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1.  Functional Properties and Genetic Relatedness of the Fusion and Hemagglutinin-Neuraminidase Proteins of a Mumps Virus-Like Bat Virus 
Journal of Virology  2015;89(8):4539-4548.
A bat virus with high phylogenetic relatedness to human mumps virus (MuV) was identified recently at the nucleic acid level. We analyzed the functional activities of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) and the fusion (F) proteins of the bat virus (batMuV) and compared them to the respective proteins of a human isolate. Transfected cells expressing the F and HN proteins of batMuV were recognized by antibodies directed against these proteins of human MuV, indicating that both viruses are serologically related. Fusion, hemadsorption, and neuraminidase activities were demonstrated for batMuV, and either bat-derived protein could substitute for its human MuV counterpart in inducing syncytium formation when coexpressed in different mammalian cell lines, including chiropteran cells. Cells expressing batMuV glycoproteins were shown to have lower neuraminidase activity. The syncytia were smaller, and they were present in lower numbers than those observed after coexpression of the corresponding glycoproteins of a clinical isolate of MuV (hMuV). The phenotypic differences in the neuraminidase and fusion activity between the glycoproteins of batMuV and hMuV are explained by differences in the expression level of the HN and F proteins of the two viruses. In the case of the F protein, analysis of chimeric proteins revealed that the signal peptide of the bat MuV fusion protein is responsible for the lower surface expression. These results indicate that the surface glycoproteins of batMuV are serologically and functionally related to those of hMuV, raising the possibility of bats as a reservoir for interspecies transmission.
IMPORTANCE The recently described MuV-like bat virus is unique among other recently identified human-like bat-associated viruses because of its high sequence homology (approximately 90% in most genes) to its human counterpart. Although it is not known if humans can be infected by batMuV, the antigenic relatedness between the bat and human forms of the virus suggests that humans carrying neutralizing antibodies against MuV are protected from infection by batMuV. The close functional relationship between MuV and batMuV is demonstrated by cooperation of the respective HN and F proteins to induce syncytium formation in heterologous expression studies. An interesting feature of the glycoproteins of batMuV is the downregulation of the fusion activity by the signal peptide of F, which has not been reported for other paramyxoviruses. These results are important contributions for risk assessment and for a better understanding of the replication strategy of batMuV.
PMCID: PMC4442385  PMID: 25741010
2.  Analysis of Ebola Virus Entry Into Macrophages 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2015;212(Suppl 2):S247-S257.
Ebolaviruses constitute a public health threat, particularly in Central and Western Africa. Host cell factors required for spread of ebolaviruses may serve as targets for antiviral intervention. Lectins, TAM receptor tyrosine kinases (Tyro3, Axl, Mer), T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain (TIM) proteins, integrins, and Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) have been reported to promote entry of ebolaviruses into certain cellular systems. However, the factors used by ebolaviruses to invade macrophages, major viral targets, are poorly defined. Here, we show that mannose-specific lectins, TIM-1 and Axl augment entry into certain cell lines but do not contribute to Ebola virus (EBOV)-glycoprotein (GP)–driven transduction of macrophages. In contrast, expression of Mer, integrin αV, and NPC1 was required for efficient GP-mediated transduction and EBOV infection of macrophages. These results define cellular factors hijacked by EBOV for entry into macrophages and, considering that Mer and integrin αV promote phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, support the concept that EBOV relies on apoptotic mimicry to invade target cells.
PMCID: PMC4564540  PMID: 25877552
Ebolavirus; macrophage; entry; Mer; NPC-1
3.  Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus inhibits dsRNA-induced interferon-β production in porcine intestinal epithelial cells by blockade of the RIG-I-mediated pathway 
Virology Journal  2015;12:127.
The lack of optimal porcine cell lines has severely impeded the study and progress in elucidation of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) pathogenesis. Vero cell, an African green monkey kidney cell line, was often used to isolate and propagate PEDV. Nonetheless, the target cells of PEDV in vivo are intestinal epithelial cells, during infection, intestinal epithelia would be damaged and resulted in digestive disorders. The immune functions of porcine epithelial cells and interactions with other immune cell populations display a number of differences compared to other species. Type I interferon (IFN) plays an important role in antiviral immune response. Limited reports showed that PEDV could inhibit type I interferon production. In this study, porcine small intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), the target cells of PEDV, were used as the infection model in vitro to identify the possible molecular mechanisms of PEDV-inhibition IFN-β production.
PEDV not only failed to induce IFN-β expression, but also inhibited dsRNA-mediated IFN-β production in IECs. As the key IFN-β transcription factors, we found that dsRNA-induced activation of IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3) was inhibited after PEDV infection, but not nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB). To identify the mechanism of PEDV intervention with dsRNA-mediated IFN-β expression more accurately, the role of individual molecules of RIG-I signaling pathway were investigated. In the upstream of IRF-3, TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1)-or inhibitor of κB kinase-ε (IKKε)-mediated IFN-β production was not blocked by PEDV, while RIG-I-and its adapter molecule IFN-β promoter stimulator 1 (IPS-1)-mediated IFN-β production were completely inhibited after PEDV infection.
Taken together, our data demonstrated for the first time that PEDV infection of its target cell line, IECs, inhibited dsRNA-mediated IFN-β production by blocking the activation of IPS-1 in RIG-I-mediated pathway. Our studies offered new visions in understanding of the interaction between PEDV and host innate immune system.
PMCID: PMC4539884  PMID: 26283628
4.  Attachment Protein G of an African Bat Henipavirus Is Differentially Restricted in Chiropteran and Nonchiropteran Cells 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(20):11973-11980.
Henipaviruses are associated with pteropodid reservoir hosts. The glycoproteins G and F of an African henipavirus (strain M74) have been reported to induce syncytium formation in kidney cells derived from a Hypsignathus monstrosus bat (HypNi/1.1) but not in nonchiropteran BHK-21 and Vero76 cells. Here, we show that syncytia are also induced in two other pteropodid cell lines from Hypsignathus monstrosus and Eidolon helvum bats upon coexpression of the M74 glycoproteins. The G protein was transported to the surface of transfected chiropteran cells, whereas surface expression in the nonchiropteran cells was detectable only in a fraction of cells. In contrast, the G protein of Nipah virus is transported efficiently to the surface of both chiropteran and nonchiropteran cells. Even in chiropteran cells, M74-G was predominantly expressed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), as indicated by colocalization with marker proteins. This result is consistent with the finding that all N-glycans of the M74-G proteins are of the mannose-rich type, as indicated by sensitivity to endo H treatment. These data indicate that the surface transport of M74-G is impaired in available cell culture systems, with larger amounts of viral glycoprotein present on chiropteran cells than on nonchiropteran cells. The restricted surface expression of M74-G explains the reduced fusion activity of the glycoproteins of the African henipavirus. Our results suggest strategies for the isolation of infectious viruses, which is necessary to assess the risk of zoonotic virus transmission.
IMPORTANCE Henipaviruses are highly pathogenic zoonotic viruses associated with pteropodid bat hosts. Whether the recently described African bat henipaviruses have a zoonotic potential as high as that of their Asian and Australian relatives is unknown. We show that surface expression of the attachment protein G of an African henipavirus, M74, is restricted in comparison to the G protein expression of the highly pathogenic Nipah virus. Transport to the cell surface is more restricted in nonchiropteran cells than it is in chiropteran cells, explaining the differential fusion activity of the M74 surface proteins in these cells. Our results imply that surface expression of viral glycoproteins may serve as a major marker to assess the zoonotic risk of emerging henipaviruses.
PMCID: PMC4178722  PMID: 25100832
5.  Surface Glycoproteins of an African Henipavirus Induce Syncytium Formation in a Cell Line Derived from an African Fruit Bat, Hypsignathus monstrosus 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(24):13889-13891.
Serological screening and detection of genomic RNA indicates that members of the genus Henipavirus are present not only in Southeast Asia but also in African fruit bats. We demonstrate that the surface glycoproteins F and G of an African henipavirus (M74) induce syncytium formation in a kidney cell line derived from an African fruit bat, Hypsignathus monstrosus. Despite a less broad cell tropism, the M74 glycoproteins show functional similarities to glycoproteins of Nipah virus.
PMCID: PMC3838219  PMID: 24067951
6.  Characterization of the Sialic Acid Binding Activity of Influenza A Viruses Using Soluble Variants of the H7 and H9 Hemagglutinins 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89529.
Binding of influenza viruses to target cells is mediated by the viral surface protein hemagglutinin. To determine the presence of binding sites for influenza A viruses on cells and tissues, soluble hemagglutinins of the H7 and H9 subtype were generated by connecting the hemagglutinin ectodomain to the Fc portion of human immunoglobulin G (H7Fc and H9Fc). Both chimeric proteins bound to different cells and tissues in a sialic acid-dependent manner. Pronounced differences were observed between H7Fc and H9Fc, in the binding both to different mammalian and avian cultured cells and to cryosections of the respiratory epithelium of different virus host species (turkey, chicken and pig). Binding of the soluble hemagglutinins was similar to the binding of virus particles, but showed differences in the binding pattern when compared to two sialic acid-specific plant lectins. These findings were substantiated by a comparative glycan array analysis revealing a very narrow recognition of sialoglycoconjugates by the plant lectins that does not reflect the glycan structures preferentially recognized by H7Fc and H9Fc. Thus, soluble hemagglutinins may serve as sialic acid-specific lectins and are a more reliable indicator of the presence of binding sites for influenza virus HA than the commonly used plant lectins.
PMCID: PMC3931807  PMID: 24586849
7.  Three viruses of the bovine respiratory disease complex apply different strategies to initiate infection 
Veterinary Research  2014;45(1):20.
Bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) is the major cause of serious respiratory tract infections in calves. The disease is multifactorial, with either stress or reduced immunity allowing several pathogens to emerge. We investigated the susceptibility of bovine airway epithelial cells (BAEC) to infection by the three major viruses associated with the BRDC: bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) and bovine parainfluenza virus type 3 (BPIV3). For this purpose, two culture systems for well-differentiated BAEC were used: the air-liquid interface (ALI) system, where filter-grown BAEC differentiate into a pseudostratified respiratory epithelium and precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) where BAEC are maintained in the original tissue organisation. Comparative infection studies demonstrated that entry and release of BPIV3 occurred specifically via the apical membrane with ciliated cells being the major target cells. By contrast, airway epithelial cells were largely resistant to infection by BHV-1. When the epithelial barrier was abolished by opening tight junctions or by injuring the cell monolayer, BHV-1 infected mainly basal cells. Respiratory epithelial cells were also refractory to infection by BRSV. However, this virus infected neither differentiated epithelial cells nor basal cells when the integrity of the epithelial barrier was destroyed. In contrast to cells of the airway epithelium, subepithelial cells were susceptible to infection by BRSV. Altogether, these results indicate that the three viruses of the same disease complex follow different strategies to interact with the airway epithelium. Possible entry mechanisms are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3942114  PMID: 24548739
8.  Innate immune response to a H3N2 subtype swine influenza virus in newborn porcine trachea cells, alveolar macrophages, and precision-cut lung slices 
Veterinary Research  2014;45(1):42.
Viral respiratory diseases remain of major importance in swine breeding units. Swine influenza virus (SIV) is one of the main known contributors to infectious respiratory diseases. The innate immune response to swine influenza viruses has been assessed in many previous studies. However most of these studies were carried out in a single-cell population or directly in the live animal, in all its complexity. In the current study we report the use of a trachea epithelial cell line (newborn pig trachea cells – NPTr) in comparison with alveolar macrophages and lung slices for the characterization of innate immune response to an infection by a European SIV of the H3N2 subtype. The expression pattern of transcripts involved in the recognition of the virus, interferon type I and III responses, and the host-response regulation were assessed by quantitative PCR in response to infection. Some significant differences were observed between the three systems, notably in the expression of type III interferon mRNA. Then, results show a clear induction of JAK/STAT and MAPK signaling pathways in infected NPTr cells. Conversely, PI3K/Akt signaling pathways was not activated. The inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway clearly reduced interferon type I and III responses and the induction of SOCS1 at the transcript level in infected NPTr cells. Similarly, the inhibition of MAPK pathway reduced viral replication and interferon response. All together, these results contribute to an increased understanding of the innate immune response to H3N2 SIV and may help identify strategies to effectively control SIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4021251  PMID: 24712747
9.  Differences in the tissue tropism to chicken oviduct epithelial cells between avian coronavirus IBV strains QX and B1648 are not related to the sialic acid binding properties of their spike proteins 
Veterinary Research  2014;45(1):67.
The avian coronavirus (AvCoV) infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a major poultry pathogen. A characteristic feature of IBV is the occurrence of many different strains belonging to different serotypes, which makes a complete control of the disease by vaccinations a challenging task. Reasons for differences in the tissue tropism and pathogenicity between IBV strains, e.g. a predilection for the kidneys or the oviduct are still an open question. Strains of the QX genotype have been major pathogens in poultry flocks in Asia, Europe and other parts of the world. They are the cause of severe problems with kidney disease and reproductive tract disorders. We analysed infectivity and binding properties of the QX strain and compared them with those of the nephropathogenic strain B1648. As most IBV strains do not infect permanent cell lines and show infection only in primary chicken cells of the target organs, we developed a culture system for chicken oviduct explants. The epithelial cells of the oviduct showed a high susceptibility to infection by the QX strain and were almost resistant to infection by the nephropathogenic B1648 strain. Binding tests with isolated primary oviduct epithelial cells and soluble S1 proteins revealed that S1 proteins of two IBV strains bound with the same efficiency to oviduct epithelial cells. This attachment was sialic acid dependent, indicating that the sugar binding property of IBV spike proteins is not the limiting factor for differences in infection efficiency for the oviduct of the corresponding viruses.
PMCID: PMC4076756  PMID: 24928425
10.  Differential Sensitivity of Bat Cells to Infection by Enveloped RNA Viruses: Coronaviruses, Paramyxoviruses, Filoviruses, and Influenza Viruses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72942.
Bats (Chiroptera) host major human pathogenic viruses including corona-, paramyxo, rhabdo- and filoviruses. We analyzed six different cell lines from either Yinpterochiroptera (including African flying foxes and a rhinolophid bat) or Yangochiroptera (genera Carollia and Tadarida) for susceptibility to infection by different enveloped RNA viruses. None of the cells were sensitive to infection by transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), a porcine coronavirus, or to infection mediated by the Spike (S) protein of SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) incorporated into pseudotypes based on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The resistance to infection was overcome if cells were transfected to express the respective cellular receptor, porcine aminopeptidase N for TGEV or angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 for SARS-CoV. VSV pseudotypes containing the S proteins of two bat SARS-related CoV (Bg08 and Rp3) were unable to infect any of the six tested bat cell lines. By contrast, viral pseudotypes containing the surface protein GP of Marburg virus from the family Filoviridae infected all six cell lines though at different efficiency. Notably, all cells were sensitive to infection by two paramyxoviruses (Sendai virus and bovine respiratory syncytial virus) and three influenza viruses from different subtypes. These results indicate that bat cells are more resistant to infection by coronaviruses than to infection by paramyxoviruses, filoviruses and influenza viruses. Furthermore, these results show a receptor-dependent restriction of the infection of bat cells by CoV. The implications for the isolation of coronaviruses from bats are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3758312  PMID: 24023659
11.  Sialic Acid Binding Properties of Soluble Coronavirus Spike (S1) Proteins: Differences between Infectious Bronchitis Virus and Transmissible Gastroenteritis Virus 
Viruses  2013;5(8):1924-1933.
The spike proteins of a number of coronaviruses are able to bind to sialic acids present on the cell surface. The importance of this sialic acid binding ability during infection is, however, quite different. We compared the spike protein of transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and the spike protein of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). Whereas sialic acid is the only receptor determinant known so far for IBV, TGEV requires interaction with its receptor aminopeptidase N to initiate infection of cells. Binding tests with soluble spike proteins carrying an IgG Fc-tag revealed pronounced differences between these two viral proteins. Binding of the IBV spike protein to host cells was in all experiments sialic acid dependent, whereas the soluble TGEV spike showed binding to APN but had no detectable sialic acid binding activity. Our results underline the different ways in which binding to sialoglycoconjugates is mediated by coronavirus spike proteins.
PMCID: PMC3761233  PMID: 23896748
Coronavirus; spike protein; sialic acid receptor; TGEV; IBV
12.  Evaluation on the Efficacy and Immunogenicity of Recombinant DNA Plasmids Expressing Spike Genes from Porcine Transmissible Gastroenteritis Virus and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57468.
Porcine transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PDEV) can cause severe diarrhea in pigs. Development of effective vaccines against TGEV and PEDV is one of important prevention measures. The spike (S) protein is the surface glycoprotein of TGEV and PEDV, which can induce specific neutralization antibodies and is a candidate antigen for vaccination attempts. In this study, the open reading frames of the TGEV S1 protein and in addition of the S or S1 proteins of PEDV were inserted into the eukaryotic expression vector, pIRES, resulting in recombinant plasmids, pIRES-(TGEV-S1-PEDV-S1) and pIRES-(TGEV-S1-PEDV-S). Subsequently, 6–8 weeks old Kunming mice were inoculated with both DNA plasmids. Lymphocyte proliferation assay, virus neutralization assay, IFN-γ assay and CTL activity assay were performed. TGEV/PEDV specific antibody responses as well as kinetic changes of T lymphocyte subgroups of the immunized mice were analyzed. The results showed that the recombinant DNA plasmids increased the proliferation of T lymphocytes and the number of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocyte subgroups. In addition, the DNA vaccines induced a high level of IFN-γ in the immunized mice. The specific CTL activity in the pIRES-(TGEV-S1-PEDV-S) group became significant at 42 days post-immunization. At 35 days post-immunization, the recombinant DNA plasmids bearing full-length S genes of TGEV and PEDV stimulated higher levels of specific antibodies and neutralizing antibodies in immunized mice.
PMCID: PMC3602451  PMID: 23526943
13.  Replication characteristics of swine influenza viruses in precision-cut lung slices reflect the virulence properties of the viruses 
Veterinary Research  2013;44(1):110.
Precision-cut lung slices of pigs were infected with five swine influenza A viruses of different subtypes (A/sw/Potsdam/15/1981 H1N1, A/sw/Bad Griesbach/IDT5604/2006 H1N1, A/sw/Bakum/1832/2000 H1N2, A/sw/Damme/IDT5673/2006 H3N2, A/sw/Herford/IDT5932/2007 H3N2). The viruses were able to infect ciliated and mucus-producing cells. The infection of well-differentiated respiratory epithelial cells by swine influenza A viruses was analyzed with respect to the kinetics of virus release into the supernatant. The highest titres were determined for H3N2/2006 and H3N2/2007 viruses. H1N1/1981 and H1N2/2000 viruses replicated somewhat slower than the H3N2 viruses whereas a H1N1 strain from 2006 multiplied at significantly lower titres than the other strains. Regarding their ability to induce a ciliostatic effect, the two H3N2 strains were found to be most virulent. H1N1/1981 and H1N2/2000 were somewhat less virulent with respect to their effect on ciliary activity. The lowest ciliostatic effect was observed with H1N1/2006. In order to investigate whether this finding is associated with a corresponding virulence in the host, pigs were infected experimentally with H3N2/2006, H1N2/2000, H1N1/1981 and H1N1/2006 viruses. The H1N1/2006 virus was significantly less virulent than the other viruses in pigs which was in agreement with the results obtained by the in vitro-studies. These findings offer the possibility to develop an ex vivo-system that is able to assess virulence of swine influenza A viruses.
PMCID: PMC3840634  PMID: 24225030
14.  Comparative Analysis of Ebola Virus Glycoprotein Interactions With Human and Bat Cells 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(Suppl 3):S840-S849.
Infection with Ebola virus (EBOV) causes hemorrhagic fever in humans with high case-fatality rates. The EBOV-glycoprotein (EBOV-GP) facilitates viral entry and promotes viral release from human cells. African fruit bats are believed not to develop disease upon EBOV infection and have been proposed as a natural reservoir of EBOV. We compared EBOV-GP interactions with human cells and cells from African fruit bats. We found that susceptibility to EBOV-GP–dependent infection was not limited to bat cells from potential reservoir species, and we observed that GP displayed similar biological properties in human and bat cells. The only exception was GP localization, which was to a greater extent intracellular in bat cells as compared to human cells. Collectively, our results suggest that GP interactions with fruit bat and human cells are similar and do not limit EBOV tropism for certain bat species.
PMCID: PMC3189982  PMID: 21987760
15.  Infection of Differentiated Porcine Airway Epithelial Cells by Influenza Virus: Differential Susceptibility to Infection by Porcine and Avian Viruses 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28429.
Swine are important hosts for influenza A viruses playing a crucial role in the epidemiology and interspecies transmission of these viruses. Respiratory epithelial cells are the primary target cells for influenza viruses.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To analyze the infection of porcine airway epithelial cells by influenza viruses, we established precision-cut lung slices as a culture system for differentiated respiratory epithelial cells. Both ciliated and mucus-producing cells were found to be susceptible to infection by swine influenza A virus (H3N2 subtype) with high titers of infectious virus released into the supernatant already one day after infection. By comparison, growth of two avian influenza viruses (subtypes H9N2 and H7N7) was delayed by about 24 h. The two avian viruses differed both in the spectrum of susceptible cells and in the efficiency of replication. As the H9N2 virus grew to titers that were only tenfold lower than that of a porcine H3N2 virus this avian virus is an interesting candidate for interspecies transmission. Lectin staining indicated the presence of both α-2,3- and α-2,6-linked sialic acids on airway epithelial cells. However, their distribution did not correlate with pattern of virus infection indicating that staining by plant lectins is not a reliable indicator for the presence of cellular receptors for influenza viruses.
Differentiated respiratory epithelial cells significantly differ in their susceptibility to infection by avian influenza viruses. We expect that the newly described precision-cut lung slices from the swine lung are an interesting culture system to analyze the infection of differentiated respiratory epithelial cells by different pathogens (viral, bacterial and parasitic ones) of swine.
PMCID: PMC3235120  PMID: 22174804
16.  The SARS-Coronavirus-Host Interactome: Identification of Cyclophilins as Target for Pan-Coronavirus Inhibitors 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(10):e1002331.
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are important human and animal pathogens that induce fatal respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological disease. The outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002/2003 has demonstrated human vulnerability to (Coronavirus) CoV epidemics. Neither vaccines nor therapeutics are available against human and animal CoVs. Knowledge of host cell proteins that take part in pivotal virus-host interactions could define broad-spectrum antiviral targets. In this study, we used a systems biology approach employing a genome-wide yeast-two hybrid interaction screen to identify immunopilins (PPIA, PPIB, PPIH, PPIG, FKBP1A, FKBP1B) as interaction partners of the CoV non-structural protein 1 (Nsp1). These molecules modulate the Calcineurin/NFAT pathway that plays an important role in immune cell activation. Overexpression of NSP1 and infection with live SARS-CoV strongly increased signalling through the Calcineurin/NFAT pathway and enhanced the induction of interleukin 2, compatible with late-stage immunopathogenicity and long-term cytokine dysregulation as observed in severe SARS cases. Conversely, inhibition of cyclophilins by cyclosporine A (CspA) blocked the replication of CoVs of all genera, including SARS-CoV, human CoV-229E and -NL-63, feline CoV, as well as avian infectious bronchitis virus. Non-immunosuppressive derivatives of CspA might serve as broad-range CoV inhibitors applicable against emerging CoVs as well as ubiquitous pathogens of humans and livestock.
Author Summary
Broad-range anti-infective drugs are well known against bacteria, fungi, and parasites. These pathogens maintain their own metabolism distinctive from that of the host. Broad-range drugs can be obtained by targeting elements that several of these organisms have in common. In contrast, target overlap between different viruses is minimal. The replication of viruses is highly interweaved with the metabolism of the host cell. A high potential in the development of antivirals with broad activity might therefore reside in the identification of host factors elemental to virus replication. In this work we followed a systems biology approach, screening for interactions between virus and host proteins by employing an automated yeast-two-hybrid setup. Upon binding of a viral protein to cyclophilins the screen led to the identification of the Calcineurin/NFAT pathway possibly being involved in the pathogenesis of SARS-Coronavirus. Secondly, cyclophilins were suggested to play an elemental role in virus replication since cyclosporin A inhibited replication of all Coronavirus prototype members tested. This large range of viruses includes common cold viruses, the SARS agent, as well as a range of animal viruses. For the first time this work shows that an undirected, systems-biology approach could identify a host-encoded, broad-range antiviral target.
PMCID: PMC3203193  PMID: 22046132
17.  The sialic acid binding activity of the S protein facilitates infection by porcine transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus 
Virology Journal  2011;8:435.
Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) has a sialic acid binding activity that is believed to be important for enteropathogenicity, but that has so far appeared to be dispensable for infection of cultured cells. The aims of this study were to determine the effect of sialic acid binding for the infection of cultured cells under unfavorable conditions, and comparison of TGEV strains and mutants, as well as the avian coronavirus IBV concerning their dependence on the sialic acid binding activity.
The infectivity of different viruses was analyzed by a plaque assay after adsorption times of 5, 20, and 60 min. Prior to infection, cultured cells were either treated with neuraminidase to deplete sialic acids from the cell surface, or mock-treated. In a second approach, pre-treatment of the virus with porcine intestinal mucin was performed, followed by the plaque assay after a 5 min adsorption time. A student's t-test was used to verify the significance of the results.
Desialylation of cells only had a minor effect on the infection by TGEV strain Purdue 46 when an adsorption period of 60 min was allowed for initiation of infection. However, when the adsorption time was reduced to 5 min the infectivity on desialylated cells decreased by more than 60%. A TGEV PUR46 mutant (HAD3) deficient in sialic acid binding showed a 77% lower titer than the parental virus after a 5 min adsorption time. After an adsorption time of 60 min the titer of HAD3 was 58% lower than that of TGEV PUR46. Another TGEV strain, TGEV Miller, and IBV Beaudette showed a reduction in infectivity after neuraminidase treatment of the cultured cells irrespective of the virion adsorption time.
Our results suggest that the sialic acid binding activity facilitates the infection by TGEV under unfavorable environmental conditions. The dependence on the sialic acid binding activity for an efficient infection differs in the analyzed TGEV strains.
PMCID: PMC3184106  PMID: 21910859
coronavirus S protein; sialic acid binding activity; TGEV; IBV; cultured cells
18.  Action Mechanisms of Lithium Chloride on Cell Infection by Transmissible Gastroenteritis Coronavirus 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e18669.
Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) is a porcine coronavirus. Lithium chloride (LiCl) has been found to be effective against several DNA viruses, such as Herpes simplex virus and vaccinia virus. Recently, we and others have reported the inhibitory effect of LiCl on avian infectious bronchitis coronavirus (IBV) infection, an RNA virus. In the current study, the action mechanism of LiCl on cell infection by TGEV was investigated. Plaque assays and 3-(4,5)-dimethylthiahiazo(-z-y1)-3,5-di-phenyl tetrazoliumbromide (MTT) assays showed that the cell infection by TGEV was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner, when LiCl was added to virus-infected cells; the cell infection was not affected when either cells or viruses were pretreated with the drug. The inhibition of TGEV infection in vitro by LiCl was observed at different virus doses and with different cell lines. The inhibitory effect of LiCl against TGEV infection and transcription was confirmed by RT-PCR and real-time PCR targeting viral S and 3CL-protease genes. The time-of-addition effect of the drug on TGEV infection indicated that LiCl acted on the initial and late stage of TGEV infection. The production of virus was not detected at 36 h post-infection due to the drug treatment. Moreover, immunofluorescence (IF) and flow cytometry analyses based on staining of Annexin V and propidium iodide staining of nuclei indicated that early and late cell apoptosis induced by TGEV was inhibited efficiently. The ability of LiCl to inhibit apoptosis was investigated by IF analysis of caspase-3 expression. Our data indicate that LiCl inhibits TGEV infection by exerting an anti-apoptotic effect. The inhibitory effect of LiCl was also observed with porcine epidemic diarrhea coronavirus. Together with other reports concerning the inhibitory effect of lithium salts on IBV in cell culture, our results indicate that LiCl may be a potent agent against porcine and avian coronaviruses.
PMCID: PMC3089605  PMID: 21573100
19.  Genomic Characterization of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Related Coronavirus in European Bats and Classification of Coronaviruses Based on Partial RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Gene Sequences▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(21):11336-11349.
Bats may host emerging viruses, including coronaviruses (CoV). We conducted an evaluation of CoV in rhinolophid and vespertilionid bat species common in Europe. Rhinolophids carried severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related CoV at high frequencies and concentrations (26% of animals are positive; up to 2.4 × 108 copies per gram of feces), as well as two Alphacoronavirus clades, one novel and one related to the HKU2 clade. All three clades present in Miniopterus bats in China (HKU7, HKU8, and 1A related) were also present in European Miniopterus bats. An additional novel Alphacoronavirus clade (bat CoV [BtCoV]/BNM98-30) was detected in Nyctalus leisleri. A CoV grouping criterion was developed by comparing amino acid identities across an 816-bp fragment of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRp) of all accepted mammalian CoV species (RdRp-based grouping units [RGU]). Criteria for defining separate RGU in mammalian CoV were a >4.8% amino acid distance for alphacoronaviruses and a >6.3% distance for betacoronaviruses. All the above-mentioned novel clades represented independent RGU. Strict associations between CoV RGU and host bat genera were confirmed for six independent RGU represented simultaneously in China and Europe. A SARS-related virus (BtCoV/BM48-31/Bulgaria/2008) from a Rhinolophus blasii (Rhi bla) bat was fully sequenced. It is predicted that proteins 3b and 6 were highly divergent from those proteins in all known SARS-related CoV. Open reading frame 8 (ORF8) was surprisingly absent. Surface expression of spike and staining with sera of SARS survivors suggested low antigenic overlap with SARS CoV. However, the receptor binding domain of SARS CoV showed higher similarity with that of BtCoV/BM48-31/Bulgaria/2008 than with that of any Chinese bat-borne CoV. Critical spike domains 472 and 487 were identical and similar, respectively. This study underlines the importance of assessments of the zoonotic potential of widely distributed bat-borne CoV.
PMCID: PMC2953168  PMID: 20686038
20.  Differential Sensitivity of Well-Differentiated Avian Respiratory Epithelial Cells to Infection by Different Strains of Infectious Bronchitis Virus▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(17):8949-8952.
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is an avian coronavirus affecting the respiratory tract of chickens. To analyze IBV infection of the lower respiratory tract, we applied a technique that uses precision-cut lung slices (PCLSs). This method allows infection of bronchial cells within their natural tissue composition under in vitro conditions. We demonstrate that IBV strains 4/91, Italy02, and QX infect ciliated and mucus-producing cells of the bronchial epithelium, whereas cells of the parabronchial tissue are resistant to infection. This is the first study, using PCLSs of chicken origin, to analyze virus infection. PCLSs should also be a valuable tool for investigation of other respiratory pathogens, such as avian influenza viruses.
PMCID: PMC2919026  PMID: 20538853
21.  Differential Sensitivity of Differentiated Epithelial Cells to Respiratory Viruses Reveals Different Viral Strategies of Host Infection▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;83(4):1962-1968.
To address the initiation of virus infection in the respiratory tract, we established two culture systems for differentiated bovine airway epithelial cells (BAEC). Filter-grown BAEC differentiated under air-liquid interface (ALI) conditions to generate a pseudo-stratified mucociliary epithelium. Alternatively, precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) from the bovine airways were generated that retained the original composition and distribution of differentiated epithelial cells. With both systems, epithelial cells were readily infected by bovine parainfluenza virus 3 (BPIV3). Ciliated cells were the most prominent cell type affected by BPIV3. Surprisingly, differentiated BAEC were resistant to infection by bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), when the virus was applied at the same multiplicity of infection that was sufficient for infection by BPIV3. In the case of PCLS, infection by BRSV was observed in cells located in lower cell layers but not in epithelial cells facing the lumen of the airways. The identity of the infected cells could not be determined because of a lack of specific antibodies. Increasing the virus titer 30-fold resulted in infection of the ALI cultures of BAEC, whereas in PCLS the ciliated epithelium was still refractory to infection by BRSV. These results indicate that differentiated BAEC are readily infected by BPIV3 but rather resistant to infection by BRSV. Disease caused by BRSV may require that calves encounter environmental stimuli that render BAEC susceptible to infection.
PMCID: PMC2643795  PMID: 19052091
22.  The Spike Protein of Infectious Bronchitis Virus Is Retained Intracellularly by a Tyrosine Motif▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;82(6):2765-2771.
We have analyzed the intracellular transport of the spike (S) protein of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), an avian coronavirus. Surface expression was analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy, by surface biotinylation, and by syncytium formation by S-expressing cells. By applying these methods, the S protein was found to be retained intracellularly. Tyr1143 in the cytoplasmic tail was shown to be a crucial component of the retention signal. Deletion of a dilysine motif that has previously been suggested to function as a retrieval signal did not abolish intracellular retention. Treatment of the S proteins with endoglycosidases did not reveal any differences between the parental and the mutant proteins. Furthermore, all S proteins analyzed were posttranslationally cleaved into the subunits S1 and S2. In coexpression experiments, the S protein was found to colocalize with a Golgi marker. Taken together, these results indicate that the S protein of IBV is retained at a late Golgi compartment. Therefore, this viral surface protein differs from the S proteins of transmissible gastroenteritis virus and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which are retained at a pre-Golgi compartment or transported to the cell surface, respectively. The implications of these differences are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2258963  PMID: 18094153
23.  Canine Distemper Virus Infection Requires Cholesterol in the Viral Envelope▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(8):4158-4165.
Cholesterol is known to play an important role in stabilizing particular cellular membrane structures, so-called lipid or membrane rafts. For several viruses, a dependence on cholesterol for virus entry and/or morphogenesis has been shown. Using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy, we demonstrate that infection of cells by canine distemper virus (CDV) was not impaired after cellular cholesterol had been depleted by the drug methyl-β-cyclodextrin. This effect was independent of the multiplicity of infection and the cellular receptor used for infection. However, cholesterol depletion of the viral envelope significantly reduced CDV infectivity. Replenishment by addition of exogenous cholesterol restored infectivity up to 80%. Thus, we conclude that CDV entry is dependent on cholesterol in the viral envelope. Furthermore, reduced syncytium formation was observed when the cells were cholesterol depleted during the course of the infection. This may be related to the observation that CDV envelope proteins H and F partitioned into cellular detergent-resistant membranes. Therefore, a role for lipid rafts during virus assembly and release as well is suggested.
PMCID: PMC1866149  PMID: 17267508
24.  A Chimeric Respiratory Syncytial Virus Fusion Protein Functionally Replaces the F and HN Glycoproteins in Recombinant Sendai Virus 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(16):10467-10477.
Entry of most paramyxoviruses is accomplished by separate attachment and fusion proteins that function in a cooperative manner. Because of this close interdependence, it was not possible with most paramyxoviruses to replace either of the two protagonists by envelope glycoproteins from related paramyxoviruses. By using reverse genetics of Sendai virus (SeV), we demonstrate that chimeric respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) fusion proteins containing either the cytoplasmic domain of the SeV fusion protein or in addition the transmembrane domain were efficiently incorporated into SeV particles provided the homotypic SeV-F was deleted. In the presence of SeV-F, the chimeric glycoproteins were incorporated with significantly lower efficiency, indicating that determinants in the SeV-F ectodomain exist that contribute to glycoprotein uptake. Recombinant SeV in which the homotypic fusion protein was replaced with chimeric RSV fusion protein replicated in a trypsin-independent manner and was neutralized by antibodies directed to RSV-F. However, replication of this virus also relied on the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) as pretreatment of cells with neuraminidase significantly reduced the infection rate. Finally, recombinant SeV was generated with chimeric RSV-F as the only envelope glycoprotein. This virus was not neutralized by antibodies to SeV and did not use sialic acids for attachment. It replicated more slowly than hybrid virus containing HN and produced lower virus titers. Thus, on the one hand RSV-F can mediate infection in an autonomous way while on the other hand it accepts support by a heterologous attachment protein.
PMCID: PMC1182616  PMID: 16051839
25.  Binding of Transmissible Gastroenteritis Coronavirus to Brush Border Membrane Sialoglycoproteins 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(21):11846-11848.
Transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) is a porcine pathogen causing enteric infections that are lethal for suckling piglets. The enterotropism of TGEV is connected with the sialic acid binding activity of the viral surface protein S. Here we show that, among porcine intestinal brush border membrane proteins, TGEV recognizes a mucin-type glycoprotein designated MGP in a sialic acid-dependent fashion. Virus binding assays with cryosections of the small intestine from a suckling piglet revealed the binding of TGEV to mucin-producing goblet cells. A nonenteropathogenic mutant virus that lacked a sialic acid binding activity was unable to bind to MGP and to attach to goblet cells. Our results suggest a role of MGP in the enteropathogenicity of TGEV.
PMCID: PMC229351  PMID: 14557669

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