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1.  An Exposed Domain in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Spike Protein Induces Neutralizing Antibodies 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(13):7217-7226.
Exposed epitopes of the spike protein may be recognized by neutralizing antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (CoV). A protein fragment (S-II) containing predicted epitopes of the spike protein was expressed in Escherichia coli. The properly refolded protein fragment specifically bound to the surface of Vero cells. Monoclonal antibodies raised against this fragment recognized the native spike protein of SARS CoV in both monomeric and trimeric forms. These monoclonal antibodies were capable of blocking S-II attachment to Vero cells and exhibited in vitro antiviral activity. These neutralizing antibodies mapped to epitopes in two peptides, each comprising 20 amino acids. Thus, this region of the spike protein might be a target for generation of therapeutic neutralizing antibodies against SARS CoV and for vaccine development to elicit protective humoral immunity.
PMCID: PMC421657  PMID: 15194798
2.  Infection of Mice, Ferrets, and Rhesus Macaques with a Clinical Mumps Virus Isolate 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(14):8158-8168.
In recent years, many mumps outbreaks have occurred in vaccinated populations worldwide. The reasons for these outbreaks are not clear. Animal models are needed to investigate the causes of outbreaks and to understand the pathogenesis of mumps virus (MuV). In this study, we have examined the infection of three animal models with an isolate of mumps virus from a recent outbreak (MuV-IA). We have found that while both ferrets and mice generated humoral and cellular immune responses to MuV-IA infection, no obvious signs of illness were observed in these animals; rhesus macaques were the most susceptible to MuV-IA infection. Infection of rhesus macaques via both intranasal and intratracheal routes with MuV-IA led to the typical clinical signs of mumps 2 weeks to 4 weeks postinfection. However, none of the infected macaques showed any fever or neurologic signs during the experimental period. Mumps viral antigen was detected in parotid glands by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Rhesus macaques represent the best animal model for the study of mumps virus pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3700206  PMID: 23678169
3.  Use of a Safe, Reproducible, and Rapid Aerosol Delivery Method to Study Infection by Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76804.
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the etiologic agent of melioidosis, is a saprophytic bacterium readily isolated from wet soils of countries bordering the equator. Burkholderia mallei is a host-adapted clone of B. pseudomallei that does not persist outside of its equine reservoir and causes the zoonosis glanders, which is endemic in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Infection by these organisms typically occurs via percutaneous inoculation or inhalation of aerosols, and the most common manifestation is severe pneumonia leading to fatal bacteremia. Glanders and melioidosis are difficult to diagnose and require prolonged antibiotic therapy with low success rates. There are no vaccines available to protect against either Burkholderia species, and there is concern regarding their use as biological warfare agents given that B. mallei has previously been utilized in this manner. Hence, experiments were performed to establish a mouse model of aerosol infection to study the organisms and develop countermeasures. Using a hand-held aerosolizer, BALB/c mice were inoculated intratracheally with strains B. pseudomallei 1026b and B. mallei ATCC23344 and growth of the agents in the lungs, as well as dissemination to the spleen, were examined. Mice infected with 102, 103 and 104 organisms were unable to control growth of B. mallei in the lungs and bacteria rapidly disseminated to the spleen. Though similar results were observed in mice inoculated with 103 and 104 B. pseudomallei cells, animals infected with 102 organisms controlled bacterial replication in the lungs, dissemination to the spleen, and the extent of bacteremia. Analysis of sera from mice surviving acute infection revealed that animals produced antibodies against antigens known to be targets of the immune response in humans. Taken together, these data show that small volume aerosol inoculation of mice results in acute disease, dose-dependent chronic infection, and immune responses that correlate with those seen in human infections.
PMCID: PMC3788738  PMID: 24098563
4.  Recombinant Parainfluenza Virus 5 Expressing Hemagglutinin of Influenza A Virus H5N1 Protected Mice against Lethal Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus H5N1 Challenge 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(1):354-362.
A safe and effective vaccine is the best way to prevent large-scale highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) H5N1 outbreaks in the human population. The current FDA-approved H5N1 vaccine has serious limitations. A more efficacious H5N1 vaccine is urgently needed. Parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5), a paramyxovirus, is not known to cause any illness in humans. PIV5 is an attractive vaccine vector. In our studies, a single dose of a live recombinant PIV5 expressing a hemagglutinin (HA) gene of H5N1 (rPIV5-H5) from the H5N1 subtype provided sterilizing immunity against lethal doses of HPAI H5N1 infection in mice. Furthermore, we have examined the effect of insertion of H5N1 HA at different locations within the PIV5 genome on the efficacy of a PIV5-based vaccine. Interestingly, insertion of H5N1 HA between the leader sequence, the de facto promoter of PIV5, and the first viral gene, nucleoprotein (NP), did not lead to a viable virus. Insertion of H5N1 HA between NP and the next gene, V/phosphorprotein (V/P), led to a virus that was defective in growth. We have found that insertion of H5N1 HA at the junction between the small hydrophobic (SH) gene and the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene gave the best immunity against HPAI H5N1 challenge: a dose as low as 1,000 PFU was sufficient to protect against lethal HPAI H5N1 challenge in mice. The work suggests that recombinant PIV5 expressing H5N1 HA has great potential as an HPAI H5N1 vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3536412  PMID: 23077314
5.  Programming the magnitude and persistence of antibody responses with innate immunity 
Nature  2011;470(7335):543-547.
Many successful vaccines induce persistent antibody responses that can last a lifetime. The mechanisms by which they do so remain unclear, but emerging evidence suggests that they activate dendritic cells (DCs) via Toll-like receptors (TLRs)1,2. For example, the yellow fever vaccine YF-17D, one of the most successful empiric vaccines ever developed3, activates DCs via multiple TLRs to stimulate pro-inflammatory cytokines4,5. Triggering specific combinations of TLRs in DCs can induce synergistic production of cytokines6, which results in enhanced T cell responses, but its impact on antibody responses remain unknown. Learning the critical parameters of innate immunity that programs such antibody responses remains a major challenge in vaccinology. Here we demonstrate that immunization of mice with synthetic nanoparticles containing antigens plus Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands 4 + 7 induces synergistic increases in antigen-specific, neutralizing antibodies compared to immunization with a single TLR ligand. Consistent with this there was enhanced persistence of germinal centers (GCs), and of plasma cell responses, which persisted in the lymph nodes for >1.5 years. Surprisingly, there was no enhancement of the early short-lived plasma cell response, relative to that observed with single TLR ligands. Molecular profiling of activated B cells, isolated 7 days after immunization, indicated early programming towards B cell memory. Antibody responses were dependent on direct triggering of both TLRs on B cells and dendritic cells (DCs), as well as on T-cell help. Immunization protected completely against lethal avian and swine influenza virus strains in mice, and induced robust immunity against pandemic H1N1 influenza in rhesus macaques.
PMCID: PMC3057367  PMID: 21350488
6.  Characterization of conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies against rabies virus nucleoprotein 
Archives of virology  2010;155(8):1187-1192.
Three anti-rabies virus (RABV) nucleoprotein (N) monoclonal antibodies (Mab) were characterized by immunofluorescence assays, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. One of these Mabs recognized the antigen by all of the assays, while the other two recognized N only in the native form in the immunofluorescence assay. These data, together with epitope mapping studies, suggest that two anti-N Mabs recognize conformational epitopes located within the N-terminal region of the RABV N protein. The availability of Mabs specific for both linear and epitope-specific antibodies should prove valuable for rabies diagnosis as well as for RABV N protein structure–function studies.
PMCID: PMC2924575  PMID: 20521069
7.  Rabies Virus Expressing Dendritic Cell-Activating Molecules Enhances the Innate and Adaptive Immune Response to Vaccination ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(4):1634-1644.
Our previous studies indicated that recruitment and/or activation of dendritic cells (DCs) is important in enhancing the protective immune responses against rabies virus (RABV) (L. Zhao, H. Toriumi, H. Wang, Y. Kuang, X. Guo, K. Morimoto, and Z. F. Fu, J. Virol. 84:9642-9648). To address the importance of DC activation for RABV vaccine efficacy, the genes for several DC recruitment and/or activation molecules, e.g., granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP-1α), were individually cloned into RABV. The ability of these recombinant viruses to activate DCs was determined in vitro and in vivo. Infection of mouse bone marrow-derived DCs with each of the recombinant viruses resulted in DC activation, as shown by increased surface expression of CD11c and CD86 as well as an increased level of alpha interferon (IFN-α) production compared to levels observed after infection with the parent virus. Intramuscular infection of mice with each of the viruses recruited and/or activated more DCs and B cells in the periphery than infection with the parent virus, leading to the production of higher levels of virus-neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, a single immunization with recombinant RABV expressing GM-CSF or MDC protected significantly more mice against intracerebral challenge with virulent RABV than did immunization with the parental virus. Yet, these viruses did not show more virulence than the parent virus, since direct intracerebral inoculation with each virus at up to 1 × 107 fluorescent focus units each did not induce any overt clinic symptom, such as abnormal behavior, or any neurological signs. Together, these data indicate that recombinant RABVs expressing these molecules activate/recruit DCs and enhance protective immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3028913  PMID: 21106736
8.  Identification of Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei adhesins for human respiratory epithelial cells 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:250.
Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei cause the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. A well-studied aspect of pathogenesis by these closely-related bacteria is their ability to invade and multiply within eukaryotic cells. In contrast, the means by which B. pseudomallei and B. mallei adhere to cells are poorly defined. The purpose of this study was to identify adherence factors expressed by these organisms.
Comparative sequence analyses identified a gene product in the published genome of B. mallei strain ATCC23344 (locus # BMAA0649) that resembles the well-characterized Yersinia enterocolitica autotransporter adhesin YadA. The gene encoding this B. mallei protein, designated boaA, was expressed in Escherichia coli and shown to significantly increase adherence to human epithelial cell lines, specifically HEp2 (laryngeal cells) and A549 (type II pneumocytes), as well as to cultures of normal human bronchial epithelium (NHBE). Consistent with these findings, disruption of the boaA gene in B. mallei ATCC23344 reduced adherence to all three cell types by ~50%. The genomes of the B. pseudomallei strains K96243 and DD503 were also found to contain boaA and inactivation of the gene in DD503 considerably decreased binding to monolayers of HEp2 and A549 cells and to NHBE cultures.
A second YadA-like gene product highly similar to BoaA (65% identity) was identified in the published genomic sequence of B. pseudomallei strain K96243 (locus # BPSL1705). The gene specifying this protein, termed boaB, appears to be B. pseudomallei-specific. Quantitative attachment assays demonstrated that recombinant E. coli expressing BoaB displayed greater binding to A549 pneumocytes, HEp2 cells and NHBE cultures. Moreover, a boaB mutant of B. pseudomallei DD503 showed decreased adherence to these respiratory cells. Additionally, a B. pseudomallei strain lacking expression of both boaA and boaB was impaired in its ability to thrive inside J774A.1 murine macrophages, suggesting a possible role for these proteins in survival within professional phagocytic cells.
The boaA and boaB genes specify adhesins that mediate adherence to epithelial cells of the human respiratory tract. The boaA gene product is shared by B. pseudomallei and B. mallei whereas BoaB appears to be a B. pseudomallei-specific adherence factor.
PMCID: PMC2955633  PMID: 20920184
9.  Use of the Chinchilla Model to Evaluate the Vaccinogenic Potential of the Moraxella catarrhalis Filamentous Hemagglutinin-like Proteins MhaB1 and MhaB2 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67881.
Moraxella catarrhalis causes significant health problems, including 15–20% of otitis media cases in children and ∼10% of respiratory infections in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The lack of an efficacious vaccine, the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance in clinical isolates, and high carriage rates reported in children are cause for concern. In addition, the effectiveness of conjugate vaccines at reducing the incidence of otitis media caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae suggest that M. catarrhalis infections may become even more prevalent. Hence, M. catarrhalis is an important and emerging cause of infectious disease for which the development of a vaccine is highly desirable. Studying the pathogenesis of M. catarrhalis and the testing of vaccine candidates have both been hindered by the lack of an animal model that mimics human colonization and infection. To address this, we intranasally infected chinchilla with M. catarrhalis to investigate colonization and examine the efficacy of a protein-based vaccine. The data reveal that infected chinchillas produce antibodies against antigens known to be major targets of the immune response in humans, thus establishing immune parallels between chinchillas and humans during M. catarrhalis infection. Our data also demonstrate that a mutant lacking expression of the adherence proteins MhaB1 and MhaB2 is impaired in its ability to colonize the chinchilla nasopharynx, and that immunization with a polypeptide shared by MhaB1 and MhaB2 elicits antibodies interfering with colonization. These findings underscore the importance of adherence proteins in colonization and emphasize the relevance of the chinchilla model to study M. catarrhalis–host interactions.
PMCID: PMC3699455  PMID: 23844117
10.  Hydrophobic Inactivation of Influenza Viruses Confers Preservation of Viral Structure with Enhanced Immunogenicity▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(9):4612-4619.
The use of inactivated influenza virus for the development of vaccines with broad heterosubtypic protection requires selective inactivation techniques that eliminate viral infectivity while preserving structural integrity. Here we tested if a hydrophobic inactivation approach reported for retroviruses could be applied to the influenza virus. By this approach, the transmembrane domains of viral envelope proteins are selectively targeted by the hydrophobic photoactivatable compound 1,5-iodonaphthyl-azide (INA). This probe partitions into the lipid bilayer of the viral envelope and upon far UV irradiation reacts selectively with membrane-embedded domains of proteins and lipids while the protein domains that localize outside the bilayer remain unaffected. INA treatment of influenza virus blocked infection in a dose-dependent manner without disrupting the virion or affecting neuraminidase activity. Moreover, the virus maintained the full activity in inducing pH-dependent lipid mixing, but pH-dependent redistribution of viral envelope proteins into the target cell membrane was completely blocked. These results indicate that INA selectively blocks fusion of the virus with the target cell membrane at the pore formation and expansion step. Using a murine model of influenza virus infection, INA-inactivated influenza virus induced potent anti-influenza virus serum antibody and T-cell responses, similar to live virus immunization, and protected against heterosubtypic challenge. INA treatment of influenza A virus produced a virus that is noninfectious, intact, and fully maintains the functional activity associated with the ectodomains of its two major envelope proteins, neuraminidase and hemagglutinin. When used as a vaccine given intranasally (i.n.), INA-inactivated influenza virus induced immune responses similar to live virus infection.
PMCID: PMC2293056  PMID: 18305038
11.  Influences of Glycosylation on Antigenicity, Immunogenicity, and Protective Efficacy of Ebola Virus GP DNA Vaccines▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(4):1821-1837.
The Ebola virus (EBOV) envelope glycoprotein (GP) is the primary target of protective immunity. Mature GP consists of two disulfide-linked subunits, GP1 and membrane-bound GP2. GP is highly glycosylated with both N- and O-linked carbohydrates. We measured the influences of GP glycosylation on antigenicity, immunogenicity, and protection by testing DNA vaccines comprised of GP genes with deleted N-linked glycosylation sites or with deletions in the central hypervariable mucin region. We showed that mutation of one of the two N-linked GP2 glycosylation sites was highly detrimental to the antigenicity and immunogenicity of GP. Our data indicate that this is likely due to the inability of GP2 and GP1 to dimerize at the cell surface and suggest that glycosylation at this site is required for achieving the conformational integrity of GP2 and GP1. In contrast, mutation of two N-linked sites on GP1, which flank previously defined protective antibody epitopes on GP, may enhance immunogenicity, possibly by unmasking epitopes. We further showed that although deleting the mucin region apparently had no effect on antigenicity in vitro, it negatively impacted the elicitation of protective immunity in mice. In addition, we confirmed the presence of previously identified B-cell and T-cell epitopes in GP but show that when analyzed individually none of them were neither absolutely required nor sufficient for protective immunity to EBOV. Finally, we identified other potential regions of GP that may contain relevant antibody or T-cell epitopes.
PMCID: PMC1797596  PMID: 17151111
12.  Matrix Protein 2 Vaccination and Protection against Influenza Viruses, Including Subtype H5N1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(3):426-435.
Vaccination of mice with influenza matrix protein 2 induced cross-reactive antibody responses.
Changes in influenza viruses require regular reformulation of strain-specific influenza vaccines. Vaccines based on conserved antigens provide broader protection. Influenza matrix protein 2 (M2) is highly conserved across influenza A subtypes. To evaluate its efficacy as a vaccine candidate, we vaccinated mice with M2 peptide of a widely shared consensus sequence. This vaccination induced antibodies that cross-reacted with divergent M2 peptide from an H5N1 subtype. A DNA vaccine expressing full-length consensus-sequence M2 (M2-DNA) induced M2-specific antibody responses and protected against challenge with lethal influenza. Mice primed with M2-DNA and then boosted with recombinant adenovirus expressing M2 (M2-Ad) had enhanced antibody responses that cross-reacted with human and avian M2 sequences and induced T-cell responses. This M2 prime-boost vaccination conferred broad protection against challenge with lethal influenza A, including an H5N1 strain. Vaccination with M2, with key sequences represented, may provide broad protection against influenza A.
PMCID: PMC2725899  PMID: 17552096
DNA vaccines; M2 protein; influenza A virus H1N1 subtype; influenza A virus H3N2 subtype; influenza A virus H5N1 subtype; research
13.  Are Nonhuman Primates Good Models for SARS? 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e411.
PMCID: PMC1576335  PMID: 17002511
14.  Protective Cytotoxic T-Cell Responses Induced by Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus Replicons Expressing Ebola Virus Proteins 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(22):14189-14196.
Infection with Ebola virus causes a severe disease accompanied by high mortality rates, and there are no licensed vaccines or therapies available for human use. Filovirus vaccine research efforts still need to determine the roles of humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in protection from Ebola virus infection. Previous studies indicated that exposure to Ebola virus proteins expressed from packaged Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicons elicited protective immunity in mice and that antibody-mediated protection could only be demonstrated after vaccination against the glycoprotein. In this study, the murine CD8+ T-cell responses to six Ebola virus proteins were examined. CD8+ T cells specific for Ebola virus glycoprotein, nucleoprotein, and viral proteins (VP24, VP30, VP35, and VP40) were identified by intracellular cytokine assays using splenocytes from vaccinated mice. The cells were expanded by restimulation with peptides and demonstrated cytolytic activity. Adoptive transfer of the CD8+ cytotoxic T cells protected filovirus naïve mice from challenge with Ebola virus. These data support a role for CD8+ cytotoxic T cells as part of a protective mechanism induced by vaccination against six Ebola virus proteins and provide additional evidence that cytotoxic T-cell responses can contribute to protection from filovirus infections.
PMCID: PMC1280180  PMID: 16254354
15.  Resolution of Primary Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Associated Coronavirus Infection Requires Stat1 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(20):11416-11421.
Intranasal inhalation of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV) in the immunocompetent mouse strain 129SvEv resulted in infection of conducting airway epithelial cells followed by rapid clearance of virus from the lungs and the development of self-limited bronchiolitis. Animals resistant to the effects of interferons by virtue of a deficiency in Stat1 demonstrated a markedly different course following intranasal inhalation of SARS CoV, one characterized by replication of virus in lungs and progressively worsening pulmonary disease with inflammation of small airways and alveoli and systemic spread of the virus to livers and spleens.
PMCID: PMC521834  PMID: 15452265
16.  Macaque Model for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(20):11401-11404.
Rhesus and cynomolgus macaques were challenged with 107 PFU of a clinical isolate of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. Some of the animals developed a mild self-limited respiratory infection very different from that observed in humans with SARS. The macaque model as it currently exists will have limited utility in the study of SARS and the evaluation of therapies.
PMCID: PMC521815  PMID: 15452262
17.  Protection from Respiratory Virus Infections Can Be Mediated by Antigen-Specific Cd4+ T Cells That Persist in the Lungs 
Although CD4+ T cells have been shown to mediate protective cellular immunity against respiratory virus infections, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. For example, although phenotypically distinct populations of memory CD4+ T cells have been identified in different secondary lymphoid tissues, it is not known which subpopulations mediate protective cellular immunity. In this report, we demonstrate that virus-specific CD4+ T cells persist in the lung tissues and airways for several months after Sendai virus infection of C57BL/6 mice. A large proportion of these cells possess a highly activated phenotype (CD44hi, CD62Llo, CD43hi, and CD25hi) and express immediate effector function as indicated by the production of interferon γ after a 5-h restimulation in vitro. Furthermore, intratracheal adoptive transfer of lung memory cells into β2m-deficient mice demonstrated that lung-resident virus-specific CD4+ T cells mediated a substantial degree of protection against secondary virus infection. Taken together, these data demonstrate that activated memory CD4+ T cells persisting at mucosal sites play a critical role in mediating protective cellular immunity.
PMCID: PMC2193400  PMID: 11304559
immunologic memory; immunity; mucosal; paramyxovirus; CD4+ T lymphocytes
18.  Functionally Heterogeneous CD8+ T-Cell Memory Is Induced by Sendai Virus Infection of Mice 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(9):7278-7286.
It has recently been established that memory CD8+ T cells induced by viral infection are maintained at unexpectedly high frequencies in the spleen. While it has been established that these memory cells are phenotypically heterogeneous, relatively little is known about the functional status of these cells. Here we investigated the proliferative potential of CD8+ memory T cells induced by Sendai virus infection. High frequencies of CD8+ T cells specific for both dominant and subdominant Sendai virus epitopes persisted for many weeks after primary infection, and these cells were heterogeneous with respect to CD62L expression (approximately 20% CD62Lhi and 80% CD62Llo). Reactivation of these cells with the antigenic peptide in vitro induced strong proliferation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. However, approximately 20% of the cells failed to proliferate in vitro in response to a cognate peptide but nevertheless differentiated into effector cells and acquired full cytotoxic potential. These cells also expressed high levels of CD62L (in marked contrast to the CD62Llo status of the proliferating cells in the culture). Direct isolation of CD62Lhi and CD62Llo CD8+ T cells from memory mice confirmed the correlation of this marker with proliferative potential. Taken together, these data demonstrate that Sendai virus infection induces high frequencies of memory CD8+ T cells that are highly heterogeneous in terms of both their phenotype and their proliferative potential.
PMCID: PMC104253  PMID: 10438816

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