Studies of the pathogenesis and molecular biology of JC virus infection over the last two decades have significantly changed our understanding of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, which can be described as a subacute viral infection of neuroglial cells that probably follows reactivation of latent infection rather than being the consequence of prolonged JC virus replication in the brain. There is now sufficient evidence to suggest that JC virus latency occurs in kidney and B cells. However, JC virus isolates from brain or kidney differ in the regulatory regions of their viral genomes which are controlled by host cell factors for viral gene expression and replication. DNA sequences of noncoding regions of the viral genome display a certain heterogeneity among isolates from brain and kidney. These data suggest that an archetypal strain of JC virus exists whose sequence is altered during replication in different cell types. The JC virus regulatory region likely plays a significant role in establishing viral latency and must be acted upon for reactivation of the virus. A developing hypothesis is that reactivation takes place from latently infected B lymphocytes that are activated as a result of immune suppression. JC virus enters the brain in the activated B cell. Evidence for this mechanism is the detection of JC virus DNA in peripheral blood lymphocytes and infected B cells in the brains of patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Once virus enters the brain, astrocytes as well as oligodendrocytes support JC virus multiplication. Therefore, JC virus infection of neuroglial cells may impair other neuroglial functions besides the production and maintenance of myelin. Consequently our increased understanding of the pathogenesis of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy suggests new ways to intervene in JC virus infection with immunomodulation therapies. Perhaps along with trials of nucleoside analogs or interferon administration, this fatal disease, for which no consensus of antiviral therapy exists, may yield to innovative treatment protocols.
Pseudorabies virus (PRV) is a herpesvirus of swine, a member of the Alphaherpesvirinae subfamily, and the etiological agent of Aujeszky's disease. This review describes the contributions of PRV research to herpesvirus biology, neurobiology, and viral pathogenesis by focusing on (i) the molecular biology of PRV, (ii) model systems to study PRV pathogenesis and neurovirulence, (iii) PRV transsynaptic tracing of neuronal circuits, and (iv) veterinary aspects of pseudorabies disease. The structure of the enveloped infectious particle, the content of the viral DNA genome, and a step-by-step overview of the viral replication cycle are presented. PRV infection is initiated by binding to cellular receptors to allow penetration into the cell. After reaching the nucleus, the viral genome directs a regulated gene expression cascade that culminates with viral DNA replication and production of new virion constituents. Finally, progeny virions self-assemble and exit the host cells. Animal models and neuronal culture systems developed for the study of PRV pathogenesis and neurovirulence are discussed. PRV serves as a self-perpetuating transsynaptic tracer of neuronal circuitry, and we detail the original studies of PRV circuitry mapping, the biology underlying this application, and the development of the next generation of tracer viruses. The basic veterinary aspects of pseudorabies management and disease in swine are discussed. PRV infection progresses from acute infection of the respiratory epithelium to latent infection in the peripheral nervous system. Sporadic reactivation from latency can transmit PRV to new hosts. The successful management of PRV disease has relied on vaccination, prevention, and testing.
Developing vaccines to biothreat agents presents a number of challenges for discovery, preclinical development, and licensure. The need for high containment to work with live agents limits the
amount and types of research that can be done using complete pathogens, and small markets reduce potential returns for industry. However, a number of tools, from comparative pathogenesis of viral strains at the molecular level to novel computational approaches, are being used to understand the basis of viral attenuation and characterize protective immune responses. As the amount of basic molecular knowledge grows, we will be able to take advantage of these tools not only to rationally attenuate virus strains for candidate vaccines, but also to assess immunogenicity and safety in silico. This review discusses how a basic understanding of pathogenesis, allied with systems biology and machine learning methods, can impact biodefense vaccinology.
Junín virus, the etiological agent of Argentine hemorrhagic fever, causes significant morbidity and mortality. The virus is spread through the aerosolization of host rodent excreta and endemic to the humid pampas of Argentina. Recently, significant progress has been achieved with the development of new technologies (e.g. reverse genetics) that have expanded knowledge about the pathogenesis and viral replication of Junín virus. We will review the pathogenesis of Junín virus in various animal models and the role of innate and adaptive immunity during infection. We will highlight current research regarding the role of molecular biology of Junín virus in elucidating virus attenuation. We will also summarize current knowledge on Junín virus pathogenesis focusing on the recent development of vaccines and potential therapeutics.
arenavirus; Junín virus; pathogenesis
Strong epidemiologic evidence links smoking and cancer. An increased understanding of the molecular biology of tobacco-related cancers could advance progress toward improving smoking cessation and patient management. Knowledge gaps between tobacco addiction, tumorigenesis, and cancer brought an interdisciplinary group of investigators together to discuss “The Biology of Nicotine and Tobacco: Bench to Bedside.” Presentations on the signaling pathways and pathogenesis in tobacco-related cancers, mouse models of addiction, imaging and regulation of nicotinic receptors, the genetic basis for tobacco carcinogenesis and development of lung cancer, and molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis were heard. Importantly, new opportunities to use molecular biology to identify and abrogate tobacco-mediated carcinogenesis and to identify high-risk individuals were recognized.
Noroviruses cause most cases of acute viral gastroenteritis worldwide. The lack of a cell culture infection model for human norovirus necessitates the use of molecular methods and/or viral surrogate models amenable to cell culture to predict norovirus inactivation. Murine norovirus (MNV) may be used to construct a small animal model for studying the biology and pathogenesis of noroviruses because MNV is the only norovirus that replicates in cell culture and a small animal model. However, recent studies have shown that natural MNV infection is widespread in laboratory mouse colonies. We investigated MNV infection in both conventional and specific pathogen-free (SPF) genetically modified mice from Japan and the US, and commercial mice from several animal breeders in Japan, using serological and molecular techniques. MNV antibodies were detected in 67.3% of conventional mice and 39.1% of SPF mice from Japan and 62.5% of conventional mice from the US. MNV antibodies were also found in 20% of commercial SPF C57BL/6 mice from one of three breeders. Partial gene amplification of fecal isolates from infected animals showed that the isolates were homologous to reported MNV sequences. These results suggest that both conventional and SPF laboratory mice, including commercial mice, are widely infected with MNV, which might require considerable attention as an animal model of human disease.
genetically modified mice; mice; microbiological monitoring; MNV; mouse norovirus; specific pathogen-free
The emergence of the highly pathogenic SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has reignited interest in coronavirus biology and pathogenesis. An emerging theme in coronavirus pathogenesis is that the interaction between specific viral genes and the host immune system, specifically the innate immune system, functions as a key determinant in regulating virulence and disease outcomes. Using SARS-CoV as a model, we will review the current knowledge of the interplay between coronavirus infection and the host innate immune system in vivo, and then discuss the mechanisms by which specific gene products antagonize the host innate immune response in cell culture models. Our data suggests that the SARS-CoV uses specific strategies to evade and antagonize the sensing and signaling arms of the interferon pathway. We summarize by identifying future points of consideration that will contribute greatly to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing coronavirus pathogenesis and virulence, and the development of severe disease in humans and animals.
Until 20 years ago the only chronic viral diseases known were those considered to be confined to the nervous system. As a result of recent advances in epidemiology, molecular biology and immunology, new viral diseases have been recognized and their clinical features and pathogenesis elucidated. Chronic disease may result from infection with the hepatitis B and D viruses and whatever agent or agents cause hepatitis non-A, non-B, the herpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and human T-lymphotropic virus type III. These diseases have common features, including long-term or even lifetime asymptomatic carriage, viremia, with virus free in the plasma or attached to circulating mononuclear cells, presence of virus in body secretions, irreversible tissue injury in target organs and oncogenic potential. New information on these diseases is reviewed. Other chronic diseases for which the cause is currently unknown may eventually prove to be due to viral infection. In addition, vaccines may be developed for prophylaxis of some chronic viral diseases and associated malignant diseases.
Bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) has served as a prototype for studying the molecular biology and pathogenesis of papillomaviruses. The expression of BPV-1 early and late genes is highly regulated at both transcription and post-transcriptional levels and strictly tied to the differentiation of keratinocytes. BPV-1 infects keratinocytes in the basal layer of the skin and replicates in the nucleus of infected cells in a differentiation-dependent manner. Although viral early genes begin to be expressed from the infected, undifferentiated basal cells, viral late genes are not expressed until the infected cells enter the terminal differentiation stage. Both BPV-1 early and late transcripts are intron-containing bicistronic or polycistronic RNAs, bearing more than one open reading frame and are polyadenylated at either an early or late poly (A) site. Nuclear RNA processing of these transcripts by RNA splicing and poly (A) site selection has been extensively analyzed in the past decade and various viral cis-elements and cellular factors involved in regulation of viral RNA processing were discovered, leading to our better understanding of the gene expression and biology of human papillomaviruses.
Papillomaviruses; Gene expression; RNA splicing; RNA polyadenylation; Post-transcriptional regulation; Review
Health research programs targeting the population of Gabon and Equatorial Africa at the International Center for Medical Research in Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon, have evolved during the years since its inception in 1979 in accordance with emerging diseases. Since the reemergence of Ebola virus in Central Africa, the CIRMF “Emerging Viral Disease Unit” developed diagnostic tools and epidemiologic strategies and transfers of such technology to support the response of the National Public Health System and the World Health Organization to epidemics of Ebola virus disease. The Unit carries out a unique investigation program on the natural history of the filoviruses, emergence of epidemics, and Ebola virus pathogenesis. In addition, academic training is provided at all levels to regional and international students covering emerging conditions (host factors, molecular biology, genetics) that favor the spread of viral diseases.
filovirus; Central Africa; CIRMF; Gabon; bats; immunology; Ebola; hemorrhagic fever
Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the molecular basis of the antiviral actions of interferons (IFNs), as well as strategies evolved by viruses to antagonize the actions of IFNs. Furthermore, advances made while elucidating the IFN system have contributed significantly to our understanding in multiple areas of virology and molecular cell biology, ranging from pathways of signal transduction to the biochemical mechanisms of transcriptional and translational control to the molecular basis of viral pathogenesis. IFNs are approved therapeutics and have moved from the basic research laboratory to the clinic. Among the IFN-induced proteins important in the antiviral actions of IFNs are the RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR), the 2′,5′-oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS) and RNase L, and the Mx protein GTPases. Double-stranded RNA plays a central role in modulating protein phosphorylation and RNA degradation catalyzed by the IFN-inducible PKR kinase and the 2′-5′-oligoadenylate-dependent RNase L, respectively, and also in RNA editing by the IFN-inducible RNA-specific adenosine deaminase (ADAR1). IFN also induces a form of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS2) and the major histocompatibility complex class I and II proteins, all of which play important roles in immune response to infections. Several additional genes whose expression profiles are altered in response to IFN treatment and virus infection have been identified by microarray analyses. The availability of cDNA and genomic clones for many of the components of the IFN system, including IFN-α, IFN-β, and IFN-γ, their receptors, Jak and Stat and IRF signal transduction components, and proteins such as PKR, 2′,5′-OAS, Mx, and ADAR, whose expression is regulated by IFNs, has permitted the generation of mutant proteins, cells that overexpress different forms of the proteins, and animals in which their expression has been disrupted by targeted gene disruption. The use of these IFN system reagents, both in cell culture and in whole animals, continues to provide important contributions to our understanding of the virus-host interaction and cellular antiviral response.
We report the first full-length infectious clone of strain JX/CHA/97 of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). The transcripts from the full-length cDNA clones were infectious when they were directly injected into rabbits. The sequence of the virus recovered from the rabbits was identical to that of the injected RNA transcripts. The cDNA clone was engineered to contain one silent nucleotide change to create an EcoRV site (A to T at nucleotide 2908). The genetic marker was retained in the recovered progeny virus. The transfection of RNA transcripts into RK-13 cells resulted in the synthesis of viral antigens, indicating that the cDNA clones were replication competent. This stable infectious molecular clone should be an important tool for developing a better understanding of the molecular biology and pathogenesis of RHDV.
This chapter reviews the molecular biology of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in an effort to explain its natural history from a molecular perspective. The life cycle of the virus, with special attention to virus replication, polypeptide production and morphogenesis, is described. The way in which these steps may influence the natural history of viral pathogenesis, as well as the effectiveness of interventions, receives special consideration.
The lung is in continuous contact with a diverse array of infectious agents, foreign antigens, and host-derived danger signals. To sample this expansive internal and external milieu, both resident myeloid and stromal/structure cells of the lung express a full complement of toll like receptors (TLRs) which recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and endogenous danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). TLRs play a vital role in immune host defense against bacterial, mycobacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens of the lung. Additionally, TLRs contribute to disease pathogenesis in non-infectious pulmonary disorders, including airways disease, acute lung injury, and interstitial lung disease. In this review, TLR biology in the context of experimental infectious and non-infectious lung disease is discussed, and correlates to human lung disease, including therapeutic implications of these findings, are defined.
pathogen recognition receptors; immunity; PAMPs; DAMPs; lung
Understanding the molecular architectures of enveloped and complex viruses is a challenging frontier in structural biology because in most cases, the structural and compositional variation from one viral particle to another precludes the use of either crystallization or image averaging procedures that have been successfully implemented in the past for highly symmetric viruses. While advances in cryo electron tomography of unstained specimens provide new opportunities for identification and molecular averaging of individual subcomponents such as the surface glycoprotein spikes on these viruses, electron tomography of stained and plunge-frozen cells is being used to visualize the cellular context of viral entry and replication. Here, we review recent developments in both areas as they relate to our understanding of the biology of heterogeneous and pleiomorphic viruses.
Despite advances in therapy, gliomas remain associated with poor prognosis. Clinical advances will be achieved through molecularly targeted biological therapies, for which knowledge of molecular genetic and gene expression characteristics in relation to histopathology and in vivo imaging are essential. Recent research supports the molecular classification of gliomas based on genetic alterations or gene expression profiles, and imaging data supports the concept that molecular subtypes of glioma may be distinguished through non-invasive anatomical, physiological and metabolic imaging techniques, suggesting differences in the baseline biology of genetic subtypes of infiltrating glioma. Furthermore, MRI signatures are now being associated with complex gene expression profiles and cellular signalling pathways through genome-wide microarray studies using samples obtained by image guidance which may be co-registered with clinical imaging. In this review we describe the pathobiology, molecular pathogenesis, stem cells and imaging characteristics of gliomas with emphasis on astrocytomas and oligodendroglial neoplasms.
Understanding viral pathogenesis is critical for prevention of outbreaks, development of antiviral drugs, and biodefense. Here, we utilize molecular beacons to directly detect the viral genome and characterize a clinical isolate of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (bRSV) in living cells. Molecular beacons are dual-labeled, hairpin oligonucleotide probes with a reporter fluorophore at one end and a quencher at the other; they are designed to fluoresce only when hybridizing to a complementary target. By imaging the fluorescence signal of molecular beacons, the spread of bRSV was monitored for 7 days with a signal-to-noise ratio of 50 to 200, and the measured time course of infection was quantified with a mathematical model for viral growth. We found that molecular beacon signal could be detected in single living cells infected with a viral titer of 2 × 103.6 50% tissue culture infective doses/ml diluted 1,000 fold, demonstrating high detection sensitivity. Low background in uninfected cells and simultaneous staining of fixed cells with molecular beacons and antibodies showed high detection specificity. Furthermore, using confocal microscopy to image the viral genome in live, infected cells, we observed a connected, highly three-dimensional, amorphous inclusion body structure not seen in fixed cells. Taken together, the use of molecular beacons for active virus imaging provides a powerful tool for rapid viral infection detection, the characterization of RNA viruses, and the design of new antiviral drugs.
ViralZone (http://viralzone.expasy.org) is a knowledge repository that allows users to learn about viruses including their virion structure, replication cycle and host–virus interactions. The information is divided into viral fact sheets that describe virion shape, molecular biology and epidemiology for each viral genus, with links to the corresponding annotated proteomes of UniProtKB. Each viral genus page contains detailed illustrations, text and PubMed references. This new update provides a linked view of viral molecular biology through 133 new viral ontology pages that describe common steps of viral replication cycles shared by several viral genera. This viral cell-cycle ontology is also represented in UniProtKB in the form of annotated keywords. In this way, users can navigate from the description of a replication-cycle event, to the viral genus concerned, and the associated UniProtKB protein records.
We describe current research that applies epigenetics to a novel understanding of the immuno-neuropathogenesis of HIV-1 viral infection and NeuroAIDS. We propose the hypothesis that HIV-1 alters the structure-function relationship of chromatin,
coding DNA and non-coding DNA, including RNA transcribed from these regions resulting in pathogenesis in AIDS, drug abuse, and NeuroAIDS. We discuss the general implications of molecular epigenetics with special emphasis on drug abuse, bar-codes,
pyknons, and miRNAs for translational and clinical research. We discuss the application of the recent recursive algorithm of biology to this field and propose to synthesize the Genomic and Epigenomic views into a holistic approach of HoloGenomics.
epigenetics; hologenomics; coding and noncoding DNA; HIV-1; AIDS; NeuroAIDS; molecular medicine paradigm-shift; translation-clinic
Despite significant advances in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the past 10 years, it remains an incurable disease. The inability of traditional drug-based therapies to inhibit HIV replication effectively for extended periods of time has stimulated intense research to develop novel approaches for this disease. Current understanding of HIV molecular biology and pathogenesis has opened the way for the development of gene therapy strategies for HIV infections. In this context, a number of intracellular immunization-based strategies have been evaluated, and some of them have reached the stage of phase I/II human clinical trials. These strategies include the use of single-chain antibodies, capsid-targeted viral inactivation, transdominant negative mutants, ribozymes, antisense oligonucleotides and RNA decoys. While a number of issues remain to be studied before intracellular immunization can be applied to the treatment of HIV infections, the significant progress already made in this field is likely to lead to clinical applications.
Gene therapy; Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Intracellular immunization
To what extent might the regulation of translation contribute to differentiation programs, or to the molecular pathogenesis of cancer? Pre-B cells transformed with the viral oncogene v-Abl are suspended in an immortalized, cycling state that mimics leukemias with a BCR-ABL1 translocation, such as Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Inhibition of the oncogenic Abl kinase with imatinib reverses transformation, allowing progression to the next stage of B cell development. We employed a genome-wide polysome profiling assay called Gradient Encoding to investigate the extent and potential contribution of translational regulation to transformation and differentiation in v-Abl-transformed pre-B cells. Over half of the significantly translationally regulated genes did not change significantly at the level of mRNA abundance, revealing biology that might have been missed by measuring changes in transcript abundance alone. We found extensive, gene-specific changes in translation affecting genes with known roles in B cell signaling and differentiation, cancerous transformation, and cytoskeletal reorganization potentially affecting adhesion. These results highlight a major role for gene-specific translational regulation in remodeling the gene expression program in differentiation and malignant transformation.
Subspecies B1 human adenoviruses (HAdV-B1) are prevalent respiratory pathogens. Compared to their species C (HAdV-C) counterparts, relatively little work has been devoted to the characterization of their unique molecular biology. The early region 3 (E3) transcription unit is an interesting target for future efforts because of its species-specific diversity in genetic content among adenoviruses. This diversity is particularly significant for the subset of E3-encoded products that are membrane glycoproteins and may account for the distinct pathobiology of the different human adenovirus species. In order to understand the role of HAdV-B-specific genes in viral pathogenesis, we initiated the characterization of unique E3 genes. As a continuation of our efforts to define the function encoded in the highly polymorphic ORF E3-10.9K and testing the hypothesis that the E3-10.9K protein orthologs with a hydrophobic domain contribute to the efficient release of viral progeny, we generated HAdV-3 mutant viruses unable to express E3-10.9K ortholog E3-9K and examined their ability to grow, disseminate, and egress in cell culture.
No differences were observed in the kinetics of infected cell death, and virus progeny release or in the plaque size and dissemination phenotypes between cells infected with HAdV-3 E3-9K mutants or the parental virus. The ectopic expression of E3-10.9K orthologs with a hydrophobic domain did not compromise cell viability.
Our data show that despite the remarkable similarities with HAdV-C E3-11.6K, HAdV-B1 ORF E3-10.9K does not encode a product with a “death-like” biological activity.
Adenovirus; E3 region; Genetic polymorphism; Virus egress
Enteroviruses are common pathogens responsible for a wide spectrum of systemic infections. Conventional diagnosis of these infections relies on the isolation of viruses in cell culture and their identification by seroneutralization with polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies. Among enteroviruses, coxsackieviruses B have been involved as causative agents for viral myocarditis. Most of the time, in the case of cardiac pathologies, viral isolation is negative. Molecular biology techniques appear to be an alternative to conventional diagnosis and could supply evidence for the direct implication of enteroviruses in these severe pathologies. In this paper, we describe a murine experimental model of infection with the presumed highly cardiopathogenic coxsackie-virus B type 3. A kinetics of infection was observed for a period of 31 days, and the classical virological markers (viral isolation from feces and heart biopsies, seroconversion) were monitored and compared by means of molecular techniques (molecular hybridization, polymerase chain reaction [PCR]). In this 31-day period, the detection of coxsackievirus B type 3 RNA in the heart was possible only by using two successive seminested PCRs. After 9 to 11 days of active viral replication, when all other virological markers were negative, positive PCR signals were obtained, which supports the hypothesis of a shift to persistent enteroviral infection.
Advances in molecular biology and recombinant DNA technologies have contributed to our understanding of the molecular basis of many diseases. Now the possibility of gene transfer into normal cells to produce a gene product of therapeutic potential, or into diseased cells to correct the pathologic alteration, promises to revolutionize medical practice. In contemporary medicine, many therapeutic strategies focus on the link between a biochemical deficiency and the ensuing disorder. The treatment of noninfectious disease is often based on replacement therapy; medication is given to compensate for biochemical defects and to prevent or reverse the progression of disease. Although conventional therapies seldom alter the fundamental cause of a disease, gene therapy potentially could correct, at a molecular level, the genetic abnormalities contributing to its pathogenesis. Treatment directed at specific molecular alterations associated with the development of neurologic disease provides expectations of more effective and less toxic therapy. The development of gene therapy for nervous system tumors has progressed rapidly and may be prototypical in the development of therapies for inherited and acquired disorders of the nervous system. We describe possible strategies for using gene therapy to treat nervous system disorders, and we review recent advances in gene therapy for nervous system tumors.
Research on the pathogenesis and therapy of influenza and other emerging respiratory viral infections would be aided by methods that directly visualize pathophysiologic processes in patients and laboratory animals. At present, imaging of diseases, such as swine-origin H1N1 influenza, is largely restricted to chest radiograph and computed tomography (CT), which can detect pulmonary structural changes in severely ill patients but are more limited in characterizing the early stages of illness, differentiating inflammation from infection or tracking immune responses. In contrast, imaging modalities, such as positron emission tomography, single photon emission CT, magnetic resonance imaging, and bioluminescence imaging, which have become useful tools for investigating the pathogenesis of a range of disease processes, could be used to advance in vivo studies of respiratory viral infections in patients and animals. Molecular techniques might also be used to identify novel biomarkers of disease progression and to evaluate new therapies.