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1.  Viral Infection: An Evolving Insight into the Signal Transduction Pathways Responsible for the Innate Immune Response 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:131457.
The innate immune response is initiated by the interaction of stereotypical pathogen components with genetically conserved receptors for extracytosolic pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) or intracytosolic nucleic acids. In multicellular organisms, this interaction typically clusters signal transduction molecules and leads to their activations, thereby initiating signals that activate innate immune effector mechanisms to protect the host. In some cases programmed cell death—a fundamental form of innate immunity—is initiated in response to genotoxic or biochemical stress that is associated with viral infection. In this paper we will summarize innate immune mechanisms that are relevant to viral pathogenesis and outline the continuing evolution of viral mechanisms that suppress the innate immunity in mammalian hosts. These mechanisms of viral innate immune evasion provide significant insight into the pathways of the antiviral innate immune response of many organisms. Examples of relevant mammalian innate immune defenses host defenses include signaling to interferon and cytokine response pathways as well as signaling to the inflammasome. Understanding which viral innate immune evasion mechanisms are linked to pathogenesis may translate into therapies and vaccines that are truly effective in eliminating the morbidity and mortality associated with viral infections in individuals.
PMCID: PMC3446651  PMID: 22997518
2.  Influence of glycosylation and oligomerization of vaccinia virus complement control protein on level and pattern of functional activity and immunogenicity 
Protein & Cell  2011;1(12):1084-1092.
Vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP) is one of the proteins encoded by vaccinia virus to modulate the host inflammatory response. VCP modulates the inflammatory response and protects viral habitat by inhibiting the classical and the alternative pathways of complement activation. The extended structure of VCP, mobility between its sequential domains, charge distribution and type of residues at the binding regions are factors that have been identified to influence its ability to bind to complement proteins. We report that a Lister strain of vaccinia virus encodes a VCP homolog (Lis VCP) that is functional, glycosylated, has two amino acids less than the well-characterized VCP from vaccinia virus WR strain (WR VCP), and the human smallpox inhibitor of complement enzymes (SPICE) from variola virus. The glycosylated VCP of Lister is immunogenic in contrast to the weak immunogenicity of the nonglycosylated VCP. Lis VCP is the only orthopoxviral VCP homolog found to be glycosylated, and we speculate that glycosylation influences its pattern of complement inhibition. We also correlate dimerization of VCP observed only in mammalian and baculovirus expression systems to higher levels of activity than monomers, observed in the yeast expression system.
PMCID: PMC4875074  PMID: 21213103
vaccinia virus; complement; glycosylation; oligomerization; structure-function; immunogenicity
3.  Investigation of Interaction of Vaccinia Virus Complement Control Protein and Curcumin with Complement Components C3 and C3b Using Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation Monitoring Technology 
C3 and C3b, the components central to the complement activation, also play a damaging role in several inflammatory disorders. Vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP) and curcumin (Cur) are natural compounds with different biological origins reported to regulate complement activation. However, both VCP and Cur have not been investigated for their interaction with the third component (C3) prior to it being converted to its activated form (C3b). These two compounds have also not been compared to each other with respect to their interactions with C3 and C3b. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) is a novel technology used to study the interaction of biomolecules. This technology was applied to characterize the interactions of VCP, Cur and appropriate controls with the key complement components. Cur as well as VCP showed binding to both C3 and to C3b, Cur however bound to C3b to a lesser extent.
PMCID: PMC2835864  PMID: 20224684
4.  Inhibition of Complement and CD14 Attenuates the Escherichia coli-Induced Inflammatory Response in Porcine Whole Blood▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;77(2):725-732.
The innate immune response is a double-edged sword in systemic inflammation and sepsis. Uncontrolled or inappropriate activation can damage and be lethal to the host. Several studies have investigated inhibition of downstream mediators, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Emerging evidence indicates that upstream inhibition is a better therapeutic approach for attenuating damaging immune activation. Therefore, we investigated inhibition of two central innate immune pathways, those of complement and CD14/Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/myeloid differentiation protein 2 (MD-2), in a porcine in vitro model of Escherichia coli-induced inflammation. Porcine whole blood anticoagulated with lepuridin, which did not interfere with the complement system, was incubated with E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or whole bacteria. Inhibitors of complement and CD14 and thus the LPS CD14/TLR4/MD-2 receptor complex were tested to investigate the effect on the inflammatory response. A broad range of inflammatory readouts were used to monitor the effect. Anti-CD14 was found to saturate the CD14 molecule on granulocytes and completely inhibited LPS-induced proinflammatory cytokines in a dose-dependent manner. Anti-CD14 significantly reduced the levels of the E. coli-induced proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β, but not IL-8, in a dose-dependent manner. No effect on bacterial clearance was seen. Vaccinia complement control protein and smallpox inhibitor of complement enzymes, two Orthopoxvirus-encoded complement inhibitors, completely inhibited complement activation. Furthermore, these agents almost completely inhibited the expression of wCD11R3, which is associated with CD18 as a β2 integrin, on porcine granulocytes and decreased IL-8 levels significantly in a dose-dependent manner. As expected, complement inhibition reduced bacterial clearance. We conclude that inhibition of complement and CD14 attenuates E. coli-induced inflammation and might be used as a therapeutic regimen in gram-negative sepsis along with appropriate treatment with antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC2632024  PMID: 19047409
5.  Robust Intrapulmonary CD8 T Cell Responses and Protection with an Attenuated N1L Deleted Vaccinia Virus 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3323.
Vaccinia viruses have been used as a model for viral disease and as a protective live vaccine.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We investigated the immunogenicity of an attenuated strain of vaccinia virus engineered to inactivate the N1L gene (vGK5). Using the intranasal route, this recombinant virus was 2 logs less virulent compared to the wildtype VACV-WR. Infection by the intranasal, intraperitoneal, and tail scarification routes resulted in the robust induction of cytolytic virus-specific CD8 T cells in the spleens and the lungs. VACV-specific antibodies were also detected in the sera of mice infected 3–5 months prior with the attenuated vGK5 virus. Finally, mice immunized with vGK5 were significantly protected when challenged with a lethal dose of VACV-WR.
These results indicate that the attenuated vGK5 virus protects against subsequent infection and suggest that the N1L protein limits the strength of the early antiviral CD8 T cell response following respiratory infection.
PMCID: PMC2553181  PMID: 18830408
7.  Modulation of Gamma Interferon-Induced Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II Gene Expression by Porphyromonas gingivalis Membrane Vesicles 
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(3):1185-1192.
Gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-induced endothelial cells actively participate in initiating immune responses by interacting with CD4+ T cells via class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) surface glycoproteins. Previously, Porphyromonas gingivalis membrane vesicles were shown to selectively inhibit IFN-γ-induced surface expression of HLA-DR molecules by human umbilical cord vascular endothelial cells. In this study, we demonstrated an absence of HLA-DRα mRNA from IFN-γ-induced cells in the presence of P. gingivalis membrane vesicles by using reverse transcriptase-PCR and Southern blotting. Vesicles also prevented transcription of the gene encoding class II transactivator, a transactivator protein required for IFN-γ-induced expression of MHC class II genes. In addition, the effects of vesicles on IFN-γ signal transduction involving Jak and Stat proteins were characterized by using immunoprecipitation and Western blot analyses. Jak1 and Jak2 proteins could not be detected in endothelial cells treated with membrane vesicles. Consequently, IFN-γ-induced phosphorylation of Jak1, Jak2, and Stat1α proteins was prevented. The class II-inhibitory effect of the membrane vesicles could be eliminated by heating vesicles at 100°C for 30 min or by treating them with a cysteine proteinase inhibitor. This indicates that the cysteine proteinases were most likely responsible for the absence of Jak proteins observed in vesicle-treated cells. The observed increased binding of radiolabeled IFN-γ to vesicle-treated cells suggests that vesicles may also modulate the IFN-γ interactions with the cell surface. However, no evidence was obtained demonstrating that vesicles affected the expression of IFN-γ receptors. Thus, P. gingivalis membrane vesicles apparently inhibited IFN-γ-induced MHC class II by disrupting the IFN-γ signaling transduction pathway. Vesicle-inhibited class II expression also occurred in other IFN-γ-inducible cells. This suggested that the ability of P. gingivalis membrane vesicles to modulate antigen presentation by key cells may be an important mechanism used by this particular bacterium to escape immunosurveillance, thereby favoring its colonization and invasion of host tissues.
PMCID: PMC127778  PMID: 11854199
8.  Conserved Surface-Exposed K/R-X-K/R Motifs and Net Positive Charge on Poxvirus Complement Control Proteins Serve as Putative Heparin Binding Sites and Contribute to Inhibition of Molecular Interactions with Human Endothelial Cells: a Novel Mechanism for Evasion of Host Defense 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(12):5659-5666.
Vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP) has been shown to possess the ability to inhibit both classical and alternative complement pathway activation. The newly found ability of this protein to bind to heparin has been shown in previous studies to result in uptake by mast cells, possibly promoting tissue persistence. It has also been shown to reduce chemotactic migration of leukocytes by blocking chemokine binding. In addition, this study shows that VCP—through its ability to bind to glycosaminoglycans (heparin-like molecules) on the surface of human endothelial cells—is able to block antibody binding to surface major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. Since heparin binding is critical for many functions of this protein, we have attempted to characterize the molecular basis for this interaction. Segments of this protein, generated by genetic engineering of the DNA encoding VCP into the Pichia pastoris expression system, were used to localize the regions with heparin binding activity. These regions were then analyzed to more specifically define their properties for binding. It was found that the number of putative binding sites (K/R-X-K/R), the overall positive charge, and the percentage of positively charged amino acids within the protein were responsible for this interaction.
PMCID: PMC112054  PMID: 10823874

Results 1-8 (8)