Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses pose a potential human health threat as they can be transmitted directly from infected poultry to humans. During a large outbreak of HPAI H7N7 virus among poultry in The Netherlands in 2003, bird to human transmission was confirmed in 89 cases, of which one had a fatal outcome.
To identify genetic determinants of virulence in a mammalian host, we passaged an avian H7N7/03 outbreak isolate in mouse lungs and evaluated the phenotype of the mouse-adapted variant in animal models and in vitro.
Three passages in mouse lungs were sufficient to select a variant that was highly virulent in mice. The virus had a MLD50 that was >4.3 logs lower than that of its non-lethal parental virus. Sequence analysis revealed a single mutation at position 627 in PB2, where the glutamic acid was changed to a lysine (E627K). The mouse-adapted virus has this mutation in common with the fatal human case isolate. The virus remained highly pathogenic for chickens after its passage in mice. In ferrets, the mouse-adapted virus induced more severe disease, replicated to higher titers in the lower respiratory tract and spread more efficiently to systemic organs compared with the parental virus. In vitro, the PB2 E627K mutation had a promoting effect on virus propagation in mammalian, but not in avian cells.
Our results show that the E627K mutation in PB2 alone can be sufficient to convert an HPAI H7N7 virus of low virulence to a variant causing severe disease in mice and ferrets. The rapid emergence of the PB2 E627K mutant during mouse adaptation and its pathogenicity in ferrets emphasize the potential risk of HPAI H7N7 viruses for human health.
Avian influenza virus; Ferret; H7N7; Mouse-adaptation; Pathogenicity; PB2 E627K
Acute renal dysfunction (ARD) is a common complication in renal transplant recipients. Multiple factors contribute to ARD development, including acute rejection and microbial infections. Many viral infections after kidney transplantation result from reactivation of “latent” viruses in the host or from the graft, such as the human Polyomavirus BK (BKV). We report the case of a 39 year-old recipient of a 2nd kidney graft who experienced BKV reactivation after a second episode of acute humoral rejection. A 10-day treatment with the quinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin was administered with an increase of immunosuppressive therapy despite the active BKV replication. Real Time PCR analysis performed after treatment with ciprofloxacin, unexpectedly showed clearance of BK viremia and regression of BK viruria. During the follow-up, BK viremia persisted undetectable while viruria decreased further and disappeared after 3 months.
BKV non-coding control region sequence analysis from all positive samples always showed the presence of archetypal sequences, with two single-nucleotide substitutions and one nucleotide deletion that, interestingly, were all representative of the subtype/subgroup I/b-1 we identified by the viral protein 1 sequencing analysis.
We report the potential effect of the quinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin in the decrease of the BKV load in both blood and urine.
Polyomavirus BK infection; Fluoroquinolones; Ciprofloxacin; Renal transplant; Acute renal dysfunction; Non-coding control region; Viral protein 1
By using the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2a JFH-1 or its chimeric strains, a HCV infection system has been previously developed through several methods– such as in vitro-transcribed JFH1-RNA transfection or stable transfection of the JFH1 cDNA into human hepatoma Huh-7 cell line or its derivatives. However, other reliable methods for delivery of the HCV genome into cells are still worth trying. The helper-dependent adenovirus (HDAd) is devoid of all viral coding sequences and has a package capacity of 37 kb, which is suitably large for the delivery of the HCV genome. Here we report a new method for delivery of the HCV genome into Huh-7 and HepG2 cells by using the HDAd vector.
Our results demonstrated that the infection of Huh-7 cells with the HDAdJFH1 virus led to efficient HCV replication and virion production. We found that the HCV viral RNA levels could reach 107 copies per milliliter (ml) in the culture medium. HDAdJFH1-infected Huh-7 cells could be cultured for 8 passages with the culture medium remaining infectious for naïve Huh-7 cells throughout this period. This infection system proved effective for evaluating the anti-HCV effects of IFN-α in Huh-7 cells. Co-infection of HepG2 cells with the HDAdJFH1 and HDAdmiR-122 virus also resulted in HCV expression and replication.
This is the first report of an HDAd-based strategy for HCV replication and production in vitro.
Hepatitis C virus; Cell-culture model; Helper-dependent adenovirus
Chronic hepatitis B is a primary cause of liver-related death. Interferon alpha (IFN-α) is able to inhibit the replication of hepadnavirus, and the sustained and stable expression of IFN-α at appropriate level may be beneficial to HBV clearance. With the development of molecular cloning technology, gene therapy plays a more and more important role in clinical practice. In light of the findings, an attempt to investigate the anti-HBV effects mediated by a eukaryotic expression plasmid (pSecTagB-IFN-α) in vitro was carried out.
HBV positive cell line HepG2.2.15 and its parental cell HepG2 were transfected with pSecTagB-IFN-α or empty plasmid by using Lipofectamine™ 2000 reagent. The expression levels of IFN-α were determined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and ELISA methods. The effects of pSecTagB-IFN-α on HBV mRNA, DNA and antigens were analyzed by real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) and ELISA assays. RT-PCR, qRT-PCR and western blot were employed to investigate the influence of pSecTagB-IFN-α on IFN-α-induced signal pathway. Furthermore, through qRT-PCR and ELISA assays, the suppressive effects of endogenously expressed IFN-α and the combination with lamivudine on HBV were also examined.
pSecTagB-IFN-α could express efficiently in hepatoma cells, and then inhibited HBV replication, characterized by the decrease of HBV S gene (HBs) and HBV C gene (HBc) mRNA, the reduction of HBV DNA load, and the low contents of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg). Mechanism research showed that the activation of Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) signal pathway, the up-regulation of IFN-α-induced antiviral effectors and double-stranded (ds) RNA sensing receptors by delivering pSecTagB-IFN-α, could be responsible for these phenomena. Furthermore, pSecTagB-IFN-α vector revealed effectively anti-HBV effect than exogenously added IFN-α. Moreover, lamivudine combined with endogenously expressed IFN-α exhibited stronger anti-HBV effect than with exogenous IFN-α.
Our results showed that endogenously expressed IFN-α can effectively and persistently inhibit HBV replication in HBV infected cells. These observations opened a promising way to design new antiviral genetic engineering drugs based on IFN-α.
HBV; IFN-α; Eukaryotic expression vector
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus of the Togaviridae family. After autoproteolytic cleavage, the CHIKV capsid protein (CP) is involved in RNA binding and assembly of the viral particle. The monomeric CP is approximately 30 kDa in size and is small enough for passive transport through nuclear pores. Some alphaviruses are found to harbor nuclear localization signals (NLS) and transport of these proteins between cellular compartments was shown to be energy dependent. The active nuclear import of cytoplasmic proteins is mediated by karyopherins and their export by exportins. As nuclear and cytoplasmic trafficking may play a role in the life cycle of CHIKV, we have sought to identify nuclear localization and nuclear export signals in CHIKV CP in a virus-free system.
EGFP-fusion proteins of CHIKV CP and mutants thereof were created and used to monitor their intracellular localization. Binding of cellular proteins was confirmed in pull-down assays with purified CP using co-immuoprecipitation. Nuclear localization was demonstrated in a virus-free system using fluorescence microscopy.
Here we show that CHIKV CP is a nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling protein with an active NLS that binds to karyopherin α (Karα) for its nuclear translocation. We also found that the Karα4 C-terminal NLS binding site is sufficient for this interaction. We further demonstrate that CHIKV CP interacts directly with the export receptor CRM1 to transport this viral protein out of the nucleus via a nuclear export signal (NES). The CHIKV CP NES was mapped between amino acids 143 and 155 of CP. Deduced from in silico analyses we found that the NES has a mode of binding similar to the snurportin-1 CRM1 complex.
We were able to show that in a virus-free system that the CHIKV capsid protein contains both, a NLS and a NES, and that it is actively transported between the cytoplasma and the nucleus. We conclude that CHIKV CP has the ability to shuttle via interaction with karyopherins for its nuclear import and, vice versa, by CRM1-dependent nuclear export.
Chikungunya virus; Capsid protein; Nuclear transport; Nuclear localization signal; Nuclear export signal; Karyopherin; CRM1
Polyomaviruses are a family of non-enveloped DNA viruses infecting several species, including humans, primates, birds, rodents, bats, horse, cattle, raccoon and sea lion. They typically cause asymptomatic infection and establish latency but can be reactivated under certain conditions causing severe diseases. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that play important roles in several cellular processes by binding to and inhibiting the translation of specific mRNA transcripts. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of microRNAs involved in polyomavirus infection. We review in detail the different viral miRNAs that have been discovered and the role they play in controlling both host and viral protein expression. We also give an overview of the current understanding on how host miRNAs may function in controlling polyomavirus replication, immune evasion and pathogenesis.
Polyomaviruses; microRNAs; Virus-host interaction; Immune evasion
Evidence points to the emergence of a novel human coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like disease. In response, the development of effective vaccines and therapeutics remains a clinical priority. To accomplish this, it is necessary to evaluate neutralizing antibodies and screen for MERS-CoV entry inhibitors.
In this study, we produced a pseudovirus bearing the full-length spike (S) protein of MERS-CoV in the Env-defective, luciferase-expressing HIV-1 backbone. We then established a pseudovirus-based inhibition assay to detect neutralizing antibodies and anti-MERS-CoV entry inhibitors.
Our results demonstrated that the generated MERS-CoV pseudovirus allows for single-cycle infection of a variety of cells expressing dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), the confirmed receptor for MERS-CoV. Consistent with the results from a live MERS-CoV-based inhibition assay, the antisera of mice vaccinated with a recombinant protein containing receptor-binding domain (RBD, residues 377–662) of MERS-CoV S fused with Fc of human IgG exhibited neutralizing antibody response against infection of MERS-CoV pseudovirus. Furthermore, one small molecule HIV entry inhibitor targeting gp41 (ADS-J1) and the 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride-modified human serum albumin (HP-HSA) could significantly inhibit MERS-CoV pseudovirus infection.
Taken together, the established MERS-CoV inhibition assay is a safe and convenient pseudovirus-based alternative to BSL-3 live-virus restrictions and can be used to rapidly screen MERS-CoV entry inhibitors, as well as evaluate vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies against the highly pathogenic MERS-CoV.
Novel human coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Spike protein; Pseudovirus; Neutralizing antibodies; Antiviral therapeutics
The clinical presentation of dengue is classified by the World Health Organization into dengue without warning signs, dengue with warning signs and severe dengue. Reports of neurological disease caused by Dengue virus (DENV) are becoming frequent, with symptoms that include reduced consciousness, severe headache, neck stiffness, focal neurological signs, tense fontanelle and convulsions. However, the immune mechanisms involved in neurovirulence remain poorly understood. Here we present a mouse model in which one genotype of DENV is inoculated by the intracranial route and infects C57/BL6 mice and replicates in the brain, causing death of mice.
Mice were infected with different serotypes/genotypes of DENV by the intracranial route to evaluate viral replication, host cytokine and nitric oxide synthase 2 (Nos2) expression in the brain via real-time PCR. Histological analysis of the brain tissues was also performed. An analysis of which cells were responsible for the expression of cytokines and Nos2 was performed using flow cytometry. Survival curves of infected animals were also generated
DENV 3 genotype I infected mice and replicated in the brain, causing death in our murine model. The increased levels of NOS2 could be the cause of the death of infected mice, as viral replication correlates with increased Nos2 and cytokine expression in the brain of C57BL/6 mice. In Nos2−/− mice that were infected with DENV, no clinical signs of infection were observed and cytokines were expressed at low levels, with the exception of interferon gamma (Ifng). Additionally, the Ifng−/− mice infected with DENV exhibited a severe and lethal disease, similar to the disease observed in C57BL/6 mice, while the DENV- infected Nos2−/− mice did not display increased mortality. Analyses of the brains from infected C57BL/6 mice revealed neuronal degeneration and necrosis during histopathologic examination. IFNg and NOS2 were produced in the brains of infected mice by CD4+ T cells and macrophages, respectively.
The neurovirulence of DENV 3 genotype I is associated with a deleterious role of NOS2 in the brain, confirming this murine model as an appropriate tool to study DENV neurovirulence.
Dengue virus; Murine model; Neurovirulence; Neuropathogenesis; Immunopathogenesis; Encephalitis; Nitric oxide synthase 2; Nitric oxide; Interferon gamma
Polyomavirus JC (JCV) causes the CNS demyelinating disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which occurs almost exclusively in people with immune deficiencies, such as HIV-1/AIDS patients. JCV infection is very common and usually occurs early in life. After primary infection, virus is controlled by the immune system but, rarely when immune function is impaired, it can re-emerge and multiply in the astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the brain and cause PML. Thus a central question in PML pathogenesis is the nature of the molecular mechanisms maintaining JCV in a latent state and then allowing reactivation.
Since transcription can be regulated by epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation and histone acetylation, we investigated their role in JCV regulation by employing inhibitors of epigenetic events.
The histone deacetylase inhibitors trichostatin A (TSA) and sodium butyrate powerfully stimulated JCV early and late transcription while the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-azacytidine had no effect. Analysis of JCV mutants showed that this effect was mediated by the KB element of the JCV control region, which binds transcription factors NF-κB p65, NFAT4 and C/EBPβ and mediates stimulation by TNF-α. Stimulation of transcription by p65 was additive with TSA as was cotransfection with transcriptional coactivators/acetyltransferase p300 whereas depletion of endogenous p65 by RNA interference inhibited the effect of TSA. EMSA with a KB oligonucleotide showed p65 expression, TNF-α stimulation or TSA treatment each caused a gel shift that was further shifted by antibody to p65.
We conclude that JCV is regulated epigenetically by protein acetylation events and that these involve the NF-κB p65 binding site in the JCV control region.
Epigenetic; Acetylation; Transcriptional regulation
Garlic production is severely affected by virus infection, causing a decrease in productivity and quality. There are no virus-free cultivars and garlic-infecting viruses are difficult to purify, which make specific antibody production very laborious. Since high quality antisera against plant viruses are important tools for serological detection, we have developed a method to express and purify full-length plant virus coat proteins using baculovirus expression system and insects as bioreactors.
In this work, we have fused the full-length coat protein (cp) gene from the Garlic Mite-borne Filamentous Virus (GarMbFV) to the 3′-end of the Polyhedrin (polh) gene of the baculovirus Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV). The recombinant baculovirus was amplified in insect cell culture and the virus was used to infect Spodoptera frugiperda larvae. Thus, the recombinant fused protein was easily purified from insect cadavers using sucrose gradient centrifugation and analyzed by Western Blotting. Interestingly, amorphous crystals were produced in the cytoplasm of cells infected with the recombinant virus containing the chimeric-protein gene but not in cells infected with the wild type and recombinant virus containing the hexa histidine tagged Polh. Moreover, the chimeric protein was used to immunize rats and generate antibodies against the target protein. The antiserum produced was able to detect plants infected with GarMbFV, which had been initially confirmed by RT-PCR.
The expression of a plant virus full-length coat protein fused to the baculovirus Polyhedrin in recombinant baculovirus-infected insects was shown to produce high amounts of the recombinant protein which was easily purified and efficiently used to generate specific antibodies. Therefore, this strategy can potentially be used for the development of plant virus diagnostic kits for those viruses that are difficult to purify, are present in low titers or are present in mix infection in their plant hosts.
Baculovirus expression system; Polyhedrin; Garlic virus coat protein; Virus-indexing diagnostic kit
Since Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) medications were made available in 2002, multiple serious side effects have been observed. However, no study has yet systematically evaluated the prevalence of liver steatosis, a very serious but treatable side effect.
This study examined the prevalence of and independent risk factors for liver steatosis in Chinese HIV-infected, HAART-experienced patients who had been diagnosed with hypertriglyceridemia.
In this cross-sectional observational study, the prevalence of liver steatosis was determined by ultrasound imaging that detected diffusion in hepatic echogenicity. The risk factors associated with steatosis were evaluated with a proportional odds logistic regression model.
Among 163 HIV-infected patients with hypertriglyceridemia and past HAART experience, 75(46%) patients were determined to have liver steatosis. In multivariable logistic regression model, the risk factors associated with liver steatosis were: higher triglyceride level (OR = 1.086, P = 0.026), metabolic syndromes (OR = 2.092, P = 0.024) and exposure to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTIs) ((OR = 2.11, P = 0.001) and Stavudine (OR = 3.75, P = 0.01)). Exposure to Nevirapine (OR = 0 .41, P = 0.003) was a favorable factor for lipid metabolism in vivo and was a protective factors for liver steatosis.
Chinese HIV-infected patients with hypertriglyceridemia appear to be prone to liver steatosis, especially those on NRTIs. Routine screening should be considered on their lipid panels.
HIV; HAART; Liver steatosis; Hypertriglyceridemia
Duck Tembusu virus is a member of the Ntaya group in the genus Flavivirus. The virus has been responsible for severe duck egg-drop syndrome in China since 2010. Its emergence and rapid spread have caused great economic loss for the poultry industry. The epidemiology of the virus infection and the potential threat to public health is of great concern because of the infective and zoonotic nature of flaviviruses.
In this study, the pathogenicity of duck Tembusu virus in BALB/c mice was investigated. Infected mice developed clinical signs, including loss of appetite, ruffled hair, weight loss, disorientation, blindness and paralysis of hind limbs from six days post- infection following intracerebral inoculation. Morbidity was 100%, with mortality ranging from 20 to 80% in three- to eight-week-old mice. High virus titers were recovered from the brain, and the virus was distributed in several organs. Histologically, there was widespread non-suppurative encephalitis in the brain. Lymphocyte depletion in the spleen was observed, along with fatty degeneration in the liver and kidney.
Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that duck Tembusu virus is highly neurovirulent in BALB/c mice. The mouse model used in this work was able to produce Tembusu virus infection and could be useful for elucidating some of the aspects of the pathophysiology of other flavivirus infections.
Duck Tembusu virus; Flavivirus; Neurovirulence; BALB/c mice
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease and a potential cause of substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. The overall prevalence of HCV infection is 2%, representing 120 million people worldwide. Current standard treatment using pegylated interferon and ribavirin is effective in only 50% of the patients infected with HCV genotype 1, and is associated with significant side effects. Therefore, it is still of importance to develop new drugs for treatment of HCV. Antiviral substances obtained from natural products, including medicinal plants, are potentially good targets to study. In this study, we evaluated Indonesian medicinal plants for their anti-HCV activities.
Ethanol extracts of 21 samples derived from 17 species of medicinal plants explored in the East Java region were tested. Anti-HCV activities were determined by a cell culture method using Huh7.5 cells and HCV strains of 9 different genotypes (1a to 7a, 1b and 2b).
Four of the 21 samples tested showed antiviral activities against HCV: Toona sureni leaves (TSL) with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of 13.9 and 2.0 μg/ml against the HCV J6/JFH1-P47 and -P1 strains, respectively, Melicope latifolia leaves (MLL) with IC50 of 3.5 and 2.1 μg/ml, respectively, Melanolepis multiglandulosa stem (MMS) with IC50 of 17.1 and 6.2 μg/ml, respectively, and Ficus fistulosa leaves (FFL) with IC50 of 15.0 and 5.7 μg/ml, respectively. Time-of-addition experiments revealed that TSL and MLL inhibited both at the entry and post-entry steps while MMS and FFL principally at the entry step. TSL and MLL inhibited all of 11 HCV strains of all the genotypes tested to the same extent. On the other hand, FFL showed significantly weaker inhibitory activities against the HCV genotype 1a strain, and MMS against the HCV strains of genotypes 2b and 7a to a lesser extent, compared to the other HCV genotypes.
Ethanol extracts of TSL, MLL, MMS and FFL showed antiviral activities against all the HCV genotypes tested with the exception that some genotype(s) showed significant resistance to FFL and to MMS to a lesser extent. These plant extracts may be good candidates for the development of anti-HCV drugs.
Hepatitis C virus; HCV; Antiviral activity; Medicinal plants; Indonesia; Entry inhibition
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes acute viral encephalitis in humans. Pigs are important amplifiers of JEV. The entry mechanism of JEV into porcine cells remains largely unknown. In this study, we present a study of the internalization mechanism of JEV in porcine kidney epithelial PK15 cells.
We demonstrated that the disruption of the lipid raft by cholesterol depletion with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) reduced JEV infection. We also found that the knockdown of clathrin by small interfering RNA (siRNA) significantly reduced JEV-infected cells and JEV E-glycoprotein levels, suggesting that JEV utilizes clathrin-dependent endocytosis. In contrast, the knockdown of caveolin-1, a principal component of caveolae, had only a small (although statistically significant) effect on JEV infection, however, JEV entry was not affected by genistein. These results suggested that JEV entry was independent of caveolae.
Taken together, our results demonstrate that JEV enters porcine kidney epithelial PK15 cells through cholesterol- and clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
JEV; PK15; Cholesterol; Caveolin-1; Clathrin; Infection
Several studies have shown that American genotype dengue 2 viruses (DENV2) have reduced viral fitness in the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, compared to other DENV2 genotypes. Diminished replication efficiency or inability to efficiently traverse membrane barriers encompassing organs such as the midgut or salivary glands are considered major factors negatively impacting viral fitness in the mosquito.
We analyzed the vector competence of Ae. aegypti for two American DENV2 strains, QR94 and PR159 originating from Mexico and Puerto-Rico, respectively. Both strains infected mosquito midguts following acquisition of infectious bloodmeals. However, DENV2-QR94 and DENV2-PR159 poorly disseminated from the midgut at 7 or 14 days post-bloodmeal (pbm). We detected one virus isolate, EM33, among 31 DENV2-QR94 infected mosquitoes, and one isolate, EM41, among 121 DENV2-PR159 infected mosquitoes, generating high virus titers in mosquito carcasses at 7 days pbm. In oral challenge experiments, EM33 and EM41 showed midgut dissemination rates of 40-50%. Replication efficiency of EM41 in secondary mosquito tissue was similar to that of a dissemination-competent control strain, whereas the replication efficiency of EM33 was significantly lower than that of the control virus. The genome sequence of DENV2-QR94 encoded seven unique amino acids (aa), which were not found in 100 of the most closely related DENV2 strains. EM33 had one additional aa change, E202K, in the E protein. DENV2-PR159 encoded four unique aa residues, one of them E202K, whereas EM41 had two additional aa substitutions, Q77E in the E protein and E93D in NS3.
Our results indicate that the midgut of Ae. aegypti acts as a selective sieve for DENV2 in which genetically distinct, dissemination-competent virus variants are rapidly selected from the viral quasispecies to be transmitted to vertebrates.
Dengue virus type 2; American genotype; Aedes aegypti; Midgut escape mutant; Amino acid substitution
Co-infections of Apple chlorotic leaf spot virus (ACLSV) and Cherry green ring mottle virus (CGRMV) in peach is common in China and have resulted in significant yield reductions. A reliable, sensitive and quantitive method is needed to detect and distinguish between ACLSV and CGRMV in peach.
We developed a sensitive and specific SYBR Green-I based RT-qPCR for the quantification of ACLSV and CGRMV in different peach tissues, and a duplex RT-qPCR system to detect ACLSV and CGRMV simultaneously. The RT-qPCR method was optimized using standard samples transcribed by the T7 Large Scale RNA Production System in vitro. The peach genes, RNA Polymerase subunit II (RPII) and Ubiquitin 10 (UBQ10), which were used as the internal controls for the quantification assay also showed good expression stability in this system. Single RT-qPCR assays showed that CGRMV in peach accumulates to a higher level than ACLSV. The detection limits of the duplex RT-qPCR assay were 102 and 104 copies for ACLSV and CGRMV, respectively. The sensitivity of the duplex RT-qPCR was as high as RT-qPCR and higher than RT-PCR.
The SYBR Green-I RT-qPCR assay provided a sensitive, specific and reliable method for the detection and quantification of ACLSV and CGRMV in different peach tissues. The duplex RT-qPCR system provided a sensitive and specific method to detect and differentiate between ACLSV and CGRMV in a single sample. This RT-qPCR assay could be a useful tool for the routine diagnosis of these two viruses and for disease epidemiology studies in peach orchards.
ACLSV; CGRMV; SYBR Green I; Duplex real-time PCR; RT-qPCR
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major global health problem. The infectious virion contains an inner “core particle”, which is made of 180 or 240 copies of core protein, alternatively known as hepatitis B core antigen, or HBcAg which encloses the viral genome.
In this study, we characterized HBV genotypes and used Bayesian analyses to estimate date of emergence of the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of three HBV genotypes, A, B, and D.
We estimated that the rate of evolution of HBV core protein gene to be 1.127 (0.925–1.329, 95% HPD) substitutions per site per year. The TMRCA of HBV for genotypes A, B, D were 118 (54–194, 95% HPD) year, 184 (78–323, 95% HPD) year and 133 (65–230, 95% HPD) year, respectively. Demographic histories of the HBcAg gene showed that the relative genetic diversity had a sharp increase within the first 10 years of its emergence.
Using a bayesian evolutionary method to predict the outbreak trends of HBV through evolutionary trees of HBV, and provide theoretical foundations for clinical prevention and treatment of HBV.
HBV; Genotypes; Bayesian analyses; TMRCA
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has recently changed its approved definition of a viral species, and also discontinued work on its database of virus descriptions. These events indicate that the exploration era of viral taxonomy has ended; over the past century the principles of viral taxonomy have been established, the tools for phylogenetic inference invented, and the ultimate discriminatory data required for taxonomy, namely gene sequences, are now readily available. Further changes would make viral taxonomy more informative. First, the status of a ‘taxonomic species’ with an italicized name should only be given to viruses that are specifically linked with a single ‘type genomic sequence’ like those in the NCBI Reference Sequence Database. Secondly all approved taxa should be predominately monophyletic, and uninformative higher taxa disendorsed. These are ‘quality assurance’ measures and would improve the value of viral nomenclature to its users. The ICTV should also promote the use of a public database, such as Wikipedia, to replace the ICTV database as a store of the primary metadata of individual viruses, and should publish abstracts of the ICTV Reports in that database, so that they are ‘Open Access’.
Ophiostoma novo-ulmi is the causative agent of Dutch elm disease (DED). It is an ascomycetous filamentous fungus that ranks as the third most devastating fungal pathogen in Canada. The disease front has spread eastward and westward from the epicentre in Ontario and Quebec and is threatening elm populations across the country. Numerous mitigation strategies have been tried to eradicate this pathogen, but success has thus far been limited. An alternative approach might utilize double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) mycoviruses which have been reported to induce hypovirulence in other fungi.
Using a modified single primer amplification technique (SPAT) in combination with chromosomal walking, we have determined the genome sequence of two RdRp encoding dsRNA viruses from an O. novo-ulmi isolate (93–1224) collected from the disease front in Winnipeg.
We propose that these viruses, which we have named OnuMV1c and OnuMV7 based on sequence similarity to other Ophiostoma mitoviruses, are two new members of the genus Mitovirus in the family Narnaviridae.
The discovery of such dsRNA elements raises the potential for engineering these viruses to include other genetic elements, such as anti-sense or interfering RNAs, to create novel and highly specific biological controls. Naïve fungal hosts could be infected with both the engineered molecule and a helper mitovirus encoding an RdRp which would provide replication capacity for both molecules.
Ophiostoma novo-ulmi; dsRNA virus; Hypovirulence; Mitovirus; Dutch elm disease; Biological control
The current study was conducted to establish animal models (including mouse and ferret) for the novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza virus.
A/Anhui/1/2013 (H7N9) virus was administered by intranasal instillation to groups of mice and ferrets, and animals developed typical clinical signs including body weight loss (mice and ferrets), ruffled fur (mice), sneezing (ferrets), and death (mice). Peak virus shedding from respiratory tract was observed on 2 days post inoculation (d.p.i.) for mice and 3–5 d.p.i. for ferrets. Virus could also be detected in brain, liver, spleen, kidney, and intestine from inoculated mice, and in heart, liver, and olfactory bulb from inoculated ferrets. The inoculation of H7N9 could elicit seroconversion titers up to 1280 in ferrets and 160 in mice. Leukopenia, significantly reduced lymphocytes but increased neutrophils were also observed in mouse and ferret models.
The mouse and ferret model enables detailed studies of the pathogenesis of this illness and lay the foundation for drug or vaccine evaluation.
H7N9; Animal model; BALB/c mouse; Ferret
The disproportionate imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and body’s ability to detoxify the reactive intermediates is referred to as oxidative stress. Several biological processes as well as infectious agents, physiological or environmental stress, and perturbed antioxidant response can promote oxidative stress. Oxidative stress usually happens when cells are exposed to more electrically charged reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as H2O2 or O2-. The cells’ ability to handle such pro-oxidant species is impeded by viral infections particularly within liver that plays an important role in metabolism and detoxification of harmful substances. During liver diseases (such as hepatocellular or cholestatic problems), the produced ROS are involved in transcriptional activation of a large number of cytokines and growth factors, and continued production of ROS and Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) feed into the vicious cycle. Many human viruses like HCV are evolved to manipulate this delicate pro- and antioxidant balance; thus generating the sustainable oxidative stress that not only causes hepatic damage but also stimulates the processes to reduce treatment of damage. In this review article, the oxidant and antioxidant pathways that are perturbed by HCV genes are discussed. In the first line of risk, the pathways of lipid metabolism present a clear danger in accumulation of viral induced ROS. Viral infection leads to decrease in cellular concentrations of glutathione (GSH) resulting in oxidation of important components of cells such as proteins, DNA and lipids as well as double strand breakage of DNA. These disorders have the tendency to lead the cells toward cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in adults due to constant insult. We have highlighted the importance of such pathways and revealed differences in the extent of oxidative stress caused by HCV infection.
Oxidative stress; ROS; HCV
Human enterovirus type 71 (EV71) and Coxsackievirus A group type 16 (CA16) belong to human Enterovirus species A of the family Picornaviridae. These viruses are recognized as the major pathogens responsible for epidemics of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD), which presents with fever and vesicular eruptions of palms, soles of the feet or mouth. Human scavenger receptor class B, member 2 (SCARB2) has been identified as the receptor for both EV71 and CA16, as overexpression of SCARB2 in cells can enhance virus replication significantly.
In this study, we used a lentivirus packaging vector to transduce the SCARB2 gene into human embryonic kidney cells (293), human rhabdomyosarcoma cells (RD) and African green monkey kidney cells (Vero) to create stable expression lines. Expression of SCARB2 in the resulting three transgenic cell lines was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry.
Levels of SCARB2 mRNA determined by real-time RT-PCR in 293-SCARB2 (293S) or RD-SCARB2 (RDS) transgenic cell lines were approximately 2 × 102 times higher than those in 293 and RD cells, respectively, and three times higher in Vero-SCARB2 (VeroS) than in Vero cells. Furthermore, EV71 and CA16 virus titers in 293S and RDS cells were 102–103-fold higher (detected in RD cell) than those in the parental cells, and a 10-fold higher titer of EV71 was achieved in VeroS cells compared with that in Vero cells.
We established for the first time three cell lines stably overexpressing SCARB2, which showed drastic increases in susceptibility to EV71/CA16 infection. These optimal cell lines may be utilized to develop inactivated vaccines for EV71/CA16 and facilitate rapid detection and isolation of HFMD pathogens or other Enterovirus serotypes. Furthermore, these stable cell lines also can serve as tools to facilitate drug screenings as well as molecular studies on virus-host interactions and pathogenesis of causative agents for HFMD.
SCARB2; EV71/CA16; 293 cells; RD cells; Vero cells
Cytoskeletal proteins are often involved in the virus life cycle, either at early steps during virus entry or at later steps during formation of new virus particles. Though actin filaments have been shown to play a role in the production of measles virus (MV), the importance of actin dynamics for virus assembly and budding steps is not known yet. Aim of this work was thus to analyze the distinctive consequences of F-actin stabilization or disruption for MV protein trafficking, particle assembly and virus release.
MV infection studies in the presence of inhibitors differently affecting the actin cytoskeleton revealed that not only actin disruption but also stabilization of actin filaments interfered with MV particle release. While overall viral protein synthesis, surface expression levels of the MV glycoproteins, and cell-associated infectivity was not altered, cell-free virus titers were decreased. Interestingly, the underlying mechanisms of interference with late MV maturation steps differed principally after F-actin disruption by Cytochalasin D (CD) and F-actin stabilization by Jasplakinolide (Jaspla). While intact actin filaments were shown to be required for transport of nucleocapsids and matrix proteins (M-RNPs) from inclusions to the plasma membrane, actin dynamics at the cytocortex that are blocked by Jaspla are necessary for final steps in virus assembly, in particular for the formation of viral buds and the pinching-off at the plasma membrane. Supporting our finding that F-actin disruption blocks M-RNP transport to the plasma membrane, cell-to-cell spread of MV infection was enhanced upon CD treatment. Due to the lack of M-glycoprotein-interactions at the cell surface, M-mediated fusion downregulation was hindered and a more rapid syncytia formation was observed.
While stable actin filaments are needed for intracellular trafficking of viral RNPs to the plasma membrane, and consequently for assembly at the cell surface and prevention of an overexerted fusion by the viral surface glycoproteins, actin dynamics are required for the final steps of budding at the plasma membrane.
Measles virus; Assembly; Budding; Jasplakinolide; Actin dynamics
In 2001 and 2002, fatal myocarditis resulted in the sudden deaths of four, two adult and two juvenile, orang utans out of a cohort of 26 in the Singapore Zoological Gardens.
Of the four orang utans that underwent post-mortem examination, virus isolation was performed from the tissue homogenates of the heart and lung obtained from the two juvenile orang utans in Vero cell cultures. The tissue culture fluid was examined using electron microscopy. Reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction with Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV)-specific primers targeting the gene regions of VP3/VP1 and 3D polymerase (3Dpol) confirmed the virus genus and species. The two EMCV isolates were sequenced and phylogenetic analyses of the virus genes performed. Serological testing on other animal species in the Singapore Zoological Gardens was also conducted.
Electron microscopy of the two EMCV isolates, designated Sing-M100-02 and Sing-M105-02, revealed spherical viral particles of about 20 to 30 nm, consistent with the size and morphology of members belonging to the family Picornaviridae. In addition, infected-Vero cells showed positive immunoflorescence staining with antiserum to EMCV. Sequencing of the viral genome showed that the two EMCV isolates were 99.9% identical at the nucleotide level, indicating a similar source of origin. When compared with existing EMCV sequences in the VP1 and 3Dpol gene regions, the nucleotide divergence were at a maximum of 38.8% and 23.6% respectively, while the amino acid divergence were at a maximum of 33.9% and 11.3% respectively. Phylogenetic analyses of VP1 and 3Dpol genes further grouped the Sing-M100-02 and Sing-M105-02 isolates to themselves, away from existing EMCV lineages. This strongly suggested that Sing-M100-02 and Sing-M105-02 isolates are highly divergent variants of EMCV. Apart from the two deceased orang utans, a serological survey conducted among other zoo animals showed that a number of other animal species had neutralizing antibodies to Sing-M105-02 isolate, indicating that the EMCV variant has a relatively wide host range.
The etiological agent responsible for the fatal myocarditis cases among two of the four orang utans in the Singapore Zoological Gardens was a highly divergent variant of EMCV. This is the first report of an EMCV infection in Singapore and South East Asia.
Encephalomyocarditis virus; Variant virus; Fatal acute myocarditis; Orang utan
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly lethal and economically significant disease of domestic pigs in Eastern Africa particularly in Uganda where outbreaks regularly occur. Sequence analysis of variable genome regions have been extensively used for molecular epidemiological studies of African swine fever virus (ASFV) isolates. By combining p72, P54 and pB602L (CVR), a high level resolution approach is achieved for viral discrimination. The major aim of this study therefore, was to investigate the genetic relatedness of ASF outbreaks that occurred between 2010 and 2013 in Uganda to contribute to the clarification of the epidemiological situation over a four year period.
Tissue samples from infected domestic pigs associated with an ASF outbreak from 15 districts in Uganda were confirmed as being infected with ASFV using a p72 gene-based polymerase chain reaction amplification (PCR) assay recommended by OIE. The analysis was conducted by genotyping based on sequence data from three single copy ASFV genes. The E183L gene encoding the structural protein P54 and part of the gene encoding the p72 protein was used to delineate genotypes. Intra-genotypic resolution of viral relationships was achieved by analysis of tetramer amino acid repeats within the hypervariable CVR of the B602L gene.
Twenty one (21) ASF outbreaks were confirmed by the p72 ASF diagnostic PCR, however; only 17 isolates were successfully aligned after sequencing. Our entire isolates cluster with previous ASF viruses in genotype IX isolated in Uganda and Kenya using p72 and P54 genes. Analysis of the CVR gene generated three sub-groups one with 23 tetrameric amino acid repeats (TRS) with an additional CAST sequence, the second with 22 TRS while one isolate Ug13. Kampala1 had 13 TRS.
We identified two new CVR subgroups different from previous studies. This study constitutes the first detailed assessment of the molecular epidemiology of ASFV in domestic pigs in the different regions of Uganda.
African swine fever virus; Genotyping; P54; p72; pB602L (central variable region) sequencing