H9N2 influenza viruses with an A316S substitution in hemagglutinin (HA) and a shorter neuraminidase (NA) stalk have become predominant in China. The A316S was shown to increase HA cleavage efficiency when combined with short stalk NA, and the short stalk NA improved NA enzyme activity and release of virus from erythrocytes. Single mutations or combinations of these mutations strengthened the virulence of H9N2 virus in chickens and mice.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an important arterivirus that can cause significant losses in swine industry. At present, there are no adequate control strategies against PRRSV. Thus, there is an urgent need for new treatment regimens that have efficacious antiviral activity to compensate for vaccines. Cryptoporus volvatus commonly serves as an anti-infective agent in Tradational Chinese Medicines. In this report, we exploited whether the aqueous extract from the fruiting body of Cryptoporus volvatus had the potential to inhibit PRRSV infection. Our results showed that the extract significantly inhibited PRRSV infection by repressing virus entry, viral RNA expression, and possibly viral protein synthesis, cell-to-cell spread, and releasing of virus particles. However, it did not block PRRSV binding to cells. Further studies confirmed that the extract directly inhibited PRRSV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity, thus interfering with PRRSV RNA and protein synthesis. More importantly, the extract efficiently inhibited highly pathologic PRRSV (HP-PRRSV) infection in vivo, reduced virus load in serum, and increased the survival rate of pigs inoculated with HP-PRRSV strain. Collectively, our findings imply that the aqueous extract from the fruiting body of Cryptoporus volvatus has the potential to be used for anti-PRRSV therapies.
To determine risk for avian influenza virus infection, we conducted serologic surveillance for H5 and H9 subtypes among poultry workers in Beijing, China, 2009–2010, and assessed workers’ understanding of avian influenza. We found that poultry workers had considerable risk for infection with H9 subtypes. Increasing their knowledge could prevent future infections.
Avian influenza; influenza; viruses; poultry workers; serologic survey; knowledge; attitudes; practices
H5 influenza viruses containing a motif of multiple basic amino acids at the hemagglutinin (HA) cleavage site (HACS) are highly pathogenic in chicken but display different virulence phenotypes in mammals. Previous studies have shown that multiple basic amino acids of H5N1 influenza virus are a prerequisite for lethality in mice. However, it remains unclear which specific residue at the cleavage site affects the pathogenicity of H5N1 in mammals. A comprehensive genetic analysis of the H5N1 HACS showed that residues at P6 (position 325, by H3 numbering) were the most polymorphic, including serine (S), arginine (R), deletion (*), glycine (G), and isoleucine (I). To determine whether a single residue at P6 could affect virulence, we introduced different mutations at P6 of an avirulent clade 7 H5N1 strain, rg325G, by reverse genetics. Among the recombinant viruses, the rg325S virus showed the highest cleavage efficiency in vitro. All these viruses were highly pathogenic in chicken but exhibited different virulences in mice. The rg325S virus exhibited the highest pathogenicity in terms of unrestricted organ tropism and neurovirulence. Remarkably, the HA-325S substitution dramatically increased the pathogenicity of H5N1 viruses of other clades, including clades 2.2, 2.3.2, and 2.3.4, indicating that this residue impacts genetically divergent H5N1 viruses. An analysis of predicted structures containing these mutations showed that the cleavage site loop with 325S was the most exposed, which might be responsible for the efficient cleavage and high virulence. Our results demonstrate that an amino acid substitution at the P6 cleavage site alone could modulate the virulence of H5N1 in mice.
Influenza virus virulence can be exacerbated by bacterial co-infections. Swine influenza virus (SIV) infection together with some bacteria is found to enhance pathogenicity.
SIV-positive samples suspected of containing bacteria were used for bacterial isolation and identification. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by disc diffusion methods. To investigate the interaction of SIV and the bacteria in vitro, guinea pigs were used as mammalian hosts to determine the effect on viral susceptibility and transmissibility. Differences in viral titers between groups were compared using Student’s t-test.
During surveillance for SIV in China from 2006 to 2009, seven isolates (24.14%) of 29 influenza A viruses were co-isolated with Stenotrophomonas maltophilia from nasal and tracheal swab samples of pigs. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing showed that the bacteria possessed a high level of resistance towards clinically used antibiotics. To investigate the interaction between these two microorganisms in influencing viral susceptibility and transmission in humans, guinea pigs were used as an infection model. Animals were inoculated with SIV or S. maltophilia alone or co-infected with SIV and S. maltophilia. The results showed that although no transmission among guinea pigs was observed, virus–bacteria co-infections resulted in higher virus titers in nasal washes and trachea and a longer virus shedding period.
This is the first report of influenza virus co-infection with S. maltophilia in the Chinese swine population. Increased replication of virus by co-infection with multidrug resistant bacteria might increase the infection rate of SIV in humans. The control of S. maltophilia in clinics will contribute to reducing the spread of SIV in pigs and humans.
Swine influenza virus; S. maltophilia; Co-infections; Guinea pigs
H9N2 influenza viruses have been circulating worldwide in multiple avian species and have repeatedly infected humans to cause typical disease. The continued avian-to-human interspecies transmission of H9N2 viruses raises concerns about the possibility of viral adaption with increased virulence for humans. To investigate the genetic basis of H9N2 influenza virus host range and pathogenicity in mammals, we generated a mouse-adapted H9N2 virus (SD16-MA) that possessed significantly higher virulence than wide-type virus (SD16). Increased virulence was detectable after 8 sequential lung passages in mice. Five amino acid substitutions were found in the genome of SD16-MA compared with SD16 virus: PB2 (M147L, V250G and E627K), HA (L226Q) and M1 (R210K). Assessments of replication in mice showed that all of the SD16-MA PB2, HA and M1 genome segments increased virus replication; however, only the mouse-adapted PB2 significantly increased virulence. Although the PB2 E627K amino acid substitution enhanced viral polymerase activity and replication, none of the single mutations of mouse adapted PB2 could confer increased virulence on the SD16 backbone. The combination of M147L and E627K significantly enhanced viral replication ability and virulence in mice. Thus, our results show that the combination of PB2 amino acids at position 147 and 627 is critical for the increased pathogenicity of H9N2 influenza virus in mammalian host.
Sequence analysis of duck hepatitis virus type 1 (DHV-1) led to its classification as the only member of a new genus, Avihepatovirus, of the family Picornaviridae, and so was renamed duck hepatitis A virus (DHAV). The 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR) plays an important role in translation initiation and RNA synthesis of the picornavirus. Here, we provide evidence that the 651-nucleotide (nt)-long 5′ UTR of DHAV genome contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) element that functions efficiently in vitro and within BHK cells. Comparative sequence analysis showed that the 3′ part of the DHAV 5′ UTR is similar to the porcine teschovirus 1 (PTV-1) IRES in sequence and predicted secondary structure. Further mutational analyses of the predicted domain IIId, domain IIIe, and pseudoknot structure at the 3′ end of the DHAV IRES support our predicted secondary structure. However, unlike the case for the PTV-1 IRES element, analysis of various deletion mutants demonstrated that the optimally functional DHAV IRES element with a size of approximately 420 nt is larger than that of PTV-1 and contains other peripheral domains (Id and Ie) that do not exist within the type IV IRES elements. The domain Ie, however, could be removed without significant loss of activity. Surprisingly, like the hepatitis A virus (HAV) IRES element, the activity of DHAV IRES could be eliminated by expression of enterovirus 2A protease. These findings indicate that the DHAV IRES shares common features with type IV picornavirus IRES elements, whereas it exhibits significant differences from type IV IRESs. Therefore, we propose that DHAV possesses a distinct type IV IRES element of picornavirus.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) induced by pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has been widely reported and was considered the main cause of death in critically ill patients with 2009 H1N1 infection. However, no animal model has been developed for ARDS caused by infection with 2009 H1N1 virus. Here, we present a mouse model of ARDS induced by 2009 H1N1 virus.
Methodology Principal Findings
Mice were inoculated with A/swine/Shandong/731/2009 (SD/09), which was a 2009 H1N1 influenza variant with a G222D mutation in the hemagglutinin. Clinical symptoms were recorded every day. Lung injury was assessed by lung water content and histopathological observation. Arterial blood gas, leukocyte count in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid and blood, virus titers, and cytokine levels in the lung were measured at various times post-inoculation. Mice infected with SD/09 virus showed typical ARDS symptoms characterized by 60% lethality on days 8–10 post-inoculation, highly edematous lungs, inflammatory cellular infiltration, alveolar and interstitial edema, lung hemorrhage, progressive and severe hypoxemia, and elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines.
These results suggested that we successfully established an ARDS mouse model induced by a virulent 2009 H1N1 variant without previous adaptation, which may be of benefit for evaluating the pathogenesis or therapy of human ARDS caused by 2009 H1N1 virus.
H9N2 influenza A viruses have undergone extensive reassortments in different host species, and could lead to the epidemics or pandemics with the potential emergence of novel viruses.
To understand the genetic and pathogenic features of early and current circulating H9N2 viruses, 15 representative H9N2 viruses isolated from diseased chickens in northern China between 1998 and 2010 were characterized and compared with all Chinese H9N2 viruses available in the NCBI database. Then, the representative viruses of different genotypes were selected to study the pathogenicity in mice with the aim to investigate the adaptation and the potential pathogenicity of the novel H9N2 reassortants to mammals.
Our results demonstrated that most of the 15 isolates were reassortants and generated four novel genotypes (B62-B65), which incorporated the gene segments from Eurasian H9N2 lineage, North American H9N2 branch, and H5N1 viruses. It was noteworthy that the newly identified genotype B65 has been prevalent in China since 2007, and more importantly, different H9N2 influenza viruses displayed a diverse pathogenicity to mice. The isolates of the 2008-2010 epidemic (genotypes B55 and B65) were lowly infectious, while two representative viruses of genotypes B0 and G2 isolated from the late 1990s were highly pathogenic to mice. In addition, Ck/SD/LY-1/08 (genotype 63, containing H5N1-like NP and PA genes) was able to replicate well in mouse lungs with high virus titers but caused mild clinical signs.
Several lines of evidence indicated that the H9N2 influenza viruses constantly change their genetics and pathogenicity. Thus, the genetic evolution of H9N2 viruses and their pathogenicity to mammals should be closely monitored to prevent the emergence of novel pandemic viruses.
avian influenza virus; H9N2; reassortant; genotype; pathogenicity
Pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza virus, derived from a reassortment of avian, human, and swine influenza viruses, possesses a unique gene segment combination that had not been detected previously in animal and human populations. Whether such a gene combination could result in the pathogenicity and transmission as H1N1/2009 virus remains unclear. In the present study, we used reverse genetics to construct a reassortant virus (rH1N1) with the same gene combination as H1N1/2009 virus (NA and M genes from a Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine virus and another six genes from a North American triple-reassortant H1N2 swine virus). Characterization of rH1N1 in mice showed that this virus had higher replicability and pathogenicity than those of the seasonal human H1N1 and Eurasian avian-like swine H1N1 viruses, but was similar to the H1N1/2009 and triple-reassortant H1N2 viruses. Experiments performed on guinea pigs showed that rH1N1 was not transmissible, whereas pandemic H1N1/2009 displayed efficient transmissibility. To further determine which gene segment played a key role in transmissibility, we constructed a series of reassortants derived from rH1N1 and H1N1/2009 viruses. Direct contact transmission studies demonstrated that the HA and NS genes contributed to the transmission of H1N1/2009 virus. Second, the HA gene of H1N1/2009 virus, when combined with the H1N1/2009 NA gene, conferred efficient contact transmission among guinea pigs. The present results reveal that not only gene segment reassortment but also amino acid mutation were needed for the generation of the pandemic influenza virus.
Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is one of the major factors resulting in the efficient infection rate and high level of virulence of influenza A virus. Although consisting of only approximately 230 amino acids, NS1 has the ability to interfere with several systems of the host viral defense. In the present study, we demonstrate that NS1 of the highly pathogenic avian influenza A/Duck/Hubei/L-1/2004 (H5N1) virus interacts with human Ubc9, which is the E2 conjugating enzyme for sumoylation, and we show that SUMO1 is conjugated to H5N1 NS1 in both transfected and infected cells. Furthermore, two lysine residues in the C terminus of NS1 were identified as SUMO1 acceptor sites. When the SUMO1 acceptor sites were removed by mutation, NS1 underwent rapid degradation. Studies of different influenza A virus strains of human and avian origin showed that the majority of viruses possess an NS1 protein that is modified by SUMO1, except for the recently emerged swine-origin influenza A virus (S-OIV) (H1N1). Interestingly, growth of a sumoylation-deficient WSN virus mutant was retarded compared to that of wild-type virus. Together, these results indicate that sumoylation enhances NS1 stability and thus promotes rapid growth of influenza A virus.
To investigate molecular epidemiology of dengue viruses (DENV) in southern China, a total of 14 dengue isolates were collected in southern China during each epidemic year between 1978 and 2006 and their full-length genome sequences were obtained by using RT-PCR method. The E gene sequences from additional 6 dengue fever patients in Guangzhou in 2006 were also obtained by using RT-PCR method. Combined with DENVs sequences published in GenBank, phylogenetic analysis and recombination analysis were performed. One hundred and twenty-five E gene sequences and 60 complete genome sequences published in the GenBank were also involved. Phylogenetic analysis showed that there was a wide genetic diversity of DENVs isolated in southern China. DENV-1 strains exist in almost all of the clades of genotype I and IV except the Asia 1 clade of genotype I; DENV-2 stains are grouped into four of the five genotypes except American genotype. DENV-4 strains are grouped into 2 genotypes (I and II). Phylogenetic analysis also showed that all DENV-4 isolates and two DENV-2 isolates were closely related to the prior isolates from neighboring Southeast Asia countries. The DENV-1 strain isolated during the 2006 epidemic is highly homologous to the strains isolated during the 2001 epidemic.
Recombination analysis showed no inter-serotype recombination, but 22 intra-serotype recombination events were found across the 32 complete genomes of all Chinese isolates. The study suggested that dengue fever epidemic in Southern China over the past 30 years presented two important modes, 1) imported-cases-induced endemic prevalence; 2) endogenous epidemic outbreak with natural epidemic focus. Recombination may play an important role in dengue virus evolution and adaptation.
Many viruses interact with the host cell division cycle to favor their own growth. In this study, we examined the ability of influenza A virus to manipulate cell cycle progression. Our results show that influenza A virus A/WSN/33 (H1N1) replication results in G0/G1-phase accumulation of infected cells and that this accumulation is caused by the prevention of cell cycle entry from G0/G1 phase into S phase. Consistent with the G0/G1-phase accumulation, the amount of hyperphosphorylated retinoblastoma protein, a necessary active form for cell cycle progression through late G1 into S phase, decreased after infection with A/WSN/33 (H1N1) virus. In addition, other key molecules in the regulation of the cell cycle, such as p21, cyclin E, and cyclin D1, were also changed and showed a pattern of G0/G1-phase cell cycle arrest. It is interesting that increased viral protein expression and progeny virus production in cells synchronized in the G0/G1 phase were observed compared to those in either unsynchronized cells or cells synchronized in the G2/M phase. G0/G1-phase cell cycle arrest is likely a common strategy, since the effect was also observed in other strains, such as H3N2, H9N2, PR8 H1N1, and pandemic swine H1N1 viruses. These findings, in all, suggest that influenza A virus may provide favorable conditions for viral protein accumulation and virus production by inducing a G0/G1-phase cell cycle arrest in infected cells.
The influenza viruses circulating in animals sporadically transmit to humans and pose pandemic threats. Animal models to evaluate the potential public health risk potential of these viruses are needed.
We investigated the guinea pig as a mammalian model for the study of the replication and transmission characteristics of selected swine H1N1, H1N2, H3N2 and avian H9N2 influenza viruses, compared to those of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and seasonal human H1N1, H3N2 influenza viruses. The swine and avian influenza viruses investigated were restricted to the respiratory system of guinea pigs and shed at high titers in nasal tracts without prior adaptation, similar to human strains. None of the swine and avian influenza viruses showed transmissibility among guinea pigs; in contrast, pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus transmitted from infected guinea pigs to all animals and seasonal human influenza viruses could also horizontally transmit in guinea pigs. The analysis of the receptor distribution in the guinea pig respiratory tissues by lectin histochemistry indicated that both SAα2,3-Gal and SAα2,6-Gal receptors widely presented in the nasal tract and the trachea, while SAα2,3-Gal receptor was the main receptor in the lung.
We propose that the guinea pig could serve as a useful mammalian model to evaluate the potential public health threat of swine and avian influenza viruses.
During swine influenza virus surveillance in pigs in China during 2006–2009, we isolated subtypes H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 and found novel reassortment between contemporary swine and avian panzootic viruses. These reassortment events raise concern about generation of novel viruses in pigs, which could have pandemic potential.
Influenza; viruses; H1N1; H1N2; H3N2; reassortant; swine; dispatch
During swine influenza surveillance from 2007 to 2008, 10 H1N1 viruses were isolated and analyzed for their antigenic and phylogenetic properties. Our study revealed the emergence of avian-origin European H1N1 swine influenza virus in China, which highlights the necessity of swine influenza surveillance for potential pandemic preparedness.
The Cucurbitaceae includes important crops such as cucumber, melon, watermelon, squash and pumpkin. However, few genetic and genomic resources are available for plant improvement. Some cucurbit species such as cucumber have a narrow genetic base, which impedes construction of saturated molecular linkage maps. We report herein the development of highly polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers originated from whole genome shotgun sequencing and the subsequent construction of a high-density genetic linkage map. This map includes 995 SSRs in seven linkage groups which spans in total 573 cM, and defines ∼680 recombination breakpoints with an average of 0.58 cM between two markers. These linkage groups were then assigned to seven corresponding chromosomes using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). FISH assays also revealed a chromosomal inversion between Cucumis subspecies [C. sativus var. sativus L. and var. hardwickii (R.) Alef], which resulted in marker clustering on the genetic map. A quarter of the mapped markers showed relatively high polymorphism levels among 11 inbred lines of cucumber. Among the 995 markers, 49%, 26% and 22% were conserved in melon, watermelon and pumpkin, respectively. This map will facilitate whole genome sequencing, positional cloning, and molecular breeding in cucumber, and enable the integration of knowledge of gene and trait in cucurbits.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus has swept west across the globe and caused serious debates on the roles of migratory birds in virus circulation since the first large-scale outbreak in migratory birds of Lake Qinghai, 2005. In May 2006, another outbreak struck Lake Qinghai and six novel strains were isolated. To elucidate these QH06 viruses, the six isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequencing. Phylogenetic analyses show that QH06 viruses are derived from the lineages of Lake Qinghai, 2005. Five of the six novel isolates are adjacent to the strain A/Cygnus olor/Croatia/1/05, and the last one is related to the strain A/duck/Novosibirsk/02/05, an isolate of the flyway. Antigenic analyses suggest that QH06 and QH05 viruses are similar to each other. These findings implicate that QH06 viruses of Lake Qinghai may travel back via migratory birds, though not ruling out the possibility of local circulation of viruses of Lake Qinghai.
X-ray crystallographic characterization of rhesus macaque MHC Mamu-A*02 complexed with an immunodominant SIV-Gag nonapeptide.
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in the rhesus macaque is regarded as a classic animal model, playing a crucial role in HIV vaccine strategies and therapeutics by characterizing various cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses in macaque monkeys. However, the availability of well documented structural reports focusing on rhesus macaque major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) molecules remains extremely limited. Here, a complex of the rhesus macaque MHC I molecule (Mamu-A*02) with human β2m and an immunodominant SIV-Gag nonapeptide, GESNLKSLY (GY9), has been crystallized. The crystal diffracts X-rays to 2.7 Å resolution and belongs to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 124.11, b = 110.45, c = 100.06 Å, and contains two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The availability of the structure, which is being solved by molecular replacement, will provide new insights into rhesus macaque MHC I (Mamu-A*02) presenting pathogenic SIV peptides.
rhesus macaque; simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV); major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I); Mamu-A*02