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1.  Removal of N-Linked Glycosylation Sites in the V1 Region of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus gp120 Results in Redirection of B-Cell Responses to V3 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(3):1525-1539.
One mechanism of immune evasion utilized by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) envelope glycoproteins is the presence of a dense carbohydrate shield. Accumulating evidence from in vitro and in vivo experiments suggests that alterations in N-linked glycosylation of SIV gp120 can enhance host humoral immune responses that may be involved in immune control. The present study was designed to determine the ability of glycosylation mutant viruses to redirect antibody responses to shielded envelope epitopes. The influence of glycosylation on the maturation and specificity of antibody responses elicited by glycosylation mutant viruses containing mutations of specific N-linked sites in and near the V1 and V2 regions of SIVmac239 gp120 was determined. Results from these studies demonstrated a remarkably similar maturation of antibody responses to native, fully glycosylated envelope proteins. However, analyses of antibodies to defined envelope domains revealed that mutation of glycosylation sites in V1 resulted in increased antibody recognition to epitopes in V1. In addition, we demonstrated for the first time that mutation of glycosylation sites in V1 resulted in a redirection of antibody responses to the V3 loop. Taken together, these results demonstrate that N-linked glycosylation is a determinant of SIV envelope B-cell immunogenicity in addition to in vitro antigenicity. In addition, our results demonstrate that the absence of N-linked carbohydrates at specific sites can influence the exposure of epitopes quite distant in the linear sequence.
PMCID: PMC321372  PMID: 14722307
2.  A hydrolase of trehalose dimycolate induces nutrient influx and stress sensitivity to balance intracellular growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Cell host & microbe  2014;15(2):153-163.
Chronic tuberculosis in an immunocompetent host is a consequence of the delicately balanced growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) in the face of host defense mechanisms. We identify an Mtb enzyme (TdmhMtb) that hydrolyzes the mycobacterial glycolipid trehalose dimycolate and plays a critical role in balancing the intracellular growth of the pathogen. TdmhMtb is induced under nutrient limiting conditions and remodels the Mtb envelope to increase nutrient influx, but concomitantly sensitizes Mtb to stresses encountered in the host. Consistent with this, a ΔtdmhMtb mutant is more resilient to stress and grows to higher levels than wild-type in immunocompetent mice. By contrast, mutant growth is retarded in MyD88−/− mice indicating that TdmhMtb provides a growth advantage to intracellular Mtb in an immunocompromised host. Thus, the effects and counter-effects of TdmhMtb play an important role in balancing intracellular growth of Mtb in a manner that is directly responsive to host innate immunity.
PMCID: PMC3974621  PMID: 24528862
3.  Protective Efficacy of Centralized and Polyvalent Envelope Immunogens in an Attenuated Equine Lentivirus Vaccine 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(1):e1004610.
Lentiviral Envelope (Env) antigenic variation and related immune evasion present major hurdles to effective vaccine development. Centralized Env immunogens that minimize the genetic distance between vaccine proteins and circulating viral isolates are an area of increasing study in HIV vaccinology. To date, the efficacy of centralized immunogens has not been evaluated in the context of an animal model that could provide both immunogenicity and protective efficacy data. We previously reported on a live-attenuated (attenuated) equine infectious anemia (EIAV) virus vaccine, which provides 100% protection from disease after virulent, homologous, virus challenge. Further, protective efficacy demonstrated a significant, inverse, linear relationship between EIAV Env divergence and protection from disease when vaccinates were challenged with viral strains of increasing Env divergence from the vaccine strain Env. Here, we sought to comprehensively examine the protective efficacy of centralized immunogens in our attenuated vaccine platform. We developed, constructed, and extensively tested a consensus Env, which in a virulent proviral backbone generated a fully replication-competent pathogenic virus, and compared this consensus Env to an ancestral Env in our attenuated proviral backbone. A polyvalent attenuated vaccine was established for comparison to the centralized vaccines. Additionally, an engineered quasispecies challenge model was created for rigorous assessment of protective efficacy. Twenty-four EIAV-naïve animals were vaccinated and challenged along with six-control animals six months post-second inoculation. Pre-challenge data indicated the consensus Env was more broadly immunogenic than the Env of the other attenuated vaccines. However, challenge data demonstrated a significant increase in protective efficacy of the polyvalent vaccine. These findings reveal, for the first time, a consensus Env immunogen that generated a fully-functional, replication-competent lentivirus, which when experimentally evaluated, demonstrated broader immunogenicity that does not equate to higher protective efficacy.
Author Summary
Our best effort for containment of the global HIV epidemic is the development of a broadly protective vaccine. Current research has focused on vaccines that can generate a protective immune response against numerous strains of the virus. For this reason, vaccines with centralized HIV genes as immunogens, which merge HIV genetic information and potentially protect against multiple viral strains in a single inoculation, are an increasing area of interest to the field. Existing published studies have not evaluated centralized immunogens in the context of attenuated vaccines, which to date, have demonstrated the highest level of vaccine protection in lentiviral studies. Furthermore, centralized immunogen studies have also not included protective efficacy findings accomplished through challenge with highly pathogenic virus strains. In this study we not only examine the immunogenicity of these immunogens in an animal model, but we also for the first time evaluate the ability of centralized immunogens to induce protection against virulent virus challenge.
PMCID: PMC4287611  PMID: 25569288
4.  Antimicrobial peptides: new drugs for bad bugs? 
Antibiotics have been among the most successful classes of therapeutics and have enabled many of modern medicine’s greatest advances. However, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are emerging as critical public health threats, with recent accounts of bacterial strains resistant to all approved antibiotics. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are naturally occurring molecules with the potential to serve as the basis for a new class of anti-infectives targeting these difficult-to-treat bacteria. The unique activities and features of AMPs are discussed, with a focus toward the clinical importance of priming the antibiotic pipeline and the role AMPs can fulfill in the future of fighting drug-resistant bacteria.
PMCID: PMC4109705  PMID: 24206062
antibiotics; antimicrobial peptides; drug-resistant bacteria; peptide design
5.  C-terminal tail of human immunodeficiency virus gp41: functionally rich and structurally enigmatic 
The Journal of General Virology  2013;94(Pt 1):1-19.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is amongst the most important current worldwide public health threats. While much research has been focused on AIDS vaccines that target the surface viral envelope (Env) protein, including gp120 and the gp41 ectodomain, the C-terminal tail (CTT) of gp41 has received relatively little attention. Despite early studies highlighting the immunogenicity of a particular CTT sequence, the CTT has been classically portrayed as a type I membrane protein limited to functioning in Env trafficking and virion incorporation. Recent studies demonstrate, however, that the Env CTT has other important functions. The CTT has been shown to additionally modulate Env ectodomain structure on the cell and virion surface, affect Env reactivity and viral sensitivity to conformation-dependent neutralizing antibodies, and alter cell–cell and virus–cell fusogenicity of Env. This review provides an overview of the Env structure and function with a particular emphasis on the CTT and recent studies that highlight its functionally rich nature.
PMCID: PMC3542723  PMID: 23079381
6.  Rational Design of Engineered Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides Consisting Exclusively of Arginine and Tryptophan, and Their Activity against Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens 
The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens underscores the need for new antimicrobial agents to overcome the resistance mechanisms of these organisms. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) provide a potential source of new antimicrobial therapeutics. We previously characterized a lytic base unit (LBU) series of engineered CAPs (eCAPs) of 12 to 48 residues demonstrating maximum antibacterial selectivity at 24 residues. Further, Trp substitution in LBU sequences increased activity against both P. aeruginosa and S. aureus under challenging conditions (e.g., saline, divalent cations, and serum). Based on these findings, we hypothesized that the optimal length and, therefore, the cost for maximum eCAP activity under physiologically relevant conditions could be significantly reduced using only Arg and Trp arranged to form idealized amphipathic helices. Hence, we developed a novel peptide series, composed only of Arg and Trp, in a sequence predicted and verified by circular dichroism to fold into optimized amphipathic helices. The most effective antimicrobial activity was achieved at 12 residues in length (WR12) against a panel of both Gram-negative and Gram-positive clinical isolates, including extensively drug-resistant strains, in saline and broth culture and at various pH values. The results demonstrate that the rational design of CAPs can lead to a significant reduction in the length and the number of amino acids used in peptide design to achieve optimal potency and selectivity against specific pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3716171  PMID: 23507278
7.  Structural and Functional Comparisons of Retroviral Envelope Protein C-Terminal Domains: Still Much to Learn 
Viruses  2014;6(1):284-300.
Retroviruses are a family of viruses that cause a broad range of pathologies in animals and humans, from the apparently harmless, long-term genomic insertion of endogenous retroviruses, to tumors induced by the oncogenic retroviruses and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) resulting from human immunodeficiency virus infection. Disease can be the result of diverse mechanisms, including tumorigenesis induced by viral oncogenes or immune destruction, leading to the gradual loss of CD4 T-cells. Of the virally encoded proteins common to all retroviruses, the envelope (Env) displays perhaps the most diverse functionality. Env is primarily responsible for binding the cellular receptor and for effecting the fusion process, with these functions mediated by protein domains localized to the exterior of the virus. The remaining C-terminal domain may have the most variable functionality of all retroviral proteins. The C-terminal domains from three prototypical retroviruses are discussed, focusing on the different structures and functions, which include fusion activation, tumorigenesis and viral assembly and lifecycle influences. Despite these genetic and functional differences, however, the C-terminal domains of these viruses share a common feature in the modulation of Env ectodomain conformation. Despite their differences, perhaps each system still has information to share with the others.
PMCID: PMC3917443  PMID: 24441863
retroviruses; HIV; MuLV; JSRV; cytoplasmic domain; C-terminal tail
8.  Lessons in AIDS Vaccine Development Learned from Studies of Equine Infectious, Anemia Virus Infection and Immunity 
Viruses  2013;5(12):2963-2976.
Equine infectious anemia (EIA), identified in 1843 [1] as an infectious disease of horses and as a viral infection in 1904, remains a concern in veterinary medicine today. Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) has served as an animal model of HIV-1/AIDS research since the original identification of HIV. Similar to other lentiviruses, EIAV has a high propensity for genomic sequence and antigenic variation, principally in its envelope (Env) proteins. However, EIAV possesses a unique and dynamic disease presentation that has facilitated comprehensive analyses of the interactions between the evolving virus population, progressive host immune responses, and the definition of viral and host correlates of immune control and vaccine efficacy. Summarized here are key findings in EIAV that have provided important lessons toward understanding long term immune control of lentivirus infections and the parameters for development of an enduring broadly protective AIDS vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3967156  PMID: 24316675
EIAV; lentivirus; pathogenesis; envelope diversity; vaccine development; immune maturation
9.  Development of a high throughput, semi-automated, infectious center cell-based ELISA for Equine Infectious Anemia Virus 
Journal of virological methods  2012;185(2):221-227.
A faster semi-automated 96-well microtiter plate assay to determine viral infectivity titers, or viral focal units (vfu), of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) stocks is described. Optimization of the existing method modernizes a classic virological technique for viral titer determination by quantitating EIAV in experimentally infected cells via a cell-based ELISA. To allow for automation, multiple parameters of the current assay procedures were modified resulting in an assay that required only one quarter the original amount of virus and/or serum for infectivity or neutralization assays, respectively. Equivalent reductions in the required volumes of tissue culture, cell processing, and protein detection reagents were also achieved. Additionally, the new assay decreased the time required from start to finish from 10 days to 6 days (viral titer) or 7 days (viral neutralization), while increasing the number of samples that can be processed concurrently by transition to a 96-well microtiter plate format and by automated counting.
PMCID: PMC3474874  PMID: 22820072
Infectious Center Assay; viral titer; neutralization
10.  Differential Functional Phenotypes of Two Primary HIV-1 Strains Resulting from Homologous Point Mutations in the LLP Domains of the Envelope gp41 Intracytoplasmic Domain 
Virology  2007;367(1):102-116.
We previously reported that selected mutations of highly conserved arginine residues within the LLP regions of HIV-1ME46 gp41 had diverse effects on Env function. In the current study, we sought to test if the observed LLP mutant phenotypes would be similar in HIV-189.6. The results of the current studies revealed that the LLP-1 mutations conferred reduced Env incorporation, infectivity, and replication phenotypes in both viruses, while homologous LLP-2 mutations had differential phenotypical effects between the two strains. In particular, several of the 89.6 LLP-2 mutant viruses were replication defective in CEMX174 cells despite having increased levels of Env incorporation, and with both strains, there were differential effects on infectivity. This comparison of homologous point mutations in two different strains of HIV supports the role of LLPs as determinants of Env function, but reveals for the first time the influence of virus strain on LLP mutant phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC2034414  PMID: 17582453
Site-directed mutagenesis; Cell fusion; HIV envelope protein gp41; HIV; Viral infectivity; Virus Replication; HIV envelope incorporation and biosynthesis
11.  Envelope Determinants of Equine Lentiviral Vaccine Protection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66093.
Lentiviral envelope (Env) antigenic variation and associated immune evasion present major obstacles to vaccine development. The concept that Env is a critical determinant for vaccine efficacy is well accepted, however defined correlates of protection associated with Env variation have yet to be determined. We reported an attenuated equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) vaccine study that directly examined the effect of lentiviral Env sequence variation on vaccine efficacy. The study identified a significant, inverse, linear correlation between vaccine efficacy and increasing divergence of the challenge virus Env gp90 protein compared to the vaccine virus gp90. The report demonstrated approximately 100% protection of immunized ponies from disease after challenge by virus with a homologous gp90 (EV0), and roughly 40% protection against challenge by virus (EV13) with a gp90 13% divergent from the vaccine strain. In the current study we examine whether the protection observed when challenging with the EV0 strain could be conferred to animals via chimeric challenge viruses between the EV0 and EV13 strains, allowing for mapping of protection to specific Env sequences. Viruses containing the EV13 proviral backbone and selected domains of the EV0 gp90 were constructed and in vitro and in vivo infectivity examined. Vaccine efficacy studies indicated that homology between the vaccine strain gp90 and the N-terminus of the challenge strain gp90 was capable of inducing immunity that resulted in significantly lower levels of post-challenge virus and significantly delayed the onset of disease. However, a homologous N-terminal region alone inserted in the EV13 backbone could not impart the 100% protection observed with the EV0 strain. Data presented here denote the complicated and potentially contradictory relationship between in vitro virulence and in vivo pathogenicity. The study highlights the importance of structural conformation for immunogens and emphasizes the need for antibody binding, not neutralizing, assays that correlate with vaccine protection.
PMCID: PMC3682429  PMID: 23785473
12.  Detailed Topology Mapping Reveals Substantial Exposure of the “Cytoplasmic” C-Terminal Tail (CTT) Sequences in HIV-1 Env Proteins at the Cell Surface 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65220.
Substantial controversy surrounds the membrane topology of the HIV-1 gp41 C-terminal tail (CTT). While few studies have been designed to directly address the topology of the CTT, results from envelope (Env) protein trafficking studies suggest that the CTT sequence is cytoplasmically localized, as interactions with intracellular binding partners are required for proper Env targeting. However, previous studies from our lab demonstrate the exposure of a short CTT sequence, the Kennedy epitope, at the plasma membrane of intact Env-expressing cells, the exposure of which is not observed on viral particles. To address the topology of the entire CTT sequence, we serially replaced CTT sequences with a VSV-G epitope tag sequence and examined reactivity of cell- and virion-surface Env to an anti-VSV-G monoclonal antibody. Our results demonstrate that the majority of the CTT sequence is accessible to antibody binding on the surface of Env expressing cells, and that the CTT-exposed Env constitutes 20–50% of the cell-surface Env. Cell surface CTT exposure was also apparent in virus-infected cells. Passive transfer of Env through cell culture media to Env negative (non-transfected) cells was not responsible for the apparent cell surface CTT exposure. In contrast to the cell surface results, CTT-exposed Env was not detected on infectious pseudoviral particles containing VSV-G-substituted Env. Finally, a monoclonal antibody directed to the Kennedy epitope neutralized virus in a temperature-dependent manner in a post-attachment neutralization assay. Collectively, these results suggest that the membrane topology of the HIV gp41 CTT is more complex than the widely accepted intracytoplasmic model.
PMCID: PMC3664582  PMID: 23724133
13.  Modulation of proinflammatory activity by the engineered cationic antimicrobial peptide WLBU-2 
F1000Research  2013;2:36.
Background: Host-derived (LL-37) and synthetic (WLBU-2) cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) are known for their membrane-active bactericidal properties. LL-37 is an important mediator for immunomodulation, while the mechanism of action of WLBU-2 remains unclear.
Objective: To determine if WLBU-2 induces an early proinflammatory response that facilitates bacterial clearance in cystic fibrosis (CF).
Methods: C57BL6 mice were given intranasal or intraperitoneal 1×10 6 cfu/mL Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) and observed for 2h, followed by instillation of LL-37 or WLBU-2 (2-4mg/kg) with subsequent tissue collection at 24h for determination of bacterial colony counts and quantitative RT-PCR measurement of cytokine transcripts. CF airway epithelial cells (IB3-1, ΔF508/W1282X) were cultured in appropriate media with supplements. WLBU-2 (25μM) was added to the media with RT-PCR measurement of TNF-α and IL-1β transcripts after 20, 30, and 60min. Flow cytometry was used to determine if WLBU-2 assists in cellular uptake of Alexa 488-labeled LPS.
Results: In murine lung exposed to intranasal or intraperitoneal WLBU-2, there was a reduction in the number of surviving PA colonies compared to controls. Murine lung exposed to intraperitoneal WLBU-2 showed fewer PA colonies compared to LL-37. After 24h WLBU-2 exposure, PA-induced IL-1β transcripts from lungs showed a twofold decrease (p<0.05), while TNF-α levels were unchanged. LL-37 did not significantly change transcript levels. In IB3-1 cells, WLBU-2 exposure resulted in increased TNF-α and IL-1β transcripts that decreased by 60min. WLBU-2 treatment of IB3-1 cells displayed increased LPS uptake, suggesting a potential role for CAPs in inducing protective proinflammatory responses. Taken together, the cytokine response, LPS uptake, and established antimicrobial activity of WLBU-2 demonstrate its ability to modulate proinflammatory signaling as a protective mechanism to clear infection.
Conclusions: The immunomodulatory properties of WLBU-2 reveal a potential mechanism of its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity and warrant further preclinical evaluation to study bacterial clearance and rescue of chronic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3894802  PMID: 24555033
14.  Budding of Retroviruses Utilizing Divergent L Domains Requires Nucleocapsid 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(8):4182-4193.
We recently reported that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) carrying PTAP and LYPXnL L domains ceased budding when the nucleocapsid (NC) domain was mutated, suggesting a role for NC in HIV-1 release. Here we investigated whether NC involvement in virus release is a property specific to HIV-1 or a general requirement of retroviruses. Specifically, we examined a possible role for NC in the budding of retroviruses relying on divergent L domains and structurally homologous NC domains that harbor diverse protein sequences. We found that NC is critical for the release of viruses utilizing the PTAP motif whether it functions within its native Gag in simian immunodeficiency virus cpzGAB2 (SIVcpzGAB2) or SIVsmmE543 or when it is transplanted into the heterologous Gag protein of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). In both cases, virus release was severely diminished even though NC mutant Gag proteins retained the ability to assemble spherical particles. Moreover, budding-defective NC mutants, which displayed particles tethered to the plasma membrane, were triggered to release virus when access to the cell endocytic sorting complex required for transport pathway was restored (i.e., in trans expression of Nedd4.2s). We also examined the role of NC in the budding of EIAV, a retrovirus relying exclusively on the (L)YPXnL-type L domain. We found that EIAV late budding defects were rescued by overexpression of the isolated Alix Bro1 domain (Bro1). Bro1-mediated rescue of EIAV release required the wild-type NC. EIAV NC mutants lost interactions with Bro1 and failed to produce viruses despite retaining the ability to self-assemble. Together, our studies establish a role for NC in the budding of retroviruses harboring divergent L domains and evolutionarily diverse NC sequences, suggesting the utilization of a common conserved mechanism and/or cellular factor rather than a specific motif.
PMCID: PMC3318634  PMID: 22345468
15.  Comparison of the Effects of Pathogenic Simian Human Immunodeficiency Virus Strains SHIV-89.6P and SHIV-KU2 in Cynomolgus Macaques 
Factors explaining why human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enhances the risk of reactivated tuberculosis (TB) are poorly understood. Unfortunately, experimental models of HIV-induced reactivated TB are lacking. We examined whether cynomolgus macaques, which accurately model latent TB in humans, could be used to model pathogenesis of HIV infection in the lungs and associated lymph nodes. These experiments precede studies modeling the effects of HIV infection on latent TB. We infected two groups of macaques with chimeric simian–human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIV-89.6P and SHIV-KU2) and followed viral titers and immunologic parameters including lymphocytes numbers and phenotype in the blood, bronchoalveolar lavage cells, and lymph nodes over the course of infection. Tissues from the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, and lymph nodes were similarly examined at necropsy. Both strains produced dramatic CD4+ T cell depletion. Plasma titers were not different between viruses, but we found more SHIV-89.6P in the lungs. Both viruses induced similar patterns of cell activation markers. SHIV-89.6P induced more IFN-γ expression than SHIV-KU2. These results indicate SHIV-89.6P and SHIV-KU2 infect cynomolgus macaques and may be used to accurately model effects of HIV infection on latent TB.
PMCID: PMC3311977  PMID: 18366326
16.  Evaluation of Cervical Mucosa in Transmission Bottleneck during Acute HIV-1 Infection Using a Cervical Tissue-Based Organ Culture 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32539.
Although there are different strains of HIV-1 in a chronically infected individual, only one or limited virus strains are successfully transmitted to a new individual. The reason for this “transmission bottleneck” is as yet unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A human cervical explant model was used to measure HIV-1 transmission efficiency of viral strains from chronic infections, and transmitter/founder variants. We also evaluated the genetic characteristics of HIV-1 variants in the inoculums compared to those transmitted across the cervical mucosa. Eight different HIV-1 isolates were used in this study, six chronic isolates and two transmitter/founder viruses. The transmission efficiency of the chronic and transmitter/founder virus isolates and the viral diversity of chronic isolates before and after viral transmission were assessed. The results indicate that transmitter/founder viruses did not display higher transmission efficiency than chronic HIV-1 isolates. Furthermore, no evidence for a difference in diversity was found between the inoculums and transmitted virus strains. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the sequences of variants in the inoculums and those present in transmitted virus intermingled irrespective of co-receptor usage. In addition, the inoculum and transmitted variants had a similar pairwise distance distribution.
There was no selection of a single or limited number of viral variants during HIV-1 transmission across the cervical mucosa in the organ culture model, indicating that the cervical mucosa alone may not produce the transmission bottleneck of HIV-1 infection observed in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3296723  PMID: 22412886
Vaccine  2010;28(51):8095-8104.
We recently reported an attenuated EIAV vaccine study that directly examined the effect of lentiviral envelope sequence variation on vaccine efficacy. The study [1] demonstrated for the first time the failure of an ancestral vaccine to protect and revealed a significant, inverse, linear relationship between envelope divergence and protection from disease. In the current study we examine in detail the evolution of the attenuated vaccine strain utilized in this previous study. We demonstrate here that the attenuated strain progressively evolved during the six-month pre-challenge period and that the observed protection from disease was significantly associated with divergence from the original vaccine strain.
PMCID: PMC2997116  PMID: 20955830
EIAV; Vaccine; Attenuated
18.  Persistent Pneumocystis colonization leads to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a non-human primate model of AIDS 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;202(2):302-312.
HIV-infected patients are at increased risk for development of pulmonary complications, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Inflammation associated with sub-clinical infection has been postulated to promote COPD. Persistence of Pneumocystis (Pc) is associated with HIV and COPD, although a causal relationship has not been established. We used a simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) model of HIV infection to study pulmonary effects of Pc colonization. SHIV-infected/Pc-colonized monkeys developed progressive obstructive pulmonary disease characterized by increased emphysematous tissue and bronchial-associated lymphoid tissue. Elevated Th2 cytokines and pro-inflammatory mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid coincided with Pc colonization and pulmonary function decline. These results support the concept that an infectious agent contributes to development of HIV-associated lung disease and suggests that Pc colonization may be a risk factor for the development of HIV-associated COPD. Furthermore, this model allows examination of early host responses important to disease progression thus identifying potential therapeutic targets for COPD.
PMCID: PMC2946196  PMID: 20533880
Pneumocystis; COPD; SHIV; AIDS; HIV
20.  Relationship of Pneumocystis jiroveci Humoral Immunity to Prevention of Colonization and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in a Primate Model of HIV Infection ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(10):4320-4330.
Pulmonary colonization by the opportunistic pathogen Pneumocystis jiroveci is common in HIV+ subjects and has been associated with development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Host and environmental factors associated with colonization susceptibility are undefined. Using a simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) model of HIV infection, the immunologic parameters associated with natural Pneumocystis jiroveci transmission were evaluated. SHIV-infected macaques were exposed to P. jiroveci by cohousing with immunosuppressed, P. jiroveci-colonized macaques in two independent experiments. Serial plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples were examined for changes in antibody titers to recombinant Pneumocystis-kexin protein (KEX1) and evidence of Pneumocystis colonization by nested PCR of BAL fluid. In experiment 1, 10 of 14 monkeys became Pneumocystis colonized (Pc+) by 8 weeks post-SHIV infection, while 4 animals remained Pneumocystis colonization negative (Pc−) throughout the study. In experiment 2, 11 of 17 animals became Pneumocystis colonized by 16 weeks post-SHIV infection, while 6 monkeys remained Pc−. Baseline plasma KEX1-IgG titers were significantly higher in monkeys that remained Pc−, compared to Pc+ monkeys, in experiments 1 (P = 0.013) and 2 (P = 0.022). Pc− monkeys had greater percentages of Pneumocystis-specific memory B cells after SHIV infection compared to Pc+ monkeys (P = 0.037). After SHIV infection, Pc+ monkeys developed progressive obstructive pulmonary disease, whereas Pc− monkeys maintained normal lung function throughout the study. These results demonstrate a correlation between the KEX1 humoral response and the prevention of Pneumocystis colonization and obstructive lung disease in the SHIV model. In addition, these results indicate that an effective Pneumocystis-specific memory B-cell response is maintained despite progressive loss of CD4+ T cells during SHIV infection.
PMCID: PMC2950365  PMID: 20660609
21.  Topology of the C-Terminal Tail of HIV-1 gp41: Differential Exposure of the Kennedy Epitope on Cell and Viral Membranes 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15261.
The C-terminal tail (CTT) of the HIV-1 gp41 envelope (Env) protein is increasingly recognized as an important determinant of Env structure and functional properties, including fusogenicity and antigenicity. While the CTT has been commonly referred to as the “intracytoplasmic domain” based on the assumption of an exclusive localization inside the membrane lipid bilayer, early antigenicity studies and recent biochemical analyses have produced a credible case for surface exposure of specific CTT sequences, including the classical “Kennedy epitope” (KE) of gp41, leading to an alternative model of gp41 topology with multiple membrane-spanning domains. The current study was designed to test these conflicting models of CTT topology by characterizing the exposure of native CTT sequences and substituted VSV-G epitope tags in cell- and virion-associated Env to reference monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Surface staining and FACS analysis of intact, Env-expressing cells demonstrated that the KE is accessible to binding by MAbs directed to both an inserted VSV-G epitope tag and the native KE sequence. Importantly, the VSV-G tag was only reactive when inserted into the KE; no reactivity was observed in cells expressing Env with the VSV-G tag inserted into the LLP2 domain. In contrast to cell-surface expressed Env, no binding of KE-directed MAbs was observed to Env on the surface of intact virions using either immune precipitation or surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. These data indicate apparently distinct CTT topologies for virion- and cell-associated Env species and add to the case for a reconsideration of CTT topology that is more complex than currently envisioned.
PMCID: PMC2998427  PMID: 21151874
22.  The Lack of an Inherent Membrane Targeting Signal Is Responsible for the Failure of the Matrix (M1) Protein of Influenza A Virus To Bud into Virus-Like Particles▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(9):4673-4681.
The matrix protein (M1) of influenza A virus is generally viewed as a key orchestrator in the release of influenza virions from the plasma membrane during infection. In contrast to this model, recent studies have indicated that influenza virus requires expression of the envelope proteins for budding of intracellular M1 into virus particles. Here we explored the mechanisms that control M1 budding. Similarly to previous studies, we found that M1 by itself fails to form virus-like-particles (VLPs). We further demonstrated that M1, in the absence of other viral proteins, was preferentially targeted to the nucleus/perinuclear region rather than to the plasma membrane, where influenza virions bud. Remarkably, we showed that a 10-residue membrane targeting peptide from either the Fyn or Lck oncoprotein appended to M1 at the N terminus redirected M1 to the plasma membrane and allowed M1 particle budding without additional viral envelope proteins. To further identify a functional link between plasma membrane targeting and VLP formation, we took advantage of the fact that M1 can interact with M2, unless the cytoplasmic tail is absent. Notably, native M2 but not mutant M2 effectively targeted M1 to the plasma membrane and produced extracellular M1 VLPs. Our results suggest that influenza virus M1 may not possess an inherent membrane targeting signal. Thus, the lack of efficient plasma membrane targeting is responsible for the failure of M1 in budding. This study highlights the fact that interactions of M1 with viral envelope proteins are essential to direct M1 to the plasma membrane for influenza virus particle release.
PMCID: PMC2863757  PMID: 20181696
23.  Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Vpr: oligomerization is an essential feature for its incorporation into virus particles 
Virology Journal  2010;7:119.
HIV-1 Vpr, a nonstructural viral protein associated with virus particles, has a positive role in the efficient transport of PIC into the nucleus of non-dividing target cells and enhances virus replication in primary T cells. Vpr is a 96 amino acid protein and the structure by NMR shows three helical domains. Vpr has been shown to exist as dimers and higher order oligomers. Considering the multifunctional nature of Vpr, the contribution of distinct helical domains to the dimer/oligomer structure of Vpr and the relevance of this feature to its functions are not clear. To address this, we have utilized molecular modeling approaches to identify putative models of oligomerization. The predicted interface residues were subjected to site-directed mutagenesis and evaluated their role in intermolecular interaction and virion incorporation. The interaction between Vpr molecules was monitored by Bimolecular Fluorescence complementation (BiFC) method. The results show that Vpr forms oligomers in live cells and residues in helical domains play critical roles in oligomerization. Interestingly, Vpr molecules defective in oligomerization also fail to incorporate into the virus particles. Based on the data, we suggest that oligomerization of Vpr is essential for virion incorporation property and may also have a role in the events associated with virus infection.
PMCID: PMC2894018  PMID: 20529298
Veterinary microbiology  2008;136(1-2):8-19.
EIAV is a monocyte/macrophage tropic virus. To date, even though EIAV has been under investigation for numerous years, very few details have been elucidated about EIAV/macrophage interactions. This is largely due to the absence of an equine macrophage cell line that would support viral replication. Herein we describe the spontaneous immortalization and generation of a clonal equine macrophage-like (EML) cell line with the functional and immunophenotype characteristics of differentiated equine monocyte derived macrophage(s) (eMDM(s)). These cells possess strong non-specific esterase (NSE) activity, are able to phagocytose fluorescent bioparticles, and produce nitrites in response to LPS. The EML-3C cell line expresses the EIAV receptor for cellular entry (ELR1) and supports replication of the virulent EIAVPV biological clone. Thus, EML-3C cells provide a useful cell line possessing equine macrophage related properties for the growth and study of EIAV infection as well as of other equine macrophage tropic viruses.
PMCID: PMC2689946  PMID: 19038510
equine cells; Macrophage; lentivirus; equine infectious anemia virus; macrophage cell lines; equine viruses
25.  Reactivation of Latent Tuberculosis in Cynomolgus Macaques Infected with SIV Is Associated with Early Peripheral T Cell Depletion and Not Virus Load 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9611.
HIV-infected individuals with latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection are at significantly greater risk of reactivation tuberculosis (TB) than HIV-negative individuals with latent TB, even while CD4 T cell numbers are well preserved. Factors underlying high rates of reactivation are poorly understood and investigative tools are limited. We used cynomolgus macaques with latent TB co-infected with SIVmac251 to develop the first animal model of reactivated TB in HIV-infected humans to better explore these factors. All latent animals developed reactivated TB following SIV infection, with a variable time to reactivation (up to 11 months post-SIV). Reactivation was independent of virus load but correlated with depletion of peripheral T cells during acute SIV infection. Animals experiencing reactivation early after SIV infection (<17 weeks) had fewer CD4 T cells in the periphery and airways than animals reactivating in later phases of SIV infection. Co-infected animals had fewer T cells in involved lungs than SIV-negative animals with active TB despite similar T cell numbers in draining lymph nodes. Granulomas from these animals demonstrated histopathologic characteristics consistent with a chronically active disease process. These results suggest initial T cell depletion may strongly influence outcomes of HIV-Mtb co-infection.
PMCID: PMC2835744  PMID: 20224771

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