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1.  Role of Vascular and Lymphatic Endothelial Cells in Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Suggests Targeted Therapeutic Approaches 
Lymphatic Research and Biology  2013;11(3):128-135.
Abstract
Background
Hantaviruses in the Americas cause a highly lethal acute pulmonary edema termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Hantaviruses nonlytically infect microvascular and lymphatic endothelial cells and cause dramatic changes in barrier functions without disrupting the endothelium. Hantaviruses cause changes in the function of infected endothelial cells that normally regulate fluid barrier functions. The endothelium of arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels are unique and central to the function of vast pulmonary capillary beds that regulate pulmonary fluid accumulation.
Results
We have found that HPS-causing hantaviruses alter vascular barrier functions of microvascular and lymphatic endothelial cells by altering receptor and signaling pathway responses that serve to permit fluid tissue influx and clear tissue edema. Infection of the endothelium provides several mechanisms for hantaviruses to cause acute pulmonary edema, as well as potential therapeutic targets for reducing the severity of HPS disease.
Conclusions
Here we discuss interactions of HPS-causing hantaviruses with the endothelium, roles for unique lymphatic endothelial responses in HPS, and therapeutic targeting of the endothelium as a means of reducing the severity of HPS disease.
doi:10.1089/lrb.2013.0006
PMCID: PMC3780285  PMID: 24024573
2.  Hantavirus GnT Elements Mediate TRAF3 Binding and Inhibit RIG-I/TBK1-Directed Beta Interferon Transcription by Blocking IRF3 Phosphorylation 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(4):2246-2259.
ABSTRACT
Hantaviruses successfully replicate in primary human endothelial cells by restricting the early induction of beta interferon (IFN-β) and interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Gn proteins from NY-1V, ANDV, and TULV, but not PHV, harbor elements in their 142-residue cytoplasmic tails (GnTs) that inhibit RIG-I/MAVS/TBK1-TRAF3-directed IFN-β induction. Here, we define GnT interactions and residues required to inhibit TRAF3-TBK1-directed IFN-β induction and IRF3 phosphorylation. We observed that GnTs bind TRAF3 via residues within the TRAF-N domain (residues 392 to 415) and that binding is independent of the MAVS-interactive TRAF-C domain (residues 415 to 568). We determined that GnT binding to TRAF3 is mediated by C-terminal degrons within NY-1V or ANDV GnTs and that mutations that add degrons to TULV or PHV GnTs confer TRAF3 binding. Further analysis of GnT domains revealed that TRAF3 binding is a discrete GnT function, independent of IFN regulation, and that residues 15 to 42 from the NY-1V GnT C terminus are required for inhibiting TBK1-directed IFN-β transcription. Mutagenesis of the NY-1V GnT revealed that altering tyrosine 627 (Y627A/S/F) abolished GnT regulation of RIG-I/TBK1-directed IRF3 phosphorylation and transcriptional responses of ISRE, κB, and IFN-β promoters. Moreover, GnTs from NY-1V, ANDV, and TULV, but not PHV, inhibited RIG-I-directed IRF3 phosphorylation. Collectively, these findings suggest a novel role for GnTs in regulating RIG-I/TBK1 pathway-directed IRF3 phosphorylation and IFN-β induction and define virulence determinants within GnTs that may permit the attenuation of pathogenic hantaviruses.
IMPORTANCE
doi:10.1128/JVI.02647-13
PMCID: PMC3911538  PMID: 24390324
3.  An Innate Immunity-Regulating Virulence Determinant Is Uniquely Encoded within the Andes Virus Nucleocapsid Protein 
mBio  2014;5(1):e01088-13.
ABSTRACT
Andes virus (ANDV) is the only hantavirus known to spread from person to person and shown to cause highly lethal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in patients and Syrian hamsters. Hantaviruses replicate in human endothelial cells and accomplish this by restricting the early induction of beta interferon (IFN-β)- and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). Our studies reveal that the ANDV nucleocapsid (N) protein uniquely inhibits IFN signaling responses directed by cytoplasmic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) sensors RIG-I and MDA5. In contrast, N proteins from Sin Nombre, New York-1, and Prospect Hill hantaviruses had no effect on RIG-I/MDA5-directed transcriptional responses from IFN-β-, IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE)-, or κB-containing promoters. Ablating a potential S-segment nonstructural open reading frame (ORF) (NSs) within the ANDV plasmid expressing N protein failed to alter IFN regulation by ANDV N protein. Further analysis demonstrated that expressing the ANDV N protein inhibited downstream IFN pathway activation directed by MAVS, TBK1, and IκB kinase ε (IKKε) but failed to inhibit transcriptional responses directed by constitutive expression of active interferon regulatory factor IRF3-5D or after stimulation by alpha interferon (IFN-α) or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). Consistent with IFN pathway-specific regulation, the ANDV N protein inhibited TBK1-directed IRF3 phosphorylation (phosphorylation of serine 396 [pS396]) and TBK1 autophosphorylation (pS172). Collectively, these findings indicate that the ANDV N inhibits IFN signaling responses by interfering with TBK1 activation, upstream of IRF3 phosphorylation and NF-κB activation. Moreover, our findings reveal that ANDV uniquely carries a gene encoding a virulence determinant within its N protein that is capable of restricting ISG and IFN-β induction and provide a rationale for the novel pathogenesis and spread of ANDV.
IMPORTANCE
Andes virus (ANDV) is distinguished from other hantaviruses by its unique ability to spread from person to person and cause lethal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)-like disease in Syrian hamsters. However, virulence determinants that distinguish ANDV from other pathogenic hantaviruses have yet to be defined. Here we reveal that ANDV uniquely contains a virulence determinant within its nucleocapsid (N) protein that potently inhibits innate cellular signaling pathways. This novel function of the N protein provides a new mechanism for hantaviruses to regulate interferon (IFN) and IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) induction that is likely to contribute to the enhanced ability of ANDV to replicate, spread, and cause disease. These findings differentiate ANDV from other HPS-causing hantaviruses and provide a potential target for viral attenuation that needs to be considered in vaccine development.
doi:10.1128/mBio.01088-13
PMCID: PMC3944819  PMID: 24549848
4.  Endothelial Cells Elicit Immune-Enhancing Responses to Dengue Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(12):6408-6415.
Dengue viruses cause two severe diseases that alter vascular fluid barrier functions, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Preexisting antibodies to dengue virus disposes patients to immune-enhanced edema (DSS) or hemorrhagic (DHF) disease following infection by a discrete dengue virus serotype. Although the endothelium is the primary vascular fluid barrier, direct effects of dengue virus on endothelial cells (ECs) have not been considered primary factors in pathogenesis. Here, we show that dengue virus infection of human ECs elicits immune-enhancing EC responses. Our results suggest that rapid early dengue virus proliferation within ECs is permitted by dengue virus regulation of early, but not late, beta interferon (IFN-β) responses. The analysis of EC responses following synchronous dengue virus infection revealed the high-level induction and secretion of immune cells (T cells, B cells, and mast cells) as well as activating and recruiting cytokines BAFF (119-fold), IL-6/8 (4- to 7-fold), CXCL9/10/11 (45- to 338-fold), RANTES (724-fold), and interleukin-7 (IL-7; 128-fold). Moreover, we found that properdin factor B, an alternative pathway complement activator that directs chemotactic anaphylatoxin C3a and C5a production, was induced 34-fold. Thus, dengue virus-infected ECs evoke key inflammatory responses observed in dengue virus patients which are linked to DHF and DSS. Our findings suggest that dengue virus-infected ECs directly contribute to immune enhancement, capillary permeability, viremia, and immune targeting of the endothelium. These data implicate EC responses in dengue virus pathogenesis and further rationalize therapeutic targeting of the endothelium as a means of reducing the severity of dengue virus disease.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00213-12
PMCID: PMC3393559  PMID: 22496214
5.  Roles for Endothelial Cells in Dengue Virus Infection 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:840654.
Dengue viruses cause two severe diseases that alter vascular fluid barrier functions, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). The endothelium is the primary fluid barrier of the vasculature and ultimately the effects of dengue virus infection that cause capillary leakage impact endothelial cell (EC) barrier functions. The ability of dengue virus to infect the endothelium provides a direct means for dengue to alter capillary permeability, permit virus replication, and induce responses that recruit immune cells to the endothelium. Recent studies focused on dengue virus infection of primary ECs have demonstrated that ECs are efficiently infected, rapidly produce viral progeny, and elicit immune enhancing cytokine responses that may contribute to pathogenesis. Furthermore, infected ECs have also been implicated in enhancing viremia and immunopathogenesis within murine dengue disease models. Thus dengue-infected ECs have the potential to directly contribute to immune enhancement, capillary permeability, viremia, and immune targeting of the endothelium. These effects implicate responses of the infected endothelium in dengue pathogenesis and rationalize therapeutic targeting of the endothelium and EC responses as a means of reducing the severity of dengue virus disease.
doi:10.1155/2012/840654
PMCID: PMC3431041  PMID: 22952474
6.  The Role of the Endothelium in HPS Pathogenesis and Potential Therapeutic Approaches 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:467059.
American hantaviruses cause a highly lethal acute pulmonary edema termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Hantaviruses nonlytically infect endothelial cells and cause dramatic changes in barrier functions of the endothelium without disrupting the endothelium. Instead hantaviruses cause changes in the function of infected endothelial cells that normally regulate fluid barrier functions of capillaries. The endothelium of arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels is unique and central to the function of vast pulmonary capillary beds, which regulate pulmonary fluid accumulation. The endothelium maintains vascular barrier functions through a complex series of redundant receptors and signaling pathways that serve to both permit fluid and immune cell efflux into tissues and restrict tissue edema. Infection of the endothelium provides several mechanisms for hantaviruses to alter capillary permeability but also defines potential therapeutic targets for regulating acute pulmonary edema and HPS disease. Here we discuss interactions of HPS causing hantaviruses with the endothelium, potential endothelial cell-directed permeability mechanisms, and therapeutic targeting of the endothelium as a means of reducing the severity of HPS disease.
doi:10.1155/2012/467059
PMCID: PMC3395186  PMID: 22811711
7.  Productive Dengue Virus Infection of Human Endothelial Cells Is Directed by Heparan Sulfate-Containing Proteoglycan Receptors ▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(18):9478-9485.
Dengue virus causes leakage of the vascular endothelium, resulting in dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. The endothelial cell lining of the vasculature regulates capillary permeability and is altered by immune and chemokine responses which affect fluid barrier functions of the endothelium. Our findings indicate that human endothelial cells are highly susceptible to infection by dengue virus (type 4). We found that dengue virus productively infects ∼80% of primary human endothelial cells, resulting in the rapid release of ∼105 virions 1 day postinfection. Analysis of potential inhibitors of dengue virus entry demonstrated that antibodies and ligands to integrins and cellular receptors were unable to inhibit dengue virus infection of endothelial cells. In contrast, pretreating cells with heparin or heparan sulfate resulted in a 60 to 80% reduction in dengue virus-infected cells, and pretreatment of endothelial cells with heparinase III or protease reduced dengue infectivity by >80%. Dengue virus bound specifically to resin immobilized heparin, and binding was competitively inhibited by excess heparin but not other ligands. Collectively, these findings suggest that dengue virus specifically attaches to heparan sulfate-containing proteoglycan receptors on endothelial cells. Following attachment to human endothelial cell receptors, dengue virus causes a highly productive infection that has the potential to increase viral dissemination and viremia. This provides the potential for dengue virus-infected endothelial cells to directly alter barrier functions of the endothelium, contribute to enhancement of immune cell activation, and serve as potential targets of immune responses which play a central role in dengue pathogenesis.
doi:10.1128/JVI.05008-11
PMCID: PMC3165770  PMID: 21734047

Results 1-7 (7)