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1.  Measles Vaccination of Nonhuman Primates Provides Partial Protection against Infection with Canine Distemper Virus 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(8):4423-4433.
Measles virus (MV) is being considered for global eradication, which would likely reduce compliance with MV vaccination. As a result, children will grow up without MV-specific immunity, creating a potential niche for closely related animal morbilliviruses such as canine distemper virus (CDV). Natural CDV infection causing clinical signs has never been reported in humans, but recent outbreaks in captive macaques have shown that CDV can cause disease in primates. We studied the virulence and tropism of recombinant CDV expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein in naive and measles-vaccinated cynomolgus macaques. In naive animals CDV caused viremia and fever and predominantly infected CD150+ lymphocytes and dendritic cells. Virus was reisolated from the upper and lower respiratory tracts, but infection of epithelial or neuronal cells was not detectable at the time points examined, and the infections were self-limiting. This demonstrates that CDV readily infects nonhuman primates but suggests that additional mutations are necessary to achieve full virulence in nonnatural hosts. Partial protection against CDV was observed in measles-vaccinated macaques, as demonstrated by accelerated control of virus replication and limited shedding from the upper respiratory tract. While neither CDV infection nor MV vaccination induced detectable cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies, MV-specific neutralizing antibody levels of MV-vaccinated macaques were boosted by CDV challenge infection, suggesting that cross-reactive VN epitopes exist. Rapid increases in white blood cell counts in MV-vaccinated macaques following CDV challenge suggested that cross-reactive cellular immune responses were also present. This study demonstrates that zoonotic morbillivirus infections can be controlled by measles vaccination.
IMPORTANCE Throughout history viral zoonoses have had a substantial impact on human health. Given the drive toward global eradication of measles, it is essential to understand the zoonotic potential of animal morbilliviruses. Morbilliviruses are thought to have evolved from a common ancestral virus that jumped species and adapted to new hosts. Recently, canine distemper virus (CDV), a morbillivirus normally restricted to carnivores, caused disease outbreaks in nonhuman primates. Here, we report that experimental CDV infection of monkeys resulted in fever and leukopenia. The virus replicated to high levels in lymphocytes but did not spread to epithelial cells or the central nervous system. Importantly, like measles virus in macaques, the infections were self-limiting. In measles-vaccinated macaques CDV was cleared more rapidly, resulting in limited virus shedding from the upper respiratory tract. These studies demonstrate that although CDV can readily infect primates, measles immunity is protective, and CDV infection is self-limiting.
PMCID: PMC3993716  PMID: 24501402
2.  The hemagglutinin envelope protein of canine distemper virus (CDV) confers cell tropism as illustrated by CDV and measles virus complementation analysis. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(3):1661-1668.
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.
PMCID: PMC188765  PMID: 7853502
3.  Detection of Canine Distemper Virus Nucleoprotein RNA by Reverse Transcription-PCR Using Serum, Whole Blood, and Cerebrospinal Fluid from Dogs with Distemper 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(11):3634-3643.
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.
PMCID: PMC85712  PMID: 10523566
4.  Canine distemper virus induces apoptosis in cervical tumor derived cell lines 
Virology Journal  2011;8:334.
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.
PMCID: PMC3141686  PMID: 21718481
Apoptosis; Canine distemper virus; Caspase; Cervical tumor; HeLa cell; HPV
5.  Requirements for CEACAMs and Cholesterol during Murine Coronavirus Cell Entry 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(6):2682-2692.
Previous reports have documented that cholesterol supplementations increase cytopathic effects in tissue culture and also intensify in vivo pathogenicities during infection by the enveloped coronavirus murine hepatitis virus (MHV). To move toward a mechanistic understanding of these phenomena, we used growth media enriched with methyl-β-cyclodextrin or cholesterol to reduce or elevate cellular membrane sterols, respectively. Cholesterol depletions reduced plaque development 2- to 20-fold, depending on the infecting MHV strain, while supplementations increased susceptibility 2- to 10-fold. These various cholesterol levels had no effect on the binding of viral spike (S) proteins to cellular carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule (CEACAM) receptors, rather they correlated directly with S-protein-mediated membrane fusion activities. We considered whether cholesterol was indirectly involved in membrane fusion by condensing CEACAMs into “lipid raft” membrane microdomains, thereby creating opportunities for simultaneous binding of multiple S proteins that subsequently cooperate in the receptor-triggered membrane fusion process. However, the vast majority of CEACAMs were solubilized by cold Triton X-100 (TX-100), indicating their absence from lipid rafts. Furthermore, engineered CEACAMs appended to glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchors partitioned with TX-100-resistant lipid rafts, but cells bearing these raft-associated CEACAMs were not hypersensitive to MHV infection. These findings argued against the importance of cholesterol-dependent CEACAM localizations into membrane microdomains for MHV entry, instead suggesting that cholesterol had a more direct role. Indeed, we found that cholesterol was required even for those rare S-mediated fusions taking place in the absence of CEACAMs. We conclude that cholesterol is an essential membrane fusion cofactor that can act with or without CEACAMs to promote MHV entry.
PMCID: PMC353758  PMID: 14990688
6.  Canine Distemper Virus Infects Canine Keratinocytes and Immune Cells by Using Overlapping and Distinct Regions Located on One Side of the Attachment Protein▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(21):11242-11254.
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.
PMCID: PMC3194989  PMID: 21849439
7.  Canine Distemper Virus: an Emerging Disease in Wild Endangered Amur Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) 
mBio  2013;4(4):e00410-13.
Fewer than 500 Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) remain in the wild. Due to low numbers and their solitary and reclusive nature, tiger sightings across their range in the Russian Far East and China are rare; sightings of sick tigers are rarer still. Serious neurologic disease observed in several wild tigers since 2001 suggested disease emergence in this endangered species. To investigate this possibility, histology, immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridization (ISH), and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) were performed on tissues from 5 affected tigers that died or were destroyed in 2001, 2004, or 2010. Our results reveal canine distemper virus (CDV) infection as the cause of neurologic disease in two tigers and definitively establish infection in a third. Nonsuppurative encephalitis with demyelination, eosinophilic nuclear viral inclusions, and positive immunolabeling for CDV by IHC and ISH were present in the two tigers with available brain tissue. CDV phosphoprotein (P) and hemagglutinin (H) gene products were obtained from brains of these two tigers by RT-PCR, and a short fragment of CDV P gene sequence was detected in lymph node tissue of a third tiger. Phylogenetically, Amur tiger CDV groups with an Arctic-like strain in Baikal seals (Phoca siberica). Our results, which include mapping the location of positive tigers and recognition of a cluster of cases in 2010, coupled with a lack of reported CDV antibodies in Amur tigers prior to 2000 suggest wide geographic distribution of CDV across the tiger range and recent emergence of CDV as a significant infectious disease threat to endangered Amur tigers in the Russian Far East.
Recognition of disease emergence in wildlife is a rare occurrence. Here, for the first time, we identify and characterize a canine distemper virus (CDV), the second most common cause of infectious disease death in domestic dogs and a viral disease of global importance in common and endangered carnivores, as the etiology of neurologic disease and fatal encephalitis in wild, endangered Amur tigers. We establish that in 2010 CDV directly or indirectly killed ~1% of Amur tigers. Location of positive cases over an expansive geographic area suggests that CDV is widely distributed across the tiger range. Interspecies interactions are increasing as human populations grow and expand into wildlife habitats. Identifying animal reservoirs for CDV and identifying the CDV strains that are transmissible to and among wildlife species, including Amur tigers and sympatric critically endangered Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis), is essential for guiding conservation and mitigation efforts.
PMCID: PMC3747579  PMID: 23943758
8.  Signal Peptide and Helical Bundle Domains of Virulent Canine Distemper Virus Fusion Protein Restrict Fusogenicity▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(20):11413-11425.
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.
PMCID: PMC2045578  PMID: 17686846
9.  Duck Hepatitis B Virus Requires Cholesterol for Endosomal Escape during Virus Entry▿ † 
Journal of Virology  2008;82(21):10532-10542.
The identity and functionality of biological membranes are determined by cooperative interaction between their lipid and protein constituents. Cholesterol is an important structural lipid that modulates fluidity of biological membranes favoring the formation of detergent-resistant microdomains. In the present study, we evaluated the functional role of cholesterol and lipid rafts for entry of hepatitis B viruses into hepatocytes. We show that the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) attaches predominantly to detergent-soluble domains on the plasma membrane. Cholesterol depletion from host membranes and thus disruption of rafts does not affect DHBV infection. In contrast, depletion of cholesterol from the envelope of both DHBV and human HBV strongly reduces virus infectivity. Cholesterol depletion increases the density of viral particles and leads to changes in the ultrastructural appearance of the virus envelope. However, the dual topology of the viral envelope protein L is not significantly impaired. Infectivity and density of viral particles are partially restored upon cholesterol replenishment. Binding and entry of cholesterol-deficient DHBV into hepatocytes are not significantly impaired, in contrast to their release from endosomes. We therefore conclude that viral but not host cholesterol is required for endosomal escape of DHBV.
PMCID: PMC2573206  PMID: 18768975
10.  Identification of Amino Acid Substitutions with Compensational Effects in the Attachment Protein of Canine Distemper Virus 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(14):8057-8064.
The hemagglutinin (H) gene of canine distemper virus (CDV) encodes the receptor-binding protein. This protein, together with the fusion (F) protein, is pivotal for infectivity since it contributes to the fusion of the viral envelope with the host cell membrane. Of the two receptors currently known for CDV (nectin-4 and the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule [SLAM]), SLAM is considered the most relevant for host susceptibility. To investigate how evolution might have impacted the host-CDV interaction, we examined the functional properties of a series of missense single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) naturally accumulating within the H-gene sequences during the transition between two distinct but related strains. The two strains, a wild-type strain and a consensus strain, were part of a single continental outbreak in European wildlife and occurred in distinct geographical areas 2 years apart. The deduced amino acid sequence of the two H genes differed at 5 residues. A panel of mutants carrying all the combinations of the SNPs was obtained by site-directed mutagenesis. The selected mutant, wild type, and consensus H proteins were functionally evaluated according to their surface expression, SLAM binding, fusion protein interaction, and cell fusion efficiencies. The results highlight that the most detrimental functional effects are associated with specific sets of SNPs. Strikingly, an efficient compensational system driven by additional SNPs appears to come into play, virtually neutralizing the negative functional effects. This system seems to contribute to the maintenance of the tightly regulated function of the H-gene-encoded attachment protein.
IMPORTANCE To investigate how evolution might have impacted the host-canine distemper virus (CDV) interaction, we examined the functional properties of naturally occurring single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the hemagglutinin gene of two related but distinct strains of CDV. The hemagglutinin gene encodes the attachment protein, which is pivotal for infection. Our results show that few SNPs have a relevant detrimental impact and they generally appear in specific combinations (molecular signatures). These drastic negative changes are neutralized by compensatory mutations, which contribute to maintenance of an overall constant bioactivity of the attachment protein. This compensational mechanism might reflect the reaction of the CDV machinery to the changes occurring in the virus following antigenic variations critical for virulence.
PMCID: PMC4097785  PMID: 24807725
11.  The Hemagglutinin of Canine Distemper Virus Determines Tropism and Cytopathogenicity 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(14):6418-6427.
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.
PMCID: PMC114365  PMID: 11413309
12.  Cholesterol Effectively Blocks Entry of Flavivirus ▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(13):6470-6480.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and dengue virus serotype 2 (DEN-2) are enveloped flaviviruses that enter cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis and low pH-triggered membrane fusion and then replicate in intracellular membrane structures. Lipid rafts, cholesterol-enriched lipid-ordered membrane domains, are platforms for a variety of cellular functions. In this study, we found that disruption of lipid raft formation by cholesterol depletion with methyl-β-cyclodextrin or cholesterol chelation with filipin III reduces JEV and DEN-2 infection, mainly at the intracellular replication steps and, to a lesser extent, at viral entry. Using a membrane flotation assay, we found that several flaviviral nonstructural proteins are associated with detergent-resistant membrane structures, indicating that the replication complex of JEV and DEN-2 localizes to the membranes that possess the lipid raft property. Interestingly, we also found that addition of cholesterol readily blocks flaviviral infection, a result that contrasts with previous reports of other viruses, such as Sindbis virus, whose infectivity is enhanced by cholesterol. Cholesterol mainly affected the early step of the flavivirus life cycle, because the presence of cholesterol during viral adsorption greatly blocked JEV and DEN-2 infectivity. Flavirial entry, probably at fusion and RNA uncoating steps, was hindered by cholesterol. Our results thus suggest a stringent requirement for membrane components, especially with respect to the amount of cholesterol, in various steps of the flavivirus life cycle.
PMCID: PMC2447114  PMID: 18448543
13.  Canine distemper virus persistence in demyelinating encephalitis by swift intracellular cell-to-cell spread in astrocytes is controlled by the viral attachment protein 
Acta Neuropathologica  2010;119(5):617-630.
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.
PMCID: PMC2849939  PMID: 20119836
Demyelinating encephalitis; CDV persistence; Primary brain cells; Swift cell-to-cell spread; Attachment protein
14.  Establishment of a Rescue System for Canine Distemper Virus 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(22):10737-10744.
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.
PMCID: PMC110948  PMID: 11044118
15.  Lipid Raft Disruption by Cholesterol Depletion Enhances Influenza A Virus Budding from MDCK Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(22):12169-12178.
Lipid rafts play critical roles in many aspects of the influenza A virus life cycle. Cholesterol is a critical structural component of lipid rafts, and depletion of cholesterol leads to disorganization of lipid raft microdomains. In this study, we have investigated the effect of cholesterol depletion by methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) treatment on influenza virus budding. When virus-infected Madin-Darby canine kidney cells were treated with MβCD at the late phase of infection for a short duration, budding of virus particles, as determined by protein analysis and electron microscopy, increased with increasing concentrations and lengths of treatment. However, infectious virus yield varied, depending on the concentration and duration of MβCD treatment. Low concentrations of MβCD increased infectious virus yield throughout the treatment period, but higher concentrations caused an initial increase of infectious virus titer followed by a decrease with a longer duration. Relative infectivity of the released virus particles, on the other hand, decreased with increasing concentrations and durations of MβCD treatment. Loss of infectivity of virus particles is due to multiple effects of MβCD-mediated cholesterol depletion causing disruption of lipid rafts, changes in structural integrity of the viral membrane, leakage of viral proteins, a nick or hole on the viral envelope, and disruption of the virus structure. Exogenous cholesterol increased lipid raft integrity, inhibited particle release, and partially restored the infectivity of the released virus particles. These data show that disruption of lipid rafts by cholesterol depletion caused an enhancement of virus particle release from infected cells and a decrease in the infectivity of virus particles.
PMCID: PMC2169012  PMID: 17855515
16.  Cholesterol Dependence of Varicella-Zoster Virion Entry into Target Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(14):7548-7558.
The entry of inhaled virions into airway cells is presumably the initiating step of varicella-zoster infection. In order to characterize viral entry, we studied the relative roles played by lipid rafts and clathrin-mediated transport. Virus and target cells were pretreated with agents designed to perturb selected aspects of endocytosis and membrane composition, and the effects of these perturbations on infectious focus formation were monitored. Infectivity was exquisitely sensitive to methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) and nystatin, which disrupt lipid rafts by removing cholesterol. These agents inhibited infection by enveloped, but not cell-associated, varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in a dose-dependent manner and exerted these effects on both target cell and viral membranes. Inhibition by MβCD, which could be reversed by cholesterol replenishment, rapidly declined as a function of time after exposure of target cells to VZV, suggesting that an early step in viral infection requires cholesterol. No effect of cholesterol depletion, however, was seen on viral binding; moreover, there was no reduction in the surface expression or internalization of mannose 6-phosphate receptors, which are required for VZV entry. Viral entry was energy dependent and showed concentration-dependent inhibition by chlorpromazine, which, among other actions, blocks clathrin-mediated endocytosis. These data suggest that both membrane lipid composition and clathrin-mediated transport are critical for VZV entry. Lipid rafts are likely to contribute directly to viral envelope integrity and, in the host membrane, may influence endocytosis, evoke downstream signaling, and/or facilitate membrane fusion.
PMCID: PMC1933378  PMID: 17494071
17.  Estimating the Potential Impact of Canine Distemper Virus on the Amur Tiger Population (Panthera tigris altaica) in Russia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110811.
Lethal infections with canine distemper virus (CDV) have recently been diagnosed in Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), but long-term implications for the population are unknown. This study evaluates the potential impact of CDV on a key tiger population in Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik (SABZ), and assesses how CDV might influence the extinction potential of other tiger populations of varying sizes. An individual-based stochastic, SIRD (susceptible-infected-recovered/dead) model was used to simulate infection through predation of infected domestic dogs, and/or wild carnivores, and direct tiger-to-tiger transmission. CDV prevalence and effective contact based on published and observed data was used to define plausible low- and high-risk infection scenarios. CDV infection increased the 50-year extinction probability of tigers in SABZ by 6.3% to 55.8% compared to a control population, depending on risk scenario. The most significant factors influencing model outcome were virus prevalence in the reservoir population(s) and its effective contact rate with tigers. Adjustment of the mortality rate had a proportional impact, while inclusion of epizootic infection waves had negligible additional impact. Small populations were found to be disproportionately vulnerable to extinction through CDV infection. The 50-year extinction risk in populations consisting of 25 individuals was 1.65 times greater when CDV was present than that of control populations. The effects of density dependence do not protect an endangered population from the impacts of a multi-host pathogen, such as CDV, where they coexist with an abundant reservoir presenting a persistent threat. Awareness of CDV is a critical component of a successful tiger conservation management policy.
PMCID: PMC4212977  PMID: 25354196
18.  Alteration of the Leptin Network in Late Morbid Obesity Induced in Mice by Brain Infection with Canine Distemper Virus 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(9):7317-7327.
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.
PMCID: PMC104257  PMID: 10438820
19.  Effects of canine distemper virus infection on lymphoid function in vitro and in vivo. 
Infection and Immunity  1975;11(5):1069-1078.
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.
PMCID: PMC415181  PMID: 1091560
20.  CD9, a tetraspan transmembrane protein, renders cells susceptible to canine distemper virus. 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(1):42-49.
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.
PMCID: PMC191022  PMID: 8985321
21.  Specific Association of Glycoprotein B with Lipid Rafts during Herpes Simplex Virus Entry 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(17):9542-9552.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) entry requires the interaction of glycoprotein D (gD) with a cellular receptor such as herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM or HveA) or nectin-1 (HveC). However, the fusion mechanism is still not understood. Since cholesterol-enriched cell membrane lipid rafts are involved in the entry of other enveloped viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus and Ebola virus, we tested whether HSV entry proceeds similarly. Vero cells and cells expressing either HVEM or nectin-1 were treated with cholesterol-sequestering drugs such as methyl-β-cyclodextrin or nystatin and then exposed to virus. In all cases, virus entry was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner, and the inhibitory effect was fully reversible by replenishment of cholesterol. To examine the association of HVEM and nectin-1 with lipid rafts, we analyzed whether they partitioned into nonionic detergent-insoluble glycolipid-enriched membranes (DIG). There was no constitutive association of either receptor with DIG. Binding of soluble gD or virus to cells did not result in association of nectin-1 with the raft-containing fractions. However, during infection, a fraction of gB but not gC, gD, or gH associated with DIG. Similarly, when cells were incubated with truncated soluble glycoproteins, soluble gB but not gC was found associated with DIG. Together, these data favor a model in which HSV uses gB to rapidly mobilize lipid rafts that may serve as a platform for entry and cell signaling. It also suggests that gB may interact with a cellular molecule associated with lipid rafts.
PMCID: PMC187402  PMID: 12915568
22.  New Aspects of the Pathogenesis of Canine Distemper Leukoencephalitis 
Viruses  2014;6(7):2571-2601.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a member of the genus morbillivirus, which is known to cause a variety of disorders in dogs including demyelinating leukoencephalitis (CDV-DL). In recent years, substantial progress in understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms of CDV-DL has been made. In vivo and in vitro investigations provided new insights into its pathogenesis with special emphasis on axon-myelin-glia interaction, potential endogenous mechanisms of regeneration, and astroglial plasticity. CDV-DL is characterized by lesions with a variable degree of demyelination and mononuclear inflammation accompanied by a dysregulated orchestration of cytokines as well as matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors. Despite decades of research, several new aspects of the neuropathogenesis of CDV-DL have been described only recently. Early axonal damage seems to represent an initial and progressive lesion in CDV-DL, which interestingly precedes demyelination. Axonopathy may, thus, function as a potential trigger for subsequent disturbed axon-myelin-glia interactions. In particular, the detection of early axonal damage suggests that demyelination is at least in part a secondary event in CDV-DL, thus challenging the dogma of CDV as a purely primary demyelinating disease. Another unexpected finding refers to the appearance of p75 neurotrophin (NTR)-positive bipolar cells during CDV-DL. As p75NTR is a prototype marker for immature Schwann cells, this finding suggests that Schwann cell remyelination might represent a so far underestimated endogenous mechanism of regeneration, though this hypothesis still remains to be proven. Although it is well known that astrocytes represent the major target of CDV infection in CDV-DL, the detection of infected vimentin-positive astrocytes in chronic lesions indicates a crucial role of this cell population in nervous distemper. While glial fibrillary acidic protein represents the characteristic intermediate filament of mature astrocytes, expression of vimentin is generally restricted to immature or reactive astrocytes. Thus, vimentin-positive astrocytes might constitute an important cell population for CDV persistence and spread, as well as lesion progression. In vitro models, such as dissociated glial cell cultures, as well as organotypic brain slice cultures have contributed to a better insight into mechanisms of infection and certain morphological and molecular aspects of CDV-DL. Summarized, recent in vivo and in vitro studies revealed remarkable new aspects of nervous distemper. These new perceptions substantially improved our understanding of the pathogenesis of CDV-DL and might represent new starting points to develop novel treatment strategies.
PMCID: PMC4113784  PMID: 24992230
axon; canine distemper virus; central nervous system; cytokine; distemper leukoencephalitis; immature astrocyte; matrix metalloproteinase; p75 neurotrophin receptor; Schwann cell; vimentin
23.  Natural and immune cytolysis of canine distemper virus-infected target cells. 
Infection and Immunity  1980;28(3):724-734.
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.
PMCID: PMC551011  PMID: 7399692
24.  Canine distemper virus persistence in the nervous system is associated with noncytolytic selective virus spread. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(3):1678-1686.
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.
PMCID: PMC188767  PMID: 7853504
25.  Integrity of Membrane Lipid Rafts Is Necessary for the Ordered Assembly and Release of Infectious Newcastle Disease Virus Particles 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(21):10652-10662.
Membrane lipid raft domains are thought to be sites of assembly for many enveloped viruses. The roles of both classical lipid rafts and lipid rafts associated with the membrane cytoskeleton in the assembly of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) were investigated. The lipid raft-associated proteins caveolin-1, flotillin-2, and actin were incorporated into virions, while the non-lipid raft-associated transferrin receptor was excluded. Kinetic analyses of the distribution of viral proteins in lipid rafts, as defined by detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs), in non-lipid raft membranes, and in virions showed an accumulation of HN, F, and NP viral proteins in lipid rafts early after synthesis. Subsequently, these proteins exited the DRMs and were recovered quantitatively in purified virions, while levels of these proteins in detergent-soluble cell fractions remained relatively constant. Cholesterol depletion of infected cells drastically altered the association of viral proteins with DRMs and resulted in an enhanced release of virus particles with reduced infectivity. Decreased infectivity was not due to effects on subsequent virus entry, since the extraction of cholesterol from intact virus did not significantly reduce infectivity. Particles released from cholesterol-depleted cells had very heterogeneous densities and altered ratios of NP and glycoproteins, demonstrating structural abnormalities which potentially contributed to their lowered infectivity. Taken together, these results indicate that lipid rafts, including cytoskeleton-associated lipid rafts, are sites of NDV assembly and that these domains are important for ordered assembly and release of infectious Newcastle disease virus particles.
PMCID: PMC1641742  PMID: 17041223

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