication termed the membranous web (MW). Assembling replication factors at a membranous structure might facilitate the processes necessary for genome replication and packaging and shield viral components from host innate immune defenses. The biogenesis of the HCV MW is a complex process involving a concerted effort of HCV nonstructural proteins with a growing list of host factors. Although a comprehensive understanding of MW formation is still missing, a number of important viral and host determinants have been identified. This review will summarize the recent studies that have led to our current knowledge of the role of viral and host factors in the biogenesis of the MWs and discuss how HCV uses this specialized membrane structure for its replication.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) induces autophagy via the 5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in pig kidney PK-15 cells. However, the underlying mechanisms of AMPK activation in autophagy induction remain unknown. With specific inhibitors and RNA interference (RNAi), we show that PCV2 infection upregulated calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-beta (CaMKKβ) by increasing cytosolic Ca2+ via inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R). Elevation of cytosolic calcium ion (Ca2+) did not seem to involve inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) release from phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) by phosphoinositide phospholipase C-gamma (PLC-γ). CaMKKβ then activated both AMPK and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase I (CaMKI). PCV2 employed CaMKI and Trp-Asp (WD) repeat domain phosphoinositide-interacting protein 1 (WIPI1) as another pathway additional to AMPK signaling in autophagy initiation. Our findings could help better understanding of the signaling pathways of autophagy induction as part of PCV2 pathogenesis. Further research is warranted to study if PCV2 interacts directly with IP3R or indirectly with the molecules that antagonize IP3R activity responsible for increased cytosolic Ca2+ both in PK-15 cells and PCV2-targeted primary cells from pigs.
The discovery and characterisation of new mosquito-borne viruses provides valuable information on the biodiversity of vector-borne viruses and important insights into their evolution. In this study, a broad-spectrum virus screening system, based on the detection of long double-stranded RNA in inoculated cell cultures, was used to investigate the presence of novel viruses in mosquito populations of northern Australia. We detected and isolated a new virus (tentatively named Parry’s Lagoon virus, PLV) from Culex annulirostris, Culex pullus, Mansonia uniformis and Aedes normanensis mosquitoes that shares genomic sequence similarities to Corriparta virus (CORV), a member of the Orbivirus genus of the family Reoviridae. Despite moderate to high (72.2% to 92.2%) amino acid identity across all proteins when compared to CORV, and demonstration of antigenic relatedness, PLV did not replicate in several vertebrate cell lines that were permissive to CORV. This striking phenotypic difference suggests that PLV has evolved to have a very restricted host range, indicative of a mosquito-only life cycle.
Combining virus-induced cytotoxic and immunotherapeutic effects, oncolytic virotherapy represents a promising therapeutic approach for high-grade glioma (HGG). A clinical trial has recently provided evidence for the clinical safety of the oncolytic parvovirus H-1 (H-1PV) in adult glioblastoma relapse patients. The present study assesses the efficacy of H-1PV in eliminating HGG initiating cells. H-1PV was able to enter and to transduce all HGG neurosphere culture models (n = 6), including cultures derived from adult glioblastoma, pediatric glioblastoma, and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Cytotoxic effects induced by the virus have been observed in all HGG neurospheres at half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) doses of input virus between 1 and 10 plaque forming units per cell. H-1PV infection at this dose range was able to prevent tumorigenicity of NCH421k glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)“stem-like” cells in NOD/SCID mice. Interestingly NCH421R, an isogenic subclone with equal capacity of xenograft formation, but resistant to H-1PV infection could be isolated from the parental NCH421k culture. To reveal changes in gene expression associated with H-1PV resistance we performed a comparative gene expression analysis in these subclones. Several dysregulated genes encoding receptor proteins, endocytosis factors or regulators innate antiviral responses were identified and represent intriguing candidates for to further study molecular mechanisms of H-1PV resistance.
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The role of microRNA bantam, one of the most abundant microRNAs in Sf9 cells, was studied for its role in baculovirus infection in vitro and in vivo. The expression level of bantam was increased after AcMNPV infection in Sf9 cells and in Spodoptera litura larvae. In Sf9 cells, application of bantam inhibitor or mimic altered the expression of many virus genes, the most affected gene being lef8, gp41 and p10, the expression level of which was increased by 8, 10 and 40 times, respectively, in the presence of bantam inhibitor. Virus DNA replication was decreased in the presence of bantam mimic and increased in the presence of bantam inhibitor in a dose dependent manner. However, the production of budded virus did not change significantly. Feeding the larvae of S. litura and Spodoptera exigua with bantam antagomiR, a more stable form of the inhibitor, resulted in an abnormal larval growth and a decreased pupation rate. In S. litura, larvae died 3.5 days sooner than the control when bantam antagomiR was applied, together with AcMNPV. In infected S. exigua, larval mortality increased from 47% without antagomiR to 80% with it. The results suggest that microRNA bantam plays an important role in insect growth, as well as in baculovirus-insect interaction.
The identification of host cellular genes that act as either proviral or antiviral factors has been aided by the development of an increasingly large number of high-throughput screening approaches. Here, we review recent advances in which these new technologies have been used to interrogate host genes for the ability to impact bunyavirus infection, both in terms of technical advances as well as a summary of biological insights gained from these studies.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, is a major cause of severe acute lower respiratory tract infection in infants, elderly and immunocompromised adults. Despite decades of research, a complete integrated picture of RSV-host interaction is still missing. Several cellular responses to stress are involved in the host-response to many virus infections. The endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by altered endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function leads to activation of the unfolded-protein response (UPR) to restore homeostasis. Formation of cytoplasmic stress granules containing translationally stalled mRNAs is a means to control protein translation. Production of reactive oxygen species is balanced by an antioxidant response to prevent oxidative stress and the resulting damages. In recent years, ongoing research has started to unveil specific regulatory interactions of RSV with these host cellular stress responses. Here, we discuss the latest findings regarding the mechanisms evolved by RSV to induce, subvert or manipulate the ER stress, the stress granule and oxidative stress responses. We summarize the evidence linking these stress responses with the regulation of RSV replication and the associated pathogenesis.
Coxsackievirus B (CVB) belongs to Enterovirus genus within the Picornaviridae family, and it is one of the most common causative pathogens of viral myocarditis in young adults. The pathogenesis of myocarditis caused by CVB has not been completely elucidated. In CVB infection, autophagy is manipulated to facilitate viral replication. Here we report that protein 2B, one of the non-structural proteins of CVB3, possesses autophagy-inducing capability. The autophagy-inducing motif of protein 2B was identified by the generation of truncated 2B and site-directed mutagenesis. The expression of 2B alone was sufficient to induce the formation of autophagosomes in HeLa cells, while truncated 2B containing the two hydrophobic regions of the protein also induced autophagy. In addition, we demonstrated that a single amino acid substitution (56V→A) in the stem loop in between the two hydrophobic regions of protein 2B abolished the formation of autophagosomes. Moreover, we found that 2B and truncated 2B with autophagy-inducting capability were co-localized with LC3-II. This study indicates that protein 2B relies on its transmembrane hydrophobic regions to induce the formation of autophagosomes, while 56 valine residue in the stem loop of protein 2B might exert critical structural influence on its two hydrophobic regions. These results may provide new insight for understanding the molecular mechanism of autophagy triggered by CVB infection.
Robust humoral and cellular immunity are critical for survival in humans during an ebolavirus infection. However, the interplay between these two arms of immunity is poorly understood. To address this, we examined residual immune responses in survivors of the Sudan virus (SUDV) outbreak in Gulu, Uganda (2000–2001). Cytokine and chemokine expression levels in SUDV stimulated whole blood cultures were assessed by multiplex ELISA and flow cytometry. Antibody and corresponding neutralization titers were also determined. Flow cytometry and multiplex ELISA results demonstrated significantly higher levels of cytokine and chemokine responses in survivors with serological neutralizing activity. This correspondence was not detected in survivors with serum reactivity to SUDV but without neutralization activity. This previously undefined relationship between memory CD4 T cell responses and serological neutralizing capacity in SUDV survivors is key for understanding long lasting immunity in survivors of filovirus infections.
The Gag polyprotein is the main retroviral structural protein and is essential for the assembly and release of virus particles. In this study, we have analyzed the morphology and Gag stoichiometry of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-like particles and authentic, mature HTLV-1 particles by using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). HTLV-1-like particles mimicked the morphology of immature authentic HTLV-1 virions. Importantly, we have observed for the first time that the morphology of these virus-like particles (VLPs) has the unique local feature of a flat Gag lattice that does not follow the curvature of the viral membrane, resulting in an enlarged distance between the Gag lattice and the viral membrane. Other morphological features that have been previously observed with other retroviruses include: (1) a Gag lattice with multiple discontinuities; (2) membrane regions associated with the Gag lattice that exhibited a string of bead-like densities at the inner leaflet; and (3) an arrangement of the Gag lattice resembling a railroad track. Measurement of the average size and mass of VLPs and authentic HTLV-1 particles suggested a consistent range of size and Gag copy numbers in these two groups of particles. The unique local flat Gag lattice morphological feature observed suggests that HTLV-1 Gag could be arranged in a lattice structure that is distinct from that of other retroviruses characterized to date.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) takes humans as its sole natural host, and productive infection in vivo is restricted exclusively to hepatocytes in the liver. Consequently, HBV-derived viral vectors are attractive candidates for liver-targeting gene therapies. Previously, we developed a novel recombinant HBV vector, designated 5c3c, from a highly replicative clinical isolate. 5c3c was demonstrated to be capable of efficiently delivering protein or RNA expression into infected primary tupaia hepatocytes (PTH), but the design of 5c3c imposes stringent restrictions on inserted sequences, which have limited its wider adoption. In this work, we addressed issues with 5c3c by re-designing the insertion strategy. The resultant vector, designated 5dCG, was more replicative than parental 5c3c, imposed no specific restrictions on inserted sequences, and allowed insertion of a variety of cargo genes without significant loss of replication efficiency. 5dCG-based recombinant HBV effectively delivered protein and RNA expression into infected PTH. Furthermore, due to the loss of functional core ORF, 5dCG vectors depend on co-infecting wild type HBV for replication and efficient expression of cargo genes. Development of the improved 5dCG vector makes wider applications of recombinant HBV possible, while dependence on co-infecting wild type HBV results in improved safety for certain in vivo applications.
The Hepadnaviridae family of small, enveloped DNA viruses are characterized by a strict host range and hepatocyte tropism. The prototype hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major human pathogen and constitutes a public health problem, especially in high-incidence areas. Reporter-expressing recombinant viruses are powerful tools in both studies of basic virology and development of antiviral therapeutics. In addition, the highly restricted tropism of HBV for human hepatocytes makes it an ideal tool for hepatocyte-targeting in vivo applications such as liver-specific gene delivery. However, compact genome organization and complex replication mechanisms of hepadnaviruses have made it difficult to engineer replication-competent recombinant viruses that express biologically-relevant cargo genes. This review analyzes difficulties associated with recombinant hepadnavirus vector development, summarizes and compares the progress made in this field both historically and recently, and discusses future perspectives regarding both vector design and application.
The association between natalizumab and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is established, but a reliable clinical risk stratification flow-chart is lacking. New risk factors are needed, such as the possible role of the anti-JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) neutralizing antibody. In this pilot study, we analyzed this parameter during natalizumab treatment. Sequential sera of 38 multiple sclerosis patients during their first year of natalizumab treatment were collected, and grouped according to the number of infusions. For 11 patients, samples were also available after 24 infusions (T24), when progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) risk is higher. The reactivity against VP1, the main JCPyV surface protein, and the anti-JCPyV neutralizing activity were evaluated. During the first year, a lack of correlation between anti-JCPyV antibody response and its neutralizing activity was observed: a significant decrease in anti-JCPyV antibody response was observed (p = 0.0039), not paralleled by a similar trend in the total anti-JCPyV neutralizing activity (p = 0.2239). This lack of correlation was even more evident at T24 when, notwithstanding a significant increase in the anti-JCPyV response (p = 0.0097), a further decrease of the neutralizing activity was observed (p = 0.0062). This is the first study evidencing, prospectively, the lack of correlation between the anti-JCPyV antibody response and its neutralizing activity during natalizumab treatment.
At present, the details of lamina alterations after baculovirus infection remain elusive. In this study, a lamin gene in the Sf9 cell line of Spodoptera frugiperda was cloned. The open reading frame (orf) of the Sf9 lamin was 1860 bp and encoded a protein with a molecular weight of 70 kDa. A transfection assay with a red fluorescence protein (rfp)-lamin fusion protein indicated that Sf9 lamin was localized in the nuclear rim. Transmission electron microscopy observations indicated that Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) nucleocapsids may pass through the nuclear envelope. Immunofluorescence assay indicated that the lamina showed a ruffled staining pattern with the formation of invaginations in the Sf9 cells infected with AcMNPV, while it was evenly distributed at the nuclear periphery of mock-infected cells. Western blotting results indicated that the total amount of lamin in the baculovirus-infected Sf9 cells was significantly decreased compared with the mock-infected cells. These results imply that AcMNPV infection induces structural and biochemical rearrangements of lamina of Sf9 cells.
Commonly used tests based on wild-type viruses, such as immunostaining, cannot meet the demands for rapid detection of viral replication, high-throughput screening for antivirals, as well as for tracking viral proteins or virus transport in real time. Notably, the development of replicating-competent reporter-expressing viruses (RCREVs) has provided an excellent option to detect directly viral replication without the use of secondary labeling, which represents a significant advance in virology. This article reviews the applications of RCREVs in diagnostic and molecular virology, including rapid neutralization tests, high-throughput screening systems, identification of viral receptors and virus-host interactions, dynamics of viral infections in vitro and in vivo, vaccination approaches and others. However, there remain various challenges associated with RCREVs, including pathogenicity alterations due to the insertion of a reporter gene, instability or loss of the reporter gene expression, or attenuation of reporter signals in vivo. Despite all these limitations, RCREVs have become powerful tools for both basic and applied virology with the development of new technologies for generating RCREVs, the inventions of novel reporters and the better understanding of regulation of viral replication.
Dengue, the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral disease, is caused by the dengue virus (DENV), a member of the Flaviviridae family, and is a considerable public health threat in over 100 countries, with 2.5 billion people living in high-risk areas. However, no specific antiviral drug or licensed vaccine currently targets DENV infection. The replicon system has all the factors needed for viral replication in cells. Since the development of replicon systems, transient and stable reporter replicons, as well as reporter viruses, have been used in the study of various virological aspects of DENV and in the identification of DENV inhibitors. In this review, we summarize the DENV reporter replicon system and its applications in high-throughput screening (HTS) for identification of anti-DENV inhibitors. We also describe the use of this system in elucidation of the mechanisms of virus replication and viral dynamics in vivo and in vitro.
Single-cell sequencing technologies, i.e., single cell analysis followed by deep sequencing investigate cellular heterogeneity in many biological settings. It was only in the past year that single-cell sequencing analyses has been applied in the field of virology, providing new ways to explore viral diversity and cell response to viral infection, which are summarized in the present review.
The current dramatic increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria has revitalised the interest in bacteriophages as alternative antibacterial treatment. Meanwhile, the development of bioinformatics methods for analysing genomic data places high-throughput approaches for phage characterization within reach. Here, we present HostPhinder, a tool aimed at predicting the bacterial host of phages by examining the phage genome sequence. Using a reference database of 2196 phages with known hosts, HostPhinder predicts the host species of a query phage as the host of the most genomically similar reference phages. As a measure of genomic similarity the number of co-occurring k-mers (DNA sequences of length k) is used. Using an independent evaluation set, HostPhinder was able to correctly predict host genus and species for 81% and 74% of the phages respectively, giving predictions for more phages than BLAST and significantly outperforming BLAST on phages for which both had predictions. HostPhinder predictions on phage draft genomes from the INTESTI phage cocktail corresponded well with the advertised targets of the cocktail. Our study indicates that for most phages genomic similarity correlates well with related bacterial hosts. HostPhinder is available as an interactive web service  and as a stand alone download from the Docker registry .
While human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2) share many similar traits, major differences in pathogenesis and clinical outcomes exist between the two viruses. The differential expression of host factors like microRNAs (miRNAs) in response to HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections are thought to influence the clinical outcomes presented by the two viruses. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules which function in transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. MiRNAs play a critical role in many key biological processes and could serve as putative biomarker(s) for infection. Identification of miRNAs that modulate viral life cycle, disease progression, and cellular responses to infection with HIV-1 and HIV-2 could reveal important insights into viral pathogenesis and provide new tools that could serve as prognostic markers and targets for therapeutic intervention. The aim of this study was to elucidate the differential expression profiles of host miRNAs in cells infected with HIV-1 and HIV-2 in order to identify potential differences in virus-host interactions between HIV-1 and HIV-2. Differential expression of host miRNA expression profiles was analyzed using the miRNA profiling polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays. Differentially expressed miRNAs were identified and their putative functional targets identified. The results indicate that hsa-miR 541-3p, hsa-miR 518f-3p, and hsa-miR 195-3p were consistently up-regulated only in HIV-1 infected cells. The expression of hsa-miR 1225-5p, hsa-miR 18a* and hsa-miR 335 were down modulated in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infected cells. Putative functional targets of these miRNAs include genes involved in signal transduction, metabolism, development and cell death.
Hantaviruses are important emerging pathogens belonging to the Bunyaviridae family. Like other segmented negative strand RNA viruses, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) also known as L protein of hantaviruses lacks an intrinsic“capping activity”. Hantaviruses therefore employ a “cap snatching” strategy acquiring short 5′ RNA sequences bearing 5′cap structures by endonucleolytic cleavage from host cell transcripts. The viral endonuclease activity implicated in cap snatching of hantaviruses has been mapped to the N-terminal domain of the L protein. Using a combination of molecular modeling and structure–function analysis we confirm and extend these findings providing evidence for high conservation of the L endonuclease between Old and New World hantaviruses. Recombinant hantavirus L endonuclease showed catalytic activity and a defined cation preference shared by other viral endonucleases. Based on the previously reported remarkably high activity of hantavirus L endonuclease, we established a cell-based assay for the hantavirus endonuclase function. The robustness of the assay and its high-throughput compatible format makes it suitable for small molecule drug screens to identify novel inhibitors of hantavirus endonuclease. Based on the high degree of similarity to RdRp endonucleases, some candidate inhibitors may be broadly active against hantaviruses and other emerging human pathogenic Bunyaviruses.
A novel virus, tentatively named Maize Yellow Mosaic Virus (MaYMV), was identified from the field-grown maize plants showing yellow mosaic symptoms on the leaves collected from the Yunnan Province of China by the deep sequencing of small RNAs. The complete 5642 nucleotide (nt)-long genome of the MaYMV shared the highest nucleotide sequence identity (73%) to Maize Yellow Dwarf Virus-RMV. Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses suggested that MaYMV represents a new member of the genus Polerovirus in the family Luteoviridae. Furthermore, the P0 protein encoded by MaYMV was demonstrated to inhibit both local and systemic RNA silencing by co-infiltration assays using transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana line 16c carrying the GFP reporter gene, which further supported the identification of a new polerovirus. The biologically-active cDNA clone of MaYMV was generated by inserting the full-length cDNA of MaYMV into the binary vector pCB301. RT-PCR and Northern blot analyses showed that this clone was systemically infectious upon agro-inoculation into N. benthamiana. Subsequently, 13 different isolates of MaYMV from field-grown maize plants in different geographical locations of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces of China were sequenced. Analyses of their molecular variation indicate that the 3′ half of P3–P5 read-through protein coding region was the most variable, whereas the coat protein- (CP-) and movement protein- (MP-)coding regions were the most conserved.
Pseudovirion-based neutralization assay is considered the gold standard method for evaluating the immune response to human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. In this study, we developed a multicolor neutralization assay to simultaneously detect the neutralizing antibodies against different HPV types. FluoroSpot was used to interpret the fluorescent protein expression instead of flow cytometry. The results of FluoroSpot and flow cytometry showed good consistency, with R2 aamp;amp;gt; 0.98 for the log-transformed IC50 values. Regardless of the reporter color, the single-, dual-, and triple-color neutralization assays reported identical results for the same samples. In low-titer samples from naturally HPV-infected individuals, there was strong agreement between the single- and triple-color assays, with kappa scores of 0.92, 0.89, and 0.96 for HPV16, HPV18, and HPV58, respectively. Good reproducibility was observed for the triple-color assay, with coefficients of variation of 2.0%–41.5% within the assays and 8.3%–36.2% between the assays. Three triple-color systems, HPV16-18-58, HPV6-33-45, and HPV11-31-52, were developed that could evaluate the immunogenicity of a nonavalent vaccine in three rounds of the assay. With the advantages of an easy-to-use procedure and less sample consumption, the multiple-color assay is more suitable than classical assays for large sero-epidemiological studies and clinical trials and is more amenable to automation.
The HIV-1 Gag p6 protein regulates the final abscission step of nascent virions from the cell membrane by the action of its two late (l-) domains, which recruit Tsg101 and ALIX, components of the ESCRT system. Even though p6 consists of only 52 amino acids, it is encoded by one of the most polymorphic regions of the HIV-1 gag gene and undergoes various posttranslational modifications including sumoylation, ubiquitination, and phosphorylation. In addition, it mediates the incorporation of the HIV-1 accessory protein Vpr into budding virions. Despite its small size, p6 exhibits an unusually high charge density. In this study, we show that mutation of the conserved glutamic acids within p6 increases the membrane association of Pr55 Gag followed by enhanced polyubiquitination and MHC-I antigen presentation of Gag-derived epitopes, possibly due to prolonged exposure to membrane bound E3 ligases. The replication capacity of the total glutamic acid mutant E0A was almost completely impaired, which was accompanied by defective virus release that could not be rescued by ALIX overexpression. Altogether, our data indicate that the glutamic acids within p6 contribute to the late steps of viral replication and may contribute to the interaction of Gag with the plasma membrane.
There is a largely divergent body of literature regarding the relationship between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and brain inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, we tested MS patients during relapse (n = 11) and in remission (n = 19) in addition to n = 22 healthy controls to study the correlation between the EBV- and brain-specific B cell response in the blood by enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cytomegalovirus (CMV) was used as a control antigen tested in n = 16 MS patients during relapse and in n = 35 patients in remission. Over the course of the study, n = 16 patients were untreated, while n = 33 patients received immunomodulatory therapy. The data show that there was a moderate correlation between the frequencies of EBV- and brain-reactive B cells in MS patients in remission. In addition we could detect a correlation between the B cell response to EBV and disease activity. There was no evidence of an EBV reactivation. Interestingly, there was also a correlation between the frequencies of CMV- and brain-specific B cells in MS patients experiencing an acute relapse and an elevated B cell response to CMV was associated with higher disease activity. The trend remained when excluding seronegative subjects but was non-significant. These data underline that viral infections might impact the immunopathology of MS, but the exact link between the two entities remains subject of controversy.
Despite the expanding interest in bacterial viruses (bacteriophages), insights into the intracellular development of bacteriophage and its impact on bacterial physiology are still scarce. Here we investigate during lytic infection the whole-genome transcription of the giant phage vB_YecM_φR1-37 (φR1-37) and its host, the gastroenteritis causing bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica. RNA sequencing reveals that the gene expression of φR1-37 does not follow a pattern typical observed in other lytic bacteriophages, as only selected genes could be classified as typically early, middle or late genes. The majority of the genes appear to be expressed constitutively throughout infection. Additionally, our study demonstrates that transcription occurs mainly from the positive strand, while the negative strand encodes only genes with low to medium expression levels. Interestingly, we also detected the presence of antisense RNA species, as well as one non-coding intragenic RNA species. Gene expression in the phage-infected cell is characterized by the broad replacement of host transcripts with phage transcripts. However, the host response in the late phase of infection was also characterized by up-regulation of several specific bacterial gene products known to be involved in stress response and membrane stability, including the Cpx pathway regulators, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, phage- and cold-shock proteins.
High rates of mutation and recombination help human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to evade the immune system and develop resistance to antiretroviral therapy. Macrophages and T-cells are the natural target cells of HIV-1 infection. A consensus has not been reached as to whether HIV replication results in differential recombination between primary T-cells and macrophages. Here, we used HIV with silent mutation markers along with next generation sequencing to compare the mutation and the recombination rates of HIV directly in T lymphocytes and macrophages. We observed a more than four-fold higher recombination rate of HIV in macrophages compared to T-cells (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and demonstrated that this difference is not due to different reliance on C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) and C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) co-receptors between T-cells and macrophages. We also found that the pattern of recombination across the HIV genome (hot and cold spots) remains constant between T-cells and macrophages despite a three-fold increase in the overall recombination rate. This indicates that the difference in rates is a general feature of HIV DNA synthesis during macrophage infection. In contrast to HIV recombination, we found that T-cells have a 30% higher mutation rate than macrophages (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.001) and that the mutational profile is similar between these cell types. Unexpectedly, we found no association between mutation and recombination in macrophages, in contrast to T-cells. Our data highlights some of the fundamental difference of HIV recombination and mutation amongst these two major target cells of infection. Understanding these differences will provide invaluable insights toward HIV evolution and how the virus evades immune surveillance and anti-retroviral therapeutics.
Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) infects the genital mucosa and establishes a life-long infection in sensory ganglia. After primary infection HSV-2 may reactivate causing recurrent genital ulcerations. HSV-2 infection is prevalent, and globally more than 400 million individuals are infected. As clinical trials have failed to show protection against HSV-2 infection, new vaccine candidates are warranted. The secreted glycoprotein G (sgG-2) of HSV-2 was evaluated as a prophylactic vaccine in mice using two different immunization and adjuvant protocols. The protocol with three intramuscular immunizations combining sgG-2 with cytosine-phosphate-guanine dinucleotide (CpG) motifs and alum induced almost complete protection from genital and systemic disease after intra-vaginal challenge with HSV-2. Robust immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody titers were detected with no neutralization activity. Purified splenic CD4+ T cells proliferated and produced interferon-γ (IFN-γ) when re-stimulated with the antigen in vitro. sgG-2 + adjuvant intra-muscularly immunized mice showed a significant reduction of infectious HSV-2 and increased IFN-γ levels in vaginal washes. The HSV-2 DNA copy numbers were significantly reduced in dorsal root ganglia, spinal cord, andin serum at day six or day 21 post challenge. We show that a sgG-2 based vaccine is highly effective and can be considered as a novel candidate in the development of a prophylactic vaccine against HSV-2 infection.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne pathogen that causes high morbidity and mortality. Efficacy of vaccines and antivirals to treat human CCHFV infections remains limited and controversial. Research into pathology and underlying molecular mechanisms of CCHFV and other nairoviruses is limited. Significant progress has been made in our understanding of CCHFV replication and pathogenesis in the past decade. Here we review the most recent molecular advances in CCHFV-related research, and provide perspectives on future research.
Measles virus (MeV), a highly contagious member of the Paramyxoviridae family, causes measles in humans. The Paramyxoviridae family of negative single-stranded enveloped viruses includes several important human and animal pathogens, with MeV causing approximately 120,000 deaths annually. MeV and canine distemper virus (CDV)-mediated diseases can be prevented by vaccination. However, sub-optimal vaccine delivery continues to foster MeV outbreaks. Post-exposure prophylaxis with antivirals has been proposed as a novel strategy to complement vaccination programs by filling herd immunity gaps. Recent research has shown that membrane fusion induced by the morbillivirus glycoproteins is the first critical step for viral entry and infection, and determines cell pathology and disease outcome. Our molecular understanding of morbillivirus-associated membrane fusion has greatly progressed towards the feasibility to control this process by treating the fusion glycoprotein with inhibitory molecules. Current approaches to develop anti-membrane fusion drugs and our knowledge on drug resistance mechanisms strongly suggest that combined therapies will be a prerequisite. Thus, discovery of additional anti-fusion and/or anti-attachment protein small-molecule compounds may eventually translate into realistic therapeutic options.
Vaccination is the most effective means to prevent influenza virus infection, although current approaches are associated with suboptimal efficacy. Here, we generated virus-like particles (VLPs) composed of the hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA) and matrix protein (M1) of A/Changchun/01/2009 (H1N1) with or without either membrane-anchored cholera toxin B (CTB) or ricin toxin B (RTB) as molecular adjuvants. The intranasal immunization of mice with VLPs containing membrane-anchored CTB or RTB elicited stronger humoral and cellular immune responses when compared to mice immunized with VLPs alone. Administration of VLPs containing CTB or RTB significantly enhanced virus-specific systemic and mucosal antibody responses, hemagglutination inhibiting antibody titers, virus neutralizing antibody titers, and the frequency of virus-specific IFN-γ and IL-4 secreting splenocytes. VLPs with and without CTB or RTB conferred complete protection against lethal challenge with a mouse-adapted homologous virus. When challenged with an antigenically distinct H1N1 virus, all mice immunized with VLPs containing CTB or RTB survived whereas mice immunized with VLPs alone showed only partial protection (80% survival). Our results suggest that membrane-anchored CTB and RTB possess strong adjuvant properties when incorporated into an intranasally-delivered influenza VLP vaccine. Chimeric influenza VLPs containing CTB or RTB may represent promising vaccine candidates for improved immunological protection against homologous and antigenically distinct influenza viruses.
Antigenic drift and genetic variation are significantly constrained in measles virus (MeV). Genetic stability of MeV is exceptionally high, both in the lab and in the field, and few regions of the genome allow for rapid genetic change. The regions of the genome that are more tolerant of mutations (i.e., the untranslated regions and certain domains within the N, C, V, P, and M proteins) indicate genetic plasticity or structural flexibility in the encoded proteins. Our analysis reveals that strong constraints in the envelope proteins (F and H) allow for a single serotype despite known antigenic differences among its 24 genotypes. This review describes some of the many variables that limit the evolutionary rate of MeV. The high genomic stability of MeV appears to be a shared property of the Paramyxovirinae, suggesting a common mechanism that biologically restricts the rate of mutation.
A fundamental step in cellular defense mechanisms is the recognition of“danger signals” made of conserved pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) expressed by invading pathogens, by host cell germ line coded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). In this study, we used RNA-seq and the Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) to identify PRRs together with the network pathway of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that recognize salmonid alphavirus subtype 3 (SAV-3) infection in macrophage/dendritic like TO-cells derived from Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L) headkidney leukocytes. Our findings show that recognition of SAV-3 in TO-cells was restricted to endosomal Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 3 and 8 together with RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs) and not the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptors NOD-like receptor (NLRs) genes. Among the RLRs, upregulated genes included the retinoic acid inducible gene I (RIG-I), melanoma differentiation association 5 (MDA5) and laboratory of genetics and physiology 2 (LGP2). The study points to possible involvement of the tripartite motif containing 25 (TRIM25) and mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) in modulating RIG-I signaling being the first report that links these genes tothe RLR pathway in SAV-3 infection in TO-cells. Downstream signaling suggests that both the TLR and RLR pathways use interferon (IFN) regulatory factors (IRFs) 3 and 7 to produce IFN-a2. The validity of RNA-seq data generated in this study was confirmed by quantitative real time qRT-PCR showing that genes up- or downregulated by RNA-seq were also up- or downregulated by RT-PCR. Overall, this study shows that de novo transcriptome assembly identify key receptors of the TLR and RLR sensors engaged in host pathogen interaction at cellular level. We envisage that data presented here can open a road map for future intervention strategies in SAV infection of salmon.
A plaque assay for quantitating filoviruses in virus stocks, prepared viral challenge inocula and samples from research animals has recently been fully characterized and standardized for use across multiple institutions performing Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) studies. After standardization studies were completed, Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)-compliant plaque assay method validation studies to demonstrate suitability for reliable and reproducible measurement of the Marburg Virus Angola (MARV) variant and Ebola Virus Kikwit (EBOV) variant commenced at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). The validation parameters tested included accuracy, precision, linearity, robustness, stability of the virus stocks and system suitability. The MARV and EBOV assays were confirmed to be accurate to±0.5 log10 PFU/mL. Repeatability precision, intermediate precision and reproducibility precision were sufficient to return viral titers with a coefficient of variation (%CV) of ≤30%, deemed acceptable variation for a cell-based bioassay. Intraclass correlation statistical techniques for the evaluation of the assay’s precision when the same plaques were quantitated by two analysts returned values passing the acceptance criteria, indicating high agreement between analysts. The assay was shown to be accurate and specific when run on Nonhuman Primates (NHP) serum and plasma samples diluted in plaque assay medium, with negligible matrix effects. Virus stocks demonstrated stability for freeze-thaw cycles typical of normal usage during assay retests. The results demonstrated that the EBOV and MARV plaque assays are accurate, precise and robust for filovirus titration in samples associatedwith the performance of GLP animal model studies.
In this review, we provide an overview of the strategies developed by caliciviruses to subvert or regulate the host protein synthesis machinery to their advantage. As intracellular obligate parasites, viruses strictly depend on the host cell resources to produce viral proteins. Thus, many viruses have developed strategies that regulate the function of the host protein synthesis machinery, often leading to preferential translation of viral mRNAs. Caliciviruses lack a 5′ cap structure but instead have a virus-encoded VPg protein covalently linked to the 5′ end of their mRNAs. Furthermore, they encode 2–4 open reading frames within their genomic and subgenomic RNAs. Therefore, they use alternative mechanisms for translation whereby VPg interacts with eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) to act as a proteinaceous cap-substitute, and some structural proteins are produced by reinitiation of translation events. This review discusses our understanding of these key mechanisms during caliciviruses infection as well as recent insights into the global regulation of eIF4E activity.
The Murine Leukemia Virus (MLV) is a gammaretrovirus that hijack host components of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) for budding. To determine the minimal requirements for ESCRT factors in MLV viral and viral-like particles (VLP) release, an siRNA knockdown screen of ESCRT(-associated) proteins was performed in MLV-producing human cells. We found that MLV VLPs and virions primarily engage the ESCRT-I factor Tsg101 and marginally the ESCRT-associated adaptors Nedd4-1 and Alix to enter the ESCRT pathway. Conversely, the inactivation of ESCRT-II had no impact on VLP and virion egress. By analyzing the effects of individual ESCRT-III knockdowns, VLP and virion release was profoundly inhibited in CHMP2A- and CHMP4B-knockdown cells. In contrast, neither the CHMP2B and CHMP4A isoforms nor CHMP3, CHMP5, and CHMP6 were found to be essential. In case of CHMP1, we unexpectedly observed that the CHMP1A isoform was specifically required for virus budding, but dispensable for VLP release. Hence, MLV utilizes only a subset of ESCRT factors, and viral and viral-like particles differ in ESCRT-III factor requirements.
The ability to shut off host gene expression is a shared feature of many viral infections, and it is thought to promote viral replication by freeing host cell machinery and blocking immune responses. Despite the molecular differences between viruses, an emerging theme in the study of host shutoff is that divergent viruses use similar mechanisms to enact host shutoff. Moreover, even viruses that encode few proteins often have multiple mechanisms to affect host gene expression, and we are only starting to understand how these mechanisms are integrated. In this review we discuss the multiplicity of host shutoff mechanisms used by the orthomyxovirus influenza A virus and members of the alpha- and gamma-herpesvirus subfamilies. We highlight the surprising similarities in their mechanisms of host shutoff and discuss how the different mechanisms they use may play a coordinated role in gene regulation.
The non-structural protein-1 (NS1) of many influenza A strains, especially those of avian origin, contains an SH3 ligand motif, which binds tightly to the cellular adaptor proteins Crk (Chicken tumor virus number 10 (CT10) regulator of kinase) and Crk-like adapter protein (CrkL). This interaction has been shown to potentiate NS1-induced activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), but additional effects on the host cell physiology may exist. Here we show that NS1 can induce an efficient translocation of Crk proteins from the cytoplasm into the nucleus, which results in an altered pattern of nuclear protein tyrosine phosphorylation. This was not observed using NS1 proteins deficient in SH3 binding or engineered to be exclusively cytoplasmic, indicating a physical role for NS1 as a carrier in the nuclear translocation of Crk. These data further emphasize the role of Crk proteins as host cell interaction partners of NS1, and highlight the potential for host cellmanipulation gained by a viral protein simply via acquiring a short SH3 binding motif.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common cause of curable bacterial sexually transmitted infections worldwide. Although the pathogen is well established, the pathogenic mechanisms remain unclear. Given the current challenges of antibiotic resistance and blocked processes of vaccine development, the use of a specific chlamydiaphage may be a new treatment solution.φCPG1 is a lytic phage specific for Chlamydia caviae, and shows over 90% nucleotide sequence identity with other chlamydiaphages. Vp1 is the major capsid protein of φCPG1. Purified Vp1 was previously confirmed to inhibit Chlamydia trachomatis growth. We here report the first attempt at exploring the relationship between Vp1-treated C. trachomatis and the protein and gene levels of the mitogen-activated/extracellular regulated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK) pathway by Western blotting and real-time PCR, respectively. Moreover, we evaluated the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-1 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay after Vp1 treatment. After 48 h of incubation, the p-ERK level of the Vp1-treated group decreased compared with that of the Chlamydia infection group. Accordingly, ERK1 and ERK2 mRNA expression levels of the Vp1-treated group also decreased compared with the Chlamydia infection group. IL-8 and IL-1 levels were also decreased after Vp1 treatment compared with the untreated group. Our results demonstrate that the inhibition effect of the chlamydiaphage φCPG1 capsid protein Vp1 on C. trachomatis is associated with the MAPK pathway, and inhibits production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-8 and IL-1. The bacteriophages may provide insight into a new signaling transduction mechanism to influence their hosts, in addition to bacteriolysis.
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a calicivirus that causes acute infections in both domestic and wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The virus causes significant economic losses in rabbit farming and reduces wild rabbit populations. The recent emergence of RHDV variants capable of overcoming immunity to other strains emphasises the need to develop universally effective antivirals to enable quick responses during outbreaks until new vaccines become available. The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) is a primary target for the development of such antiviral drugs. In this study, we used cell-free in vitro assays to examine the biochemical characteristics of two rabbit calicivirus RdRps and the effects of several antivirals that were previously identified as human norovirus RdRp inhibitors. The non-nucleoside inhibitor NIC02 was identified as a potential scaffold for further drug development against rabbit caliciviruses. Our experiments revealed an unusually high temperature optimum (between 40 and 45°C) for RdRps derived from both a pathogenic and a non-pathogenic rabbit calicivirus, possibly demonstrating an adaptation to a host with a physiological body temperature of more than 38 °C. Interestingly, the in vitro polymerase activity of the non-pathogenic calicivirus RdRp was at least two times higher than that of the RdRp of the highly virulent RHDV.
mRNA translation requires the ordered assembly of translation initiation factors and ribosomal subunits on a transcript. Host signaling pathways regulate each step in this process to match levels of protein synthesis to environmental cues. In response to infection, cells activate multiple defenses that limit viral protein synthesis, which viruses must counteract to successfully replicate. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) inhibits host defenses that limit viral protein expression and manipulates host signaling pathways to promote the expression of both host and viral proteins necessary for virus replication. Here we review key regulatory steps in mRNA translation, and the strategies used by HCMV to maintain protein synthesis in infected cells.
Despite significant advancement in vaccine and virus research, influenza continues to be a major public health concern. Each year in the United States of America, influenza viruses are responsible for seasonal epidemics resulting in over 200,000 hospitalizations and 30,000–50,000 deaths. Accurate and early diagnosis of influenza viral infections are critical for rapid initiation of antiviral therapy to reduce influenza related morbidity and mortality both during seasonal epidemics and pandemics. Several different approaches are currently available for diagnosis ofinfluenza infections in humans. These include viral isolation in cell culture, immunofluorescence assays, nucleic acid amplification tests, immunochromatography-based rapid diagnostic tests, etc. Newer diagnostic approaches are being developed to overcome the limitations associated with some of theconventional detection methods. This review discusses diagnostic approaches currently available for detection of influenza viruses in humans.
Natural killer (NK) cells play a key role in antiviral innate defenses because of their abilities to kill infected cells and secrete regulatory cytokines. Additionally, NK cells exhibit adaptive memory-like antigen-specific responses, which represent a novel antiviral NK cell defense mechanism. Viruses have evolved various strategies to evade the recognition and destruction by NK cells through the downregulation of the NK cell activating receptors. Here, we review the recent findings on viral evasion of NK cells via the impairment of NK cell-activating receptors and ligands, which provide new insights on the relationship between NK cells and viral actions during persistent viral infections.
Marburg virus (MARV) was the first filovirus to be identified following an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever disease in Marburg, Germany in 1967. Due to several factors inherent to filoviruses, they are considered a potential bioweapon that could be disseminated via an aerosol route. Previous studies demonstrated that MARV virus-like particles (VLPs) containing the glycoprotein (GP), matrix protein VP40 and nucleoprotein (NP) generated using a baculovirus/insect cell expression system could protect macaques from subcutaneous (SQ) challenge with multiple species of marburgviruses. In the current study, the protective efficacy of the MARV VLPs in conjunction with two different adjuvants: QS-21, a saponin derivative, and poly I:C against homologous aerosol challenge was assessed in cynomolgus macaques. Antibody responses against the GP antigen were equivalent in all groups receiving MARV VLPs irrespective of the adjuvant; adjuvant only-vaccinated macaques did not demonstrate appreciable antibody responses. All macaques were subsequently challenged with lethal doses of MARV via aerosol or SQ as a positive control. All MARV VLP-vaccinated macaques survived either aerosol or SQ challenge while animals administered adjuvant only exhibited clinical signs and lesions consistent with MARV disease and were euthanized after meeting the predetermined criteria. Therefore, MARV VLPs induce IgG antibodies recognizing MARV GP and VP40 and protect cynomolgus macaques from an otherwise lethal aerosol exposure with MARV.
Non-Sanger-based novel nucleic acid sequencing techniques, referred to as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), provide a rapid, reliable, high-throughput, and massively parallel sequencing methodology that has improved our understanding of human cancers and cancer-related viruses. NGS has become a quintessential research tool for more effective characterization of complex viral and host genomes through its ever-expanding repertoire, which consists of whole-genome sequencing, whole-transcriptome sequencing, and whole-epigenome sequencing. These new NGS platforms provide a comprehensive and systematic genome-wide analysis of genomic sequences and a full transcriptional profile at a single nucleotide resolution. When combined, these techniques help unlock the function of novel genes and the related pathways that contribute to the overall viral pathogenesis. Ongoing research in the field of virology endeavors to identify the role of various underlying mechanisms that control the regulation of the herpesvirus biphasic lifecycle in order to discover potential therapeutic targets and treatment strategies. In this review, we have complied the most recent findings about the application of NGS in Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) biology, including identification of novel genomic features and whole-genome KSHV diversities, global gene regulatory network profiling for intricate transcriptome analyses, and surveying of epigenetic marks (DNA methylation, modified histones, and chromatin remodelers) during de novo, latent, and productive KSHV infections.
Enteroviruses such as poliovirus (PV) and coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) have evolved several parallel strategies to regulate cellular gene expression and stress responses to ensure efficient expression of the viral genome. Enteroviruses utilize their encoded proteinases to take over the cellular translation apparatus and direct ribosomes to viral mRNAs. In addition, viral proteinases are used to control and repress the two main types of cytoplasmic RNA granules, stress granules (SGs) and processing bodies (P-bodies, PBs), which are stress-responsive dynamic structures involved in repression of gene expression. This review discusses these processes and the current understanding of the underlying mechanisms with respect to enterovirus infections. In addition, the review discusses accumulating data suggesting linkage exists between RNA granule formation and innate immune sensing and activation.
Marburg virus causes severe and often lethal viral disease in humans, and there are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medical countermeasures. The sporadic occurrence of Marburg outbreaks does not allow for evaluation of countermeasures in humans, so therapeutic and vaccine candidates can only be approved through the FDA animal rule—a mechanism requiring well-characterized animal models in which efficacy would be evaluated. Here, we describe a natural history study where rhesus macaques were surgically implanted with telemetry devices and central venous catheters prior to aerosol exposure with Marburg-Angola virus, enablingcontinuous physiologic monitoring and blood sampling without anesthesia. After a three to four day incubation period, all animals developed fever, viremia, and lymphopenia before developing tachycardia, tachypnea, elevated liver enzymes, decreased liver function, azotemia, elevated D-dimer levels and elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines suggesting a systemic inflammatory response with organ failure. The final, terminal period began with the onset of sustained hypotension, dehydration progressed with signs of major organ hypoperfusion (hyperlactatemia, acute kidney injury, hypothermia), and ended with euthanasia or death. The most significant pathologic findings were marked infection of the respiratory lymphoid tissue with destruction of the tracheobronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes, and severe diffuse infection in the liver, and splenitis.
A Pseudorabies virus (PRV) variant has emerged in China since 2011 that is not protected by commercial vaccines, and has not been well studied. The PRV genome is large and difficult to manipulate, but it is feasible to use clustered, regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 technology. However, identification of single guide RNA (sgRNA) through screening is critical to the CRISPR/Cas9 system, and is traditionally time and labor intensive, and not suitable for rapid and high throughput screening of effective PRV sgRNAs. In this study, we developed a recombinant PRV strain expressing firefly luciferase and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) as a reporter virus for PRV-specific sgRNA screens and rapid evaluation of antiviral compounds. Luciferase activity was apparent as soon as 4 h after infection and was stably expressed through 10 passages. In a proof of the principle screen, we were able to identify several PRV specific sgRNAs and confirmed that they inhibited PRV replication using traditional methods. Using the reporter virus, we also identified PRV variants lacking US3, US2, and US9 gene function, and showed anti-PRV activity for chloroquine. Our results suggest that the reporter PRV strain will be a useful tool for basic virology studies, and for developing PRV control and prevention measures.
Different HCV subtypes may naturally harbor different resistance selection to anti-NS5a inhibitors. 2761 sequences retrieved from the Los Alamos HCV database were analyzed in the NS5a domain 1, the target of NS5a inhibitors. The NS5a resistance-associated polymorphisms (RAPs) were more frequently detected in HCV G1b compared to G1a. The prevalence of polymorphisms associated with cross-resistance to compounds in clinical use (daclatasvir, DCV, ledipasvir, LDV, ombitasvir, and OMV) or scheduled to come into clinical use in the near future (IDX719, elbasvir, and ELV) was higher in G1b compared to G1a (37/1552 (2.4%) in 1b sequences and 15/1209 (1.2%) in 1a isolates, p = 0.040). Interestingly, on the basis of the genotype-specific resistance pattern, 95 (6.1%) G1b sequences had L31M RAP to DCV/IDX719, while 6 sequences of G1a (0.5%) harbored L31M RAP, conferring resistance to DCV/LDV/IDX719/ELV (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.0001). Finally, 28 (2.3%) G1a and none of G1b isolates harbored M28V RAP to OMV (p aamp;amp;lt; 0.0001). In conclusion, the pattern of subtype-specific resistance selection in the naturally occurring strains may guide the treatment option in association with direct acting antivirals (DAAs) targeting different regions, particularly in patients that are difficult to cure, such as those with advanced liver disease or individuals who have failed previous DAAs.
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Interaction of viral envelope proteins with host cell membranes has been extensively investigated in a number of systems. However, the biological relevance of these interactions in vivo has been hampered by the absence of adequate animal models. Reverse genetics using the bovine leukemia virus (BLV) genome highlighted important functional domains of the envelope protein involved in the viral life cycle. For example, immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAM) of the envelope transmembrane protein (TM) are essential determinants of infection. Although cell fusion directed by the aminoterminal end of TM is postulated to be essential, some proviruses expressing fusion-deficient envelope proteins unexpectedly replicate at wild-type levels. Surprisingly also, a conserved N-linked glycosylation site of the extracellular envelope protein (SU) inhibits cell-to-cell transmission suggesting that infectious potential has been limited during evolution. In this review, we summarize the knowledge pertaining to the BLV envelope protein in the context of viral infection, replication and pathogenesis.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) has a curative potential for many hematologic malignancies and blood diseases. However, the success of allo-HSCT is limited by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), an immunological syndrome that involves inflammation and tissue damage mediated by donor lymphocytes. Despite immune suppression, GVHD is highly incident even after allo-HSCT using human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched donors. Therefore, alternative and more effective therapies are needed to prevent or control GVHD while preserving the beneficial graft-versus-cancer (GVC) effects against residual disease. Among novel therapeutics for GVHD, oncolytic viruses such as myxoma virus (MYXV) are receiving increased attention due to their dual role in controlling GVHD while preserving or augmenting GVC. This review focuses on the molecular basis of GVHD, as well as state-of-the-art advances in developing novel therapies to prevent or control GVHD while minimizing impact on GVC. Recent literature regarding conventional and the emerging therapies are summarized, with special emphasis on virotherapy to prevent GVHD. Recent advances using preclinical models with oncolytic viruses such as MYXV to ameliorate the deleterious consequences of GVHD, while maintaining or improving the anti-cancer benefits of GVC will be reviewed.
Mammalian retroviruses cause a variety of diseases in their hosts, including hematological and immunodeficiency disorders. Both human T-cell leukemia (HTLV) and human immunodeficiency (HIV) viruses originated from several independent zoonotic transmissions, indicating that cross-species transmissions from animal to humans may still occur. Thus, as the risk for retroviral transmissions from animals to humans increase, we investigated whether mammalian retroviruses are involved in selected pediatric idiopathic diseases whose symptoms evoke retroviral infections. Blood samples, sera, and synovial fluids, or bone marrow cells were collected from pediatric patients under 18 years of age with different autoimmune idiopathic diseases. Overall, we screened clinical samples from 110 children using sensitive nested and semi-nested PCR strategies targeting env genes, and a C-type retrovirus reverse transcriptase (RT) activity kit. All clinical samples were free of retroviral signatures, indicating the unlikelihood of an etiological role of the retroviruses we assessed in the pediatric diseases we tested.
Eight hundred and thirteen European rodents and shrews encompassing seven different species were screened for alphacoronaviruses using PCR detection. Novel alphacoronaviruses were detected in the species Rattus norvegicus, Microtus agrestis, Sorex araneus and Myodes glareolus. These, together with the recently described Lucheng virus found in China, form a distinct rodent/shrew-specific clade within the coronavirus phylogeny. Across a highly conserved region of the viral polymerase gene, the new members of this clade were up to 22% dissimilar at the nucleotide level to the previously described Lucheng virus. As such they might represent distinct species of alphacoronaviruses. These data greatly extend our knowledge of wildlife reservoirs of alphacoronaviruses.
The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein N (gN/UL49.5) is a type I transmembrane protein conserved throughout the herpesvirus family. gN is a resident of the endoplasmic reticulum that in the presence of gM is translocated to the trans Golgi network. gM and gN are covalently linked by a single disulphide bond formed between cysteine 46 of gN and cysteine 59 of gM. Exit of gN from the endoplasmic reticulum requires the N-terminal core of gM composed of eight transmembrane domains but is independent of the C-terminal extension of gM. Co-transport of gN and gM to the trans Golgi network also occurs upon replacement of conserved cysteines in gM and gN, suggesting that their physical interaction is mediated by covalent and non-covalent forces. Deletion of gN/UL49.5 using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) mutagenesis generated mutant viruses with wild-type growth behaviour, while full deletion of gM/UL10 resulted in an attenuated phenotype. Deletion of gN/UL49.5 in conjunction with various gM/UL10 mutants reduced average plaque sizes to the same extent as either single gM/UL10 mutant, indicating that gN is nonessential for the function performed by gM. We propose that gN functions in gM-dependent as well as gM-independent processes during which it is complemented by other viral factors.
The Picornaviridae family comprises a large group of non-enveloped viruses that have a major impact on human and veterinary health. The viral genome contains one open reading frame encoding a single polyprotein that can be processed by viral proteinases. The crucial 3C proteinases (3Cpros) of picornaviruses share similar spatial structures and it is becoming apparent that 3Cpro plays a significant role in the viral life cycle and virus host interaction. Importantly, the proteinase and RNA-binding activity of 3Cpro are involved in viral polyprotein processing and the initiation of viral RNA synthesis. In addition, 3Cpro can induce the cleavage of certain cellular factors required for transcription, translation and nucleocytoplasmic trafficking to modulate cell physiology for viral replication. Due to interactions between 3Cpro and these essential factors, 3Cpro is also involved in viral pathogenesis to support efficient infection. Furthermore, based on the structural conservation, the development of irreversible inhibitors and discovery of non-covalent inhibitors for 3Cpro are ongoing and a better understanding of the roles played by 3Cpro may provide insights into the development of potential antiviral treatments. In this review, the current knowledge regarding the structural features, multiple functions in the viral life cycle, pathogen host interaction, and development of antiviral compounds for 3Cpro is summarized.
In this article, we provide an overview of translational arrest in eukaryotic cells in response to stress and the tactics used specifically by alphaherpesviruses to overcome translational arrest. One consequence of translational arrest is the formation of cytoplasmic compartments called stress granules (SGs). Many viruses target SGs for disruption and/or modification, including the alphaherpesvirus herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Recently, it was discovered that HSV-2 disrupts SG formation early after infection via virion host shutoff protein (vhs), an endoribonuclease that is packaged within the HSV-2 virion. We review this discovery and discuss the insights it has provided into SG biology as well as its potential significance in HSV-2 infection. A model for vhs-mediated disruption of SG formation is presented.
Clonal expansion of human T-lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1) infected cells in vivo is well documented. Unlike human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), HTLV-1 plasma RNA is sparse. The contribution of the“mitotic” spread of HTLV-1 compared with infectious spread of the virus to HTLV-1 viral burden in established infection is uncertain. Since extrachromosomal long terminal repeat (LTR) DNA circles are indicators of viral replication in HIV-1 carriers with undetectable plasma HIV RNA, we hypothesised that HTLV-1 LTR circles could indicate reverse transcriptase (RT) usage and infectious activity. 1LTR and 2LTR DNA circles were measured in HTLV-1 cell lines and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of asymptomatic carriers (ACs) and patients with HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) or adult T cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATLL). 1LTR DNA circles were detected in 14/20 patients at a mean of 1.38/100 PBMC but did not differentiate disease status nor correlate with HTLV-1 DNA copies. 2LTR DNA circles were detected in 30/31 patients and at higher concentrations in patients with HTLV-1-associated diseases, independent of HTLV-1 DNA load. In an incident case the 2LTR DNA circle concentration increased 2.1 fold at the onset of HAM/TSP compared to baseline. Detectable and fluctuating levels of HTLV-1 DNA circles in patients indicate viral RT usage and virus replication. Our results indicate HTLV-1 viral replication capacity is maintained in chronic infection and may be associated with disease onset.
Different human papillomavirus (HPV) types are characterized by differences in tissue tropism and ability to promote cell proliferation and transformation. In addition, clinical and experimental studies have shown that some genetic variants/lineages of high-risk HPV (HR-HPV) types are characterized by increased oncogenic activity and probability to induce cancer. In this study, we designed and validated a new method based on multiplex PCR-deep sequencing of the E6/E7 region of HR-HPV types to characterize HPV intra-type variants in clinical specimens. Validation experiments demonstrated that this method allowed reliable identification of the different lineages of oncogenic HPV types. Advantages of this method over other published methods were represented by its ability to detect variants of all HR-HPV types in a single reaction, to detect variants of HR-HPV types in clinical specimens with multiple infections, and, being based on sequencing of the full E6/E7 region, to detect amino acid changes in these oncogenes potentially associated with increased transforming activity.
More than two thirds of emerging viruses are of zoonotic origin, and among them RNA viruses represent the majority. Ceratopogonidae (genus Culicoides) are well-known vectors of several viruses responsible for epizooties (bluetongue, epizootic haemorrhagic disease, etc.). They are also vectors of the only known virus infecting humans: the Oropouche virus. Female midges usually feed on a variety of hosts, leading to possible transmission of emerging viruses from animals to humans. In this context, we report here the analysis of RNA viral communities of Senegalese biting midges using next-generation sequencing techniques as a preliminary step toward the identification of potential viral biohazards. Sequencing of the RNA virome of three pools of Culicoides revealed the presence of a significant diversity of viruses infecting plants, insects and mammals. Several novel viruses were detected, including a novel Thogotovirus species, related but genetically distant from previously described tick-borne thogotoviruses. Novel rhabdoviruses were also detected, possibly constituting a novel Rhabdoviridae genus, and putatively restricted to insects. Sequences related to the major viruses transmitted by Culicoides, i.e., African horse sickness, bluetongue and epizootic haemorrhagic disease viruses were also detected. This study highlights the interest in monitoring the emergence and circulation of zoonoses and epizooties using their arthropod vectors.
In all eukaryotic cells, the nucleus forms a prominent cellular compartment containing the cell’s nuclear genome. Although structurally similar, animal and plant nuclei differ substantially in details of their architecture. One example is the nuclear lamina, a layer of tightly interconnected filament proteins (lamins) underlying the nuclear envelope of metazoans. So far no orthologous lamin genes could be detected in plant genomes and putative lamin-like proteins are only poorly described in plants. To probe for potentially conserved features of metazoan and plant nuclear envelopes, we ectopically expressed the core nuclear egress proteins of human cytomegalovirus pUL50 and pUL53 in plant cells. pUL50 localizes to the inner envelope of metazoan nuclei and recruits the nuclear localized pUL53 to it, forming heterodimers. Upon expression in plant cells, a very similar localization pattern of both proteins could be determined. Notably, pUL50 is specifically targeted to the plant nuclear envelope in a rim-like fashion, a location to which coexpressed pUL53 becomes strictly corecruited from its initial nucleoplasmic distribution. Using pUL50 as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screening, the cytoplasmic re-initiation supporting protein RISP could be identified. Interaction of pUL50 and RISP could be confirmed by coexpression and coimmunoprecipitation in mammalian cells and by confocal laser scanning microscopy in plant cells, demonstrating partial pUL50-RISP colocalization in areas of the nuclear rim and other intracellular compartments. Thus, our study provides strong evidence for conserved structural features of plant and metazoan nuclear envelops and identifies RISP as a potential pUL50-interacting plant protein.
In 2003, Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV) was discovered as parasitizing Acanthamoeba. It was revealed to exhibit remarkable features, especially odd genomic characteristics, and founded viral family Mimiviridae. Subsequently, a second family of giant amoebal viruses was described, Marseilleviridae, whose prototype member is Marseillevirus, discovered in 2009. Currently, the genomes of seven different members of this family have been fully sequenced. Previous phylogenetic analysis suggested the existence of three Marseilleviridae lineages: A, B and C. Here, we describe a new member of this family, Brazilian Marseillevirus (BrMV), which was isolated from a Brazilian sample and whose genome was fully sequenced and analyzed. Surprisingly, data from phylogenetic analyses and comparative genomics, including mean amino acid identity between BrMV and other Marseilleviridae members and the analyses of the core genome and pan-genome of marseilleviruses, indicated that this virus can be assigned to a new Marseilleviridae lineage. Even if the BrMV genome is one of the smallest among Marseilleviridae members, it harbors the second largest gene content into this family. In addition, the BrMV genome encodes 29 ORFans. Here, we describe the isolation and genome analyses of the BrMV strain, and propose its classification as the prototype virus of a new lineage D within the family Marseilleviridae.
Picornavirus’ genomic RNA is a positive-stranded RNA sequence that also serves as a template for translation and replication. Cellular microRNAs were reported to interfere to different extents with the replication of specific picornaviruses, mostly acting as inhibitors. However, owing to the high error rate of their RNA-dependent RNA-polymerases, picornavirus quasi-species are expected to evolve rapidly in order to lose any detrimental microRNA target sequence. We examined the genome of Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) for the presence of under-represented microRNA target sequences that could have been selected against during virus evolution. However, little evidence for such sequences was found in the genome of TMEV and introduction of the most under-represented microRNA target (miR-770-3p) in TMEV did not significantly affect viral replication in cells expressing this microRNA.To test the global impact of cellular microRNAs on viral replication, we designed a strategy based on short-term Dicer inactivation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Short-term Dicer inactivation led to a aamp;amp;gt;10-fold decrease in microRNA abundance and strongly increased replication of Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which was used as a microRNA-sensitive control virus. In contrast, Dicer inactivation did not increase TMEV replication. In conclusion, cellular microRNAs appear to exert little influence on Theiler’s virus fitness.
Due to the increasing amount of people afflicted worldwide with Chagas disease and an increasing prevalence in the United States, there is a greater need to develop a safe and effective vaccine for this neglected disease. Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) is the most common adenovirus vector used for gene therapy and vaccine approaches, but its efficacy is limited by preexisting vector immunity in humans resulting from natural infections. Therefore, we have employed rare serotype adenovirus 48 (Ad48) as an alternative choice for adenovirus/Chagas vaccine therapy. In this study, we modified Ad5 and Ad48 vectors to contain T. cruzi’s amastigote surface protein 2 (ASP-2) in the adenoviral early gene. We also modified Ad5 and Ad48 vectors to utilize the “Antigen Capsid-Incorporation” strategy by adding T. cruzi epitopes to protein IX (pIX). Mice that were immunized with the modified vectors were able to elicit T. cruzi-specific humoral and cellular responses. This study indicates that Ad48-modified vectors function comparable to or even premium to Ad5-modified vectors. This study provides novel data demonstrating that Ad48 can be used as a potential adenovirus vaccine vector against Chagas disease.
The tumorvirus human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a member of the delta-retrovirus family, is transmitted via cell-containing body fluids such as blood products, semen, and breast milk. In vivo, HTLV-1 preferentially infects CD4+ T-cells, and to a lesser extent, CD8+ T-cells, dendritic cells, and monocytes. Efficient infection of CD4+ T-cells requires cell-cell contacts while cell-free virus transmission is inefficient. Two types of cell-cell contacts have been described to be critical for HTLV-1 transmission, tight junctions and cellular conduits. Further, two non-exclusive mechanisms of virus transmission at cell-cell contacts have been proposed: (1) polarized budding of HTLV-1 into synaptic clefts; and (2) cell surface transfer of viral biofilms at virological synapses. In contrast to CD4+ T-cells, dendritic cells can be infected cell-free and, to a greater extent, via viral biofilms in vitro. Cell-to-cell transmission of HTLV-1 requires a coordinated action of steps in the virus infectious cycle with events in the cell-cell adhesion process; therefore, virus propagation from cell-to-cell depends on specific interactions between cellular and viral proteins. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms of HTLV-1 transmission with a focus on the HTLV-1-encoded proteins Tax and p8, their impact on host cell factors mediating cell-cell contacts, cytoskeletal remodeling, and thus, virus propagation.
Many viruses exploit specific arms of the endomembrane system. The unique composition of each arm prompts the development of remarkably specific interactions between viruses and sub-organelles. This review focuses on the viral–host interactions occurring on the endocytic recycling compartment (ERC), and mediated by its regulatory Ras-related in brain (Rab) GTPase Rab11. This protein regulates trafficking from the ERC and the trans-Golgi network to the plasma membrane. Such transport comprises intricate networks of proteins/lipids operating sequentially from the membrane of origin up to the cell surface. Rab11 is also emerging as a critical factor in an increasing number of infections by major animal viruses, including pathogens that provoke human disease. Understanding the interplay between the ERC and viruses is a milestone in human health. Rab11 has been associated with several steps of the viral lifecycles by unclear processes that use sophisticated diversified host machinery. For this reason, we first explore the state-of-the-art on processes regulating membrane composition and trafficking. Subsequently, this review outlines viral interactions with the ERC, highlighting current knowledge on viral-host binding partners. Finally, using examples from the few mechanistic studies available we emphasize how ERC functions are adjusted during infection to remodel cytoskeleton dynamics, innate immunity and membrane composition.
Iminosugars that are competitive inhibitors of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)α-glucosidases have been demonstrated to have antiviral activity against a diverse set of viruses. A novel iminosugar, UV-4B, has recently been shown to provide protection against lethal infections with dengue and influenza A (H1N1) viruses in mice. In the current study, the breadth of activity ofUV-4B against influenza was examined ex vivo and in vivo. Efficacy of UV-4B against influenza A and B viruses was shown in primary human bronchial epithelial cells, a principal target tissue for influenza. Efficacy of UV-4B against influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes) and influenza B was demonstrated using multiple lethal mouse models with readouts including mortality and weight loss. Clinical trials are ongoing to demonstrate safety of UV-4B and future studies to evaluate antiviral activity against influenza in humans are planned.
The presence of high molecular weight double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) within plant cells is an indicator of infection with RNA viruses as these possess genomic or replicative dsRNA. DECS (dsRNA isolation, exhaustive amplification, cloning, and sequencing) analysis has been shown to be capable of detecting unknown viruses. We postulated that a combination of DECS analysis and next-generation sequencing (NGS) would improve detection efficiency and usability of the technique. Here, we describe a model case in which we efficiently detected the presumed genome sequence of Blueberry shoestring virus (BSSV), a member of the genus Sobemovirus, which has not so far been reported. dsRNAs were isolated from BSSV-infected blueberry plants using the dsRNA-binding protein, reverse-transcribed, amplified, and sequenced using NGS. A contig of 4,020 nucleotides (nt) that shared similarities with sequences from other Sobemovirus species was obtained as a candidate of the BSSV genomic sequence. Reverse transcription (RT)-PCR primer sets based on sequences from this contig enabled the detection of BSSV in all BSSV-infected plants tested but not in healthy controls. A recombinant protein encoded by the putative coat protein gene was bound by the BSSV-antibody, indicating that the candidate sequence was that of BSSV itself. Our results suggest that a combination of DECS analysis and NGS, designated here as“DECS-C,” is a powerful method for detecting novel plant viruses.
The development of oncolytic viruses has led to an emerging new class of cancer therapeutics. Although the safety profile has been encouraging, the transition of oncolytic viruses to the clinical setting has been a slow process due to modifications. Therefore, a new generation of more potent oncolytic viruses needs to be exploited, following our better understanding of the complex interactions between the tumor, its microenvironment, the virus, and the host immune response. The conventional method for creation of tumor-targeted oncolytic viruses is based on homologous recombination. However, the creation of new mutant oncolytic viruses with large genomes remains a challenge due to the multi-step process and low efficiency of homologous recombination. The CRISPR-associated endonuclease Cas9 has hugely advanced the potential to edit the genomes of various organisms due to the ability of Cas9 to target a specific genomic site by a single guide RNA. In this review, we discuss the CRISPR-Cas9 system as an efficient viral editing method for the creation of new oncolytic viruses, as well as its potential future applications in the development of oncolytic viruses. Further, this review discusses the potential of off-target effects as well as CRISPR-Cas9 as a tool for basic research into viral biology.
We have generated defective Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Viruses (VHSV) which express either the green fluorescent protein (GFP) or a far-red fluorescent protein (mKate) by replacing the genes encoding the nucleoprotein N or the polymerase-associated P protein. To recover viable defective viruses, rVHSV-ΔN-Red and rVHSV-ΔP-Green, fish cells were co-transfected with both deleted cDNA VHSV genomes, together with plasmids expressing N, P and L of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. After one passage of the transfected cell supernatant, red and green cell foci were observed. Viral titer reached 107 PFU/mL after three passages. Infected cells were always red and green with the very rare event of single red or green cell foci appearing. To clarify our understanding of how such defective viruses could be so efficiently propagated, we investigated whether (i) a recombination event between both defective genomes had occurred, (ii) whether both genomes were co-encapsidated in a single viral particle, and (iii) whether both defective viruses were always replicated together through a complementation phenomenon or even as conglomerate. To address these hypotheses, genome and viral particles have been fully characterized and, thus, allowing us to conclude that rVHSV-ΔN-Red and rVHSV-ΔP-Green are independent viral particles which could propagate only by simultaneously infecting the same cells.
The plasma membrane protects the cell from its surroundings and regulates cellular communication, homing, and metabolism. Not surprisingly, the composition of this membrane is highly controlled through the vesicular trafficking of proteins to and from the cell surface. As intracellular pathogens, most viruses exploit the host plasma membrane to promote viral replication while avoiding immune detection. This is particularly true for the enveloped human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which assembles and obtains its lipid shell directly at the plasma membrane. HIV-1 encodes two proteins, negative factor (Nef) and viral protein U (Vpu), which function primarily by altering the quantity and localization of cell surface molecules to increase virus fitness despite host antiviral immune responses. These proteins are expressed at different stages in the HIV-1 life cycle and employ a variety of mechanisms to target both unique and redundant surface proteins, including the viral receptor CD4, host restriction factors, immunoreceptors, homing molecules, tetraspanins and membrane transporters. In this review, we discuss recent progress in the study of the Nef and Vpu targeting of host membrane proteins with an emphasis on how remodeling of the cell membrane allows HIV-1 to avoid host antiviral immune responses leading to the establishment of systemic and persistent infection.
Plant positive strand RNA viruses are intracellular infectious agents that take advantage of cellular lipids and membranes to support replication and protect viral RNA from degradation by host antiviral responses. In this review, we discuss how Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) co-opts lipid transfer proteins and modulates lipid metabolism and transport to facilitate the assembly of the membrane-bound viral replicase complexes within intricate replication compartments. Identification and characterization of the proviral roles of specific lipids and proteins involved in lipid metabolism based on results from yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) model host and cell-free approaches are discussed. The review also highlights the advantage of using liposomes with chemically defined composition to identify specific lipids required for TBSV replication. Remarkably, all the known steps in TBSV replication are dependent on cellular lipids and co-opted membranes.
Environmental genomics can describe all forms of organisms—cellular and viral—present in a community. The analysis of such eco-systems biology data relies heavily on reference databases, e.g., taxonomy or gene function databases. Reference databases of symbiosis sensu lato, although essential for the analysis of organism interaction networks, are lacking. By mining existing databases and literature, we here provide a comprehensive and manually curated database of taxonomic links between viruses and their cellular hosts.
We report on the isolation of a novel fusogenic orthoreovirus from bat flies (Eucampsipoda africana) associated with Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) collected in South Africa. Complete sequences of the ten dsRNA genome segments of the virus, tentatively named Mahlapitsi virus (MAHLV), were determined. Phylogenetic analysis places this virus into a distinct clade with Baboon orthoreovirus, Bush viper reovirus and the bat-associated Broome virus. All genome segments of MAHLV contain a 5' terminal sequence (5'-GGUCA) that is unique to all currently described viruses of the genus. The smallest genome segment is bicistronic encoding for a 14 kDa protein similar to p14 membrane fusion protein of Bush viper reovirus and an 18 kDa protein similar to p16 non-structural protein of Baboon orthoreovirus. This is the first report on isolation of an orthoreovirus from an arthropod host associated with bats, and phylogenetic and sequence data suggests that MAHLV constitutes a new species within the Orthoreovirus genus.
BST-2/tetherin blocks the release of various enveloped viruses including HIV-1 with a“physical tethering” model. The detailed contribution of N-linked glycosylation to this model is controversial. Here, we confirmed that mutation of glycosylation sites exerted an effect of post-translational mis-trafficking, leading to an accumulation of BST-2 at intracellular CD63-positive vesicles. BST-2 with this phenotype potently inhibited the release of multivesicular body-targeted HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus, without affecting the co-localization of BST-2 with EEA1 and LAMP1. These results suggest that N-linked glycosylation of human BST-2 is dispensable for intracellular virion retention and imply that this recently discovered intracellular tethering function may be evolutionarily distinguished from the canonical antiviral function of BST-2 by tethering nascent virions at the cell surface.
Most of the oncolytic herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) exhibit a high safety profile achieved through attenuation. They carry defects in virulence proteins that antagonize host cell response to the virus, including innate response, apoptosis, authophagy, and depend on tumor cell proliferation. They grow robustly in cancer cells, provided that these are deficient in host cell responses, which is often the case. To overcome the attenuation limits, a strategy is to render the virus highly cancer-specific, e.g., by retargeting their tropism to cancer-specific receptors, and detargeting from natural receptors. The target we selected is HER-2, overexpressed in breast, ovarian and other cancers. Entry of wt-HSV requires the essential glycoproteins gD, gH/gL and gB. Here, we reviewed that oncolytic HSV retargeting was achieved through modifications in gD: the addition of a single-chain antibody (scFv) to HER-2 coupled with appropriate deletions to remove part of the natural receptors’ binding sites. Recently, we showed that also gH/gL can be a retargeting tool. The insertion of an scFv to HER-2 at the gH N-terminus, coupled with deletions in gD, led to a recombinant capable to use HER-2 as the sole receptor. The retargeted oncolytic HSVs can be administered systemically by means of carrier cells-forcedly-infected mesenchymal stem cells. Altogether, the retargeted oncolytic HSVs are highly cancer-specific and their replication is not dependent on intrinsic defects of the tumor cells. They might be further modified to express immunomodulatory molecules.
Parvovirus B19 (B19V) is known as the human pathogen causing the mild childhood disease erythema infectiosum. B19V shows an extraordinary narrow tissue tropism for erythroid progenitor cells in the bone marrow, which is determined by a highly restricted uptake. We have previously shown that the specific internalization is mediated by the interaction of the viral protein 1 unique region (VP1u) with a yet unknown cellular receptor. To locate the receptor-binding domain (RBD) within the VP1u, we analyzed the effect of truncations and mutations on the internalization capacity of the recombinant protein into UT7/Epo cells. Here we report that the N-terminal amino acids 5–80 of the VP1u are necessary and sufficient for cellular binding and internalization; thus, this N-terminal region represents the RBD required for B19V uptake. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we further identified a cluster of important amino acids playing a critical role in VP1u internalization. In silico predictions and experimental results suggest that the RBD is structured as a rigid fold of three α-helices. Finally, we found that dimerization of the VP1u leads to a considerably enhanced cellular binding and internalization. Taken together, we identified the RBD that mediates B19V uptake and mapped functional and structural motifs within this sequence. The findings reveal insights into the uptake process of B19V, which contribute to understand the pathogenesis of the infection and the neutralization of the virus by the immune system.
Genomic sequences of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) have been of interest because the virus is associated with cancers, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and conditions such as infectious mononucleosis. The progress of whole-genome EBV sequencing has been limited by the inefficiency and cost of the first-generation sequencing technology. With the advancement of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and target enrichment strategies, increasing number of EBV genomes has been published. These genomes were sequenced using different approaches, either with or without EBV DNA enrichment. This review provides an overview of the EBV genomes published to date, and a description of the sequencing technology and bioinformatic analyses employed in generating these sequences. We further explored ways through which the quality of sequencing data can be improved, such as using DNA oligos for capture hybridization, and longer insert size and read length in the sequencing runs. These advances will enable large-scale genomic sequencing of EBV which will facilitate a better understanding of the genetic variations of EBV in different geographic regions and discovery of potentially pathogenic variants in specific diseases.
The slow rate of adsorption and non-synchronous release of some archaeal viruses have hindered more thorough analyses of the mechanisms of archaeal virus release. To address this deficit, we utilized four viruses that infect Haloarcula hispanica that represent the four virion morphotypes currently known for halophilic euryarchaeal viruses: (1) icosahedral internal membrane-containing SH1; (2) icosahedral tailed HHTV-1; (3) spindle-shaped His1; and (4) pleomorphic His2. To discern the events occurring as the progeny viruses exit, we monitored culture turbidity, as well as viable cell and progeny virus counts of infected and uninfected cultures. In addition to these traditional metrics, we measured three parameters associated with membrane integrity: the binding of the lipophilic anion phenyldicarbaundecaborane, oxygen consumption, and both intra- and extra-cellular ATP levels.
Human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) Rex is a viral RNA binding protein. The most important and well-known function of Rex is stabilizing and exporting viral mRNAs from the nucleus, particularly for unspliced/partially-spliced mRNAs encoding the structural proteins essential for viral replication. Without Rex, these unspliced viral mRNAs would otherwise be completely spliced. Therefore, Rex is vital for the translation of structural proteins and the stabilization of viral genomic RNA and, thus, for viral replication. Rex schedules the period of extensive viral replication and suppression to enter latency. Although the importance of Rex in the viral life-cycle is well understood, the underlying molecular mechanism of how Rex achieves its function has not been clarified. For example, how does Rex protect unspliced/partially-spliced viral mRNAs from the host cellular splicing machinery? How does Rex protect viral mRNAs, antigenic to eukaryotic cells, from cellular mRNA surveillance mechanisms? Here we will discuss these mechanisms, which explain the function of Rex as an organizer of HTLV-1 expression based on previously and recently discovered aspects of Rex. We also focus on the potential influence of Rex on the homeostasis of the infected cell and how it can exert its function.
Research on human enteroviruses has resulted in the identification of more than 100 enterovirus types, which use more than 10 protein receptors and/or attachment factors required in cell binding and initiation of the replication cycle. Many of these“viral” receptors are overexpressed in cancer cells. Receptor binding and the ability to replicate in specific target cells define the tropism and pathogenesis of enterovirus types, because cellular infection often results in cytolytic response, i.e., disruption of the cells. Viral tropism and cytolytic properties thus make native enteroviruses prime candidates for oncolytic virotherapy. Copy DNA cloning and modification of enterovirus genomes have resulted in the generation of enterovirus vectors with properties that are useful in therapy or in vaccine trials where foreign antigenic epitopes are expressed from or on the surface of the vector virus. The small genome size and compact particle structure, however, set limits to enterovirus genome modifications. This review focuses on the therapeutic use of native and recombinant enteroviruses and the methods that have been applied to modify enterovirus genomes for therapy.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), a member of Alphacoronavirus, has caused huge economic losses for the global pork industry recently. The spike (S) protein mediates PEDV entry into host cells. Herein, we investigated the interactions between the S protein and its receptor porcine aminopeptidase N (pAPN) or co-receptor sugars. The C-terminal domain (CTD) of the S1 domain is bound to pAPN. The prototype strain demonstrated similar receptor-binding activity compared with the variant field isolate. Three loops at the tips of theβ-barrel domains did not play crucial roles in the PEDV S-pAPN association, indicating that PEDV conforms to a different receptor recognition model compared with transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), porcine respiratory CoV (PRCV), and human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63). The N-terminal domain (NTD) of the PEDV S1 domain could bind sugar, a possible co-receptor for PEDV. The prototype strain exhibited weaker sugar-binding activity compared with the variant field isolate. Strategies targeting the receptor binding domain (RBD) may be helpful for developing vaccines or antiviral drugs for PEDV. Understanding the differences in receptor binding between the prototype and the variant strains may provide insight into PEDV pathogenesis.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection induces autophagy and apoptosis. These cellular responses could be connected with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. It remains unknown if PCV2 induces ER stress and if autophagy or apoptosis is primary to PCV2 infection or secondary responses following ER stress. Here, we demonstrate that PCV2 triggered unfolded protein response (UPR) in PK-15 cells by activating the PERK/eIF2α pathway without concomitant activation of IRE1 or ATF6. Since ATF4 and CHOP were induced later than PERK/eIF2α, it is clear that persistent PCV2 infection could lead to selective activation of PERK via the PERK-eIF2α-ATF4-CHOP axis. Therefore, PERK activation could be part of the pro-apoptoticsignaling via induced expression of CHOP by PCV2. Since PERK inhibition by GSK2606414 or RNA silencing or suppression of eIF2α dephosphorylation by salubrinal limited viral replication, we suppose that PCV2 deploys UPR to enhance its replication. Over-expression of GRP78 or treatment with tauroursodeoxycholic acid could enhance viral capsid expression and/or viral titers, indicating that these chaperones, endogenous or exogenous, could help correct folding of viral proteins. Our findings provide the first evidence that ER stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of PCV2 infection probably as part of autophagic and apoptotic responses.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 12 viral microRNAs (miRNAs) that are expressed during latency. Research into KSHV miRNA function has suffered from a lack of genetic systems to study viral miRNA mutations in the context of the viral genome. We used the Escherichia coli Red recombination system together with a new bacmid background, BAC16, to create mutants for all known KSHV miRNAs. The specific miRNA deletions or mutations and the integrity of the bacmids have been strictly quality controlled using PCR, restriction digestion, and sequencing. In addition, stable viral producer cell lines based on iSLK cells have been created for wildtype KSHV, for 12 individual miRNA knock-out mutants (ΔmiR-K12-1 through -12), and for mutants deleted for 10 of 12 (ΔmiR-cluster) or all 12 miRNAs (ΔmiR-all). NGS, in combination with SureSelect technology, was employed to sequence the entire latent genome within all producer cell lines. qPCR assays were used to verify the expression of the remaining viral miRNAs in a subset of mutants. Induction of the lytic cycle leads to efficient production of progeny viruses that have been used to infect endothelial cells. Wt BAC16 and miR mutant iSLK producer cell lines are now available to the research community.
Virus discovery from high throughput sequencing data often follows a bottom-up approach where taxonomic annotation takes place prior to association to disease. Albeit effective in some cases, the approach fails to detect novel pathogens and remote variants not present in reference databases. We have developed a species independent pipeline that utilises sequence clustering for the identification of nucleotide sequences that co-occur across multiple sequencing data instances. We applied the workflow to 686 sequencing libraries from 252 cancer samples of different cancer and tissue types, 32 non-template controls, and 24 test samples. Recurrent sequences were statistically associated to biological, methodological or technical features with the aim to identify novel pathogens or plausible contaminants that may associate to a particular kit or method. We provide examples of identified inhabitants of the healthy tissue flora as well as experimental contaminants. Unmapped sequences that co-occur with high statistical significance potentially represent the unknown sequence space where novel pathogens can be identified.
West Nile virus (WNV) strains may differ significantly in neuroinvasiveness in vertebrate hosts. In contrast to genetic lineage 1 WNVs, molecular determinants of pathogenic lineage 2 strains have not been experimentally confirmed so far. A full-length infectious clone of a neurovirulent WNV lineage 2 strain (578/10; Central Europe) was generated and amino acid substitutions that have been shown to attenuate lineage 1 WNVs were introduced into the nonstructural proteins (NS1 (P250L), NS2A (A30P), NS3 (P249H) NS4B (P38G, C102S, E249G)). The mouse neuroinvasive phenotype of each mutant virus was examined following intraperitoneal inoculation of C57BL/6 mice. Only the NS1-P250L mutation was associated with a significant attenuation of virulence in mice compared to the wild-type. Multiplication kinetics in cell culture revealed significantly lower infectious virus titres for the NS1 mutant compared to the wild-type, as well as significantly lower amounts of positive and negative stranded RNA.
Infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) is an orthomyxovirus infecting salmonid fish. The virus is adapted to low temperature and has a replication optimum between 10–15 °C. In this study the subcellular localization and protein interactions for the protein encoded by the largest open reading frame of gene segment 8 (s8ORF2) were investigated. In ISAV infected cells the s8ORF2 protein was found mainly in the cytosol but a minor fraction of cells expressed the protein in the nucleus as well. Green fluorescent protein-tagged s8ORF2 did not leak out of the cell when the plasma membrane was permeabilized, suggesting interactions with intracellular structural components. The s8ORF2 protein exists both as monomer and homodimer, and co-immunoprecipitation experiments strongly suggests it binds to the ISAV fusion-, nucleo- and matrix proteins. Two versions of s8ORF2 were detected with apparent molecular weights of 24–26 and 35 kDa in lysates of infected cells. The 35 kDa type is an early viral protein while the smaller version appears during the later phases of infection. The 24–26 kDa type was also the predominant form in viral particles. The s8ORF2 protein has previously been shown to bind RNA and interfere with interferon induction and signaling. Here we found that a fraction of the s8ORF2 protein pool in infected cells is likely to be conjugated to the interferon stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) and ubiquitin. Furthermore, several endogenous proteins pulled down by the s8ORF2 protein were identified by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS).