Noroviruses (NoVs) are a leading cause of epidemic acute gastroenteritis affecting millions of people worldwide. Understanding of NoV remains limited due to the lack of a cell culture system and small animal models. Currently, there are no available vaccines or antivirals against NoVs. In this study, an approach for large-scale production of anti-NoV antibodies for use as a potential treatment for NoV disease using passive immunization was evaluated. NoV-specific immunoglobulins (IgY) were produced by immunizing chickens with NoV P particles. The birds continuously produced high titers of antibodies in their eggs for at least 3 months, in which NoV-specific antibody levels reached 4.7-9.2 mg/egg yolk. The egg yolk antibodies strongly reacted with NoV P particles by both ELISA and Western blot and blocked NoV virus-like particle (VLP) and P particle binding to the histo-blood group antigen (HBGA) receptors with a BT50 of about 1:800. The blocking activity of the chicken IgY remained after an incubation at 70°C for 30 min or treatment at pH 4 to 9 for 3 h. These data suggested that chicken IgY could be a practical strategy for large-scale production of anti-NoV antibodies for potential use as passive immunization against NoV infection, as well as for diagnostic purposes.
Norovirus; Immunoglobulin; IgY; Chicken; Norovirus P particle; Diarrhea
Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in both African and Asian elephants. At least seven EEHV types have been described, and sensitive real-time PCR tests have been developed for EEHV1A and 1B, which are associated with the majority of characterized Asian elephant deaths. Despite growing knowledge of the different EEHV types, the prevalence of each type within African and Asian elephants remains to be determined and there is considerable need for diagnostic tests to detect and discriminate between each EEHV species for clinical management of African and Asian elephants that develop illness from one or more of these viruses. To begin to address these issues, we developed real-time PCR assays for EEHV2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Overall, each assay had robust PCR efficiency, a dynamic linear range over 5 log10 concentrations, a limit of detection of 10 copies/test reaction with 100% sensitivity, and low intra- and inter-assay variability. Each assay proved to be specific for the EEHV targets for which it was designed, with the exception of EEHV3 and EEHV4, which was expected because of greater DNA sequence similarity between these two EEHV species than the others. These new tools will be useful for conducting surveys of EEHV prevalence within captive and range country elephants, for diagnostic testing of elephants with suspected EEHV-associated disease, and for managing the treatment of elephants with EEHV-induced illness.
elephant; herpesvirus; Proboscivirus; real-time PCR
Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is an emerging nucleic acid detection method that provides absolute quantitations of target sequences without relying on the use of standard curves. The ability of ddPCR to detect and quantitate total HIV-1 DNA and 2-LTR circles from a panel of patients on and off antiviral therapy was evaluated compared to established real-time (RT)-PCR methods. To calculate the dynamic range of ddPCR for HIV-1 DNA and 2-LTR circles, serial dilutions of DNA amplicons or episomes were determined by ddPCR as well as with RT-PCR. HIV-1 DNA from 3 viremic patients and 4 patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy, and 2-LTR circles from 3 patients with low-level viremia was also quantitated. Copy numbers determined by ddPCR of serial dilutions of HIV-1 or human CCR5 DNA amplicon standards were comparable to nominal input copy number. The sensitivity of ddPCR to detect HIV-1 or CCR5 DNA was similar to that of RT-PCR. Low levels of 2-LTR circles were detected in samples from all 3 patients by both ddPCR and RT-PCR. ddPCR is a promising novel technology for the study of HIV-1 reservoirs and persistence, but further optimization of this novel technology would enhance the detection of very low-level viral genetic targets.
droplet digital PCR; ddPCR; real-time PCR; HIV-1; HIV DNA; viral quantitation; 2-LTR circles
Although commercial tests are approved for detection of HIV-1 plasma viral loads ≥20 copies per milliliter (ml), only one specialized research assay has been reported to detect plasma viral loads as low as 1 copy/ml. This manuscript describes a method of concentrating HIV-1 virions from up to 30ml of plasma, which can be combined with a commercial viral load test to create a widely-available, reproducible assay for quantifying plasma HIV RNA levels less than 1 copy/ml. Using this pre-analytically modified assay, samples with a known level of 0.5 copy/ml were detected in 8 of 12 replicates (mean 0.47 copy/ml; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14-0.81 copy/ml) and samples with a known level of 1.0 copy/ml were detected in 13 of 13 replicates (mean 1.96 copy/ml; 95% CI 1.42-2.50 copy/ml). By concentrating virus from 30ml of plasma, HIV RNA could be measured in 16 of 19 samples (84%) from 12 of 12 subjects (mean 2.77 copy/ml; 95% CI 0.86-4.68 copy/ml). The measured viral load correlated inversely (r= −0.78; p=0.028) with the total duration of viral suppression (viral load<40 copies/ml).
HIV; plasma RNA; viral load; single copy; Abbott
A faster semi-automated 96-well microtiter plate assay to determine viral infectivity titers, or viral focal units (vfu), of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) stocks is described. Optimization of the existing method modernizes a classic virological technique for viral titer determination by quantitating EIAV in experimentally infected cells via a cell-based ELISA. To allow for automation, multiple parameters of the current assay procedures were modified resulting in an assay that required only one quarter the original amount of virus and/or serum for infectivity or neutralization assays, respectively. Equivalent reductions in the required volumes of tissue culture, cell processing, and protein detection reagents were also achieved. Additionally, the new assay decreased the time required from start to finish from 10 days to 6 days (viral titer) or 7 days (viral neutralization), while increasing the number of samples that can be processed concurrently by transition to a 96-well microtiter plate format and by automated counting.
Infectious Center Assay; viral titer; neutralization
The genus Metapneumovirus within the subfamily Pneumovirinae and family Paramyxoviridae includes only two viruses, human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and avian metapneumovirus (aMPV), which cause respiratory disease in humans and birds, respectively. These two viruses grow poorly in cell culture and other quantitation methods, such as indirect immuno-staining and immuno-fluorescent assays, are expensive, time consuming, and do not allow for plaque purification of the virus. In order to enhance research efforts for studying these two viruses, a direct plaque assay for both hMPV and aMPV has been developed. By optimizing the chemical components of the agarose overlay, it was found that both hMPV with a trypsin-independent F cleavage site and aMPV formed clear and countable plaques in a number of mammalian cell lines (such as Vero-E6 and LLC-MK2 cells) after 5 days of incubation. The plaque forming assay has similar sensitivity and reliability as the currently used immunological methods for viral quantitation. The plaque assay is also a more simple, rapid, and economical method compared to immunological assays, and in addition allows for plaque purification of the viruses. The direct plaque assay will be a valuable method for the quantitation and evaluation of the biological properties of some metapneumoviruses.
Human metapneumovirus; avian metapneumovirus; plaque assay; quantitation
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is characterized by sequence variability. The third variable region (V3) of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 plays a key role in determination of viral coreceptor usage (tropism) and pathogenesis. This report describes a novel denaturing heteroduplex tracking assay (HTA) to analyze the genetic variation of HIV-1 V3 DNA. It improved upon previous non-denaturing HTA approaches to distinguish HIV-1 CCR5 and CXCR4 tropic viruses in mixed populations. The modifications included the use of a single-stranded fluorescent probe based on the consensus V3 sequence of HIV-1 CCR5 tropic viruses, Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) “clamps” at both ends of heteroduplex DNA, and denaturing gel electrophoresis using Mutation Detection Enhancement (MDE®) as matrix. The analysis demonstrated that the LNA “clamps” increased its melting temperature (Tm) and the thermal stability of heteroduplex DNA. The partially denaturing gel used a defined concentration of formamide, and significantly induced mobility shifts of heteroduplex DNA that was dependent on the number and patterns of DNA mismatches and insertions/deletions. This new technique successfully detected tropisms of 53 HIV-1 V3 clones of known tropism, and was able to separate and detect multiple V3 DNA variants encoding tropisms for CCR5 or CXCR4 in a mixture. The assay had the sensitivity to detect 0.5% minority species. This method may be useful as a research tool for analysis of viral quasispecies and for genotypic prediction of HIV-1 tropism in clinical specimens.
HIV-1 gp120 V3; denaturing heteroduplex tracking assay; Locked Nucleic Acid clamps; viral tropism
A comparison study was performed between the PLEX-ID and the CDC RT-PCR method for the detection and identification of Influenza A viruses using nasopharyngeal samples (N = 75) collected between January and May 2011. Overall agreement was 89.3% (67/75 kappa = 0.57 95% CI 0.3–0.89). Positive percent agreement was 92.3% (60/65); negative percent agreement was 70% (7/10). H1N1 pdm09 identified: 42.6% (32/75) and 54.7% (41/75) by PLEX-ID and CDC RT-PCR, respectively. H3N2 identified: 29.3% (22/75) and 32% (24/75) of samples by PLEX-ID and CDC RT-PCR, respectively. Negatives identified: 16% (12/75) and 13.3% (10/75), by PLEX-ID and CDC RT-PCR respectively. For influenza viruses identified as H1N1 pdm09, Influenza A virus A/NEW YORK/15/2009(H1N1 pdm09) was the most prevalent genotype at 50% (16/32), followed by A/CALIFORNIA/05/2009(H1N1 pdm09) at 18.2% (6/32). Updated assay plates containing additional primers designed for H1N1 pdm09 HA and NA genes were utilized for this evaluation. Among H1N1 pdm09 samples, the HA gene was conserved in 96.9% (31/32) of samples. The NA gene was conserved in 96.9% (31/32).
Influenza A virus; Genotyping; PLEX-ID; H1N1 pdm09
The predominance of circulating and unique recombinant forms (URFs) of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) in Cameroon suggests that dual infection occurs frequently in this region. Despite the potential impact of these infections on the evolution of HIV diversity, relatively few have been detected. The failure to detect dual infections may be attributable to the laborious and costly sequence analysis involved in their identification. As such, there is a need for a cost-effective, more rapid method to efficiently distinguish this subset of HIV-positive individuals, particularly in regions where HIV diversity is broad. In the present study, the heteroduplex assay (HDA) was developed to detect dual HIV-1 infection. This assay was validated on sequential specimens obtained from 20 HIV+ study subjects, whose single or dual infection status was determined by standard sequence analysis. By mixing gag fragments amplified from the sequential specimens from each study subject in HDA reactions, it was shown that single and dual infection status correlated with the absence and presence, respectively, of heteroduplex bands upon gel electrophoresis. Therefore, this novel assay is capable of identifying dual infections with a sensitivity and specificity equivalent to that of sequence analysis. Given the impact of dual infection on viral recombination and diversity, this simple technique will be beneficial to understanding HIV-1 evolution within an individual, as well as at a population level, in West-Central Africa and globally.
HIV-1; Dual infection; Heteroduplex assay
Aberrant promoter methylation of biologically relevant genes in cervical cancer and uneven CpG distribution within the human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) enhancer region have been reported. Cervical samples and questionnaires from 151 women screened for cervical cancer in Appalachian Ohio were analyzed. Methylation was measured by bisulfite sequencing in candidate gene sites in ESR1, DCC, p16, and LINE1 elements. Among 89 HPV16-positive women, CpG sites in the E6 promoter and enhancer regions and the L1 region of the HPV16 genome were measured. Methylation levels were compared by cervical cytology and HPV16 status. HPV methylation was low regardless of cytology status, however E6 methylation was significantly higher in women with normal cytology. ESR1 and DCC methylation were significantly higher in HPV16-positive women. Increased methylation at sites in the E6 promoter region was associated with lower odds of abnormal cytology. Increased methylation in candidate genes was associated with higher odds of abnormal cytology, particularly DCC region 2.4, DCC region 2.6, ESR1 region 3.2, and LINE1 site 1.2. HPV16 genome CpG methylation was low except for the L1 region. In general, lower HPV16 methylation and higher candidate gene methylation levels were associated with higher odds of abnormal cytology.
cervical cancer; screening; human papillomavirus; HPV; methylation; carcinogenesis
Preclinical gene therapy studies both in-vitro and in-vivo require high purity preparations of adeno-associated virus (AAV). Current methods for purification of AAV entail the use of centrifugation over either a CsCl or iodixanol gradient, or the use of chromatography. These methods can be cumbersome and expensive, necessitating ultrahigh speed gradient centrifugation or, for chromatography the use of other expensive equipment. In addition, these methods are time consuming, and the viral yield is not high. Currently no commercial purification kits are available for other than AAV serotype 2. A simplified method was used for the purification of AAV, with a viral yield that is able to be used effectively in adult and embryo mice. The method does not require ultrahigh speed gradient centrifugation nor chromatography. Instead, polyethylene glycol (PEG) / aqueous two-phase partitioning is used to remove soluble proteins from the PEG8000 precipitated virus-protein mixture. The procedure obtained rapidly up to 95% recovery of high quality purified AAV. The entire purification process, including HEK-293 cell transfection, can be completed readily within one week, with purity seemingly higher than that obtained after one round of CsCl gradient purification.
AAV8; Aqueous two-phase partition system (ATPs)
VP22, encoded by the UL49 gene, is one of the most abundant proteins of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) tegument and has been shown to be important for virus replication and spread. However, the exact role(s) played by VP22 in the HSV-1 replication cycle have yet to be delineated. The lack of a procedure to purify full-length VP22 has limited molecular studies on VP22 function. A procedure was developed for the purification of soluble, full-length VP22 from cells infected with HSV-1. A recombinant virus encoding His-tagged VP22 was generated and found to express VP22 at levels comparable to the wild type virus upon infection of Vero cells. By experimenting with a wide variety of cell lysis buffer conditions, several buffers that promote the solubility of full-length VP22 were identified. Buffers that gave the highest levels of solubility were then used in immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography experiments to identify conditions that provided the greatest level of VP22 binding and recovery from cobalt and nickel affinity resins. Using this strategy soluble, full-length VP22 was purified from cells infected with HSV-1.
Protein solubility; viral protein purification; HSV-1; VP22
Exhaled breath condensate is an airway-derived specimen type that has shown significant promise in the diagnosis of asthma, cancer, and other disorders. The presence of human genomic DNA in this sample type has been proven, but there have been no reports on its utility for the detection of respiratory pathogens. The suitability of exhaled breath condensate for the detection of influenza virus was investigated, as an indication of its potential as a specimen type for respiratory pathogen discovery work. Matched exhaled condensates and nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from 18 adult volunteers. Eleven cases were positive for influenza A virus, and one was positive for influenza B virus. All swab samples tested positive in real-time amplification assays, but only one exhaled condensate, an influenza A positive sample with a very high viral load, tested positive in the real-time RT-PCR assay. Most of the positive nasopharyngeal swab samples inoculated for virus culture also tested positive, whereas influenza virus was not grown from any of the exhaled condensate specimens. It was concluded that influenza viruses are not readily detectable with culture or nucleic acid-based techniques in this sample type, and that exhaled breath condensate may not be suitable for respiratory pathogen investigations with molecular methods.
Exhaled breath condensate; Influenza; Respiratory virus
This report describes the development and pre-clinical testing of a new, random-access RNA sample preparation system (TruTip) for nasopharyngeal samples. The system is based on a monolithic, porous nucleic acid binding matrix embedded within an aerosol-resistant pipette tip and can be operated with single or multi-channel pipettors. Equivalent extraction efficiencies were obtained between automated QIAcube and manual TruTip methods at 106 gene copies influenza A per mL nasopharyngeal aspirate. Influenza A and B amended into nasopharyngeal swabs (in viral transport medium) were detected by real-time RT-PCR at approximately 745 and 370 gene copies per extraction, respectively. RNA extraction efficiency in nasopharyngeal swabs was also comparable to that obtained on an automated QIAcube instrument over a range of input concentrations; the correlation between threshold cycles (or nucleic acid recovery) for TruTip and QIAcube-purified RNA was R2 > 0.99. Preclinical testing of TruTip on blinded nasopharyngeal swab samples resulted in 98% detection accuracy relative to a clinically validated easyMAG extraction method. The physical properties of the TruTip binding matrix and ability to customize its shape and dimensions likewise make it amenable to automation and/or fluidic integration.
RNA; sample preparation; nasopharyngeal swab; nasopharyngeal aspirate; automation
Reverse genetics approaches that enable the generation of recombinant influenza A viruses entirely from plasmids are invaluable for studies on virus replication, morphogenesis, pathogenesis, or transmission. Furthermore, influenza virus reverse genetics is now critical for the development of new vaccines for this human and animal pathogen. Periodically, influenza gene segments are unstable within plasmids in bacteria. The PB2 gene segment of a highly pathogenic avian H5 influenza virus A/Turkey/Ontario/7732/1966 (Ty/Ont) was unstable in commonly available cloning plasmids (e.g., pcDNA3.1/V5-His-TOPO) and in standard influenza virus reverse genetics plasmids (e.g., pHH21), which contain high copy origins of replication. Thus, a low-copy influenza reverse genetics plasmid (pGJ3C3) was developed to enable rapid cloning of unstable influenza A virus genes using ligation-independent recombination-based cloning. The unstable Ty/Ont PB2 gene segment was efficiently cloned using the pGJ3C3 plasmid and this clone was used to rescue a recombinant Ty/Ont virus. This low copy reverse genetics plasmid will be useful for cloning other unstable segments of influenza A viruses in order to rescue recombinant viruses, which will facilitate basic studies and vaccine seed stock production.
Influenza; reverse genetics; ligation-independent cloning; recombination-based cloning; low copy plasmid; unstable gene
Infection of cells with human immunodeficiency virus type -1 (HIV-1) results in the production of both infectious and non-infectious virions. At present, several assays are available for the quantitation of virus particles based on the presence of either viral capsid protein or nucleic acid. However, the ability to detect the total number of virus particles, both infectious and non-infectious, has been an elusive goal that would advance the study of virus assembly and egress. A rapid optical detection scheme for real-time label-free quantitation of HIV-1 virus particles was developed. Virions produced in cell cultures transfected transiently were evaluated with a nanospectroscopic assay. Quantitation with the optical detection scheme correlated with routine conventional assays. Nanospectroscopy can be used for the detection of both infectious and non-infectious, wild type and mutant strains of HIV-1 in solution at concentrations as low as 7×1010 particles/ml, requiring volumes as small as 2 μl per assay, and in significantly less time than standard techniques. This assay provides a rapid, reliable system for quantifying virus particles in solution and could be applied to the study of viral particle production in cell culture.
HIV-1; Nanospectroscopy; Virus Particles
Two approaches to stabilize viral nucleic acid in processed clinical specimens were evaluated. HIV-1 RNA extracted from clinical specimens was stabilized in a dry matrix in a commercial product (RNAstable, Biomatrica, San Diego, CA, USA) and in a reverse-transcription reaction mixture in liquid form as cDNA. As few as 145 HIV-1 genome copies of viral RNA are reliably stabilized by RNAstable at 45°C for 92 days and in the cDNA format at 45°C for 7 days as determined by real-time PCR. With RNAstable the R2 at days 1, 7, and 92 were 0.888, 0.871, and 0.943 when compared to baseline viral load values. The cDNA generated from the same clinical specimens was highly stable with an R2 value of 0.762 when comparing viral load determinations at day 7 to baseline values. In conclusion viral RNA stabilized in a dry RNAstable matrix is highly stable for long periods of time at high temperatures across a substantial dynamic range. Viral RNA signal can also be stabilized in liquid in the form of cDNA for limited periods of time. Methods that reduce reliance on the cold chain and preserve specimen integrity are critical for extending the reach of molecular testing to low-resource settings. Products based on anhydrobiosis, such as the RNAstable should be evaluated further to support viral pathogen diagnosis.
RNA virus; RNA stability; molecular diagnosis; viral load; point-of-care
Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) recombineering using galK selection allows DNA cloned in E. coli to be modified without introducing an unwanted selectable marker at the modification site. Genomes of some herpesviruses have a pair of inverted repeat sequences that makes it very difficult to introduce mutations into diploid (duplicate) genes using the galK selection method. To mutate diploid genes, we developed a galK-UTR BAC recombineering procedure that blocks one copy of the target diploid gene by insertion of a galK untranslated region (UTR), which enables the simple mutation of the other copy. The blocked copy can then be replaced with a UTR-specific primer pair. The IR2 gene of equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) maps within both the internal (IR) and terminal repeat (TR) of the genomic short region and is expressed at low levels because its promoter is TATA-less. Both IR2 promoters in EHV-1 BAC were replaced with a mutant IR2 promoter containing three Sp1-binding motifs and a consensus TATA box by galK-UTR BAC recombineering. The expression level of the IR2 protein controlled by the modified promoter increased approximately 4-fold as compared to that of wild-type EHV-1. The galK-UTR method will provide a useful tool in studies of herpesviruses.
equine herpesvirus 1; diploid IR2 gene; bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) recombineering; galK selection; galK untranslated region (UTR)
Activated platelets form transient aggregates with monocytes in circulation and have a half-life of approximately 30–60 minutes. These complexes are increased in various inflammatory conditions and are an early marker of myocardial infarction. HIV-1 infection is associated with chronic inflammation, and increased CD16+ inflammatory monocytes have been observed in these individuals, probably as a result of increased interaction with platelets. However, narrow detection period and platelet activation during sample processing pose significant problems in detecting platelet-monocyte complexes (PMCs). A method was standardized addressing these difficulties, to enumerate PMCs involving CD16+ or CD16− monocytes in whole blood using flow cytometry. Blood collected from healthy individuals was treated with either collagen (for platelet activation) or LPS (for monocyte activation) and subsequently used to study effect of these treatments on PMC formation. This method was also validated for the ex vivo quantitation of PMCs in blood obtained from persons infected with HIV. The in vitro results demonstrated that platelet activation, but not monocyte activation, resulted in significant increase in PMC formation. There was a significant increase in CD16+ PMCs and platelet activation, in samples obtained from persons infected with HIV as compared to those without HIV infection. Furthermore, PMC percentages correlated positively with platelet activation. These findings improve the ability to detect PMCs and shed light on HIV pathogenesis.
Retroviruses encode their genetic information with RNA molecules, and have a high genomic recombination rate which allows them to mutate more rapidly, thereby posting a higher risk to humans. One important way to help combat a pandemic of viral infectious diseases is early detection before large scale outbreaks occur. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) have been used to identify precisely different strains of some very closely related pathogens. However, isolation and detection of viral RNA in the field are difficult due to the unstable nature of viral RNA molecules. Consequently, performing in-the-field nucleic acid analysis to monitor the spread of viruses is financially and technologically challenging in remote and underdeveloped regions that are high-risk areas for outbreaks. A simplified rapid viral RNA extraction method is reported to meet the requirements for in-the-field viral RNA extraction and detection. The ability of this device to perform viral RNA extraction with subsequent RT-PCR detection of retrovirus is demonstrated. This inexpensive device has the potential to be distributed on a large scale to underdeveloped regions for early detection of retrovirus, with the possibility of reducing viral pandemic events.
Viral RNA extraction; In-the-field analysis
► Two recombinant VP6 capsid proteins from an Indian birth cohort were expressed. ► The proteins were used to establish a time-resolved fluorescence DELFIA. ► DELFIA was compared to a gold standard ELISA using cohort serum samples. ► A significant association was observed between the two assays (p < 0.05). ► This demonstrates recombinant proteins can be used to study RV antibody responses.
The rotavirus (RV) inner capsid protein VP6 is widely used to evaluate immune response during natural infection and in vaccine studies. Recombinant VP6 from the most prevalent circulating rotavirus strains in each subgroup (SG) identified in a birth cohort of children in southern India [SGII (G1P) and SGI (G10P)] were produced. The purified proteins were used to measure VP6-specific antibodies in a Dissociation-Enhanced Lanthanide Fluorometric Immunoassay (DELFIA). The ability of the assay to detect a ≥2 fold rise in IgG level in a panel of serum samples from a longitudinal study was compared to a gold standard virus-capture ELISA. A strong association was observed between the assays (p < 0.001; chi-squared test) with assay performances remaining similar when the samples were subdivided as having a fold change increase in VP6 antibody levels (a) within 90 days of RV RNA detection in stool or (b) if no RV RNA was detected within that time period. This study demonstrates the suitability of using recombinant proteins to measure anti-RV immune responses and serves as a “proof of principle” to examine the antibody responses generated to other recombinant RV proteins and thereby possibly identify a correlate of protection.
Rotavirus; Recombinant VP6; DELFIA; ELISA
The potential association between xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) and prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been much debated. To help resolve the potential role of XMRV in human disease, it is critical to develop sensitive and accurate reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR assays to screen for the virus.
Single-round RT-PCR assays were developed on the automated m2000™ system for detection of the pol or env regions of XMRV in whole blood, plasma, urine cell pellets and urogenital swab samples. Assay performance was assessed by testing two blinded panels, one comprised of whole blood and the other of plasma spiked with serial dilutions of XMRV-infected tissue culture cells and supernatant, respectively, prepared by the Blood XMRV Scientific Research Working Group (SRWG). For both whole blood and plasma panel testing, the assays showed excellent specificity and sensitivity as compared to the other tests included in the SRWG phase I study. Analytical specificity of the assays was also evaluated. Neither pol nor env PCR assays detected a panel of potential cross-reactive microorganisms, although some cross-reaction was observed with mouse genomic DNA. Screening of 196 normal human blood donor plasma, 214 HIV-1 seropositive plasma, 20 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) prostate cancer specimens, 4 FFPE benign prostate specimens, 400 urine pellets from prostate cancer patients, 166 urine pellets from non-prostate cancer patients, and 135 cervical swab specimens, detected no samples as unequivocally XMRV positive.
real-time RT-PCR assay; XMRV pol; XMRV env; Blood XMRV Scientific Research Working Group blinded panel
Previous work demonstrated recently the adaptation of the E. coli biotin ligase BirA - biotin acceptor sequence (BAS) labeling system to produce human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viruses with biotinylated integrase (NLXINB) and matrix (NLXMAB) proteins (Belshan et al., 2009). This report describes the construction of an HIV permissive cell line stably expressing BirA (SupT1.BirA). Consistent with the results in the previous report, NLXMAB replicated similar to wild-type levels and expressed biotinylated Gag and MA proteins in the SupT1.BirA cells, whereas the replication of NLXINB was reduced severely. Three additional HIV type 2 (HIV-2) viruses were constructed with the BAS inserted into the vpx and vpr accessory genes. Two BAS insertions were made into the C-terminal half of the Vpx, including one internal insertion, and one at the N-terminus of Vpr. All three viruses were replication competent in the SupT1.BirA cells and their target proteins biotinylated efficiently and incorporated into virions. These results demonstrate the potential utility of the biotinylation system to label and capture HIV protein complexes in the context of replicating virus.
human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and type 2; biotinylation; matrix; integrase; vpx; vpr
The virus comet assay is a cell-based virulence assay used to evaluate an antiviral drug or antibody against a target virus. The comet assay differs from the plaque assay in allowing spontaneous flows in 6-well plates to spread virus. When implemented quantitatively the comet assay has been shown to have an order-of-magnitude greater sensitivity to antivirals than the plaque assay. In this study, a quantitative comet assay for influenza virus is demonstrated, and is shown to have a 13-fold increase in sensitivity to ribavirin. AX4 cells (MDCK cells with increased surface concentration of α2–6 sialic acid, the influenza virus receptor) have reduced the comet size variability relative to MDCK cells, making them a better host cell for use in this assay. Because of enhanced antiviral sensitivity in flow-based assays, less drug is required, which could lead to lower reagent costs, reduced cytotoxicity, and fewer false-negative drug screen results. The comet assay also serves as a readout of flow conditions in the well. Observations from comets formed at varying humidity levels indicate a role for evaporation in the mechanism of spontaneous fluid flow in wells.
comet; plaque; antiviral assay; influenza; image analysis; evaporation
► Efficient expression of FMDV empty capsids in insect cells after moderation of 3C protease action. ► Expression cassette productive in multiple insect cell lines. ► Empty capsids visualised by transmission electron microscopy. ► Empty capsids react with wide range of positive sera as well as authentic virus. ► Efficient empty capsid synthesis may allow development as a vaccine.
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is a significant economically and distributed globally pathogen of Artiodactyla. Current vaccines are chemically inactivated whole virus particles that require large-scale virus growth in strict bio-containment with the associated risks of accidental release or incomplete inactivation. Non-infectious empty capsids are structural mimics of authentic particles with no associated risk and constitute an alternate vaccine candidate. Capsids self-assemble from the processed virus structural proteins, VP0, VP3 and VP1, which are released from the structural protein precursor P1-2A by the action of the virus-encoded 3C protease. To date recombinant empty capsid assembly has been limited by poor expression levels, restricting the development of empty capsids as a viable vaccine. Here expression of the FMDV structural protein precursor P1-2A in insect cells is shown to be efficient but linkage of the cognate 3C protease to the C-terminus reduces expression significantly. Inactivation of the 3C enzyme in a P1-2A-3C cassette allows expression and intermediate levels of 3C activity resulted in efficient processing of the P1-2A precursor into the structural proteins which assembled into empty capsids. Expression was independent of the insect host cell background and leads to capsids that are recognised as authentic by a range of anti-FMDV bovine sera suggesting their feasibility as an alternate vaccine.
Foot-and-mouth disease virus; Recombinant baculovirus; Empty capsids; Protein processing; Frameshift; 3C protease; Vaccine