Retrograde axonal transport of the neurotropic alphaherpesvirus Varicella zoster virus (VZV) from vesicles at the skin results in sensory neuron infection and establishment of latency. Reactivation from latency leads to painful herpes zoster. The lack of a suitable animal model of these processes for the highly human-restricted VZV has resulted in a dearth of knowledge regarding the axonal transport of VZV. We recently demonstrated VZV infection of distal axons, leading to subsequent capsid transport to the neuronal somata, and replication and release of infectious virus using a new model based on neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC). In the present study, we perform a kinetic analysis of the retrograde transport of green fluorescent protein-tagged ORF23 in VZV capsids using hESC-derived neurons compartmentalized microfluidic chambers and time-lapse video microscopy. The motion of the VZV was discontinuous, showing net retrograde movement with numerous short pauses and reversals in direction. Velocities measured were higher 1 h after infection than 6 h after infection, while run lengths were similar at both time points. The hESC-derived neuron model was also used to show that reduced neuronal spread by a VZV loss-of-function mutant for ORF7 is not due to the prevention of axonal infection and transport of the virus to the neuronal somata. hESC-derived neurons are, therefore, a powerful model for studying axonal transport of VZV and molecular characteristics of neuronal infection.
Axonal transport; Varicella zoster virus; Alphaherpesvirus; Human embryonic stem cells
Our study aims to evaluate the image quality and feasibility of 128-slice dual-energy CTA (DE-CTA) for supra-aortic arteries using reduced amounts of contrast medium (CM).
A prospective study was performed in 54 patients receiving CTA of the head and neck with a 128-slice dual-source CT system. Patients were randomized into two groups with a volume of either 40 mL of CM (Group I) or 50 mL of CM (Group II). Arterial and venous enhancements were recorded for quantitative assessment. Qualitative assessments for images without bone removal (BR) were based on a) the visualization of the circle of Willis and b) streak artifacts due to residual CM in the subclavian or internal jugular veins ipsilateral to injection of CM. Qualitative assessment of dual-energy images using BR was based on the presence of bone remnants and vessel integrity. Quantitative data was compared using the Student t test. The χ2 test was used for the qualitative measurements of streak artifacts in veins while the Mann-Whitney U test was used for the qualitative measurements of images with BR.
Arterial and venous attenuation was significantly higher in Group II (P=0.000). Image quality regarding the circle of Willis was excellent in both groups (3.90±0.30 for Group I and 4.00±0 for Group II) . Imaging of the internal jugular veins was scored higher in Group I (1.87±0.72) compared with Group II (1.48±0.51) (P=0.021). Within Group I using BR, mean scores for bone remnants did not differ significantly (P>0.05) but mean scores of vessel integrity (P<0.05) did.
Contrast-enhanced head and neck CTA is feasible using a scan protocol with low amounts of contrast medium (40 mL) on a 128-slice dual-energy CTA. The 40-mL protocol provides satisfactory image quality before and after dual-energy bone-removal post-processing.
Background. The selenocysteine(Sec)-containing proteins, selenoproteins, are an important group of proteins present in all three kingdoms of life. Although the selenoproteomes of many organisms have been analyzed, systematic studies on selenoproteins in platyhelminthes are still lacking. Moreover, comparison of selenoproteomes between free-living and parasitic animals is rarely studied.
Results. In this study, three representative organisms (Schmidtea mediterranea, Schistosoma japonicum and Taenia solium) were selected for comparative analysis of selenoproteomes in Platyhelminthes. Using a SelGenAmic-based selenoprotein prediction algorithm, a total of 37 selenoprotein genes were identified in these organisms. The size of selenoproteomes and selenoprotein families were found to be associated with different lifestyles: free-living organisms have larger selenoproteome whereas parasitic lifestyle corresponds to reduced selenoproteomes. Five selenoproteins, SelT, Sel15, GPx, SPS2 and TR, were found to be present in all examined platyhelminthes as well as almost all sequenced animals, suggesting their essential role in metazoans. Finally, a new splicing form of SelW that lacked the first exon was found to be present in S. japonicum.
Conclusions. Our data provide a first glance into the selenoproteomes of organisms in the phylum Platyhelminthes and may help understand function and evolutionary dynamics of selenium utilization in diversified metazoans.
Selenocysteine; Parasite; Platyhelminthes; Selenoprotein; Bioinformatics
Mitsugumin 53 (MG53), a muscle-specific TRIM family protein, is an essential component of the cell membrane repair machinery. Here we examined the translational value of targeting MG53 function in tissue repair and regenerative medicine. Although native MG53 protein is restricted to skeletal and cardiac muscle tissues, beneficial effects that protect against cellular injuries are present in non-muscle cells with overexpression of MG53. In addition to the intracellular action of MG53, injury to the cell membrane exposes a signal that can be detected by MG53, allowing recombinant MG53 protein to repair membrane damage when provided in the extracellular space. Recombinant human MG53 (rhMG53) protein purified from Escherichia coli fermentation provided dose-dependent protection against chemical, mechanical, or UV-induced damage to both muscle and non-muscle cells. Injection of rhMG53 through multiple routes decreased muscle pathology in the mdx dystrophic mouse model. Our data support the concept of targeted cell membrane repair in regenerative medicine, and present MG53 protein as an attractive biological reagent for restoration of membrane repair defects in human diseases.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous herpesvirus that causes birth defects in newborns and life-threatening complications in immunocompromised individuals. Among all human herpesviruses, HCMV contains a much larger dsDNA genome within a similarly-sized capsid compared to the others, and it was proposed to require pp150, a tegument protein only found in cytomegaloviruses, to stabilize its genome-containing capsid. However, little is known about how pp150 interacts with the underlying capsid. Moreover, the smallest capsid protein (SCP), while dispensable in herpes simplex virus type 1, was shown to play essential, yet undefined, role in HCMV infection. Here, by cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM), we determine three-dimensional structures of HCMV capsid (no pp150) and virion (with pp150) at sub-nanometer resolution. Comparison of these two structures reveals that each pp150 tegument density is composed of two helix bundles connected by a long central helix. Correlation between the resolved helices and sequence-based secondary structure prediction maps the tegument density to the N-terminal half of pp150. The structures also show that SCP mediates interactions between the capsid and pp150 at the upper helix bundle of pp150. Consistent with this structural observation, ribozyme inhibition of SCP expression in HCMV-infected cells impairs the formation of DNA-containing viral particles and reduces viral yield by 10,000 fold. By cryoEM reconstruction of the resulting “SCP-deficient” viral particles, we further demonstrate that SCP is required for pp150 functionally binding to the capsid. Together, our structural and biochemical results point to a mechanism whereby SCP recruits pp150 to stabilize genome-containing capsid for the production of infectious HCMV virion.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) causes birth defects in newborns and life-threatening complications in immunocompromised individuals, such as AIDS patients and organ transplant recipients. The smallest capsid protein (SCP) – only 8 kDa molecular mass as compared to the 155 kDa major capsid protein – has been demonstrated to be essential for HCMV growth, but is dispensable in herpes simplex virus type 1. These seemingly contradictory observations have been a paradox. Here, we solve this paradox by high resolution cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM), in conjunction with functional studies using ribozyme inhibition. Our structural comparisons of HCMV virion and capsid reveal molecular interactions at the secondary structure level and suggest that SCP might contribute to capsid binding of pp150, an essential, cytomegalovirus-specific tegument protein. SCP-deficient particles generated by ribozyme inhibition of SCP-expression in HCMV-infected cells show no pp150 tegument density, demonstrating that SCP is required for the functional binding of pp150 to the capsid. Our results suggest that SCP recruits pp150 to stabilize the HCMV nucleocapsid to enable encapsidation of the genome, which is more densely packaged in HCMV than in other herpesviruses. Overall, this study not only resolves the above paradox, but also illustrates the passive acquisition of a new, essential function by SCP in the production of infectious HCMV virions.
The current study was conducted to establish animal models (including mouse and ferret) for the novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza virus.
A/Anhui/1/2013 (H7N9) virus was administered by intranasal instillation to groups of mice and ferrets, and animals developed typical clinical signs including body weight loss (mice and ferrets), ruffled fur (mice), sneezing (ferrets), and death (mice). Peak virus shedding from respiratory tract was observed on 2 days post inoculation (d.p.i.) for mice and 3–5 d.p.i. for ferrets. Virus could also be detected in brain, liver, spleen, kidney, and intestine from inoculated mice, and in heart, liver, and olfactory bulb from inoculated ferrets. The inoculation of H7N9 could elicit seroconversion titers up to 1280 in ferrets and 160 in mice. Leukopenia, significantly reduced lymphocytes but increased neutrophils were also observed in mouse and ferret models.
The mouse and ferret model enables detailed studies of the pathogenesis of this illness and lay the foundation for drug or vaccine evaluation.
H7N9; Animal model; BALB/c mouse; Ferret
Tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia are facing increasing and ever more intense human disturbance that often negatively affects biodiversity. The aim of this study was to determine how tree species phylogenetic diversity is affected by traditional forest management types and to understand the change in community phylogenetic structure during succession. Four types of forests with different management histories were selected for this purpose: old growth forests, understorey planted old growth forests, old secondary forests (∼200-years after slash and burn), and young secondary forests (15–50-years after slash and burn). We found that tree phylogenetic community structure changed from clustering to over-dispersion from early to late successional forests and finally became random in old-growth forest. We also found that the phylogenetic structure of the tree overstorey and understorey responded differentially to change in environmental conditions during succession. In addition, we show that slash and burn agriculture (swidden cultivation) can increase landscape level plant community evolutionary information content.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most genetically and structurally complex human herpesvirus and is composed of an envelope, a tegument, and a dsDNA-containing capsid. HCMV tegument plays essential roles in HCMV infection and assembly. Using cryo-electron tomography (cryoET), here we show that HCMV tegument compartment can be divided into two sub-compartments: an inner and an outer tegument. The inner tegument consists of densely-packed proteins surrounding the capsid. The outer tegument contains those components that are loosely packed in the space between the inner tegument and the pleomorphic glycoprotein-containing envelope. To systematically characterize the inner tegument proteins interacting with the capsid, we used chemical treatment to strip off the entire envelope and most tegument proteins to obtain a tegumented capsid with inner tegument proteins. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analyses show that only two tegument proteins, UL32-encoded pp150 and UL48-encoded high molecular weight protein (HMWP), remains unchanged in their abundance in the tegumented capsids as compared to their abundance in the intact particles. 3D reconstructions by single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) reveal that the net-like layer of icosahedrally-ordered tegument densities are also the same in the tegumented capsid and in the intact particles. CryoET reconstruction of the tegumented capsid labeled with an anti-pp150 antibody is consistent with the biochemical and cryoEM data in localizing pp150 within the ordered tegument. Taken together, these results suggest that pp150, a betaherpesvirus-specific tegument protein, is a constituent of the net-like layer of icosahedrally-ordered capsid-bound tegument densities, a structure lacking similarities in alpha and gammaherpesviruses.
human cytomegalovirus; tegument proteins; single-particle analysis; cryo-electron microscopy; cryo-electron tomography; chemical treatment; pp150
The development of atherosclerosis (AS) is a multifactorial process in which elevated plasma cholesterol levels play a central role. As a new class of players involved in AS, the regulation and function of microRNAs (miR) in response to AS remain poorly understood. This study analyzed the effects of miR-1 (antagomir and mimic) on endothelial permeability and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) expression and activity in the artery wall of apoE knock-out mice after feeding them a high-cholesterol diet. Further, we tested to determine whether that effects are involved in ERK phosphorylation. Here, we show that a high-cholesterol diet induces a significant decrease of miR-1 expression. Histopathologic examination demonstrated that miR-1 antagomir enhances endothelial permeability induced by high cholesterol and miR-1 mimic attenuated endothelial barrier dysfunction. Consistent with endothelial permeability, Western blotting, qPCR, and γ-32P-ATP phosphate incorporation showed that MLCK expression and activity were further increased in miR-1 antagomir-treated mice and decreased in miR-1 mimic-treated mice compared with those of mice receiving control miR. Further mechanistic studies showed that high-cholesterol-induced extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) activation was enhanced by miR-1 antagomir and attenuated by miR-1 mimic. Collectively, those results indicate that miR-1 contributes to endothelial barrier function via mechanisms involving not only MLCK expression and activity but also ERK phosphorylation.
MicroRNA-1; Permeability; Myosin light chain kinase
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been practiced for more than 3000 years. Prescription number 1 (PN-1) consists of several Chinese medicines and is designed according to TCM theories to treat patients with neuropsychiatric disorders. The evidence of clinical practice suggests the benefit effects of PN-1 on cognitive deficits of dementia patients. We try to prove and explain this by using contemporary methodology and transgenic animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The behavioral studies were developed to evaluate the memory of transgenic animals after intragastric administration of PN-1 for 3 months. Amyloid beta-protein (Aβ) neuropathology was quantified using immunohistochemistry and ELISA. The western blotting was used to detect the levels of plasticity associated proteins. The safety of PN-1 on mice was also assessed through multiple parameters. Results showed that PN-1 could effectively relieve learning and memory impairment of transgenic animals. Possible mechanisms showed that PN-1 could significantly reduce plaque burden and Aβ levels and boost synaptic plasticity. Our observations showed that PN-1 could improve learning and memory ability through multiple mechanisms without detectable side effects on mice. We propose that PN-1 is a promising alternative treatment for AD in the future.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is the causative agent of chickenpox and herpes zoster (shingles). After the primary infection, the virus remains latent in sensory ganglia and reactivates upon weakening of the cellular immune system due to various conditions, erupting from sensory neurons and infecting the corresponding skin tissue. The current varicella vaccine is highly attenuated in the skin and yet retains its neurovirulence and may reactivate and damage sensory neurons. The factors involved in neuronal invasion and establishment of latency are still elusive. Previously, we constructed a library of whole-gene deletion mutants carrying a bacterial artificial chromosome sequence and a luciferase marker in order to perform a comprehensive VZV genome functional analysis. Here, screening of dispensable gene deletion mutants in differentiated neuronal cells led to the identification of ORF7 as the first known, likely a main, VZV neurotropic factor. ORF7 is a virion component localized to the Golgi compartment in infected cells, whose deletion causes loss of polykaryon formation in epithelial cell culture. Interestingly, ORF7 deletion completely abolishes viral spread in human nervous tissue ex vivo and in an in vivo mouse model. This finding adds to our previous report that ORF7 is also a skin-tropic factor. The results of our investigation will not only lead to a better understanding of VZV neurotropism but could also contribute to the development of a neuroattenuated vaccine candidate against shingles or a vector for delivery of other antigens.
Epsins are a family of ubiquitin-binding, endocytic clathrin adaptors. Mice lacking both epsins 1 and 2 (Epn1/2) die at embryonic day 10 and exhibit an abnormal vascular phenotype. To examine the angiogenic role of endothelial epsins, we generated mice with constitutive or inducible deletion of Epn1/2 in vascular endothelium. These mice exhibited no abnormal phenotypes under normal conditions, suggesting that lack of endothelial epsins 1 and 2 did not affect normal blood vessels. In tumors, however, loss of epsins 1 and 2 resulted in disorganized vasculature, significantly increased vascular permeability, and markedly retarded tumor growth. Mechanistically, we show that VEGF promoted binding of epsin to ubiquitinated VEGFR2. Loss of epsins 1 and 2 specifically impaired endocytosis and degradation of VEGFR2, which resulted in excessive VEGF signaling that compromised tumor vascular function by exacerbating nonproductive leaky angiogenesis. This suggests that tumor vasculature requires a balance in VEGF signaling to provide sufficient productive angiogenesis for tumor development and that endothelial epsins 1 and 2 negatively regulate the output of VEGF signaling. Promotion of excessive VEGF signaling within tumors via a block of epsin 1 and 2 function may represent a strategy to prevent normal angiogenesis in cancer patients who are resistant to anti-VEGF therapies.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of phacoemulsification with intraocular lens (IOL) implantation on intraocular pressure (IOP) and anterior chamber depth (ACD) in patients with cataract or cataract associated with primary angle closure (PAC). A total of 361 patients (481 affected eyes) with senile cataract (cataract group) and 44 patients (52 affected eyes) with cataract associated with PAC (cataract with PAC group) underwent phacoemulsification with IOL implantation from July 2005 to May 2007 and were followed up for 3 to 25 months. There was a significant difference between pre-operative and post-operative IOPs (t=9.270, P<0.01) in the cataract group and in the cataract with PAC group (t=3.29, P<0.01). No significant differences were identified in pre-operative IOP (t=−2.437, P>0.05) and the IOP three months after surgery (t=2.154, P>0.05) between the two groups. There was a significant difference between the pre-operative and post-operative ACDs (t=7.781, P<0.01) in the cataract group and in the cataract with PAC group (t=4.528, P<0.01). A significant difference in ACD between the two groups (t=8.325, P<0.01) existed prior to surgery but following surgery, the ACDs of the two groups were not significantly different (t=2.86, P>0.05). Phacoemulsification with IOL implantation has IOP-lowering effects on cataract and cataract with PAC patients. The International Society of Geography and Epidemiology of Ophthalmology classification method for angle closure glaucoma was adopted in our study. Furhter studies are required to prove the safety and mechanism of lowering IOP impact of phacoemulsifation towards PAC glaucoma (PACG).
cataract; intraocular pressure; glaucoma; lenses; intraocular
The purposes of this study were to develop an efficient method of labeling D-glucosamine hydrochloride with gallium 68 (68Ga) and investigate the imaging properties of the resulting radiotracer in a human tumor xenograft model using micro-positron emission tomography (μPET). The precursor compound 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-2-deoxy-D-glucosamine (DOTA-DG) was synthesized from D-glucosamine hydrochloride and 2-(4-isothiocyanatobenzyl)-DOTA. Radiolabeling of DOTA-DG with 68Ga was achieved in 10 minutes using microwave heating. The labeling efficiency a nd radiochemical purity after purification of 68Ga-DOTA-DG were ~85% and greater than 98%, respectively. In A431 cells, the percentages of 68Ga-DOTA-DG and 18F-FDG uptakes after 60 min incubation were 15.7% and 16.2%, respectively. In vivo, the mean ± standard deviation of 68Ga-DOTADG uptake values in A431 tumors were 2.38±0.30, 0.75±0.13, and 0.39±0.04 percent of the injected dose per gram of tissue at 10, 30, and 60 minutes after intravenous injection, respectively. μPET imaging of A431-bearing mice clearly delineated tumors at 60 minutes after injection of 68Ga-DOTA-DG at a dose of 3.7 MBq. 68Ga-DOTA-DG displayed significantly higher tumor-to-heart, tumor-to-brain, and tumor-to-muscle ratios than 18F-FDG did. Further studies are needed to identify the mechanism of tumor uptake of this new glucosamine-based PET imaging tracer.
Gallium 68; 2-deoxy-D-glucose; μPET imaging; microwave heating-assisted synthesis
Studying the spatial pattern and interspecific associations of plant species may provide valuable insights into processes and mechanisms that maintain species coexistence. Point pattern analysis was used to analyze the spatial distribution patterns of twenty dominant tree species, their interspecific spatial associations and changes across life stages in a 20-ha permanent plot of seasonal tropical rainforest in Xishuangbanna, China, to test mechanisms maintaining species coexistence. Torus-translation tests were used to quantify positive or negative associations of the species to topographic habitats. The results showed: (1) fourteen of the twenty tree species were negatively (or positively) associated with one or two of the topographic variables, which evidences that the niche contributes to the spatial pattern of these species. (2) Most saplings of the study species showed a significantly clumped distribution at small scales (0–10 m) which was lost at larger scales (10–30 m). (3) The degree of spatial clumping deceases from saplings, to poles, to adults indicates that density-dependent mortality of the offspring is ubiquitous in species. (4) It is notable that a high number of positive small-scale interactions were found among the twenty species. For saplings, 42.6% of all combinations of species pairs showed positive associations at neighborhood scales up to five meters, but only 38.4% were negative. For poles and adults, positive associations at these distances still made up 45.5% and 29.5%, respectively. In conclusion, there is considerable evidence for the presence of positive interactions among the tree species, which suggests that species herd protection may occur in our plot. In addition, niche assembly and limited dispersal (likely) contribute to the spatial patterns of tree species in the tropical seasonal rain forest in Xishuangbanna, China.
Chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF1) consisting of p150, p60 and p48 is known to assemble histones onto newly synthesized DNA and thus maintain the chromatin structure. Here, we show that CAF1 expression was induced in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-infected cells, concomitantly with global chromatin decondensation. This apparent conflict was thought to result, in part, from CAF1 mislocalization to compartments of HCMV DNA synthesis through binding of its largest subunit p150 to viral immediate-early protein 2 (IE2). p150 interaction with p60 and IE2 facilitated HCMV DNA synthesis. The IE2Q548R mutation, previously reported to result in impaired HCMV growth with unknown mechanism, disrupted IE2/p150 and IE2/histones association in our study. Moreover, IE2 interaction with histones partly depends on p150, and the HCMV-induced chromatin decondensation was reduced in cells ectopically expressing the p150 mutant defective in IE2 binding. These results not only indicate that CAF1 was hijacked by IE2 to facilitate the replication of the HCMV genome, suggesting chromatin assembly plays an important role in herpesviral DNA synthesis, but also provide a model of the virus-induced chromatin instability through CAF1.
chromatin assembly factor 1; chromatin structure; human cytomegalovirus; immediate-early protein 2
TIEG1 can induce apoptosis of cancer cells, but its role in inhibiting invasion and metastasis has not been reported and is unclear. In this study, we find that decreased TIEG1 expression is associated with increased human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression in breast cancer tissues and cell lines. TIEG1 plays an important role in suppressing transcription of EGFR by directly binding to the EGFR promoter. While overexpression of TIEG1 attenuates EGFR expression, knockdown of TIEG1 stimulates EGFR expression. Furthermore, TIEG1 and HDAC1 form a complex, which binds to Sp1 sites on the EGFR promoter and inhibits its transcription by suppressing histone acetylation. TIEG1 significantly inhibits breast cancer cell invasion, suppresses mammary tumorigenesis in xenografts in mice, and decreases lung metastasis by inhibition of EGFR gene transcription and the EGFR signaling pathway. Therefore, TIEG1 is an antimetastasis gene product; regulation of EGFR expression by TIEG1 may be part of an integral signaling pathway that determines and explains breast cancer invasion and metastasis.
Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) technology has contributed immensely to manipulation of larger genomes in many organisms including large DNA viruses like human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). The HCMV BAC clone propagated and maintained inside E. coli allows for accurate recombinant virus generation. Using this system, we have generated a panel of HCMV deletion mutants and their rescue clones. In this paper, we describe the construction of HCMV BAC mutants using a homologous recombination system. A gene capture method, or gap repair cloning, to seize large fragments of DNA from the virus BAC in order to generate rescue viruses, is described in detail. Construction of rescue clones using gap repair cloning is highly efficient and provides a novel use of the homologous recombination-based method in E. coli for molecular cloning, known colloquially as recombineering, when rescuing large BAC deletions. This method of excising large fragments of DNA provides important prospects for in vitro homologous recombination for genetic cloning.
Delivering siRNA or shRNA into the developing embryos is still a main challenge to use of RNAi in mammalian systems. Here we analyze several factors influencing RNAi-mediated silencing of Sry gene, which is a tightly controlled spatiotemporal expressed gene and only shortly expressed in developing mouse embryo gonad. A Sry gene-specific shRNAs expression vector (pSilencer4.1/Sry565) was constructed. The shRNA constructs were mixed with polyethylenimines (PEIs) to form a complex and then injected into pregnant mice though tail vein. Our results showed that Sry gene was downregulated significantly in developing embryos. Further study revealed that knocking-down of Sry expression resulted in feminization of gonad development in mouse embryos and the expression level of Sox9 and Wt1 gene was also significantly changed by downregulation of Sry. The transfection efficiency is associated with the amount of plasmid DNA injection, injection time, injection speed, and volume. Our studies suggest that transplacental RNAi could be implemented by tail vein injection of plasmid vector into pregnant mice.
Study of the human neurotrophic herpesvirus varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and of its ability to infect neurons has been severely limited by strict viral human tropism and limited availability of human neurons for experimentation. Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) can be differentiated to all the cell types of the body including neurons and are therefore a potentially unlimited source of human neurons to study their interactions with human neurotropic viruses. We report here reproducible infection of hESC-derived neurons by cell-associated green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing VZV. hESC-derived neurons expressed GFP within 2 days after incubation with mitotically inhibited MeWo cells infected with recombinant VZV expressing GFP as GFP fusions to VZV proteins or under an independent promoter. VZV infection was confirmed by immunostaining for immediate-early and viral capsid proteins. Infection of hESC-derived neurons was productive, resulting in release into the medium of infectious virions that appeared fully assembled when observed by electron microscopy. We also demonstrated, for the first time, VZV infection of axons and retrograde transport from axons to neuronal cell bodies using compartmented microfluidic chambers. The use of hESC-derived human neurons in conjunction with fluorescently tagged VZV shows great promise for the study of VZV neuronal infection and axonal transport and has potential for the establishment of a model for VZV latency in human neurons.
The experimental infection of a mouse lung with influenza A virus has proven to be an invaluable model for studying the mechanisms of viral adaptation and virulence. The mouse adaption of human influenza A virus can result in mutations in the HA and other proteins, which is associated with increased virulence in mouse lungs. In this study, a mouse-adapted seasonal H1N1 virus was obtained through serial lung-to-lung passages and had significantly increased virulence and pathogenicity in mice. Genetic analysis indicated that the increased virulence of the mouse-adapted virus was attributed to incremental acquisition of three mutations in the HA protein (T89I, N125T, and D221G). However, the mouse adaption of influenza A virus did not change the specificity and affinity of receptor binding and the pH-dependent membrane fusion of HA, as well as the in vitro replication in MDCK cells. Notably, infection with the mouse adapted virus induced severe lymphopenia and modulated cytokine and chemokine responses in mice. Apparently, mouse adaption of human influenza A virus may change the ability to replicate in mouse lungs, which induces strong immune responses and inflammation in mice. Therefore, our findings may provide new insights into understanding the mechanisms underlying the mouse adaption and pathogenicity of highly virulent influenza viruses.
The shedding of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) into saliva droplets plays a critical role in viral transmission. The source of high viral loads in saliva, however, remains elusive. Here we investigate the early target cells of infection in the entire array of respiratory tissues in Chinese macaques after intranasal inoculations with a single-cycle pseudotyped virus and a pathogenic SARS-CoV. We found that angiotensin-converting enzyme 2-positive (ACE2+) cells were widely distributed in the upper respiratory tract, and ACE2+ epithelial cells lining salivary gland ducts were the early target cells productively infected. Our findings also have implications for SARS-CoV early diagnosis and prevention.
To assess herd immunity to swine influenza viruses, we determined antibodies in 28 paired serum samples from participants in a prospective serologic cohort study in Hong Kong who had seroconverted to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus. Results indicated that infection with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 broadens cross-reactive immunity to other recent subtype H1 swine viruses.
human; immunity; swine; influenza; pandemic; H1N1; virus; dispatch
Transmembrane helices engage in homomeric and heteromeric interactions that play essential roles in folding and assembly of transmembrane proteins. However, features that explain their propensity to interact homomerically or heteromerically and determine the strength of these interactions are poorly understood. Integrins are an ideal model system to address these questions because the transmembrane helices of full-length integrins interact heteromerically when integrins are inactive, but the isolated transmembrane helices are also able to form homo-dimers or homo-oligomers in micelles and bacterial membranes. We sought to determine the features defining specificity for homo versus hetero interactions by conducting a comprehensive comparison of the homomeric and heteromeric interactions of the integrin αIIbβ3 transmembrane helices in biological membranes. Using the TOXCAT assay, we found that residues V700, M701, A703, I704, L705, G708, L709, L712, and L713, located on the same face of the β3 helix, mediate homodimer formation. We then characterized the β3 heterodimer by measuring the ability of β3 helix mutations to cause ligand binding to αIIbβ3. We found that mutating V696, L697, V700, M701, A703. I704, L705, G708, L712, and L713, but not the small-X3-small motif, S699-X3-A703, caused constitutive αIIbβ3 activation, as well as persistent αIIbβ3 activation-dependent FAK phosphorylation. Because αIIb and β3 use the same face of their respective transmembrane helices for homomeric and heteromeric interactions, the interacting surface on each has an intrinsic “stickiness” predisposing towards helix-helix interactions in membranes. The residues responsible for heterodimer formation comprise a network of interdigitated sidechains with considerable geometric complementarity; mutations along this interface invariably destabilize heterodimer formation. By contrast, residues responsible for homomeric interactions are dispersed over a wider surface. While most mutations of these residues are destabilizing, some stabilized homo-oligomer formation. We conclude that the αIIbβ3 transmembrane heterodimer shows the hallmark of finely-tuned heterodimeric interaction, while the homomeric interaction is less specific.
Integrin; transmembrane domains; oligomerization motifs; TOXCAT; scanning mutagenesis
Repair of acute injury to the cell membrane is an elemental process of normal cellular physiology, and defective membrane repair has been linked to many degenerative human diseases. The recent discovery of MG53 as a key component of the membrane resealing machinery allows for a better molecular understanding of the basic biology of tissue repair, as well as for potential translational applications in regenerative medicine. Here we detail the experimental protocols for exploring the in vivo function of MG53 in repair of muscle injury using treadmill exercise protocols on mouse models, for testing the ex vivo membrane repair capacity by measuring dye entry into isolated muscle fibers, and for monitoring the dynamic process of MG53-mediated vesicle trafficking and cell membrane repair in cultured cells using live cell confocal microscopy.