To determine the mechanisms of maintenance and evolution of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) in a temperate zone, we attempted to isolate JEV from mosquitoes and pigs in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. A total of 87 JEVs were isolated from female Culex tritaeniorhynchus mosquitoes and pigs during 2005–2009. The prevalence of JEV in Toyama Prefecture was seasonally late in comparison with that of the virus during 1966–1972. Furthermore, JEVs were isolated after the peak in the number of female Cx. tritaeniorhynchus. Among JEV strains isolated in this study, two distinct groups were observed within genotype I of the phylogeny generated from nucleotide sequence information derived from the envelope and capsid/premembrane genes: strains belonging to the major type were isolated during 2005–2009, and strains from the minor type were isolated only in 2007. The major type has exhibited gradual change in its envelope and capsid/premembrane genes, and all isolates obtained in 2008 and 2009 had a novel deletion of seven nucleotides in the variable region of the 3′-untranslated region.
Hypertension is associated with impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Medical treatment that interferes with various steps in the renin-angiotensin system improves glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. However, it remains unclear if long-acting calcium channel blockers (CCBs) such as azelnidipine and amlodipine affect glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in clinical practice.
Seventeen non-diabetic patients with essential hypertension who had controlled blood pressure levels using amlodipine (5 mg/day) were enrolled in this study. After randomization, either azelnidipine (16 mg/day) or amlodipine (5 mg/day) was administered in a crossover design for 12-weeks. At baseline and the end of each CCB therapy, samples of blood and urine were collected and 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed. In addition, hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) were measured at each point by flow cytometry and endothelial functions were measured by fingertip pulse amplitude tonometry using EndoPAT.
Although blood pressure levels were identical after each CCB treatment, the heart rate significantly decreased after azelnidipine administration than that after amlodipine administration (P < 0.005). Compared with amlodipine administration, azelnidipine significantly decreased levels of glucose and insulin 120 min after the 75 g OGTT (both P < 0.05). Serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (P = 0.067) and interleukin-6 (P = 0.035) were decreased. Although endothelial functions were not different between the two medication groups, the number of circulating HPCs was significantly increased after azelnidipine administration (P = 0.016).
These results suggest that azelnidipine treatment may have beneficial effects on glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, the inflammatory state, and number of circulating progenitor cells in non-diabetic patients with essential hypertension.
To confirm the magnitude of an echovirus type 13 (E13) outbreak in 2002 and to evaluate whether genetic and antigenic changes in E13 influenced the occurrence of the outbreak, we measured titers of neutralizing (NT) antibody against the Toyama, 2002-240-SF, and prototype Del Carmen E13 strains among inhabitants of Toyama before and after 2002. The rate of positivity for NT antibodies against both 2002-240-SF and Del Carmen in 2003 made a remarkable upturn in children 0 to 14 years old, compared to that in 2000. Titers of NT antibody against strain 2002-240-SF of inhabitants were slightly higher than those against Del Carmen, whereas anti-E13 rabbit serum raised against either strain Del Carmen or 2002-240-SF showed almost the same titer of NT antibody against both strains. These data indicate that the antigenic properties of the strains may be slightly different. Differences in amino acids between strains 2002-240-SF and Del Carmen in the VP4, VP2, VP3, and VP1 regions may affect both antigenic and receptor binding properties, even though they do not seem to be significant enough to escape widespread immunity. One of the factors of the outbreak was thought to be the increase in susceptibility in the young generation.
The association between modulation of detailed lipoprotein profiles and cholesterol ester transfer (CET) activity by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-a agonists in patients with coronary artery disease remains unclear. We assessed lipid profiles, plasma CET activity, and in-stent intimal hyperplasia after fenofibrate treatment in patients who underwent elective coronary stenting.
Forty-three consecutive patients who underwent elective coronary stenting were randomized to the fenofibrate group (300 mg/day for 25 weeks, n = 22) or the control group (n = 21). At baseline and follow up, CET activity and lipoprotein profiles were measured, and quantitative coronary angiography was performed.
In the fenofibrate group, the levels of large very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and small low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol decreased and those of small high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased. Besides, CET activity decreased independent of the effect of fenofibrate on total and LDL cholesterol. The reduction of CET activity significantly correlated with the increase in LDL particle size (r = 0.47, P = 0.03) and the decrease of triglycerides in large HDL subclasses (r = 0.48, P = 0.03). Although there were no significant differences in restenosis parameters between the two groups, low CET activity significantly correlated with the inhibition of neointimal hyperplasia (r = 0.56, P = 0.01).
Fenofibrate inhibited CET activity and thereby improved atherogenic lipoprotein profiles, and reduced intimal hyperplasia after coronary stenting.
A molecular biological survey on porcine norovirus (NoV) and sapovirus (SaV) was conducted in Toyama Prefecture, Japan, during fiscal year 2008. Both NoV and SaV were detected from swine fecal samples throughout the surveillance period, indicating that these viruses were circulating in this region. NoV strains detected in this study belonged to three genotypes that are known as typical swine NoVs. Although human NoVs were occasionally detected, it was unclear whether they replicated in pigs. As for SaV, genogroup VII (GVII) and other divergent genogroups were identified in addition to the dominant genogroup, GIII, which is the prototypic porcine SaV. In addition, 3 strains genetically related to human SaV were detected. Two of these 3 strains were closely related to human SaV GV. Our study showed that genetic diversification of porcine SaV is currently progressing in the swine population.
Various genotypes of norovirus (NoV) (genogroup I genotype 1 [GI.1], -2, -4, -5, -8, -11, -12, and -14; GII.3, -4, -6, -7, -10, -13, -14, and -15), and sapovirus (SaV) (GI.1 and GI.2, GII.1, and GIV.1) were detected from raw sewage from April 2006 to March 2008, while limited numbers of genotypes of NoV (GI.8, GII.4, GII.6, and GII.13) and SaV (GII.3 and GIV.1) and of NoV (GII.4, GII.7, and GII.13) were detected from clinical cases and healthy children, respectively. During the winter 2006 to 2008, a large number of sporadic gastroenteritis outbreaks and many outbreaks caused by NoV GII.4 occurred among inhabitants in Toyama, Japan. The copy number of genomes of NoV GII detected from raw sewage changed in relation to the number of outbreaks. NoV strains of the same genotypes observed in both raw sewage and human specimens belonged to the same cluster by phylogenetic analysis and had almost identical nucleotide sequences among each genotype. These data suggest that NoVs and SaVs detected from raw sewage reflect the viruses circulating in the community, irrespective of symptoms, and that subclinical infections of NoV are common in Japan. Combined surveys of raw sewage with those of clinical cases help us to understand the relationship between infection of these viruses and gastroenteritis.
Norovirus (NoV) infections are the major cause of food- and waterborne nonbacterial gastroenteritis in Japan. Some individuals showed long-term excretion of the virus into feces in 29 outbreaks of acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis that occurred in Toyama Prefecture, Japan, in fiscal year 2006. In one of these cases, single base substitutions from A to G in the capsid region of the NoV genome were commonly detected in two individuals during virus shedding by direct sequencing of PCR products. The A-to-G substitution was accompanied by an N-to-S amino acid change. The population of clones that possessed A at the corresponding site was gradually replaced by those with G during the infectious course. Although other substitutions were observed in the complete open reading frame 2 sequence, they were not common in these two individuals. NoVs are capable of evolving in the gastroenteric tract.
An increasing number of infections of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1) in humans has been reported in South-East Asia and other areas of the world. High mortality (>60%) of this viral infection and its pathosis of systemic infection are features of this new human disease. Moreover, there is great concern that this avian H5N1 virus could cause a pandemic of new influenza in humans, once it acquires the ability for human to human transmission. To prevent such highly contagious infectious diseases as influenza, it is essential to prepare effective vaccines. Especially in the case of new influenza virus, we cannot predict the strain which will cause the pandemic. In such a situation, a vaccine that induces cross-protective immunity against variant viruses is extremely important. However currently used parenteral seasonal influenza vaccine is strain-specific, and is less effective against variant viruses. In order to overcome the weakness of current vaccines we need to learn from the immune responses induced by natural infection with influenza viruses. In the case of mucosally acquired acute respiratory infection such as influenza, mucosal immunity induced by natural infection plays important role in protection against the infection, as mucosal secretory IgA antibody plays an important role in cross-protection. In this review we describe the advantages and development of mucosal vaccine against highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses.
influenza virus; mucosal immunity; secretory IgA antibody; adjuvant
Diagnostic systems for Lassa fever (LF), a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by Lassa virus (LASV), such as enzyme immunoassays for the detection of LASV antibodies and LASV antigens, were developed using the recombinant nucleoprotein (rNP) of LASV (LASV-rNP). The LASV-rNP was expressed in a recombinant baculovirus system. LASV-rNP was used as an antigen in the detection of LASV-antibodies and as an immunogen for the production of monoclonal antibodies. The LASV-rNP was also expressed in HeLa cells by transfection with the expression vector encoding cDNA of the LASV-NP gene. An immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using LASV-rNP and an indirect immunofluorescence assay using LASV-rNP-expressing HeLa cells were confirmed to have high sensitivity and specificity in the detection of LASV-antibodies. A novel monoclonal antibody to LASV-rNP, monoclonal antibody 4A5, was established. A sandwich antigen capture (Ag-capture) ELISA using the monoclonal antibody and an anti-LASV-rNP rabbit serum as capture and detection antibodies, respectively, was then developed. Authentic LASV nucleoprotein in serum samples collected from hamsters experimentally infected with LASV was detected by the Ag-capture ELISA. The Ag-capture ELISA specifically detected LASV-rNP but not the rNPs of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus or Junin virus. The sensitivity of the Ag-capture ELISA in detecting LASV antigens was comparable to that of reverse transcription-PCR in detecting LASV RNA. These LASV rNP-based diagnostics were confirmed to be useful in the diagnosis of LF even in institutes without a high containment laboratory, since the antigens can be prepared without manipulation of the infectious viruses.
p180 was originally reported as a ribosome-binding protein on the rough endoplasmic reticulum membrane, although its precise role in animal cells has not yet been elucidated. Here, we characterized a new function of human p180 as a microtubule-binding and -modulating protein. Overexpression of p180 in mammalian cells induced an elongated morphology and enhanced acetylated microtubules. Consistently, electron microscopic analysis clearly revealed microtubule bundles in p180-overexpressing cells. Targeted depletion of endogenous p180 by small interfering RNAs led to aberrant patterns of microtubules and endoplasmic reticulum in mammalian cells, suggesting a specific interaction between p180 and microtubules. In vitro sedimentation assays using recombinant polypeptides revealed that p180 bound to microtubules directly and possessed a novel microtubule-binding domain (designated MTB-1). MTB-1 consists of a predicted coiled-coil region and repeat domain, and strongly promoted bundle formation both in vitro and in vivo when expressed alone. Overexpression of p180 induced acetylated microtubules in cultured cells in an MTB-1-dependent manner. Thus, our data suggest that p180 mediates interactions between the endoplasmic reticulum and microtubules mainly through the novel microtubule-binding and -bundling domain MTB-1.
Approximately 17% of the human genome is comprised of long interspersed nuclear element 1 (LINE-1, L1) non-LTR retrotransposons. L1 retrotransposition is known to be the cause of several genetic diseases, such as hemophilia A, Duchene muscular dystrophy, and so on. The L1 retroelements are also able to cause colon cancer, suggesting that L1 transposition could occur not only in germ cells, but also in somatic cells if innate immunity would not function appropriately. The mechanisms of L1 transposition restriction in the normal cells, however, are not fully defined. We here show that antiretroviral innate proteins, human APOBEC3 (hA3) family members, from hA3A to hA3H, differentially reduce the level of L1 retrotransposition that does not correlate either with antiviral activity against Vif-deficient HIV-1 and murine leukemia virus, or with patterns of subcellular localization. Importantly, hA3G protein inhibits L1 retrotransposition, in striking contrast to the recent reports. Inhibitory effect of hA3 family members on L1 transposition might not be due to deaminase activity, but due to novel mechanism(s). Thus, we conclude that all hA3 proteins act to differentially suppress uncontrolled transposition of L1 elements.
Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) has been characterized by inflammation with increased pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines produced by macrophages. We have reported that IFN produces inhibitory C/EBPβ and represses transcription of the HIV-1 LTR in macrophages. STAT-1 and type I IFN receptor knockout mice have macrophages that are defective in IFN signaling, yet LPS stimulation induces inhibitory C/EBPβ, demonstrating that other cytokines can induce this repressor. LPS or Mycobacterium tuberculosis–derived lipoarabinomannan induce the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10, which represses the HIV-1 LTR in differentiated THP-1 macrophages by inducing inhibitory C/EBPβ. In contrast, in undifferentiated THP-1 monocytes, IL-10 did not inhibit HIV-1 replication or induce C/EBPβ. IL-10 signal transduction uses STAT-3, and macrophages from STAT-3−/− mice fail to produce inhibitory C/EBPβ after LPS or IL-10 stimulation. Transfection of STAT-3 into THP-1 cells enhances C/EBPβ promoter activity. THP-1 differentiation also increases STAT-3 protein, but not STAT-3 gene transcription, and induces a translational regulator, CUG-binding protein, that was essential for production of C/EBPβ. Differentiation induced post-transcriptional regulation is required to produce inhibitory C/EBPβ in response to IL-10. Only macrophages are able to repress HIV-1 LTR promoter activity and inhibit viral replication in response to IL-10 or type I IFN.
infection; innate immunity; repression; transcription factors
The potential threat of smallpox as a bioweapon has led to the production and stockpiling of smallpox vaccine in some countries. Human monkeypox, a rare but important viral zoonosis endemic to central and western Africa, has recently emerged in the United States. Thus, even though smallpox has been eradicated, a vaccinia virus vaccine that can induce protective immunity against smallpox and monkeypox is still invaluable. The ability of the highly attenuated vaccinia virus vaccine strain LC16m8, with a mutation in the important immunogenic membrane protein B5R, to induce protective immunity against monkeypox in nonhuman primates was evaluated in comparison with the parental Lister strain. Monkeys were immunized with LC16m8 or Lister and then infected intranasally or subcutaneously with monkeypox virus strain Liberia or Zr-599, respectively. Immunized monkeys showed no symptoms of monkeypox in the intranasal-inoculation model, while nonimmunized controls showed typical symptoms. In the subcutaneous-inoculation model, monkeys immunized with LC16m8 showed no symptoms of monkeypox except for a mild ulcer at the site of monkeypox virus inoculation, and those immunized with Lister showed no symptoms of monkeypox, while nonimmunized controls showed lethal and typical symptoms. These results indicate that LC16m8 prevents lethal monkeypox in monkeys, and they suggest that LC16m8 may induce protective immunity against smallpox.
The potential threat of smallpox bioterrorism has made urgent the development of lower-virulence vaccinia virus vaccines. An attenuated LC16m8 (m8) vaccine was developed in 1975 from the Lister strain used in the World Health Organization smallpox eradication program but was not used against endemic smallpox. Today, no vaccines can be tested with variola virus for efficacy in humans, and the mechanisms of immune protection against the major intracellular mature virion (IMV) and minor extracellular enveloped virion (EEV) populations of poxviruses are poorly understood. Here, we determined the full-genome sequences of the m8, parental LC16mO (mO), and grandparental Lister (LO) strains and analyzed their evolutionary relationships. Sequence data and PCR analysis indicated that m8 was a progeny of LO and that m8 preserved almost all of the open reading frames of vaccinia virus except for the disrupted EEV envelope gene B5R. In accordance with this genomic background, m8 induced 100% protection against a highly pathogenic vaccinia WR virus in mice by a single vaccination, despite the lack of anti-B5R and anti-EEV antibodies. The immunogenicity and priming efficacy with the m8 vaccine consisting mainly of IMV were as high as those with the intact-EEV parental mO and grandparental LO vaccines. Thus, mice vaccinated with 107 PFU of m8 produced low levels of anti-B5R antibodies after WR challenge, probably because of quick clearance of B5R-expressing WR EEV by strong immunity induced by the vaccination. These results suggest that priming with m8 IMV provides efficient protection despite undetectable levels of immunity against EEV.
We have previously described a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) proviral clone, pL2, derived from defective viral particles with higher fusogenicity than the prototypic NL4-3 virus. In this study, we attempted to determine the region that confers the enhanced fusion activity by creating envelope recombinants between pL2 and pNL4-3, as well as point mutants based on pNL4-3. The results indicate that amino acid 36 of gp41 is key for the fusogenic activity and infectivity enhancement and that glycine 36 (36G) of gp41 in pL2 is conserved in nearly all HIV-1 isolates except for pNL4-3. The mutation 36G→D in a primary-isolate-derived Env decreased syncytium-forming activity and infectivity. The assays for cell-cell fusion and viral binding suggested that the enhanced fusion mediated by the 36D→G mutation is not due to increased binding efficiency but is directly due to actual enhancement of viral fusion activity. Interestingly, this amino acid position is exactly equivalent to that at which the mutation of HIV-1 isolates that have escaped from a fusion inhibitor, enfuvirtide (T-20), has been frequently observed. The correlation between these previous findings and our findings was suggested by structural analysis. Our finding, therefore, has implications for a molecular basis of the viral escape from this drug.
The mucosal adjuvant effect of synthetic double-stranded RNA polyriboinosinic polyribocytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] against influenza virus was examined under intranasal coadministration with inactivated hemagglutinin (HA) vaccine in BALB/c mice and was shown to have a protective effect against both nasal-restricted infection and lethal lung infection. Intranasal administration of vaccine from PR8 (H1N1) with poly(I:C) induced a high anti-HA immunoglobulin A (IgA) response in the nasal wash and IgG antibody response in the serum, while vaccination without poly(I:C) induced little response. Intracerebral injection confirmed the safety of poly(I:C). In addition, we demonstrated that administration of poly(I:C) with either A/Beijing (H1N1) or A/Yamagata (H1N1) vaccine conferred complete protection against PR8 challenge in this mouse nasal infection model, suggesting that poly(I:C) possessed cross-protection ability against variant viruses. To investigate the mechanism of the protective effect of poly(I:C), mRNA levels of Toll-like receptors and cytokines were examined in the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue after vaccination or virus challenge. Intranasal administration of HA vaccine with poly(I:C) up-regulated expression of Toll-like receptor 3 and alpha/beta interferons as well as Th1- and Th2-related cytokines. We propose that poly(I:C) is a new effective intranasal adjuvant for influenza virus vaccine.
In July 1993, a liquid suspension of Bacillus anthracis was aerosolized from the roof of an eight-story building in Kameido, Tokyo, Japan, by the religious group Aum Shinrikyo. During 1999 to 2001, microbiologic tests were conducted on a liquid environmental sample originally collected during the 1993 incident. Nonencapsulated isolates of B. anthracis were cultured from the liquid. Multiple-locus, variable-number tandem repeat analysis found all isolates to be identical to a strain used in Japan to vaccinate animals against anthrax, which was consistent with the Aum Shinrikyo members’ testimony about the strain source. In 1999, a retrospective case-detection survey was conducted to identify potential human anthrax cases associated with the incident, but none were found. The use of an attenuated B. anthracis strain, low spore concentrations, ineffective dispersal, a clogged spray device, and inactivation of the spores by sunlight are all likely contributing factors to the lack of human cases.
Bacillus anthracis; bioterrorism; anthrax; epidemiology; Aum Shinrikyo; Japan
We produced and characterized a cell clone (J12#26 cells) that stably expresses Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) cDNA, J12, which encodes the viral signal peptide, premembrane (prM), and envelope (E) proteins (amino acid positions 105 to 794). Rabbit kidney-derived RK13 cells were transfected with a J12 expression plasmid, selected by resistance to marker antibiotics, and cloned by two cycles of a limiting-dilution method in the presence of antibiotics, a procedure that prevents the successful generation of E-producing cell clones. J12#26 cells secreted virus-like particles containing the authentic E antigen (E-VLP) into the culture medium in a huge enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-equivalent amount (2.5 μg per 104 cells) to the internationally licensed JE vaccine JE-VAX. E-VLP production was stable after multiple cell passages and persisted over 1 year with 100% expressing cells without detectable cell fusion, apoptosis, or cell death, but was suspended when the cells grew to 100% confluency and contact inhibition occurred. Mice immunized with the purified J12#26 E-antigen without adjuvant developed high titers of neutralizing antibodies for at least 7 months and 100% protection against intraperitoneal challenge with 5 × 106 PFU of JEV when examined according to the JE vaccine standardization protocol. These results suggest that the recombinant E-VLP antigen produced by the J12#26 cell clone is an effective, safe, and low-cost second-generation subunit JE vaccine.
Ebola virus consists of four genetically distinguishable subtypes. We developed monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to the nucleoprotein (NP) of Ebola virus Zaire subtype and analyzed their cross-reactivities to the Reston and Sudan subtypes. We further determined the epitopes recognized by these MAbs. Three MAbs reacted with the three major subtypes and recognized a fragment containing 110 amino acids (aa) at the C-terminal extremity. They did not show specific reactivities to any 10-aa short peptides in Pepscan analyses, suggesting that these MAbs recognize conformational epitope(s) located within this region. Six MAbs recognized a fragment corresponding to aa 361 to 461 of the NP. Five of these six MAbs showed specific reactivities in Pepscan analyses, and the epitopes were identified in two regions, aa 424 to 430 and aa 451 to 455. Three MAbs that recognized the former epitope region cross-reacted with all three subtypes, and one that recognized the same epitope region was Zaire specific. One MAb, which recognized the latter epitope region, was reactive with Zaire and Sudan subtypes but not with the Reston subtype. These results suggest that Ebola virus NP has at least two linear epitope regions and that the recognition of the epitope by MAbs can vary even within the same epitope region. These MAbs showing different subtype specificities might be useful reagents for developing an immunological system to identify Ebola virus subtypes.
In an epizootiologic survey of 122 rodents captured in Vladivostok, Russia, antibodies positive for hantavirus were found in Apodemus peninsulae (4/70), A. agrarius (1/39), and Clethrionomys rufocanus (1/8). The hantavirus sequences identified in two seropositive A. peninsulae and two patients with hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) from the Primorye region of Far East Russia were designated as Solovey and Primorye, respectively. The nucleotide sequences of the Solovey, Primorye, and Amur (obtained through GenBank) sequences were closely related (>92% identity). Solovey and Primorye sequences shared 84% nucleotide identity with the prototype Hantaan 76-118. Phylogenetic analysis also indicated a close relationship between Solovey, Primorye, Amur, and other viruses identified in Russia, China, and Korea. Our findings suggest that the Korean field mouse (A. peninsulae) is the reservoir for a hantavirus that causes HFRS over a vast area of east Asia, including Far East Russia.
Hantavirus; Apodemus peninsulae; hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome; HFRS; Far East Russia
Mucosal immunoglobulin (Ig)A dominance has been proposed to be associated with preferential class switch recombination (CSR) to the IgA heavy chain constant region, Cα. Here, we report that B cell activation in nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) upon stimulation with the hapten (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl (NP) coupled to chicken γ globulin caused an anti-NP memory response dominated by high affinity IgA antibodies. In the response, however, NP-specific IgG+ B cells expanded and sustained their number as a major population in germinal centers (GCs), supporting the view that CSR to IgG heavy chain constant region, Cγ, operated efficiently in NALT. Both IgG+ and IgA+ GC B cells accumulated somatic mutations, indicative of affinity maturation to a similar extent, suggesting that both types of cell were equally selected by antigen. Despite the selection in GCs, high affinity NP-specific B cells were barely detected in the IgG memory compartment, whereas such cells dominated the IgA memory compartment. Taken together with the analysis of the VH gene clonotype in GC and memory B cells, we propose that NALT is equipped with a unique machinery providing IgA-specific enrichment of high affinity cells into the memory compartment, facilitating immunity with high affinity and noninflammatory secretory antibodies.
memory; affinity maturation; germinal center; IgA; NALT
In 1993, the Aum Shinrikyo cult aerosolized Bacillus anthracis spores over Kameido, Japan. Spore samples were obtained from the release site, cultured, and characterized by molecular genetic typing. The isolates were consistent with strain Sterne 34F2, which is used in Japan for animal prophylaxis against anthrax.
Rap2 is a member of the Ras family of GTPases and exhibits 60% identity to Rap1, but the function and regulation of Rap2 remain obscure. We found that, unlike the other Ras family proteins, the GTP-bound active form exceeded 50% of total Rap2 protein in adherent cells. Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for Rap1, C3G, Epac (or cyclic AMP [cAMP]-GEF), CalDAG-GEFI, PDZ-GEF1, and GFR efficiently increased the level of GTP-Rap2 both in 293T cells and in vitro. GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) for Rap1, rap1GAPII and SPA-1, stimulated Rap2 GTPase, but with low efficiency. The half-life of GTP-Rap2 was significantly longer than that of GTP-Rap1 in 293T cells, indicating that low sensitivity to GAPs caused a high GTP/GDP ratio on Rap2. Rap2 bound to the Ras-binding domain of Raf and inhibited Ras-dependent activation of Elk1 transcription factor, as did Rap1. The level of GTP-Rap2 in rat 3Y1 fibroblasts was decreased by the expression of v-Src, and expression of a GTPase-deficient Rap2 mutant inhibited v-Src-dependent transformation of 3Y1 cells. Altogether, Rap2 is regulated by a similar set of GEFs and GAPs as Rap1 and functions as a slowly responding molecular switch in the Rap1 signaling cascade.
Serological and molecular epidemiological studies indicate that Borna disease virus (BDV) can infect humans and is possibly associated with certain neuropsychiatric disorders. We examined brain tissue collected at autopsy from four schizophrenic patients and two healthy controls for the presence of BDV markers in 12 different brain regions. BDV RNA and antigen was detected in four brain regions of a BDV-seropositive schizophrenic patient (P2) with a very recent (2 years) onset of disease. BDV markers exhibited a regionally localized distribution. BDV RNA was found in newborn Mongolian gerbils intracranially inoculated with homogenates from BDV-positive brain regions of P2. Human oligodendroglia (OL) cells inoculated with brain homogenates from BDV-positive gerbils allowed propagation and isolation of BDVHuP2br, a human brain-derived BDV. Virus isolation was also possible by transfection of Vero cells with ribonucleoprotein complexes prepared from BDV-positive human and gerbil brain tissues. BDVHuP2br was genetically closely related to but distinct from previously reported human- and animal-derived BDV sequences.