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1.  Rotavirus NSP1 Protein Inhibits Interferon-Mediated STAT1 Activation 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(1):41-53.
Rotavirus (RV) replicates efficiently in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) in vivo despite the activation of a local host interferon (IFN) response. Previously, we demonstrated that homologous RV efficiently inhibits IFN induction in single infected and bystander villous IECs in vivo. Paradoxically, RV also induces significant type I IFN expression in the intestinal hematopoietic cell compartment in a relatively replication-independent manner. This suggests that RV replication and spread in IECs must occur despite exogenous stimulation of the STAT1-mediated IFN signaling pathway. Here we report that RV inhibits IFN-mediated STAT1 tyrosine 701 phosphorylation in human IECs in vitro and identify RV NSP1 as a direct inhibitor of the pathway. Infection of human HT29 IECs with simian (RRV) or porcine (SB1A or OSU) RV strains, which inhibit IFN induction by targeting either IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) or NF-κB, respectively, resulted in similar regulation of IFN secretion. By flow cytometric analysis at early times during infection, neither RRV nor SB1A effectively inhibited the activation of Y701-STAT1 in response to exogenously added IFN. However, at later times during infection, both RV strains efficiently inhibited IFN-mediated STAT1 activation within virus-infected cells, indicating that RV encodes inhibitors of IFN signaling targeting STAT1 phosphorylation. Expression of RV NSP1 in the absence of other viral proteins resulted in blockage of exogenous IFN-mediated STAT1 phosphorylation, and this function was conserved in NSP1 from simian, bovine, and murine RV strains. Analysis of NSP1 determinants responsible for the inhibition of IFN induction and signaling pathways revealed that these determinants are encoded on discrete domains of NSP1. Finally, we observed that at later times during infection with SB1A, there was almost complete inhibition of IFN-mediated Y701-STAT1 in bystander cells staining negative for viral antigen. This property segregated with the NSP1 gene and was observed in a simian SA11 monoreassortant that encoded porcine OSU NSP1 but not in wild-type SA11 or a reassortant encoding simian RRV NSP1.
PMCID: PMC3911692  PMID: 24131713
2.  Permissive Replication of Homologous Murine Rotavirus in the Mouse Intestine Is Primarily Regulated by VP4 and NSP1 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(15):8307-8316.
Homologous rotaviruses (RV) are, in general, more virulent and replicate more efficiently than heterologous RV in the intestine of the homologous host. The genetic basis for RV host range restriction is not fully understood and is likely to be multigenic. In previous studies, RV genes encoding VP3, VP4, VP7, nonstructural protein 1 (NSP1), and NSP4 have all been implicated in strain- and host species-specific infection. These studies used different RV strains, variable measurements of host range, and different animal hosts, and no clear consensus on the host range restriction determinants emerged. We used a murine model to demonstrate that enteric replication of murine RV EW is 1,000- to 10,000-fold greater than that of a simian rotavirus (RRV) in suckling mice. Intestinal replication of a series of EW × RRV reassortants was used to identify several RV genes that influenced RV replication in the intestine. The role of VP4 (encoded by gene 4) in enteric infection was strain specific. RRV VP4 reduced murine RV infectivity only slightly; however, a reassortant expressing VP4 from a bovine RV strain (UK) severely restricted intestinal replication in the suckling mice. The homologous murine EW NSP1 (encoded by gene 5) was necessary but not sufficient for promoting efficient enteric growth. Efficient enteric replication required a constellation of murine genes encoding VP3, NSP2, and NSP3 along with NSP1.
PMCID: PMC3719818  PMID: 23698306
3.  Plasmacytoid dendritic cells promote rotavirus-induced human and murine B cell responses 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(6):2464-2474.
B cell–dependent immunity to rotavirus, an important intestinal pathogen, plays a significant role in viral clearance and protects against reinfection. Human in vitro and murine in vivo models of rotavirus infection were used to delineate the role of primary plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in initiating B cell responses. Human pDCs were necessary and sufficient for B cell activation induced by rotavirus. Type I IFN recognition by B cells was essential for rotavirus-mediated B cell activation in vitro and murine pDCs and IFN-α/β–mediated B cell activation after in vivo intestinal rotavirus infection. Furthermore, rotavirus-specific serum and mucosal antibody responses were defective in mice lacking functional pDCs at the time of infection. These data demonstrate that optimal B cell activation and virus-specific antibody secretion following mucosal infection were a direct result of pDC-derived type I IFN. Importantly, viral shedding significantly increased in pDC-deficient mice, suggesting that pDC-dependent antibody production influences viral clearance. Thus, mucosal pDCs critically influence the course of rotavirus infection through rotavirus recognition and subsequent IFN production and display powerful adjuvant properties to initiate and enhance humoral immunity.
PMCID: PMC3668833  PMID: 23635775
4.  Rhesus Rotavirus Trafficking during Entry into MA104 Cells Is Restricted to the Early Endosome Compartment 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(7):4009-4013.
Endocytosis has recently been implicated in rotavirus (RV) entry. We examined the role of Rabs, which regulate endosomal trafficking, during RV entry. Several structural proteins of neuraminidase-sensitive and -insensitive RVs colocalized with Rab5, an early endosome marker, but not Rab7, a late endosome marker. Dominant-negative and constitutively active mutants demonstrated that Rab5 but not Rab4 or Rab7 affects rhesus RV (RRV) infectivity. These data suggest that early RRV trafficking is confined to the early endosome compartment and requires Rab5.
PMCID: PMC3302545  PMID: 22278225
5.  Heterovariant Cross-Reactive B-Cell Responses Induced by the 2009 Pandemic Influenza Virus A Subtype H1N1 Vaccine 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(2):288-296.
Background. The generation of heterovariant immunity is a highly desirable feature of influenza vaccines. The goal of this study was to compare the heterovariant B-cell response induced by the monovalent inactivated 2009 pandemic influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (A[H1N1]pdm09) vaccine with that induced by the 2009 seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine (sTIV) containing a seasonal influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (A[H1N1]) component in young and elderly adults.
Methods. Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAb) from young and elderly recipients of A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine or sTIV were tested for binding activity to various influenza antigens.
Results. In A(H1N1)pdm09 recipients, the PPAb titers against homotypic A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine were similar to those against the heterovariant seasonal A(H1N1) vaccine and were similar between young and elderly subjects. The PPAb avidity was higher among elderly individuals, compared with young individuals. In contrast, the young sTIV recipients had 10-fold lower heterovariant PPAb titers against the A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine than against the homotypic seasonal A(H1N1) vaccine. In binding assays with recombinant head and stalk domains of hemagglutinin, PPAb from the A(H1N1)pdm09 recipients but not PPAb from the sTIV recipients bound to the conserved stalk domain.
Conclusion. The A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine induced production of PPAb with heterovariant reactivity, including antibodies targeting the conserved hemagglutinin stalk domain.
PMCID: PMC3532823  PMID: 23107783
influenza; vaccine; antibody; cross-reactivity
6.  Human Rotavirus-Specific IgM Memory B Cells Have Differential Cloning Efficiencies and Switch Capacities and Play a Role in Antiviral Immunity In Vivo 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(19):10829-10840.
Protective immunity to rotavirus (RV) is primarily mediated by antibodies produced by RV-specific memory B cells (RV-mBc). Of note, most of these cells express IgM, but the function of this subset is poorly understood. Here, using limiting dilution assays of highly sort-purified human IgM+ mBc, we found that 62% and 21% of total (non-antigen-specific) IgM+ and RV-IgM+ mBc, respectively, switched in vitro to IgG production after polyclonal stimulation. Moreover, in these assays, the median cloning efficiencies of total IgM+ (17%) and RV-IgM+ (7%) mBc were lower than those of the corresponding switched (IgG+ IgA+) total (34%) and RV-mBc (17%), leading to an underestimate of their actual frequency. In order to evaluate the in vivo role of IgM+ RV-mBc in antiviral immunity, NOD/Shi-scid interleukin-2 receptor-deficient (IL-2Rγnull) immunodeficient mice were adoptively transferred highly purified human IgM+ mBc and infected with virulent murine rotavirus. These mice developed high titers of serum human RV-IgM and IgG and had significantly lower levels than control mice of both antigenemia and viremia. Finally, we determined that human RV-IgM+ mBc are phenotypically diverse and significantly enriched in the IgMhi IgDlow subset. Thus, RV-IgM+ mBc are heterogeneous, occur more frequently than estimated by traditional limiting dilution analysis, have the capacity to switch Ig class in vitro as well as in vivo, and can mediate systemic antiviral immunity.
PMCID: PMC3457288  PMID: 22855480
7.  The Influence of CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells on the Immune Response to Rotavirus Infection 
Vaccine  2008;26(44):5601-5611.
Rotavirus (RV) infection of the intestine is the major cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea in infants around the world. Although protective immunity against RV, especially acquired B and T cell responses, have been extensively studied, our understanding of RV immunity remains incomplete. In addition, the interaction between various protective immune mechanisms in the gut and specific enteric immune suppressor systems that normally exert a regulatory function on mucosal immunity has not been extensively investigated. Among the candidate suppressor systems, we hypothesized that CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells may play a role in modulating RV immunity since such cells are naturally present in large numbers in the intestine and function nonspecifically. Here we demonstrate that neonatal murine RV (EC) infection induces an expansion of the Treg cell population and the magnitude of the T cell mediated immune response is modulated by Treg cells. Accordingly, when natural Treg cells in neonatal mice were depleted before virus infection, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to RV, such as proliferation and IFN-γ secretion, were enhanced in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and the spleen. Interestingly, increased proliferation of CD19+ B cells from Treg cell depleted animals was also observed. Finally, we analyzed the in vivo effect of the Treg cell depletion on diarrheal disease, virus shedding and IgA RV-specific response. Treg cell depletion did not affect these functions. Our studies of immune modulatory Treg cells in the RV infection model may promote a better understanding of the basis for RV immunity as well as providing valuable clues for the development of more immunogenic RV vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2574936  PMID: 18725261
Rotavirus; Regulatory T cell; vaccines
8.  Combinatorial tetramer staining and mass cytometry analysis facilitate T-cell epitope mapping and characterization 
Nature biotechnology  2013;31(7):623-629.
It is currently not possible to predict which epitopes will be recognized by T cells in different individuals. This is a barrier to the thorough analysis and understanding of T-cell responses after vaccination or infection. Here, by combining mass cytometry with combinatorial peptide–MHC tetramer staining, we have developed a method allowing the rapid and simultaneous identification and characterization of T cells specific for many epitopes. We use this to screen up to 109 different peptide–MHC tetramers in a single human blood sample, while still retaining at least 23 labels to analyze other markers of T-cell phenotype and function. Among 77 candidate rotavirus epitopes, we identified six T-cell epitopes restricted to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201 in the blood of healthy individuals. T cells specific for epitopes in the rotavirus VP3 protein displayed a distinct phenotype and were present at high frequencies in intestinal epithelium. This approach should be useful for the comprehensive analysis of T-cell responses to infectious diseases or vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3796952  PMID: 23748502
9.  Lineage Structure of the Human Antibody Repertoire in Response to Influenza Vaccination 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(171):171ra19.
The human antibody repertoire is one of the most important defenses against infectious disease, and the development of vaccines has enabled the conferral of targeted protection to specific pathogens. However, there are many challenges to measuring and analyzing the immunoglobulin sequence repertoire, such as the fact that each B cell contains a distinct antibody sequence encoded in its genome, that the antibody repertoire is not constant but changes over time, and the high similarity between antibody sequences. We have addressed this challenge by using high-throughput long read sequencing to perform immunogenomic characterization of expressed human antibody repertoires in the context of influenza vaccination. Informatic analysis of 5 million antibody heavy chain sequences from healthy individuals allowed us to perform global characterizations of isotype distributions, determine the lineage structure of the repertoire and measure age and antigen related mutational activity. Our analysis of the clonal structure and mutational distribution of individuals’ repertoires shows that elderly subjects have a decreased number of lineages but an increased pre-vaccination mutation load in their repertoire and that some of these subjects have an oligoclonal character to their repertoire in which the diversity of the lineages is greatly reduced relative to younger subjects. We have thus shown that global analysis of the immune system’s clonal structure provides direct insight into the effects of vaccination and provides a detailed molecular portrait of age-related effects.
PMCID: PMC3699344  PMID: 23390249
10.  Rotavirus immune responses and correlates of protection 
Current opinion in virology  2012;2(4):419-425.
Selected topics in the field of rotavirus immunity are reviewed focusing on recent developments that may improve efficacy and safety of current and future vaccines. Rotaviruses have developed multiple mechanisms to evade interferon-mediated innate immunity. Compared to more developed regions of the world, protection induced by natural infection and vaccination is reduced in developing countries where, among other factors, high viral challenge loads are common and where infants are infected at an early age. Studies in developing countries indicate that rotavirus-specific serum IgA levels are not an optimal correlate of protection following vaccination, and better correlates need to be identified. Protection against rotavirus following vaccination is substantially heterotypic; nonetheless, a role for homotypic immunity in selection of circulating post vaccination strains needs further study.
PMCID: PMC3422408  PMID: 22677178
11.  Characterization of Rotavirus RNAs That Activate Innate Immune Signaling through the RIG-I-Like Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69825.
In mammalian cells, the first line of defense against viral pathogens is the innate immune response, which is characterized by induction of type I interferons (IFN) and other pro-inflammatory cytokines that establish an antiviral milieu both in infected cells and in neighboring uninfected cells. Rotavirus, a double-stranded RNA virus of the Reoviridae family, is the primary etiological agent of severe diarrhea in young children worldwide. Previous studies demonstrated that rotavirus replication induces a MAVS-dependent type I IFN response that involves both RIG-I and MDA5, two cytoplasmic viral RNA sensors. This study reports the isolation and characterization of rotavirus RNAs that activate IFN signaling. Using an in vitro approach with purified rotavirus double-layer particles, nascent single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) transcripts (termed in vitro ssRNA) were found to be potent IFN inducers. In addition, large RNAs isolated from rotavirus-infected cells six hours post-infection (termed in vivo 6 hr large RNAs), also activated IFN signaling, whereas a comparable large RNA fraction isolated from cells infected for only one hour lacked this stimulatory activity. Experiments using knockout murine embryonic fibroblasts showed that RIG-I is required for and MDA5 partly contributes to innate immune signaling by both in vitro ssRNA and in vivo 6 hr large RNAs. Enzymatic studies demonstrated that in vitro ssRNA and in vivo 6 hr large RNA samples contain uncapped RNAs with exposed 5’ phosphate groups. RNAs lacking 2’-O-methylated 5’ cap structures were also detected in the in vivo 6 hr large RNA sample. Taken together, our data provide strong evidence that the rotavirus VP3 enzyme, which encodes both guanylyltransferase and methyltransferase activities, is not completely efficient at either 5’ capping or 2’-O-methylation of the 5’ cap structures of viral transcripts, and in this way produces RNA patterns that activate innate immune signaling through the RIG-I-like receptors.
PMCID: PMC3720929  PMID: 23894547
12.  Rotaviruses: from pathogenesis to vaccination 
Gastroenterology  2009;136(6):1939-1951.
Rotaviruses cause life-threatening gastroenteritis in children worldwide; the enormous disease burden has focused efforts to develop vaccines and led to the discovery of novel mechanisms of gastrointestinal virus pathogenesis and host responses to infection. Two live-attenuated vaccines for gastroenteritis (Rotateq and Rotarix) have been licensed in many countries. This review summarizes the latest data on these vaccines, their effectiveness and challenges to global vaccination. Recent insights into rotavirus pathogenesis are also discussed, including information on extra-intestinal infection, viral antagonists of the interferon response and the first described viral enterotoxin. Rotavirus-induced diarrhea is now considered to be a disease that can be prevented through vaccination, although there are many challenges to achieving global effectiveness. Molecular biology studies of rotavirus replication and pathogenesis have identified unique viral targets that might be useful in developing therapies for immunocompromised children with chronic infections.
PMCID: PMC3690811  PMID: 19457420
13.  The Battle between Rotavirus and Its Host for Control of the Interferon Signaling Pathway 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(1):e1003064.
Viral pathogens must overcome innate antiviral responses to replicate successfully in the host organism. Some of the mechanisms viruses use to interfere with antiviral responses in the infected cell include preventing detection of viral components, perturbing the function of transcription factors that initiate antiviral responses, and inhibiting downstream signal transduction. RNA viruses with small genomes and limited coding space often express multifunctional proteins that modulate several aspects of the normal host response to infection. One such virus, rotavirus, is an important pediatric pathogen that causes severe gastroenteritis, leading to ∼450,000 deaths globally each year. In this review, we discuss the nature of the innate antiviral responses triggered by rotavirus infection and the viral mechanisms for inhibiting these responses.
PMCID: PMC3554623  PMID: 23359266
14.  Inhibition of rotavirus replication by a non-neutralizing, rotavirus VP6–specific IgA mAb 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2002;109(9):1203-1213.
Rotaviruses are the leading cause of severe diarrheal disease in young children. Intestinal mucosal IgA responses play a critical role in protective immunity against rotavirus reinfection. Rotaviruses consist of three concentric capsid layers surrounding a genome of 11 segments of double-stranded RNA. The outer layer proteins, VP4 and VP7, which are responsible for viral attachment and entry, are targets for protective neutralizing antibodies. However, IgA mAb’s directed against the intermediate capsid protein VP6, which do not neutralize the virus, have also been shown to protect mice from rotavirus infection and clear chronic infection in SCID mice. We investigated whether the anti-VP6 IgA (7D9) mAb could inhibit rotavirus replication inside epithelial cells and found that 7D9 acted at an early stage of infection to neutralize rotavirus following antibody lipofection. Using electron cryomicroscopy, we determined the three-dimensional structure of the virus-antibody complex. The attachment of 7D9 IgA to VP6 introduces a conformational change in the VP6 trimer, rendering the particle transcriptionally incompetent and preventing the elongation of initiated transcripts. Based on these observations, we suggest that anti-VP6 IgA antibodies confers protection in vivo by inhibiting viral transcription at the start of the intracellular phase of the viral replication cycle.
PMCID: PMC150959  PMID: 11994409
15.  Cross-Linking of Rotavirus Outer Capsid Protein VP7 by Antibodies or Disulfides Inhibits Viral Entry ▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(20):10509-10517.
Antibodies that neutralize rotavirus infection target outer coat proteins VP4 and VP7 and inhibit viral entry. The structure of a VP7-Fab complex (S. T. Aoki, et al., Science 324:1444-1447, 2009) led us to reclassify epitopes into two binding regions at inter- and intrasubunit boundaries of the calcium-dependent trimer. It further led us to show that antibodies binding at the intersubunit boundary inhibit uncoating of the virion outer layer. We have now tested representative antibodies for each of the defined structural epitope regions and find that antibodies recognizing epitopes in either binding region neutralize by cross-linking VP7 trimers. Antibodies that bind at the intersubunit junction neutralize as monovalent Fabs, while those that bind at the intrasubunit region require divalency. The VP7 structure has also allowed us to design a disulfide cross-linked VP7 mutant which recoats double-layered particles (DLPs) as efficiently as does wild-type VP7 but which yields particles defective in cell entry as determined both by lack of infectivity and by loss of α-sarcin toxicity in the presence of recoated particles. We conclude that dissociation of the VP7 trimer is an essential step in viral penetration into cells.
PMCID: PMC3187514  PMID: 21849465
16.  Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibody response after influenza vaccination 
Journal of immunological methods  2010;365(1-2):67-75.
Conventional measurement of antibody responses to vaccines largely relies on serum antibodies, which are primarily produced by bone marrow plasma cells and may not represent the entire vaccine-induced B cell repertoire, including important functional components such as those targeted to mucosal sites. After immunization or infection, activated B cells differentiate into plasmablasts in local lymphoid organs, then traffic through circulation to the target sites where they further develop into plasma cells. On day 7 after influenza vaccination, a burst of plasmablasts, highly enriched for vaccine-specific antibody secreting cells, appears in the peripheral blood. This provides a unique window to the overall B cell response to the vaccine, without interference of pre-existing cross-reactive serum antibody. In this study we isolated B cells from volunteers on day 7 after immunization with the inactivated influenza vaccine and cultured them ex vivo to collect plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAb). The PPAb contained secreted IgG and IgA, which was approximately 0.2 ng per antibody secreting cell. Influenza-specific IgG and IgA binding activity was detected in PPAb at dilutions up to 105 by ELISA. The ratio of the titers of influenza-specific IgA to IgG by ELISA was 4-fold higher in PPAb than in day 28 post-vaccination sera, suggesting that vaccine-induced IgA is enriched in PPAb compared to sera. Functional activity was also detected in PPAb as determined by microneutralization and hemagglutination inhibition assays. In addition to bulk B cell cultures, we also cultured plasmablast subsets sorted by cell surface markers to generate PPAb. These results suggest that PPAb better reflects the mucosal IgA response than serum samples. Since PPAb are exclusively produced by recently activated B cells, it allows assessing vaccine-induced antibody response without interference from pre-existing cross-reactive serum antibodies and permits an assessment of antibody avidity based on antigen specific binding and antibody quantity. Therefore this assay is particularly useful for studying vaccine/infection-induced antibodies against antigens that might have previously circulated, such as antibody responses to rotavirus, dengue or influenza viruses in which cross-reactive antibodies against different virus serotypes/subtypes play a critical role in immunity and/or pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3039424  PMID: 21182843
Influenza virus; vaccines; antibodies; plasmablasts
18.  Reconciliation of Rotavirus Temperature-Sensitive Mutant Collections and Assignment of Reassortment Groups D, J, and K to Genome Segments▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(10):5048-5060.
Four rotavirus SA11 temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants and seven rotavirus RRV ts mutants, isolated at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and not genetically characterized, were assigned to reassortment groups by pairwise crosses with the SA11 mutant group prototypes isolated and characterized at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). Among the NIH mutants, three of the RRV mutants and all four SA11 mutants contained mutations in single reassortment groups, and four RRV mutants contained mutations in multiple groups. One NIH mutant [RRVtsK(2)] identified the previously undefined 11th reassortment group (K) expected for rotavirus. Three NIH single mutant RRV viruses, RRVtsD(7), RRVtsJ(5), and RRVtsK(2), were in reassortment groups not previously mapped to genome segments. These mutants were mapped using classical genetic methods, including backcrosses to demonstrate reversion or suppression in reassortants with incongruent genotype and temperature phenotype. Once located to specific genome segments by genetic means, the mutations responsible for the ts phenotype were identified by sequencing. The reassortment group K mutant RRVtsK(2) maps to genome segment 9 and has a Thr280Ileu mutation in the capsid surface glycoprotein VP7. The group D mutant RRVtsD(7) maps to segment 5 and has a Leu140Val mutation in the nonstructural interferon (IFN) antagonist protein NSP1. The group J mutant RRVtsJ(5) maps to segment 11 and has an Ala182Gly mutation affecting only the NSP5 open reading frame. Rotavirus ts mutation groups are now mapped to 9 of the 11 rotavirus genome segments. Possible segment locations of the two remaining unmapped ts mutant groups are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3126177  PMID: 21367894
19.  The Early Interferon Response to Rotavirus Is Regulated by PKR and Depends on MAVS/IPS-1, RIG-I, MDA-5, and IRF3 ▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(8):3717-3732.
In mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), the bovine rotavirus (UK strain) but not the simian rhesus rotavirus (RRV) robustly triggers beta interferon (IFN-β) secretion, resulting in an IFN-dependent restriction of replication. We now find that both rotavirus strains trigger antiviral transcriptional responses early during infection and that both transcriptional responses and IFN-β secretion are completely abrogated in MAVS/IPS-1−/− MEFs. Replication of UK virus could be rescued in MAVS/IPS-1−/− MEFs, and synthesis of viral RNA significantly increased early during virus infection. UK virus induced IFN-β secretion and transcription of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) in both RIG-I−/− and MDA-5−/− MEFs, and neither receptor was essential by itself for the antiviral response to UK rotavirus. However, when receptors RIG-I and MDA-5 were depleted using RNA interference, we found that both contribute to the magnitude of the IFN response. IRF3 was found to be essential for MAVS/IPS-1-directed ISG transcription and IFN-β secretion during rotavirus infection. Interestingly, absence of the double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase PKR led to a profound defect in the capacity of host cells to secrete IFN-β in response to virus. Both PKR and IRF3 restricted the early replication of UK as indicated by significant increases in viral RNA in fibroblasts lacking either gene. Despite the loss in IFN-β secretion in PKR−/− MEFs, we did not observe decreased IRF3- or NF-κB-dependent early ISG transcription in these cells. Levels of transcripts encoding IFN-α4, IFN-α5, and IFN-β were high in infected PKR−/− MEFs, indicating that during rotavirus infection, PKR functions at a stage between IFN gene transcription and subsequent IFN-β secretion. These findings reveal that activation of the antiviral response by rotavirus is dependent on MAVS/IPS-1 and IRF3 and involves both RIG-I and MDA-5 and that IFN-β secretion during rotavirus infection is regulated by PKR.
PMCID: PMC3126121  PMID: 21307186
20.  Rhesus Rotavirus Entry into a Polarized Epithelium Is Endocytosis Dependent and Involves Sequential VP4 Conformational Changes▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(6):2492-2503.
Rotavirus (RV) cell entry is an incompletely understood process, involving VP4 and VP7, the viral proteins composing the outermost layer of the nonenveloped RV triple-layered icosahedral particle (TLP), encasing VP6. VP4 can exist in three conformational states: soluble, cleaved spike, and folded back. In order to better understand the events leading to RV entry, we established a detection system to image input virus by monitoring the rhesus RV (RRV) antigens VP4, VP6, and VP7 at very early times postinfection. We provide evidence that decapsidation occurs directly after cell membrane penetration. We also demonstrate that several VP4 and VP7 conformational changes take place during entry. In particular, we detected, for the first time, the generation of folded-back VP5 in the context of the initiation of infection. Folded-back VP5 appears to be limited to the entry step. We furthermore demonstrate that RRV enters the cell cytoplasm through an endocytosis pathway. The endocytosis hypothesis is supported by the colocalization of RRV antigens with the early endosome markers Rab4 and Rab5. Finally, we provide evidence that the entry process is likely dependent on the endocytic Ca2+ concentration, as bafilomycin A1 treatment as well as an augmentation of the extracellular calcium reservoir using CaEGTA, which both lead to an elevated intraendosomal calcium concentration, resulted in the accumulation of intact virions in the actin network. Together, these findings suggest that internalization, decapsidation, and cell membrane penetration involve endocytosis, calcium-dependent uncoating, and VP4 conformational changes, including a fold-back.
PMCID: PMC3067957  PMID: 21191022
21.  Roles of VP4 and NSP1 in Determining the Distinctive Replication Capacities of Simian Rotavirus RRV and Bovine Rotavirus UK in the Mouse Biliary Tract▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(6):2686-2694.
Rotavirus replication and virulence are strongly influenced by virus strain and host species. The rotavirus proteins VP3, VP4, VP7, NSP1, and NSP4 have all been implicated in strain and species restriction of replication; however, the mechanisms have not been fully determined. Simian (RRV) and bovine (UK) rotaviruses have distinctive replication capacities in mouse extraintestinal organs such as the biliary tract. Using reassortants between UK and RRV, we previously demonstrated that the differential replication of these viruses in mouse embryonic fibroblasts is determined by the respective NSP1 proteins, which differ substantially in their abilities to degrade interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and suppress the type I IFN response. In this study, we used an in vivo model of rotavirus infection of mouse gallbladder with UK × RRV reassortants to study the genetic and mechanistic basis of systemic rotavirus replication. We found that the low-replication phenotype of UK in biliary tissues was conferred by UK VP4 and that the high-replication phenotype of RRV was conferred by RRV VP4 and NSP1. Viruses with RRV VP4 entered cultured mouse cholangiocytes more efficiently than did those with UK VP4. Reassortants with RRV VP4 and UK NSP1 genes induced high levels of expression of IRF3-dependent p54 in biliary tissues, and their replication was increased 3-fold in IFN-α/β and -γ receptor or STAT1 knockout (KO) mice compared to wild-type mice. Our data indicate that systemic rotavirus strain-specific replication in the murine biliary tract is determined by both viral entry mediated by VP4 and viral antagonism of the host innate immune response mediated by NSP1.
PMCID: PMC3067955  PMID: 21191030
22.  Limited efficacy of inactivated influenza vaccine in elderly individuals is associated with decreased production of vaccine-specific antibodies 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(8):3109-3119.
During seasonal influenza epidemics, disease burden is shouldered predominantly by the very young and the elderly. Elderly individuals are particularly affected, in part because vaccine efficacy wanes with age. This has been linked to a reduced ability to induce a robust serum antibody response. Here, we show that this is due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies, rather than a lack of antibody avidity or affinity. We measured levels of vaccine-specific plasmablasts by ELISPOT 1 week after immunization of young and elderly adults with inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine. Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAbs) were generated from bulk-cultured B cells, while recombinant monoclonal antibodies (re-mAbs) were produced from single plasmablasts. The frequency of vaccine-specific plasmablasts and the concentration of PPAbs were lower in the elderly than in young adults, whereas the yields of secreted IgG per plasmablast were not different. Differences were not detected in the overall vaccine-specific avidity or affinity of PPAbs and re-mAbs between the 2 age groups. In contrast, reactivity of the antibodies induced by the inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine toward the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, which was not present in the vaccine, was higher in the elderly than in the young. These results indicate that the inferior antibody response to influenza vaccination in the elderly is primarily due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies. They also suggest that exposure history affects the cross-reactivity of vaccination-induced antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3148747  PMID: 21785218
23.  Differential Transcriptional Responses to Interferon-α and Interferon-γ in Primary Human Hepatocytes 
Interferon (IFN) plays a central role in the innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses. While IFN-α is currently approved for treating chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C, in limited studies, IFN-γ has not been shown to be effective for chronic hepatitis B or C. To identify the potential mechanism underlying the differential antiviral effects of IFN-α and IFN-γ, we used cDNA microarray to profile the global transcriptional response to IFN-α and IFN-γ in primary human hepatocytes, the target cell population of hepatitis viruses. Our results reveal distinct patterns of gene expression induced by these 2 cytokines. Overall, IFN-α induces more genes than IFN-γ at the transcriptional level. Distinct sets of genes were induced by IFN-α and IFN-γ with limited overlaps. IFN-α induces gene transcription at an early time point (6 h) but not at a later time point (18 h), while the effects of IFN-γ are more prominent at 18 h than at 6 h, suggesting a delayed transcriptional response to IFN-γ in the hepatocytes. These findings indicate differential actions of IFN-α and IFN-γ in the context of therapeutic intervention for chronic viral infections in the liver.
PMCID: PMC2947462  PMID: 20038212
24.  Structure of rotavirus outer-layer protein VP7 bound with a neutralizing Fab 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2009;324(5933):1444-1447.
The crystal structure of rotavirus VP7 bound with the Fab from a neutralizing monoclonal shows the mechanism by which members of a large class of neutralizing antibodies inhibit rotavirus infection, indicates how withdrawal of Ca2+ ions becomes an uncoating trigger during cell entry, and provides the “first draft” of a design for subunit immunogens.
Rotavirus outer-layer protein VP7 is a principal target of protective antibodies. Removal of free Ca2+ dissociates the VP7 trimer, releases it from the virion, and initiates penetration-inducing conformational changes in the other outer-layer protein, VP4. We report the crystal structure of VP7 bound with the Fab fragment of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody. The Fab binds across the outer surface of the intersubunit contact, which is stabilized by two Ca2+ sites. Mutations that escape neutralization by other antibodies suggest that the same region bears the epitopes of most neutralizing antibodies. The monovalent Fab is sufficient to neutralize infectivity. We propose that neutralizing antibodies against VP7 act by stabilizing the trimer, thereby inhibiting the uncoating trigger for VP4 rearrangement. A disulfide-linked trimer is a potential subunit immunogen.
PMCID: PMC2995306  PMID: 19520960
25.  Rotavirus Differentially Infects and Polyclonally Stimulates Human B Cells Depending on Their Differentiation State and Tissue of Origin ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(9):4543-4555.
We have shown previously that rotavirus (RV) can infect murine intestinal B220+ cells in vivo (M. Fenaux, M. A. Cuadras, N. Feng, M. Jaimes, and H. B. Greenberg, J. Virol. 80:5219-5232, 2006) and human blood B cells in vitro (M. C. Mesa, L. S. Rodriguez, M. A. Franco, and J. Angel, Virology 366:174-184, 2007). However, the effect of RV on B cells, especially those present in the human intestine, the primary site of RV infection, is unknown. Here, we compared the effects of the in vitro RV infection of human circulating (CBC) and intestinal B cells (IBC). RV infected four times more IBC than CBC, and in both types of B cells the viral replication was highly restricted to the memory subset. RV induced cell death in 30 and 3% of infected CBC and IBC, respectively. Moreover, RV induced activation and differentiation into antibody-secreting cells (ASC) of CBC but not IBC when the B cells were present with other mononuclear cells. However, RV did not induce these effects in purified CBC or IBC, suggesting the participation of other cells in activating and differentiating CBC. RV infection was associated with enhanced interleukin-6 (IL-6) production by CBC independent of viral replication. The infection of the anti-B-cell receptor, lipopolysaccharide, or CpG-stimulated CBC reduced the secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 and decreased the number of ASC. These inhibitory effects were associated with an increase in viral replication and cell death and were observed in polyclonally stimulated CBC but not in IBC. Thus, RV differentially interacts with primary human B cells depending on their tissue of origin and differentiation stage, and it affects their capacity to modulate the local and systemic immune responses.
PMCID: PMC2863723  PMID: 20164228

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