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1.  Characterization of the Salehabad virus species complex of the genus Phlebovirus (Bunyaviridae) 
The Journal of General Virology  2013;94(Pt 4):837-842.
Genomic and antigenic characterization of the Salehabad virus, a species of the genus Phlebovirus, and four other unclassified phleboviruses (Arbia, Adria, Arumowot and Odrenisrou) demonstrate a serological and genetic relation to one another and are distinct from the eight other recognized species within the genus Phlebovirus. We propose to incorporate these four unclassified viruses as part of the Salehabad species complex within the genus. The known geographical distribution for the members of this species group includes southern Europe, Central Asia and Africa.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.048850-0
PMCID: PMC3709685  PMID: 23239568
2.  Genomic Variability of Monkeypox Virus among Humans, Democratic Republic of the Congo 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(2):232-239.
Health authorities should be vigilant for this rapidly evolving virus.
Monkeypox virus is a zoonotic virus endemic to Central Africa. Although active disease surveillance has assessed monkeypox disease prevalence and geographic range, information about virus diversity is lacking. We therefore assessed genome diversity of viruses in 60 samples obtained from humans with primary and secondary cases of infection from 2005 through 2007. We detected 4 distinct lineages and a deletion that resulted in gene loss in 10 (16.7%) samples and that seemed to correlate with human-to-human transmission (p = 0.0544). The data suggest a high frequency of spillover events from the pool of viruses in nonhuman animals, active selection through genomic destabilization and gene loss, and increased disease transmissibility and severity. The potential for accelerated adaptation to humans should be monitored through improved surveillance.
doi:10.3201/eid2002.130118
PMCID: PMC3901482  PMID: 24457084
Monkeypox virus; genomic diversity; emerging infectious disease; genomic reduction; gene loss; Democratic Republic of the Congo; viruses
3.  Virus nomenclature below the species level: a standardized nomenclature for natural variants of viruses assigned to the family Filoviridae 
Archives of virology  2012;158(1):301-311.
The task of international expert groups is to recommend the classification and naming of viruses. The ICTV Filoviridae Study Group and other experts have recently established an almost consistent classification and nomenclature for filoviruses. Here, further guidelines are suggested to include their natural genetic variants. First, this term is defined. Second, a template for full-length virus names (such as “Ebola virus H.sapiens-tc/COD/1995/Kikwit-9510621”) is proposed. These names contain information on the identity of the virus (e.g., Ebola virus), isolation host (e.g., members of the species Homo sapiens), sampling location (e.g., Democratic Republic of the Congo (COD)), sampling year, genetic variant (e.g., Kikwit), and isolate (e.g., 9510621). Suffixes are proposed for individual names that clarify whether a given genetic variant has been characterized based on passage zero material (-wt), has been passaged in tissue/cell culture (-tc), is known from consensus sequence fragments only (-frag), or does (most likely) not exist anymore (-hist). We suggest that these comprehensive names are to be used specifically in the methods section of publications. Suitable abbreviations, also proposed here, could then be used throughout the text, while the full names could be used again in phylograms, tables, or figures if the contained information aids the interpretation of presented data. The proposed system is very similar to the well-known influenzavirus nomenclature and the nomenclature recently proposed for rotaviruses. If applied consistently, it would considerably simplify retrieval of sequence data from electronic databases and be a first important step toward a viral genome annotation standard as sought by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Furthermore, adoption of this nomenclature would increase the general understanding of filovirus-related publications and presentations and improve figures such as phylograms, alignments, and diagrams. Most importantly, it would counter the increasing confusion in genetic variant naming due to the identification of ever more sequences through technological breakthroughs in high-throughput sequencing and environmental sampling.
doi:10.1007/s00705-012-1454-0
PMCID: PMC3535543  PMID: 23001720
cuevavirus; Ebola; Ebola virus; ebolavirus; filovirid; Filoviridae; filovirus; genome annotation; ICTV; International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses; Lloviu virus; Marburg virus; marburgvirus; mononegavirad; Mononegavirales; mononegavirus; virus classification; virus isolate; virus nomenclature; virus strain; virus taxonomy; virus variant
4.  Mitochondrially targeted wild-type p53 induces apoptosis in a solid human tumor xenograft model 
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)  2008;7(16):2584-2590.
Classic but also novel roles of p53 are becoming increasingly well characterized. We previously showed that ex vivo retroviral transfer of mitochondrially targeted wild type p53 (mitop53) in the Eμ-myc mouse lymphoma model efficiently induces tumor cell killing in vivo. In an effort to further explore the therapeutic potential of mitop53 for its pro-apoptotic effect in solid tumors, we generated replication-deficient recombinant human Adenovirus type 5 vectors. We show here that adenoviral delivery of mitop53 by intratumoral injection into HCT116 human colon carcinoma xenograft tumors in nude mice is surprisingly effective, resulting in tumor cell death of comparable potency to conventional p53. These apoptotic effects in vivo were confirmed by Ad5-mitop53 mediated cell death of HCT116 cells in culture. Together, these data provide encouragement to further explore the potential for novel mitop53 proteins in cancer therapy to execute the shortest known circuitry of p53 death signaling.
PMCID: PMC3873818  PMID: 18719383
adenovirus; cancer; mitochondria; p53; therapy; xenograft
5.  A role of HAUSP in tumor suppression in a human colon carcinoma xenograft model 
Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)  2008;7(9):1205-1213.
The protease HAUSP is a critical component of the p53-Mdm2 pathway and acts as a specific deubiquitinase for both p53 and Mdm2 and thus is important for p53 regulation. In knock-down and knock-out cellular systems it was observed that ablation of HAUSP induces profound stabilization of p53 due to enhanced degradation of Mdm2. Thus, inhibiting HAUSP by small compound interference has been proposed as a rational therapeutic strategy to activate p53 in p53 wild type tumors. However, HAUSP-mediated effects in the p53-Mdm2 axis are highly complex and non-linear and to date the role of HAUSP in tumor suppression in vivo remains unexplored.
Here we investigate the effect of HAUSP up and downregulation on cell proliferation, apoptosis and tumor growth in vitro and in a xenograft model in vivo, using an inducible isogenic human colon carcinoma cell system. Importantly, in the absence of stress, both HAUSP up and downregulation inhibit cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo due to constitutively elevated p53 levels. Moreover, tumors with HAUSP up and downregulation respond to radiotherapy with further growth inhibition. However, HAUSP downregulation causes resistance to Camptothecin- and irradiation-induced apoptosis, which correlates with suppressed mitochondrial translocation of p53. Our data suggest that changes in HAUSP modulate tumor growth and apoptotic sensitivity in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3873824  PMID: 18418047
HAUSP; p53; ubiquitination; Mdm2; deubiquitination; mitochondrial translocation
6.  Alteration of De Novo Glucose Production Contributes to Fasting Hypoglycaemia in Fyn Deficient Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81866.
Previous studies have demonstrated that glucose disposal is increased in the Fyn knockout (FynKO) mice due to increased insulin sensitivity. FynKO mice also display fasting hypoglycaemia despite decreased insulin levels, which suggested that hepatic glucose production was unable to compensate for the increased basal glucose utilization. The present study investigates the basis for the reduction in plasma glucose levels and the reduced ability for the liver to produce glucose in response to gluconeogenic substrates. FynKO mice had a 5-fold reduction in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) gene and protein expression and a marked reduction in pyruvate, pyruvate/lactate-stimulated glucose output. Remarkably, de novo glucose production was also blunted using gluconeogenic substrates that bypass the PEPCK step. Impaired conversion of glycerol to glucose was observed in both glycerol tolerance test and determination of the conversion of 13C-glycerol to glucose in the fasted state. α-glycerol phosphate levels were reduced but glycerol kinase protein expression levels were not changed. Fructose-driven glucose production was also diminished without alteration of fructokinase expression levels. The normal levels of dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate observed in the FynKO liver extracts suggested normal triose kinase function. Fructose-bisphosphate aldolase (aldolase) mRNA or protein levels were normal in the Fyn-deficient livers, however, there was a large reduction in liver fructose-6-phosphate (30-fold) and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (7-fold) levels as well as a reduction in glucose-6-phosphate (2-fold) levels. These data suggest a mechanistic defect in the allosteric regulation of aldolase activity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081866
PMCID: PMC3842980  PMID: 24312371
7.  Negevirus: a Proposed New Taxon of Insect-Specific Viruses with Wide Geographic Distribution 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(5):2475-2488.
Six novel insect-specific viruses, isolated from mosquitoes and phlebotomine sand flies collected in Brazil, Peru, the United States, Ivory Coast, Israel, and Indonesia, are described. Their genomes consist of single-stranded, positive-sense RNAs with poly(A) tails. By electron microscopy, the virions appear as spherical particles with diameters of ∼45 to 55 nm. Based on their genome organization and phylogenetic relationship, the six viruses, designated Negev, Ngewotan, Piura, Loreto, Dezidougou, and Santana, appear to form a new taxon, tentatively designated Negevirus. Their closest but still distant relatives are citrus leposis virus C (CiLV-C) and viruses in the genus Cilevirus, which are mite-transmitted plant viruses. The negeviruses replicate rapidly and to high titer (up to 1010 PFU/ml) in mosquito cells, producing extensive cytopathic effect and plaques, but they do not appear to replicate in mammalian cells or mice. A discussion follows on their possible biological significance and effect on mosquito vector competence for arboviruses.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00776-12
PMCID: PMC3571365  PMID: 23255793
8.  Characterization of the Uukuniemi Virus Group (Phlebovirus: Bunyaviridae): Evidence for Seven Distinct Species 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(6):3187-3195.
Evolutionary insights into the phleboviruses are limited because of an imprecise classification scheme based on partial nucleotide sequences and scattered antigenic relationships. In this report, the serologic and phylogenetic relationships of the Uukuniemi group viruses and their relationships with other recently characterized tick-borne phleboviruses are described using full-length genome sequences. We propose that the viruses currently included in the Uukuniemi virus group be assigned to five different species as follows: Uukuniemi virus, EgAn 1825-61 virus, Fin V707 virus, Chizé virus, and Zaliv Terpenia virus would be classified into the Uukuniemi species; Murre virus, RML-105-105355 virus, and Sunday Canyon virus would be classified into a Murre virus species; and Grand Arbaud virus, Precarious Point virus, and Manawa virus would each be given individual species status. Although limited sequence similarity was detected between current members of the Uukuniemi group and Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) and Heartland virus, a clear serological reaction was observed between some of them, indicating that SFTSV and Heartland virus should be considered part of the Uukuniemi virus group. Moreover, based on the genomic diversity of the phleboviruses and given the low correlation observed between complement fixation titers and genetic distance, we propose a system for classification of the Bunyaviridae based on genetic as well as serological data. Finally, the recent descriptions of SFTSV and Heartland virus also indicate that the public health importance of the Uukuniemi group viruses must be reevaluated.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02719-12
PMCID: PMC3592153  PMID: 23283959
9.  Characterization of Farmington virus, a novel virus from birds that is distantly related to members of the family Rhabdoviridae 
Virology Journal  2013;10:219.
Background
Farmington virus (FARV) is a rhabdovirus that was isolated from a wild bird during an outbreak of epizootic eastern equine encephalitis on a pheasant farm in Connecticut, USA.
Findings
Analysis of the nearly complete genome sequence of the prototype CT AN 114 strain indicates that it encodes the five canonical rhabdovirus structural proteins (N, P, M, G and L) with alternative ORFs (> 180 nt) in the N and G genes. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of FARV has confirmed that it is a novel rhabdovirus and probably represents a new species within the family Rhabdoviridae.
Conclusions
In sum, our analysis indicates that FARV represents a new species within the family Rhabdoviridae.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-219
PMCID: PMC3722107  PMID: 23816310
Farmington virus (FARV); Family Rhabdoviridae; Next generation sequencing; Phylogeny
10.  Genomic and Phylogenetic Characterization of Brazilian Yellow Fever Virus Strains 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13263-13271.
Globally, yellow fever virus infects nearly 200,000 people, leading to 30,000 deaths annually. Although the virus is endemic to Latin America, only a single genome from this region has been sequenced. Here, we report 12 Brazilian yellow fever virus complete genomes, their genetic traits, phylogenetic characterization, and phylogeographic dynamics. Variable 3′ noncoding region (3′NCR) patterns and specific mutations throughout the open reading frame altered predicted secondary structures. Our findings suggest that whereas the introduction of yellow fever virus in Brazil led to genotype I-predominant dispersal throughout South and Central Americas, genotype II remained confined to Bolivia, Peru, and the western Brazilian Amazon.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00565-12
PMCID: PMC3503022  PMID: 23015713
11.  Diversity and Distribution of Hantaviruses in South America 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13756-13766.
Hantaviruses are important contributors to disease burden in the New World, yet many aspects of their distribution and dynamics remain uncharacterized. To examine the patterns and processes that influence the diversity and geographic distribution of hantaviruses in South America, we performed genetic and phylogeographic analyses of all available South American hantavirus sequences. We sequenced multiple novel and previously described viruses (Anajatuba, Laguna Negra-like, two genotypes of Castelo dos Sonhos, and two genotypes of Rio Mamore) from Brazilian Oligoryzomys rodents and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome cases and identified a previously uncharacterized species of Oligoryzomys associated with a new genotype of Rio Mamore virus. Our analysis indicates that the majority of South American hantaviruses fall into three phylogenetic clades, corresponding to Andes and Andes-like viruses, Laguna Negra and Laguna Negra-like viruses, and Rio Mamore and Rio Mamore-like viruses. In addition, the dynamics and distribution of these viruses appear to be shaped by both the geographic proximity and phylogenetic relatedness of their rodent hosts. The current system of nomenclature used in the hantavirus community is a significant impediment to understanding the ecology and evolutionary history of hantaviruses; here, we suggest strict adherence to a modified taxonomic system, with species and strain designations resembling the numerical system of the enterovirus genus.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02341-12
PMCID: PMC3503106  PMID: 23055565
12.  Novel Flaviviruses Detected in Different Species of Mosquitoes in Spain 
Abstract
We report the characterization of three novel flaviviruses isolated in Spain. Marisma Mosquito virus, a novel mosquito borne virus, was isolated from Ochlerotatus caspius mosquitoes; Spanish Ochlerotatus flavivirus and Spanish Culex flavivirus, two novel insect flaviviruses, were isolated from Oc. caspius and Culex pipiens, respectively. During this investigation, we designed a sensitive RT-nested polymerase chain reaction method that amplifies a 1019bp fragment of the flavivirus NS5 gene and could be directly used in clinical or environmental samples for flavivirus characterization and surveillance. Analysis of the sequence generated from that amplicon contains enough phylogenetic information for proper taxonomic studies. Moreover, the use of this tool allowed the detection of additional flavivirus DNA forms in Culex, Culiseta, and Ochlerotatus mosquitoes.
doi:10.1089/vbz.2011.0687
PMCID: PMC3300060  PMID: 22022811
Flavivirus; Mosquitoes; Mosquito-only flavivirus
13.  Genome Sequence of Moraxella macacae 0408225, a Novel Bacterial Species Isolated from a Cynomolgus Macaque with Epistaxis 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(1):e00188-12.
Moraxella macacae is a recently described bacterial species that has been associated with at least two outbreaks of epistaxis in macaques. Here we present the first genome sequence of this novel species, isolated from a symptomatic cynomolgus macaque at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00188-12
PMCID: PMC3569352  PMID: 23409273
14.  Genome Sequence of Weissella ceti NC36, an Emerging Pathogen of Farmed Rainbow Trout in the United States 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(1):e00187-12.
Novel Weissella sp. bacteria have recently been reported to be associated with disease outbreaks in cultured rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) at commercial farms in China, Brazil, and the United States. Here we present the first genome sequence of this novel Weissella species, isolated from the southeastern United States.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00187-12
PMCID: PMC3569357  PMID: 23409274
15.  Genomic and antigenic characterization of Jos virus 
The Journal of General Virology  2012;93(Pt 2):293-298.
Jos virus (JOSV), originally isolated in Jos, Nigeria in 1967, has remained unclassified despite cultivation in tissue culture, development of animal models of infection and implementation of seroprevalence surveys for infection. Here, we report genetic, ultrastructural and serological evidence that JOSV is an orthomyxovirus distinct from but phylogenetically related to viruses of the genus Thogotovirus.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.035121-0
PMCID: PMC3352346  PMID: 21994326
16.  Ebola Virus Genome Plasticity as a Marker of Its Passaging History: A Comparison of In Vitro Passaging to Non-Human Primate Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50316.
To identify polymorphic sites that could be used as biomarkers of Ebola virus passage history, we repeatedly amplified Ebola virus (Kikwit variant) in vitro and in vivo and performed deep sequencing analysis of the complete genomes of the viral subpopulations. We then determined the sites undergoing selection during passage in Vero E6 cells. Four locations within the Ebola virus Kikwit genome were identified that together segregate cell culture-passaged virus and virus obtained from infected non-human primates. Three of the identified sites are located within the glycoprotein gene (GP) sequence: the poly-U (RNA editing) site at position 6925, as well as positions 6677, and 6179. One site was found in the VP24 gene at position 10833. In all cases, in vitro and in vivo, both populations (majority and minority variants) were maintained in the viral swarm, with rapid selections occurring after a few passages or infections. This analysis approach will be useful to differentiate whether filovirus stocks with unknown history have been passaged in cell culture and may support filovirus stock standardization for medical countermeasure development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050316
PMCID: PMC3509072  PMID: 23209706
17.  Discovery of an orthoreovirus in the aborted fetus of a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) 
The Journal of General Virology  2011;92(Pt 11):2558-2565.
An aborted mid-gestational male Steller sea lion fetus with an attached placenta was recovered on the floor of an open floating capture trap located off Norris Rock near Denman Island, British Columbia. Viral culture of the placenta demonstrated cytopathic effect. Although no specific signal was obtained in microarray experiments using RNA obtained from viral culture, elution and sequence analysis revealed the presence of a reovirus. Complete genome pyrosequencing led to the identification of an orthoreovirus that we have tentatively named Steller sea lion reovirus (SSRV). Phylogenetic analysis revealed similarities between SSRV and orthoreoviruses of birds, bats and other mammals that suggests potential for interspecies transmission.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.032649-0
PMCID: PMC3352366  PMID: 21795475
18.  Genomic and phylogenetic characterization of Leanyer virus, a novel orthobunyavirus isolated in northern Australia 
The Journal of General Virology  2011;92(Pt 7):1676-1687.
Leanyer virus (LEAV), currently classified as a member of the genus Orthobunyavirus, in the family Bunyaviridae, was originally isolated from a pool of Anopheles meraukensis mosquitoes, collected at Leanyer, Northern Territory, Australia in 1974. When it failed to react in serological tests with antisera from other known viruses, full-length genomic sequencing was pursued to determine the relationship of LEAV to other orthobunyavirus species. Genetic and serological characterization confirmed its antigenic distance from other orthobunyaviruses, including to its closest genetic neighbours, the Simbu group viruses, suggesting that it may represent a new antigenic complex.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.028308-0
PMCID: PMC3167897  PMID: 21402599
19.  Aguacate virus, a new antigenic complex of the genus Phlebovirus (family Bunyaviridae) 
The Journal of General Virology  2011;92(Pt 6):1445-1453.
Genomic and antigenic characterization of Aguacate virus, a tentative species of the genus Phlebovirus, and three other unclassified viruses, Armero virus, Durania virus and Ixcanal virus, demonstrate a close relationship to one another. They are distinct from the other nine recognized species within the genus Phlebovirus. We propose to designate them as a new (tenth) serogroup or species (Aguacate virus) within the genus. The four viruses were all isolated from phlebotomine sandflies (Lutzomyia sp.) collected in Central and South America. Aguacate virus appears to be a natural reassortant and serves as one more example of the high frequency of reassortment in this genus.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.029389-0
PMCID: PMC3168278  PMID: 21325481
20.  High Diversity of Rabies Viruses Associated with Insectivorous Bats in Argentina: Presence of Several Independent Enzootics 
Background
Rabies is a fatal infection of the central nervous system primarily transmitted by rabid animal bites. Rabies virus (RABV) circulates through two different epidemiological cycles: terrestrial and aerial, where dogs, foxes or skunks and bats, respectively, act as the most relevant reservoirs and/or vectors. It is widely accepted that insectivorous bats are not important vectors of RABV in Argentina despite the great diversity of bat species and the extensive Argentinean territory.
Methods
We studied the positivity rate of RABV detection in different areas of the country, and the antigenic and genetic diversity of 99 rabies virus (RABV) strains obtained from 14 species of insectivorous bats collected in Argentina between 1991 and 2008.
Results
Based on the analysis of bats received for RABV analysis by the National Rabies system of surveillance, the positivity rate of RABV in insectivorous bats ranged from 3.1 to 5.4%, depending on the geographic location. The findings were distributed among an extensive area of the Argentinean territory. The 99 strains of insectivorous bat-related sequences were divided into six distinct lineages associated with Tadarida brasiliensis, Myotis spp, Eptesicus spp, Histiotus montanus, Lasiurus blosseviilli and Lasiurus cinereus. Comparison with RABV sequences obtained from insectivorous bats of the Americas revealed co-circulation of similar genetic variants in several countries. Finally, inter-species transmission, mostly related with Lasiurus species, was demonstrated in 11.8% of the samples.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the presence of several independent enzootics of rabies in insectivorous bats of Argentina. This information is relevant to identify potential areas at risk for human and animal infection.
Author Summary
In Argentina, successful vaccination and control of terrestrial rabies in the 1980s revealed the importance of the aerial route in RABV transmission. Current distribution of cases shows a predominance of rabies by hematophagous bats in the Northern regions where rabies is a major public health concern; in contrast, in Central and Southern regions where rabies is not a major public health concern, little surveillance is performed. Based on the analysis of insectivorous bats received for RABV analysis by the National Rabies system of surveillance, the positivity rate of RABV in insectivorous bats in these regions ranged from 3.1 to 5.4%. This rate is comparable to other nations such as the United States (9–10%) where insectivorous bats are an important cause of concern for RABV surveillance systems. Antigenic and genetic analysis of a wide collection of rabies strains shows the presence of multiple endemic cycles associated with six bat insectivorous species distributed among an extensive area of the Argentinean territory and several countries of the Americas. Finally, inter-species transmission, mostly related with Lasiurus species, was demonstrated in 11.8% of the samples. Increased public education about the relationship between insectivorous bats and rabies are essential to avoid human cases and potential spread to terrestrial mammals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001635
PMCID: PMC3348165  PMID: 22590657
21.  Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus–associated Meningitis, Southern Spain 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(5):855-858.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) was detected in 2 patients with acute meningitis in southern Spain within a 3-year period. Although the prevalence of LCMV infection was low (2 [1.3%] of 159 meningitis patients), it represents 2.9% of all pathogens detected. LCMV is a noteworthy agent of neurologic illness in immunocompetent persons.
doi:10.3201/eid1805.111646
PMCID: PMC3358079  PMID: 22515986
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus; meningitis; Spain; encephalitis; viruses
22.  Identifying Hosts of Families of Viruses: A Machine Learning Approach 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27631.
Identifying emerging viral pathogens and characterizing their transmission is essential to developing effective public health measures in response to an epidemic. Phylogenetics, though currently the most popular tool used to characterize the likely host of a virus, can be ambiguous when studying species very distant to known species and when there is very little reliable sequence information available in the early stages of the outbreak of disease. Motivated by an existing framework for representing biological sequence information, we learn sparse, tree-structured models, built from decision rules based on subsequences, to predict viral hosts from protein sequence data using popular discriminative machine learning tools. Furthermore, the predictive motifs robustly selected by the learning algorithm are found to show strong host-specificity and occur in highly conserved regions of the viral proteome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027631
PMCID: PMC3235098  PMID: 22174744
23.  Proposal for a revised taxonomy of the family Filoviridae: classification, names of taxa and viruses, and virus abbreviations 
Archives of virology  2010;155(12):2083-2103.
The taxonomy of the family Filoviridae (marburgviruses and ebolaviruses) has changed several times since the discovery of its members, resulting in a plethora of species and virus names and abbreviations. The current taxonomy has only been partially accepted by most laboratory virologists. Confusion likely arose for several reasons: species names that consist of several words or which (should) contain diacritical marks, the current orthographic identity of species and virus names, and the similar pronunciation of several virus abbreviations in the absence of guidance for the correct use of vernacular names. To rectify this problem, we suggest (1) to retain the current species names Reston ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, and Zaire ebolavirus, but to replace the name Cote d'Ivoire ebolavirus [sic] with Taï Forest ebolavirus and Lake Victoria marburgvirus with Marburg marburgvirus; (2) to revert the virus names of the type marburgviruses and ebolaviruses to those used for decades in the field (Marburg virus instead of Lake Victoria marburgvirus and Ebola virus instead of Zaire ebolavirus); (3) to introduce names for the remaining viruses reminiscent of jargon used by laboratory virologists but nevertheless different from species names (Reston virus, Sudan virus, Taï Forest virus), and (4) to introduce distinct abbreviations for the individual viruses (RESTV for Reston virus, SUDV for Sudan virus, and TAFV for Taï Forest virus), while retaining that for Marburg virus (MARV) and reintroducing that used over decades for Ebola virus (EBOV). Paying tribute to developments in the field, we propose (a) to create a new ebolavirus species (Bundibugyo ebolavirus) for one member virus (Bundibugyo virus, BDBV); (b) to assign a second virus to the species Marburg marburgvirus (Ravn virus, RAVV) for better reflection of now available high-resolution phylogeny; and (c) to create a new tentative genus (Cuevavirus) with one tentative species (Lloviu cuevavirus) for the recently discovered Lloviu virus (LLOV). Furthermore, we explain the etymological derivation of individual names, their pronunciation, and their correct use, and we elaborate on demarcation criteria for each taxon and virus.
doi:10.1007/s00705-010-0814-x
PMCID: PMC3074192  PMID: 21046175
24.  Rapid Molecular Strategy for Orbivirus Detection and Characterization▿† 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(6):2314-2317.
Orbiviruses infect a wide range of hosts, including humans. The ability to detect them has been hampered by their diversity. Here we present a simple consensus reverse transcription (RT)-PCR method targeting the polymerase gene for orbivirus recognition and characterization. Phylogenetic assignment is achieved by automated Web-based sequence analysis of amplification products.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00337-11
PMCID: PMC3122741  PMID: 21450948
25.  Metagenomic Analysis of Fever, Thrombocytopenia and Leukopenia Syndrome (FTLS) in Henan Province, China: Discovery of a New Bunyavirus 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(11):e1002369.
Since 2007, many cases of fever, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia syndrome (FTLS) have emerged in Henan Province, China. Patient reports of tick bites suggested that infection could contribute to FTLS. Many tick-transmitted microbial pathogens were tested for by PCR/RT-PCR and/or indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). However, only 8% (24/285) of samples collected from 2007 to 2010 tested positive for human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), suggesting that other pathogens could be involved. Here, we used an unbiased metagenomic approach to screen and survey for microbes possibly associated with FTLS. BLASTx analysis of deduced protein sequences revealed that a novel bunyavirus (36% identity to Tehran virus, accession: HQ412604) was present only in sera from FTLS patients. A phylogenetic analysis further showed that, although closely related to Uukuniemi virus of the Phlebovirus genus, this virus was distinct. The candidate virus was examined for association with FTLS among samples collected from Henan province during 2007–2010. RT-PCR, viral cultures, and a seroepidemiologic survey were undertaken. RT-PCR results showed that 223 of 285 (78.24%) acute-phase serum samples contained viral RNA. Of 95 patients for whom paired acute and convalescent sera were available, 73 had serologic evidence of infection, with 52 seroconversions and 21 exhibiting a 4-fold increase in antibody titer to the virus. The new virus was isolated from patient acute-phase serum samples and named Henan Fever Virus (HNF virus). Whole-genome sequencing confirmed that the virus was a novel bunyavirus with genetic similarity to known bunyaviruses, and was most closely related to the Uukuniemi virus (34%, 24%, and 29% of maximum identity, respectively, for segment L, M, S at maximum query coverage). After the release of the GenBank sequences of SFTSV, we found that they were nearly identical (>99% identity). These results show that the novel bunyavirus (HNF virus) is strongly correlated with FTLS.
Author Summary
Initially in 2007, and again between 2008 and 2010, cases of a life-threatening disease with sudden fever, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia were reported in Henan Province, China. Patient reports of tick bites suggested that this disease could be infectious or tick-transmitted. Many patients were provisionally diagnosed with human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA). However, only 24 of 285 (8%) had objective evidence of HGA, suggesting that other pathogens likely contributed to fever, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia syndrome (FTLS). Illumina sequencing was used for direct detection in clinical samples of pathogens possibly associated with FTLS. A novel bunyavirus was found only in samples from FTLS patients. Further epidemiologic and laboratory investigation confirmed that the novel bunyavirus was associated with FTLS. The results illustrate that metagenomic analysis is a powerful method for the discovery of novel pathogenic agents. Combined with epidemiologic investigation, it could assist in rapid diagnosis of unknown diseases and distinguish them from other diseases with similar symptoms caused by known pathogens.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002369
PMCID: PMC3219706  PMID: 22114553

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