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1.  Diagnosis, management and post-mortem findings of a human case of rabies imported into the United Kingdom from India: a case report 
Virology Journal  2014;11:63.
Human rabies infection continues to be a significant public health burden globally, and is occasionally imported to high income settings where the Milwaukee Protocol for intensive care management has recently been employed, with limited success in improving survival. Access to molecular diagnostics, pre- and post-mortem, and documentation of pathophysiological responses while using the Milwaukee protocol, can add useful insights for the future of rabies management.
Case presentation
A 58-year-old British Asian woman was referred to a regional general hospital in the UK with hydrophobia, anxiety and confusion nine weeks after receiving a dog bite in North West India. Nuchal skin biopsy, saliva, and a skin biopsy from the site of the dog bite wound, taken on the day of admission, all demonstrated the presence of rabies virus RNA. Within 48 hours sequence analysis of viral RNA confirmed the diagnosis and demonstrated that the virus was a strain closely related to canine rabies viruses circulating in South Asia. Her condition deteriorated rapidly with increased agitation and autonomic dysfunction. She was heavily sedated and intubated on the day after admission, treated according to a modified Milwaukee protocol, and remained stable until she developed heart block and profound acidosis and died on the eighth day. Analysis of autopsy samples showed a complete absence of rabies neutralizing antibody in cerebrospinal fluid and serum, and corresponding high levels of virus antigen and nucleic acid in brain and cerebrospinal fluid. Quantitative PCR showed virus was also distributed widely in peripheral tissues despite mild or undetectable histopathological changes. Vagus nerve branches in the heart showed neuritis, a probable Negri body but no demonstrable rabies antigen.
Rapid molecular diagnosis and strain typing is helpful in the management of human rabies infection. Post-mortem findings such as vagal neuritis highlight clinically important effects on the cardiovascular system which are typical for the clinical course of rabies in humans. Management guided by the Milwaukee protocol is feasible within well-resourced intensive care units, but its role in improving outcome for canine-derived rabies remains theoretical.
PMCID: PMC3977668
Rabies; Milwaukee protocol; Diagnosis
2.  Regulation of gene expression by microRNA in HCV infection and HCV–mediated hepatocellular carcinoma 
Virology Journal  2014;11:64.
MicroRNA (miRNA) exert a profound effect on Hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication and on the manifestation of HCV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). miR-122 in particular, is highly enriched in liver and has been shown to interact with HCV, suggesting this virus has evolved to subvert and manipulate the host gene silencing machinery in order to support its life cycle. It is therefore likely that miR-122 and other miRNAs play an important role in the pathophysiology of HCV infection. The changes in post-transcriptional gene regulation by the miRNAs may play a key role in the manifestation of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Understanding of HCV-host miRNA interactions will ultimately lead to the design of therapeutic modalities against HCV infection and HCV-mediated HCC and may also provide important biomarkers that direct treatment options. Here, we review the current knowledge on the role of miRNA and gene expression on HCV infection and hepatocellular carcinoma, in addition to the possible role of miRNA as future therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3977900  PMID: 24690114
Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; miRNA; mRNA
3.  Mutagenesis analysis of T380R mutation in the envelope protein of yellow fever virus 
Virology Journal  2014;11:60.
The RGD motif in the mosquito-borne flaviviruses envelope protein domain III (EDIII) FG loop was shown to bind negatively charged cellular molecules and mediate virus entry in mammals. However, its importance in virus entry in the mosquito has not yet been defined. The sequences of RGD motifs are conserved in JEV-serocomplex members primarily transmitted by Culex mosquitoes but absent from members of the DENV serocomplex, which utilize Aedes mosquitoes as vectors. Interestingly, the RGD sequence is present in the attenuated 17D strain of yellow fever virus as a result of the T380R mutation in the EDIII of Asibi strain following extensive in vitro passage in mice and chicken embryos and was found to contribute to the more rapid clearance in mice challenged with 17D. However, viral infectivity and dissemination in mosquitoes had not been evaluated for this mutant.
The study utilized the reverse genetics system of YFV and Ae. aegypti RexD WE mosquitoes to assess the impact of a T380R mutation in YFV Asibi and 17D/Asibi M-E chimera. The T380R mutation led to higher infection rates but similar dissemination rates when introduced into the YFV Asibi strain and 17D/Asibi M-E chimera.
While the increase of the positive charge in EDIII may reduce the virulence of YFV in mice, this mutation favored the establishment of the viral infection in Ae. aegypti. However, such gain in viral infectivity did not increase dissemination in infected mosquitoes.
PMCID: PMC3974419  PMID: 24678844
Yellow fever virus; 17D vaccine; Aedes aegypti
4.  Vaccination directed against the human endogenous retrovirus-K (HERV-K) gag protein slows HERV-K gag expressing cell growth in a murine model system 
Virology Journal  2014;11:58.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are remnants of ancestral infections and chromosomally integrated in all cells of an individual, are transmitted only vertically and are defective in viral replication. However enhanced expression of HERV-K accompanied by the emergence of anti-HERV-K-directed immune responses has been observed inter-alia in HIV-infected individuals and tumor patients. Therefore HERV-K might serve as a tumor-specific antigen or even as a constant target for the development of an HIV vaccine.
To verify our hypothesis, we tested the immunogenicity of HERV-K Gag by using a recombinant vaccinia virus (MVA-HKcon) expressing the HERV-K Gag protein and established an animal model to test its vaccination efficacy. Murine renal carcinoma cells (Renca) were genetically altered to express E. coli beta-galactosidase (RLZ cells) and the HERV-K Gag protein (RLZ-HKGag cells). Subcutaneous application of RLZ-HKGag cells into syngenic BALB/c mice resulted in the formation of local tumors in MVA vaccinated mice. MVA-HKcon vaccination reduced the tumor growth. Furthermore, intravenous injection of RLZ-HKGag cells led to the formation of pulmonary metastases. Vaccination of tumor-bearing mice with MVA-HKcon drastically reduced the number of pulmonary RLZ-HKGag tumor nodules compared to vaccination with wild-type MVA.
The data demonstrate that HERV-K Gag is a useful target for vaccine development and might offer new treatment opportunities for cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3974434  PMID: 24669861
Human endogenous retrovirus; Gag; MVA
5.  Plaque reduction neutralization antibody test does not accurately predict protection against dengue infection in Ratchaburi cohort, Thailand 
Virology Journal  2014;11:48.
The plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is currently the best and most widely accepted approach to measuring virus-neutralizing and protective antibodies to dengue virus, and in assessing the immunogenicity of a dengue vaccine. However, the correlation between presence of dengue-neutralizing antibody and protection from infection is not absolute.
In a cohort study in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand, 48 subjects with serologically confirmed symptomatic dengue infection were tested for pre-existing dengue neutralizing antibody using PRNT. Nine subjects had quite high pre-existing PRNT50 titers (titer >90) to subsequent infecting dengue serotypes, but still had symptomatic infections.
This report provides evidence that PRNT may not be a good test for predicting protection against subsequent dengue infection.
PMCID: PMC3975240  PMID: 24620925
Dengue; Plaque reduction neutralization test; Neutralizing antibody
6.  Genomic variation in macrophage-cultured European porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus Olot/91 revealed using ultra-deep next generation sequencing 
Virology Journal  2014;11:42.
Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is a disease of major economic impact worldwide. The etiologic agent of this disease is the PRRS virus (PRRSV). Increasing evidence suggest that microevolution within a coexisting quasispecies population can give rise to high sequence heterogeneity in PRRSV.
We developed a pipeline based on the ultra-deep next generation sequencing approach to first construct the complete genome of a European PRRSV, strain Olot/9, cultured on macrophages and then capture the rare variants representative of the mixed quasispecies population. Olot/91 differs from the reference Lelystad strain by about 5% and a total of 88 variants, with frequencies as low as 1%, were detected in the mixed population. These variants included 16 non-synonymous variants concentrated in the genes encoding structural and nonstructural proteins; including Glycoprotein 2a and 5.
Using an ultra-deep sequencing methodology, the complete genome of Olot/91 was constructed without any prior knowledge of the sequence. Rare variants that constitute minor fractions of the heterogeneous PRRSV population could successfully be detected to allow further exploration of microevolutionary events.
PMCID: PMC3945042  PMID: 24588855
PRRSV; Microevolution; Variant spectra; Ultra-deep next generation sequencing
7.  Circulating human microRNAs are not linked to JC polyomavirus serology or urinary viral load in healthy subjects 
Virology Journal  2014;11:41.
JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) is a widespread human polyomavirus that usually resides latently in its host. It can be reactivated under immunomodulating conditions and cause Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging as promising biomarkers for several pathologies. In this study, we have investigated whether circulating miRNAs exist that are differentially expressed between JCPyV seropositive and JCPyV seronegative on the one hand or between JCPyV shedders and JCPyV non-shedders on the other hand.
Human miRNA expression profiling was performed in a small set of plasma samples obtained from seronegative subjects, seropositive shedders and seropositive non-shedders. A set of 10 miRNAs was selected for further analysis in a larger group of samples.
Based on the plasma profiling experiment of 30 samples, 6 miRNAs were selected that were possibly differentially expressed between seropositive and seronegative subjects and 4 miRNAs were selected that were possibly differentially expressed between shedders and non-shedders. Subsequently, expression of these 10 selected miRNAs was assessed in an independent set of 100 plasma samples. Results indicated that none of them were differentially expressed.
This study could not identify circulating human miRNAs that were differentially expressed between plasma from JCPyV seropositive and JCPyV seronegative subjects or between JCPyV shedders and JCPyV non-shedders.
PMCID: PMC3945012  PMID: 24588811
JC polyomavirus; microRNA; Circulating microRNA; Plasma; Serology; Viral load
8.  Host cell virus entry mediated by Australian bat lyssavirus G envelope glycoprotein occurs through a clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway that requires actin and Rab5 
Virology Journal  2014;11:40.
Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV), a rhabdovirus of the genus Lyssavirus which circulates in both pteropid fruit bats and insectivorous bats in mainland Australia, has caused three fatal human infections, the most recent in February 2013, manifested as acute neurological disease indistinguishable from clinical rabies. Rhabdoviruses infect host cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis and subsequent pH-dependent fusion mediated by their single envelope glycoprotein (G), but the specific host factors and pathways involved in ABLV entry have not been determined.
ABLV internalization into HEK293T cells was examined using maxGFP-encoding recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (rVSV) that express ABLV G glycoproteins. A combination of chemical and molecular approaches was used to investigate the contribution of different endocytic pathways to ABLV entry. Dominant negative Rab GTPases were used to identify the endosomal compartment utilized by ABLV to gain entry into the host cell cytosol.
Here we show that ABLV G-mediated entry into HEK293T cells was significantly inhibited by the dynamin-specific inhibitor dynasore, chlorpromazine, a drug that blocks clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and the actin depolymerizing drug latrunculin B. Over expression of dominant negative mutants of Eps15 and Rab5 also significantly reduced ABLV G-mediated entry into HEK293T cells. Chemical inhibitors of caveolae-dependent endocytosis and macropinocytosis and dominant negative mutants of Rab7 and Rab11 had no effect on ABLV entry.
The predominant pathway utilized by ABLV for internalization into HEK293T cells is clathrin-and actin-dependent. The requirement of Rab5 for productive infection indicates that ABLV G-mediated fusion occurs within the early endosome compartment.
PMCID: PMC3946599  PMID: 24576301
9.  Genetic characterization of type 2a canine parvoviruses from Taiwan reveals the emergence of an Ile324 mutation in VP2 
Virology Journal  2014;11:39.
Canine parvovirus 2 (CPV 2) is a major infectious cause of mortality in puppies. The characteristic symptom of CPV 2 disease is intestinal hemorrhage with severe bloody diarrhea. Soon after CPV was first recognized in the late 1970s, the original virus, CPV 2, was replaced in the canine population by strains carrying minor antigenic variants (termed 2a, 2b, and 2c) of the VP2 gene that could be distinguished using monoclonal antibodies and molecular analyses. Here, we provide an updated molecular characterization of the CPV 2 circulating in Taiwan.
In this study, 28 isolates of CPV 2 from 144 dogs with suspected CPV infection were obtained from northern, central, and southern Taiwan from 2008 to 2012 and screened by PCR. The 28 isolates were sequenced, and a phylogenetic analysis of the VP2 gene was performed.
Of the 28 Taiwanese CPV 2 isolates, 15 were identified as new CPV 2a, and 13 were identified as new CPV 2b. Compared to the reference CPV 2a, all 15 of the CPV 2a sequences collected in this study contain an Ile324 mutation caused by a TAT to ATT mutation at nucleotides 970–972 of the VP2 gene.
Our VP2 sequence data revealed that both types are currently prevalent CPV 2 field strains circulating in Taiwan, and a unique Ile324 VP2 mutation was found in our Taiwanese CPV 2a isolates and recent Asian isolates. CPV 2c was not observed in this study.
PMCID: PMC3944821  PMID: 24568207
Canine parvovirus; Genotype; VP2; Sequence analysis
10.  Controlled release delivery of penciclovir via a silicone (MED-4750) polymer: kinetics of drug delivery and efficacy in preventing primary feline herpesvirus infection in culture 
Virology Journal  2014;11:34.
Herpesviruses are ubiquitous pathogens that infect and cause recurrent disease in multiple animal species. Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1), a member of the alphaherpesvirus family, causes respiratory illness and conjunctivitis, and approximately 80% of domestic cats are latently infected. Oral administration of famciclovir or topical application of cidofovir has been shown in masked, placebo-controlled prospective trials to reduce clinical signs and viral shedding in experimentally inoculated cats. However, to the authors’ knowledge, other drugs have not been similarly assessed or were not safe or effective. Likewise, to our knowledge, no drugs have been assessed in a placebo-controlled manner in cats with recrudescent herpetic disease. Controlled-release devices would permit long-term administration of these drugs and enhance compliance.
We therefore engineered implantable cylindrical devices made from silicone (MED-4750) impregnated with penciclovir, for long-term, steady-state delivery of this drug.
Our data show that these devices release penciclovir with a burst of drug delivery until the tenth day of release, then at an average rate of 5.063 ± 1.704 μg per day through the next 50 days with near zero-order kinetics (in comparison to MED-4750-acyclovir devices, which show the same burst kinetics and average 2.236 ± 0.625 μg/day thereafter). Furthermore, these devices suppress primary infection of FHV-1 in a cell culture system.
The clinical deployment of these silicone-penciclovir devices may allow long-term treatment of FHV-1 infection with a single intervention that could last the life of the host cat.
PMCID: PMC3939932  PMID: 24558980
Feline herpesvirus; Penciclovir; Silicone; Implant; Ocular; Controlled release; Herpetic disease
11.  Detection and genetic characterization of Seoul Virus from commensal brown rats in France 
Virology Journal  2014;11:32.
Hantaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses, which are transmitted to humans primarily via inhalation of aerosolised virus in contaminated rodent urine and faeces. Whilst infected reservoir hosts are asymptomatic, human infections can lead to two clinical manifestations, haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), with varying degrees of clinical severity. The incidence of rodent and human cases of Seoul virus (SEOV) in Europe has been considered to be low, and speculated to be driven by the sporadic introduction of infected brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) via ports.
Between October 2010 and March 2012, 128 brown rats were caught at sites across the Lyon region in France.
SEOV RNA was detected in the lungs of 14% (95% CI 8.01 – 20.11) of brown rats tested using a nested pan-hantavirus RT-PCR (polymerase gene). Phylogenetic analysis supports the inclusion of the Lyon SEOV within Lineage 7 with SEOV strains originating from SE Asia and the previously reported French & Belgian SEOV strains. Sequence data obtained from the recent human SEOV case (Replonges) was most similar to that obtained from one brown rat trapped in a public park in Lyon city centre. We obtained significantly improved recovery of virus genome sequence directly from SEOV infected lung material using a simple viral enrichment approach and NGS technology.
The detection of SEOV in two wild caught brown rats in the UK and the multiple detection of SEOV infected brown rats in the Lyon region of France, suggests that SEOV is circulating in European brown rats. Under-reporting and difficulties in identifying the hantaviruses associated with HFRS may mask the public health impact of SEOV in Europe.
PMCID: PMC3944734  PMID: 24555484
Hantavirus; SEOV; France; Brown rat; Rattus norvegicus; Next generation sequencing; Viral enrichment
12.  Molecular detection of human rhinoviruses in respiratory samples: a comparison of Taqman probe-, SYBR green I- and BOXTO-based real-time PCR assays 
Virology Journal  2014;11:31.
Human Rhinoviruses (HRV) are major causative agents of acute respiratory tract infections in all age group and important contributing factors of childhood morbidity and mortality. Clinical presentation is poorly specific and the great antigenic and genetic variability of HRVs renders the biological diagnosis complex. Here, we have evaluated several molecular diagnostic protocols, including Taqman probe-based and intercalating agent-based RT-PCR assays.
5,627 respiratory samples sent to the laboratory of Virology of the University Hospitals of Marseille, France, from March 2011 to February 2012, were tested using a real-time RT-PCR assay in the 5’NCR of the rhinoviral genome that associated a Taqman probe and the detection of DNA-BOXTO-dye complexes. A sample of 500 BOXTO-positive samples were further tested using the same probe assay (without BOXTO), and a SYBR Green assay (using the same amplification primers). The specific amplification of HRV sequences was assessed by NGS amplicon sequencing.
The Taqman probe RT-PCR assay identified 696/5,627 samples (12,4%) as HRV-positive. BOXTO-positive samples included all probe-positive samples and 1,913 additional samples, of which only 24.3% were confirmed by sequencing. The SYBR Green assay was more specific (16/550 samples were probe-negative/SYBR Green-positive, all confirmed by 5′NCR sequencing), but 3/500 samples were probe-positive/SYBR Green-negative.
Our results highlight the difficulty in detecting HRVs in clinical samples using a single molecular detection system. Amongst the 3 systems tested, the best compromise was obtained with the SYBR Green assay, which, by comparison with our probe-based assay provided an improved sensitivity without altering the detection specificity. Interestingly, a majority of probe-negative/BOXTO- or SYBR Green-positive samples were not associated with mutations in the sequence targeted by the probe. Sequence-based modifications of the secondary structure of the HRV 5′NCR may be associated with a limited access to the probe hybridisation region. Further investigations may identify a test combining a probe based- and an intercalating agent-based detection, which will significantly improve the diagnosis of HRV infections.
PMCID: PMC3936951  PMID: 24548758
BOXTO; SYBR green; Taqman probe; Picornaviridae; Human rhinovirus; Respiratory infections; Molecular diagnosis
13.  Molecular investigation of bovine viral diarrhea virus infection in yaks (Bos gruniens) from Qinghai, China 
Virology Journal  2014;11:29.
Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a pestivirus which infects both domestic animals and wildlife species worldwide. In China, cattle are often infected with BVDV of different genotypes, but there is very limited knowledge regarding BVDV infection in Chinese yaks and the genetic diversity of the virus. The objectives of this study were to detect viral infection in yaks in Qinghai, China and to determine the genotypes of BVDV based on analysis of the 5′untranslated region (5′UTR) and N-terminal protease (Npro) region.
Between 2010 and 2012, 407 blood samples were collected from yaks with or without clinical signs in six counties of Qinghai Province. Ninety-eight samples (24%) were found to be positive by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeting a conserved region of BVDV-1 and BVDV-2. The nucleotide sequences of the 5′UTR and complete Npro region were determined for 16 positive samples. Phylogenetic reconstructions demonstrated that all 16 samples belong to subgenotypes BVDV-1b, BVDV-1d and BVDV-1q.
This study provides, for the first time, molecular evidence for BVDV infection in yaks in Qinghai involving multiple subgenotypes of BVDV-1. This may have occurred under three possible scenarios: interspecies transmission, natural infection, and the use of vaccines contaminated with BVDV. The results have important implications for yak production and management in China, and specifically indicate that unscientific vaccination practices should be stopped and bio-security increased.
PMCID: PMC3926853  PMID: 24524442
Bovine viral diarrhea virus; Yak; 5′UTR; Npro; Phylogeny
14.  CRTC2 enhances HBV transcription and replication by inducing PGC1α expression 
Virology Journal  2014;11:30.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) transcription and replication are essentially restricted to hepatocytes. Based on the HBV enhancer and promoter complex that links hepatic glucose metabolism to its transcription and replication, HBV adopts a regulatory system that is unique to the hepatic gluconeogenic genes. CRTC2, the CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 2, is a critical switch modulating the gluconeogenic program in response to both hormonal and intracellular signals. However, the relationship between CRTC2 and HBV transcription and replication remains unclear.
To analyze the influence of CRTC2 on HBV transcription and replication, CRTC2 expression construct or siRNA was cotransfected with plasmids containing enhancer II/core promoter complex-controlled luciferase or 1.3× wtHBV genome in Huh-7 cells. Luciferase activity, HBV core protein expression, HBV transcripts, and DNA replication intermediates were measured by luciferase assays, western blots, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Southern blots, respectively. Forskolin (FSK) or phosphorylation-defective CRTC2 mutants were further utilized to elucidate the potential mechanism. siRNA against peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1α (PGC1α) was also used to examine the mediator involved in CRTC2-regulated HBV biosynthesis in Huh-7 cells.
CRTC2 overexpression increased HBV transcription and replication in Huh-7 cells, including levels of core protein expression, mRNA, and DNA replication intermediates. Correspondingly, CRTC2 knock down by siRNA reduced HBV biosynthesis. FSK treatment strongly enhanced the effect of CRTC2 through triggering the dephosphorylation and nuclear entry of CRTC2. The phosphorylation-defective mutant (S171A/S275A) of CRTC2 localized in the nucleus and was constitutively active, which dramatically promoted HBV transcription and replication similar to FSK-treated wild-type CRTC2. Knock down of PGC1α, whose expression was induced by CRTC2, greatly compromised the enhancing effect of CRTC2 on HBV transcription and replication.
Our results clearly indicate that non-phosphorylated CRTC2 strongly enhances HBV biosynthesis through inducing PGC1α expression. Further study of the mechanisms will elucidate the importance of metabolic signals on HBV transcription and replication, and offer insight into potential targets for developing anti-HBV agents.
PMCID: PMC3940274  PMID: 24529027
HBV; CRTC2; Forskolin; Phosphorylation-defective CRTC2 mutant; PGC1α
15.  Gene expression profiling of CD4+ T cells in treatment-naive HIV, HCV mono- or co-infected Chinese 
Virology Journal  2014;11:27.
Because of the shared transmission routes, co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HIV) is very common. Accumulated clinical evidence showed that one could alter the infectious course of the other virus in HIV and HCV co-infected individuals. However, little is known on the molecular basis of HIV/HCV interactions and their modulations on hosts.
In this study, treatment-naive HIV, HCV mono-/co-infected individuals with CD4+ T cell counts >300/μl were recruited and their gene expression profiles were investigated by microarray assays. The differentially expressed genes were identified and validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). To further understand the biological meanings of the gene expression profiles in these three groups, GSEA analysis (version 2.0, Broad Institute was performed.
By gene set enrichment analysis, we revealed that gene sets of cell cycle progression, innate immune response and some transcription factors in CD4+ T cells were mainly affected by HIV; while genes associated with GPCR signaling were the major targets of HCV. Metabolic pathways were modulated by both HCV and HIV viruses.
This study for the first time offers gene profiling basis for HCV/HIV mono-/co- infections in human beings. HIV infection displayed the great impact on transcription profile of CD4+ T cells in HIV/HCV co-infected individuals. Genes related to cell cycle arrest were significantly mediated by HIV which may lead to dysfunction of CD4+ T cells and acceleration of HCV-related disease progression in the co-infections.
PMCID: PMC3943807  PMID: 24520951
HIV; HCV; Co-infection; Microarray; CD4+ T cells
16.  HTLV-1 in pregnant women from the Southern Bahia, Brazil: a neglected condition despite the high prevalence 
Virology Journal  2014;11:28.
As the most frequent pathway of vertical transmission of HTLV-1 is breast-feeding, and considering the higher prevalence in women, it is very important to perform screening examinations for anti-HTLV-1 antibodies as part of routine prenatal care. So far, no studies of HTLV-1 seroprevalence in pregnant women in the Southern region of Bahia, Brazil, have been described.
Pregnant women were selected at the two regional reference centers for health care from Southern Bahia. A total of 2766 pregnant women attending the antenatal unit between November 2008 and May 2010 have been analyzed. An extra blood sample was drawn during their routine antenatal testing. A standardized questionnaire was applied and all positive plasma samples were tested by ELISA and were confirmed by Western Blot and PCR. Besides that, positive women were contacted and visited. The family members that were present during the visit were asked to be serologically screened to the virus. A prospective study was also carried out and newborns were followed up to two years for evaluation of vertical transmission.
HTLV prevalence was 1.05% (CI 95%: 0.70-1.50). There was no association of HTLV-1 infection with age, education, income and ethnic differences. The association with marital status was borderline (OR = 7.99; 95% CI 1.07-59.3; p = 0.042). In addition, 43 family members of the HTLV-1 seropositive women have been analyzed and specific reactivity was observed in 32.56%, including two children from previous pregnancy.
Conclusion: It is very important to emphasize that the lack of HTLV-1 screening in pregnant women can promote HTLV transmission especially in endemic areas. HTLV screening in this vulnerable population and the promotion of bottle-feeding for children of seropositive mothers could be important cost-effective methods to limit the vertical transmission. Besides that, our data reinforce the need to establish strategies of active surveillance in household and family contacts as important epidemiological surveillance actions for the early detection of virus infection and the prevention of transmission by sexual or and parenteral contact.
PMCID: PMC3974122  PMID: 24524416
HTLV; Bahia-Brazil; Vertical transmission; Pregnant; Prenatal care
17.  Genome characterization of Long Island tick rhabdovirus, a new virus identified in Amblyomma americanum ticks 
Virology Journal  2014;11:26.
Ticks are implicated as hosts to a wide range of animal and human pathogens. The full range of microbes harbored by ticks has not yet been fully explored.
As part of a viral surveillance and discovery project in arthropods, we used unbiased high-throughput sequencing to examine viromes of ticks collected on Long Island, New York in 2013.
We detected and sequenced the complete genome of a novel rhabdovirus originating from a pool of Amblyomma americanum ticks. This virus, which we provisionally name Long Island tick rhabdovirus, is distantly related to Moussa virus from Africa.
The Long Island tick rhabdovirus may represent a novel species within family Rhabdoviridae.
PMCID: PMC3928085  PMID: 24517260
Ticks; Rhabdovirus; High-throughput sequencing; Amblyomma americanum
18.  High prevalence and diversity of species D adenoviruses (HAdV-D) in human populations of four Sub-Saharan countries 
Virology Journal  2014;11:25.
Human adenoviruses of species D (HAdV-D) can be associated with acute respiratory illness, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, and gastroenteritis, but subclinical HAdV-D infections with prolonged shedding have also been observed, particularly in immunocompromised hosts. To expand knowledge on HAdV-D in Sub-Saharan Africa, we investigated the prevalence, epidemiology and pathogenic potential of HAdV-D in humans from rural areas of 4 Sub-Saharan countries, Côte d’Ivoire (CI), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and Uganda (UG).
Stool samples were collected from 287 people living in rural regions in CI, DRC, CAR and UG. HAdV-D prevalence and diversity were determined by PCR and sequencing. A gene block, spanning the genes pV to hexon, was used for analysis of genetic distance. Correlation between adenovirus infection and disease symptoms, prevalence differences, and the effect of age and gender on infection status were analyzed with cross tables and logistic regression models.
The prevalence of HAdV-D in the investigated sites was estimated to be 66% in CI, 48% in DRC, 28% in CAR (adults only) and 65% in UG (adults only). Younger individuals were more frequently infected than adults; there was no difference in HAdV-D occurrence between genders. No correlation could be found between HAdV-D infection and clinical symptoms. Highly diverse HAdV-D sequences were identified, among which a number are likely to stand for novel types.
HAdV-D was detected with a high prevalence in study populations of 4 Sub-Saharan countries. The genetic diversity of the virus was high and further investigations are needed to pinpoint pathological potential of each of the viruses. High diversity may also favor the emergence of recombinants with altered tropism and pathogenic properties.
PMCID: PMC3928611  PMID: 24512686
Adenoviridae; Human adenovirus D; Genotype; Sub-Saharan Africa; PCR
19.  Molecular epidemiology and viral load of HCV in different regions of Punjab, Pakistan 
Virology Journal  2014;11:24.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is highly infectious pathogen which is responsible for causing Hepatitis around 200 million individuals worldwide. In Pakistan, 4.7% of HCV prevalence has been reported and HCV genotype 3a has been found to be the major source of infection in Pakistan but still there is lack of information on distribution of HCV genotypes and viral load in various geographical regions of Pakistan. Therefore, current study was designed to determine distribution of HCV genotypes as well viral load in different areas of Punjab province of Pakistan.
A total of 995 serum samples were taken from those individuals in which antibodies against HCV were detected through ELISA, from different regions of Punjab i.e. Lahore 317(31.85%), Faisalabad 70(7.03%), Gujranwala 129(12.96%), Gujrat 106(10.65%), Sialkot 94(9.44%), Sargodha 60(6.03%), Mandibaha-ud-din 135(13.56%), Jhang 86(8.64%). Qualitative PCR was performed to determine viral load and genotyping was performed using Nested PCR. Chi-square test was used to determine the age and sex-wise prevalence of HCV. Out of 995 samples, 888 samples were found positive for HCV RNA. In all regions, genotype 3a showed highest prevalence (82.81%) followed by genotype 1 (3.41%), mixed genotypes (2.41%), genotype 2 (0.50%), genotype 5 (0.1%) and unclassified genotypes (10.75%). Viral load in 29.5% patients infected with genotype 3a was less than 600,000 IU/mL, while it was between 600,000-800,000 IU/mL in 27.9% patients and 25.22% patients had more than 800,000 IU/mL viral load.
HCV genotype 3a is the most prevalent genotype in various regions of Punjab. Viral load of HCV patients in these different regions of Punjab are reported for the first time. Moreover, based upon these results the Patients having viral load below 800,000 IU/mL would be expected to show better response of anti-HCV therapy.
PMCID: PMC3925129  PMID: 24512668
Hepatitis C virus; Genotype 3a; Pakistan; Viral load
20.  The dual role of tetraspanin CD63 in HIV-1 replication 
Virology Journal  2014;11:23.
Previously, we showed that the tetraspanin membrane protein CD63 mediates both early and post-integration stages of the HIV-1 replication cycle. The temporal roles of CD63 were discerned using monoclonal antibodies and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to block CD63 function, and determining which of the sequential steps in HIV-1 replication were disrupted. Inhibition was shown to occur during early infection, suggestive of involvement in virus entry or reverse transcription. In addition, we have shown that treatment with CD63 siRNA post-infection, significantly inhibited virus production in supernatant, suggesting an important role for CD63 in macrophages during HIV-1 replication events occurring after proviral integration, and possibly during egress.
In this study we used CD63 siRNA to investigate the infectivity of pseudotyped viruses (carrying an NL4-3 Env-negative luciferase backbone) in primary human macrophages. We demonstrated that lab adapted R5- and R5X4-tropic HIV-1 strains are significantly inhibited by CD63 silencing. However, the infectivity of MLV or VSV-pseudotyped strains, which enter though receptor-mediated endocytosis, is unaffected by silencing CD63. These results indicate that CD63 may support Env-mediated entry or fusion events facilitated though CD4 and CCR5. Also, antibody and siRNA-based CD63 inhibition studies indicate a potential role for CD63 following proviral integration. Further, we show that CD63 expression is key for efficient replication in primary CD4+ T cells, complementing our prior studies with primary human macrophages and immortalized cell lines.
Collectively, these findings indicate that CD63 may support Env-mediated fusion as well as a late (post-integration) step in the HIV-1 replication cycle.
PMCID: PMC3944621  PMID: 24507450
HIV-1 replication cycle; Tetraspanin CD63; CD4+ T cells; Macrophages
21.  Innate immune responses in hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection 
Virology Journal  2014;11:22.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has a low rate of chronicity compared to HCV infection, but chronic liver inflammation can evolve to life threatening complications. Experimental data from HBV infected chimpanzees and HBV transgenic mice have indicated that cytotoxic T cells are the main cell type responsible for inhibition of viral replication, but also for hepatocyte lysis during chronic HBV infection. Their lower activation and impaired function in later stages of infection was suggested as a possible mechanism that allowed for low levels of viral replication. The lack of an interferon response in these models also indicated the importance of adaptive immunity in clearing the infection. Increased knowledge of the signalling pathways and pathogen associated molecular patterns that govern activation of innate immunity in the early stages of viral infections in general has led to a re-evaluation of the innate immune system in HBV infection. Numerous studies have shown that HBV employs active strategies to evade innate immune responses and induce immunosuppression. Some of the immune components targeted by HBV include dendritic cells, natural killer cells, T regulatory cells and signalling pathways of the interferon response. This review will present the current understanding of innate immunity in HBV infection and of the challenges associated with clearing of the HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3922976  PMID: 24507433
HBV; Innate immunity; Cytokines; Interferon response; TLRs; RIG-I
22.  Heterosubtypic protective immunity against widely divergent influenza subtypes induced by fusion protein 4sM2 in BALB/c mice 
Virology Journal  2014;11:21.
Regular reformulation of currently available vaccines is necessary due to the unpredictable variability of influenza viruses. Therefore, vaccine based on a highly conserved antigen with capability of induction of effective immune responses could be a potential solution. Influenza matrix protein-2 (M2) is highly conserved across influenza subtypes and a promising candidate for a broadly protective influenza vaccine. For the enhancement of broad protection, four tandem copies of consensus M2 gene containing extracellular (ED) and cytoplasmic (CD) without the trans-membrane domain (TM) reconstituted from H1N1, H5N1 and H9N2 influenza viruses were linked and named as 4sM2. The construct was effectively expressed in Escherichia coli, purified and proteins were used to immunize BALB/c mice. Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses were investigated following administration.
Mice were intramuscularly immunized with 4sM2 protein 2 times at 2 weeks interval. Two weeks after the last immunization, first humoral and cell mediated immune response specific to sM2 protein were evaluated and the mice were challenged with a lethal dose (10MLD50) of divergent subtypes A/EM/Korea/W149/06(H5N1), A/PR/8/34(H1N1), A/Aquatic bird/Korea/W81/2005(H5N2), A/Aquatic bird/Korea/W44/2005(H7N3), and A/Chicken/Korea/116/2004(H9N2) viruses. The efficacy of 4sM2 was evaluated by determining survival rates, body weights and residual lung viral titers. Our studies demonstrate that the survival of mice immunized with 4sM2 was significantly higher (80–100% survival) than that of unimmunized mice (0% survival). We also examined the long lasting protection against heterosubtype H5N2 virus and found that mice vaccinated with 4sM2 displayed 80% of protection even after 6 months of final vaccination.
Taken together, these results suggest that prokaryotic expressed multimeric sM2 protein achieved cross protection against lethal infection of divergent influenza subtypes which are lasting for the long time.
PMCID: PMC3923897  PMID: 24502341
Broad protection; Humoral immunization; Influenza vaccine; Matrix protein-2
23.  Studies of inactivation mechanism of non-enveloped icosahedral virus by a visible ultrashort pulsed laser 
Virology Journal  2014;11:20.
Low-power ultrashort pulsed (USP) lasers operating at wavelengths of 425 nm and near infrared region have been shown to effectively inactivate viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), M13 bacteriophage, and murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). It was shown previously that non-enveloped, helical viruses such as M13 bacteriophage, were inactivated by a USP laser through an impulsive stimulated Raman scattering (ISRS) process. Recently, enveloped virus like MCMV has been shown to be inactivated by a USP laser via protein aggregation induced by an ISRS process. However, the inactivation mechanism for a clinically important class of viruses – non-enveloped, icosahedral viruses remains unknown.
Results and discussions
We have ruled out the following four possible inactivation mechanisms for non-enveloped, icosahedral viruses, namely, (1) inactivation due to ultraviolet C (UVC) photons produced by non-linear optical process of the intense, fundamental laser beam at 425 nm; (2) inactivation caused by thermal heating generated by the direct laser absorption/heating of the virion; (3) inactivation resulting from a one-photon absorption process via chromophores such as porphyrin molecules, or indicator dyes, potentially producing reactive oxygen or other species; (4) inactivation by the USP lasers in which the extremely intense laser pulse produces shock wave-like vibrations upon impact with the viral particle. We present data which support that the inactivation mechanism for non-enveloped, icosahedral viruses is the impulsive stimulated Raman scattering process. Real-time PCR experiments show that, within the amplicon size of 273 bp tested, there is no damage on the genome of MNV-1 caused by the USP laser irradiation.
We conclude that our model non-enveloped virus, MNV-1, is inactivated by the ISRS process. These studies provide fundamental knowledge on photon-virus interactions on femtosecond time scales. From the analysis of the transmission electron microscope (TEM) images of viral particles before and after USP laser irradiation, the locations of weak structural links on the capsid of MNV-1 were revealed. This important information will greatly aid our understanding of the structure of non-enveloped, icosahedral viruses. We envision that this non-invasive, efficient viral eradication method will find applications in the disinfection of pharmaceuticals, biologicals and blood products in the near future.
PMCID: PMC3924410  PMID: 24495489
24.  Cocksfoot mottle virus coat protein is dispensable for the systemic infection 
Virology Journal  2014;11:19.
The Sobemovirus genome consists of polycistronic single-stranded positive-sense RNA. The first ORF encodes P1, a suppressor of RNA silencing required for virus movement. The coat protein (CP) is expressed from the 3′ proximal ORF3 via subgenomic RNA. In addition to its structural role, the CP of some sobemoviruses has been reported to be required for systemic movement and to interact with P1. The aim of this study was to analyse the role of Cocksfoot mottle virus (CfMV) CP in the suppression of RNA silencing and virus movement.
Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression method was used for testing CfMV CP capacity to suppress RNA silencing. CP substitution and deletion mutants were generated to examine the role of this protein in CfMV infection, using three host plants (oat, barley and wheat). The viral movement was characterised with CfMV expressing EGFP fused to the C-terminus of CP.
In the current study we show that CfMV CP is an additional RNA silencing suppressor. Interestingly, we observed that all CP mutant viruses were able to infect the three tested host plants systemically, although usually with reduced accumulation. CfMV expressing EGFP was detected in epidermal and mesophyll cells of inoculated leaves. Although EGFP fluorescence was not detected in upper leaves, some plants displayed CfMV symptoms. Analysis of the upper leaves revealed that the viruses had lost the EGFP sequence and sometimes also most of the CP gene.
The present study demonstrates that CfMV CP suppresses RNA silencing but, surprisingly, is dispensable for systemic movement. Thus, CfMV does not move as virion in the tested host plants. The composition of the movement RNP complex remains to be elucidated.
PMCID: PMC3925361  PMID: 24495467
Sobemovirus; Virus movement; RNA silencing suppressor; Coat protein
25.  Seroprevalence Survey of Avian influenza A (H5) in wild migratory birds in Yunnan Province, Southwestern China 
Virology Journal  2014;11:18.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) is a highly contagious disease which is a zoonotic pathogen of significant economic and public health concern. The outbreaks caused by HPAIV H5N1 of Asian origin have caused animal and human disease and mortality in several countries of Southeast Asia, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. For the first time since 1961, this HPAIV has also caused extensive mortality in wild birds and has sparked debate of the role wild birds have played in the spread of this virus. Other than confirmed mortality events, little is known of this virus in wild birds. There is no report on the seroprevalence of avian influenza H5 infection in wild migratory birds in Yunnan Province. In this study we examined live wild birds in Yunnan Province for H5 specific antibody to better understand the occurrence of this disease in free living birds.
Sera from 440 wild birds were collected from in Kunming and Northern Ailaoshan of Yunnan Province, Southwestern China, and assayed for H5 antibodies using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays.
The investigation revealed that the seroprevalence of avian influenza H5 was as following: Ciconiiformes 2.6%, Strigiformes 13.04%, Passeriformes 20%, Cuculiformes 21.74%, Gruiformes 0%, Columbiformes 0%, Charadriiformes 0% and Coraciiformes 0%. Statistical analyses showed that there was a significant difference of prevalence between the orders (P < 0.01). Specific avian influenza H5 antibodies were detected in 23 of 440 (5.23%) sera. Mean HI titer 23 positive sera against H5 were 5.4 log2.
The results of the present survey indicated that the proportion of wild birds had previously infected AIV H5 at other times of the year. To our knowledge, this is the first seroprevalence report of avian influenza H5 infection in wild migratory birds in China’ s southwestern Yunnan Province. The results of the present survey have significant public health concerns.
PMCID: PMC3912512  PMID: 24490851
Seroprevalence; Avian influenza H5; Wild birds; Hemagglutination (HA) and hemagglutination inhibition (HI)

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