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1.  Nyamiviridae: Proposal for a new family in the order Mononegavirales 
Archives of virology  2013;158(10):10.1007/s00705-013-1674-y.
Nyamanini virus (NYMV) and Midway virus (MIDWV) are unclassified tick-borne agents that infect land birds and seabirds, respectively. The recent molecular characterization of both viruses confirmed their already known close serological relationship and revealed them to be nonsegmented, single- and negative-stranded RNA viruses that are clearly related to, but quite distinct from, members of the order Mononegavirales (bornaviruses, filoviruses, paramyxoviruses, and rhabdoviruses). A third agent, soybean cyst nematode virus 1 (SbCNV-1, previously named soybean cyst nematode nyavirus), was recently found to be an additional member of this new virus group. Here, we review the current knowledge about all three viruses and propose classifying them as members of a new mononegaviral family, Nyamiviridae.
PMCID: PMC3857105  PMID: 23636404
2.  The L Gene of J Paramyxovirus Plays a Critical Role in Viral Pathogenesis 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(23):12990-12998.
J paramyxovirus (JPV) was first isolated from moribund mice with hemorrhagic lung lesions in Australia in the 1970s. Recent sequencing of JPV (JPV-LW) confirms that JPV is a paramyxovirus with several unique features. However, neither JPV-LW nor a recombinant JPV based on its sequence (rJPV-LW) caused obvious illness in mice. In this work, we analyzed a different JPV isolate (JPV-BH), which behaved differently from JPV-LW; JPV-BH grew more slowly in Vero cells and had less of a cytopathic effect on tissue culture cells but caused severe disease in mice. We have determined the whole genome sequence of JPV-BH. There were several nucleotide sequence differences between JPV-BH and JPV-LW, one in the leader sequence, one in the GX gene, and three in the L gene. The high sequence identity between JPV-BH and JPV-LW suggests that JPV-BH and JPV-LW are the same virus strain but were obtained at different passages from different laboratories. To understand the roles of these nucleotide sequence differences in pathogenicity in mice, we generated a recombinant JPV-BH strain (rJPV-BH) and hybrid rJPV-BH strains with sequences from the leader sequence (rJPV-BH-Le-LW), the GX gene (rJPV-BH-GX-LW), and the L gene (rJPV-BH-L-LW) of JPV-LW and compared their pathogenicities in mice. We have found that rJPV-BH-L-LW was attenuated in mice, indicating that nucleotide sequence differences in the L gene play a critical role in pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3838158  PMID: 24067956
3.  Novel Phlebovirus with Zoonotic Potential Isolated from Ticks, Australia 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(6):1040-1043.
Recently discovered tick-borne phleboviruses have been associated with severe disease and death among persons in Asia and the United States. We report the discovery of a novel tick phlebovirus in Tasmania State, Australia, that is closely related to those zoonotic viruses found in Asia and North America.
PMCID: PMC4036776  PMID: 24856477
phlebovirus; bunyavirus; tick; zoonoses; Heartland virus; severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus; shy albatross; viruses; Australia
4.  A Novel Bat Herpesvirus Encodes Homologues of Major Histocompatibility Complex Classes I and II, C-Type Lectin, and a Unique Family of Immune-Related Genes 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(15):8014-8030.
Herpesviruses or herpesviral sequences have been identified in various bat species. Here, we report the isolation, cell tropism, and complete genome sequence of a novel betaherpesvirus from the bat Miniopterus schreibersii (MsHV). In primary cell culture, MsHV causes cytopathic effects (CPE) and reaches peak virus production 2 weeks after infection. MsHV was found to infect and replicate less efficiently in a feline kidney cell, CRFK, and failed to replicate in 13 other cell lines tested. Sequencing of the MsHV genome using the 454 system, with a 224-fold coverage, revealed a genome size of 222,870 bp. The genome was extensively analyzed in comparison to those of related viruses. Of the 190 predicted open reading frames (ORFs), 40 were identified as herpesvirus core genes. Among 93 proteins with identifiable homologues in tree shrew herpesvirus (THV), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), or rat cytomegalovirus (RCMV), most had highest sequence identities with THV counterparts. However, the MsHV genome organization is colinear with that of RCMV rather than that of THV. The following unique features were discovered in the MsHV genome. One predicted protein, B125, is similar to human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) U94, a homologue of the parvovirus Rep protein. For the unique ORFs, 7 are predicted to encode major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-related proteins, 2 to encode MHC class I homologues, and 3 to encode MHC class II homologues; 4 encode the homologues of C-type lectin- or natural killer cell lectin-like receptors;, and the products of a unique gene family, the b149 family, of 16 members, have no significant sequence identity with known proteins but exhibit immunoglobulin-like beta-sandwich domains revealed by three-dimensional (3D) structural prediction. To our knowledge, MsHV is the first virus genome known to encode MHC class II homologues.
PMCID: PMC3421651  PMID: 22623774
5.  Novel, Potentially Zoonotic Paramyxoviruses from the African Straw-Colored Fruit Bat Eidolon helvum 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(3):1348-1358.
Bats carry a variety of paramyxoviruses that impact human and domestic animal health when spillover occurs. Recent studies have shown a great diversity of paramyxoviruses in an urban-roosting population of straw-colored fruit bats in Ghana. Here, we investigate this further through virus isolation and describe two novel rubulaviruses: Achimota virus 1 (AchPV1) and Achimota virus 2 (AchPV2). The viruses form a phylogenetic cluster with each other and other bat-derived rubulaviruses, such as Tuhoko viruses, Menangle virus, and Tioman virus. We developed AchPV1- and AchPV2-specific serological assays and found evidence of infection with both viruses in Eidolon helvum across sub-Saharan Africa and on islands in the Gulf of Guinea. Longitudinal sampling of E. helvum indicates virus persistence within fruit bat populations and suggests spread of AchPVs via horizontal transmission. We also detected possible serological evidence of human infection with AchPV2 in Ghana and Tanzania. It is likely that clinically significant zoonotic spillover of chiropteran paramyxoviruses could be missed throughout much of Africa where health surveillance and diagnostics are poor and comorbidities, such as infection with HIV or Plasmodium sp., are common.
PMCID: PMC3554137  PMID: 23152534
6.  Discovery of Retroviral Homologs in Bats: Implications for the Origin of Mammalian Gammaretroviruses 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(8):4288-4293.
Gammaretroviruses infect a wide range of vertebrate species where they are associated with leukemias, neurological diseases and immunodeficiencies. However, the origin of these infectious agents is unknown. Through a phylogenetic analysis of viral gene sequences, we show that bats harbor an especially diverse set of gammaretroviruses. In particular, phylogenetic analysis places Rhinolophus ferrumequinum retrovirus (RfRV), a new gammaretrovirus identified by de novo analysis of the Rhinolophus ferrumequinum transcriptome, and six other gammaretroviruses from different bat species, as basal to other mammalian gammaretroviruses. An analysis of the similarity in the phylogenetic history between the gammaretroviruses and their bat hosts provided evidence for both host-virus codivergence and cross-species transmission. Taken together, these data provide new insights into the origin of the mammalian gammaretroviruses.
PMCID: PMC3318619  PMID: 22318134
7.  Saffold Virus Infection in Children, Malaysia, 2009 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(8):1562-1564.
PMCID: PMC3381576  PMID: 21801653
picornavirus; cardiovirus; Saffold virus; serologic surveillance; viruses; children; Malaysia; letter
8.  Prevalence of Henipavirus and Rubulavirus Antibodies in Pteropid Bats, Papua New Guinea 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(12):1997-1999.
To determine seroprevalence of viruses in bats in Papua New Guinea, we sampled 66 bats at 3 locations. We found a seroprevalence of 55% for henipavirus (Hendra or Nipah virus) and 56% for rubulavirus (Tioman or Menangle virus). Notably, 36% of bats surveyed contained antibodies to both types of viruses, indicating concurrent or consecutive infection.
PMCID: PMC3294587  PMID: 21122242
viruses; zoonoses; Henipavirus; rubulavirus; orthoreovirus; Henda virus; Nipah virus; bats; concurrent infection; serologic surveillance; New Guinea; dispatch
9.  Review of Bats and SARS 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(12):1834-1840.
TOC Summary: The discovery of SARS-like coronaviruses in horseshoe bats highlights the possibility of future outbreaks caused by different coronaviruses of bat origin.
Bats have been identified as a natural reservoir for an increasing number of emerging zoonotic viruses, including henipaviruses and variants of rabies viruses. Recently, we and another group independently identified several horseshoe bat species (genus Rhinolophus) as the reservoir host for a large number of viruses that have a close genetic relationship with the coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Our current research focused on the identification of the reservoir species for the progenitor virus of the SARS coronaviruses responsible for outbreaks during 2002–2003 and 2003–2004. In addition to SARS-like coronaviruses, many other novel bat coronaviruses, which belong to groups 1 and 2 of the 3 existing coronavirus groups, have been detected by PCR. The discovery of bat SARS-like coronaviruses and the great genetic diversity of coronaviruses in bats have shed new light on the origin and transmission of SARS coronaviruses.
PMCID: PMC3291347  PMID: 17326933
emerging zoonoses; SARS; coronavirus; bats; animal reservoir; spillover; synopsis
10.  Ecological dynamics of emerging bat virus spillover 
Viruses that originate in bats may be the most notorious emerging zoonoses that spill over from wildlife into domestic animals and humans. Understanding how these infections filter through ecological systems to cause disease in humans is of profound importance to public health. Transmission of viruses from bats to humans requires a hierarchy of enabling conditions that connect the distribution of reservoir hosts, viral infection within these hosts, and exposure and susceptibility of recipient hosts. For many emerging bat viruses, spillover also requires viral shedding from bats, and survival of the virus in the environment. Focusing on Hendra virus, but also addressing Nipah virus, Ebola virus, Marburg virus and coronaviruses, we delineate this cross-species spillover dynamic from the within-host processes that drive virus excretion to land-use changes that increase interaction among species. We describe how land-use changes may affect co-occurrence and contact between bats and recipient hosts. Two hypotheses may explain temporal and spatial pulses of virus shedding in bat populations: episodic shedding from persistently infected bats or transient epidemics that occur as virus is transmitted among bat populations. Management of livestock also may affect the probability of exposure and disease. Interventions to decrease the probability of virus spillover can be implemented at multiple levels from targeting the reservoir host to managing recipient host exposure and susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4262174  PMID: 25392474
emerging infectious diseases of bat origin; Hendra virus in flying-foxes; Nipah virus; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus; Ebola virus; Marburg virus
11.  Detailed morphological characterisation of Hendra virus infection of different cell types using super-resolution and conventional imaging 
Virology Journal  2014;11(1):200.
Hendra virus (HeV) is a pleomorphic virus belonging to the Paramyxovirus family. Our long-term aim is to understand the process of assembly of HeV virions. As a first step, we sought to determine the most appropriate cell culture system with which to study this process, and then to use this model to define the morphology of the virus and identify the site of assembly by imaging key virus encoded proteins in infected cells.
A range of primary cells and immortalised cell lines were infected with HeV, fixed at various time points post-infection, labelled for HeV proteins and imaged by confocal, super-resolution and transmission electron microscopy.
Significant differences were noted in viral protein distribution depending on the infected cell type. At 8 hpi HeV G protein was detected in the endoplasmic reticulum and M protein was seen predominantly in the nucleus in all cells tested. At 18 hpi, HeV-infected Vero cells showed M and G proteins throughout the cell and in transmission electron microscope (TEM) sections, in pleomorphic virus-like structures. In HeV infected MDBK, A549 and HeLa cells, HeV M protein was seen predominantly in the nucleus with G protein at the membrane. In HeV-infected primary bovine and porcine aortic endothelial cells and two bat-derived cell lines, HeV M protein was not seen at such high levels in the nucleus at any time point tested (8,12, 18, 24, 48 hpi) but was observed predominantly at the cell surface in a punctate pattern co-localised with G protein. These HeV M and G positive structures were confirmed as round HeV virions by TEM and super-resolution (SR) microscopy. SR imaging demonstrated for the first time sub-virion imaging of paramyxovirus proteins and the respective localisation of HeV G, M and N proteins within virions.
These findings provide novel insights into the structure of HeV and show that for HeV imaging studies the choice of tissue culture cells may affect the experimental results. The results also indicate that HeV should be considered a predominantly round virus with a mean diameter of approximately 280 nm by TEM and 310 nm by SR imaging.
PMCID: PMC4254186  PMID: 25428656
Hendra virus; Paramyxovirus; Confocal microscopy; Super-resolution microscopy; M protein; G protein; Cell lines
12.  Serological Evidence of Henipavirus Exposure in Cattle, Goats and Pigs in Bangladesh 
Nipah virus (NiV) is an emerging disease that causes severe encephalitis and respiratory illness in humans. Pigs were identified as an intermediate host for NiV transmission in Malaysia. In Bangladesh, NiV has caused recognized human outbreaks since 2001 and three outbreak investigations identified an epidemiological association between close contact with sick or dead animals and human illness.
We examined cattle and goats reared around Pteropus bat roosts in human NiV outbreak areas. We also tested pig sera collected under another study focused on Japanese encephalitis.
Principal Findings
We detected antibodies against NiV glycoprotein in 26 (6.5%) cattle, 17 (4.3%) goats and 138 (44.2%) pigs by a Luminex-based multiplexed microsphere assay; however, these antibodies did not neutralize NiV. Cattle and goats with NiVsG antibodies were more likely to have a history of feeding on fruits partially eaten by bats or birds (PR = 3.1, 95% CI 1.6–5.7) and drinking palmyra palm juice (PR = 3.9, 95% CI 1.5–10.2).
This difference in test results may be due to the exposure of animals to one or more novel viruses with antigenic similarity to NiV. Further research may identify a novel organism of public health importance.
Author Summary
Nipah virus (NiV), is an emerging disease that causes severe encephalitis and respiratory illness in humans. Pigs were identified as an intermediate host for NiV transmission in Malaysia, and in Bangladesh three NiV outbreak investigations since 2001 identified an epidemiological association between close contact with sick or dead animals and human illness. We collected samples from cattle and goats reared around Pteropus bat roosts in human NiV outbreak areas in Bangladesh, and tested pig sera collected for a Japanese encephalitis study. We detected antibodies against NiV glycoprotein in 26 (6.5%) cattle, 17 (4.3%) goats and 138 (44.2%) pigs by a Luminex-based multiplexed microsphere assay, but none were virus neutralizing. There may have been exposure of Luminex positive animals to one or more novel viruses with antigenic similarity to NiV. Further research may identify a novel organism of public health importance.
PMCID: PMC4238985  PMID: 25412358
13.  Proteomics informed by transcriptomics reveals Hendra virus sensitizes bat cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis 
Genome Biology  2014;15(11):532.
Bats are a major reservoir of emerging infectious viruses. Many of these viruses are highly pathogenic to humans however bats remain asymptomatic. The mechanism by which bats control viral replication is unknown. Here we utilize an integrated approach of proteomics informed by transcriptomics to compare the response of immortalized bat and human cells following infection with the highly pathogenic bat-borne Hendra virus (HeV).
The host response between the cell lines was significantly different at both the mRNA and protein levels. Human cells demonstrated minimal response eight hours post infection, followed by a global suppression of mRNA and protein abundance. Bat cells demonstrated a robust immune response eight hours post infection, which led to the up-regulation of apoptosis pathways, mediated through the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL). HeV sensitized bat cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, by up-regulating death receptor transcripts. At 48 and 72 hours post infection, bat cells demonstrated a significant increase in apoptotic cell death.
This is the first study to comprehensively compare the response of bat and human cells to a highly pathogenic zoonotic virus. An early induction of innate immune processes followed by apoptosis of virally infected bat cells highlights the possible involvement of programmed cell death in the host response. Our study shows for the first time a side-by-side high-throughput analysis of a dangerous zoonotic virus in cell lines derived from humans and the natural bat host. This enables a way to search for divergent mechanisms at a molecular level that may influence host pathogenesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0532-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4269970  PMID: 25398248
14.  Characterisation of novel microRNAs in the Black flying fox (Pteropus alecto) by deep sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):682.
Bats are a major source of new and emerging viral diseases. Despite the fact that bats carry and shed highly pathogenic viruses including Ebola, Nipah and SARS, they rarely display clinical symptoms of infection. Host factors influencing viral replication are poorly understood in bats and are likely to include both pre- and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms. MicroRNAs are a major mechanism of post-transcriptional gene regulation, however very little is known about them in bats.
This study describes 399 microRNAs identified by deep sequencing of small RNA isolated from tissues of the Black flying fox, Pteropus alecto, a confirmed natural reservoir of the human pathogens Hendra virus and Australian bat lyssavirus. Of the microRNAs identified, more than 100 are unique amongst vertebrates, including a subset containing mutations in critical seed regions. Clusters of rapidly-evolving microRNAs were identified, as well as microRNAs predicted to target genes involved in antiviral immunity, the DNA damage response, apoptosis and autophagy. Closer inspection of the predicted targets for several highly supported novel miRNA candidates suggests putative roles in host-virus interaction.
MicroRNAs are likely to play major roles in regulating virus-host interaction in bats, via dampening of inflammatory responses (limiting the effects of immunopathology), and directly limiting the extent of viral replication, either through restricting the availability of essential factors or by controlling apoptosis. Characterisation of the bat microRNA repertoire is an essential step towards understanding transcriptional regulation during viral infection, and will assist in the identification of mechanisms that enable bats to act as natural virus reservoirs. This in turn will facilitate the development of antiviral strategies for use in humans and other species.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-682) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4156645  PMID: 25128405
Bats; Chiroptera; Pteropus alecto; MicroRNA; Non-coding RNA; Transcriptome
15.  IRF7 in the Australian Black Flying Fox, Pteropus alecto: Evidence for a Unique Expression Pattern and Functional Conservation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103875.
As the only flying mammal, bats harbor a number of emerging and re-emerging viruses, many of which cause severe diseases in humans and other mammals yet result in no clinical symptoms in bats. As the master regulator of the interferon (IFN)-dependent immune response, IFN regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) plays a central role in innate antiviral immunity. To explore the role of bat IRF7 in the regulation of the IFN response, we performed sequence and functional analysis of IRF7 from the pteropid bat, Pteropus alecto. Our results demonstrate that bat IRF7 retains the ability to bind to MyD88 and activate the IFN response despite unique changes in the MyD88 binding domain. We also demonstrate that bat IRF7 has a unique expression pattern across both immune and non-immune related tissues and is inducible by double-strand RNA. The broad tissue distribution of IRF7 may provide bats with an enhanced ability to rapidly activate the IFN response in a wider range of tissues compared to other mammals. The importance of IRF7 in antiviral activity against the bat reovirus, Pulau virus was confirmed by siRNA knockdown of IRF7 in bat cells resulting in enhanced viral replication. Our results highlight the importance of IRF7 in innate antiviral immunity in bats.
PMCID: PMC4123912  PMID: 25100081
16.  Subclinical infection without encephalitis in mice following intranasal exposure to Nipah virus-Malaysia and Nipah virus-Bangladesh 
Virology Journal  2014;11:102.
Nipah virus and Hendra virus are closely related and following natural or experimental exposure induce similar clinical disease. In humans, encephalitis is the most serious outcome of infection and, hitherto, research into the pathogenesis of henipavirus encephalitis has been limited by the lack of a suitable model. Recently we reported a wild-type mouse model of Hendra virus (HeV) encephalitis that should facilitate detailed investigations of its neuropathogenesis, including mechanisms of disease recrudescence. In this study we investigated the possibility of developing a similar model of Nipah virus encephalitis.
Aged and young adult wild type mice did not develop clinical disease including encephalitis following intranasal exposure to either the Malaysia (NiV-MY) or Bangladesh (NiV-BD) strains of Nipah virus. However viral RNA was detected in lung tissue of mice at euthanasia (21 days following exposure) accompanied by a non-neutralizing antibody response. In a subsequent time course trial this viral RNA was shown to be reflective of an earlier self-limiting and subclinical lower respiratory tract infection through successful virus re-isolation and antigen detection in lung. There was no evidence for viremia or infection of other organs, including brain.
Mice develop a subclinical self-limiting lower respiratory tract infection but not encephalitis following intranasal exposure to NiV-BD or NiV-MY. These results contrast with those reported for HeV under similar exposure conditions in mice, demonstrating a significant biological difference in host clinical response to exposure with these viruses. This finding provides a new platform from which to explore the viral and/or host factors that determine the neuroinvasive ability of henipaviruses.
PMCID: PMC4057804  PMID: 24890603
Henipavirus; Hendra virus; Nipah virus; Encephalitis; Mouse; Mice; Model
17.  Continent-wide panmixia of an African fruit bat facilitates transmission of potentially zoonotic viruses 
Nature communications  2013;4:10.1038/ncomms3770.
The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is Africa’s most widely distributed and commonly hunted fruit bat, often living in close proximity to human populations. This species has been identified as a reservoir of potentially zoonotic viruses, but uncertainties remain regarding viral transmission dynamics and mechanisms of persistence. Here we combine genetic and serological analyses of populations across Africa, to determine the extent of epidemiological connectivity among E. helvum populations. Multiple markers reveal panmixia across the continental range, at a greater geographical scale than previously recorded for any other mammal, whereas populations on remote islands were genetically distinct. Multiple serological assays reveal antibodies to henipaviruses and Lagos bat virus in all locations, including small isolated island populations, indicating that factors other than population size and connectivity may be responsible for viral persistence. Our findings have potentially important public health implications, and highlight a need to avoid disturbances which may precipitate viral spillover.
PMCID: PMC3836177  PMID: 24253424
18.  Hendra Virus Vaccine, a One Health Approach to Protecting Horse, Human, and Environmental Health 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(3):372-379.
In recent years, the emergence of several highly pathogenic zoonotic diseases in humans has led to a renewed emphasis on the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, otherwise known as One Health. For example, Hendra virus (HeV), a zoonotic paramyxovirus, was discovered in 1994, and since then, infections have occurred in 7 humans, each of whom had a strong epidemiologic link to similarly affected horses. As a consequence of these outbreaks, eradication of bat populations was discussed, despite their crucial environmental roles in pollination and reduction of the insect population. We describe the development and evaluation of a vaccine for horses with the potential for breaking the chain of HeV transmission from bats to horses to humans, thereby protecting horse, human, and environmental health. The HeV vaccine for horses is a key example of a One Health approach to the control of human disease.
PMCID: PMC3944873  PMID: 24572697
Hendra virus; HeV; vaccine; HeV vaccine; One Health; G glycoprotein; zoonoses; viruses; zoonotic paramyxovirus; flying foxes; horses; humans; Pteropus bats; Australia; environment; vaccination
19.  Host cell virus entry mediated by Australian bat lyssavirus G envelope glycoprotein occurs through a clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway that requires actin and Rab5 
Virology Journal  2014;11:40.
Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV), a rhabdovirus of the genus Lyssavirus which circulates in both pteropid fruit bats and insectivorous bats in mainland Australia, has caused three fatal human infections, the most recent in February 2013, manifested as acute neurological disease indistinguishable from clinical rabies. Rhabdoviruses infect host cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis and subsequent pH-dependent fusion mediated by their single envelope glycoprotein (G), but the specific host factors and pathways involved in ABLV entry have not been determined.
ABLV internalization into HEK293T cells was examined using maxGFP-encoding recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (rVSV) that express ABLV G glycoproteins. A combination of chemical and molecular approaches was used to investigate the contribution of different endocytic pathways to ABLV entry. Dominant negative Rab GTPases were used to identify the endosomal compartment utilized by ABLV to gain entry into the host cell cytosol.
Here we show that ABLV G-mediated entry into HEK293T cells was significantly inhibited by the dynamin-specific inhibitor dynasore, chlorpromazine, a drug that blocks clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and the actin depolymerizing drug latrunculin B. Over expression of dominant negative mutants of Eps15 and Rab5 also significantly reduced ABLV G-mediated entry into HEK293T cells. Chemical inhibitors of caveolae-dependent endocytosis and macropinocytosis and dominant negative mutants of Rab7 and Rab11 had no effect on ABLV entry.
The predominant pathway utilized by ABLV for internalization into HEK293T cells is clathrin-and actin-dependent. The requirement of Rab5 for productive infection indicates that ABLV G-mediated fusion occurs within the early endosome compartment.
PMCID: PMC3946599  PMID: 24576301
20.  Bats and Viruses: Friend or Foe? 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(10):e1003651.
PMCID: PMC3814676  PMID: 24204253
21.  Adaptive evolution of bat dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (dpp4): implications for the origin and emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus 
Virology Journal  2013;10:304.
The newly emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that first appeared in Saudi Arabia during the summer of 2012 has to date (20th September 2013) caused 58 human deaths. MERS-CoV utilizes the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) host cell receptor, and analysis of the long-term interaction between virus and receptor provides key information on the evolutionary events that lead to the viral emergence.
We show that bat DPP4 genes have been subject to significant adaptive evolution, suggestive of a long-term arms-race between bats and MERS related CoVs. In particular, we identify three positively selected residues in DPP4 that directly interact with the viral surface glycoprotein.
Our study suggests that the evolutionary lineage leading to MERS-CoV may have circulated in bats for a substantial time period.
PMCID: PMC3852826  PMID: 24107353
MERS-CoV; Bats; Arms-race; Adaptive evolution; Emergence
22.  Promotion of Hendra Virus Replication by MicroRNA 146a 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(7):3782-3791.
Hendra virus is a highly pathogenic zoonotic paramyxovirus in the genus Henipavirus. Thirty-nine outbreaks of Hendra virus have been reported since its initial identification in Queensland, Australia, resulting in seven human infections and four fatalities. Little is known about cellular host factors impacting Hendra virus replication. In this work, we demonstrate that Hendra virus makes use of a microRNA (miRNA) designated miR-146a, an NF-κB-responsive miRNA upregulated by several innate immune ligands, to favor its replication. miR-146a is elevated in the blood of ferrets and horses infected with Hendra virus and is upregulated by Hendra virus in human cells in vitro. Blocking miR-146a reduces Hendra virus replication in vitro, suggesting a role for this miRNA in Hendra virus replication. In silico analysis of miR-146a targets identified ring finger protein (RNF)11, a member of the A20 ubiquitin editing complex that negatively regulates NF-κB activity, as a novel component of Hendra virus replication. RNA interference-mediated silencing of RNF11 promotes Hendra virus replication in vitro, suggesting that increased NF-κB activity aids Hendra virus replication. Furthermore, overexpression of the IκB superrepressor inhibits Hendra virus replication. These studies are the first to demonstrate a host miRNA response to Hendra virus infection and suggest an important role for host miRNAs in Hendra virus disease.
PMCID: PMC3624204  PMID: 23345523
23.  Vaccination of ferrets with a recombinant G glycoprotein subunit vaccine provides protection against Nipah virus disease for over 12 months 
Virology Journal  2013;10:237.
Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus belonging to the henipavirus genus in the family Paramyxoviridae. Since NiV was first identified in 1999, outbreaks have continued to occur in humans in Bangladesh and India on an almost annual basis with case fatality rates reported between 40% and 100%.
Ferrets were vaccinated with 4, 20 or 100 μg HeVsG formulated with the human use approved adjuvant, CpG, in a prime-boost regime. One half of the ferrets were exposed to NiV at 20 days post boost vaccination and the other at 434 days post vaccination. The presence of virus or viral genome was assessed in ferret fluids and tissues using real-time PCR, virus isolation, histopathology, and immunohistochemistry; serology was also carried out. Non-immunised ferrets were also exposed to virus to confirm the pathogenicity of the inoculum.
Ferrets exposed to Nipah virus 20 days post vaccination remained clinically healthy. Virus or viral genome was not detected in any tissues or fluids of the vaccinated ferrets; lesions and antigen were not identified on immunohistological examination of tissues; and there was no increase in antibody titre during the observation period, consistent with failure of virus replication. Of the ferrets challenged 434 days post vaccination, all five remained well throughout the study period; viral genome – but not virus - was recovered from nasal secretions of one ferret given 20 μg HeVsG and bronchial lymph nodes of the other. There was no increase in antibody titre during the observation period, consistent with lack of stimulation of a humoral memory response.
We have previously shown that ferrets vaccinated with 4, 20 or 100 μg HeVsG formulated with CpG adjuvant, which is currently in several human clinical trials, were protected from HeV disease. Here we show, under similar conditions of use, that the vaccine also provides protection against NiV-induced disease. Such protection persists for at least 12 months post-vaccination, with data supporting only localised and self-limiting virus replication in 2 of 5 animals. These results augur well for acceptability of the vaccine to industry.
PMCID: PMC3718761  PMID: 23867060
Nipah virus; Hendra virus; Henipavirus; Paramyxovirus; Ferret; Immunity; Vaccination; Glycoprotein; Subunit vaccine; Longevity
24.  Metagenomic study of the viruses of African straw-coloured fruit bats: Detection of a chiropteran poxvirus and isolation of a novel adenovirus 
Virology  2013;441(2):95-106.
Viral emergence as a result of zoonotic transmission constitutes a continuous public health threat. Emerging viruses such as SARS coronavirus, hantaviruses and henipaviruses have wildlife reservoirs. Characterising the viruses of candidate reservoir species in geographical hot spots for viral emergence is a sensible approach to develop tools to predict, prevent, or contain emergence events. Here, we explore the viruses of Eidolon helvum, an Old World fruit bat species widely distributed in Africa that lives in close proximity to humans. We identified a great abundance and diversity of novel herpes and papillomaviruses, described the isolation of a novel adenovirus, and detected, for the first time, sequences of a chiropteran poxvirus closely related with Molluscum contagiosum. In sum, E. helvum display a wide variety of mammalian viruses, some of them genetically similar to known human pathogens, highlighting the possibility of zoonotic transmission.
•The first metagenomic study of a chiropteran (bat) suborder.•Demonstrates a novel and thorough bioinformatics pipeline for metagenomic studies.•Multiple novel, diverse viruses present in an urban African bat bushmeat species.•The study is supported with further molecular evidence and virus isolation.•The study contains the first evidence of chiropteran poxviruses and a novel bat adenovirus isolate.
PMCID: PMC3667569  PMID: 23562481
Virome; Bat; Megabat; Poxvirus; Viral emergence; Metagenomics; Adenovirus
25.  Deep RNA Sequencing Reveals Complex Transcriptional Landscape of a Bat Adenovirus 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(1):503-511.
Bat adenoviruses are a group of recently identified adenoviruses (AdVs) which are highly prevalent in bats yet share low similarity to known AdVs from other species. In this study, deep RNA sequencing was used to analyze the transcriptome at five time points following the infection of a bat AdV in a kidney cell line derived from a myotis bat species. Evidence of AdV replication was observed with the proportion of viral RNAs ranging from 0.01% at 6 h to 1.3% at 18 h. Further analysis of viral temporal gene expression revealed three replication stages, the early-stage genes encoding mainly host interaction proteins, the intermediate-stage genes for the DNA replication and assembly proteins, and the late-stage genes for most structural proteins. Several bat AdV genes were expressed at stages that differed from those of their counterpart genes previously reported for human AdV type 2. In addition, single-base resolution splice sites of several genes and promoter regions of all 30 viral genes were fully determined. Simultaneously, the temporal cellular gene expression profiles were identified. The most overrepresented functional categories of the differentially expressed genes were related to cellular immune response, transcription, translation, and DNA replication and repair. Taken together, the deep RNA sequencing provided a global, transcriptional profile of the novel bat AdV and the virus-host interactions which will be useful for the understanding and investigation of AdV replication, pathogenesis, and specific virus-bat interactions in future research.
PMCID: PMC3536413  PMID: 23097437

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