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1.  Andes Virus Infection of Lymphatic Endothelial Cells Causes Giant Cell and Enhanced Permeability Responses That Are Rapamycin and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C Sensitive 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(16):8765-8772.
Hantaviruses primarily infect endothelial cells (ECs) and nonlytically cause vascular changes that result in hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Acute pulmonary edema during HPS may be caused by capillary leakage and failure of lymphatic vessels to clear fluids. Uniquely regulated lymphatic ECs (LECs) control fluid clearance, although roles for lymphatics in hantavirus disease remain undetermined. Here we report that hantaviruses productively infect LECs and that LEC infection by HPS causing Andes virus (ANDV) and HFRS causing Hantaan virus (HTNV) are inhibited by αvβ3 integrin antibodies. Although αvβ3 integrins regulate permeabilizing responses directed by vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), we found that only ANDV-infected LECs were hyperpermeabilized by the addition of VEGF-A. However, VEGF-C activation of LEC-specific VEGFR3 receptors blocked ANDV- and VEGF-A-induced LEC permeability. In addition, ∼75% of ANDV-infected LECs became viable mononuclear giant cells, >4 times larger than normal, in response to VEGF-A. Giant cells are associated with constitutive mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation, and we found that both giant LECs and LEC permeability were sensitive to rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, and VEGF-C addition. These findings indicate that ANDV uniquely alters VEGFR2-mTOR signaling responses of LECs, resulting in giant cell and LEC permeability responses. This suggests that ANDV infection alters normal LEC and lymphatic vessel functions which may contribute to edematous fluid accumulation during HPS. Moreover, the ability of VEGF-C and rapamycin to normalize LEC responses suggests a potential therapeutic approach for reducing pulmonary edema and the severity of HPS following ANDV infection.
PMCID: PMC3421700  PMID: 22696643
2.  Pathogenic Hantaviruses Direct the Adherence of Quiescent Platelets to Infected Endothelial Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(9):4832-4839.
Hantavirus infections are noted for their ability to infect endothelial cells, cause acute thrombocytopenia, and trigger 2 vascular-permeability-based diseases. However, hantavirus infections are not lytic, and the mechanisms by which hantaviruses cause capillary permeability and thrombocytopenia are only partially understood. The role of β3 integrins in hemostasis and the inactivation of β3 integrin receptors by pathogenic hantaviruses suggest the involvement of hantaviruses in altered platelet and endothelial cell functions that regulate permeability. Here, we determined that pathogenic hantaviruses bind to quiescent platelets via a β3 integrin-dependent mechanism. This suggests that platelets may contribute to hantavirus dissemination within infected patients and provides a means by which hantavirus binding to β3 integrin receptors prevents platelet activation. The ability of hantaviruses to bind platelets further suggested that cell-associated hantaviruses might recruit platelets to the endothelial cell surface. Our findings indicate that Andes virus (ANDV)- or Hantaan virus (HTNV)-infected endothelial cells specifically direct the adherence of calcein-labeled platelets. In contrast, cells comparably infected with nonpathogenic Tula virus (TULV) failed to recruit platelets to the endothelial cell surface. Platelet adherence was dependent on endothelial cell β3 integrins and neutralized by the addition of the anti-β3 Fab fragment, c7E3, or specific ANDV- or HTNV-neutralizing antibodies. These findings indicate that pathogenic hantaviruses displayed on the surface of infected endothelial cells bind platelets and that a platelet layer covers the surface of infected endothelial cells. This fundamentally changes the appearance of endothelial cells and has the potential to alter cellular immune responses, platelet activation, and endothelial cell functions that affect vascular permeability. Hantavirus-directed platelet quiescence and recruitment to vast endothelial cell beds further suggests mechanisms by which hantaviruses may cause thrombocytopenia and induce hypoxia. These findings are fundamental to our understanding of pathogenic-hantavirus regulation of endothelial cell responses that contribute to vascular permeability.
PMCID: PMC2863738  PMID: 20181715
3.  Andes Virus Regulation of Cellular MicroRNAs Contributes to Hantavirus-Induced Endothelial Cell Permeability▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(22):11929-11936.
Hantaviruses infect human endothelial cells (ECs) and cause two diseases marked by vascular permeability defects, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Vascular permeability occurs in the absence of EC lysis, suggesting that hantaviruses alter normal EC fluid barrier functions. ECs infected by pathogenic hantaviruses are hyperresponsive to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and this alters the fluid barrier function of EC adherens junctions, resulting in enhanced paracellular permeability. Vascular permeability and VEGF-directed responses are determined by EC-specific microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate cellular mRNA transcriptional responses. miRNAs mature within cytoplasmic processing bodies (P bodies), and the hantavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein binds RNA and localizes to P bodies, suggesting that hantaviruses may modify miRNA functions within infected ECs. Here we assessed changes in EC miRNAs following infection by the HPS-causing Andes hantavirus (ANDV). We analyzed 352 human miRNAs within ANDV-infected ECs using quantitative real-time (RT)-PCR arrays. Fourteen miRNAs, including six miRNAs that are associated with regulating vascular integrity, were upregulated >4-fold following infection by ANDV. Nine miRNAs were downregulated 3- to 3,400-fold following ANDV infection; these included miR-410, involved in regulating secretion, and miR-218, which is linked to the regulation of EC migration and vascular permeability. We further analyzed changes in miR-126, an EC-specific miRNA that regulates vascular integrity by suppressing SPRED1 and PIK3R2 mRNAs. While miR-126 levels were only slightly altered, we found that SPRED1 and PIK3R2 mRNA levels were increased 10- and 7-fold, respectively, in ANDV-infected ECs but were unaltered in ECs infected by the nonpathogenic Tula hantavirus (TULV). Consistent with increased SPRED1 expression, we found that the level of phospho-cofilin was decreased within ANDV-infected ECs. Moreover, small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of SPRED1 dramatically decreased the permeability of ANDV-infected ECs in response to VEGF, suggesting that increased SPRED1 contributes to EC permeability following ANDV infection. These findings suggest that interference with normal miRNA functions contributes to the enhanced paracellular permeability of ANDV-infected ECs and that hantavirus regulation of miRNA functions is an additional determinant of hantavirus pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2977893  PMID: 20844033
4.  Hantaviruses Direct Endothelial Cell Permeability by Sensitizing Cells to the Vascular Permeability Factor VEGF, while Angiopoietin 1 and Sphingosine 1-Phosphate Inhibit Hantavirus-Directed Permeability▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(12):5797-5806.
Hantaviruses infect human endothelial cells and cause two vascular permeability-based diseases: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Hantavirus infection alone does not permeabilize endothelial cell monolayers. However, pathogenic hantaviruses inhibit the function of αvβ3 integrins on endothelial cells, and hemorrhagic disease and vascular permeability deficits are consequences of dysfunctional β3 integrins that normally regulate permeabilizing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) responses. Here we show that pathogenic Hantaan, Andes, and New York-1 hantaviruses dramatically enhance the permeability of endothelial cells in response to VEGF, while the nonpathogenic hantaviruses Prospect Hill and Tula have no effect on endothelial cell permeability. Pathogenic hantaviruses directed endothelial cell permeability 2 to 3 days postinfection, coincident with pathogenic hantavirus inhibition of αvβ3 integrin functions, and hantavirus-directed permeability was inhibited by antibodies to VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2). These studies demonstrate that pathogenic hantaviruses, similar to αvβ3 integrin-deficient cells, specifically enhance VEGF-directed permeabilizing responses. Using the hantavirus permeability assay we further demonstrate that the endothelial-cell-specific growth factor angiopoietin 1 (Ang-1) and the platelet-derived lipid mediator sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) inhibit hantavirus directed endothelial cell permeability at physiologic concentrations. These results demonstrate the utility of a hantavirus permeability assay and rationalize the testing of Ang-1, S1P, and antibodies to VEGFR2 as potential hantavirus therapeutics. The central importance of β3 integrins and VEGF responses in vascular leak and hemorrhagic disease further suggest that altering β3 or VEGF responses may be a common feature of additional viral hemorrhagic diseases. As a result, our findings provide a potential mechanism for vascular leakage after infection by pathogenic hantaviruses and the means to inhibit hantavirus-directed endothelial cell permeability that may be applicable to additional vascular leak syndromes.
PMCID: PMC2395149  PMID: 18367532
5.  Elevated VEGF Levels in Pulmonary Edema Fluid and PBMCs from Patients with Acute Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:674360.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is characterized by vascular permeability, hypoxia, and acute pulmonary edema. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is induced by hypoxia, potently induces vascular permeability, and is associated with high-altitude-induced pulmonary edema. Hantaviruses alter the normal regulation of β3 integrins that restrict VEGF-directed permeability and hantavirus infected endothelial cells are hyperresponsive to the permeabilizing effects of VEGF. However, the role of VEGF in acute pulmonary edema observed in HPS patients remains unclear. Here we retrospectively evaluate VEGF levels in pulmonary edema fluid (PEF), plasma, sera, and PBMCs from 31 HPS patients. VEGF was elevated in HPS patients PEF compared to controls with the highest levels observed in PEF samples from a fatal HPS case. VEGF levels were highest in PBMC samples during the first five days of hospitalization and diminished during recovery. Significantly increased PEF and PBMC VEGF levels are consistent with acute pulmonary edema observed in HPS patients and HPS disease severity. We observed substantially lower VEGF levels in a severe HPS disease survivor after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. These findings suggest the importance of patients' VEGF levels during HPS, support the involvement of VEGF responses in HPS pathogenesis, and suggest targeting VEGF responses as a potential therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3432326  PMID: 22956954
6.  Cellular Entry of Hantaviruses Which Cause Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome Is Mediated by β3 Integrins 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(5):3951-3959.
Hantaviruses replicate primarily in the vascular endothelium and cause two human diseases, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). In this report, we demonstrate that the cellular entry of HFRS-associated hantaviruses is facilitated by specific integrins expressed on platelets, endothelial cells, and macrophages. Infection of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and Vero E6 cells by the HFRS-causing hantaviruses Hantaan (HTN), Seoul (SEO), and Puumala (PUU) is inhibited by antibodies to αvβ3 integrins and by the integrin ligand vitronectin. The cellular entry of HTN, SEO, and PUU viruses, but not the nonpathogenic Prospect Hill (PH) hantavirus (i.e., a virus with no associated human disease), was also mediated by introducting recombinant αIIbβ3 or αvβ3 integrins into β3-integrin-deficient CHO cells. In addition, PH infectivity was not inhibited by αvβ3-specific sera or vitronectin but was blocked by α5β1-specific sera and the integrin ligand fibronectin. RGD tripeptides, which are required for many integrin-ligand interactions, are absent from all hantavirus G1 and G2 surface glycoproteins, and GRGDSP peptides did not inhibit hantavirus infectivity. Further, a mouse-human hybrid β3 integrin-specific Fab fragment, c7E3 (ReoPro), also inhibited the infectivity of HTN, SEO, and PUU as well as HPS-associated hantaviruses, Sin Nombre (SN) and New York-1 (NY-1). These findings indicate that pathogenic HPS- and HFRS-causing hantaviruses enter cells via β3 integrins, which are present on the surfaces of platelets, endothelial cells, and macrophages. Since β3 integrins regulate vascular permeability and platelet function, these findings also correlate β3 integrin usage with common elements of hantavirus pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC104173  PMID: 10196290
7.  The Pathogenic NY-1 Hantavirus G1 Cytoplasmic Tail Inhibits RIG-I- and TBK-1-Directed Interferon Responses 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(19):9676-9686.
Hantaviruses cause two diseases with prominent vascular permeability defects, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. All hantaviruses infect human endothelial cells, although it is unclear what differentiates pathogenic from nonpathogenic hantaviruses. We observed dramatic differences in interferon-specific transcriptional responses between pathogenic and nonpathogenic hantaviruses at 1 day postinfection, suggesting that hantavirus pathogenesis may in part be determined by viral regulation of cellular interferon responses. In contrast to pathogenic NY-1 virus (NY-1V) and Hantaan virus (HTNV), nonpathogenic Prospect Hill virus (PHV) elicits early interferon responses following infection of human endothelial cells. We determined that PHV replication is blocked in human endothelial cells and that RNA and protein synthesis by PHV, but not NY-1V or HTNV, is inhibited at 2 to 4 days postinfection. The addition of antibodies to beta interferon (IFN-β) blocked interferon-directed MxA induction by >90% and demonstrated that hantavirus infection induces the secretion of IFN-β from endothelial cells. Coinfecting endothelial cells with NY-1V and PHV resulted in a 60% decrease in the induction of interferon-responsive MxA transcripts by PHV and further suggested the potential for NY-1V to regulate early IFN responses. Expression of the NY-1V G1 cytoplasmic tail inhibited by >90% RIG-I- and downstream TBK-1-directed transcription from interferon-stimulated response elements or β-interferon promoters in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, expression of the NY-1V nucleocapsid or PHV G1 tail had no effect on RIG-I- or TBK-1-directed transcriptional responses. Further, neither the NY-1V nor PHV G1 tails inhibited transcriptional responses directed by a constitutively active form of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3 5D), and IRF-3 is a direct target of TBK-1 phosphorylation. These findings indicate that the pathogenic NY-1V G1 protein regulates cellular IFN responses upstream of IRF-3 phosphorylation at the level of the TBK-1 complex. These findings further suggest that the G1 cytoplasmic tail contains a virulence element which determines the ability of hantaviruses to bypass innate cellular immune responses and delineates a mechanism for pathogenic hantaviruses to successfully replicate within human endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC1617216  PMID: 16973572
8.  The C-Terminal 42 Residues of the Tula Virus Gn Protein Regulate Interferon Induction▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(10):4752-4760.
Hantaviruses primarily infect the endothelial cell lining of capillaries and cause two vascular permeability-based diseases. The ability of pathogenic hantaviruses to regulate the early induction of interferon determines whether hantaviruses replicate in endothelial cells. Tula virus (TULV) and Prospect Hill virus (PHV) are hantaviruses which infect human endothelial cells but fail to cause human disease. PHV is unable to inhibit early interferon (IFN) responses and fails to replicate within human endothelial cells. However, TULV replicates successfully in human endothelial cells, suggesting that TULV is capable of regulating cellular IFN responses. We observed a >300-fold reduction in the IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) MxA and ISG56 following TULV versus PHV infection of endothelial cells 1 day postinfection. Similar to results with pathogenic hantaviruses, expressing the TULV Gn protein cytoplasmic tail (Gn-T) blocked RIG-I- and TBK1-directed transcription from IFN-stimulated response elements (ISREs) and IFN-β promoters (>90%) but not transcription directed by constitutively active IFN regulatory factor-3 (IRF3). In contrast, expressing the PHV Gn-T had no effect on TBK1-induced transcriptional responses. Analysis of Gn-T truncations demonstrated that the C-terminal 42 residues of the Gn-T (Gn-T-C42) from TULV, but not PHV, inhibited IFN induction >70%. These findings demonstrate that the TULV Gn-T inhibits IFN- and ISRE-directed responses upstream of IRF3 at the level of the TBK1 complex and further define a 42-residue domain of the TULV Gn-T that inhibits IFN induction. In contrast to pathogenic hantavirus Gn-Ts, the TULV Gn-T lacks a C-terminal degron domain and failed to bind tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 3 (TRAF3), a TBK1 complex component required for IRF3 activation. These findings indicate that the nonpathogenic TULV Gn-T regulates IFN induction but accomplishes this via unique interactions with cellular TBK1 complexes. These findings fundamentally distinguish nonpathogenic hantaviruses, PHV and TULV, and demonstrate that IFN regulation alone is insufficient for hantaviruses to cause disease. Yet regulating the early IFN response is necessary for hantaviruses to replicate within human endothelial cells and to be pathogenic. Thus, in addition to IFN regulation, hantaviruses contain discrete virulence determinants which permit them to be human pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3126157  PMID: 21367904
9.  Hantavirus-infection Confers Resistance to Cytotoxic Lymphocyte-Mediated Apoptosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(3):e1003272.
Hantaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardio-pulmonary syndrome (HCPS; also called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)), both human diseases with high case-fatality rates. Endothelial cells are the main targets for hantaviruses. An intriguing observation in patients with HFRS and HCPS is that on one hand the virus infection leads to strong activation of CD8 T cells and NK cells, on the other hand no obvious destruction of infected endothelial cells is observed. Here, we provide an explanation for this dichotomy by showing that hantavirus-infected endothelial cells are protected from cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated induction of apoptosis. When dissecting potential mechanisms behind this phenomenon, we discovered that the hantavirus nucleocapsid protein inhibits the enzymatic activity of both granzyme B and caspase 3. This provides a tentative explanation for the hantavirus-mediated block of cytotoxic granule-mediated apoptosis-induction, and hence the protection of infected cells from cytotoxic lymphocytes. These findings may explain why infected endothelial cells in hantavirus-infected patients are not destroyed by the strong cytotoxic lymphocyte response.
Author Summary
Rodent-born hantaviruses cause two severe emerging diseases with high case-fatality rates in humans; hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia and hantavirus cardio-pulmonary syndrome (HCPS; also called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)) in the Americas. A hallmark of HFRS/HCPS is increased vascular permeability. While endothelial cells are the main targets for hantaviruses, infection per se is not lytic. Patients suffering from HFRS and HCPS show remarkable strong cytotoxic lymphocyte responses including high numbers of activated NK cells and antigen-specific CD8 T cells. Hence, it has been suggested that cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated killing of hantavirus-infected endothelial cells might contribute to HFRS/HCPS-pathogenesis. Here, we show that hantaviruses protect infected endothelial cells from being killed by cytotoxic lymphocytes. Further, we also show that hantaviruses inhibit apoptosis in general. Hantaviruses are negative-stranded RNA viruses encoding four structural proteins. Interestingly, the nucleocapsid protein was shown to inhibit the enzymatic functions of both granzyme B and caspase 3, two enzymes crucial for cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated killing of virus-infected cells. Our study provides new insights into the interactions between hantaviruses, infected cells, and cytotoxic lymphocytes, and argues against a role for cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated killing of virus-infected endothelial cells in causing HFRS/HCPS.
PMCID: PMC3610645  PMID: 23555267
10.  VEGFR2 and Src Kinase Inhibitors Suppress Andes Virus-Induced Endothelial Cell Permeability ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(5):2296-2303.
Hantaviruses predominantly infect human endothelial cells and, in the absence of cell lysis, cause two diseases resulting from increased vascular permeability. Andes virus (ANDV) causes a highly lethal acute pulmonary edema termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). ANDV infection enhances the permeability of endothelial cells in response to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by increasing signaling responses directed by the VEGFR2-Src-VE-cadherin pathway, which directs adherens junction (AJ) disassembly. Here we demonstrate that inhibiting pathway-specific VEGFR2 and Src family kinases (SFKs) blocks ANDV-induced endothelial cell permeability. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of Src within ANDV-infected endothelial cells resulted in an ∼70% decrease in endothelial cell permeability compared to that for siRNA controls. This finding suggested that existing FDA-approved small-molecule kinase inhibitors might similarly block ANDV-induced permeability. The VEGFR2 kinase inhibitor pazopanib as well as SFK inhibitors dasatinib, PP1, bosutinib, and Src inhibitor 1 dramatically inhibited ANDV-induced endothelial cell permeability. Consistent with their kinase-inhibitory concentrations, dasatinib, PP1, and pazopanib inhibited ANDV-induced permeability at 1, 10, and 100 nanomolar 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s), respectively. We further demonstrated that dasatinib and pazopanib blocked VE-cadherin dissociation from the AJs of ANDV-infected endothelial cells by >90%. These findings indicate that VEGFR2 and Src kinases are potential targets for therapeutically reducing ANDV-induced endothelial cell permeability and, as a result, capillary permeability during HPS. Since the functions of VEGFR2 and SFK inhibitors are already well defined and FDA approved for clinical use, these findings rationalize their therapeutic evaluation for efficacy in reducing HPS disease. Endothelial cell barrier functions are disrupted by a number of viruses that cause hemorrhagic, edematous, or neurologic disease, and as a result, our findings suggest that VEGFR2 and SFK inhibitors should be considered for regulating endothelial cell barrier functions altered by additional viral pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3067787  PMID: 21177802
11.  Productive Dengue Virus Infection of Human Endothelial Cells Is Directed by Heparan Sulfate-Containing Proteoglycan Receptors ▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(18):9478-9485.
Dengue virus causes leakage of the vascular endothelium, resulting in dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. The endothelial cell lining of the vasculature regulates capillary permeability and is altered by immune and chemokine responses which affect fluid barrier functions of the endothelium. Our findings indicate that human endothelial cells are highly susceptible to infection by dengue virus (type 4). We found that dengue virus productively infects ∼80% of primary human endothelial cells, resulting in the rapid release of ∼105 virions 1 day postinfection. Analysis of potential inhibitors of dengue virus entry demonstrated that antibodies and ligands to integrins and cellular receptors were unable to inhibit dengue virus infection of endothelial cells. In contrast, pretreating cells with heparin or heparan sulfate resulted in a 60 to 80% reduction in dengue virus-infected cells, and pretreatment of endothelial cells with heparinase III or protease reduced dengue infectivity by >80%. Dengue virus bound specifically to resin immobilized heparin, and binding was competitively inhibited by excess heparin but not other ligands. Collectively, these findings suggest that dengue virus specifically attaches to heparan sulfate-containing proteoglycan receptors on endothelial cells. Following attachment to human endothelial cell receptors, dengue virus causes a highly productive infection that has the potential to increase viral dissemination and viremia. This provides the potential for dengue virus-infected endothelial cells to directly alter barrier functions of the endothelium, contribute to enhancement of immune cell activation, and serve as potential targets of immune responses which play a central role in dengue pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3165770  PMID: 21734047
12.  Loss of Cell Membrane Integrity in Puumala Hantavirus-Infected Patients Correlates with Levels of Epithelial Cell Apoptosis and Perforin 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(16):8279-8282.
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome are two diseases caused by hantaviruses. Capillary leakage is a hallmark of hantavirus infection. Pathogenic hantaviruses are not cytotoxic, but elevated levels of serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), indicative of cellular damage, are observed in patients. We report increased levels of serum perforin, granzyme B, and the epithelial cell apoptosis marker caspase-cleaved cytokeratin-18 during Puumala hantavirus infection. Significant correlation was observed between the levels of LDH and perforin and the levels of LDH and caspase-cleaved cytokeratin-18, suggesting that tissue damage is due to an immune reaction and that epithelial apoptosis contributed significantly to the damage.
PMCID: PMC1563790  PMID: 16873286
13.  Hantaviruses: a global disease problem. 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  1997;3(2):95-104.
Hantaviruses are carried by numerous rodent species throughout the world. In 1993, a previously unknown group of hantaviruses emerged in the United States as the cause of an acute respiratory disease now termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Before than, hantaviruses were known as the etiologic agents of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, a disease that occurs almost entirely in the Eastern Hemisphere. Since the discovery of the HPS-causing hantaviruses, intense investigation of the ecology and epidemiology of hantaviruses has led to the discovery of many other novel hantaviruses. Their ubiquity and potential for causing severe human illness make these viruses an important public health concern; we reviewed the distribution, ecology, disease potential, and genetic spectrum.
PMCID: PMC2627612  PMID: 9204290
14.  Roles for Endothelial Cells in Dengue Virus Infection 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:840654.
Dengue viruses cause two severe diseases that alter vascular fluid barrier functions, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). The endothelium is the primary fluid barrier of the vasculature and ultimately the effects of dengue virus infection that cause capillary leakage impact endothelial cell (EC) barrier functions. The ability of dengue virus to infect the endothelium provides a direct means for dengue to alter capillary permeability, permit virus replication, and induce responses that recruit immune cells to the endothelium. Recent studies focused on dengue virus infection of primary ECs have demonstrated that ECs are efficiently infected, rapidly produce viral progeny, and elicit immune enhancing cytokine responses that may contribute to pathogenesis. Furthermore, infected ECs have also been implicated in enhancing viremia and immunopathogenesis within murine dengue disease models. Thus dengue-infected ECs have the potential to directly contribute to immune enhancement, capillary permeability, viremia, and immune targeting of the endothelium. These effects implicate responses of the infected endothelium in dengue pathogenesis and rationalize therapeutic targeting of the endothelium and EC responses as a means of reducing the severity of dengue virus disease.
PMCID: PMC3431041  PMID: 22952474
15.  Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome-Associated Hantaviruses Contain Conserved and Functional ITAM Signaling Elements 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(2):1638-1643.
Hantaviruses infect human endothelial and immune cells, causing two human diseases, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). We have identified key signaling elements termed immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs) within the G1 cytoplasmic tail of all HPS-causing hantaviruses. ITAMs direct receptor signaling within immune and endothelial cells and the presence of ITAMs in all HPS-causing hantaviruses provides a means for altering normal cellular responses which maintain vascular integrity. The NY-1 G1 ITAM was shown to coprecipitate a complex of phosphoproteins from cells, and the G1 ITAM is a substrate for the Src family kinase Fyn. The hantavirus ITAM coprecipitated Lyn, Syk, and ZAP-70 kinases from T or B cells, while mutagenesis of the ITAM abolished these interactions. In addition, G1 ITAM tyrosines directed intracellular interactions with Syk by mammalian two-hybrid analysis. These findings demonstrate that G1 ITAMs bind key cellular kinases that regulate immune and endothelial cell functions. There is currently no means for establishing the role of the G1 ITAM in hantavirus pathogenesis. However, the conservation of G1 ITAMs in all HPS-causing hantaviruses and the role of these signaling elements in immune and endothelial cells suggest that functional G1 ITAMs are likely to dysregulate normal immune and endothelial cell responses and contribute to hantavirus pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC140783  PMID: 12502882
16.  Bidirectional Virus Secretion and Nonciliated Cell Tropism following Andes Virus Infection of Primary Airway Epithelial Cell Cultures 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(3):1087-1097.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is an acute disease resulting from infection with any one of a number of New World hantaviruses. HPS has a mortality rate of 40% and, unlike many other severe respiratory diseases, often occurs in young, healthy adults. Infection is usually initiated after inhalation of rodent excreta containing virus particles, but human-to-human transmission has been documented. Postmortem tissue samples show high levels of viral antigen within the respiratory endothelium, but it is not clear how the virus can traverse the respiratory epithelium in order to initiate infection in the microvasculature. We have utilized Andes virus infection of primary, differentiated airway epithelial cells to investigate the ability of the virus to interact with and cross the respiratory epithelium. Andes virus infects the Clara and goblet cell populations but not the ciliated cells, and this infection pattern corresponds to the expression of β3 integrin, the viral receptor. The virus can infect via the apical or basolateral membrane, and progeny virus particles are secreted bidirectionally. There is no obvious cytopathology associated with infection, and β3 integrins do not appear to be critical for respiratory epithelial cell monolayer integrity. Our data suggest that hantavirus infection of the respiratory epithelium may play an important role in the early or prodrome phase of disease as well as serving as a source of virus involved in transmission.
PMCID: PMC1346943  PMID: 16414986
17.  Convalescent Pulmonary Dysfunction Following Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Panama and the United States 
Lung  2010;188(5):387-391.
The objective of this study was to document persistent pulmonary symptoms and pulmonary function abnormalities in adults surviving hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Acute infection by most hantaviruses result in mortality rates of 25–35%, while in Panama the mortality rate of 10% is contrasted by an unusually high incidence. In all types of HPS, the viral prodrome, cardiopulmonary phase due to massive pulmonary capillary leak syndrome, and spontaneous diuresis are followed by a convalescent phase with exertional dyspnea for 3–4 weeks, but the frequency of persistent symptoms is not known. In this observational study of a convenience sample, 14 survivors of HPS caused by Choclo virus infection in Panama and 9 survivors of HPS caused by Sin Nombre virus infection in New Mexico completed a questionnaire and pulmonary function tests up to 8 years after infection. In both groups, exertional dyspnea persisted for 1–2 years after acute infection in 43% (Panama) and 77% (New Mexico) of survivors surveyed. Reduction in midexpiratory flows (FEF25–75%), increased residual volume (RV), and reduced diffusion capacity (DLCO/VA) also were common in both populations; but the severity of reduced expiratory flow did not correlate with exertional dyspnea. Symptoms referable to previous hantavirus infection had resolved within 3 years of acute infection in most but not all patients in the Panama group. Temporary exertional dyspnea and reduced expiratory flow are common in early convalescence after HPS but resolves in almost all patients.
PMCID: PMC2939327  PMID: 20524006
Hantavirus; Pneumonia; Pulmonary function test
18.  Role of endothelin-1 in acute lung injury 
The alveolar–capillary membrane serves as a barrier that prevents the accumulation of fluid in the alveolar space and restricts the diffusion of large solutes while facilitating an efficient gas exchange. When this barrier becomes dysfunctional, patients develop acute lung injury (ALI), which is characterized by pulmonary edema and increased lung inflammation that leads to a life-threatening impairment of gas exchange. In addition to the increase of inflammatory cytokines, plasma levels of endothelin-1 (ET-1), which is a primarily endothelium-derived vasoconstrictor, are increased in patients with ALI. As patients recover, ET-1 levels decrease, which suggests that ET-1 may not only be a marker of endothelial dysfunction but may have a role in the pathogenesis of ALI. While pulmonary edema accumulates, alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) is of critical importance, as failure to return to normal clearance is associated with poor prognosis in patients with pulmonary edema. AFC involves active transport mechanisms where sodium (Na+) is actively transported from the alveolar airspaces, across the alveolar epithelium, and into the pulmonary circulation, which creates an osmotic gradient that is responsible for the clearance of lung edema. In this article, we review the relevance of ET-1 in the development of ALI, not only as a vasoconstrictor molecule but also by inhibiting AFC via the activation of endothelial ET-B receptors and generation. Furthermore, this review highlights the therapeutic role of drugs such as beta-adrenergic agonists and, in particular, of endothelin receptor antagonists in patients with ALI.
PMCID: PMC3046772  PMID: 19446279
19.  Host mTORC1 Signaling Regulates Andes Virus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(2):912-922.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a severe respiratory disease characterized by pulmonary edema, with fatality rates of 35 to 45%. Disease occurs following infection with pathogenic New World hantaviruses, such as Andes virus (ANDV), which targets lung microvascular endothelial cells. During replication, the virus scavenges 5′-m7G caps from cellular mRNA to ensure efficient translation of viral proteins by the host cell cap-dependent translation machinery. In cells, the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates the activity of host cap-dependent translation by integrating amino acid, energy, and oxygen availability signals. Since there is no approved pharmacological treatment for HPS, we investigated whether inhibitors of the mTOR pathway could reduce hantavirus infection. Here, we demonstrate that treatment with the FDA-approved rapamycin analogue temsirolimus (CCI-779) blocks ANDV protein expression and virion release but not entry into primary human microvascular endothelial cells. This effect was specific to viral proteins, as temsirolimus treatment did not block host protein synthesis. We confirmed that temsirolimus targeted host mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and not a viral protein, as knockdown of mTORC1 and mTORC1 activators but not mTOR complex 2 components reduced ANDV replication. Additionally, primary fibroblasts from a patient with tuberous sclerosis exhibited increased mTORC1 activity and increased ANDV protein expression, which were blocked following temsirolimus treatment. Finally, we show that ANDV glycoprotein Gn colocalized with mTOR and lysosomes in infected cells. Together, these data demonstrate that mTORC1 signaling regulates ANDV replication and suggest that the hantavirus Gn protein may modulate mTOR and lysosomal signaling during infection, thus bypassing the cellular regulation of translation.
PMCID: PMC3554081  PMID: 23135723
20.  Hantavirus Regulation of Type I Interferon Responses 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:524024.
Hantaviruses primarily infect human endothelial cells (ECs) and cause two highly lethal human diseases. Early addition of Type I interferon (IFN) to ECs blocks hantavirus replication and thus for hantaviruses to be pathogenic they need to prevent early interferon induction. PHV replication is blocked in human ECs, but not inhibited in IFN deficient VeroE6 cells and consistent with this, infecting ECs with PHV results in the early induction of IFNβ and an array of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs). In contrast, ANDV, HTNV, NY-1V and TULV hantaviruses, inhibit early ISG induction and successfully replicate within human ECs. Hantavirus inhibition of IFN responses has been attributed to several viral proteins including regulation by the Gn proteins cytoplasmic tail (Gn-T). The Gn-T interferes with the formation of STING-TBK1-TRAF3 complexes required for IRF3 activation and IFN induction, while the PHV Gn-T fails to alter this complex or regulate IFN induction. These findings indicate that interfering with early IFN induction is necessary for hantaviruses to replicate in human ECs, and suggest that additional determinants are required for hantaviruses to be pathogenic. The mechanism by which Gn-Ts disrupt IFN signaling is likely to reveal potential therapeutic interventions and suggest protein targets for attenuating hantaviruses.
PMCID: PMC3423653  PMID: 22924041
21.  Pathology of Puumala Hantavirus Infection in Macaques 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e3035.
Hantaviruses are globally important human pathogens that cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Capillary leakage is central to hantaviral diseases, but how it develops, has remained unknown. It has been hypothesized that the pathogenesis of hantavirus infection would be a complex interplay between direct viral effects and immunopathological mechanisms. Both of these were studied in the so far best model of mild hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, i.e. cynomolgus macaques infected with wild-type Puumala hantavirus. Viral RNA detected by in situ hybridization and nucleocapsid protein detected by immunohistochemical staining were observed in kidney, spleen and liver tissues. Inflammatory cell infiltrations and tubular damage were found in the kidneys, and these infiltrations contained mainly CD8-type T-cells. Importantly, these results are consistent with those obtained from patients with hantaviral disease, thus showing that the macaque model of hantavirus infection mimics human infection also on the tissue level. Furthermore, both the markers of viral replication and the T-cells appeared to co-localize in the kidneys to the sites of tissue damage, suggesting that these two together might be responsible for the pathogenesis of hantavirus infection.
PMCID: PMC2516326  PMID: 18716663
22.  Chemical modulation of alveolar epithelial permeability. 
The volume and composition of fluid on the surface of the alveoli can affect alveolar ventilation, gas diffusion, and macrophage function. The passive permeability and active processes of the alveolar epithelial lining play a role in regulating surface fluid and are a potential site of damage by airborne chemicals. Like other epithelial barriers, the alveolar lining is permeable to lipophilic substances but restricts the transmural flow of small ions and hydrophilic nonelectrolytes (equivalent pore radius ca. 0.5-1.5 nm). The mammalian fetal lung and alveolar sacs of the adult bullfrog secrete Cl- and K+ into the airspace. Secretion by the fetal lung ceases at birth. Many environmental agents increase the permeability of the capillary endothelium and/or respiratory epithelium and induce pulmonary edema. Studies with bullfrog alveolar sacs have demonstrated that selective effects may or may not be followed by general derangement of the epithelial barrier. Exposure of the luminal surface to HgCl2 (10(-6) to 10(-4) M) induces a selective increase in Cl- secretion that is followed by a fall in transport and a general increase in ion permeation. CdCl2 (10(-5) to 10(-3) M) depresses ciliomotion on cells on the trabecula of the alveolus but does not affect Cl- secretion or transepithelial conductance. HNO3, like other mineral acids, increases conductance and the radii or pores in the barrier, whereas NaNO3 selectively inhibits Cl- secretion. Amphotericin B(10(7) to 10(-5) MJ) induces K+ secretion into the lumen of both bullfrog and rat lung. We conclude that environmental agents induce changes in epithelial function that may compromise the lung's ability to regulate respiratory fluid without destroying the characteristic permeability of the epithelial lining.
PMCID: PMC1568474  PMID: 6250808
23.  Hantavirus Causing Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome Enters from the Apical Surface and Requires Decay-Accelerating Factor (DAF/CD55)▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(9):4257-4264.
The Old World hantaviruses, members of the family Bunyaviridae, cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Transmission to humans occurs via inhalation of aerosols contaminated with the excreta of infected rodents. The viral antigen is detectable in dendritic cells, macrophages, lymphocytes, and, most importantly, microvascular endothelial cells. However, the site and detailed mechanism of entry of HFRS-causing hantaviruses in polarized epithelial cells have not yet been defined. Therefore, this study focused on the entry of the pathogenic hantaviruses Hantaan and Puumala into African green monkey kidney epithelial cells and primary human endothelial cells. The polarized epithelial and endothelial cells were found to be susceptible to hantavirus infection exclusively from the apical surface. Treatment with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C, which removes glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins from the cell surface, protects cells from infection, indicating that hantaviruses require a GPI-anchored protein as a cofactor for entry. Decay-accelerating factor (DAF)/CD55 is a GPI-anchored protein of the complement regulatory system and serves as a receptor for attachment to the apical cell surface for a number of viruses. Infection was reduced by the pretreatment of hantaviral particles with human recombinant DAF. Moreover, the treatment of permissive cells with DAF-specific antibody blocked infection. These results demonstrate that the Old World hantaviruses Hantaan and Puumala enter polarized target cells from the apical site and that DAF is a critical cofactor for infection.
PMCID: PMC2293039  PMID: 18305044
24.  Influenza Infects Lung Microvascular Endothelium Leading to Microvascular Leak: Role of Apoptosis and Claudin-5 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47323.
Severe influenza infections are complicated by acute lung injury, a syndrome of pulmonary microvascular leak. The pathogenesis of this complication is unclear. We hypothesized that human influenza could directly infect the lung microvascular endothelium, leading to loss of endothelial barrier function. We infected human lung microvascular endothelium with both clinical and laboratory strains of human influenza. Permeability of endothelial monolayers was assessed by spectrofluorimetry and by measurement of the transendothelial electrical resistance. We determined the molecular mechanisms of flu-induced endothelial permeability and developed a mouse model of severe influenza. We found that both clinical and laboratory strains of human influenza can infect and replicate in human pulmonary microvascular endothelium, leading to a marked increase in permeability. This was caused by apoptosis of the lung endothelium, since inhibition of caspases greatly attenuated influenza-induced endothelial leak. Remarkably, replication-deficient virus also caused a significant degree of endothelial permeability, despite displaying no cytotoxic effects to the endothelium. Instead, replication-deficient virus induced degradation of the tight junction protein claudin-5; the adherens junction protein VE-cadherin and the actin cytoskeleton were unaffected. Over-expression of claudin-5 was sufficient to prevent replication-deficient virus-induced permeability. The barrier-protective agent formoterol was able to markedly attenuate flu-induced leak in association with dose-dependent induction of claudin-5. Finally, mice infected with human influenza developed pulmonary edema that was abrogated by parenteral treatment with formoterol. Thus, we describe two distinct mechanisms by which human influenza can induce pulmonary microvascular leak. Our findings have implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of acute lung injury from severe influenza.
PMCID: PMC3480371  PMID: 23115643
25.  Pathogenic Hantaviruses Andes Virus and Hantaan Virus Induce Adherens Junction Disassembly by Directing Vascular Endothelial Cadherin Internalization in Human Endothelial Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(14):7405-7411.
Hantaviruses infect endothelial cells and cause 2 vascular permeability-based diseases. Pathogenic hantaviruses enhance the permeability of endothelial cells in response to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). However, the mechanism by which hantaviruses hyperpermeabilize endothelial cells has not been defined. The paracellular permeability of endothelial cells is uniquely determined by the homophilic assembly of vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) within adherens junctions, which is regulated by VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR2) responses. Here, we investigated VEGFR2 phosphorylation and the internalization of VE-cadherin within endothelial cells infected by pathogenic Andes virus (ANDV) and Hantaan virus (HTNV) and nonpathogenic Tula virus (TULV) hantaviruses. We found that VEGF addition to ANDV- and HTNV-infected endothelial cells results in the hyperphosphorylation of VEGFR2, while TULV infection failed to increase VEGFR2 phosphorylation. Concomitant with the VEGFR2 hyperphosphorylation, VE-cadherin was internalized to intracellular vesicles within ANDV- or HTNV-, but not TULV-, infected endothelial cells. Addition of angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) or sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) to ANDV- or HTNV-infected cells blocked VE-cadherin internalization in response to VEGF. These findings are consistent with the ability of Ang-1 and S1P to inhibit hantavirus-induced endothelial cell permeability. Our results suggest that pathogenic hantaviruses disrupt fluid barrier properties of endothelial cell adherens junctions by enhancing VEGFR2-VE-cadherin pathway responses which increase paracellular permeability. These results provide a pathway-specific mechanism for the enhanced permeability of hantavirus-infected endothelial cells and suggest that stabilizing VE-cadherin within adherens junctions is a primary target for regulating endothelial cell permeability during pathogenic hantavirus infection.
PMCID: PMC2898267  PMID: 20463083

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