Puumala virus (PUUV) infection is a viral hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) characterized by thrombocytopenia and acute impairment of renal function. We aimed to assess whether genetic polymorphisms of platelet antigens together with those of von Willebrand factor (VWF) and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) correlate with disease severity.
Patients and methods
172 consecutive hospital-treated patients with serologically confirmed acute PUUV infection were included. Platelet glycoprotein (GP) IIIa T>C (rs5918), GP Ia T>C (rs1126643), GP Ib C>T (rs6065), GP VI T>C (rs1613662), VWF A>G (rs1063856) and PAI-1 A>G (rs2227631) were genotyped. The associations of the rarer alleles with variables reflecting the severity of the disease were analyzed.
PAI-1 G-carriers had higher maximum creatinine level compared with the non-carriers (median 213 μmol/l, range 60–1499 μmol/l vs. median 122 μmol/l, range 51–1156 μmol/l, p=0.01). The GG-genotypes had higher creatinine levels than GA- and AA-genotypes (medians 249 μmol/l, 204 μmol/l and 122 μmol/l, respectively, p=0.03). Polymorphisms of GP VI and VWF associated with lower creatinine levels during PUUV infection. The minor C-allele of GP Ia associated with lower platelet counts (median 44×109/l, range 20–90×109/l vs median 64×109/l, range 3–238×109/l; p=0.02).
Polymorphism of PAI-1, a major regulator of fibrinolysis, has an adverse impact on the outcome of kidney function in PUUV-HFRS. Platelet collagen receptor GP Ia polymorphism associates with lower platelet count.
Coagulation; Fibrinolysis; Hantavirus; HPA; Platelet; Polymorphism
Nephropathia epidemica (NE) is a hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome caused by Puumala hantavirus. The severity of NE varies greatly. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) activity is associated with the severity of NE. A prospectively collected cohort of 102 consecutive patients with acute serologically confirmed NE was examined. Serum kynurenine, tryptophan, creatinine, CRP, and blood cell count were measured for up to 5 consecutive days after admission. The kynurenine to tryptophan (kyn/trp) ratio reflecting IDO activity was calculated. A maximum kyn/trp ratio >202 μmol/mmol had a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 75% for detecting maximum serum creatinine values >250 μmol/L by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. A maximum kyn/trp ratio >202 μmol/mmol (high IDO level) was also associated with other parameters reflecting the severity of the disease and renal impairment. Patients with high IDO levels had higher maximum serum creatinine (379 vs. 102 μmol/L, P < 0.001), plasma C-reactive protein (104.1 vs. 72.1 mg/L, P = 0.029), and blood leukocyte values (11.9 vs. 9.0 × 109/L, P < 0.001) compared to patients with kyn/trp ratio ≤202 μmol/mmol. They also had lower minimum urinary output (1,100 vs. 1,900 ml/day, P < 0.001) and longer hospital stays (8 vs. 5 days, P < 0.001). In conclusion, high serum IDO activity was associated with increased disease severity and renal impairment in NE.
Puumala hantavirus; nephropathia epidemica; kynurenine; tryptophan; indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) infects bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in nature, but the relevance of rodents for TBEV transmission and maintenance is unclear. We infected colonized bank voles subcutaneously to study and compare the infection kinetics, acute infection, and potential viral persistence of the three known TBEV subtypes: European (TBEV-Eur), Siberian (TBEV-Sib) and Far Eastern (TBEV-FE). All strains representing the three subtypes were infective and highly neurotropic. They induced (meningo)encephalitis in some of the animals, however most of the cases did not present with apparent clinical symptoms. TBEV-RNA was cleared significantly slower from the brain as compared to other organs studied. Supporting our earlier findings in natural rodent populations, TBEV-RNA could be detected in the brain for up to 168 days post infection, but we could not demonstrate infectivity by cell culture isolation. Throughout all time points post infection, RNA of the TBEV-FE was detected significantly more often than RNA of the other two strains in all organs studied. TBEV-FE also induced prolonged viremia, indicating distinctive kinetics in rodents in comparison to the other two subtypes. This study shows that bank voles can develop a neuroinvasive TBEV infection with persistence of viral RNA in brain, and mount an anti-TBEV IgG response. The findings also provide further evidence that bank voles can serve as sentinels for TBEV endemicity.
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor is a multifunctional glycoprotein, the expression of which is increased during inflammation. It is known to bind to β3-integrins, which are elementary for the cellular entry of hantaviruses. Plasma soluble form of the receptor (suPAR) levels were evaluated as a predictor of severe Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection and as a possible factor involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.
A single-centre prospective cohort study.
Subjects and Methods
Plasma suPAR levels were measured twice during the acute phase and once during the convalescence in 97 patients with serologically confirmed acute PUUV infection using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
The plasma suPAR levels were significantly higher during the acute phase compared to the control values after the hospitalization (median 8.7 ng/ml, range 4.0–18.2 ng/ml vs. median 4.7 ng/ml, range 2.4–12.2 ng/ml, P<0.001). The maximum suPAR levels correlated with several variables reflecting the severity of the disease. There was a positive correlation with maximum leukocyte count (r = 0.475, p<0.001), maximum plasma creatinine concentration (r = 0.378, p<0.001), change in weight during the hospitalization (r = 0.406, p<0.001) and the length of hospitalization (r = 0.325, p = 0.001), and an inverse correlation with minimum platelet count (r = −0.325, p = 0.001) and minimum hematocrit (r = −0.369, p<0.001).
Plasma suPAR values are markedly increased during acute PUUV infection and associate with the severity of the disease. The overexpression of suPAR possibly activates β3-integrin in PUUV infection, and thus might be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.
Nephropathia epidemica (NE) caused by Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is the most common hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe. The infection activates immunological mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis and characteristics of the illness. In this study we measured cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neopterin concentration from 23 acute-phase NE patients. We collected data on kidney function, markers of tissue permeability, haemodynamic properties, blood cell count, length of hospitalisation, inflammatory parameters, and ophthalmological properties. The neopterin levels were elevated (>5.8 nmol/L) in 22 (96%) NE-patients (mean 45.8 nmol/L); these were especially high in patients with intrathecal PUUV-IgM production (mean 58.2 nmol/L, P = 0.01) and those with elevated CSF protein concentrations (mean 63.6 nmol/L, P < 0.05). We also observed a correlation between the neopterin and high plasma creatinine value (r = 0.66, P = 0.001), low blood thrombocyte count (r = −0.42, P < 0.05), and markedly disturbed refractory properties of an eye (r = 0.47, P < 0.05). Length of hospitalisation correlated with the neopterin (r = 0.42, P < 0.05; male patients r = 0.69, P < 0.01). Patients with signs of tissue oedema and increased permeability also had high neopterin concentrations. These results reinforce the view that PUUV-HFRS is a general infection that affects the central nervous system and the blood-brain barrier.
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a phenomenon widely utilized in biomedical research of macromolecular interactions. In FRET energy is transferred between two fluorophores, the donor and the acceptor. Herein we describe a novel approach utilizing time-resolved FRET (TR-FRET) for the detection of antibodies not only in a solution-phase homogenous assay but also in single- and two-step solid-phase assays. Our method is based on the principle that the Y-shaped immunoglobulin G molecule is able to simultaneously bind two identical antigen molecules. Hence, if a specific IgG is mixed with donor- and acceptor-labeled antigens, the binding of antigens can be measured by TR-FRET. Using donor- and acceptor-labeled streptavidins (SAs) in conjunction with a polyclonal and a monoclonal anti-SA antibody we demonstrate that this approach is fully functional. In addition we characterize the immune complexes responsible for the TR-FRET signal using density gradient ultracentrifugation and solid-phase immunoassays. The homogenous TR-FRET assay described provides a rapid and robust tool for antibody detection, with a wide potential in medical diagnostics.
Newcastle disease (ND) is a highly contagious, severe disease of poultry caused by pathogenic strains of Newcastle disease virus (NDV; or avian paramyxovirus-1). NDV is endemic in wild birds worldwide and one of the economically most important poultry pathogens. Most of the published strains are outbreak-associated strains, while the apathogenic NDV strains that occur in wild birds, posing a constant threat to poultry with their capability to convert into more virulent forms, have remained less studied. We screened for NDV RNA in cloacal and oropharyngeal samples from wild waterfowl in Finland during the years 2006 to 2010: 39 of 715 birds were positive (prevalence, 5.5%). The partial or full-length F genes of 37 strains were sequenced for phylogenetic purposes. We also characterized viruses derived from three NDV outbreaks in Finland and discuss the relationships between these outbreak-associated and the wild-bird-associated strains. We found that all waterfowl NDV isolates were lentogenic strains of class I or class II genotype I. We also isolated a genetically distinct class I strain (teal/Finland/13111/2008) grouping phylogenetically together with only strain HIECK87191, isolated in Northern Ireland in 1987. Together they seem to form a novel class I genotype genetically differing from other known NDVs by at least 12%.
In order to detect serum antibodies against clinically important Old and New World hantaviruses simultaneously, multiparametric indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFAs) based on biochip mosaics were developed. Each of the mosaic substrates consisted of cells infected with one of the virus types Hantaan (HTNV), Puumala (PUUV), Seoul (SEOV), Saaremaa (SAAV), Dobrava (DOBV), Sin Nombre (SNV) or Andes (ANDV). For assay evaluation, serum IgG and IgM antibodies were analyzed using 184 laboratory-confirmed hantavirus-positive sera collected at six diagnostic centers from patients actively or previously infected with the following hantavirus serotypes: PUUV (Finland, n = 97); SEOV (China, n = 5); DOBV (Romania, n = 7); SNV (Canada, n = 23); ANDV (Argentina and Chile, n = 52). The control panel comprised 89 sera from healthy blood donors. According to the reference tests, all 184 patient samples were seropositive for hantavirus-specific IgG (n = 177; 96%) and/or IgM (n = 131; 72%), while all control samples were tested negative. In the multiparametric IFA applied in this study, 183 (99%) of the patient sera were IgG and 131 (71%) IgM positive (accordance with the reference tests: IgG, 96%; IgM, 93%). Overall IFA sensitivity for combined IgG and IgM analysis amounted to 100% for all serotypes, except for SNV (96%). Of the 89 control sera, 2 (2%) showed IgG reactivity against the HTNV substrate, but not against any other hantavirus. Due to the high cross-reactivity of hantaviral nucleocapsid proteins, endpoint titrations were conducted, allowing serotype determination in >90% of PUUV- and ANDV-infected patients. Thus, multiparametric IFA enables highly sensitive and specific serological diagnosis of hantavirus infections and can be used to differentiate PUUV and ANDV infection from infections with Murinae-borne hantaviruses (e.g. DOBV and SEOV).
Hantaviruses are the causative agents of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) — serious emerging diseases, with case-fatality rates of up to 15% and about 35%, respectively. So far, over 21 human pathogenic serotypes have been described, which are classified into New World (circulating in the Americas) and Old World (Asia and Europe) hantaviruses. The prodromal phase of hantavirus infections — fever, myalgia, headache and gastrointestinal symptoms — is indistinguishable from those of many other viral infections. The cardiopulmonary phase of HFRS and diuretic phase of HFRS mimic the acute respiratory distress syndrome and renal failure, respectively. In this context, clinical diagnosis has to be confirmed by laboratory testing, which is predominantly based on serology. Although there is an increasing awareness of hantaviruses, infections are still underdiagnosed, in part due to a lack of available standardized serological assays. This study evaluated a commercial multiparametric indirect immunofluorescence assay for the simultaneous detection of antibodies against clinically important Old World (Hantaan, Puumala, Seoul, Saaremaa and Dobrava) and New World (Sin Nombre and Andes) hantaviruses. Test performance was found to be comparable to established highly sensitive and specific in-house assays.
Puumala virus causes nephropathia epidemica, a rodent-borne zoonosis that is endemic to Europe. We sequenced the complete Puumala virus genome that was directly recovered from a person who died and compared it with those of viruses from local bank voles. The virus strain involved was neither a unique nor rare genetic variant.
HFRS; nephropathia epidemica; hantavirus; Puumala virus; viruses; Finland; zoonoses; rodents
Dobrava-Belgrade virus (DOBV) is a human pathogen that has evolved in, and is hosted by, mice of several species of the genus Apodemus. We propose a subdivision of the species Dobrava-Belgrade virus into four related genotypes – Dobrava, Kurkino, Saaremaa, and Sochi – that show characteristic differences in their phylogeny, specific host reservoirs, geographical distribution, and pathogenicity for humans.
Intensive management of Fennoscandian forests has led to a mosaic of woodlands in different stages of maturity. The main rodent host of the zoonotic Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is the bank vole (Myodes glareolus), a species that can be found in all woodlands and especially mature forests. We investigated the influence of forest age structure on PUUV infection dynamics in bank voles.
Over four years, we trapped small mammals twice a year in a forest network of different succession stages in Northern Finland. Our study sites represented four forest age classes from young (4 to 30 years) to mature (over 100 years) forests. We show that PUUV-infected bank voles occurred commonly in all forest age classes, but peaked in mature forests. The probability of an individual bank vole to be PUUV infected was positively related to concurrent host population density. However, when population density was controlled for, a relatively higher infection rate was observed in voles trapped in younger forests. Furthermore, we found evidence of a “dilution effect” in that the infection probability was negatively associated with the simultaneous density of other small mammals during the breeding season.
Our results suggest that younger forests created by intensive management can reduce hantaviral load in the environment, but PUUV is common in woodlands of all ages. As such, the Fennoscandian forest landscape represents a significant reservoir and source of hantaviral infection in humans.
Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection, also known as nephropathia epidemica, is the most common cause of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Europe. The pathogenesis of PUUV nephropathia epidemica is complex and multifactorial, and the risk factors for severe acute kidney injury (AKI) during acute PUUV infection are not well defined. We conducted a prospective study of hospitalized patients with PUUV infection in Tampere, Finland to identify acute illness risk factors for HFRS severity. Serial daily blood and urine samples were collected throughout acute illness and at 2 week and 6 month convalescent visits. By univariate analyses, the maximum white blood cell count during acute illness was a risk factor for severe AKI. There were no significant associations between PUUV-induced AKI severity and platelet counts, C-reactive protein, or alanine aminotransferase levels. Maximum plasma interleukin (IL)-6, urine IL-6, and urine IL-8 concentrations were positively associated with PUUV-induced AKI. Finally, the maximum urinary sediment GATA-3 mRNA level was positively correlated with the peak fold-change in serum creatinine, regardless of AKI severity classification. By multivariate analyses, we found that the maximum levels of leukocytes and urinary sediment GATA-3 mRNA during acute illness were independent risk factors for severe PUUV-induced AKI. We have identified novel acute illness risk factors for severe PUUV-induced AKI.
Hantaviruses (Bunyaviridae) are negative-strand RNA viruses with a tripartite genome. The small (S) segment encodes the nucleocapsid protein and, in some hantaviruses, also the nonstructural protein (NSs). The aim of this study was to find potential cellular partners for the hantaviral NSs protein. Toward this aim, yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) screening of mouse cDNA library was performed followed by a search for potential NSs protein counterparts via analyzing a cellular interactome. The resulting interaction network was shown to form logical, clustered structures. Furthermore, several potential binding partners for the NSs protein, for instance ACBD3, were identified and, to prove the principle, interaction between NSs and ACBD3 proteins was demonstrated biochemically.
Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) causes a hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome called nephropathia epidemica (NE). The aim of the present study was to evaluate plasma cell-free DNA (cf-DNA) levels and urinary cf-DNA excretion in acute NE as well as their associations with the severity of the disease.
Total plasma cf-DNA was quantified directly in plasma of 61 patients and urine of 20 patients with acute NE. We also carried out a qualitative high-sensitivity lab-on-a-chip DNA assay in 20 patients to elucidate the appearance of cf-DNA in plasma and urine.
The maximum plasma cf-DNA values taken during acute NE were significantly higher than the control values taken after the hospitalization period (median 1.33 µg/ml, range 0.94–3.29 µg/ml vs. median 0.77 µg/ml, range 0.55–0.99 µg/ml, P<0.001). The maximum plasma cf-DNA levels correlated positively with maximum blood leukocyte count (r = 0.388, P = 0.002) and the length of hospital stay (r = 0.376, P = 0.003), and inversely with minimum blood platelet count (r = −0.297, P = 0.020). Qualitative analysis of plasma cf-DNA revealed that in most of the patients cf-DNA displayed a low-molecular weight appearance, corresponding to the size of apoptotic DNA (150–200 bp). The visually graded maximum cf-DNA band intensity correlated positively with the maximum quantity of total plasma cf-DNA (r = 0.513, P = 0.021). Maximum urinary excretion of cf-DNA in turn was not markedly increased during the acute phase of NE and did not correlate with any of the variables reflecting severity of the disease or with the maximum plasma cf-DNA level.
The plasma levels of cf-DNA are elevated during acute PUUV infection and correlate with the apoptotic cf-DNA-band intensity. The plasma cf-DNA concentration correlates with some variables reflecting the severity of the disease. The urinary excretion of cf-DNA does not reflect the degree of inflammation in the kidney.
Infected females may transfer maternal antibodies (MatAbs) to their offspring, which may then be transiently protected against infections the mother has encountered. However, the role of maternal protection in infectious disease dynamics in wildlife has largely been neglected. Here, we investigate the effects of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV)-specific MatAbs on PUUV dynamics, using 7 years' data from a cyclic bank vole population in Finland. For the first time to our knowledge, we partition seropositivity data from a natural population into separate dynamic patterns for MatAbs and infection. The likelihood of young of the year carrying PUUV-specific MatAbs during the breeding season correlated positively with infection prevalence in the overwintered parent population in the preceding spring. The probability of PUUV infection varied between seasons (highest in spring, lowest in late summer) and depended on population structure, but was also, in late autumn, notably, negatively related to summer MatAb prevalence, as well as to infection prevalence earlier in the breeding season. Hence, our results suggest that high infection prevalence in the early breeding season leads to a high proportion of transiently immune young individuals, which causes delays in transmission. This suggests, in turn, that MatAb protection has the potential to affect infection dynamics in natural populations.
bank vole; infection transmission; maternal antibody; Puumala hantavirus; transient immunity
Bornaviruses, which chronically infect many species, can cause severe
neurological diseases in some animal species; their association with human
neuropsychiatric disorders is, however, debatable. The epidemiology of Borna
disease virus (BDV), as for other members of the family
Bornaviridae, is largely unknown, although evidence exists
for a reservoir in small mammals, for example bank voles (Myodes
glareolus). In addition to the current exogenous infections and
despite the fact that bornaviruses have an RNA genome, bornavirus sequences
integrated into the genomes of several vertebrates millions of years ago. Our
hypothesis is that the bank vole, a common wild rodent species in traditional
BDV-endemic areas, can serve as a viral host; we therefore explored whether this
species can be infected with BDV, and if so, how the virus spreads and whether
viral RNA is transcribed into DNA in vivo.
We infected neonate bank voles intracerebrally with BDV and euthanized them 2 to
8 weeks post-infection. Specific Ig antibodies were detectable in 41%.
Histological evaluation revealed no significant pathological alterations, but
BDV RNA and antigen were detectable in all infected brains. Immunohistology
demonstrated centrifugal spread throughout the nervous tissue, because viral
antigen was widespread in peripheral nerves and ganglia, including the
mediastinum, esophagus, and urinary bladder. This was associated with viral
shedding in feces, of which 54% were BDV RNA-positive, and urine at
17%. BDV nucleocapsid gene DNA occurred in 66% of the infected
voles, and, surprisingly, occasionally also phosphoprotein DNA. Thus,
intracerebral BDV infection of bank vole led to systemic infection of the
nervous tissue and viral excretion, as well as frequent reverse transcription of
the BDV genome, enabling genomic integration. This first experimental bornavirus
infection in wild mammals confirms the recent findings regarding bornavirus DNA,
and suggests that bank voles are capable of bornavirus transmission.
Our aim was to characterize clinical properties and laboratory parameters in patients with or without cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings suggestive of central nervous system (CNS) involvement, and especially those who developed serious CNS complications during acute nephropathia epidemica (NE) caused by Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection.
A prospective cohort of 40 patients with acute NE and no signs of major CNS complications was analyzed. In addition, 8 patients with major CNS complications associated with NE were characterized. We collected data of CNS symptoms, CSF analysis, brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results, electroencephalography (EEG) recordings, kidney function, and a number of laboratory parameters. Selected patients were evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
Patients with a positive CSF PUUV IgM finding or major CNS complications were more often males (p < 0.05) and they had higher plasma creatinine values (p < 0.001) compared to those with negative CSF PUUV IgM. The degree of tissue edema did not explain the CSF findings. Patients with major CNS complications were younger than those with negative CSF PUUV IgM finding (52.9 vs. 38.5 years, p < 0.05). Some patients developed permanent neurological and ophthalmological impairments.
CNS and ocular involvement during and after acute NE can cause permanent damage and these symptoms seem to be attributable to true infection of the CNS rather than increased tissue permeability. The possibility of this condition should be borne in mind especially in young male patients.
hantavirus; encephalitis; hypopituitarism
vector-borne infections; tick-borne encephalitis virus; viruses; TBEV; Ixodes; Finnish Lapland; letter
Rodents might maintain tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in nature through latent persistent infections. During 2 subsequent winters, 2008 and 2009, in Finland, we detected RNA of European and Siberian subtypes of TBEV in Microtus agrestis and Myodes glareolus voles, respectively. Persistence in rodent reservoirs may contribute to virus overwintering.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus; rodent; persistence; Finland; TBEV-Eur; TBEV-Sib; Myodes glareolus; Microtus agrestis; viruses; dispatch
Hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae) are rodent-borne emerging viruses that cause a serious, worldwide threat to human health. Hantavirus diseases include hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. Virions are enveloped and contain a tripartite single-stranded negative-sense RNA genome. Two types of glycoproteins, GN and GC, are embedded in the viral membrane and form protrusions, or “spikes.” The membrane encloses a ribonucleoprotein core, which consists of the RNA segments, the nucleocapsid protein, and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Detailed information on hantavirus virion structure and glycoprotein spike composition is scarce. Here, we have studied the structures of Tula hantavirus virions using electron cryomicroscopy and tomography. Three-dimensional density maps show how the hantavirus surface glycoproteins, membrane, and ribonucleoprotein are organized. The structure of the GN-GC spike complex was solved to 3.6-nm resolution by averaging tomographic subvolumes. Each spike complex is a square-shaped assembly with 4-fold symmetry. Spike complexes formed ordered patches on the viral membrane by means of specific lateral interactions. These interactions may be sufficient for creating membrane curvature during virus budding. In conclusion, the structure and assembly principles of Tula hantavirus exemplify a unique assembly paradigm for enveloped viruses.
Uukuniemi virus (UUKV) belongs to the Phlebovirus genus in the family Bunyaviridae. As a non-pathogenic virus for humans UUKV has served as a safe model bunyavirus in a number of studies addressing fundamental questions such as organization and regulation of viral genes, genome replication, structure and assembly. The present study is focused on the oligomerization of the UUKV nucleocapsid (N) protein, which plays an important role in several steps of virus replication. The aim was to locate the domains involved in the N protein oligomerization and study the process in detail.
A set of experiments concentrating on the N- and C-termini of the protein was performed, first by completely or partially deleting putative N-N-interaction domains and then by introducing point mutations of amino acid residues. Mutagenesis strategy was based on the computer modeling of secondary and tertiary structure of the N protein. The N protein mutants were studied in chemical cross-linking, immunofluorescence, mammalian two-hybrid, minigenome, and virus-like particle-forming assays. The data showed that the oligomerization ability of UUKV-N protein depends on the presence of intact α-helices on both termini of the N protein molecule and that a specific structure in the N-terminal region plays a crucial role in the N-N interaction(s). This structure is formed by two α-helices, rich in amino acid residues with aromatic (W7, F10, W19, F27, F31) or long aliphatic (I14, I24) side chains. Furthermore, some of the N-terminal mutations (e.g. I14A, I24A, F31A) affected the N protein functionality both in mammalian two-hybrid and minigenome assays.
UUKV-N protein has ability to form oligomers in chemical cross-linking and mammalian two-hybrid assays. In mutational analysis, some of the introduced single-point mutations abolished the N protein functionality both in mammalian two-hybrid and minigenome assays, suggesting that especially the N-terminal region of the UUKV-N protein is essential for the N-N interaction.
In this report the basis for the structural architecture of the envelope of hantaviruses, family Bunyaviridae, is systematically studied by the interactions of two glycoproteins N and C (Gn and Gc, respectively) and their respective disulfide bridge-mediated homo- and heteromeric oligomerizations. In virion extracts Gn and Gc associated in both homo- and hetero-oligomers which were, at least partially, thiol bridge mediated. Due to strong homo-oligomerization, the hetero-oligomers of Gn and Gc are likely to be mediated by homo-oligomeric subunits. A reversible pH-induced disappearance of a neutralizing epitope in Gc and dissociation of the Gn-Gc complex at pH values below 6.2 provide proteochemical evidence for the fusogenicity of Gc. Incomplete inactivation of virions at acidic pH indicates that additional factors are required for hantavirus fusion, as in the case of pestiviruses of the Flaviviridae. Based on similarities to class II fusion proteins, a structure model was created of hantavirus Gc using the Semliki Forest virus E1 protein as a template. In total, 10 binding regions for Gn were found by peptide scanning, of which five represent homotypic (GnI to GnV) and five represent heterotypic (GcI to GcV) interaction sites that we assign as intra- and interspike connections, respectively. In conclusion, the glycoprotein associations were compiled to a model wherein the surface of hantaviruses is formed of homotetrameric Gn complexes interconnected with Gc homodimers. This organization would create the grid-like surface pattern described earlier for hantaviruses in negatively stained electron microscopy specimens.
A novel flavivirus was isolated from mosquitoes in Finland, representing the first mosquito-borne flavivirus from Northern Europe. The isolate, designated Lammi virus (LAMV), was antigenically cross-reactive with other flaviviruses and exhibited typical flavivirus morphology as determined by electron microscopy. The genomic sequence of LAMV was highly divergent from the recognized flaviviruses, and yet the polyprotein properties resembled those of mosquito-borne flaviviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete coding sequence showed that LAMV represented a distinct lineage related to the Aedes sp.-transmitted human pathogenic flaviviruses, similarly to the newly described Nounané virus (NOUV), a flavivirus from Africa (S. Junglen et al., J. Virol. 83:4462-4468, 2009). Despite the low sequence homology, LAMV and NOUV were phylogenetically grouped closely, likely representing separate species of a novel group of flaviviruses. Despite the biological properties preferring replication in mosquito cells, the genetic relatedness of LAMV to viruses associated with vertebrate hosts warrants a search for disease associations.
Tumor-stroma reaction is associated with activation of fibroblasts. Nemosis is a novel type of fibroblast activation. It leads to an increased production of growth factors and proinflammatory and proteolytic proteins, while at the same time cytoskeletal proteins are degraded. Here we used paired normal skin fibroblasts and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) and primary and recurrent oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells to study the nemosis response.
Fibroblast nemosis was analyzed by protein and gene expression and the paracrine regulation with colony formation assay. One of the normal fibroblast strains, FB-43, upregulated COX-2 in nemosis, but FB-74 cells did not. In contrast, CAF-74 spheroids expressed COX-2 but CAF-43 cells did not. Alpha-SMA protein was expressed in both CAF strains and in FB-74 cells, but not in FB-43 fibroblasts. Its mRNA levels were downregulated in nemosis, but the CAFs started to regain the expression. FSP1 mRNA was downregulated in normal fibroblasts and CAF-74 cells, but not in CAF-43 fibroblasts. Serine protease FAP was upregulated in all fibroblasts, more so in nemotic CAFs. VEGF, HGF/SF and FGF7 mRNA levels were upregulated to variable degree in nemosis. CAFs increased the colony formation of primary tumor cell lines UT-SCC-43A and UT-SCC-74A, but normal fibroblasts inhibited the anchorage-independent growth of recurrent UT-SCC-43B and UT-SCC-74B cells.
Nemosis response, as observed by COX-2 and growth factor induction, and expression of CAF markers α-SMA, FSP1 and FAP, varies between fibroblast populations. The expression of CAF markers differs between normal fibroblasts and CAFs in nemosis. These results emphasize the heterogeneity of fibroblasts and the evolving tumor-promoting properties of CAFs.
Prevalence of virus infection was higher in areas of greater rodent density.
We determined the prevalence of infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) among small mammals in northern Italy and analyzed long-term dynamics of LCMV in a rodent population in the province of Trento. LCMV is circulating among the most widespread and common wild rodent species in this area (Apodemus flavicollis, Myodes glareolus, and Microtus arvalis); overall prevalence is 6.8%. During 2000–2006, intensive monitoring of LCMV in a population of yellow-necked mice (A. flavicollis) showed a positive correlation between prevalence of infection and rodent density. At the individual level, weight and sex appeared to correlate with antibody prevalence, which suggests that horizontal transmission of LCMV occurs principally among heavier, older males and occurs during fighting. Isolation and genetic characterization of this virus will be the crucial next steps for a better understanding of its ecology.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus; arenavirus; viruses; Italy; wild rodents; zoonoses; research