Spontaneous regression of neuroblastoma (NB) resembles the developmentally regulated programmed cell death (PCD) of sympathetic neurons. Regressing tumor cells express high levels of the nerve growth factor (NGF) receptors TRKA and p75NTR and are dependent on NGF for survival; however, the underlying molecular mechanism remains elusive. Here, we show that UNC5D, a dependence receptor that is directly targeted by p53 family members, is highly expressed in favorable NBs. NGF withdrawal strongly upregulated UNC5D, E2F1, and p53 in human primary favorable NBs. The induced UNC5D was cleaved by caspases 2/3, and the released intracellular fragment translocated into the nucleus and interacted with E2F1 to selectively transactivate the proapoptotic target gene. The cleavage of UNC5D and its induction of apoptosis were strongly inhibited by addition of netrin-1. Unc5d–/– mice consistently exhibited a significant increase in dorsal root ganglia neurons and resistance to NGF depletion–induced apoptosis in sympathetic neurons compared with wild-type cells. Our data suggest that UNC5D forms a positive feedback loop with p53 and E2F1 to promote NGF dependence–mediated PCD during NB regression.
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.
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.
To determine geographic range for Ebola virus, we tested 276 bats in Bangladesh. Five (3.5%) bats were positive for antibodies against Ebola Zaire and Reston viruses; no virus was detected by PCR. These bats might be a reservoir for Ebola or Ebola-like viruses, and extend the range of filoviruses to mainland Asia.
bats; fruit bats; Chiroptera; Ebola virus; filovirus; viruses; Rousettus leschenaultii; natural reservoir; serology; zoonoses; Bangladesh
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging as a novel class of non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at a post-transcriptional level. More than 1000 miRNAs have been identified in human cells to date, and they are reported to play important roles in normal cell homeostasis, cell metastasis and disease pathogensis and progression. MiR-125, which is a highly conserved miRNA throughout diverse species from nematode to humans, consists of three homologs hsa-miR-125a, hsa-miR-125b-1 and hsa-miR-125-2. Members of this family have been validated to be down-regulated, exhibiting its disease-suppressing properties in many different types of diseases, while they also have disease-promoting functions in certain contexts. MiR-125 targets a number of genes such as transcription factors, matrix-metalloprotease, members of Bcl-2 family and others, aberrance of which may lead to abnormal proliferation, metastasis and invasion of cells, even carcinomas. Furthermore, miR-125 plays a crucial role in immunological host defense, especially in response to bacterial or viral infections. In this review, we summarize the implication of miR-125 family in disease suppression and promotion, focusing on carcinoma and host immune responses. We also discussed the potential of this miRNA family as promising biomarkers and therapeutic targets for different diseases in future.
miR-125 family; Biomarker; Immune response; Therapeutic target; Tumor-suppressor; Tumor-promoter
A novel virus, designated Cygnet River virus (CyRV), was isolated in embryonated eggs from Muscovy ducks in South Australia. CyRV morphologically resembles arenaviruses; however, sequencing identified CyRV as an orthomyxovirus. The high mortality rate among ducks co-infected with salmonellae suggests that CyRV may be pathogenic, either alone or in concert with other infections.
Cygnet River virus; orthomyxovirus; ducks; Muscovy ducks; Cairina moschate; Australia; viruses
The genus Henipavirus in the family Paramyxoviridae contains two viruses, Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV) for which pteropid bats act as the main natural reservoir. Each virus also causes serious and commonly lethal infection of people as well as various species of domestic animals, however little is known about the associated mechanisms of pathogenesis. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of a new paramyxovirus from pteropid bats, Cedar virus (CedPV), which shares significant features with the known henipaviruses. The genome size (18,162 nt) and organization of CedPV is very similar to that of HeV and NiV; its nucleocapsid protein displays antigenic cross-reactivity with henipaviruses; and it uses the same receptor molecule (ephrin- B2) for entry during infection. Preliminary challenge studies with CedPV in ferrets and guinea pigs, both susceptible to infection and disease with known henipaviruses, confirmed virus replication and production of neutralizing antibodies although clinical disease was not observed. In this context, it is interesting to note that the major genetic difference between CedPV and HeV or NiV lies within the coding strategy of the P gene, which is known to play an important role in evading the host innate immune system. Unlike HeV, NiV, and almost all known paramyxoviruses, the CedPV P gene lacks both RNA editing and also the coding capacity for the highly conserved V protein. Preliminary study indicated that CedPV infection of human cells induces a more robust IFN-β response than HeV.
Hendra and Nipah viruses are 2 highly pathogenic paramyxoviruses that have emerged from bats within the last two decades. Both are capable of causing fatal disease in both humans and many mammal species. Serological and molecular evidence for henipa-like viruses have been reported from numerous locations including Asia and Africa, however, until now no successful isolation of these viruses have been reported. This paper reports the isolation of a novel paramyxovirus, named Cedar virus, from fruit bats in Australia. Full genome sequencing of this virus suggests a close relationship with the henipaviruses. Antibodies to Cedar virus were shown to cross react with, but not cross neutralize Hendra or Nipah virus. Despite this close relationship, when Cedar virus was tested in experimental challenge models in ferrets and guinea pigs, we identified virus replication and generation of neutralizing antibodies, but no clinical disease was observed. As such, this virus provides a useful reference for future reverse genetics experiments to determine the molecular basis of the pathogenicity of the henipaviruses.
viruses; Ebola virus; Ebolavirus sp.; Reston Ebola virus; REBOV; Zaire Ebola virus; ZEBOV; African fruit bats; Africa; Epomops franqueti; Epomophorus gambianus; Hypsignathus monstrosus; Nanonycteris veldkampii; Eidolon helvum; viruses; Ghana
Bats are increasingly being recognized as important reservoir hosts for a large number of viruses, some of them can be highly virulent when they infect human and livestock animals. Among the new bat zoonotic viruses discovered in recent years, several reoviruses (respiratory enteric orphan viruses) were found to be able to cause acute respiratory infections in humans, which included Melaka and Kampar viruses discovered in Malaysia, all of them belong to the genus Orthoreovirus, family Reoviridae. In this report, we describe the isolation of a highly related virus from an adult patient who suffered acute respiratory illness in Malaysia. Although there was no direct evidence of bat origin, epidemiological study indicated the potential exposure of the patient to bats before the onset of disease. The current study further demonstrates that spillover events of different strains of related orthoreoviruses from bats to humans are occurring on a regular basis, which calls for more intensive and systematic surveillances to fully assess the true public health impact of these newly discovered bat-borne zoonotic reoviruses.
Hendra virus (HeV) causes a zoonotic disease with high mortality that is transmitted to humans from bats of the genus Pteropus (flying foxes) via an intermediary equine host. Factors promoting spillover from bats to horses are uncertain at this time, but plausibly encompass host and/or agent and/or environmental factors. There is a lack of HeV sequence information derived from the natural bat host, as previously sequences have only been obtained from horses or humans following spillover events. In order to obtain an insight into possible variants of HeV circulating in flying foxes, collection of urine was undertaken in multiple flying fox roosts in Queensland, Australia. HeV was found to be geographically widespread in flying foxes with a number of HeV variants circulating at the one time at multiple locations, while at times the same variant was found circulating at disparate locations. Sequence diversity within variants allowed differentiation on the basis of nucleotide changes, and hypervariable regions in the genome were identified that could be used to differentiate circulating variants. Further, during the study, HeV was isolated from the urine of flying foxes on four occasions from three different locations. The data indicates that spillover events do not correlate with particular HeV isolates, suggesting that host and/or environmental factors are the primary determinants of bat-horse spillover. Thus future spillover events are likely to occur, and there is an on-going need for effective risk management strategies for both human and animal health.
picornavirus; cardiovirus; Saffold virus; serologic surveillance; viruses; children; Malaysia; letter
Neutralizing antibody responses to the surface glycoproteins of enveloped viruses play an important role in immunity. Many of these glycoproteins, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) spike (S) protein form trimeric units in the membrane of the native virion. There is substantial experimental and pre-clinical evidence showing that the S protein is a promising lead for vaccines and therapeutics. Previously we generated a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to whole inactivated SARS-CoV which neutralize the virus in vitro.1,2 Here, we define their specificity and affinity, map several of their epitopes and lastly characterise chimeric versions of them. Our data show that the neutralizing mAbs bind to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS S protein. Three of the chimeric mAbs retain their binding specificity while one conformational mAb, F26G19, lost its ability to bind the S protein despite high level expression. The affinity for recombinant S is maintained in all of the functional chimeric versions of the parental mAbs. Both parental mAb F26G18 and the chimeric version neutralize the TOR2 strain of SARS-CoV with essentially identical titres (2.07 and 2.47 nM, respectively). Lastly, a comparison with other neutralizing mAbs to SARS-CoV clearly shows that the dominance of a 33 amino acid residue loop of the SARS-CoV RBD is independent of repertoire, species, quaternary structure, and importantly, the technology used to derive the mAbs. In cases like this, the dominance of a compact RBD antigenic domain and the central role of the S protein in pathogenesis may inherently create immunoselection pressure on viruses to evolve more complex evasion strategies or die out of a host species. The apparent simplicity of the mechanism of SARS-CoV neutralization is in stark contrast to the complexity shown by other enveloped viruses.
SARS coronavirus; monoclonal antibody; neutralizing; epitope; immunochemistry
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.
viruses; zoonoses; Henipavirus; rubulavirus; orthoreovirus; Henda virus; Nipah virus; bats; concurrent infection; serologic surveillance; New Guinea; dispatch
Ebolaviruses (EBOV) (family Filoviridae) cause viral hemorrhagic fevers in humans and non-human primates when they spill over from their wildlife reservoir hosts with case fatality rates of up to 90%. Fruit bats may act as reservoirs of the Filoviridae. The migratory fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is common across sub-Saharan Africa and lives in large colonies, often situated in cities. We screened sera from 262 E. helvum using indirect fluorescent tests for antibodies against EBOV subtype Zaire. We detected a seropositive bat from Accra, Ghana, and confirmed this using western blot analysis. The bat was also seropositive for Lagos bat virus, a Lyssavirus, by virus neutralization test. The bat was fitted with a radio transmitter and was last detected in Accra 13 months after release post-sampling, demonstrating long-term survival. Antibodies to filoviruses have not been previously demonstrated in E. helvum. Radio-telemetry data demonstrates long-term survival of an individual bat following exposure to viruses of families that can be highly pathogenic to other mammal species. Because E. helvum typically lives in large urban colonies and is a source of bushmeat in some regions, further studies should determine if this species forms a reservoir for EBOV from which spillover infections into the human population may occur.
Bats are the suspected natural reservoir hosts for a number of new and emerging zoonotic viruses including Nipah virus, Hendra virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Ebola virus. Since the discovery of SARS-like coronaviruses in Chinese horseshoe bats, attempts to isolate a SL-CoV from bats have failed and attempts to isolate other bat-borne viruses in various mammalian cell lines have been similarly unsuccessful. New stable bat cell lines are needed to help with these investigations and as tools to assist in the study of bat immunology and virus-host interactions.
Black flying foxes (Pteropus alecto) were captured from the wild and transported live to the laboratory for primary cell culture preparation using a variety of different methods and culture media. Primary cells were successfully cultured from 20 different organs. Cell immortalisation can occur spontaneously, however we used a retroviral system to immortalise cells via the transfer and stable production of the Simian virus 40 Large T antigen and the human telomerase reverse transcriptase protein. Initial infection experiments with both cloned and uncloned cell lines using Hendra and Nipah viruses demonstrated varying degrees of infection efficiency between the different cell lines, although it was possible to infect cells in all tissue types.
The approaches developed and optimised in this study should be applicable to bats of other species. We are in the process of generating further cell lines from a number of different bat species using the methodology established in this study.
A 71-year-old man presented to our hospital with 3-week history of fever in the background of loss of both weight and appetite over the past 3 months. He was found to have a large 10-cm mass in the right lobe of the liver on a triple-phase computed tomographic scan. The tumor showed a distinct fatty component, with areas of arterial enhancement and venous washout suggestive of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), another component showing progressive and late enhancement suggestive of cholangiocarcinoma (CC), and a third component showing persistent hypoenhancement relative to the liver parenchyma. He underwent surgical resection. This was histopathologically a biphasic tumor composed of areas showing hepatocytic differentiation, in contiguity with areas showing infiltrative glands set within fibrous stroma in keeping with combined hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma (cHCC-CC). A third component of pleomorphic spindle and epithelioid appearance in keeping with sarcomatous transformation was also found intimately related to the CC component. The patient developed extensive thoracic and abdominal metastases 2 months after surgery and died shortly after.
Liver neoplasms; Combined hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma; Sarcomatoid transformation; Computed tomography (CT)
First discovered in the early 1950s, reoviruses (respiratory enteric orphan viruses) were not associated with any known disease, and hence named orphan viruses. Recently, our group reported the isolation of the Melaka virus from a patient with acute respiratory disease and provided data suggesting that this new orthoreovirus is capable of human-to-human transmission and is probably of bat origin. Here we report yet another Melaka-like reovirus (named Kampar virus) isolated from the throat swab of a 54 year old male patient in Kampar, Perak, Malaysia who was suffering from high fever, acute respiratory disease and vomiting at the time of virus isolation. Serological studies indicated that Kampar virus was transmitted from the index case to at least one other individual and caused respiratory disease in the contact case. Sequence analysis of the four small class genome segments indicated that Kampar and Melaka viruses are closely related. This was confirmed by virus neutralization assay, showing an effective two-way cross neutralization, i.e., the serum against one virus was able to neutralize the other. Although the exact origin of Kampar virus is unknown, epidemiological tracing revealed that the house of the index case is surrounded by fruit trees frequently visited by fruit bats. There is a high probability that Kampar virus originated from bats and was transmitted to humans via bat droppings or contaminated fruits. The discovery of Kampar virus highlights the increasing trend of emergence of bat zoonotic viruses and the need to expand our understanding of bats as a source of many unknown viruses.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as its receptor for cell entry. A group of SARS-like CoVs (SL-CoVs) has been identified in horseshoe bats. SL-CoVs and SARS-CoVs share identical genome organizations and high sequence identities, with the main exception of the N terminus of the spike protein (S), known to be responsible for receptor binding in CoVs. In this study, we investigated the receptor usage of the SL-CoV S by combining a human immunodeficiency virus-based pseudovirus system with cell lines expressing the ACE2 molecules of human, civet, or horseshoe bat. In addition to full-length S of SL-CoV and SARS-CoV, a series of S chimeras was constructed by inserting different sequences of the SARS-CoV S into the SL-CoV S backbone. Several important observations were made from this study. First, the SL-CoV S was unable to use any of the three ACE2 molecules as its receptor. Second, the SARS-CoV S failed to enter cells expressing the bat ACE2. Third, the chimeric S covering the previously defined receptor-binding domain gained its ability to enter cells via human ACE2, albeit with different efficiencies for different constructs. Fourth, a minimal insert region (amino acids 310 to 518) was found to be sufficient to convert the SL-CoV S from non-ACE2 binding to human ACE2 binding, indicating that the SL-CoV S is largely compatible with SARS-CoV S protein both in structure and in function. The significance of these findings in relation to virus origin, virus recombination, and host switching is discussed.
Disease manifestation, pathology, and tissue tropism following infection with Tioman virus (TioPV), a newly isolated, bat-derived paramyxovirus, was investigated in subcutaneously (n = 12) and oronasally (n = 4) inoculated pigs. Pigs were either asymptomatic or developed pyrexia, but all of the animals produced neutralizing antibodies. The virus (viral antigen and/or genome) was detected in lymphocytes of the thymus, tonsils, spleen, lymph nodes and Peyer's patches (ileum), tonsillar epithelium, and thymic epithelioreticular cells. Virus was isolated from oral swabs but not from urine. Our findings suggest that the pig could act as an intermediate or amplifying host for TioPV and that oral secretion is a possible means of viral transmission.
Using three different assays, we examined 103 serum samples collected from different civet farms and a market in China in June 2003 and January 2004. While civets on farms were largely free from SARS-CoV infection, ≈80% of the animals from one animal market in Guangzhou contained significant levels of antibody to SARS-CoV, which suggests no widespread infection among civets resident on farms, and the infection of civets in the market might be associated with trading activities under the conditions of overcrowding and mixing of various animal species.
SARS-CoV; antibodies; civets; dispatch
An outbreak of acute respiratory disease in Hendra, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia, in September 1994 resulted in the deaths of 14 racing horses and a horse trainer. The causative agent was a new member of the family Paramyxoviridae. The virus was originally called Equine morbillivirus but was renamed Hendra virus (HeV) when molecular characterization highlighted differences between it and members of the genus Morbillivirus. Less than 5 years later, the closely related Nipah virus (NiV) emerged in Malaysia, spread rapidly through the pig population, and caused the deaths of over 100 people. We report the characterization of the HeV L gene and protein, the genome termini, and gene boundary sequences, thus completing the HeV genome sequence. In the highly conserved region of the L protein, the HeV sequence GDNE differs from the GDNQ found in almost all other nonsegmented negative-strand (NNS) RNA viruses. HeV has an absolutely conserved intergenic trinucleotide sequence, 3′-GAA-5′, and highly conserved transcription initiation and termination sequences similar to those of respiroviruses and morbilliviruses. The large genome size (18,234 nucleotides), the unique complementary genome terminal sequences of HeV, and the limited homology with other members of the Paramyxoviridae suggest that HeV, together with NiV, should be classified in a new genus in this family. The large genome of HeV also fills a gap in the spectrum of genome sizes observed with NNS RNA virus genomes. As such, it provides a further piece in the puzzle of NNS RNA virus evolution.
In 1994, a new member of the family Paramyxoviridae isolated from fatal cases of respiratory disease in horses and humans was shown to be distantly related to morbilliviruses and provisionally called equine morbillivirus (K. Murray et al., Science 268:94–97, 1995). To facilitate characterization and classification, the virus was purified, viral proteins were identified, and the P/V/C gene was cloned and sequenced. The coding strategy of the gene is similar to that of Sendai and measles viruses, members of the Paramyxovirus and Morbillivirus genera, respectively, in the subfamily Paramyxovirinae. The P/V/C gene contains four open reading frames, three of which, P, C, and V, have Paramyxovirinae counterparts. The P and C proteins are larger and smaller, respectively, than are cognate proteins in members of the subfamily, and the V protein is made as a result of a single G insertion during transcription. The P/V/C gene has two unique features. (i) A fourth open reading frame is located between those of the C and V proteins and potentially encodes a small basic protein similar to those found in some members of the Rhabdoviridae and Filoviridae families. (ii) There is also a long untranslated 3′ sequence, a feature common in Filoviridae members. Sequence comparisons confirm that although the virus is a member of the Paramyxovirinae subfamily, it displays only low levels of homology with paramyxoviruses and morbilliviruses and negligible homologies with rubulaviruses.