Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is an emerging orthobunyavirus of ruminants associated with outbreaks of congenital malformations in aborted and stillborn animals. Since its discovery in November 2011, SBV has spread very rapidly to many European countries. Here, we developed molecular and serological tools, and an experimental in vivo model as a platform to study SBV pathogenesis, tropism and virus-host cell interactions. Using a synthetic biology approach, we developed a reverse genetics system for the rapid rescue and genetic manipulation of SBV. We showed that SBV has a wide tropism in cell culture and “synthetic” SBV replicates in vitro as efficiently as wild type virus. We developed an experimental mouse model to study SBV infection and showed that this virus replicates abundantly in neurons where it causes cerebral malacia and vacuolation of the cerebral cortex. These virus-induced acute lesions are useful in understanding the progression from vacuolation to porencephaly and extensive tissue destruction, often observed in aborted lambs and calves in naturally occurring Schmallenberg cases. Indeed, we detected high levels of SBV antigens in the neurons of the gray matter of brain and spinal cord of naturally affected lambs and calves, suggesting that muscular hypoplasia observed in SBV-infected lambs is mostly secondary to central nervous system damage. Finally, we investigated the molecular determinants of SBV virulence. Interestingly, we found a biological SBV clone that after passage in cell culture displays increased virulence in mice. We also found that a SBV deletion mutant of the non-structural NSs protein (SBVΔNSs) is less virulent in mice than wild type SBV. Attenuation of SBV virulence depends on the inability of SBVΔNSs to block IFN synthesis in virus infected cells. In conclusion, this work provides a useful experimental framework to study the biology and pathogenesis of SBV.
Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was discovered in Germany (near the town of Schmallenberg) in November 2011 and since then has been found to be the cause of malformations and stillbirths in ruminants. SBV has spread very rapidly to many European countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. Very little is known about the biological properties of this virus and there is no vaccine available. In this study (i) we developed an approach (called reverse genetics) that allows the recovery of “synthetic” SBV under laboratory conditions; (ii) we developed a mouse model of infection for SBV; (iii) we showed that SBV replicates in neurons of experimentally infected mice similar to naturally infected lambs and calves; (iv) we developed viral mutants that are not as pathogenic as the original virus due to the inability to counteract the host cell defenses; and v) we identified mutations that are associated with increased virulence. This work provides the experimental tools to understand how this newly emerged virus causes disease in ruminants. In addition, it will now be possible to manipulate the SBV genome in order to develop highly effective vaccines.
Schmallenberg virus; in situ-hybridization; ruminants; malformation; brain; inflammation; central nervous system; CNS; viruses
The recognition of functional muscular disorders, (e.g. channelopathies like Myotonia) is rising in veterinary neurology. Morphologic (e.g. histology) and even genetic based studies in these diseases are not able to elucidate the functional pathomechanism. As there is a deficit of knowledge and skills considering this special task, the aim of the current pilot study was to develop a canine muscle cell culture system derived from muscle biopsies of healthy client-owned dogs, which allows sampling of the biopsies under working conditions in the daily veterinary practise.
Muscular biopsies from 16 dogs of different age and breed were taken during standard surgical procedures and were stored for one to three days at 4°C in a transport medium in order to simulate shipping conditions. Afterwards biopsies were professionally processed, including harvesting of satellite cells, inducing their proliferation, differentiating them into myotubes and recultivating myotubes after long-term storage in liquid nitrogen. Myogenic origin of cultured cells was determined by immunofluorescence, immunohistology and by their typical morphology after inducing differentiation. Subsequent to the differentiation into myotubes feasibility of patch-clamp recordings of voltage gated ion channels was successfully.
We have developed a canine muscle cell culture system, which allows sampling of biopsies from young and old dogs of different breeds under practical conditions. Patch clamp measurements can be carried out with the cultured myotubes demonstrating potential of these cells as source for functional research.
Myotubes; Voltage gated ion channels; Functional; Dog; Animal models
Proinflammatory state of the brain increases the risk for seizure development. Neonatal Borna disease virus (BDV)-infection of mice with neuronal overexpression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) was used to investigate the complex relationship between enhanced cytokine levels, neurotropic virus infection and reaction pattern of brain cells focusing on its role for seizure induction. Viral antigen and glial markers were visualized by immunohistochemistry. Different levels of TNF in the CNS were provided by the use of heterozygous and homozygous TNF overexpressing mice. Transgenic TNF, total TNF (native and transgenic), TNF-receptor (TNFR1, TNFR2), IL-1 and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor subunit 2B (NR2B) mRNA values were measured by real time RT-PCR. BDV-infection of TNF-transgenic mice resulted in non-purulent meningoencephalitis accompanied by epileptic seizures with a higher frequency in homozygous animals. This correlated with lower weight gain, stronger degree and progression of encephalitis and early, strong microglia activation in the TNF-transgenic mice, most obviously in homozygous animals. Activation of astroglia could be more intense and associated with an unusual hypertrophy in the transgenic mice. BDV-antigen distribution and infectivity in the CNS was comparable in TNF-transgenic and wild-type animals. Transgenic TNF mRNA-expression was restricted to forebrain regions as the transgene construct comprised the promoter of NMDA-receptor subunit2B and induced up-regulation of native TNF mRNA. Total TNF mRNA levels did not increase significantly after BDV-infection in the brain of transgenic mice but TNFR1, TNFR2 and IL-1 mRNA values, mainly in the TNF overexpressing brain areas. NR2B mRNA levels were not influenced by transgene expression or BDV-infection. Neuronal TNF-overexpression combined with BDV-infection leads to cytokine up-regulation, CNS inflammation and glial cell activation and confirmed the presensitizing effect of elevated cytokine levels for the development of spontaneous epileptic seizures when exposed to additional infectious noxi.
The importance of the adaptive immune response for secondary influenza infections and protection from a lethal challenge after vaccination has been well documented. However, some controversy still exists concerning the specific involvement of B and T cells during a primary infection. Here, we have followed the survival, weight loss, viral load and lung pathology in Rag2-/- knock-out mice after infection with influenza A virus (H1N1). Infected wild type mice initially lost weight early after infection but then cleared the virus and recovered. Rag2-/- mice, however, showed similar weight loss kinetics in the early stages after infection but weight loss continued post infection and culminated in death. In contrast to wild type mice, Rag2-/- mice were not able to clear the virus, despite an increased inflammatory response. Furthermore, they did not recruit virus-specific lymphocytes into the lung in the later stages after infection and exhibited sustained pulmonary lesions.
The Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1) is considered to be one of the key regulators of transcription and translation. However, so far only limited knowledge exists regarding its cellular distribution in the adult brain.
Analysis of YB-1 immunolabelling as well as double-labelling with the neuronal marker NeuN in rat brain tissue revealed a predominant neuronal expression in the dentate gyrus, the cornu ammonis pyramidal cell layer, layer III of the piriform cortex as well as throughout all layers of the parahippocampal cortex. In the hilus of the hippocampus single neurons expressed YB-1. The neuronal expression pattern was comparable in the hippocampus and parahippocampal cortex of adult macaques and humans. Double-labelling of YB-1 with the endothelial cell marker Glut-1, the multidrug transporter P-glycoprotein, and the astrocytic marker GFAP did not indicate a co-localization. Following status epilepticus in rats, no induction of YB-1 occurred in brain capillary endothelial cells and neurons.
In conclusion, our study demonstrates that YB-1 is predominantly expressed in neurons in the adult brain of rats, macaques and humans. Lack of a co-localization with Glut-1 and P-glycoprotein argues against a direct role of YB-1 in the regulation of blood-brain barrier P-glycoprotein.
Canis familiaris; dog; mycobacteriosis; Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex; Mycobacterium avium subsp. Hominissuis; zoonoses; letter
Dolphin; distemper; morbillivirus; encephalitis; letter
Approximately 21,700 seals died during a morbillivirus epidemic in northwestern Europe in 2002. Phocine distemper virus 1 was isolated from seals in German waters. The sequence of the P gene showed 97% identity with the Dutch virus isolated in 1988. There was 100% identity with the Dutch isolate from 2002 and a single nucleotide mismatch with the Danish isolate.
harbor seal; phocine distemper virus; germany; RT-PCR; immunohistochemistry; serology
A virus, 78-238, isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid of a dog with neurological dysfunction, was characterized as a paramyxovirus. This conclusion was supported by viral cytopathic effects and morphological appearance of virions and nucleocapsids in infected cells. Nucleocapsids were found in the cytoplasm of all infected cells and in the nuclei of 0.001% of these cells. Growth curves revealed that a high percentage (≥76%) of infectious progeny virus was cell released. Persistent infection of Vero cells with 78-238 showed a consistently high percentage of fluorescence-positive cells and a low proportion of hemadsorption-positive cells. Serological studies indicate that the virus was closely related to Simian virus 5 and reference canine parainfluenza virus.