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1.  A new genotype of bovine leukemia virus in South America identified by NGS-based whole genome sequencing and molecular evolutionary genetic analysis 
Retrovirology  2016;13:4.
Background
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is a member of retroviridae family, together with human T cell leukemia virus types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and -2) belonging to the genes deltaretrovirus, and infects cattle worldwide. Previous studies have classified the env sequences of BLV provirus from different geographic locations into eight genetic groups. To investigate the genetic variability of BLV in South America, we performed phylogenetic analyses of whole genome and partial env gp51 sequences of BLV strains isolated from Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia, for which no the molecular characteristics of BLV have previously been published, and discovered a novel BLV genotype, genotype-9, in Bolivia.
Results
In Peru and Paraguay, 42.3 % (139/328) and over 50 % (76/139) of samples, respectively, were BLV positive. In Bolivia, the BLV infection rate was up to 30 % (156/507) at the individual level. In Argentina, 325/420 samples were BLV positive, with a BLV prevalence of 77.4 % at the individual level and up to 90.9 % at herd level. By contrast, relatively few BLV positive samples were detected in Chile, with a maximum of 29.1 % BLV infection at the individual level. We performed phylogenetic analyses using two different approaches, maximum likelihood (ML) tree and Bayesian inference, using 35 distinct partial env gp51 sequences from BLV strains isolated from Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and 74 known BLV strains, representing eight different BLV genotypes from various geographical locations worldwide. The results indicated that Peruvian and Paraguayan BLV strains were grouped into genotypes-1, -2, and -6, while those from Bolivia were clustered into genotypes-1, -2, and -6, and a new genotype, genotype-9. Interestingly, these results were confirmed using ML phylogenetic analysis of whole genome sequences obtained by next generation sequencing of 25 BLV strains, assigned to four different genotypes (genotypes-1, -2, -6, and -9) from Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Comparative analyses of complete genome sequences clearly showed some specific substitutions, in both structural and non-structural BLV genes, distinguishing the novel genotype-9 from known genotypes.
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate widespread BLV infection in South American cattle and the existence of a new BLV genotype-9 in Bolivia. We conclude that at least seven BLV genotypes (genotypes-1, -2, -4, -5, -6, -7, and -9) are circulating in South America.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12977-016-0239-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12977-016-0239-z
PMCID: PMC4709907  PMID: 26754835
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV); Next generation sequencing; BLV whole genome analysis; gp51 env sequencing; Phylogenetic analysis; South America
2.  Identification and characterization of common B cell epitope in bovine leukemia virus via high-throughput peptide screening system in infected cattle 
Retrovirology  2015;12:106.
Background
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is the causative agent of enzootic bovine leukosis, the most common neoplastic disease of cattle. BLV is closely related to human T cell leukemia virus. B cell epitopes are important for the use of antibodies as therapeutic agents, the epitope-driven vaccine design, and immunological assays. A common B cell epitope for BLV has not yet been found due to individual differences in disease susceptibility.
Results
We used a peptide microarray with 156 synthetic 15-mer peptides covering the envelope glycoprotein gp51 and the Gag proteins p15, p24, and p12 to map B cell epitope and one B cell epitope, gp51p16, was recognized by all four cattle experimentally infected with BLV. A newly developed high-throughput peptide ELISA system revealed 590 (91.2 %) of 647 cattle naturally infected with BLV, carrying 25 different bovine leukocyte antigen class II DRB3 (BoLA-DRB3) alleles, responded to a 20-mer gp51p16-C peptide containing a C-terminal cysteine and gp51p16. Alanine mutation and comparison of the sequences at 17 amino acid positions within gp51p16-C revealed that R7, R9, F10, V16, and Y18 were the common binding sites to BLV antibodies, and two of these sites were found to be highly conserved. Transient expression in the cells of five infectious molecular clones of BLV with a single alanine mutation at five common antibody binding sites had no effect syncytia formation of the gp51 protein. In addition, the mutant proteins, R7A and R9A had no effect on the expression of gp51 protein; the gp51 protein expressions of F10A, V16A and Y18A were lower than that of the wild type protein.
Conclusions
This is the first report to identify a common B cell epitope in BLV by comprehensive screening of BLV-infected cattle with varied genetic backgrounds in BoLA-DRB3. Our results have important implications for disease control and diagnosis.
doi:10.1186/s12977-015-0233-x
PMCID: PMC4696170  PMID: 26715158
Bovine leukemia virus; Common B cell epitope; Comprehensive screening; Peptide microarray; Peptide ELISA high-throughput system; Antibody binding site; Bovine leukocyte antigen class II
3.  Synthesis of a Vpr-Binding Derivative for Use as a Novel HIV-1 Inhibitor 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0145573.
The emergence of multidrug-resistant viruses compromises the efficacy of anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) therapy and limits treatment options. Therefore, new targets that can be used to develop novel antiviral agents need to be identified. We previously identified a potential parent compound, hematoxylin, which suppresses the nuclear import of HIV-1 via the Vpr-importin α interaction and inhibits HIV-1 replication in a Vpr-dependent manner by blocking nuclear import of the pre-integration complex. However, it was unstable. Here, we synthesized a stable derivative of hematoxylin that bound specifically and stably to Vpr and inhibited HIV-1 replication in macrophages. Furthermore, like hematoxylin, the derivative inhibited nuclear import of Vpr in an in vitro nuclear import assay, but had no effect on Vpr-induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest or caspase activity. Interestingly, this derivative bound strongly to amino acid residues 54–74 within the C-terminal α-helical domain (αH3) of Vpr. These residues are highly conserved among different HIV strains, indicating that this region is a potential target for drug-resistant HIV-1 infection. Thus, we succeeded in developing a stable hematoxylin derivative that bound directly to Vpr, suggesting that specific inhibitors of the interaction between cells and viral accessory proteins may provide a new strategy for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145573
PMCID: PMC4689350  PMID: 26701275
10.  A Novel Antiviral Target Structure Involved in the RNA Binding, Dimerization, and Nuclear Export Functions of the Influenza A Virus Nucleoprotein 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(7):e1005062.
Developing antiviral therapies for influenza A virus (IAV) infection is an ongoing process because of the rapid rate of antigenic mutation and the emergence of drug-resistant viruses. The ideal strategy is to develop drugs that target well-conserved, functionally restricted, and unique surface structures without affecting host cell function. We recently identified the antiviral compound, RK424, by screening a library of 50,000 compounds using cell-based infection assays. RK424 showed potent antiviral activity against many different subtypes of IAV in vitro and partially protected mice from a lethal dose of A/WSN/1933 (H1N1) virus in vivo. Here, we show that RK424 inhibits viral ribonucleoprotein complex (vRNP) activity, causing the viral nucleoprotein (NP) to accumulate in the cell nucleus. In silico docking analysis revealed that RK424 bound to a small pocket in the viral NP. This pocket was surrounded by three functionally important domains: the RNA binding groove, the NP dimer interface, and nuclear export signal (NES) 3, indicating that it may be involved in the RNA binding, oligomerization, and nuclear export functions of NP. The accuracy of this binding model was confirmed in a NP-RK424 binding assay incorporating photo-cross-linked RK424 affinity beads and in a plaque assay evaluating the structure-activity relationship of RK424. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and pull-down assays showed that RK424 inhibited both the NP-RNA and NP-NP interactions, whereas size exclusion chromatography showed that RK424 disrupted viral RNA-induced NP oligomerization. In addition, in vitro nuclear export assays confirmed that RK424 inhibited nuclear export of NP. The amino acid residues comprising the NP pocket play a crucial role in viral replication and are highly conserved in more than 7,000 NP sequences from avian, human, and swine influenza viruses. Furthermore, we found that the NP pocket has a surface structure different from that of the pocket in host molecules. Taken together, these results describe a promising new approach to developing influenza virus drugs that target a novel pocket structure within NP.
Author Summary
Influenza A virus nucleoprotein (NP) is a highly conserved multifunctional protein that plays an essential role in infection by all subtypes of influenza A virus, making it an attractive target for new antiviral drugs. NP regulates viral polymerase activity and transport of the viral genome into/from the host cell nucleus by forming the viral ribonucleoprotein complex (vRNP). Because NP regulates replication and transcription of the viral genome in addition to its role in nuclear export (all of which are essential for the production of viral progeny), it is a promising drug target. Here, we used the antiviral compound RK424 to identify a novel pocket structure within NP. This structure encompassed three different functional domains that are involved in the above-mentioned replication steps. RK424 inhibits viral genome replication/transcription and nuclear export of NP by destabilizing the NP oligomer and inhibiting the binding of chromosome region maintenance 1 (CRM1) to NP via nuclear export signal (NES) 3, which is located in close proximity to the NP pocket. Taken together, these findings suggest that this small NP pocket is a novel antiviral target.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005062
PMCID: PMC4519322  PMID: 26222066
11.  Crystal Structure of Human Importin-α1 (Rch1), Revealing a Potential Autoinhibition Mode Involving Homodimerization 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0115995.
In this study, we determined the crystal structure of N-terminal importin-β-binding domain (IBB)-truncated human importin-α1 (ΔIBB-h-importin-α1) at 2.63 Å resolution. The crystal structure of ΔIBB-h-importin-α1 reveals a novel closed homodimer. The homodimer exists in an autoinhibited state in which both the major and minor nuclear localization signal (NLS) binding sites are completely buried in the homodimerization interface, an arrangement that restricts NLS binding. Analytical ultracentrifugation studies revealed that ΔIBB-h-importin-α1 is in equilibrium between monomers and dimers and that NLS peptides shifted the equilibrium toward the monomer side. This finding suggests that the NLS binding sites are also involved in the dimer interface in solution. These results show that when the IBB domain dissociates from the internal NLS binding sites, e.g., by binding to importin-β, homodimerization possibly occurs as an autoinhibition state.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115995
PMCID: PMC4319847  PMID: 25658636
12.  HIV-1 Vpr Induces Interferon-Stimulated Genes in Human Monocyte-Derived Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e106418.
Macrophages act as reservoirs of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and play an important role in its transmission to other cells. HIV-1 Vpr is a multi-functional protein involved in HIV-1 replication and pathogenesis; however, its exact role in HIV-1-infected human macrophages remains poorly understood. In this study, we used a microarray approach to explore the effects of HIV-1 Vpr on the transcriptional profile of human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). More than 500 genes, mainly those involved in the innate immune response, the type I interferon pathway, cytokine production, and signal transduction, were differentially regulated (fold change >2.0) after infection with a recombinant adenovirus expressing HIV-1 Vpr protein. The differential expression profiles of select interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) and genes involved in the innate immune response, including STAT1, IRF7, MX1, MX2, ISG15, ISG20, IFIT1, IFIT2, IFIT3, IFI27, IFI44L, APOBEC3A, DDX58 (RIG-I), TNFSF10 (TRAIL), and RSAD2 (viperin) were confirmed by real-time quantitative PCR and were consistent with the microarray data. In addition, at the post-translational level, HIV-1 Vpr induced the phosphorylation of STAT1 at tyrosine 701 in human MDMs. These results demonstrate that HIV-1 Vpr leads to the induction of ISGs and expand the current understanding of the function of Vpr and its role in HIV-1 immune pathogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106418
PMCID: PMC4149569  PMID: 25170834
13.  Comparative Analysis of Seven Viral Nuclear Export Signals (NESs) Reveals the Crucial Role of Nuclear Export Mediated by the Third NES Consensus Sequence of Nucleoprotein (NP) in Influenza A Virus Replication 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105081.
The assembly of influenza virus progeny virions requires machinery that exports viral genomic ribonucleoproteins from the cell nucleus. Currently, seven nuclear export signal (NES) consensus sequences have been identified in different viral proteins, including NS1, NS2, M1, and NP. The present study examined the roles of viral NES consensus sequences and their significance in terms of viral replication and nuclear export. Mutation of the NP-NES3 consensus sequence resulted in a failure to rescue viruses using a reverse genetics approach, whereas mutation of the NS2-NES1 and NS2-NES2 sequences led to a strong reduction in viral replication kinetics compared with the wild-type sequence. While the viral replication kinetics for other NES mutant viruses were also lower than those of the wild-type, the difference was not so marked. Immunofluorescence analysis after transient expression of NP-NES3, NS2-NES1, or NS2-NES2 proteins in host cells showed that they accumulated in the cell nucleus. These results suggest that the NP-NES3 consensus sequence is mostly required for viral replication. Therefore, each of the hydrophobic (Φ) residues within this NES consensus sequence (Φ1, Φ2, Φ3, or Φ4) was mutated, and its viral replication and nuclear export function were analyzed. No viruses harboring NP-NES3 Φ2 or Φ3 mutants could be rescued. Consistent with this, the NP-NES3 Φ2 and Φ3 mutants showed reduced binding affinity with CRM1 in a pull-down assay, and both accumulated in the cell nucleus. Indeed, a nuclear export assay revealed that these mutant proteins showed lower nuclear export activity than the wild-type protein. Moreover, the Φ2 and Φ3 residues (along with other Φ residues) within the NP-NES3 consensus were highly conserved among different influenza A viruses, including human, avian, and swine. Taken together, these results suggest that the Φ2 and Φ3 residues within the NP-NES3 protein are important for its nuclear export function during viral replication.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105081
PMCID: PMC4132019  PMID: 25119991
14.  Visualizing Vpr-Induced G2 Arrest and Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86840.
Vpr is an accessory protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) with multiple functions. The induction of G2 arrest by Vpr plays a particularly important role in efficient viral replication because the transcriptional activity of the HIV-1 long terminal repeat is most active in G2 phase. The regulation of apoptosis by Vpr is also important for immune suppression and pathogenesis during HIV infection. However, it is not known whether Vpr-induced apoptosis depends on the ability of Vpr to induce G2 arrest, and the dynamics of Vpr-induced G2 arrest and apoptosis have not been visualized. We performed time-lapse imaging to examine the temporal relationship between Vpr-induced G2 arrest and apoptosis using HeLa cells containing the fluorescent ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator2 (Fucci2). The dynamics of G2 arrest and subsequent long-term mitotic cell rounding in cells transfected with the Vpr-expression vector were visualized. These cells underwent nuclear mis-segregation after prolonged mitotic processes and then entered G1 phase. Some cells subsequently displayed evidence of apoptosis after prolonged mitotic processes and nuclear mis-segregation. Interestingly, Vpr-induced apoptosis was seldom observed in S or G2 phase. Likewise, visualization of synchronized HeLa/Fucci2 cells infected with an adenoviral vector expressing Vpr clearly showed that Vpr arrests the cell cycle at G2 phase, but does not induce apoptosis at S or G2 phase. Furthermore, time-lapse imaging of HeLa/Fucci2 cells expressing SCAT3.1, a caspase-3-sensitive fusion protein, clearly demonstrated that Vpr induces caspase-3-dependent apoptosis. Finally, to examine whether the effects of Vpr on G2 arrest and apoptosis were reversible, we performed live-cell imaging of a destabilizing domain fusion Vpr, which enabled rapid stabilization and destabilization by Shield1. The effects of Vpr on G2 arrest and subsequent apoptosis were reversible. This study is the first to characterize the dynamics of the morphological changes that occur during Vpr-induced G2 arrest and apoptosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086840
PMCID: PMC3899331  PMID: 24466265
16.  Mechanisms of pathogenesis induced by bovine leukemia virus as a model for human T-cell leukemia virus 
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) make up a unique retrovirus family. Both viruses induce chronic lymphoproliferative diseases with BLV affecting the B-cell lineage and HTLV-1 affecting the T-cell lineage. The pathologies of BLV- and HTLV-induced infections are notably similar, with an absence of chronic viraemia and a long latency period. These viruses encode at least two regulatory proteins, namely, Tax and Rex, in the pX region located between the env gene and the 3′ long terminal repeat. The Tax protein is a key contributor to the oncogenic potential of the virus, and is also the key protein involved in viral replication. However, BLV infection is not sufficient for leukemogenesis, and additional events such as gene mutations must take place. In this review, we first summarize the similarities between the two viruses in terms of genomic organization, virology, and pathology. We then describe the current knowledge of the BLV model, which may also be relevant for the understanding of leukemogenesis caused by HTLV-1. In addition, we address our improved understanding of Tax functions through the newly identified BLV Tax mutants, which have a substitution between amino acids 240 and 265.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00328
PMCID: PMC3820957  PMID: 24265629
BLV; HTLV-1; EBL; B-cell lymphoma; Tax; leukemogensis; transactivation; apoptosis
18.  Estimation of bovine leukemia virus (BLV) proviral load harbored by lymphocyte subpopulations in BLV-infected cattle at the subclinical stage of enzootic bovine leucosis using BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR 
Background
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is associated with enzootic bovine leukosis (EBL), which is the most common neoplastic disease of cattle. BLV infection may remain clinically silent at the aleukemic (AL) stage, cause persistent lymphocytosis (PL), or, more rarely, B cell lymphoma. BLV has been identified in B cells, CD2+ T cells, CD3+ T cells, CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, γ/δ T cells, monocytes, and granulocytes in infected cattle that do not have tumors, although the most consistently infected cell is the CD5+ B cell. The mechanism by which BLV causes uncontrolled CD5+ B cell proliferation is unknown. Recently, we developed a new quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR, which enabled us to demonstrate that the proviral load correlates not only with BLV infection, as assessed by syncytium formation, but also with BLV disease progression. The present study reports the distribution of BLV provirus in peripheral blood mononuclear cell subpopulations isolated from BLV-infected cows at the subclinical stage of EBL as examined by cell sorting and BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR.
Results
Phenotypic characterization of five BLV-infected but clinically normal cattle with a proviral load of > 100 copies per 1 × 105 cells identified a high percentage of CD5+ IgM+ cells (but not CD5- IgM+ B cells, CD4+ T cells, or CD8+T cells). These lymphocyte subpopulations were purified from three out of five cattle by cell sorting or using magnetic beads, and the BLV proviral load was estimated using BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR. The CD5+ IgM+ B cell population in all animals harbored a higher BLV proviral load than the other cell populations. The copy number of proviruses infecting CD5- IgM+ B cells, CD4+ cells, and CD8+ T cells (per 1 ml of blood) was 1/34 to 1/4, 1/22 to 1/3, and 1/31 to 1/3, respectively, compared with that in CD5+ IgM+ B cells. Moreover, the BLV provirus remained integrated into the genomic DNA of CD5+ IgM+ B cells, CD5- IgM+ B cells, CD4+ T cells, and CD8+ T cells, even in BLV-infected cattle with a proviral load of <100 copies per 105 cells.
Conclusions
The results of the recent study showed that, although CD5+ IgM+ B cells were the main cell type targeted in BLV-infected but clinically normal cattle, CD5- IgM+ B cells, CD4+ cells, and CD8+ T cells were infected to a greater extent than previously thought.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-95
PMCID: PMC3648496  PMID: 23641811
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV); Proviral load; BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR; CD5+IgM+ B cell; Cell sorting; Flow cytometry
19.  The pH-Sensitive Fusogenic 3-Methyl-Glutarylated Hyperbranched Poly(Glycidol)-Conjugated Liposome Induces Antigen-Specific Cellular and Humoral Immunity 
We examined the ability of a novel liposome, surface modified by 3-methyl-glutarylated hyperbranched poly(glycidol) (MGlu-HPG), to enhance antigen-specific immunity in vitro and in vivo and to function as a vaccine carrier. Murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells took up ovalbumin (OVA) encapsulated in MGlu-HPG-modified liposomes more effectively than free OVA or OVA encapsulated in unmodified liposomes. Immunization of mice with OVA-containing MGlu-HPG-modified liposomes induced antigen-specific splenocyte proliferation and production of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) more strongly than did immunization with free OVA or OVA encapsulated in unmodified liposomes. The immune responses induced by OVA encapsulated in MGlu-HPG-modified liposomes were significantly suppressed by addition of anti-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II monoclonal antibodies, indicating the involvement of antigen presentation via MHC class I and II. Furthermore, delayed-type hypersensitivity responses and OVA-specific antibodies were induced more effectively in mice immunized with OVA encapsulated by MGlu-HPG-modified liposomes than with unencapsulated OVA or OVA encapsulated in unmodified liposomes. These results suggested that MGlu-HPG-modified liposomes effectively induced both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses. Collectively, this study is the first to demonstrate the induction of both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in vivo by MGlu-HPG-modified liposomes.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00273-12
PMCID: PMC3428382  PMID: 22815149
20.  Importin α3/Qip1 Is Involved in Multiplication of Mutant Influenza Virus with Alanine Mutation at Amino Acid 9 Independently of Nuclear Transport Function 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e55765.
The nucleoprotein (NP) of influenza A virus is transported into the nucleus via the classical importin α/β pathway, and proceeds via nuclear localization signals (NLSs) recognized by importin α molecules. Although NP binds to importin α isoforms Rch1, Qip1 and NPI-1, the role of each individual isoform during the nuclear transport of NP and replication of the influenza virus remains unknown. In this study, we examined the contribution of importin α isoforms for nuclear localization of NP and viral growth using a panel of NP mutants containing serial alanine replacements within an unconventional NLS of NP. Alanine mutation at amino acid 8 (R8A) caused a significant reduction in the nuclear localization and binding to the three importin isoforms. The R8A NP mutant virus did not generate by reverse-genetics approach. This indicates that position 8 is the main site that mediates nuclear localization via interactions with Rch1, Qip1 and NPI-1, and subsequent viral production. This was confirmed by the finding that the conservation of amino acid 8 in human- and avian-origin influenza virus NP was necessary for virus propagation. By contrast, another mutant, S9A NP, which localized in the nucleus, caused a reduction in viral growth and vRNA transcription, suggesting that the unconventional NLS within NP may be associated with nuclear transport, vRNA transcription and viral replication through independent pathways. Interestingly, the N-terminal 110-amino acid region, which contained the unconventional NLS with S9A mutation, mainly bound to Qip1. Furthermore, activities of vRNA transcription and replication of S9A NP mutants were decreased by silencing Qip1 in without changing nuclear localization, indicating that Qip1 involves in multiplication of S9A mutant virus independently of nuclear transport function. Collectively, our results demonstrate the unconventional NLS within NP might have the additional ability to regulate the viral replication that is independent of nuclear localization activity via interactions with Qip1.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055765
PMCID: PMC3559588  PMID: 23383277
21.  Positively charged cholesterol–recombinant human gelatins foster the cellular uptake of proteins and murine immune reactions 
Purpose
Recombinant human gelatins with defined molecular weights were modified with cholesterol to make them amphiphilic in nature. We investigated the feasibility of these modified human gelatins acting as a carrier of antigenic proteins for inducing cellular immunity. The aim of this study was to synthesize novel and effective compounds for vaccine delivery in vivo.
Methods
Two types of cholesterol-modified gelatin micelles, anionic cholesterol-modified gelatin (aCMG) and cationic-cholesterol modified gelatin (cCMG), were synthesized using different cholesterol derivatives such as the cholesterol-isocyanate (Ch-I) for aCMG and amino-modified cholesterol for cCMG. One was anionic and the other cationic, and therefore they differed in terms of their zeta potential. The aCMG and cCMG were characterized for their size, zeta potential, and in their ability to form micelles. Cytotoxicity was also evaluated. The modified human gelatins were then investigated as a carrier of antigenic proteins for inducing cellular immunity both in vitro in DC 2.4 cells, a murine dendritic cell line, as well as in vivo. The mechanism of entry of the polymeric micelles into the cells was also evaluated.
Results
It was found that only cCMG successfully complexed with the model antigenic protein, fluorescein-isothiocyanate ovalbumin (OVA) and efficiently delivered and processed proteins in DC 2.4 cells. It was hypothesized that cCMG enter the cells predominantly by a caveolae-mediated pathway that required tyrosine kinase receptors on the cell surface. Animal testing using mice showed that the cationic cholesterol-modified gelatin complexed with OVA produced significantly high antibody titers against OVA: 2580-fold higher than in mice immunized with free OVA.
Conclusion
Conclusively, cCMG has shown to be very effective in stimulating an immune response due to its high efficiency, stability, and negligible cytotoxicity.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S36350
PMCID: PMC3471541  PMID: 23091385
recombinant human gelatin; cholesterol; micelle; protein delivery; caveolae pathway; receptor-mediated endocytosis
22.  BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR: a useful tool for evaluating bovine leukemia virus infection status 
Background
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is associated with enzootic bovine leukosis, which is the most common neoplastic disease of cattle. BLV infects cattle worldwide, imposing a severe economic impact on the dairy cattle industry. Recently, we developed a new quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method using Coordination of Common Motifs (CoCoMo) primers to measure the proviral load of known and novel BLV variants in BLV-infected animals. Indeed, the assay was highly effective in detecting BLV in cattle from a range of international locations. This assay enabled us to demonstrate that proviral load correlates not only with BLV infection capacity as assessed by syncytium formation, but also with BLV disease progression. In this study, we compared the sensitivity of our BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR method for detecting BLV proviruses with the sensitivities of two real-time PCR systems, and also determined the differences of proviral load with serotests.
Results
BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR was found to be highly sensitive when compared with the real-time PCR-based TaqMan MGB assay developed by Lew et al. and the commercial TaKaRa cycleave PCR system. The BLV copy number determined by BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR was only partially correlated with the positive rate for anti-BLV antibody as determined by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, passive hemagglutination reaction, or agar gel immunodiffusion. This result indicates that, although serotests are widely used for the diagnosis of BLV infection, it is difficult to detect BLV infection with confidence by using serological tests alone. Two cattle were experimentally infected with BLV. The kinetics of the provirus did not precisely correlate with the change in anti-BLV antibody production. Moreover, both reactions were different in cattle that carried different bovine leukocyte antigen (BoLA)-DRB3 genotypes.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that the quantitative measurement of proviral load by BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR is useful tool for evaluating the progression of BLV-induced disease. BLV-CoCoMo-qPCR allows us to monitor the spread of BLV infection in different viewpoint compared with classical serotest.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-167
PMCID: PMC3489618  PMID: 22995575
Bovine leukemia virus; Real-time PCR; Proviral load; Serological test; Experimental infection
23.  Visualizing spatiotemporal dynamics of apoptosis after G1 arrest by human T cell leukemia virus type 1 Tax and insights into gene expression changes using microarray-based gene expression analysis 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:275.
Background
Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax is a potent activator of viral and cellular gene expression that interacts with a number of cellular proteins. Many reports show that Tax is capable of regulating cell cycle progression and apoptosis both positively and negatively. However, it still remains to understand why the Tax oncoprotein induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, or whether Tax-induced apoptosis is dependent upon its ability to induce G1 arrest. The present study used time-lapse imaging to explore the spatiotemporal patterns of cell cycle dynamics in Tax-expressing HeLa cells containing the fluorescent ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator, Fucci2. A large-scale host cell gene profiling approach was also used to identify the genes involved in Tax-mediated cell signaling events related to cellular proliferation and apoptosis.
Results
Tax-expressing apoptotic cells showed a rounded morphology and detached from the culture dish after cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. Thus, it appears that Tax induces apoptosis through pathways identical to those involved in G1 arrest. To elucidate the mechanism(s) by which Tax induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, regulation of host cellular genes by Tax was analyzed using a microarray containing approximately 18,400 human mRNA transcripts. Seventeen genes related to cell cycle regulation were identified as being up or downregulated > 2.0-fold in Tax-expressing cells. Several genes, including SMAD3, JUN, GADD45B, DUSP1 and IL8, were involved in cellular proliferation, responses to cellular stress and DNA damage, or inflammation and immune responses. Additionally, 23 pro- and anti-apoptotic genes were deregulated by Tax, including TNFAIP3, TNFRS9, BIRC3 and IL6. Furthermore, the kinetics of IL8, SMAD3, CDKN1A, GADD45A, GADD45B and IL6 expression were altered following the induction of Tax, and correlated closely with the morphological changes observed by time-lapse imaging.
Conclusions
Taken together, the results of this study permit a greater understanding of the biological events affected by HTLV-1 Tax, particularly the regulation of cellular proliferation and apoptosis. Importantly, this study is the first to demonstrate the dynamics of morphological changes during Tax-induced apoptosis after cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-275
PMCID: PMC3537563  PMID: 22726420
24.  Identification of bovine leukemia virus tax function associated with host cell transcription, signaling, stress response and immune response pathway by microarray-based gene expression analysis 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:121.
Background
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is associated with enzootic bovine leukosis and is closely related to human T-cell leukemia virus type I. The Tax protein of BLV is a transcriptional activator of viral replication and a key contributor to oncogenic potential. We previously identified interesting mutant forms of Tax with elevated (TaxD247G) or reduced (TaxS240P) transactivation effects on BLV replication and propagation. However, the effects of these mutations on functions other than transcriptional activation are unknown. In this study, to identify genes that play a role in the cascade of signal events regulated by wild-type and mutant Tax proteins, we used a large-scale host cell gene-profiling approach.
Results
Using a microarray containing approximately 18,400 human mRNA transcripts, we found several alterations after the expression of Tax proteins in genes involved in many cellular functions such as transcription, signal transduction, cell growth, apoptosis, stress response, and immune response, indicating that Tax protein has multiple biological effects on various cellular environments. We also found that TaxD247G strongly regulated more genes involved in transcription, signal transduction, and cell growth functions, contrary to TaxS240P, which regulated fewer genes. In addition, the expression of genes related to stress response significantly increased in the presence of TaxS240P as compared to wild-type Tax and TaxD247G. By contrast, the largest group of downregulated genes was related to immune response, and the majority of these genes belonged to the interferon family. However, no significant difference in the expression level of downregulated genes was observed among the Tax proteins. Finally, the expression of important cellular factors obtained from the human microarray results were validated at the RNA and protein levels by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blotting, respectively, after transfecting Tax proteins into bovine cells and human HeLa cells.
Conclusion
A comparative analysis of wild-type and mutant Tax proteins indicates that Tax protein exerts a significant impact on cellular functions as diverse as transcription, signal transduction, cell growth, stress response and immune response. Importantly, our study is the first report that shows the extent to which BLV Tax regulates the innate immune response.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-121
PMCID: PMC3441221  PMID: 22455445
25.  The 5′ Flanking Region and Intron1 of the Bovine Prion Protein Gene (PRNP) Are Responsible for Negative Feedback Regulation of the Prion Protein 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32870.
Transcription factors regulate gene expression by controlling the transcription rate. Some genes can repress their own expression to prevent over production of the corresponding protein, although the mechanism and significance of this negative feedback regulation remains unclear. In the present study, we describe negative feedback regulation of the bovine prion protein (PrP) gene PRNP in Japanese Black cattle. The PrP-expressing plasmid pEF-boPrP and luciferase-expressing plasmids containing the partial promoter fragment of PRNP incorporating naturally occurring single-nucleotide or insertion/deletion polymorphisms were transfected into N2a cells. Transfection of pEF-boPrP induced PrP overexpression and decreased the promoter activity of PRNP in the wild-type haplotype (23-bp Del, 12-bp Del, and −47C). Reporter gene assays further demonstrated that the 12- and 23-bp Ins/Del polymorphisms, which are thought to be associated with Sp1 (Specific protein 1) and RP58 (Repressor Protein with a predicted molecular mass of 58 kDa), in intron1 and the upstream region, respectively, and an additional polymorphism (−47C→A) in the Sp1-binding site responded differently to PrP overexpression. With the −47C SNP, the presence of the Del in either the 23-bp Ins/Del or the 12-bp Ins/Del allele was essential for the negative feedback caused by PrP overexpression. Furthermore, deletion mutants derived from the wild-type haplotype showed that nucleotides −315 to +2526, which include the 5′-flanking region and exon1, were essential for the response. These results indicate that certain negative feedback response elements are located in these sequences, suggesting that regulation by transcription factors such as Sp1 and RP58 may contribute to the negative feedback mechanism of PRNP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032870
PMCID: PMC3296761  PMID: 22412936

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