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1.  Formation of Fenestrae in Murine Liver Sinusoids Depends on Plasmalemma Vesicle-Associated Protein and Is Required for Lipoprotein Passage 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115005.
Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSEC) are characterized by the presence of fenestrations that are not bridged by a diaphragm. The molecular mechanisms that control the formation of the fenestrations are largely unclear. Here we report that mice, which are deficient in plasmalemma vesicle-associated protein (PLVAP), develop a distinct phenotype that is caused by the lack of sinusoidal fenestrations. Fenestrations with a diaphragm were not observed in mouse LSEC at three weeks of age, but were present during embryonic life starting from embryonic day 12.5. PLVAP was expressed in LSEC of wild-type mice, but not in that of Plvap-deficient littermates. Plvap-/- LSEC showed a pronounced and highly significant reduction in the number of fenestrations, a finding, which was seen both by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The lack of fenestrations was associated with an impaired passage of macromolecules such as FITC-dextran and quantum dot nanoparticles from the sinusoidal lumen into Disse's space. Plvap-deficient mice suffered from a pronounced hyperlipoproteinemia as evidenced by milky plasma and the presence of lipid granules that occluded kidney and liver capillaries. By NMR spectroscopy of plasma, the nature of hyperlipoproteinemia was identified as massive accumulation of chylomicron remnants. Plasma levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL) were also significantly increased as were those of cholesterol and triglycerides. In contrast, plasma levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL), albumin and total protein were reduced. At around three weeks of life, Plvap-deficient livers developed extensive multivesicular steatosis, steatohepatitis, and fibrosis. PLVAP is critically required for the formation of fenestrations in LSEC. Lack of fenestrations caused by PLVAP deficiency substantially impairs the passage of chylomicron remnants between liver sinusoids and hepatocytes, and finally leads to liver damage.
PMCID: PMC4277272  PMID: 25541982
2.  A glycolipid-anchored prion protein is endocytosed via clathrin-coated pits 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;125(6):1239-1250.
The cellular prion protein (PrPc) is a glycolipid-anchored, cell surface protein of unknown function, a posttranslationally modified isoform of which PrPSc is involved in the pathogenesis of Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease, scrapie, and other spongiform encephalopathies. We have shown previously that chPrP, a chicken homologue of mammalian PrPC, constitutively cycles between the cell surface and an endocytic compartment, with a transit time of approximately 60 min in cultured neuroblastoma cells. We now report that endocytosis of chPrP is mediated by clathrin-coated pits. Immunogold labeling of neuroblastoma cells demonstrates that the concentration of chPrP within 0.05 microns of coated pits is 3-5 times higher than over other areas of the plasma membrane. Moreover, gold particles can be seen within coated vesicles and deeply invaginated coated pits that are in the process of pinching off from the plasma membrane. ChPrP is also localized to coated pits in primary cultures of neurons and glia, and is found in coated vesicles purified from chicken brain. Finally, internalization of chPrP is reduced by 70% after neuroblastoma cells are incubated in hypertonic medium, a treatment that inhibits endocytosis by disrupting clathrin lattices. Caveolae, plasmalemmal invaginations in which several other glycolipid-anchored proteins are concentrated, are not seen in neuroblastoma cells analyzed by thin-section or deep-etch electron microscopy. Moreover, these cells do not express detectable levels of caveolin, a caveolar coat protein. Since chPrP lacks a cytoplasmic domain that could interact directly with the intracellular components of clathrin-coated pits, we propose that the polypeptide chain of chPrP associates with the extracellular domain of a transmembrane protein that contains a coated pit internalization signal.
PMCID: PMC2290925  PMID: 7911471
3.  Localization of Autocrine Motility Factor Receptor to Caveolae and Clathrin-independent Internalization of Its Ligand to Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1998;9(7):1773-1786.
Autocrine motility factor receptor (AMF-R) is a cell surface receptor that is also localized to a smooth subdomain of the endoplasmic reticulum, the AMF-R tubule. By postembedding immunoelectron microscopy, AMF-R concentrates within smooth plasmalemmal vesicles or caveolae in both NIH-3T3 fibroblasts and HeLa cells. By confocal microscopy, cell surface AMF-R labeled by the addition of anti-AMF-R antibody to viable cells at 4°C exhibits partial colocalization with caveolin, confirming the localization of cell surface AMF-R to caveolae. Labeling of cell surface AMF-R by either anti-AMF-R antibody or biotinylated AMF (bAMF) exhibits extensive colocalization and after a pulse of 1–2 h at 37°C, bAMF accumulates in densely labeled perinuclear structures as well as fainter tubular structures that colocalize with AMF-R tubules. After a subsequent 2- to 4-h chase, bAMF is localized predominantly to AMF-R tubules. Cytoplasmic acidification, blocking clathrin-mediated endocytosis, results in the essentially exclusive distribution of internalized bAMF to AMF-R tubules. By confocal microscopy, the tubular structures labeled by internalized bAMF show complete colocalization with AMF-R tubules. bAMF internalized in the presence of a 10-fold excess of unlabeled AMF labels perinuclear punctate structures, which are therefore the product of fluid phase endocytosis, but does not label AMF-R tubules, demonstrating that bAMF targeting to AMF-R tubules occurs via a receptor-mediated pathway. By electron microscopy, bAMF internalized for 10 min is located to cell surface caveolae and after 30 min is present within smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum tubules. AMF-R is therefore internalized via a receptor-mediated clathrin-independent pathway to smooth ER. The steady state localization of AMF-R to caveolae implicates these cell surface invaginations in AMF-R endocytosis.
PMCID: PMC25416  PMID: 9658170
4.  Major histocompatibility complex class I molecules mediate association of SV40 with caveolae. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1997;8(1):47-57.
Simian virus 40 (SV40) has been shown to enter mammalian cells via uncoated plasma membrane invaginations. Viral particles subsequently appear within the endoplasmic reticulum. In the present study, we have examined the surface binding and internalization of SV40 by immunoelectron microscopy. We show that SV40 associates with surface pits which have the characteristics of caveolae and are labeled with antibodies to the caveolar marker protein, caveolin-1. SV40 is believed to use major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules as cell surface receptors. Using a number of MHC class I-specific monoclonal antibodies, we found that both viral infection and association of virus with caveolae were strongly reduced by preincubation with anti-MHC class I antibodies. Because binding of SV40 to MHC class I molecules may induce clustering, we investigated whether antibody cross-linked class I molecules also redistributed to caveolae. Clusters of MHC class I molecules were indeed shown to be specifically associated with caveolin-labeled surface pits. Taken together, the results suggest that SV40 may make use of MHC class I molecule clustering and the caveolae pathway to enter mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC276058  PMID: 9017594
5.  Ebolavirus Is Internalized into Host Cells via Macropinocytosis in a Viral Glycoprotein-Dependent Manner 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(9):e1001121.
Ebolavirus (EBOV) is an enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA virus that causes severe hemorrhagic fever with mortality rates of up to 90% in humans and nonhuman primates. Previous studies suggest roles for clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis in EBOV entry; however, ebolavirus virions are long, filamentous particles that are larger than the plasma membrane invaginations that characterize clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis. The mechanism of EBOV entry remains, therefore, poorly understood. To better understand Ebolavirus entry, we carried out internalization studies with fluorescently labeled, biologically contained Ebolavirus and Ebolavirus-like particles (Ebola VLPs), both of which resemble authentic Ebolavirus in their morphology. We examined the mechanism of Ebolavirus internalization by real-time analysis of these fluorescently labeled Ebolavirus particles and found that their internalization was independent of clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis, but that they co-localized with sorting nexin (SNX) 5, a marker of macropinocytosis-specific endosomes (macropinosomes). Moreover, the internalization of Ebolavirus virions accelerated the uptake of a macropinocytosis-specific cargo, was associated with plasma membrane ruffling, and was dependent on cellular GTPases and kinases involved in macropinocytosis. A pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus possessing the Ebolavirus glycoprotein (GP) also co-localized with SNX5 and its internalization and infectivity were affected by macropinocytosis inhibitors. Taken together, our data suggest that Ebolavirus is internalized into cells by stimulating macropinocytosis in a GP-dependent manner. These findings provide new insights into the lifecycle of Ebolavirus and may aid in the development of therapeutics for Ebolavirus infection.
Author Summary
Ebolavirus (EBOV) is an enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA virus that causes severe hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in humans and nonhuman primates. Previous studies suggest roles for clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis in EBOV entry; however, questions remain regarding the mechanism of EBOV entry. Here, we demonstrate that internalization of EBOV particles is independent of clathrin- or caveolae-mediated endocytosis. Specifically, we show that internalized EBOV particles co-localize with macropinocytosis-specific endosomes (macropinosomes) and that their entry is negatively affected by treatment with macropinocytosis inhibitors. Moreover, the internalization of Ebola virions accelerated the uptake of a macropinocytosis-specific cargo, was associated with plasma membrane ruffling, and was dependent on cellular GTPases and kinases involved in macropinocytosis. We further demonstrate that a pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus possessing the EBOV glycoprotein (GP) also co-localizes with macropinosomes and its internalization is similarly affected by macropinocytosis inhibitors. Our results indicate that EBOV uptake into cells involves the macropinocytic pathway and is GP-dependent. These findings provide new insights into the lifecycle of EBOV and may aid in the development of therapeutics for EBOV infection.
PMCID: PMC2944813  PMID: 20886108
6.  Formation of Wild-Type and Chimeric Influenza Virus-Like Particles following Simultaneous Expression of Only Four Structural Proteins 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(13):6154-6165.
We are studying the structural proteins and molecular interactions required for formation and release of influenza virus-like particles (VLPs) from the cell surface. To investigate these events, we generated a quadruple baculovirus recombinant that simultaneously expresses in Sf9 cells the hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), matrix (M1), and M2 proteins of influenza virus A/Udorn/72 (H3N2). Using this quadruple recombinant, we have been able to demonstrate by double-labeling immunofluorescence that matrix protein (M1) localizes in nuclei as well as at discrete areas of the plasma membrane where HA and NA colocalize at the cell surface. Western blot analysis of cell supernatant showed that M1, HA, and NA were secreted into the culture medium. Furthermore, these proteins comigrated in similar fractions when concentrated supernatant was subjected to differential centrifugation. Electron microscopic examination (EM) of these fractions revealed influenza VLPs bearing surface projections that closely resemble those of wild-type influenza virus. Immunogold labeling and EM demonstrated that the HA and NA were present on the surface of the VLPs. We further investigated the minimal number of structural proteins necessary for VLP assembly and release using single-gene baculovirus recombinants. Expression of M1 protein alone led to the release of vesicular particles, which in gradient centrifugation analysis migrated in a similar pattern to that of the VLPs. Immunoprecipitation of M1 protein from purified M1 vesicles, VLPs, or influenza virus showed that the relative amount of M1 protein associated with M1 vesicles or VLPs was higher than that associated with virions, suggesting that particle formation and budding is a very frequent event. Finally, the HA gene within the quadruple recombinant was replaced either by a gene encoding the G protein of vesicular stomatitis virus or by a hybrid gene containing the cytoplasmic tail and transmembrane domain of the HA and the ectodomain of the G protein. Each of these constructs was able to drive the assembly and release of VLPs, although enhanced recruitment of the G glycoprotein onto the surface of the particle was observed with the recombinant carrying a G/HA chimeric gene. The described approach to assembly of wild-type and chimeric influenza VLPs may provide a valuable tool for further investigation of viral morphogenesis and genome packaging as well as for the development of novel vaccines.
PMCID: PMC114331  PMID: 11390617
7.  Antigen Load and Viral Sequence Diversification Determine the Functional Profile of HIV-1–Specific CD8+ T Cells 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(5):e100.
Virus-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes play a key role in the initial reduction of peak viremia during acute viral infections, but display signs of increasing dysfunction and exhaustion under conditions of chronic antigen persistence. It has been suggested that virus-specific CD8+ T cells with a “polyfunctional” profile, defined by the capacity to secrete multiple cytokines or chemokines, are most competent in controlling viral replication in chronic HIV-1 infection. We used HIV-1 infection as a model of chronic persistent viral infection to investigate the process of exhaustion and dysfunction of virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses on the single-epitope level over time, starting in primary HIV-1 infection.
Methods and Findings
We longitudinally analyzed the polyfunctional epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses of 18 patients during primary HIV-1 infection before and after therapy initiation or sequence variation in the targeted epitope. Epitope-specific CD8+ T cells responded with multiple effector functions to antigenic stimulation during primary HIV-1 infection, but lost their polyfunctional capacity in response to antigen and up-regulated programmed death 1 (PD-1) expression with persistent viremic infection. This exhausted phenotype significantly decreased upon removal of stimulation by antigen, either in response to antiretroviral therapy or by reduction of epitope-specific antigen load in the presence of ongoing viral replication, as a consequence of in vivo selection of cytotoxic T lymphocyte escape mutations in the respective epitopes. Monofunctionality increased in CD8+ T cell responses directed against conserved epitopes from 49% (95% confidence interval 27%–72%) to 76% (56%–95%) (standard deviation [SD] of the effect size 0.71), while monofunctionality remained stable or slightly decreased for responses directed against escaped epitopes from 61% (47%–75%) to 56% (42%–70%) (SD of the effect size 0.18) (p < 0.05).
These data suggest that persistence of antigen can be the cause, rather than the consequence, of the functional impairment of virus-specific T cell responses observed during chronic HIV-1 infection, and underscore the importance of evaluating autologous viral sequences in studies aimed at investigating the relationship between virus-specific immunity and associated pathogenesis.
Marcus Altfeld and colleagues suggest that the exhaustion of virus-specific CD8+ T cells during chronic HIV infection likely results from the persistence of antigen.
Editors' Summary
Viruses are small infectious agents responsible for many human diseases, including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Like other viruses, the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1; the cause of AIDS) enters human cells and uses the cellular machinery to replicate before bursting out of its temporary home. During the initial stage of HIV infection, a particular group of cells in the human immune system, CD8+ T cells, are thought to be important in controlling the level of the virus. These immune system cells recognize pieces of viral protein called antigens displayed on the surface of infected cells; different subsets of CD8+ T cells recognize different antigens. When a CD8+ T cell recognizes its specific antigen (or more accurately, a small part of the antigen called an “epitope”), it releases cytotoxins (which kill the infected cells) and cytokines, proteins that stimulate CD8+ T cell proliferation and activate other parts of the immune system. With many viruses, when a person first becomes infected (an acute viral infection), antigen-specific CD8+ T cells completely clear the infection. But with HIV-1 and some other viruses, these cells do not manage to remove all the viruses from the body and a chronic (long-term) infection develops, during which the immune system is constantly exposed to viral antigen.
Why Was This Study Done?
In HIV-1 infections (and other chronic viral infections), virus-specific CD8+ T cells lose their ability to proliferate, to make cytokines, and to kill infected cells as patients progress to the long-term stages of infection. That is, the virus-specific CD8+ T cells gradually lose their “effector” functions and become functionally impaired or “exhausted.” “Polyfunctional” CD8+ T cells (those that release multiple cytokines in response to antigen) are believed to be essential for an effective CD8+ T cell response, so scientists trying to develop HIV-1 vaccines would like to stimulate the production of this type of cell. To do this they need to understand why these polyfunctional cells are lost during chronic infections. Is their loss the cause or the result of viral persistence? In other words, does the constant presence of viral antigen lead to the exhaustion of CD8+ T cells during chronic HIV infection? In this study, the researchers investigate this question by looking at the polyfunctionality of CD8+ cells responding to several different viral epitopes at various times during HIV-1 infection, starting very early after infection with HIV-1 had occurred.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 18 patients recently infected with HIV-1 and analyzed their CD8+ T cell responses to specific epitopes at various times after enrollment using a technique called flow cytometry. They found that the epitope-specific CD8+ cells produced several effector proteins after antigen stimulation during the initial stage of HIV-1 infection, but lost their polyfunctionality in the face of persistent viral infection. The CD8+ T cells also increased their production of programmed death 1 (PD-1), a protein that has been shown to be associated with the functional impairment of CD8+ T cells. Some of the patients began antiretroviral therapy during the study, and the researchers found that this treatment, which reduced the viral load, reversed CD8+ T cell exhaustion. Finally, the appearance in the patients' blood of viruses that had made changes in the specific epitopes recognized by the CD8+ T cells to avoid being killed by these cells, also reversed the exhaustion of the T cells recognizing these particular epitopes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the constant presence of HIV-1 antigen causes the functional impairment of virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses during chronic HIV-1 infections. Treatment with antiretroviral drugs reversed this functional impairment by reducing the amount of antigen in the patients. Similarly, the appearance of viruses with altered epitopes, which effectively reduced the amount of antigen recognized by those epitope-specific CD8+ T cells without reducing the viral load, also reversed T cell exhaustion. These results would not have been seen if the functional impairment of CD8+ cells were the cause rather than the result of antigen persistence. By providing new insights into how the T cell response to viruses evolves during persistent viral infections, these findings should help in the design of vaccines against HIV and other viruses that cause chronic viral infections.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read a related PLoS Medicine Research in Translation article
Learn more from the researchers' Web site, the Partners AIDS Research Center
Wikipedia has a page on cytotoxic T cells (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including a detailed article on the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection
NAM, a UK registered charity, provides information about all aspects of HIV and AIDS, including a fact sheet on the stages of HIV infection and on the immune response to HIV
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on the stages of HIV infection
PMCID: PMC2365971  PMID: 18462013
8.  Immunoisolation and partial characterization of endothelial plasmalemmal vesicles (caveolae). 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1997;8(4):595-605.
Plasmalemmal vesicles (PVs) or caveolae are plasma membrane invaginations and associated vesicles of regular size and shape found in most mammalian cell types. They are particularly numerous in the continuous endothelium of certain microvascular beds (e.g., heart, lung, and muscles) in which they have been identified as transcytotic vesicular carriers. Their chemistry and function have been extensively studied in the last years by various means, including several attempts to isolate them by cell fractionation from different cell types. The methods so far used rely on nonspecific physical parameters of the caveolae and their membrane (e.g., size-specific gravity and solubility in detergents) which do not rule out contamination from other membrane sources, especially the plasmalemma proper. We report here a different method for the isolation of PVs from plasmalemmal fragments obtained by a silica-coating procedure from the rat lung vasculature. The method includes sonication and flotation of a mixed vesicle fraction, as the first step, followed by specific immunoisolation of PVs on anticaveolin-coated magnetic microspheres, as the second step. The mixed vesicle fraction, is thereby resolved into a bound subfraction (B), which consists primarily of PVs or caveolae, and a nonbound subfraction (NB) enriched in vesicles derived from the plasmalemma proper. The results so far obtained indicate that some specific endothelial membrane proteins (e.g., thrombomodulin, functional thrombin receptor) are distributed about evenly between the B and NB subfractions, whereas others are restricted to the NB subfraction (e.g., angiotensin converting enzyme, podocalyxin). Glycoproteins distribute unevenly between the two subfractions and antigens involved in signal transduction [e.g., annexin II, protein kinase C alpha, the G alpha subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins (alpha s, alpha q, alpha i2, alpha i3), small GTP-binding proteins, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and nonreceptor protein kinase c-src] are concentrated in the NB (plasmalemma proper-enriched) subfraction rather than in the caveolae of the B subfraction. Additional work should show whether discrepancies between our findings and those already recorded in the literature represent inadequate fractionation techniques or are accounted for by chemical differentiation of caveolae from one cell type to another.
PMCID: PMC276112  PMID: 9247641
9.  Tumor Endothelial Marker Imaging in Melanomas Using Dual-Tracer Fluorescence Molecular Imaging 
Cancer-specific endothelial markers available for intravascular binding are promising targets for new molecular therapies. In this study, a molecular imaging approach of quantifying endothelial marker concentrations (EMCI) is developed and tested in highly light-absorbing melanomas. The approach involves injection of targeted imaging tracer in conjunction with an untargeted tracer, which is used to account for nonspecific uptake and tissue optical property effects on measured targeted tracer concentrations.
Theoretical simulations and a mouse melanoma model experiment were used to test out the EMCI approach. The tracers used in the melanoma experiments were fluorescently labeled anti-Plvap/PV1 antibody (plasmalemma vesicle associated protein Plvap/PV1 is a transmembrane protein marker exposed on the luminal surface of endothelial cells in tumor vasculature) and a fluorescent isotype control antibody, the uptakes of which were measured on a planar fluorescence imaging system.
The EMCI model was found to be robust to experimental noise under reversible and irreversible binding conditions and was capable of predicting expected overexpression of PV1 in melanomas compared to healthy skin despite a 5-time higher measured fluorescence in healthy skin compared to melanoma: attributable to substantial light attenuation from melanin in the tumors.
This study demonstrates the potential of EMCI to quantify endothelial marker concentrations in vivo, an accomplishment that is currently unavailable through any other methods, either in vivo or ex vivo.
PMCID: PMC4016173  PMID: 24217944
Tracer kinetic modeling; Cancer; Mouse model; PV1
10.  Infectious entry pathway of influenza virus in a canine kidney cell line 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1981;91(3):601-613.
The entry of fowl plague virus, and avian influenza A virus, into Madin- Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells was examined both biochemically and morphologically. At low multiplicity and 0 degrees C, viruses bound to the cell surface but were not internalized. Binding was not greatly dependent on the pH of the medium and reached an equilibrium level in 60-90 min. Over 90% of the bound viruses were removed by neuraminidase but not by proteases. When cells with prebound virus were warmed to 37 degrees C, part of the virus became resistant to removal b neuraminidase, with a half-time of 10-15 min. After a brief lag period, degraded viral material was released into the medium. The neuraminidase- resistant virus was capable of infecting the cells and probably did so by an intracellular route, since ammonium chloride, a lysosomotropic agent, blocked both the infection and the degradation of viral protein. When the entry process was observed by electron microscopy, viruses were seen bound primarily to microvilli on the cell surface at 0 degrees C and, after warming at 37 degrees C, were endocytosed in coated pits, coated vesicles, and large smooth-surfaced vacuoles. Viruses were also present in smooth-surfaced invaginations and small smooth-surfaced vesicles at both temperatures. At physiological pH, no fusion of the virus with the plasma membrane was observed. When prebound virus was incubated at a pH of 5.5 or below for 1 min at 37 degrees C, fusion was, however, detected by ferritin immunolabeling. t low multiplicity, 90% of the prebound virus became neuraminidase- resistant and was presumably fused after only 30 s at low pH. These experiments suggest that fowl plague virus enters MDCK cells by endocytosis in coated pits and coated vesicles and is transported to the lysosome where the low pH initiates a fusion reaction ultimately resulting in the transfer of the genome into the cytoplasm. The entry pathway of fowl plague virus thus resembles tht earlier described for Semliki Forest virus.
PMCID: PMC2112819  PMID: 7328111
11.  Endocytosis of GPI-anchored proteins in human lymphocytes: role of glycolipid-based domains, actin cytoskeleton, and protein kinases 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;133(4):791-799.
GPI-anchored surface proteins mediate many important functions, including transport, signal transduction, adhesion, and protection against complement. They cluster into glycolipid-based membrane domains and caveolae, plasmalemmal vesicles involved in the transcytosis and endocytosis of these surface proteins. However, in lymphocytes, neither the characteristic flask shaped caveolae nor caveolin, a transmembrane protein typical of caveolae, have been observed. Here, we show that the GPI-anchored CD59 molecule on Jurkat T cells is internalized after cross-linking, a process inhibited by nystatin, a sterol chelating agent. Clustered CD59 molecules mostly accumulate in non-coated invaginations of the lymphocyte membrane before endocytosis, in marked contrast with the pattern of CD3-TCR internalization. Cytochalasin H blocked CD59 internalization in lymphocytes, but neither CD3 internalization nor transferrin uptake. Confocal microscopy analysis of F-actin distribution within lymphocytes showed that CD59 clusters were associated with patches of polymerized actin. Also, we found that internalization of CD59 was prevented by the protein kinase C inhibitor staurosporine and by the protein kinase A activator forskolin. Thus, in lymphocytes, as in other cell types, glycolipid-based domains provide sites of integration of signaling pathways involved in GPI-anchored protein endocytosis. This process, which is regulated by both protein kinase C and A activity, is tightly controlled by the dynamic organization of actin cytoskeleton, and may be critical for polarized contacts of circulating cells.
PMCID: PMC2120835  PMID: 8666664
12.  Nipah Virion Entry Kinetics, Composition, and Conformational Changes Determined by Enzymatic Virus-Like Particles and New Flow Virometry Tools 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(24):14197-14206.
Virus-cell membrane fusion is essential for enveloped virus infections. However, mechanistic viral membrane fusion studies have predominantly focused on cell-cell fusion models, largely due to the low availability of technologies capable of characterizing actual virus-cell membrane fusion. Although cell-cell fusion assays are valuable, they do not fully recapitulate all the variables of virus-cell membrane fusion. Drastic differences between viral and cellular membrane lipid and protein compositions and curvatures exist. For biosafety level 4 (BSL4) pathogens such as the deadly Nipah virus (NiV), virus-cell fusion mechanistic studies are notably cumbersome. To circumvent these limitations, we used enzymatic Nipah virus-like-particles (NiVLPs) and developed new flow virometric tools. NiV's attachment (G) and fusion (F) envelope glycoproteins mediate viral binding to the ephrinB2/ephrinB3 cell receptors and virus-cell membrane fusion, respectively. The NiV matrix protein (M) can autonomously induce NiV assembly and budding. Using a β-lactamase (βLa) reporter/NiV-M chimeric protein, we produced NiVLPs expressing NiV-G and wild-type or mutant NiV-F on their surfaces. By preloading target cells with the βLa fluorescent substrate CCF2-AM, we obtained viral entry kinetic curves that correlated with the NiV-F fusogenic phenotypes, validating NiVLPs as suitable viral entry kinetic tools and suggesting overall relatively slower viral entry than cell-cell fusion kinetics. Additionally, the proportions of F and G on individual NiVLPs and the extent of receptor-induced conformational changes in NiV-G were measured via flow virometry, allowing the proper interpretation of the viral entry kinetic phenotypes. The significance of these findings in the viral entry field extends beyond NiV to other paramyxoviruses and enveloped viruses.
IMPORTANCE Virus-cell membrane fusion is essential for enveloped virus infections. However, mechanistic viral membrane fusion studies have predominantly focused on cell-cell fusion models, largely due to the low availability of technologies capable of characterizing actual virus-cell membrane fusion. Although cell-cell fusion assays are valuable, they do not fully recapitulate all the variables of virus-cell membrane fusion. For example, drastic differences between viral and cellular membrane lipid and protein compositions and curvatures exist. For biosafety level 4 (BSL4) pathogens such as the deadly Nipah virus (NiV), virus-cell fusion mechanistic studies are especially cumbersome. To circumvent these limitations, we used enzymatic Nipah virus-like-particles (NiVLPs) and developed new flow virometric tools. Our new tools allowed us the high-throughput measurement of viral entry kinetics, glycoprotein proportions on individual viral particles, and receptor-induced conformational changes in viral glycoproteins on viral surfaces. The significance of these findings extends beyond NiV to other paramyxoviruses and enveloped viruses.
PMCID: PMC4249114  PMID: 25275126
13.  Endothelial plasmalemmal vesicles have a characteristic striped bipolar surface structure 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1985;101(6):2233-2238.
Capillary endothelial cells have a large population of small (65-80 nm diameter in transmission electron microscopy) vesicles of which a large fraction is associated with the plasmalemma of the luminal and abluminal side. We studied the fine structure and distribution of these plasmalemmal vesicles by high resolution scanning electron microscopy in cultured endothelial cells obtained from bovine adrenal cortical capillaries. Cell monolayers were covered with polylysine-coated silicon chips, split in high potassium buffer, fixed in aldehyde mixtures, and then treated with OsO4 and thiocarbohydrazide. After critical point drying, the specimens were coated with a thin (less than 2 nm) continuous film of chromium. On the cytoplasmic aspect of the dorsal plasmalemmal fragments seen in such specimens, plasmalemmal vesicles appear as uniform vesicular protrusions approximately 70-90 nm in diameter, preferentially concentrated in distinct large fields in which they occur primarily as single units. Individual plasmalemmal vesicles exhibit a striped surface fine structure which consists of ridges approximately 10 nm in diameter, separated by furrows and oriented as meridians, often ending at two poles on opposite sides of the vesicles in a plane parallel to the plasmalemma. This striped surface structure is clearly distinct from the cage structure of coated pits found, at low surface density, on the same specimens. The cytoplasmic aspect of the plasmalemma proper is covered by a fibrillar infrastructure which does not extend over plasmalemmal vesicles but on which the latter appear to be anchored by fine filaments.
PMCID: PMC2113993  PMID: 4066756
14.  Heparan Sulfate-Binding Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Enters Cells via Caveola-Mediated Endocytosis▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(18):9075-9085.
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) utilizes different cell surface macromolecules to facilitate infection of cultured cells. Virus, which is virulent for susceptible animals, infects cells via four members of the αV subclass of cellular integrins. In contrast, tissue culture adaptation of some FMDV serotypes results in the loss of viral virulence in the animal, accompanied by the loss of virus' ability to use integrins as receptors. These avirulent viral variants acquire positively charged amino acids on surface-exposed structural proteins, resulting in the utilization of cell surface heparan sulfate (HS) molecules as receptors. We have recently shown that FMDV serotypes utilizing integrin receptors enter cells via a clathrin-mediated mechanism into early endosomes. Acidification within the endosome results in a breakdown of the viral capsid, releasing the RNA, which enters the cytoplasm by a still undefined mechanism. Since there is evidence that HS internalizes bound ligands via a caveola-mediated mechanism, it was of interest to analyze the entry of FMDV by cell-surface HS. Using a genetically engineered variant of type O1Campos (O1C3056R) which can utilize both integrins and HS as receptors and a second variant (O1C3056R-KGE) which can utilize only HS as a receptor, we followed viral entry using confocal microscopy. After virus bound to cells at 4°C, followed by a temperature shift to 37°C, type O1C3056R-KGE colocalized with caveolin-1, while O1C3056R colocalized with both clathrin and caveolin-1. Compounds which either disrupt or inhibit the formation of lipid rafts inhibited the replication of O1C3056R-KGE. Furthermore, a caveolin-1 knockdown by RNA interference also considerably reduced the efficiency of O1C3056R-KGE infection. These results indicate that HS-binding FMDV enters the cells via the caveola-mediated endocytosis pathway and that caveolae can associate and traffic with endosomes. In addition, these results further suggest that the route of FMDV entry into cells is a function solely of the viral receptor.
PMCID: PMC2546884  PMID: 18614639
15.  Antigen vehiculization particles based on the Z protein of Junin virus 
BMC Biotechnology  2012;12:80.
Arenavirus matrix protein Z plays an important role in virus budding and is able to generate enveloped virus-like-particles (VLPs) in absence of any other viral proteins. In these VLPs, Z protein is associated to the plasma membrane inner surface by its myristoyl residue. Budding induction and vesicle formation properties can be exploited to generate enveloped VLPs platform. These structures can be designed to carry specific antigen in the inner side or on the surface of VLPs.
Vaccines based on VLPs are a highly effective type of subunit vaccines that mimic the overall structure of virus particles in absence of viral nucleic acid, being noninfectious.
In this work we assayed the capacity of Junin Z protein to produce VLPs carrying the green fluorescent protein (eGFP), as a model antigen.
In this report the Junin Z protein ability to produce VLPs from 293T cells and its capacity to deliver a specific antigen (eGFP) fused to Z was evaluated. Confocal microscopy showed a particular membrane bending in cells expressing Z and a spot welded distribution in the cytoplasm. VLPs were detected by TEM (transmission electron microscopy) and were purified from cell supernatant. The proteinase protection assay demonstrated the VLPs integrity and the absence of degradation of the fused antigen, thus indicating its internal localization. Finally, immunization of mice with purified VLPs produced high titres of anti-eGFP antibodies compared to the controls.
It was proved that VLPs can be generated from cells transfected with a fusion Junin virus Z-eGFP protein in absence of any other viral protein, and the capacity of Z protein to support fusions at the C-terminal, without impairing its budding activity, allowing vehiculization of specific antigens into VLPs.
PMCID: PMC3534497  PMID: 23121996
Virus-like particles; Antigen delivery; Arenavirus; Z protein
16.  Plasmalemmal Vesicle Associated Protein (PLVAP) as a therapeutic target for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:815.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignancy with poor survival outcome. New treatment options for the disease are needed. In this study, we identified and evaluated tumor vascular PLVAP as a therapeutic target for treatment of HCC.
Genes showing extreme differential expression between paired human HCC and adjacent non-tumorous liver tissue were investigated. PLVAP was identified as one of such genes with potential to serve as a therapeutic target for treatment of HCC. A recombinant monoclonal anti-PLVAP Fab fragment co-expressing extracellular domain of human tissue factor (TF) was developed. The potential therapeutic effect and toxicity to treat HCC were studied using a Hep3B HCC xenograft model in SCID mice.
PLVAP was identified as a gene specifically expressed in vascular endothelial cells of HCC but not in non-tumorous liver tissues. This finding was confirmed by RT-PCR analysis of micro-dissected cells and immunohistochemical staining of tissue sections. Infusion of recombinant monoclonal anti-PLVAP Fab-TF into the main tumor feeding artery induced tumor vascular thrombosis and extensive tumor necrosis at doses between 2.5 μg and 12 μg. Tumor growth was suppressed for 40 days after a single treatment. Systemic administration did not induce tumor necrosis. Little systemic toxicity was noted for this therapeutic agent.
The results of this study suggest that anti-PLVAP Fab-TF may be used to treat HCC cases for which transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is currently used and potentially avoid the drawback of high viscosity of chemoembolic emulsion for TACE to improve therapeutic outcome. Anti-PLVAP Fab-TF may become a viable therapeutic agent in patients with advanced disease and compromised liver function.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-815) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4233082  PMID: 25376302
PLVAP; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Monoclonal antibody; Tissue factor; Thrombotic treatment
17.  Broad Blockade Antibody Responses in Human Volunteers after Immunization with a Multivalent Norovirus VLP Candidate Vaccine: Immunological Analyses from a Phase I Clinical Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(3):e1001807.
Human noroviruses (NoVs) are the primary cause of acute gastroenteritis and are characterized by antigenic variation between genogroups and genotypes and antigenic drift of strains within the predominant GII.4 genotype. In the context of this diversity, an effective NoV vaccine must elicit broadly protective immunity. We used an antibody (Ab) binding blockade assay to measure the potential cross-strain protection provided by a multivalent NoV virus-like particle (VLP) candidate vaccine in human volunteers.
Methods and Findings
Sera from ten human volunteers immunized with a multivalent NoV VLP vaccine (genotypes GI.1/GII.4) were analyzed for IgG and Ab blockade of VLP interaction with carbohydrate ligand, a potential correlate of protective immunity to NoV infection and illness. Immunization resulted in rapid rises in IgG and blockade Ab titers against both vaccine components and additional VLPs representing diverse strains and genotypes not represented in the vaccine. Importantly, vaccination induced blockade Ab to two novel GII.4 strains not in circulation at the time of vaccination or sample collection. GII.4 cross-reactive blockade Ab titers were more potent than responses against non-GII.4 VLPs, suggesting that previous exposure history to this dominant circulating genotype may impact the vaccine Ab response. Further, antigenic cartography indicated that vaccination preferentially activated preexisting Ab responses to epitopes associated with GII.4.1997. Study interpretations may be limited by the relevance of the surrogate neutralization assay and the number of immunized participants evaluated.
Vaccination with a multivalent NoV VLP vaccine induces a broadly blocking Ab response to multiple epitopes within vaccine and non-vaccine NoV strains and to novel antigenic variants not yet circulating at the time of vaccination. These data reveal new information about complex NoV immune responses to both natural exposure and to vaccination, and support the potential feasibility of an efficacious multivalent NoV VLP vaccine for future use in human populations.
Trial Registration NCT01168401
Lisa Lindesmith and colleagues assess the potential of a candidate virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine to induce antibody responses to antigenically divergent norovirus strains.
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, noroviruses cause one in five cases of viral gastroenteritis (often called stomach flu or winter vomiting disease), the symptoms of which include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There is no specific treatment for infection with these highly contagious viruses, and no established approach to vaccine development. While most people recover from the symptoms of norovirus infection within a few days, young children and the elderly may become severely ill or die. An estimated annual 300 million cases of norovirus infection contribute to roughly 260,000 deaths, mostly among this vulnerable demographic and mostly in low-income countries. Like influenza viruses, many noroviruses are evolving via a process known as antigenic drift. Antigens are components of infectious agents (including viruses) that are recognized by antibodies, proteins that bind to and neutralize foreign invaders. Over time, noroviruses develop small changes in their antigens that allow them to escape from antibodies produced in response to earlier infections. Every two to four years, because of accumulated antigenic drift, a new strain of norovirus emerges to which the human population has no direct antibody immunity, and an outbreak occurs. Because vaccines usually contain a component of the infectious agent that stimulates immunity, antigenic drift complicates the process of vaccine development. To be worth the cost and effort, a norovirus vaccine must confer immunity against a diverse range of norovirus strains, ideally including strains beyond those represented within the vaccine itself.
Partly because there is not a reliable method for growing noroviruses in the laboratory, recent efforts have focused on developing candidate vaccines using virus-like particles (VLPs). VLPs are constructed from laboratory-generated molecules of the virus’s capsid (outer shell). These capsid proteins self-assemble into icosahedral VLPs, which resemble the viral shell. VLPs cannot infect people or cause illness, but because they contain viral antigens, they can induce the immune system to produce antibodies that may neutralize actual viruses. VLPs can also be used to study the antibodies that people produce in response to vaccination or infection.
Why Was This Study Done?
VLP-based vaccines are relatively new, and their capacity to elicit a broad immune response conferring protection to an evolving range of norovirus strains is not established. One VLP vaccine based on a single strain that circulates primarily in children conferred immunity to that strain. Another, multivalent (containing a mix of VLPs from more than one strain) VLP vaccine elicited antibody generation, but in a phase I clinical trial did not confer immunity to infection by a strain that had previously circulated globally. In the current study, the researchers explored two key questions using laboratory analysis of blood samples drawn from participants in that trial. First, they tested whether the vaccine elicits antibody responses to a broad range of norovirus strains, as antibody responses can provide clues to the potential for this type of vaccine to confer broad immunity in the future. Second, they investigated how preexisting exposure to noroviruses affects the immune system’s response to a vaccine—strategic information that could aid in future vaccine development.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers tested serum (blood without cells or clotting proteins; serum contains the antibodies generated by the immune system) collected from ten participants receiving one injection of the VLP vaccine followed by a second injection 28 days later. They analyzed the serum specimens for antibodies to vaccine VLPs and also to VLPs representing viruses that were not contained in the vaccine. They used two methods, both utilizing VLPs generated from 11 norovirus strains: a traditional method that assesses binding of serum antibodies to each of these VLPs, and a more recent method that assays the ability of antibodies to block the interaction of each VLP with a molecule on intestinal cells that binds to the virus (the gut epithelial ligand), enabling norovirus to enter and infect cells. Prior studies suggest that this latter assay may be a better proxy for actual immunity.
The researchers’ major finding is that a multivalent VLP vaccine (two VLPs representing four strains of norovirus: one from a subgroup called genotype GI.1 and another consensus VLP of three strains from the subgroup GII.4) can rapidly elicit serum antibodies that bind a range of vaccine and non-vaccine VLPs, and that block binding of these VLPs to the gut epithelial ligand. Notably, vaccine recipients also generated antibodies reactive to two novel VLPs representing human noroviruses that they could not have previously encountered, indicating that prior exposure to each norovirus strain was not required for the full antibody response following vaccination. However, based on an analysis of which specific epitopes (small regions on an antigen) the population of antibodies binds, the authors report that antibody responses to the vaccine prominently target epitopes of a 1997 strain of human GII.4 norovirus, and propose that exposure history does influence the antibody response.
What Do these Findings Mean?
These findings raise the possibility that the VLP vaccine may induce immunity not only to norovirus strains that have caused past outbreaks, but also to variants that have yet to enter the population—a necessary attribute given the antigenic drift observed among noroviruses. The study also indicates that VLP-induced antibody responses to norovirus are consistent with the “antigenic seniority” model, in which strains to which an individual was previously exposed influence the binding properties of a vaccine-induced antibody population. This latter finding may influence the design of future norovirus vaccines.
These results must be interpreted cautiously, particularly as they pertain to the potential for a norovirus vaccine to protect against natural infection. The study is small, and antibody binding and blocking assays may not replicate how the immune system of a vaccine recipient will respond to true norovirus infection. Additionally, the study participants were all adults aged 18 to 49 years, while a vaccine is most needed for young children (who account for the majority of severe infections) and the elderly (who are most likely to die from infection). Unlike the study participants, young children lack preexisting antibodies to norovirus. Older people are more likely to have been previously exposed to norovirus, but may show attenuated immune responses to vaccination. Adapting to the different immune responses of these two groups remains a central challenge to norovirus vaccine development.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides a comprehensive description of the disease burden from diarrheal disease
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on viral gastroenteritis (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on disease trends and outbreaks
The US Department of Health and Human Services offers guidance for prevention based on food safety
A 2014 interview with Academic Editor Benjamin Lopman explores the difficulty of developing a norovirus vaccine
The authors have previously published findings on the evolution of norovirus strains in PLOS Medicine and have discussed the challenges of norovirus therapeutic design in PLOS Pathogens
PMCID: PMC4371888  PMID: 25803642
18.  Enveloped Virus-Like Particle Expression of Human Cytomegalovirus Glycoprotein B Antigen Induces Antibodies with Potent and Broad Neutralizing Activity 
A prophylactic vaccine to prevent the congenital transmission of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in newborns and to reduce life-threatening disease in immunosuppressed recipients of HCMV-infected solid organ transplants is highly desirable. Neutralizing antibodies against HCMV confer significant protection against infection, and glycoprotein B (gB) is a major target of such neutralizing antibodies. However, one shortcoming of past HCMV vaccines may have been their failure to induce high-titer persistent neutralizing antibody responses that prevent the infection of epithelial cells. We used enveloped virus-like particles (eVLPs), in which particles were produced in cells after the expression of murine leukemia virus (MLV) viral matrix protein Gag, to express either full-length CMV gB (gB eVLPs) or the full extracellular domain of CMV gB fused with the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains from vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-G protein (gB-G eVLPs). gB-G-expressing eVLPs induced potent neutralizing antibodies in mice with a much greater propensity toward epithelial cell-neutralizing activity than that induced with soluble recombinant gB protein. An analysis of gB antibody binding titers and T-helper cell responses demonstrated that high neutralizing antibody titers were not simply due to enhanced immunogenicity of the gB-G eVLPs. The cells transiently transfected with gB-G but not gB plasmid formed syncytia, consistent with a prefusion gB conformation like those of infected cells and viral particles. Two of the five gB-G eVLP-induced monoclonal antibodies we examined in detail had neutralizing activities, one of which possessed particularly potent epithelial cell-neutralizing activity. These data differentiate gB-G eVLPs from gB antigens used in the past and support their use in a CMV vaccine candidate with improved neutralizing activity against epithelial cell infection.
PMCID: PMC3910943  PMID: 24334684
The virus-induced leakage of host-cell constituents represents a true increase in cellular permeability rather than an unpeeling of cell surface components, since an intracellular enzyme participates in the leakage. All of the T-system bacteriophages exhibit this leakage. The leakage does not occur with salt concentrations which permit only reversible virus-cell attachment but no penetration. These facts support the idea that the reaction underlying cell leakage is a part of the invasive mechanism. With increasing multiplicity of T2 infection of young, fresh Escherichia coli B cells, progressively larger molecules leak out of the cell. Acid-soluble P32 appears in large amounts with single infection. Appreciable amounts of galactosidase enzyme and RNA do not leak until multiplicities of 5 to 30 are attained. Cellular DNA is not liberated unless sufficiently high multiplicities are used to cause the extensive cell destruction and clearing of the suspension characteristic of lysis-from-without. This progression is interpreted as an increase with T2 multiplicity in the maximum hole size produced in the cell membrane. Calculation shows that this increase in hole size must result from a spreading change in the character of the cell wall, rather than the coincidental juxtaposition of 2 or more viruses at adjacent attachment sites. T1 virus liberates less macromolecular constituents than T2 from E. coli B. The following experimental results constitute evidence that in the course of normal virus infection, a resealing reaction is rapidly instituted in the cell wall which reverses the effect of the original permeability increase, and renders the cell refractory to a second lytic reaction by a homologous virus: (a) Cell leakage induced by T2 virus in the course of normal infection markedly slows down or stops within a few minutes, even when only a small fraction of the material potentially available for leakage has been released, (b) Superinfection after 8 minutes at 37°C., of a cell previously infected with a homologous virus causes little or no appearance of a second leakage of cell constituents. This experiment also leads to the conclusion that the sealing reaction, like that which causes the leakage, also involves a disturbance which spreads over all or most of the cell wall. (c) If a multiple virus infection is allowed to occur at 0°C. and then the cells are placed in a 37°C. bath after completion of attachment, a much greater cell leakage results than if the entire course had occurred at 37°C., as would be expected if a resealing reaction comes into play at 37°C. within a time less than that required by the completion of attachment. The virus particles attaching secondarily at 37°C. are prevented from exercising their permeability-increasing effect by the sealing reaction of the virus which had penetrated first. Although a second homologous cell infection with T1 or T2 phages after a 37°C. incubation fails to yield a second leakage, a second heterologous infection always causes exacerbation of new leakage, which, especially if T1 has preceded T2, may be much greater than the sum of those produced individually by each virus in separate cell suspensions. This phenomenon may be the action responsible for the "depressor" effect which occurs when 2 unrelated viruses attack the same cell. The properties of the sealing phenomenon are such as to make it appear a logical candidate for the mechanism underlying the exclusion of a superinfecting phage from participating in reproductive processes in a cell previously infected with a homologous virus, since the DNA of the second virus would be unable to penetrate the new barrier. Experiments to test this hypothesis revealed that the DNA from such superinfecting virus is completely extractable from cells by washing in dilute buffer, whereas about 40 to 50 per cent of the attached DNA of virus which has invaded virgin cells remains bound to the cells. Most of the viral DNA which appears in the original supernatant when P32-labelled T2 invades E. coli B in a multiplicity less than one, does not represent inert material but rather virus DNA which has been split, or split and hydrolyzed as a result of its interaction with the cells, as judged by the altered susceptibility to hydrolytic enzyme or to TCA precipitation. This suggests that 25 per cent or more of the virus DNA may be expendable, at least after the penetration stage of the infection cycle. Mg++ which strongly depresses the amount of cell leakage attending T2 infection, does not prevent T2 penetration nor does it block the appearance of the exclusion reaction. Hence, if the initial leakage does mirror the lytic process by which a hole for the DNA injection is provided, the Mg++ does not function by preventing this hole formation. Its effect would have to lie in prevention of the spreading lysis-potentiating reaction or in augmenting the sealing mechanism. A large number of independent lines of evidence indicate that the phenomenon of lysis-from-without exhibited by the T-even coliphages is the result of failure of the sealing mechanism to keep pace with the lytic reaction. This can result from an excess of infecting phages or inhibition of the cellular energy-liberating reaction required by the sealing mechanism. The complete parallelism between the development of refractoriness to lysis-from-without and development of refractoriness to the production of a new leakage from a homologous superinfection is especially convincing in this connection. It is proposed that the early phase of bacteriophage invasion involves the following steps: reversible electrostatic attachment; splitting of the viral DNA from its protein coat; initiation of a lytic reaction in the cell wall at the site of virus attachment; injection of the DNA through the hole so produced; a spreading disturbance over the cell surface which makes it momentarily more susceptible to the lytic reaction; sealing of the hole and a concommittant spread over the cell wall of a reaction making the cell refractory to initiation of a second lytic reaction. Na+, K+, and Mg++ all behave differently in their effect on the leakage produced in the course of T2 invasion of E. coli.
PMCID: PMC2136447  PMID: 13233443
20.  Human Monoclonal Antibody Combination against SARS Coronavirus: Synergy and Coverage of Escape Mutants 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(7):e237.
Experimental animal data show that protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection with human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is feasible. For an effective immune prophylaxis in humans, broad coverage of different strains of SARS-CoV and control of potential neutralization escape variants will be required. Combinations of virus-neutralizing, noncompeting mAbs may have these properties.
Methods and Findings
Human mAb CR3014 has been shown to completely prevent lung pathology and abolish pharyngeal shedding of SARS-CoV in infected ferrets. We generated in vitro SARS-CoV variants escaping neutralization by CR3014, which all had a single P462L mutation in the glycoprotein spike (S) of the escape virus. In vitro experiments confirmed that binding of CR3014 to a recombinant S fragment (amino acid residues 318–510) harboring this mutation was abolished. We therefore screened an antibody-phage library derived from blood of a convalescent SARS patient for antibodies complementary to CR3014. A novel mAb, CR3022, was identified that neutralized CR3014 escape viruses, did not compete with CR3014 for binding to recombinant S1 fragments, and bound to S1 fragments derived from the civet cat SARS-CoV-like strain SZ3. No escape variants could be generated with CR3022. The mixture of both mAbs showed neutralization of SARS-CoV in a synergistic fashion by recognizing different epitopes on the receptor-binding domain. Dose reduction indices of 4.5 and 20.5 were observed for CR3014 and CR3022, respectively, at 100% neutralization. Because enhancement of SARS-CoV infection by subneutralizing antibody concentrations is of concern, we show here that anti-SARS-CoV antibodies do not convert the abortive infection of primary human macrophages by SARS-CoV into a productive one.
The combination of two noncompeting human mAbs CR3014 and CR3022 potentially controls immune escape and extends the breadth of protection. At the same time, synergy between CR3014 and CR3022 may allow for a lower total antibody dose to be administered for passive immune prophylaxis of SARS-CoV infection.
Editors' Summary
Late in 2002, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) emerged in the Guangdong province of China. In February 2003, an infected doctor from the province carried this new viral threat to human health to Hong Kong. Here, people staying in the same hotel caught the disease and took it to other countries. SARS was on the move, hitching lifts with international travellers. Because the virus responsible for SARS—SARS-CoV—spread by close person-to-person contact and killed 10% of the people it infected, health experts feared a world-wide epidemic. This was avoided by the World Health Organization issuing a global alert and warning against unnecessary travel to affected areas and by public-health officials isolating patients and their close contacts. By July 2003, the first SARS epidemic was over. 8,098 people had been infected; 774 people had died. Since then, sporadic cases of SARS have been contained locally.
Why Was This Study Done?
The first epidemic of SARS was caused by an animal virus that became adapted to spread between people. There is no reason this process won't be repeated. If it is, stringent quarantine measures could again prevent a global epidemic, but at considerable economic cost. What is needed is a way to prevent SARS developing in healthy people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV and to treat sick people so that they are less infectious and can fight the virus. In this study, researchers have been investigating “passive immunization” as a way to limit SARS epidemics. In passive immunization, short-term protection against illness is achieved by injecting antibodies—proteins that recognize specific molecules (called antigens) on foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses and prevent those organisms from causing disease. Antibodies for passive immunization can be isolated from blood taken from people who have had SARS, or they can be manufactured as so-called “human monoclonal antibodies” in a laboratory. One of these human monoclonal antibodies—CR3014—had been previously made and shown to prevent lung damage in ferrets infected with SARS-CoV and to stop the infected animals from infecting others. But for effective disease prevention in people, a single monoclonal antibody might not be enough. There are strains of SARS-CoV that CR3014 does not recognize and therefore cannot act against. Also, the virus can alter the antigen recognized by CR3014 when it is grown at a low antibody concentration, producing so-called escape variants; if this happens CR3014 can no longer prevent these escape variants from killing human cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers tested how well a combination of two monoclonal antibodies controlled SARS-CoV killing of human cells. First, they showed that CR3014 escape variants all had the same small change in a part of the virus surface that interacts with human cells. CR3014 blocked this interaction in the parent SARS-CoV strain but not in the escape variants. They then made a new monoclonal antibody—CR3022—that prevented both the parent SARS-CoV stain and the CR3014 escape viruses from killing human cells. The two antibodies bound to neighboring parts of the virus surface, and both of them could bind at the same time. CR3022 also bound to surfaces of SARS-CoV strains to which CR3014 does not bind. And when they tried, the researchers could not generate any viral escape variants to which CR3022 was unable to bind. Finally, the effect of the two antibodies together on inhibition of SARS-CoV killing of human cells was more than the sum of their individual effects.
What Do These Findings Mean?
A combination of two (or more) human monoclonal antibodies that recognize different parts of the SARS-CoV surface that interacts with human cells might be a good way to immunize people passively against SARS-CoV. It might minimize the possibility of escape variants arising, broaden the range of virus strains against which protection is provided, and reduce the amount of antibody needed for effective protection. Before the approach is tried in people, it will have to be tested in animals—results from experiments done on human cells in dishes are not always replicated in whole animals or people. If the approach passes further tests, the hope is that passive immunization of people with SARS and their close contacts might reduce disease severity in infected people and reduce viral spread as effectively as dramatic quarantine measures
Additional Information.
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
• Medline Plus pages on SARS
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on SARS
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases factsheet about research on SARS
• Wikipedia page on SARS and monoclonal antibodies (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
Two human monoclonal antibodies that bind to different parts of the viral glycoprotein spike show synergistic effects in virus neutralization and suppress the emergence of resistant virus in vitro.
PMCID: PMC1483912  PMID: 16796401
21.  Fatal Cardiac Arrhythmia and Long-QT Syndrome in a New Form of Congenital Generalized Lipodystrophy with Muscle Rippling (CGL4) Due to PTRF-CAVIN Mutations 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(3):e1000874.
We investigated eight families with a novel subtype of congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL4) of whom five members had died from sudden cardiac death during their teenage years. ECG studies revealed features of long-QT syndrome, bradycardia, as well as supraventricular and ventricular tachycardias. Further symptoms comprised myopathy with muscle rippling, skeletal as well as smooth-muscle hypertrophy, leading to impaired gastrointestinal motility and hypertrophic pyloric stenosis in some children. Additionally, we found impaired bone formation with osteopenia, osteoporosis, and atlanto-axial instability. Homozygosity mapping located the gene within 2 Mbp on chromosome 17. Prioritization of 74 candidate genes with GeneDistiller for high expression in muscle and adipocytes suggested PTRF-CAVIN (Polymerase I and transcript release factor/Cavin) as the most probable candidate leading to the detection of homozygous mutations (c.160delG, c.362dupT). PTRF-CAVIN is essential for caveolae biogenesis. These cholesterol-rich plasmalemmal vesicles are involved in signal-transduction and vesicular trafficking and reside primarily on adipocytes, myocytes, and osteoblasts. Absence of PTRF-CAVIN did not influence abundance of its binding partner caveolin-1 and caveolin-3. In patient fibroblasts, however, caveolin-1 failed to localize toward the cell surface and electron microscopy revealed reduction of caveolae to less than 3%. Transfection of full-length PTRF-CAVIN reestablished the presence of caveolae. The loss of caveolae was confirmed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in combination with fluorescent imaging. PTRF-CAVIN deficiency thus presents the phenotypic spectrum caused by a quintessential lack of functional caveolae.
Author Summary
Patients with generalized lipodystrophy have a marked lack of body fat. Several gene defects have been described that impede fat synthesis and maturation of fat cells. Here we report on mutations in a novel gene, called PTRF-CAVIN, causing congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 4 (CGL4) that is additionally associated with muscle disease. Patients' muscles are large but weak and show an involuntary, rolling contraction pattern called “rippling.” Further symptoms comprise life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and a disorder of bone formation. We searched for shared segments in the genome of seven patients and found the responsible gene, called PTRF-CAVIN, on chromosome 17. This gene is crucial for caveolae (latin for “small caves”) formation. These small indentations of the cell membrane are found on the surface of muscle, bone, fat, and immune cells and facilitate cell-to-cell communication and the absorption of substances from the extracellular space. Patients lack more than 97% of caveolae and artificial insertion of the correct gene into patient skin cells led to the reappearance of caveolae. As cardiac arrhythmia is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition, patients with CGL4 should be closely monitored by ECG and, if necessary, fitted with an implanted pacemaker and cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device.
PMCID: PMC2837386  PMID: 20300641
22.  Folate Receptor Alpha and Caveolae Are Not Required for Ebola Virus Glycoprotein-Mediated Viral Infection 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(24):13433-13438.
Folate receptor alpha (FRα) has been described as a factor involved in mediating Ebola virus entry into cells (6). Furthermore, it was suggested that interaction with FRα results in internalization and subsequent viral ingress into the cytoplasm via caveolae (9). Descriptions of cellular receptors for Ebola virus and its entry mechanisms are of fundamental importance, particularly with the advent of vectors bearing Ebola virus glycoprotein (GP) being utilized for gene transfer into cell types such as airway epithelial cells. Thus, the ability of FRα to mediate efficient entry of viral pseudotypes carrying GP was investigated. We identified cell lines and primary cell types such as macrophages that were readily infected by GP pseudotypes despite lacking detectable surface FRα, indicating that this receptor is not essential for Ebola virus infection. Furthermore, we find that T-cell lines stably expressing FRα are not infectible, suggesting that FRα is also not sufficient to mediate entry. T-cell lines lack caveolae, the predominant route of FRα-mediated folate metabolism. However, the coexpression of FRα with caveolin-1, the major structural protein of caveolae, was not able to rescue infectivity in a T-cell line. In addition, other cell types lacking caveolae are fully infectible by GP pseudotypes. Finally, a panel of ligands to and soluble analogues of FRα were unable to inhibit infection on a range of cell lines, questioning the role of FRα as an important factor for Ebola virus entry.
PMCID: PMC296046  PMID: 14645601
23.  Mechanisms of GII.4 Norovirus Persistence in Human Populations  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(2):e31.
Noroviruses are the leading cause of viral acute gastroenteritis in humans, noted for causing epidemic outbreaks in communities, the military, cruise ships, hospitals, and assisted living communities. The evolutionary mechanisms governing the persistence and emergence of new norovirus strains in human populations are unknown. Primarily organized by sequence homology into two major human genogroups defined by multiple genoclusters, the majority of norovirus outbreaks are caused by viruses from the GII.4 genocluster, which was first recognized as the major epidemic strain in the mid-1990s. Previous studies by our laboratory and others indicate that some noroviruses readily infect individuals who carry a gene encoding a functional alpha-1,2-fucosyltransferase (FUT2) and are designated “secretor-positive” to indicate that they express ABH histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs), a highly heterogeneous group of related carbohydrates on mucosal surfaces. Individuals with defects in the FUT2 gene are termed secretor-negative, do not express the appropriate HBGA necessary for docking, and are resistant to Norwalk infection. These data argue that FUT2 and other genes encoding enzymes that regulate processing of the HBGA carbohydrates function as susceptibility alleles. However, secretor-negative individuals can be infected with other norovirus strains, and reinfection with the GII.4 strains is common in human populations. In this article, we analyze molecular mechanisms governing GII.4 epidemiology, susceptibility, and persistence in human populations.
Methods and Findings
Phylogenetic analyses of the GII.4 capsid sequences suggested an epochal evolution over the last 20 y with periods of stasis followed by rapid evolution of novel epidemic strains. The epidemic strains show a linear relationship in time, whereby serial replacements emerge from the previous cluster. Five major evolutionary clusters were identified, and representative ORF2 capsid genes for each cluster were expressed as virus-like particles (VLPs). Using salivary and carbohydrate-binding assays, we showed that GII.4 VLP-carbohydrate ligand binding patterns have changed over time and include carbohydrates regulated by the human FUT2 and FUT3 pathways, suggesting that strain sensitivity to human susceptibility alleles will vary. Variation in surface-exposed residues and in residues that surround the fucose ligand interaction domain suggests that antigenic drift may promote GII.4 persistence in human populations. Evidence supporting antigenic drift was obtained by measuring the antigenic relatedness of GII.4 VLPs using murine and human sera and demonstrating strain-specific serologic and carbohydrate-binding blockade responses. These data suggest that the GII.4 noroviruses persist by altering their HBGA carbohydrate-binding targets over time, which not only allows for escape from highly penetrant host susceptibility alleles, but simultaneously allows for immune-driven selection in the receptor-binding region to facilitate escape from protective herd immunity.
Our data suggest that the surface-exposed carbohydrate ligand binding domain in the norovirus capsid is under heavy immune selection and likely evolves by antigenic drift in the face of human herd immunity. Variation in the capsid carbohydrate-binding domain is tolerated because of the large repertoire of similar, yet distinct HBGA carbohydrate receptors available on mucosal surfaces that could interface with the remodeled architecture of the capsid ligand-binding pocket. The continuing evolution of new replacement strains suggests that, as with influenza viruses, vaccines could be targeted that protect against norovirus infections, and that continued epidemiologic surveillance and reformulations of norovirus vaccines will be essential in the control of future outbreaks.
Through phylogenetic analysis of norovirus isolates, Ralph Baric and colleagues show that new epidemic strains arise as the variety of available cellular receptors permits antigenic drift in the viral capsid.
Editors' Summary
Noroviruses are the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu), the symptoms of which include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There is no treatment for infection with these highly contagious viruses. While most people recover within a few days, the very young and old may experience severe disease. Like influenza, large outbreaks (epidemics) of norovirus infection occur periodically (often in closed communities such as cruise ships), and most people have several norovirus infections during their lifetime. Currently, 100,000–200,000 people are being infected each week in England with a new GII.4 variant. There are several reasons for this pattern of infection and reinfection. First, the immune response induced by a norovirus infection is short-lived in some people, but not all. Second, there are many different noroviruses. Based on their genomes (genetic blueprints), noroviruses belong to five “genogroups,” which are further subdivided into “genotypes.” An immune response to one norovirus provides little protection against noroviruses of other genogroups or genotypes. Third, like influenza viruses, noroviruses frequently acquire small changes in their genome. This process is called antigenic drift (antigens are the molecules on the surface of infectious agents that stimulate the production of antibodies, proteins that help the immune system recognize and deal with foreign invaders). Norovirus epidemics occur when virus variants emerge to which the human population has no immunity.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is unknown exactly how noroviruses change over time or how they persist in human populations. In addition, little is known about susceptibility to norovirus infections except that secretor-positive individuals—people who express “histoblood group antigens” (HBGAs, a heterogeneous group of sugar molecules by which noroviruses attach themselves to human cells) on the cells that line their mouths and guts—are more susceptible than secretor-negative people, who express these antigens only on red blood cells. Information of this sort is needed to devise effective intervention strategies, therapies, and vaccines to reduce the illness and economic costs associated with norovirus outbreaks. In this study, the researchers investigate the molecular mechanisms governing the emergence and persistence of epidemic norovirus strains in human populations by analyzing how GII.4 norovirus strains (the genotype usually associated with epidemics) have changed over time.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the relationships among the sequences of the gene encoding the capsid protein of GII.4 norovirus strains isolated over the past 20 years. The capsid protein forms a shell around noroviruses and is involved in their binding to HBGAs and their recognition by the human immune system. The researchers found that the virus evolved in fits and starts. That is, for several years, one cluster of strains was predominant but then new epidemic strains emerged rapidly from the cluster. In all, the researchers identified five major evolutionary clusters. They then created “virus-like particles” (VLPs) using representative capsid genes from each cluster and showed that these VLPs bound to different HBGAs. Finally they measured the antigenic relatedness of the different VLPs using human blood collected during a 1988 GII.4 outbreak. Antibodies in these samples recognized the VLPs representing early GII.4 strains better than VLPs representing recent GII.4 strains. The ability of the blood samples to block the interaction of VLPs with their matching HBGAs showed a similar pattern.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the part of the norovirus capsid protein that binds to sugars on host cells is under heavy immune selection and evolves over time by antigenic drift. They show that, like influenza viruses, GII.4 viruses evolve through serial changes in the capsid sequence that occur sporadically after periods of stability, probably to evade the build up of immunity within the human population. Variation in this region of the viral genome is possible because human populations express a great variety of HBGA molecules so there is always likely to be a subpopulation of people that is susceptible to the altered virus. Overall, these findings suggest that it should be possible to develop vaccines to protect against norovirus infections but, just as with influenza virus, surveillance systems will have to monitor how the virus is changing and vaccines will need to be reformulated frequently to provide effective protection against norovirus outbreaks.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
See a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on viral gastroenteritis (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on viral gastroenteritis (in English and Spanish) and on noroviruses
The UK National Health Service's health website (NHS Direct) provides information about noroviruses
The UK Health Protection Agency and the US Food & Drug Administration also provide information about noroviruses
PMCID: PMC2235898  PMID: 18271619
24.  Induction of caveolin during adipogenesis and association of GLUT4 with caveolin-rich vesicles 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;127(5):1233-1243.
Caveolae, also termed plasmalemmal vesicles, are small, flask-shaped, non-clathrin-coated invaginations of the plasma membrane. Caveolin is a principal component of the filaments that make up the striated coat of caveolae. Using caveolin as a marker protein for the organelle, we found that adipose tissue is the single most abundant source of caveolae identified thus far. Caveolin mRNA and protein are strongly induced during differentiation of 3T3-L1 fibroblasts to adipocytes; during adipogenesis there is also a dramatic increase in the complexity of the protein composition of caveolin-rich membrane domains. About 10- 15% of the insulin-responsive glucose transporter GLUT4 is found in this caveolin-rich fraction, and immuno-isolated vesicles containing GLUT4 also contain caveolin. However, in non-stimulated adipocytes the majority of caveolin fractionates with the plasma membrane, while most GLUT4 associates with low-density microsomes. Upon addition of insulin to 3T3-L1 adipocytes, there is a significant increase in the amount of GLUT4 associated with caveolin-rich membrane domains, an increase in the amount of caveolin associated with the plasma membrane, and a decrease in the amount of caveolin associated with low-density microsomes. Caveolin does not undergo a change in phosphorylation upon stimulation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with insulin. However, after treatment with insulin it is associated with a 32-kD phosphorylated protein. Caveolae thus may play an important role in the vesicular transport of GLUT4 to or from the plasma membrane. 3T3-L1 adipocytes offer an attractive system to study the function of caveolae in several cellular trafficking and signaling events.
PMCID: PMC2120260  PMID: 7962086
25.  Imaging Poliovirus Entry in Live Cells 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(7):e183.
Viruses initiate infection by transferring their genetic material across a cellular membrane and into the appropriate compartment of the cell. The mechanisms by which animal viruses, especially nonenveloped viruses, deliver their genomes are only poorly understood. This is due in part to technical difficulties involved in direct visualization of viral gene delivery and to uncertainties in distinguishing productive and nonproductive pathways caused by the high particle-to–plaque forming unit ratio of most animal viruses. Here, we combine an imaging assay that simultaneously tracks the viral capsid and genome in live cells with an infectivity-based assay for RNA release to characterize the early events in the poliovirus (PV) infection. Effects on RNA genome delivery from inhibitors of cell trafficking pathways were probed systematically by both methods. Surprisingly, we observe that genome release by PV is highly efficient and rapid, and thus does not limit the overall infectivity or the infection rate. The results define a pathway in which PV binds to receptors on the cell surface and enters the cell by a clathrin-, caveolin-, flotillin-, and microtubule-independent, but tyrosine kinase- and actin-dependent, endocytic mechanism. Immediately after the internalization of the virus particle, genome release takes place from vesicles or tightly sealed membrane invaginations located within 100–200 nm of the plasma membrane. These results settle a long-lasting debate of whether PV directly breaks the plasma membrane barrier or relies on endocytosis to deliver its genome into the cell. We expect this imaging assay to be broadly applicable to the investigation of entry mechanisms for nonenveloped viruses.
Author Summary
During travel between hosts, the genome of a virus is well protected by the viral capsid and/or envelope. After binding specifically to target cells, the virus particles enter cells by hijacking cell trafficking pathways and then deliver the viral genome into the appropriate compartment of the cell where it directs the production of progeny virus particles. How nonenveloped viruses, such as poliovirus, enter target cells is not well understood. Here, we produced fully infectious poliovirus with both genome and capsid specifically labeled by fluorescent dyes. We could then use real-time fluorescent microscopy to follow single virus particles during infection, to define how they enter cells and to determine when and where in the cell the genome gets released. We have complemented the microscopic studies with virological assays, which demonstrate that the pathways observed by microscopy are productive. We show that poliovirus enters live cells in a process that requires energy, an intact actin cytoskeleton, and cell signaling pathways, but does not depend on the well-known markers of endocytic pathways. We show that after internalization, the genome release is surprisingly efficient and occurs from vesicles that are very close to the cell surface. Our experiments offer new insights into the early steps of poliovirus infection, and describe methods that can be used for a wide variety of other viruses.
Combining an imaging assay that simultaneously tracks the viral capsid and genome in live cells with an infectivity-based biological assay for RNA release, the authors settle a long-lasting debate on the nature of poliovirus entry into the host cell.
PMCID: PMC1914398  PMID: 17622193

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