Post-exposure prophylactic (PEP) neutralizing antibodies against Rabies are the most effective way to prevent infection-related fatality. The outer envelope glycoprotein of the Rabies virus (RABV) is the most significant surface antigen for generating virus-neutralizing antibodies. The small size and uncompromised functional specificity of single domain antibodies (sdAbs) can be exploited in the fields of experimental therapeutic applications for infectious diseases through formatting flexibilities to increase their avidity towards target antigens. In this study, we used phage display technique to select and identify sdAbs that were specific for the RABV glycoprotein from a naïve llama-derived antibody library. To increase their neutralizing potencies, the sdAbs were fused with a coiled-coil peptide derived from the human cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP48) to form homogenous pentavalent multimers, known as combodies. Compared to monovalent sdAbs, the combodies, namely 26424 and 26434, exhibited high avidity and were able to neutralize 85-fold higher input of RABV (CVS-11 strain) pseudotypes in vitro, as a result of multimerization, while retaining their specificities for target antigen. 26424 and 26434 were capable of neutralizing CVS-11 pseudotypes in vitro by 90–95% as compared to human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG), currently used for PEP in Rabies. The multimeric sdAbs were also demonstrated to be partially protective for mice that were infected with lethal doses of rabies virus in vivo. The results demonstrate that the combodies could be valuable tools in understanding viral mechanisms, diagnosis and possible anti-viral candidate for RABV infection.
The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) transactivation can occur in the absence of exogenous ligand and this activity is enhanced by agonists TCPOBOP and meclizine. We use biophysical and cell-based assays to show that increased activity of CAR(TCPOBOP) relative to CAR(meclizine) corresponds to a higher affinity of CAR(TCPOBOP) for the steroid receptor coactivator-1. Additionally, steady-state fluorescence spectra suggest conformational differences between CAR(TCPOBOP):RXR and CAR(meclizine):RXR. Hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) data indicate that the CAR activation function 2 (AF-2) is more stable in CAR(TCPOBOP):RXR and CAR(meclizine):RXR than in CAR:RXR. HDX kinetics also show significant differences between CAR(TCPOBOP):RXR and CAR(meclizine):RXR. Unlike CAR(meclizine):RXR, CAR(TCPOBOP):RXR shows a higher overall stabilization that extends into RXR. We identify residues 339–345 in CAR as an allosteric regulatory site with a greater magnitude reduction in exchange kinetics in CAR(TCPOBOP):RXR than CAR(meclizine):RXR. Accordingly, assays with mutations on CAR at leucine-340 and leucine-343 confirm this region as an important determinant of CAR activity.
allosterism; coactivator; H/D exchange; ITC; nuclear receptor; spectroscopy
Isolated islands provide valuable opportunities to study the persistence of viruses in wildlife populations, including population size thresholds such as the critical community size. The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, has been identified as a reservoir for henipaviruses (serological evidence) and Lagos bat virus (LBV; virus isolation and serological evidence) in continental Africa. Here, we sampled from a remote population of E. helvum annobonensis fruit bats on Annobón island in the Gulf of Guinea to investigate whether antibodies to these viruses also exist in this isolated subspecies. Henipavirus serological analyses (Luminex multiplexed binding and inhibition assays, virus neutralisation tests and western blots) and lyssavirus serological analyses (LBV: modified Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralisation test, LBV and Mokola virus: lentivirus pseudovirus neutralisation assay) were undertaken on 73 and 70 samples respectively. Given the isolation of fruit bats on Annobón and their lack of connectivity with other populations, it was expected that the population size on the island would be too small to allow persistence of viruses that are thought to cause acute and immunising infections. However, the presence of antibodies against henipaviruses was detected using the Luminex binding assay and confirmed using alternative assays. Neutralising antibodies to LBV were detected in one bat using both assays. We demonstrate clear evidence for exposure of multiple individuals to henipaviruses in this remote population of E. helvum annobonensis fruit bats on Annobón island. The situation is less clear for LBV. Seroprevalences to henipaviruses and LBV in Annobón are notably different to those in E. helvum in continental locations studied using the same sampling techniques and assays. Whilst cross-sectional serological studies in wildlife populations cannot provide details on viral dynamics within populations, valuable information on the presence or absence of viruses may be obtained and utilised for informing future studies.
CC Chemokine Ligand 2 (CCL2) is a potent chemoattractant produced by macrophages and activated astrocytes during periods of inflammation within the central nervous system. Increased CCL2 expression is correlated with disease progression and severity, as observed in pulmonary tuberculosis, HCV-related liver disease, and HIV-associated dementia. The CCL2 distal promoter contains an A/G polymorphism at position -2578 and the homozygous -2578 G/G genotype is associated with increased CCL2 production and inflammation. However, the mechanisms that contribute to the phenotypic differences in CCL2 expression are poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that the -2578 G polymorphism creates a TALE homeodomain protein binding site (TALE binding site) for PREP1/PBX2 transcription factors. In this study, we identified the presence of an additional TALE binding site 22 bp upstream of the site created by the -2578 G polymorphism and demonstrated the synergistic effects of the two sites on the activation of the CCL2 promoter. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we demonstrated increased binding of the TALE proteins PREP1 and PBX2 to the -2578 G allele, and binding of IRF1 to both the A and G alleles. The presence of TALE binding sites that form inverted repeats within the -2578 G allele results in increased transcriptional activation of the CCL2 distal promoter while the presence of only the upstream TALE binding site within the -2578 A allele exerts repression of promoter activity.
The use of cellular coreceptors and modulation of cytokine concentrations by HIV to establish a productive infection is well documented. However, it is unknown whether the expression of these proteins affects the course of HIV clade A and D disease, reported to have different progression rates.
We investigated whether the number of CD4+ T-cells expressing CCR5 or CXCR4, the density of these coreceptors and concentrations of specific immune proteins linked to HIV pathogenesis vary between individuals infected with HIV clade A or D. We undertook additional analyses stratifying participants by early (CD4>500 cells/µl) or late (CD4<200 cells/µl) disease stage. Whole blood samples were taken from 50 HIV-1 infected individuals drawn from cohorts in rural south-west Uganda. Late stage participants had less than half the number of CD4+/CCR5+ T-cells (p = 0.0113) and 5.6 times fewer CD4+/CXCR4+ cells (p<0.0001) than early stage participants. There was also a statistically significant difference in the density of CXCR4 on CD4+ cells between clade A and D infected early stage participants (142 [A] vs 84 [D]; p = 0.0146). Across all participants we observed significantly higher concentration of Th1 cytokines compared to Th2 (66.4 vs 23.8 pg/ml; p<0.0001). Plasma concentrations of IFNγ and IL-2 were 1.8 and 2.4 fold lower respectively in Late-D infected participants compared to Late-A participants. MIP-1β levels also decreased from 118.0 pg/ml to 47.1 pg/ml (p = 0.0396) as HIV disease progressed.
We observed specific alterations in the abundance of CD4+/CCR5+ and CD4+/CXCR4+ T-cells, and concentrations of immune proteins across different HIV clades and as infection progresses. Our results suggest that these changes are unlikely to explain the observed differences in disease progression between subtype A and D infections. However, our observations further the understanding of the natural progression of non-clade B HIV infection and how the virus adapts to exploit the host environment.
A temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a very common problem affecting up to 33% of individuals within their lifetime. TMD is often viewed as a repetitive motion disorder of the masticatory structures and has many similarities to musculoskeletal disorders of other parts of the body. Treatment often involves similar principles as other regions as well. However, patients with TMD and concurrent cervical pain exhibit a complex symptomatic behavior that is more challenging than isolated TMD symptoms. Although routinely managed by medical and dental practitioners, TMD may be more effectively cared for when physical therapists are involved in the treatment process. Hence, a listing of situations when practitioners should consider referring TMD patients to a physical therapist can be provided to the practitioners in each physical therapist's region. This paper should assist physical therapists with evaluating, treating, insurance billing, and obtaining referrals for TMD patients.
Dentistry; Physical Therapy; Temporomandibular Disorders; Temporomandibular Joint
The inflexibility of existing serological techniques for detection of rabies in surveillance constrains the benefit to be gained from many current control strategies. We analysed 304 serum samples from Tanzanian dogs for the detection of rabies antibodies in a pseudotype assay using lentiviral vectors bearing the CVS-11 envelope glycoprotein. Compared with the widely used gold standard fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation assay, a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 94.4% with a strong correlation of antibody titres (r = 0.915) were observed with the pseudotype assay. To increase the assay's surveillance specificity in Africa we incorporated the envelope glycoprotein of local viruses, Lagos bat virus, Duvenhage virus or Mokola virus and also cloned the lacZ gene to provide a reporter element. Neutralisation assays using pseudotypes bearing these glycoproteins reveal that they provide a greater sensitivity compared to similar live virus assays and will therefore allow a more accurate determination of the distribution of these highly pathogenic infections and the threat they pose to human health. Importantly, the CVS-11 pseudotypes were highly stable during freeze–thaw cycles and storage at room temperature. These results suggest the proposed pseudotype assay is a suitable option for undertaking lyssavirus serosurveillance in areas most affected by these infections.
Rabies virus; Lyssavirus; Africa; Pseudotype
The diagnosis of rabies is routinely based on clinical and epidemiological information, especially when exposures are reported in rabies-endemic countries. Diagnostic tests using conventional assays that appear to be negative, even when undertaken late in the disease and despite the clinical diagnosis, have a tendency, at times, to be unreliable. These tests are rarely optimal and entirely dependent on the nature and quality of the sample supplied. In the course of the past three decades, the application of molecular biology has aided in the development of tests that result in a more rapid detection of rabies virus. These tests enable viral strain identification from clinical specimens. Currently, there are a number of molecular tests that can be used to complement conventional tests in rabies diagnosis. Indeed the challenges in the 21st century for the development of rabies diagnostics are not of a technical nature; these tests are available now. The challenges in the 21st century for diagnostic test developers are two-fold: firstly, to achieve internationally accepted validation of a test that will then lead to its acceptance by organisations globally. Secondly, the areas of the world where such tests are needed are mainly in developing regions where financial and logistical barriers prevent their implementation. Although developing countries with a poor healthcare infrastructure recognise that molecular-based diagnostic assays will be unaffordable for routine use, the cost/benefit ratio should still be measured. Adoption of rapid and affordable rabies diagnostic tests for use in developing countries highlights the importance of sharing and transferring technology through laboratory twinning between the developed and the developing countries. Importantly for developing countries, the benefit of molecular methods as tools is the capability for a differential diagnosis of human diseases that present with similar clinical symptoms. Antemortem testing for human rabies is now possible using molecular techniques. These barriers are not insurmountable and it is our expectation that if such tests are accepted and implemented where they are most needed, they will provide substantial improvements for rabies diagnosis and surveillance. The advent of molecular biology and new technological initiatives that combine advances in biology with other disciplines will support the development of techniques capable of high throughput testing with a low turnaround time for rabies diagnosis.
The chemokine receptor CCR5 is required for cellular entry by many strains of HIV, and provides a potential target for molecules, including antibodies, designed to block HIV transmission. This study investigates a novel approach to stimulate antibodies to CCR5. Rabbits were immunised with chimaeric peptides which encode a short fragment of the N-terminal sequence of CCR5, as well as an unrelated T cell epitope from Tetanus toxoid. Immunisation with these chimaeric peptides generates a strong antibody response which is highly focused on the N-terminal CCR5 sequence. The antibody to the chimaeric peptide containing an N-terminal methionine also recognises the full length CCR5 receptor on the cell surface, albeit at higher concentrations. Further comparison of binding to intact CCR5 with binding to CCR5 peptide suggest that the receptor specific antibody generated represents a very small fragment of the total anti-peptide antibody. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the N-terminal peptide in the context of the intact receptor has a different structure to that of the synthetic peptide. Finally, the antibody was able to block HIV infection of macrophages in vitro. Thus results of this study suggest that N-terminal fragments of CCR5 may provide potential immunogens with which to generate blocking antibodies to this receptor, while avoiding the dangers of including T cell auto-epitopes.
CCR5; Antibody; Chimaeric peptide; Blocking antibodies
CC-chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) is the major chemoattractant protein that recruits monocytes to sites of inflammation and increased expression of CCL2 is associated with numerous inflammatory diseases including human immunodeficiency virus-associated dementia (HIV-D). The −2578 guanine polymorphism in the CCL2 promoter has been associated with increased expression of CCL2 as well as pathogenesis of HIV-D; however, the molecular mechanism of regulation is unknown. We propose a molecular model for −2578G regulated CCL2 expression in astrocytes, which are major producers of CCL2 in the brain. The −2578G polymorphism creates a consensus binding site for the transcriptional regulator Prep1, which along with binding partner Pbx2, preferentially binds the −2578G allele. CCL2 promoters harboring the G allele under unstimulated conditions exhibit a lower basal activity compared to the ancestral A allele. Upon IL-1β stimulation, Prep1/Pbx2 complexes maintain the ability to bind −2578G alleles, yet transcription levels from promoters that harbor the A allele or G allele are equally activated, suggesting that the −2578 region does not influence CCL2 transcription under pro-inflammatory conditions. Therefore, promoters that harbor the −2578G allele undergo a higher fold induction and by extension, individuals homozygous for −2578G would be expected to exhibit hyper-responsive CCL2 phenotypes during periods of inflammation.
TALE; CCL2; SNP; Promoter; Prep1; Pbx2
Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) expressed on red blood cells (RBCs) influences plasma levels of HIV-1-suppressive and proinflammatory chemokines such as CCL5/RANTES. DARC is also the RBC receptor for Plasmodium vivax. Africans with DARC −46C/C genotype, which confers a DARC-negative phenotype, are resistant to vivax malaria. Here, we show that HIV-1 attaches to RBCs via DARC, effecting trans-infection of target cells. In African Americans, DARC −46C/C is associated with 40% increase in the odds of acquiring HIV-1. If extrapolated to Africans, ∼11% of the HIV-1 burden in Africa may be linked to this genotype. After infection occurs, however, DARC-negative RBC status is associated with slower disease progression. Furthermore, the disease-accelerating effect of a previously described CCL5 polymorphism is evident only in DARC-expressing and not in DARC-negative HIV-infected individuals. Thus, DARC influences HIV/AIDS susceptibility by mediating trans-infection of HIV-1 and by affecting both chemokine-HIV interactions and chemokine-driven inflammation.
Cross-neutralization between rabies virus (RABV) and two European bat lyssaviruses (EBLV-1 and -2) was analysed using lentiviral pseudotypes as antigen vectors. Glycoprotein (G-protein) cDNA from RABV challenge virus standard-11 (CVS-11) and EBLV-1 and -2 were cloned and co-expressed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or murine leukemia virus (MLV) gag–pol and packageable green fluorescent protein (GFP) or luciferase reporter genes in human cells. The harvested lentiviral (HIV) vector infected over 40 % of baby hamster kidney (BHK) target cells, providing high-titre pseudotype stocks. Tests on blinded antibody-positive (n=15) and -negative (n=45) sera, predetermined by the fluorescent antibody virus neutralization (FAVN) test approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Office International des Epizooties (OIE), revealed that the CVS-11 pseudotype assay had 100 % concordance with FAVN and strongly correlated with neutralization titres (r2=0.89). Cross-neutralization tests using sera from RABV-vaccinated humans and animals on pseudotypes with CVS-11, EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 envelopes showed that the relative neutralization titres correlated broadly with the degree of G-protein diversity. Pseudotypes have three major advantages over live-virus neutralization tests: (i) they can be handled in low-biohazard-level laboratories; (ii) the use of reporter genes such as GFP or β-galactosidase will allow the assay to be undertaken at low cost in laboratories worldwide; (iii) each assay requires <10 μl serum. This robust microassay will improve our understanding of the protective humoral immunity that current rabies vaccines confer against emerging lyssaviruses, and will be applicable to surveillance studies, thus helping to control the spread of rabies.
The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) enhances transcription of specific target genes that regulate several metabolic pathways. CAR functions as an obligate heterodimer with the retinoid-X-receptor (RXR). Also part of the active receptor complex is the steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1) which interacts with the receptor complex via specific receptor interaction domains (RIDs). A peptide derived from the SRC-1 RID2 is used to study the thermodynamic properties of the interaction with the CAR/RXR ligand binding domain (LBD) complex. In the absence of ligands for both CAR and RXR, coactivator peptide binding to the CAR/RXR heterodimer is characterized by favorable enthalpy change and unfavorable entropy change. The addition of the CAR agonist, TCPOBOP, increases affinity for coactivator by decreasing unfavorable entropy and increasing the favorable intrinsic enthalpy of the interaction. The RXR ligand, 9-cis RA, generates a second SRC-1 site on RXR and increases affinity by improving the entropic component of binding. There is an additional increase in affinity for one of the two sites in the presence of both ligands. The change in heat capacity (ΔCp) is also investigated. A twofold difference in ΔCp is observed between liganded and unliganded CAR/RXR. The observed thermodynamic parameters for SRC-1 peptide binding to liganded and apo CAR/RXR as well as the difference in the ΔCp data provide evidence that the apo CAR/RXR heterodimer is conformationally mobile. The more favorable enthalpic contribution for TCPOBOP-bound CAR/RXR indicates that pre-formation of the binding site improves the complementarity of the coactivator-receptor interaction.