In the present study, the immunodepressive effects of canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of dogs on two parameters of lymphocyte function, namely phytomitogen-induced cellular proliferation and skin allograft rejection, were investigated. Infection of susceptible gnotobiotic dogs with virulent R252-CDV resulted in a depression of peripheral blood lymphocyte mitogen response as measured by (3H)thymidine incorporation for up to 10 weeks after inoculation. This effect coincided with the appearance of viral antigen by immunofluorescence in leukocytes but persisted after the virus was no longer detectable. Loss of mitogen reactivity was seen in all infected dogs. However, when these same CDV-infected dogs were challenged with foreign skin allografts, no significant retention of grafts over controls was observed despite the depressed lymphocyte activity. Considering the in vitro and in vivo data it was concluded that, although immunodepressive effects of CDV were demonstrated in vitro, paralled in vivo experiments indicated that less than complete suppression of immune functions occurs during the course of CDV infection.
The mechanism of viral persistence, the driving force behind the chronic progression of inflammatory demyelination in canine distemper virus (CDV) infection, is associated with non-cytolytic viral cell-to-cell spread. Here, we studied the molecular mechanisms of viral spread of a recombinant fluorescent protein-expressing virulent CDV in primary canine astrocyte cultures. Time-lapse video microscopy documented that CDV spread was very efficient using cell processes contacting remote target cells. Strikingly, CDV transmission to remote cells could occur in less than 6 h, suggesting that a complete viral cycle with production of extracellular free particles was not essential in enabling CDV to spread in glial cells. Titration experiments and electron microscopy confirmed a very low CDV particle production despite higher titers of membrane-associated viruses. Interestingly, confocal laser microscopy and lentivirus transduction indicated expression and functionality of the viral fusion machinery, consisting of the viral fusion (F) and attachment (H) glycoproteins, at the cell surface. Importantly, using a single-cycle infectious recombinant H-knockout, H-complemented virus, we demonstrated that H, and thus potentially the viral fusion complex, was necessary to enable CDV spread. Furthermore, since we could not detect CD150/SLAM expression in brain cells, the presence of a yet non-identified glial receptor for CDV was suggested. Altogether, our findings indicate that persistence in CDV infection results from intracellular cell-to-cell transmission requiring the CDV-H protein. Viral transfer, happening selectively at the tip of astrocytic processes, may help the virus to cover long distances in the astroglial network, “outrunning” the host’s immune response in demyelinating plaques, thus continuously eliciting new lesions.
Demyelinating encephalitis; CDV persistence; Primary brain cells; Swift cell-to-cell spread; Attachment protein
Canine distemper virus (CDV) and measles virus (MV) cause severe illnesses in their respective hosts. The viruses display a characteristic cytopathic effect by forming syncytia in susceptible cells. For CDV, the proficiency of syncytium formation varies among different strains and correlates with the degree of viral attenuation. In this study, we examined the determinants for the differential fusogenicity of the wild-type CDV isolate 5804Han89 (CDV5804), the small- and large-plaque-forming variants of the CDV vaccine strain Onderstepoort (CDVOS and CDVOL, respectively), and the MV vaccine strain Edmonston B (MVEdm). The cotransfection of different combinations of fusion (F) and hemagglutinin (H) genes in Vero cells indicated that the H protein is the main determinant of fusion efficiency. To verify the significance of this observation in the viral context, a reverse genetic system to generate recombinant CDVs was established. This system is based on a plasmid containing the full-length antigenomic sequence of CDVOS. The coding regions of the H proteins of all CDV strains and MVEdm were introduced into the CDV and MV genetic backgrounds, and recombinant viruses rCDV-H5804, rCDV-HOL, rCDV-HEdm, rMV-H5804, rMV-HOL, and rMV-HOS were recovered. Thus, the H proteins of the two morbilliviruses are interchangeable and fully functional in a heterologous complex. This is in contrast with the glycoproteins of other members of the family Paramyxoviridae, which do not function efficiently with heterologous partners. The fusogenicity, growth characteristics, and tropism of the recombinant viruses were examined and compared with those of the parental strains. All these characteristics were found to be predominantly mediated by the H protein regardless of the viral backbone used.
Measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) are morbilliviruses that cause acute illnesses and several persistent central nervous system infections in humans and in dogs, respectively. Characteristically, the cytopathic effect of these viruses is the formation of syncytia in permissive cells. In this study, a vaccinia virus expression system was used to express MV and CDV hemagglutinin (HA) and fusion (F) envelope proteins. We found that cotransfecting F and HA genes of MV or F and HA genes of CDV resulted in extensive syncytium formation in permissive cells while transfecting either F or HA alone did not. Similar experiments with heterologous pairs of proteins, CDV-F with MV-HA or MV-F with CDV-HA, caused significant cell fusion in both cases. These results indicate that in this expression system, cell fusion requires both F and HA; however, the functions of these proteins are interchangeable between the two types of morbilliviruses. Human-mouse somatic hybrids were used to determine the human chromosome conferring susceptibility to either MV and CDV. Of the 12 hybrids screened, none were sensitive to MV. Two of the hybrids containing human chromosome 19 formed syncytia following CDV infection. In addition, these two hybrids underwent cell fusion when cotransfected with CDV-F and CDV-HA (but not MV-F and MV-HA) glycoproteins by using the vaccinia virus expression system. To discover the viral component responsible for cell specificity, complementation experiments coexpressing CDV-HA with MV-F or CDV-F with MV-HA in the CDV-sensitive hybrids were performed. We found that syncytia were formed only in the presence of CDV-HA. These results support the idea that the HA protein is responsible for cell tropism. Furthermore, while the F protein is necessary for the fusion process, it is interchangeable with the F protein from other morbilliviruses.
Natural and immune cytolysis of canine distemper virus (CDV)-infected target cells in vitro is described. Lymphocytes expressing natural cytotoxicity were found in specific-pathogen-free beagle dogs and in beagle-coonhound crosses before vaccination with CDV and indefinitely after vaccination, when the ephemeral immune lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity (ILMC) had declined. In contrast to the natural lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity, the ILMC was genetically restricted, could not be blocked by CDV-specific antibody, and was effective against measles virus-infected as well as CDV-infectd target cells. Lymphocyte populations were depleted of Fc receptor and surface immunoglobulin-bearing cells by rosetting techniques and tested in comparison. An antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity was demostrated against CDV-infected target cells that were preincubated with CDV antibody when Fc receptor-bearing lymphocytes were not removed. The ILMC was measurable for approximately 10 days beginning at 6 days post-vaccination. In contrast, CDV antibody measured by virus neutralization and humoral cytotoxicity was detectable by 6 days postvaccination and persisted at peak levels for at least 5 months.
Signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM, CD150) is the universal morbillivirus receptor. Based on the identification of measles virus (MV) hemagglutinin (H) amino acids supporting human SLAM-dependent cell entry, we mutated canine distemper virus (CDV) H and identified residues necessary for efficient canine SLAM-dependent membrane fusion. These residues are located in two nearby clusters in a new CDV H structural model. To completely abolish SLAM-dependent fusion, combinations of mutations were necessary. We rescued a SLAM-blind recombinant CDV with six mutations that did not infect ferret peripheral blood mononuclear cells while retaining full infectivity in epithelial cells.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) causes a life-threatening disease in several carnivores including domestic dogs. Recently, we identified a molecule, CD9, a member of the tetraspan transmembrane protein family, which facilitates, and antibodies to which inhibit, the infection of tissue culture cells with CDV (strain Onderstepoort). Here we describe that an anti-CD9 monoclonal antibody (MAb K41) did not interfere with binding of CDV to cells and uptake of virus. In addition, in single-step growth experiments, MAb K41 did not induce differences in the levels of viral mRNA and proteins. However, the virus release of syncytium-forming strains of CDV, the virus-induced cell-cell fusion in lytically infected cultures, and the cell-cell fusion of uninfected with persistently CDV-infected HeLa cells were strongly inhibited by MAb K41. These data indicate that anti-CD9 antibodies selectively block virus-induced cell-cell fusion, whereas virus-cell fusion is not affected.
The aim of this study was to confirm the propagation of various canine distemper viruses (CDV) in hamster cell lines of HmLu and BHK, since only a little is known about the possibility of propagation of CDV in rodent cells irrespective of their epidemiological importance.
The growth of CDV in hamster cell lines was monitored by titration using Vero.dogSLAMtag (Vero-DST) cells that had been proven to be susceptible to almost all field isolates of CDV, with the preparations of cell-free and cell-associated virus from the cultures infected with recent Asian isolates of CDV (13 strains) and by observing the development of cytopathic effect (CPE) in infected cultures of hamster cell lines.
Eleven of 13 strains grew in HmLu cells, and 12 of 13 strains grew in BHK cells with apparent CPE of cell fusion in the late stage of infection. Two strains and a strain of Asia 1 group could not grow in HmLu cells and BHK cells, respectively.
The present study demonstrates at the first time that hamster cell lines can propagate the majority of Asian field isolates of CDV. The usage of two hamster cell lines suggested to be useful to characterize the field isolates biologically.
Viruses can induce progressive neurologic disorders associated with diverse pathological manifestations, and therefore, viral infection of the brain can impair differentiated neural functions, depending on the initial viral tropism. We have previously reported that canine distemper virus (CDV) targets certain mouse brain structures, including the hypothalamus, early and selectively. Infected mice exhibit acute encephalitis, with late disease, characterized by motor impairment or obesity syndrome, appearing in some of the surviving mice several months after the initial viral replication. In the present study, we show viral persistence in the hypothalami of obese mice, as demonstrated by low, but still significant, levels of CDV nucleoprotein transcripts, associated with a dramatic decrease in F gene mRNAs. Given the pivotal role of the hypothalamus in obesity (eating behavior, energy consumption, and neuroendocrine function) and that of leptin, the adipose tissue-derived satiety factor acting through hypothalamic receptors, we analyzed the leptin networks in both obese and nonobese mice. The discrepancy found between the chronic and dramatic increase in blood leptin levels and the occurrence of obesity may be due to leptin resistance in the brain. In fact, expression of the long leptin receptor isoform, representing the functional leptin receptor, was specifically downregulated in the hypothalami of obese mice, explaining their inability to generate an adequate response to leptin in the brain. Intriguingly, during the acute phase of infection, its expression was increased in CDV-targeted structures in all infected mice and remained high in obese mice in all CDV-targeted structures, except for the hypothalamus. The biphasic change in hypothalamic leptin receptor expression seen during the progression of CDV-induced obesity provides a new paradigm for understanding mechanisms of neuroendocrinological, virus-induced abnormalities.
The morbilliviruses measles virus (MeV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) both rely on two surface glycoproteins, the attachment (H) and fusion proteins, to promote fusion activity for viral cell entry. Growing evidence suggests that morbilliviruses infect multiple cell types by binding to distinct host cell surface receptors. Currently, the only known in vivo receptor used by morbilliviruses is CD150/SLAM, a molecule expressed in certain immune cells. Here we investigated the usage of multiple receptors by the highly virulent and demyelinating CDV strain A75/17. We based our study on the assumption that CDV-H may interact with receptors similar to those for MeV, and we conducted systematic alanine-scanning mutagenesis on CDV-H throughout one side of the β-propeller documented in MeV-H to contain multiple receptor-binding sites. Functional and biochemical assays performed with SLAM-expressing cells and primary canine epithelial keratinocytes identified 11 residues mutation of which selectively abrogated fusion in keratinocytes. Among these, four were identical to amino acids identified in MeV-H as residues contacting a putative receptor expressed in polarized epithelial cells. Strikingly, when mapped on a CDV-H structural model, all residues clustered in or around a recessed groove located on one side of CDV-H. In contrast, reported CDV-H mutants with SLAM-dependent fusion deficiencies were characterized by additional impairments to the promotion of fusion in keratinocytes. Furthermore, upon transfer of residues that selectively impaired fusion induction in keratinocytes into the CDV-H of the vaccine strain, fusion remained largely unaltered. Taken together, our results suggest that a restricted region on one side of CDV-H contains distinct and overlapping sites that control functional interaction with multiple receptors.
Persistence in canine distemper virus (CDV) infection is correlated with very limited cell-cell fusion and lack of cytolysis induced by the neurovirulent A75/17-CDV compared to that of the cytolytic Onderstepoort vaccine strain. We have previously shown that this difference was at least in part due to the amino acid sequence of the fusion (F) protein (P. Plattet, J. P. Rivals, B. Zuber, J. M. Brunner, A. Zurbriggen, and R. Wittek, Virology 337:312-326, 2005). Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of the neurovirulent CDV F protein underlying limited membrane fusion activity. By exchanging the signal peptide between both F CDV strains or replacing it with an exogenous signal peptide, we demonstrated that this domain controlled intracellular and consequently cell surface protein expression, thus indirectly modulating fusogenicity. In addition, by serially passaging a poorly fusogenic virus and selecting a syncytium-forming variant, we identified the mutation L372W as being responsible for this change of phenotype. Intriguingly, residue L372 potentially is located in the helical bundle domain of the F1 subunit. We showed that this mutation drastically increased fusion activity of F proteins of both CDV strains in a signal peptide-independent manner. Due to its unique structure even among morbilliviruses, our findings with respect to the signal peptide are likely to be specifically relevant to CDV, whereas the results related to the helical bundle add new insights to our growing understanding of this class of F proteins. We conclude that different mechanisms involving multiple domains of the neurovirulent A75/17-CDV F protein act in concert to limit fusion activity, preventing lysis of infected cells, which ultimately may favor viral persistence.
Apoptosis can be induced or inhibited by viral proteins, it can form part of the host defense against virus infection, or it can be a mechanism for viral spread to neighboring cells. Canine distemper virus (CDV) induces apoptotic cells in lymphoid tissues and in the cerebellum of dogs naturally infected. CDV also produces a cytopathologic effect, leading to apoptosis in Vero cells in tissue culture. We tested canine distemper virus, a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, for the ability to trigger apoptosis in HeLa cells, derived from cervical cancer cells resistant to apoptosis. To study the effect of CDV infection in HeLa cells, we examined apoptotic markers 24 h post infection (pi), by flow cytometry assay for DNA fragmentation, real-time PCR assay for caspase-3 and caspase-8 mRNA expression, and by caspase-3 and -8 immunocytochemistry. Flow cytometry showed that DNA fragmentation was induced in HeLa cells infected by CDV, and immunocytochemistry revealed a significant increase in the levels of the cleaved active form of caspase-3 protein, but did not show any difference in expression of caspase-8, indicating an intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Confirming this observation, expression of caspase-3 mRNA was higher in CDV infected HeLa cells than control cells; however, there was no statistically significant change in caspase-8 mRNA expression profile. Our data suggest that canine distemper virus induced apoptosis in HeLa cells, triggering apoptosis by the intrinsic pathway, with no participation of the initiator caspase -8 from the extrinsic pathway. In conclusion, the cellular stress caused by CDV infection of HeLa cells, leading to apoptosis, can be used as a tool in future research for cervical cancer treatment and control.
Apoptosis; Canine distemper virus; Caspase; Cervical tumor; HeLa cell; HPV
Dogs that are persistently infected or that become moribund after exposure to canine distemper virus (CDV) have antibody that neutralized CDV when tested in dog lung macrophage cultures but failed to neutralize CDV when tested in epithelial, fibroblastic, or lymphatic cells. The antibody attached to protein A and was found in the immunoglobulin G fraction. The antibody bound complement and lysed CDV-infected target cells. The neutralizing activity in macrophages could be abolished (i) by pepsin digestion and removal of Fc portions from the antibody, (ii) by blocking the Fc receptors of macrophages with heat-treated normal dog serum, and (iii) by binding of protein A to Fc portions of the antibody. It was concluded that attachment of the CDV-antibody complex to Fc receptors of macrophages was essential for virus neutralization. If this attachment was hindered, the CDV-antibody complex became infectious for macrophages. In contrast, serum from recovering dogs neutralized CDV when tested in epithelial, fibroblastic, or lymphatic cells as well as in macrophages.
To characterize the importance of infection of epithelial cells for morbillivirus pathogenesis, we took advantage of the severe disease caused by canine distemper virus (CDV) in ferrets. To obtain a CDV that was unable to enter epithelial cells but retained the ability to enter immune cells, we transferred to its attachment (H) protein two mutations shown to interfere with the interaction of measles virus H with its epithelial receptor, human nectin-4. As expected for an epithelial receptor (EpR)-blind CDV, this virus infected dog and ferret epithelial cells inefficiently and did not cause cell fusion or syncytium formation. On the other hand, the EpR-blind CDV replicated in cells expressing canine signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM), the morbillivirus immune cell receptor, with similar kinetics to those of wild-type CDV. While ferrets infected with wild-type CDV died within 12 days after infection, after developing severe rash and fever, animals infected with the EpR-blind virus showed no clinical signs of disease. Nevertheless, both viruses spread rapidly and efficiently in immune cells, causing similar levels of leukopenia and inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation activity, two indicators of morbillivirus immunosuppression. Infection was documented for airway epithelia of ferrets infected with wild-type CDV but not for those of animals infected with the EpR-blind virus, and only animals infected with wild-type CDV shed virus. Thus, epithelial cell infection is necessary for clinical disease and efficient virus shedding but not for immunosuppression.
The propensity of canine distemper virus (CDV) to spread to the central nervous system is one of the primary features of distemper. Therefore, we developed a reverse genetics system based on the neurovirulent Snyder Hill (SH) strain of CDV (CDVSH) and show that this virus rapidly circumvents the blood-brain and blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barriers to spread into the subarachnoid space to induce dramatic viral meningoencephalitis. The use of recombinant CDVSH (rCDVSH) expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or red fluorescent protein (dTomato) facilitated the sensitive pathological assessment of routes of virus spread in vivo. Infection of ferrets with these viruses led to the full spectrum of clinical signs typically associated with distemper in dogs during a rapid, fatal disease course of approximately 2 weeks. Comparison with the ferret-adapted CDV5804P and the prototypic wild-type CDVR252 showed that hematogenous infection of the choroid plexus is not a significant route of virus spread into the CSF. Instead, viral spread into the subarachnoid space in rCDVSH-infected animals was triggered by infection of vascular endothelial cells and the hematogenous spread of virus-infected leukocytes from meningeal blood vessels into the subarachnoid space. This resulted in widespread infection of cells of the pia and arachnoid mater of the leptomeninges over large areas of the cerebral hemispheres. The ability to sensitively assess the in vivo spread of a neurovirulent strain of CDV provides a novel model system to study the mechanisms of virus spread into the CSF and the pathogenesis of acute viral meningitis.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) has been rescued from a full-length cDNA clone. Besides Measles virus (MV) and Rinderpest virus, a third morbillivirus is now available for genetic analysis using reverse genetics. A plasmid p(+)CDV was constructed by sequential cloning using the Onderstepoort vaccine strain large-plaque-forming variant. The presence of a T7 promoter allowed transcription of full-length antigenomic RNA by a T7 RNA polymerase, which was provided by a host range mutant of vaccinia virus (MVA-T7). Plasmids expressing the nucleocapsid protein, the phosphoprotein, and the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, also under control of a T7 promoter, have been generated. Infection of HeLa cells with MVA-T7 and subsequent transfection of p(+)CDV plus the helper plasmids led to syncytium formation and release of infectious recombinant (r) CDV. Comparison of the rescued virus with the parental virus revealed no major differences in the progression of infection or in the shape and size of syncytia. A genetic tag, consisting of two nucleotide changes within the coding region of the L protein, has been identified in the rCDV genome. Expression by rCDV of all the major viral structural proteins has been demonstrated by immunofluorescence.
Mortality rates have differed during distemper outbreaks among free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor) living around a large Chicago-area zoo, and appeared higher in year 2001 than in 1998 and 2000. We hypothesized that a more lethal variant of the local Canine distemper virus (CDV) lineage had emerged in 2001, and sought the genetic basis that led to increased virulence. However, a more complex model surfaced during preliminary analyses of CDV genomic sequences in infected tissues and of virus isolated in vitro from the raccoons.
Phylogenetic analyses of subgenomic CDV fusion (F) -, phosphoprotein (P) -, and complete hemagglutinin (H) – gene sequences indicated that distinct American CDV lineages caused the distemper epizootics. The 1998 outbreak was caused by viruses that are likely from an old CDV lineage that includes CDV Snyder Hill and Lederle, which are CDV strains from the early 1950's. The 2000 and 2001 viruses appear to stem from the lineage of CDV A75/17, which was isolated in the mid 1970's. Only the 2001 viruses formed large syncytia in brain and/or lung tissue, and during primary isolation in-vitro in Vero cells, demonstrating at least one phenotypic property by which they differed from the other viruses.
Two different American CDV lineages caused the raccoon distemper outbreaks. The 1998 viruses are genetically distant to the 2000/2001 viruses. Since CDV does not cause persistent infections, the cycling of different CDV lineages within the same locale suggests multiple reintroductions of the virus to area raccoons. Our findings establish a precedent for determining whether the perceived differences in mortality rates are actual and attributable in part to inherent differences between CDV strains arising from different CDV lineages.
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a lymphotropic and neurotropic negative-stranded RNA virus of the Morbillivirus genus, causes a life-threatening disease in several carnivores, including domestic dogs. To identify the cellular receptor(s) involved in the uptake of CDV by susceptible cells, we isolated a monoclonal antibody (MAb K41) which binds to the cell surface and inhibits the CDV infection of several cell lines from various species. Pretreatment of cells with MAb K41 reduces the number of infectious centers and the size of the syncytia. Using affinity chromatography with MAb K41, we purified from HeLa and Vero cell extracts a 26-kDa protein which contained the amino acid sequence TKDEPQRETLK of human CD9, a member of the tetraspan transmembrane or transmembrane 4 superfamily of cell surface proteins. Transfection of NIH 3T3 or MDBK cells with a CD9 expression plasmid rendered these cells permissive for viral infection and raised virus production by a factor of 10 to 100. The mechanism involved is still unclear, since we were unable to detect direct binding of CDV to CD9 by using immunoprecipitation and a virus overlay protein binding assay. These findings indicate that human CD9 and its homologs in other species are necessary factors for the uptake of CDV by target cells, the formation of syncytia, and the production of progeny virus.
Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) was used to detect canine distemper virus (CDV) nucleoprotein (NP) RNA in serum, whole blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 38 dogs with clinically suspected distemper. Results were correlated to clinical findings, anti-CDV neutralizing antibody titers, postmortem findings, and demonstration of CDV NP antigen by immunohistochemistry. The specificity of the RT-PCR was ensured by amplification of RNA from various laboratory CDV strains, restriction enzyme digestion, and Southern blot hybridization. In 29 of 38 dogs, CDV infection was confirmed by postmortem examination and immunohistochemistry. The animals displayed the catarrhal, systemic, and nervous forms of distemper. Seventeen samples (serum, whole blood, or CSF) from dogs with distemper were tested with three sets of primers targeted to different regions of the NP gene of the CDV Onderstepoort strain. Expected amplicons were observed in 82, 53, and 41% of the 17 samples, depending upon the primer pair used. With the most sensitive primer pair (primer pair I), CDV NP RNA was detected in 25 of 29 (86%) serum samples and 14 of 16 (88%) whole blood and CSF samples from dogs with distemper but not in body fluids from immunohistochemically negative dogs. Nucleotide sequence analysis of five RT-PCR amplicons from isolates from the field revealed few silent point mutations. These isolates exhibited greater homology to the Rockborn (97 to 99%) than to the Onderstepoort (95 to 96%) CDV strain. In summary, although the sensitivity of the RT-PCR for detection of CDV is strongly influenced by the location of the selected primers, this nucleic acid detection system represents a highly specific and sensitive method for the antemortem diagnosis of distemper in dogs, regardless of the form of distemper, humoral immune response, and viral antigen distribution.
A simple and rapid (24-h) assay for peripheral blood lymphocyte-associated immunity to canine distemper virus (CDV) is described. The test is based upon leukocyte-associated inhibition of CDV-induced syncytia formation in Vero cells. The technique quantitates the response morphologically, thereby eliminating the requirement for release of radiolabeled compounds. Positive results were determined from specific-pathogen-free and gnotobiotic dogs exposed to CDV via hyperimmunization, vaccination with a modified live virus vaccine, and after virulent virus infection. Preinoculation lymphocytes and lymphocytes from non-immune dogs did not inhibit CDV-induced syncytia formation. Maximum responses were observed 7 to 21 days after initial exposure and declined thereafter. The method can be used to further investigate the role of immune lymphocytes in the recovery from CDV infection.
Enveloped viruses are highly dependent on their lipid envelopes for entry into and infection of host cells. Here, we have examined the role of cholesterol in the virus envelope, using methyl-β-cyclodextrin depletion. Pretreatment of virions with methyl-β-cyclodextrin efficiently depleted envelope cholesterol from influenza virus and significantly reduced virus infectivity in a dose-dependent manner. A nonenveloped virus, simian virus 40, was not affected by methyl-β-cyclodextrin treatment. In the case of influenza virus, infectivity could be partially rescued by the addition of exogenous cholesterol. Influenza virus morphology, binding, and internalization were not affected by methyl-β-cyclodextrin depletion, whereas envelope cholesterol depletion markedly affected influenza virus fusion, as measured by a specific reduction in the infectivity of viruses induced to fuse at the cell surface and by fluorescence-dequenching assays. These data suggest that envelope cholesterol is a critical factor in the fusion process of influenza virus.
This report describes the naturally occurring atypical neuropathological manifestation of systemic canine distemper virus (CDV) infection in two 16-day-old Pit Bull pups. CDV-induced changes affected the gray and white matter of the forebrain while sparing the hindbrain. Histologically, there was necrosis with destruction of the nervous parenchyma due to an influx of inflammatory and reactive cells associated with eosinophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies within glial cells. Positive immunoreactivity against CDV antigens was predominantly observed within astrocytes and neurons. RT-PCR was used to amplify CDV-specific amplicons from brain fragments. These findings suggest the participation of CDV in the etiopathogenesis of these lesions.
canine distemper virus; immunohistochemistry; neuropathology; RT-PCR
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV), which is a member of the Morbillivirus genus, Paramyxoviridae family. Animals that most commonly suffer from this disease belong to the Canidae family; however, the spectrum of natural hosts for CDV also includes several other families of the order Carnivora. The infectious disease presents worldwide distribution and maintains a high incidence and high levels of lethality, despite the availability of effective vaccines, and no specific treatment. CDV infection in dogs is characterized by the presentation of systemic and/or neurological courses, and viral persistence in some organs, including the central nervous system (CNS) and lymphoid tissues. An elucidation of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in canine distemper disease will lead to a better understanding of the injuries and clinical manifestations caused by CDV. Ultimately, further insight about this disease will enable the improvement of diagnostic methods as well as therapeutic studies.
The trimeric fusion (F) glycoproteins of morbilliviruses are activated by furin cleavage of the precursor F0 into the F1 and F2 subunits. Here we show that an additional membrane-proximal cleavage occurs and modulates F protein function. We initially observed that the ectodomain of approximately one in three measles virus (MV) F proteins is cleaved proximal to the membrane. Processing occurs after cleavage activation of the precursor F0 into the F1 and F2 subunits, producing F1a and F1b fragments that are incorporated in viral particles. We also detected the F1b fragment, including the transmembrane domain and cytoplasmic tail, in cells expressing the canine distemper virus (CDV) or mumps virus F protein. Six membrane-proximal amino acids are necessary for efficient CDV F1a/b cleavage. These six amino acids can be exchanged with the corresponding MV F protein residues of different sequence without compromising function. Thus, structural elements of different sequence are functionally exchangeable. Finally, we showed that the alteration of a block of membrane-proximal amino acids results in diminished fusion activity in the context of a recombinant CDV. We envisage that selective loss of the membrane anchor in the external subunits of circularly arranged F protein trimers may disengage them from pulling the membrane centrifugally, thereby facilitating fusion pore formation.
Canine distemper virus (CDV), a negative-strand RNA morbillivirus, causes a progressive demyelinating disease in which virus persistence plays an essential role. The antiviral immune response leads to virus clearance in the inflammatory lesions. However, CDV can replicate and persist outside these inflammatory lesions within the brain. How CDV is capable of persisting in the presence of an effective antiviral immune response is poorly understood. In the present investigation, we studied several aspects of virus replication in primary dog brain cell cultures (DBCC), comparing an attenuated CDV strain and a virulent CDV strain. Confluent DBCC were infected with either virulent A75/17-CDV or attenuated Onderstepoort-CDV and monitored for 60 days. Persistence was not associated with defective virus production, because all mRNAs and corresponding proteins were continuously expressed in the noncytolytic infection. Quantitative measurements did not detect a difference between the two types of infection in the rate of virus transcription and protein synthesis at the level of the single cell. However, electron microscopy and virus titration experiments showed that in the persistent CDV infection virus budding is strongly limited compared with that of the attenuated virus. Morphometry and immunocytochemistry showed profound differences in the way the two viruses spread in the culture. The attenuated CDV spread randomly to immediately adjacent cells, whereas persistent CDV spread selectively to more-distant cells by way of cell processes. In conclusion, the present study supports a mechanism of CDV persistence through selective spread by way of cell processes, enabling virulent CDV to invade the central nervous system without the need of releasing much virus into the extracellular space.