Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne arthralgia arbovirus that is reemergent in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. CHIKV infection has been shown to be self-limiting, but the molecular mechanisms of the innate immune response that control CHIKV replication remain undefined. Here, longitudinal transcriptional analyses of PBMCs from a cohort of CHIKV-infected patients revealed that type I IFNs controlled CHIKV infection via RSAD2 (which encodes viperin), an enigmatic multifunctional IFN-stimulated gene (ISG). Viperin was highly induced in monocytes, the major target cell of CHIKV in blood. Anti-CHIKV functions of viperin were dependent on its localization in the ER, and the N-terminal amphipathic α-helical domain was crucial for its antiviral activity in controlling CHIKV replication. Furthermore, mice lacking Rsad2 had higher viremia and severe joint inflammation compared with wild-type mice. Our data demonstrate that viperin is a critical antiviral host protein that controls CHIKV infection and provide a preclinical basis for the design of effective control strategies against CHIKV and other reemerging arthrogenic alphaviruses.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthritogenic member of the Alphavirus genus (family Togaviridae) transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. CHIKV is now known to target non hematopoietic cells such as epithelial, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and to less extent monocytes/macrophages. The type I interferon (IFN) response is an early innate immune mechanism that protects cells against viral infection. Cells express different pattern recognition receptors (including TLR7 and RIG-I) to sense viruses and to induce production of type I IFNs which in turn will bind to their receptor. This should result in the phosphorylation and translocation of STAT molecules into the nucleus to promote the transcription of IFN-stimulated antiviral genes (ISGs). We herein tested the capacity of CHIKV clinical isolate to infect two different human fibroblast cell lines HS 633T and HT-1080 and we analyzed the resulting type I IFN innate immune response.
Indirect immunofluorescence and quantitative RT-PCR were used to test for the susceptibility of both fibroblast cell lines to CHIKV.
Interestingly, the two fibroblast cell lines HS 633T and HT-1080 were differently susceptible to CHIKV infection and the former producing at least 30-fold higher viral load at 48 h post-infection (PI). We found that the expression of antiviral genes (RIG-I, IFN-β, ISG54 and ISG56) was more robust in the more susceptible cell line HS 633T at 48 h PI. Moreover, CHIKV was shown to similarly interfere with the nuclear translocation of pSTAT1 in both cell lines.
Critically, CHIKV can control the IFN response by preventing the nuclear translocation of pSTAT1 in both fibroblast cell lines. Counter-intuitively, the relative resistance of HT-1080 cells to CHIKV infection could not be attributed to more robust innate IFN- and ISG-dependent antiviral responses. These cell lines may prove to be valuable models to screen for novel mechanisms mobilized differentially by fibroblasts to control CHIKV infection, replication and spreading from cell to cell.
CHIKV; Type I IFN; HS 633T; HT-1080; RIG-I; TLR7; STAT-1
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that induces in humans a disease characterized by fever, rash, and pain in muscles and joints. The recent emergence or reemergence of CHIKV in the Indian Ocean Islands and India has stressed the need to better understand the pathogenesis of this disease. Previous CHIKV disease models have used young or immunodeficient mice, but these do not recapitulate human disease patterns and are unsuitable for testing immune-based therapies. Herein, we describe what we believe to be a new model for CHIKV infection in adult, immunocompetent cynomolgus macaques. CHIKV infection in these animals recapitulated the viral, clinical, and pathological features observed in human disease. In the macaques, long-term CHIKV infection was observed in joints, muscles, lymphoid organs, and liver, which could explain the long-lasting CHIKV disease symptoms observed in humans. In addition, the study identified macrophages as the main cellular reservoirs during the late stages of CHIKV infection in vivo. This model of CHIKV physiopathology should allow the development of new therapeutic and/or prophylactic strategies.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging alphavirus that has caused significant disease in the Indian Ocean region since 2005. During this outbreak, in addition to fever, rash and arthritis, severe cases of CHIKV infection have been observed in infants. Challenging the notion that the innate immune response in infants is immature or defective, we demonstrate that both human infants and neonatal mice generate a robust type I interferon (IFN) response during CHIKV infection that contributes to, but is insufficient for, the complete control of infection. To characterize the mechanism by which type I IFNs control CHIKV infection, we evaluated the role of ISG15 and defined it as a central player in the host response, as neonatal mice lacking ISG15 were profoundly susceptible to CHIKV infection. Surprisingly, UbE1L−/− mice, which lack the ISG15 E1 enzyme and therefore are unable to form ISG15 conjugates, displayed no increase in lethality following CHIKV infection, thus pointing to a non-classical role for ISG15. No differences in viral loads were observed between wild-type (WT) and ISG15−/− mice, however, a dramatic increase in proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines was observed in ISG15−/− mice, suggesting that the innate immune response to CHIKV contributes to their lethality. This study provides new insight into the control of CHIKV infection, and establishes a new model for how ISG15 functions as an immunomodulatory molecule in the blunting of potentially pathologic levels of innate effector molecules during the host response to viral infection.
Type I interferon plays a critical role in the host defense to viral infection. Signaling through the type I IFN receptor allows for the induction of hundreds of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) that generate an antiviral state within host cells. The ubiquitin-like molecule ISG15 has been shown to play an important role during multiple viral infections, including influenza virus infection. To date, the ability of ISG15 to protect against viral infection has been shown to be dependent on its ability to covalently bind (or conjugate) to target proteins, including the binding of viral proteins. We investigated the importance of the type I interferon response and ISG15 conjugation in a neonatal model of Chikungunya virus infection, a re-emerging human pathogen in the Indian Ocean region. Remarkably, the role of ISG15 during CHIKV infection appears to be conjugation independent, suggesting a non-classical role for ISG15 during viral infection. Our data also suggests that ISG15 plays an immunoregulatory role, as opposed to having direct antiviral function. Our CHIKV model may provide an opportunity to identify a novel mechanism by which ISG15 contributes to the innate immune response to viral infection.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging human pathogen transmitted by mosquitoes. Like that of other alphaviruses, CHIKV replication causes general host shutoff, leading to severe cytopathicity in mammalian cells, and inhibits the ability of infected cells to respond to interferon (IFN). Recent research, however, suggests that alphaviruses may have additional mechanisms to circumvent the host's antiviral IFN response. Here we show that CHIKV replication is resistant to inhibition by interferon once RNA replication has been established and that CHIKV actively suppresses the antiviral IFN response by preventing IFN-induced gene expression. Both CHIKV infection and CHIKV replicon RNA replication efficiently blocked STAT1 phosphorylation and/or nuclear translocation in mammalian cells induced by either type I or type II IFN. Expression of individual CHIKV nonstructural proteins (nsPs) showed that nsP2 was a potent inhibitor of IFN-induced JAK-STAT signaling. In addition, mutations in CHIKV-nsP2 (P718S) and Sindbis virus (SINV)-nsP2 (P726S) that render alphavirus replicons noncytopathic significantly reduced JAK-STAT inhibition. This host shutoff-independent inhibition of IFN signaling by CHIKV is likely to have an important role in viral pathogenesis.
Background. Rapidly spreading to new regions, including the islands of the Indian Ocean, Central Africa, and Europe, Chikungunya fever is becoming a major problem of public health. Unlike other members of the alphavirus genus, immune responses to Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) have been poorly investigated.
Methods. We conducted a large ex vivo multiplex study of 50 cytokine, chemokine, and growth factor plasma profiles in 69 acutely infected patients from the Gabonese outbreak of 2007. We also assessed a phenotypic study of T lymphocyte responses during human acute CHIKV infection.
Results. CHIKV infection in humans elicited strong innate immunity involving the production of numerous proinflammatory mediators. Interestingly, high levels of Interferon (IFN) α were consistently found. Production of interleukin (IL) 4, IL-10, and IFN-γ suggested the engagement of the adaptive immunity. This was confirmed by flow cytometry of circulating T lymphocytes that showed a CD8+ T lymphocyte response in the early stages of the disease, and a CD4+ T lymphocyte mediated response in the later stages. For the first time to our knowledge, we found evidence of CD95-mediated apoptosis of CD4+ T lymphocytes during the first 2 days after symptoms onset, ex vivo.
Conclusions. Together, our findings suggest that strong innate immunity is required to control CHIKV infection.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito transmitted alphavirus that recently caused several large scale outbreaks/epidemics of arthritic disease in tropics of Africa, Indian Ocean basin and South-East Asia. This re-emergence event was facilitated by genetic adaptation (E1-A226V substitution) of CHIKV to a newly significant mosquito vector for this virus; Aedes albopictus. However, the molecular mechanism explaining the positive effect of the E1-A226V mutation on CHIKV fitness in this vector remains largely unknown. Previously we demonstrated that the E1-A226V substitution is also associated with attenuated CHIKV growth in cells depleted by cholesterol.
In this study, using a panel of CHIKV clones that varies in sensitivity to cholesterol, we investigated the possible relationship between cholesterol dependence and Ae. albopictus infectivity.
We demonstrated that there is no clear mechanistic correlation between these two phenotypes. We also showed that the E1-A226V mutation increases the pH dependence of the CHIKV fusion reaction; however, subsequent genetic analysis failed to support an association between CHIKV dependency on lower pH, and mosquito infectivity phenotypes.
the E1-A226V mutation probably acts at different steps of the CHIKV life cycle, affecting multiple functions of the virus.
Chikungunya virus; Aedes albopictus; cholesterol; pH threshold of fusion
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a mosquito-borne alphavirus, has traditionally circulated in Africa and Asia, causing human febrile illness accompanied by severe, chronic joint pain. In Africa, epidemic emergence of CHIKV involves the transition from an enzootic, sylvatic cycle involving arboreal mosquito vectors and nonhuman primates, into an urban cycle where peridomestic mosquitoes transmit among humans. In Asia, however, CHIKV appears to circulate only in the endemic, urban cycle. Recently, CHIKV emerged into the Indian Ocean and the Indian subcontinent to cause major epidemics. To examine patterns of CHIKV evolution and the origins of these outbreaks, as well as to examine whether evolutionary rates that vary between enzootic and epidemic transmission, we sequenced the genomes of 40 CHIKV strains and performed a phylogenetic analysis representing the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. We inferred that extant CHIKV strains evolved from an ancestor that existed within the last 500 years and that some geographic overlap exists between two main enzootic lineages previously thought to be geographically separated within Africa. We estimated that CHIKV was introduced from Africa into Asia 70 to 90 years ago. The recent Indian Ocean and Indian subcontinent epidemics appear to have emerged independently from the mainland of East Africa. This finding underscores the importance of surveillance to rapidly detect and control African outbreaks before exportation can occur. Significantly higher rates of nucleotide substitution appear to occur during urban than during enzootic transmission. These results suggest fundamental differences in transmission modes and/or dynamics in these two transmission cycles.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus responsible for numerous epidemics throughout Africa and Asia, causing infectious arthritis and reportedly linked with fatal infections in newborns and elderly. Previous studies in animal models indicate that humoral immunity can protect against CHIKV infection, but despite the potential efficacy of B-cell-driven intervention strategies, there are no virus-specific vaccines or therapies currently available. In addition, CHIKV has been reported to elicit long-lasting virus-specific IgM in humans, and to establish long-term persistence in non-human primates, suggesting that the virus might evade immune defenses to establish chronic infections in man. However, the mechanisms of immune evasion potentially employed by CHIKV remain uncharacterized. We previously described two human monoclonal antibodies that potently neutralize CHIKV infection. In the current report, we have characterized CHIKV mutants that escape antibody-dependent neutralization to identify the CHIKV E2 domain B and fusion loop “groove” as the primary determinants of CHIKV interaction with these antibodies. Furthermore, for the first time, we have also demonstrated direct CHIKV cell-to-cell transmission, as a mechanism that involves the E2 domain A and that is associated with viral resistance to antibody-dependent neutralization. Identification of CHIKV sub-domains that are associated with human protective immunity, will pave the way for the development of CHIKV-specific sub-domain vaccination strategies. Moreover, the clear demonstration of CHIKV cell-to-cell transmission and its possible role in the establishment of CHIKV persistence, will also inform the development of future anti-viral interventions. These data shed new light on CHIKV-host interactions that will help to combat human CHIKV infection and inform future studies of CHIKV pathogenesis.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted by mosquito bites and causes a febrile disease that is often characterized by persistent joint pain. Until recently, CHIKV outbreaks were limited to tropical areas of Africa and Asia. However, since 2007, following a large CHIKV epidemic in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia, CHIKV has also been reported in temperate European regions. As mosquito habitats expand, virus dissemination may become more prevalent, but there are currently no vaccines or CHIKV-specific treatments available. We previously described two human antibodies that potently block cellular CHIKV infection. In the current report, we have characterized CHIKV mutants that escape neutralization to identify sub-domains of the virus envelope which are involved in CHIKV interaction with these antibodies, thereby opening the door for the development of CHIKV-specific sub-domain vaccination strategies. For the first time, we have also demonstrated that CHIKV can be directly transmitted between cells, bypassing transport through the extra-cellular space. This mode of dissemination, which is associated with viral resistance to antibody neutralization, may play a critical role in the establishment of persistent CHIKV infection. Together, these findings will aid the design of new strategies to combat CHIKV infection and will inform future studies of CHIKV pathogenesis.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus (genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae) that has recently caused disease outbreaks in the Indian Ocean basin and southern Europe. These outbreaks could be associated with a possible shift in primary vector from Aedes aegypti to Ae. albopictus. To evaluate vector competence differences in possible CHIKV vectors, we evaluated the dose-dependant susceptibility of Florida strains of Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti for infection with a La Réunion island strain of CHIKV. Pledget and water-jacketed membrane feeding systems were also evaluated. We show that both Aedes spp. were susceptible to the highest CHIKV doses, whereas only Ae. albopictus developed disseminated infections after exposure to the two lowest doses. Infection rates for both mosquito species were significantly affected by the bloodmeal delivery method used. This information is important in assessing risk of an outbreak of imported CHIKV in the United States, in determining differences in vectorial capacity of these two vector species, and in evaluating arbovirus delivery methods in the laboratory.
arbovirus; viremia; vector competence; vectorial capacity; blood feeding
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that in humans causes an acute febrile illness characterized by fever, arthralgia, and rash. It is currently associated with large outbreaks in Asia, Africa, and islands of the Indian Ocean and has been introduced from these tropical regions into Europe, where local transmission has been recorded on two occasions. The underlying basis of the pathogenesis of CHIKV and related alphaviruses that produce similar symptoms remains unclear. By applying new techniques, for example, in vivo imaging in live animals and arthropods, we may improve our understanding of viral pathogenesis in vertebrates and viral replication in mosquitoes. This technical report describes the evaluation of a CHIKV–luciferase clone to visualize infection and dissemination in both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes and mice. In mosquitoes, luciferase activity was seen at 3 and 7 days post-infection in both head and abdomens. In vivo imaging of CHIKV–luciferase was detected in mice for up to 5 days post-infection at the site of inoculation with limited dissemination to the skeletal muscle.
Chikungunya; Alphavirus; Luciferase; Mosquito
The emerging arthritogenic, mosquito-borne chikungunya virus (CHIKV) causes severe disease in humans and represents a serious public health threat in countries where Aedes spp mosquitoes are present. This study describes for the first time the successful production of CHIKV virus-like particles (VLPs) in insect cells using recombinant baculoviruses. This well-established expression system is rapidly scalable to volumes required for epidemic responses and proved well suited for processing of CHIKV glycoproteins and production of enveloped VLPs. Herein we show that a single immunization with 1 µg of non-adjuvanted CHIKV VLPs induced high titer neutralizing antibody responses and provided complete protection against viraemia and joint inflammation upon challenge with the Réunion Island CHIKV strain in an adult wild-type mouse model of CHIKV disease. CHIKV VLPs produced in insect cells using recombinant baculoviruses thus represents as a new, safe, non-replicating and effective vaccine candidate against CHIKV infections.
Viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes represent major threats for human health all over the world. One of these viruses is the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). CHIKV is transmitted by the Asian Tiger mosquito, which is making ground to more temperate regions such as Europe, and thereby increasing the risk of CHIKV infections. The virus causes severe fevers and long lasting joint pains. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to combat CHIKV infections. This study describes the development of a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine against CHIKV infections, which is produced in insect cells. VLPs are structurally identical to the wild type virus, but these particles cannot replicate due to the absence of the viral genome. The CHIKV VLPs that were produced using the baculovirus-insect cell expression system, were correctly produced and mimic live CHIKV in structural organisation and protein function. Interestingly, a single administration of a low dose (1 µg/mouse) of non-adjuvanted VLPs induced robust neutralizing antibody titers and provided complete protection upon CHIKV challenge against viraemia and disease symptoms. This new effective, safe and scalable vaccine candidate represents a step forward in the prevention of CHIKV infections.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an arthritogenic alphavirus, is transmitted to humans by infected Aedes (Ae.) aegypti and Ae.albopictus mosquitoes. In the study, reverse-transcription PCR (RT PCR) and virus isolation detected CHIKV in patient samples and also in adult Ae.albopictus mosquitoes that was derived from larvae collected during a chikungunya (CHIK) outbreak in Kerala in 2009. The CHIKV strains involved in the outbreak were the East, Central and South African (ECSA) genotype that had the E1 A226V mutation. The viral strains from the mosquitoes and CHIK patients from the same area showed a close relationship based on phylogenetic analysis. Genetic characterization by partial sequencing of non-structural protein 2 (nsP2; 378 bp), envelope E1 (505 bp) and E2 (428 bp) identified one critical mutation in the E2 protein coding region of these CHIKV strains. This novel, non-conservative mutation, L210Q, consistently present in both human and mosquito-derived samples studied, was within the region of the E2 protein (amino acids E2 200-220) that determines mosquito cell infectivity in many alpha viruses. Our results show the involvement of Ae. albopictus in this outbreak in Kerala and appearance of CHIKV with novel genetic changes. Detection of virus in adult mosquitoes, emerged in the laboratory from larvae, also points to the possibility of transovarial transmission (TOT) of mutant CHIKV strains in mosquitoes.
Chikungunya Virus (ChikV) surprised by a massive re-emerging outbreak in Indian Ocean in 2006, reaching Europe in 2007 and exhibited exceptional severe physiopathology in infants and elderly patients. In this context, it is important to analyze the innate immune host responses triggered against ChikV. Autophagy has been shown to be an important component of the innate immune response and is involved in host defense elimination of different pathogens. However, the autophagic process was recently observed to be hijacked by virus for their own replication. Here we provide the first evidence that hallmarks of autophagy are specifically found in HEK.293 infected cells and are involved in ChikV replication.
To test the capacity of ChikV to mobilize the autophagic machinery, we performed fluorescence microscopy experiments on HEK.GFP.LC3 stable cells, and followed the LC3 distribution during the time course of ChikV infection. To confirm this, we performed electron microscopy on HEK.293 infected cells. To test the effect of ChikV-induced-autophagy on viral replication, we blocked the autophagic process, either by pharmacological (3-MA) or genetic inhibition (siRNA against the transcript of Beclin 1, an autophagic protein), and analyzed the percentage of infected cells and the viral RNA load released in the supernatant. Moreover, the effect of induction of autophagy by Rapamycin on viral replication was tested.
The increasing number of GFP-LC3 positive cells with a punctate staining together with the enhanced number of GFP-LC3 dots per cell showed that ChikV triggered an autophagic process in HEK.293 infected cells. Those results were confirmed by electron microscopy analysis since numerous membrane-bound vacuoles characteristic of autophagosomes were observed in infected cells. Moreover, we found that inhibition of autophagy, either by biochemical reagent and RNA interference, dramatically decreases ChikV replication.
Taken together, our results suggest that autophagy may play a promoting role in ChikV replication. Investigating in details the relationship between autophagy and viral replication will greatly improve our knowledge of the pathogenesis of ChikV and provide insight for the design of candidate antiviral therapeutics.
ChikV; alphavirus; autophagy; innate immunity
After two decades of quiescence, epidemic resurgence of Chikungunya fever (CHIKF) was reported in Africa, several islands in the Indian Ocean, South-East Asia and the Pacific causing unprecedented morbidity with some cases of fatality. Early phylogenetic analyses based on partial sequences of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) have led to speculation that the virus behind recent epidemics may result in greater pathogenicity. To understand the reasons for these new epidemics, we first performed extensive analyses of existing CHIKV sequences from its introduction in 1952 to 2009. Our results revealed the existence of a continuous genotypic lineage, suggesting selective pressure is active in CHIKV evolution. We further showed that CHIKV is undergoing mild positive selection, and that site-specific mutations may be driven by cell-mediated immune pressure, with occasional changes that resulted in the loss of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I-restricting elements. These findings provide a basis to understand Chikungunya virus evolution and reveal the power of post-genomic analyses to understand CHIKV and other viral epidemiology. Such an approach is useful for studying the impact of host immunity on pathogen evolution, and may help identify appropriate antigens suitable for subunit vaccine formulations.
The replicative cycle of chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an alphavirus that recently re-emerged in India and in Indian Ocean area, remains mostly unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the intracellular trafficking pathway(s) hijacked by CHIKV to enter mammalian cells.
Entry pathways were investigated using a variety of pharmacological inhibitors or overexpression of dominant negative forms of proteins perturbating cellular endocytosis. We found that CHIKV infection of HEK293T mammalian cells is independent of clathrin heavy chain and- dependent of functional Eps15, and requires integrity of Rab5-, but not Rab7-positive endosomal compartment. Cytoskeleton integrity is crucial as cytochalasin D and nocodazole significantly reduced infection of the cells. Finally, both methyl β-cyclodextrin and lysomotropic agents impaired CHIKV infection, supporting that a cholesterol-, pH-dependent step is required to achieve productive infection. Interestingly, differential sensitivity to lysomotropic agents was observed between the prototypal 37997 African strain of CHIKV and the LR-OPY1 virus isolated from the recent outbreak in Reunion Island.
Together our data indicate that CHIKV entry in its target cells is essentially mediated by clathrin-independent, Eps15-dependent endocytosis. Despite that this property is shared by the prototypal 37997 African strain of CHIKV and the LR-OPY1 virus isolated from the recent outbreak in La Réunion Island, differential sensitivity to lysomotropic agents may support that the LR-OPY1 strain has acquired specific entry mechanisms.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the causative agent of an outbreak that began in La Réunion in 2005 and remains a major public health concern in India, Southeast Asia, and southern Europe. CHIKV is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and the associated disease is characterized by fever, myalgia, arthralgia, and rash. As viral load in infected patients declines before the appearance of neutralizing antibodies, we studied the role of type I interferon (IFN) in CHIKV pathogenesis. Based on human studies and mouse experimentation, we show that CHIKV does not directly stimulate type I IFN production in immune cells. Instead, infected nonhematopoietic cells sense viral RNA in a Cardif-dependent manner and participate in the control of infection through their production of type I IFNs. Although the Cardif signaling pathway contributes to the immune response, we also find evidence for a MyD88-dependent sensor that is critical for preventing viral dissemination. Moreover, we demonstrate that IFN-α/β receptor (IFNAR) expression is required in the periphery but not on immune cells, as IFNAR−/−→WT bone marrow chimeras are capable of clearing the infection, whereas WT→IFNAR−/− chimeras succumb. This study defines an essential role for type I IFN, produced via cooperation between multiple host sensors and acting directly on nonhematopoietic cells, in the control of CHIKV.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging arbovirus responsible for a massive outbreak currently afflicting the Indian Ocean region and India. Infection from CHIKV typically induces a mild disease in humans, characterized by fever, myalgia, arthralgia, and rash. Cases of severe CHIKV infection involving the central nervous system (CNS) have recently been described in neonates as well as in adults with underlying conditions. The pathophysiology of CHIKV infection and the basis for disease severity are unknown. To address these critical issues, we have developed an animal model of CHIKV infection. We show here that whereas wild type (WT) adult mice are resistant to CHIKV infection, WT mouse neonates are susceptible and neonatal disease severity is age-dependent. Adult mice with a partially (IFN-α/βR+/−) or totally (IFN-α/βR−/−) abrogated type-I IFN pathway develop a mild or severe infection, respectively. In mice with a mild infection, after a burst of viral replication in the liver, CHIKV primarily targets muscle, joint, and skin fibroblasts, a cell and tissue tropism similar to that observed in biopsy samples of CHIKV-infected humans. In case of severe infections, CHIKV also disseminates to other tissues including the CNS, where it specifically targets the choroid plexuses and the leptomeninges. Together, these data indicate that CHIKV-associated symptoms match viral tissue and cell tropisms, and demonstrate that the fibroblast is a predominant target cell of CHIKV. These data also identify the neonatal phase and inefficient type-I IFN signaling as risk factors for severe CHIKV-associated disease. The development of a permissive small animal model will expedite the testing of future vaccines and therapeutic candidates.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted by mosquito bites. CHIKV has recently re-emerged and is responsible for a massive outbreak in the Indian Ocean region and India. It has also reached Italy, indicating that CHIKV has a great potential to spread globally. Infection from CHIKV typically induces a mild disease in humans, characterized by a flu-like syndrome associated with muscle and joint pain and rash. Cases of severe infection involving the central nervous system (CNS) have recently been described, notably in neonates. We have developed the first animal model for CHIKV infection and studied the pathophysiology of the resulting disease. We show here that mouse neonates are susceptible to CHIKV and neonatal disease severity is age-dependent. Adult mice with a partial or complete defect in type-I interferon pathway develop a mild or severe infection, respectively. In mice with a mild infection, CHIKV primarily targets muscle, joint and skin fibroblasts, a cell and tissue tropism similar to that observed in biopsy samples of CHIKV-infected humans. In case of severe infections, CHIKV also disseminates to the CNS. Our work indicates that CHIKV-associated symptoms perfectly match viral tissue and cell tropisms, and demonstrate that the fibroblast is a prominent target cell of CHIKV. It also identifies the neonatal phase and inefficient type-I interferon signaling as risk factors for severe CHIKV-associated disease. The development of a permissive small animal model will expedite the testing of future vaccines and therapeutic candidates.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a recently re-emerged arthropod borne virus responsible for a massive outbreak in the Indian Ocean and India, and extended to Southeast Asia as well as Italy. CHIKV has adapted to Aedes albopictus, an anthropophilic mosquito species widely distributed in Asia, Europe, Africa and America. Our objective was to determine the clinical and biological features of patients at the acute phase of CHIKV infection.
Methods and Findings
A prospective study enrolled 274 consecutive patients with febrile arthralgia recorded at the Emergency Department of the Groupe Hospitalier Sud-Réunion between March and May 2006. Three groups were defined: one group of 180 viremic patients (positive CHIKV RT-PCR), one group of 34 patients with acute post-viremic infection (negative CHIKV RT-PCR, positive anti-CHIKV IgM and negative IgG), and one group of 46 uninfected patients (negative CHIKV RT-PCR, anti-CHIKV IgM and IgG). Bivariate analyses of clinical and biological features between groups were performed. Patients with CHIKV viremia presented typically with asymmetrical bilateral polyarthralgia (96.5%) affecting the lower (98%) and small joints (74.8%), as well as asthenia (88.6%), headache (70%), digestive trouble (63.3%), myalgia (59%), exanthems (47.8%), conjunctival hyperhemia (23%) and adenopathy (8.9%). Vertigo, cutaneous dysesthesia, pharyngitis and haemorrhages were seldom observed. So far unreported symptoms such as chondrocostal arthralgia (20%), entesopathies (1.6%), talalgia (14%) were also noted. Prurit was less frequent during the viremic than post-viremic phase (13.9% vs. 41.2%; p<0.001), whereas lymphopenia was more frequent (87.6% vs. 39.4%; p<0.001). Others biological abnormalities included leukopenia (38.3%), thrombocytopenia (37.3%), increased ASAT and ALAT blood levels (31.6 and 7.3%, respectively) and hypocalcemia (38.7%). Lymphopenia <1,000/mm3 was very closely associated with viremic patients (Yule coefficient 0.82, positive predictive value 92.3%). Age under 65 was associated with a benign course, as no patients younger than 65 had to be hospitalized (Yule coefficient 0.78).
The diagnosis of CHIKV infection in acute phase is based on commonly accepted clinical criteria (fever and arthralgia), however clinical and biological diffrences exist in acute phase depending on whether or not the patient is within the viremic phase of the infection.
Chikungunya disease is a severely debilitating, mosquito-borne, viral illness that has reached epidemic proportions in Africa, Asia, and the islands of the Indian Ocean. A mutation enhancing the ability of the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) to infect and be transmitted by Aedes albopictus has increased the geographical range at risk for infection due to the continuing global spread of this mosquito. Research into disease pathogenesis, vaccine development, and therapeutic design has been hindered by the lack of appropriate animal models of this disease. The meticulous study reported in this issue of the JCI by Labadie et al. is one of the first reports describing CHIKV infection of adult immunocompetent nonhuman primates. Using traditional and modern molecular and immunological approaches, the authors demonstrate that macaques infected with CHIKV are a good model of human CHIKV infection and also show that persistent arthralgia in humans may be caused by persistent CHIKV infection of macrophages.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. After half a century of focal outbreaks of acute febrile polyarthralgia in Africa and Asia, the disease unexpectedly spread in the past decade with large outbreaks in Africa and around the Indian Ocean and rare autochthonous transmission in temperate areas. This emergence brought new insights on its pathogenesis, notably the role of the A226V mutation that improved CHIKV fitness in Ae. albopictus and the possible CHIKV persistence in deep tissue sanctuaries for months after infection. Massive outbreaks also revealed new aspects of the acute stage: the high number of symptomatic cases, unexpected complications, mother-to-child transmission, and low lethality in debilitated patients. The follow-up of patients in epidemic areas has identified frequent, long-lasting, rheumatic disorders, including rare inflammatory joint destruction, and common chronic mood changes associated with quality-of-life impairment. Thus, the globalization of CHIKV exposes countries with Aedes mosquitoes both to brutal outbreaks of acute incapacitating episodes and endemic long-lasting disorders.
Chikungunya; Alphavirus; Rheumatism; Emergence; Chronicity
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne alphavirus indigenous to tropical Africa and Asia. Acute illness is characterized by fever, arthralgias, conjunctivitis, rash, and sometimes arthritis. Relatively little is known about the antigenic targets for immunity, and no licensed vaccines or therapeutics are currently available for the pathogen. While the Aedes aegypti mosquito is its primary vector, recent evidence suggests that other carriers can transmit CHIKV thus raising concerns about its spread outside of natural endemic areas to new countries including the U.S. and Europe. Considering the potential for pandemic spread, understanding the development of immunity is paramount to the development of effective counter measures against CHIKV. In this study, we isolated a new CHIKV virus from an acutely infected human patient and developed a defined viral challenge stock in mice that allowed us to study viral pathogenesis and develop a viral neutralization assay. We then constructed a synthetic DNA vaccine delivered by in vivo electroporation (EP) that expresses a component of the CHIKV envelope glycoprotein and used this model to evaluate its efficacy. Vaccination induced robust antigen-specific cellular and humoral immune responses, which individually were capable of providing protection against CHIKV challenge in mice. Furthermore, vaccine studies in rhesus macaques demonstrated induction of nAb responses, which mimicked those induced in convalescent human patient sera. These data suggest a protective role for nAb against CHIKV disease and support further study of envelope-based CHIKV DNA vaccines.
Chikungunya fever epidemics are sustained by a cycle of human-mosquito-human transmission, with the epidemic cycle being similar to those of dengue and urban yellow fever. While the threat of a pandemic continues to engage the public's attention, the peculiar problems associated with the more immediate and very real seasonal epidemics are also worthy of consideration. Specifically, there are limited viral strains that have been characterized and available for laboratory study as well as limited knowledge of immune responses induced to the virus. In this study, we isolated CHIKV virus from an acutely infected human patient and used this new virus to develop a neutralization assay and a challenge stock, which is effective in a mouse model. Furthermore, we analyzed the ability of an envelope-based synthetic DNA-based vaccine to impact viral disease in the mouse model and to generate protective levels of immune responses in nonhuman primates. We observed that this novel vaccine approach generated protective levels of immune responses in both mouse and non-human primate models. We believe that these studies advance the field of Chikungunya vaccine research as well as the study of immune protection to CHIKV.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has caused large outbreaks worldwide in recent years, especially on the islands of the Indian Ocean and India. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti), which are widespread in China, with an especially high population density in southern China. Analyses of full-length viral sequences revealed the acquisition of a single adaptive mutation providing a selective advantage for the transmission of CHIKV by this species. No outbreaks due to the local transmission of CHIKV have been reported in China, and no cases of importation were detected on mainland China before 2008. We followed the spread of imported CHIKV in southern China and analyzed the genetic character of the detected viruses to evaluate their potential for evolution.
The importation of CHIKV to mainland China was first detected in 2008. The genomic sequences of four of the imported viruses were identified, and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the sequences were clustered in the Indian Ocean group; however, seven amino acid changes were detected in the nonstructural protein-coding region, and five amino acid changes were noted in the structural protein-coding regions. In particular, a novel substitution in E2 was detected (K252Q), which may impact the neurovirulence of CHIKV. The adaptive mutation A226V in E1 was observed in two imported cases of chikungunya disease.
Laboratory-confirmed CHIKV infections among travelers visiting China in 2008 were presented, new mutations in the viral nucleic acids and proteins may represent adaptive mutations for human or mosquito hosts.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a recently re-emerged public health problem in many countries bordering the Indian Ocean and elsewhere. Chikungunya fever is a relatively self limiting febrile disease, but the consequences of chikungunya fever can include a long lasting, debilitating arthralgia, and occasional neurological involvement has been reported. Macrophages have been implicated as an important cell target of CHIKV with regards to both their role as an immune mediator, as well evidence pointing to long term viral persistence in these cells. Microglial cells are the resident brain macrophages, and so this study sought to define the proteomic changes in a human microglial cell line (CHME-5) in response to CHIKV infection. GeLC-MS/MS analysis of CHIKV infected and mock infected cells identified some 1455 individual proteins, of which 90 proteins, belonging to diverse cellular pathways, were significantly down regulated at a significance level of p<0.01. Analysis of the protein profile in response to infection did not support a global inhibition of either normal or IRES-mediated translation, but was consistent with the targeting of specific cellular pathways including those regulating innate antiviral mechanisms.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has caused recent, large epidemics on islands in the Indian Ocean, raising the possibility of more widespread CHIKV epidemics. Historically, CHIKV has been vectored by Aedes aegypti, but these outbreaks likely also involved Ae. albopictus. To examine the potential for an outbreak of CHIKV in Florida, we determined the susceptibility to CHIKV of F1 Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus from Florida. In addition, we also evaluated two well-characterized laboratory strains (Rockefeller and Lake Charles) of these species. We determined infection and dissemination rates as well as total body titer of mosquitoes 7 days post-exposure (pe) (Ae. albopictus) and 3, 7, and 10 days pe (Ae. aegypti). All mosquito strains were susceptible to both infection and dissemination, with some variation between strains. Our results suggest Florida would be vulnerable to transmission of CHIKV in urban and rural areas where the two vector species occur.