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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  Annexin A6-Balanced Late Endosomal Cholesterol Controls Influenza A Replication and Propagation 
mBio  2013;4(6):e00608-13.
Influenza is caused by influenza A virus (IAV), an enveloped, negative-stranded RNA virus that derives its envelope lipids from the host cell plasma membrane. Here, we examined the functional role of cellular cholesterol in the IAV infection cycle. We show that shifting of cellular cholesterol pools via the Ca2+-regulated membrane-binding protein annexin A6 (AnxA6) affects the infectivity of progeny virus particles. Elevated levels of cellular AnxA6, which decrease plasma membrane and increase late endosomal cholesterol levels, impaired IAV replication and propagation, whereas RNA interference-mediated AnxA6 ablation increased viral progeny titers. Pharmacological accumulation of late endosomal cholesterol also diminished IAV virus propagation. Decreased IAV replication caused by upregulated AnxA6 expression could be restored either by exogenous replenishment of host cell cholesterol or by ectopic expression of the late endosomal cholesterol transporter Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1). Virus released from AnxA6-overexpressing cells displayed significantly reduced cholesterol levels. Our results show that IAV replication depends on maintenance of the cellular cholesterol balance and identify AnxA6 as a critical factor in linking IAV to cellular cholesterol homeostasis.
Influenza A virus (IAV) is a major public health concern, and yet, major host-pathogen interactions regulating IAV replication still remain poorly understood. It is known that host cell cholesterol is a critical factor in the influenza virus life cycle. The viral envelope is derived from the host cell membrane during the process of budding and, hence, equips the virus with a special lipid-protein mixture which is high in cholesterol. However, the influence of host cell cholesterol homeostasis on IAV infection is largely unknown. We show that IAV infection success critically depends on host cell cholesterol distribution. Cholesterol sequestration in the endosomal compartment impairs progeny titer and infectivity and is associated with reduced cholesterol content in the viral envelope.
PMCID: PMC3892785  PMID: 24194536
11.  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
12.  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
13.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Uses Lipid Raft-Colocalized CD4 and Chemokine Receptors for Productive Entry into CD4+ T Cells 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(10):4709-4722.
In this report, we describe a crucial role of lipid raft-colocalized receptors in the entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) into CD4+ T cells. We show that biochemically isolated detergent-resistant fractions have characteristics of lipid rafts. Lipid raft integrity was required for productive HIV-1 entry as determined by (i) semiquantitative PCR analysis and (ii) single-cycle infectivity assay using HIV-1 expressing the luciferase reporter gene and pseudotyped with HIV-1 HXB2 envelope or vesicular stomatitis virus envelope glycoprotein (VSV-G). Depletion of plasma membrane cholesterol with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) relocalized raft-resident markers to a nonraft environment but did not significantly change the surface expression of HIV-1 receptors. MβCD treatment inhibited productive infection of HIV-1 by 95% as determined by luciferase activity in cells infected with HXB2 envelope-pseudotyped virus. In contrast, infection with VSV-G-pseudotyped virus, which enters the cells through an endocytic pathway, was not suppressed. Biochemical fractionation and confocal imaging of HIV-1 receptor distribution in live cells demonstrated that CD4, CCR5, and CXCR4 colocalized with raft-resident markers, ganglioside GM1, and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored CD48. While confocal microscopy analysis revealed that HIV-1 receptors localized most likely to the same lipid microdomains, sucrose gradient analysis of the receptor localization showed that, in contrast to CD4 and CCR5, CXCR4 was associated preferentially with the nonraft membrane fraction. The binding of HIV-1 envelope gp120 to lipid rafts in the presence, but not in the absence, of cholesterol strongly supports our hypothesis that raft-colocalized receptors are directly involved in virus entry. Dramatic changes in lipid raft and HIV-1 receptor redistribution were observed upon binding of HIV-1 NL4-3 to PM1 T cells. Colocalization of CCR5 with GM1 and gp120 upon engagement of CD4 and CXCR4 by HIV-1 further supports our observation that HIV-1 receptors localize to the same lipid rafts in PM1 T cells.
PMCID: PMC136131  PMID: 11967288
14.  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
15.  Murine Coronavirus Requires Lipid Rafts for Virus Entry and Cell-Cell Fusion but Not for Virus Release 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(15):9862-9871.
Thorp and Gallagher first reported that depletion of cholesterol inhibited virus entry and cell-cell fusion of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), suggesting the importance of lipid rafts in MHV replication (E. B. Thorp and T. M. Gallagher, J. Virol. 78:2682-2692, 2004). However, the MHV receptor is not present in lipid rafts, and anchoring of the MHV receptor to lipid rafts did not enhance MHV infection; thus, the mechanism of lipid rafts involvement is not clear. In this study, we defined the mechanism and extent of lipid raft involvement in MHV replication. We showed that cholesterol depletion by methyl β-cyclodextrin or filipin did not affect virus binding but reduced virus entry. Furthermore, MHV spike protein bound to nonraftraft membrane at 4°C but shifted to lipid rafts at 37°C, indicating a redistribution of membrane following virus binding. Thus, the lipid raft involvement in MHV entry occurs at a step following virus binding. We also found that the viral spike protein in the plasma membrane of the infected cells was associated with lipid rafts, whereas that in the Golgi membrane, where MHV matures, was not. Moreover, the buoyant density of the virion was not changed when MHV was produced from the cholesterol-depleted cells, suggesting that MHV does not incorporate lipid rafts into the virion. These results indicate that MHV release does not involve lipid rafts. However, MHV spike protein has an inherent ability to associate with lipid rafts. Correspondingly, cell-cell fusion induced by MHV was retarded by cholesterol depletion, consistent with the association of the spike protein with lipid rafts in the plasma membrane. These findings suggest that MHV entry requires specific interactions between the spike protein and lipid rafts, probably during the virus internalization step.
PMCID: PMC1181594  PMID: 16014947
16.  RNAi screen of Salmonella invasion shows role of COPI in membrane targeting of cholesterol and Cdc42 
A genome wide RNAi screen identifies 72 host cell genes affecting S. Typhimurium entry, including actin regulators and COPI. This study implicates COPI-dependent cholesterol and sphingolipid localization as a common mechanism of infection by bacterial and viral pathogens.
Genome-scale RNAi screen identifies 72 host genes affecting S. Typhimurium host cell invasion.Step-specific follow-up assays assign the phenotypes to specific steps of the invasion process.COPI effects on host cell binding, ruffling and invasion were traced to a key role of COPI in membrane targeting of cholesterol, sphingolipids, Rac1 and Cdc42.This new role of COPI explains why COPI is required for host cell infection by numerous bacterial and viral pathogens.
Pathogens are not only a menace to public health, but they also provide excellent tools for probing host cell function. Thus, studying infection mechanisms has fueled progress in cell biology (Ridley et al, 1992; Welch et al, 1997). In the presented study, we have performed an RNAi screen to identify host cell genes required for Salmonella host cell invasion. This screen identified proteins known to contribute to Salmonella-induced actin rearrangements (e.g., Cdc42 and the Arp2/3 complex; reviewed in Schlumberger and Hardt, 2006) and vesicular traffic (e.g., Rab7) as well as unexpected hits, such as the COPI complex. COPI is a known organizer of Golgi-to-ER vesicle transport (Bethune et al, 2006; Beck et al, 2009). Here, we show that COPI is also involved in plasma membrane targeting of cholesterol, sphingolipids and the Rho GTPases Cdc42 and Rac1, essential host cell factors required for Salmonella invasion. This explains why COPI depletion inhibits infection by S. Typhimurium and illustrates how combining bacterial pathogenesis and systems approaches can promote cell biology.
Salmonella Typhimurium is a common food-borne pathogen and worldwide a major public health problem causing severe diarrhea. The pathogen uses the host's gut mucosa as a portal of entry and gut tissue invasion is a key event leading to the disease. This explains the intense interest from medicine and basic biology in the mechanism of Salmonella host cell invasion.
Tissue culture infection models have delineated a sequence of events leading host cell invasion (Figure 1; Schlumberger and Hardt, 2006): (i) pathogen binding to the host cell surface; (ii) activation of a syringe-like apparatus (‘Type III secretion system 1', T1) of the bacterium and injection of a bacterial toxin cocktail into the host cell. These toxins include SopE, a key virulence factor triggering invasion (Hardt et al, 1998), which was analyzed in our study; (iii) toxin-triggered membrane ruffling. To a significant extent, this is facilitated by SopE-triggered activation of Cdc42 and Rac1 and subsequent actin polymerization at the site of infection; (iv) engulfment of the pathogen within a vesicular compartment (SCV) and (v) maturation of the SCV, a process driven by a second Type III secretion system (T2), which is expressed by the pathogen upon bacterial entry (Figure 1). This sequence of events mediates Salmonella invasion into the gut epithelium and illustrates that this pathogen can be used for probing mechanisms of host cell actin control, membrane biogenesis, vesicle formation and vesicular trafficking.
SopE is a key virulence factor of invasion and triggers the activation of Cdc42 and Rac1 and subsequent actin polymerization at the site of infection. We have employed a SopE-expressing S. Typhimurium strain and RNAi screening technology to identify host cell factors affecting invasion. First, we developed an automated fluorescence microscopy assay to quantify S. Typhimurium entry in a high-throughput format (Figure 1C). This assay was based on a GFP reporter expressed by the pathogen after invasion and maturation of the SCV. Using this assay, we screened a ‘druggable genome' siRNA library (6978 genes, 3 oligos each, 1 oligo per well) and identified 72 invasion hits. These included established regulators of the actin cytoskeleton (Cdc42, Arp2/3, Nap1; Schlumberger and Hardt, 2006), some of which have not been implicated so far in Salmonella entry (Pfn1, Cap1), as well as proteins not previously thought to influence infection (Atp1a1, Rbx1, COPI complex). Potentially, these hits could affect any step of the invasion process (Figure 1A).
In the second stage of the study, we have assigned each ‘invasion hit' to particular steps of the invasion process. For this purpose, we developed step-specific assays for Salmonella binding, injection, ruffling and membrane engulfment and re-screened the genes found as hits in the first screen (four siRNAs per gene). As expected, a significant number of ‘hits' affected binding to the host cell, others affected binding and ruffling (e.g., Pfn1, Itgβ5, Cap1), a few were specific for the ruffling step (e.g., Cdc42) and some affected SCV maturation, namely Rab7a, the trafficking protein Vps39 and the vacuolar proton pump Atp6ap2. Thus, our experimental strategy allowed mechanistic interpretation and linked novel hits to particular phenotypes, thus providing a basis for further studies (Figure 1).
COPI depletion impaired effector injection and ruffling. This was surprising, as the COPI complex was known to regulate retrogade Golgi-to-ER transport, but was not expected to affect pathogen interactions at the plasma membrane. Therefore, we have investigated the underlying mechanism. We have observed that COPI depletion entailed dramatic changes in the plasma membrane composition (Figure 6). Cholesterol and sphingolipids, which form domains (‘lipid rafts') in the plasma membrane, were depleted from the cell surface and redirected into a large vesicular compartment. The same was true for the Rho GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42. This strong decrease in the amount of cholesterol-enriched microdomains and Rho GTPases in the plasma membrane explained the observed defects in S. Typhimurium host cell invasion and assigned a novel role for COPI in controlling mammalian plasma membrane composition. It should be noted that other viral and bacterial pathogens do show a similar dependency on host cellular COPI and plasma membrane lipids. This includes notorious pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus (Ramet et al, 2002; Potrich et al, 2009), Listeria monocytogenes (Seveau et al, 2004; Agaisse et al, 2005; Cheng et al, 2005; Gekara et al, 2005), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Munoz et al, 2009), Chlamydia trachomatis (Elwell et al, 2008), influenza virus (Hao et al, 2008; Konig et al, 2010), hepatitis C virus (Tai et al, 2009; Popescu and Dubuisson, 2010) and the vesicular stomatitis virus (presented study) and suggests that COPI-mediated control of host cell plasma membrane composition might be of broad importance for pathogenesis. Future work will have to address whether this might offer starting points for developing anti-infective therapeutics with a very broad spectrum of activity.
The pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium is a common cause of diarrhea and invades the gut tissue by injecting a cocktail of virulence factors into epithelial cells, triggering actin rearrangements, membrane ruffling and pathogen entry. One of these factors is SopE, a G-nucleotide exchange factor for the host cellular Rho GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42. How SopE mediates cellular invasion is incompletely understood. Using genome-scale RNAi screening we identified 72 known and novel host cell proteins affecting SopE-mediated entry. Follow-up assays assigned these ‘hits' to particular steps of the invasion process; i.e., binding, effector injection, membrane ruffling, membrane closure and maturation of the Salmonella-containing vacuole. Depletion of the COPI complex revealed a unique effect on virulence factor injection and membrane ruffling. Both effects are attributable to mislocalization of cholesterol, sphingolipids, Rac1 and Cdc42 away from the plasma membrane into a large intracellular compartment. Equivalent results were obtained with the vesicular stomatitis virus. Therefore, COPI-facilitated maintenance of lipids may represent a novel, unifying mechanism essential for a wide range of pathogens, offering opportunities for designing new drugs.
PMCID: PMC3094068  PMID: 21407211
coatomer; HeLa; Salmonella; siRNA; systems biology
17.  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
18.  West Nile Virus Entry Requires Cholesterol-Rich Membrane Microdomains and Is Independent of αvβ3 Integrin▿ † 
Journal of Virology  2008;82(11):5212-5219.
West Nile virus (WNV) has been the leading cause of viral encephalitis in the United States since 1999. The endocytic processes involved in the internalization of infectious WNV by various cell types are not well characterized, and the involvement of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains, or lipid rafts, in the life cycle of WNV has not been investigated previously. In this study, we found that the depletion of cellular cholesterol levels by brief treatment with methyl-β-cyclodextrin resulted in a 100-fold reduction of the titers of infectious WNV released into the culture supernatant, as well as a reduction in the number of WNV genome copies in the cholesterol-depleted cells. The addition of exogenous cholesterol to cholesterol-depleted cells reversed this effect. Cholesterol depletion postinfection did not affect WNV growth, suggesting that the effect occurs at the level of WNV entry. We also showed that while WNV entry did not require αvβ3 integrin and focal adhesion kinase, WNV particles failed to be internalized by cholesterol-depleted cells. Finally, we showed the colocalization of the WNV envelope protein and cholera toxin B, which is internalized in a lipid raft-dependent pathway, in microdomain clusters at the plasma membrane. These data suggest that WNV utilizes lipid rafts during initial stages of internalization and that the lipid rafts may contain a factor(s) that may enhance WNV endocytosis.
PMCID: PMC2395215  PMID: 18385233
19.  Caveolin-1 in Lipid Rafts Interacts with Dengue Virus NS3 during Polyprotein Processing and Replication in HMEC-1 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90704.
Lipid rafts are ordered microdomains within cellular membranes that are rich in cholesterol and sphingolipids. Caveolin (Cav-1) and flotillin (Flt-1) are markers of lipid rafts, which serve as an organizing center for biological phenomena and cellular signaling. Lipid rafts involvement in dengue virus (DENV) processing, replication, and assembly remains poorly characterized. Here, we investigated the role of lipid rafts after DENV endocytosis in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1). The non-structural viral proteins NS3 and NS2B, but not NS5, were associated with detergent-resistant membranes. In sucrose gradients, both NS3 and NS2B proteins appeared in Cav-1 and Flt-1 rich fractions. Additionally, double immunofluorescence staining of DENV-infected HMEC-1 cells showed that NS3 and NS2B, but not NS5, colocalized with Cav-1 and Flt-1. Furthermore, in HMEC-1cells transfected with NS3 protease, shown a strong overlap between NS3 and Cav-1, similar to that in DENV-infected cells. In contrast, double-stranded viral RNA (dsRNA) overlapped weakly with Cav-1 and Flt-1. Given these results, we investigated whether Cav-1 directly interacted with NS3. Cav-1 and NS3 co-immunoprecipitated, indicating that they resided within the same complex. Furthermore, when cellular cholesterol was depleted by methyl-beta cyclodextrin treatment after DENV entrance, lipid rafts were disrupted, NS3 protein level was reduced, besides Cav-1 and NS3 were displaced to fractions 9 and 10 in sucrose gradient analysis, and we observed a dramatically reduction of DENV particles release. These data demonstrate the essential role of caveolar cholesterol-rich lipid raft microdomains in DENV polyprotein processing and replication during the late stages of the DENV life cycle.
PMCID: PMC3958351  PMID: 24643062
20.  Caveolin-1 Associated Adenovirus Entry into Human Corneal Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77462.
The cellular entry of viruses represents a critical area of study, not only for viral tropism, but also because viral entry dictates the nature of the immune response elicited upon infection. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), caused by viruses within human adenovirus species D (HAdV-D), is a severe, ocular surface infection associated with corneal inflammation. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis has previously been shown to play a critical role in entry of other HAdV species into many host cell types. However, HAdV-D endocytosis into corneal cells has not been extensively studied. Herein, we show an essential role for cholesterol rich, lipid raft microdomains and caveolin-1, in the entry of HAdV-D37 into primary human corneal fibroblasts. Cholesterol depletion using methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) profoundly reduced viral infection. When replenished with soluble cholesterol, the effect of MβCD was reversed, allowing productive viral infection. HAdV-D37 DNA was identified in caveolin-1 rich endosomal fractions after infection. Src kinase activity was also increased in caveolin-1 rich endosomal fractions after infection, and Src phosphorylation and CXCL1 induction were both decreased in caveolin-1-/- mice corneas compared to wild type mice. siRNA knock down of caveolin-1 in corneal cells reduced chemokine induction upon viral infection, and caveolin-1-/- mouse corneas showed reduced cellular entry of HAdV-D37. As a control, HAdV-C2, a non-corneal pathogen, appeared to utilize the caveolar pathway for entry into A549 cells, but failed to infect corneal cells entirely, indicating virus and cell specific tropism. Immuno-electron microscopy confirmed the presence of caveolin-1 in HAdV-D37-containing vesicles during the earliest stages of viral entry. Collectively, these experiments indicate for the first time that HAdV-D37 uses a lipid raft mediated caveolin-1 associated pathway for entry into corneal cells, and connects the processes of viral entry with downstream proinflammatory cell signaling.
PMCID: PMC3795695  PMID: 24147000
21.  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
22.  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
23.  Oral Treatment of Cowpox and Vaccinia Virus Infections in Mice with Ether Lipid Esters of Cidofovir 
Four newly synthesized ether lipid esters of cidofovir (CDV), hexadecyloxypropyl-CDV (HDP-CDV), octadecyloxyethyl-CDV (ODE-CDV), oleyloxypropyl-CDV (OLP-CDV), and oleyloxyethyl-CDV (OLE-CDV), were found to have enhanced activities against vaccinia virus (VV) and cowpox virus (CV) in vitro compared to those of CDV. The compounds were administered orally and were evaluated for their efficacies against lethal CV or VV infections in mice. HDP-CDV, ODE-CDV, and OLE-CDV were effective at preventing mortality from CV infection when treatments were initiated 24 h after viral inoculation, but only HDP-CDV and ODE-CDV maintained efficacy when treatments were initiated as late as 72 h postinfection. Oral pretreatment with HDP-CDV and ODE-CDV were also effective when they were given 5, 3, or 1 day prior to inoculation with CV, even when each compound was administered as a single dose. Both HDP-CDV and ODE-CDV were also effective against VV infections when they were administered orally 24 or 48 h after infection. In animals treated with HDP-CDV or ODE-CDV, the titers of both CV and VV in the liver, spleen, and kidney were reduced 3 to 7 log10. In contrast, virus replication in the lungs was not significantly reduced. These data indicate that HDP-CDV or ODE-CDV given orally is as effective as CDV given parenterally for the treatment of experimental CV and VV infections and suggest that these compounds may be useful for the treatment of orthopoxvirus infections in humans.
PMCID: PMC321539  PMID: 14742188
24.  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
25.  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

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