Many resource-poor countries are faced with concurrent epidemics of AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, respectively. Dual infections with HIV and M. tuberculosis are especially severe in infants. There is, however, no effective HIV vaccine, and the only licensed TB vaccine, the Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, can cause disseminated mycobacterial disease in HIV-infected children. Thus, a pediatric vaccine to prevent HIV and M. tuberculosis infections is urgently needed. We hypothesized that a highly attenuated M. tuberculosis strain containing HIV antigens could be safely administered at birth and induce mucosal and systemic immune responses to protect against HIV and TB infections, and we rationalized that vaccine safety could be most rigorously assessed in immunocompromised hosts. Of three vaccine candidates tested, the recombinant attenuated M. tuberculosis strain mc26435 carrying a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag expression plasmid and harboring attenuations of genes critical for replication (panCD and leuCD) and immune evasion (secA2), was found to be safe for oral or intradermal administration to non-SIV-infected and SIV-infected infant macaques. Safety was defined as the absence of clinical symptoms, a lack of histopathological changes indicative of M. tuberculosis infection, and a lack of mycobacterial dissemination. These data represent an important step in the development of novel TB vaccines and suggest that a combination recombinant attenuated M. tuberculosis-HIV vaccine could be a safe alternative to BCG for the pediatric population as a whole and, more importantly, for the extreme at-risk group of HIV-infected infants.
Infection with HIV-1 results in marked immunologic insults and structural damage to the intestinal mucosa, including compromised barrier function. While the development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been a major advancement in the treatment of HIV-1 infection, the need for novel complementary interventions to help restore intestinal structural and functional integrity remains unmet. Known properties of pre-, pro-, and synbiotics suggest that they may be useful tools in achieving this goal.
This was a 4-week parallel, placebo-controlled, randomized pilot trial in HIV-infected women on antiretroviral therapy. A synbiotic formulation (Synbiotic 2000®) containing 4 strains of probiotic bacteria (1010 each) plus 4 nondigestible, fermentable dietary fibers (2.5 g each) was provided each day, versus a fiber-only placebo formulation. The primary outcome was bacterial translocation. Secondary outcomes included the levels of supplemented bacteria in stool, the activation phenotype of peripheral T-cells and monocytes, and plasma levels of C-reactive protein and soluble CD14.
Microbial translocation, as measured by plasma bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA concentration, was not altered by synbiotic treatment. In contrast, the synbiotic formulation resulted in significantly elevated levels of supplemented probiotic bacterial strains in stool, including L. plantarum and P. pentosaceus, with the colonization of these two species being positively correlated with each other. T-cell activation phenotype of peripheral blood lymphocytes showed modest changes in response to synbiotic exposure, with HLA-DR expression slightly elevated on a minor population of CD4+ T-cells which lack expression of HLA-DR or PD-1. In addition, CD38 expression on CD8+ T-cells was slightly lower in the fiber-only group. Plasma levels of soluble CD14 and C-reactive protein were unaffected by synbiotic treatment in this study.
Synbiotic treatment for 4 weeks can successfully augment the levels of probiotic species in the gut during chronic HIV-1 infection. Associated changes in microbial translocation appear to be absent, and markers of systemic immune activation appear largely unchanged. These findings may help inform future studies aimed at testing pre- and probiotic approaches to improve gut function and mucosal immunity in chronic HIV-1 infection.
Clinical Trials.gov: NCT00688311
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1); synbiotics; probiotics; prebiotics; microbial translocation; immune activation; highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); combined antiretroviral therapy (CART); complementary therapy.
Two billion people are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiological agent of tuberculosis (TB), worldwide. Ten million to 20 million of the infected individuals develop disease per year. TB is a treatable disease, provided that it is diagnosed in a timely manner. The current TB diagnostic methods are subjective, inefficient, or not cost-effective. Antibody-based blood tests can be used efficiently and cost-effectively for TB diagnosis. A major challenge is that different TB patients generate antibodies against different antigens. Therefore, a multiplex immunoassay approach is needed. We have developed a multiplex panel of 28 M. tuberculosis antigen-coated microbeads. Plasma samples were obtained from over 300 pulmonary TB patients and healthy controls in a country where TB is endemic, Pakistan. Multiplex data were analyzed using computational tools by multivariate statistics, classification algorithms, and cluster analysis. The results of antibody profile-based detection, using 16 selected antigens, closely correlated with those of the sputum-based diagnostic methods (smear microscopy and culture) practiced in countries where TB is endemic. Multiplex microbead immunoassay had a sensitivity and specificity of approximately 90% and 80%, respectively. These antibody profiles could potentially be useful for the diagnosis of nonpulmonary TB, which accounts for approximately 20% of cases of disease. Since an automated, high-throughput version of this multiplex microbead immunoassay could analyze thousands of samples per day, it may be useful for the diagnosis of TB in millions of patients worldwide.
Rapid detection and therapeutic intervention for infectious and emerging diseases is a major scientific goal in biodefense and public health. Toward this end, cytokine profiles in human blood were investigated using a human whole blood ex vivo exposure model, called WEEM.
Samples of whole blood from healthy volunteers were incubated with seven pathogens including Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Yersinia enterocolitica, Bacillus anthracis, and multiple strains of Yersinia pestis, and multiplexed protein expression profiling was conducted on supernatants of these cultures with an antibody array to detect 30 cytokines simultaneously. Levels of 8 cytokines, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IP-10, MCP-1 and TNFα, were significantly up-regulated in plasma after bacterial exposures of 4 hours. Statistical clustering was applied to group the pathogens based on the host response protein expression profiles. The nearest phylogenetic neighbors clustered more closely than the more distant pathogens, and all seven pathogens were clearly differentiated from the unexposed control. In addition, the Y. pestis and Yersinia near neighbors were differentiated from the B. anthracis strains.
Cluster analysis, based on host response cytokine profiles, indicates that distinct patterns of immunomodulatory proteins are induced by the different pathogen exposures and these patterns may enable further development into biomarkers for diagnosing pathogen exposure.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), the lentivirus of domestic cats responsible for feline AIDS, establishes a latent infection in peripheral blood CD4+ T-cells approximately eight months after experimental inoculation. In this study, cats experimentally infected with the FIV-C strain in the asymptomatic phase demonstrated an estimated viral load of 1 infected cell per approximately 103 CD4+ T-cells, with about 1 copy of viral DNA per cell. Approximately 1 in 10 proviral copies was capable of transcription in the asymptomatic phase. The latent FIV proviral promoter was associated with deacetylated, methylated histones, which is consistent with a condensed chromatin structure. In contrast, the transcriptionally active FIV promoter was associated with histone acetylation and demethylation. In addition, RNA polymerase II appeared to be paused on the latent viral promoter, and short promoter-proximal transcripts were detected. Our findings for the FIV promoter in infected cats are similar to results obtained in studies of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 latent proviruses in cell culture in vitro studies. Thus, the FIV/cat model may offer insights into in vivo mechanisms of HIV latency and provides a unique opportunity to test novel therapeutic interventions aimed at eradicating latent virus.
FIV; latency; lentivirus; chromatin; transcription; CD4 T-cells
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a lentivirus of cats that establishes a lifelong persistent infection with immunologic impairment.
In an approximately 2 year-long experimental infection study, cats infected with a biological isolate of FIV clade C demonstrated undetectable plasma viral loads from 10 months post-infection onward. Viral DNA was detected in CD4+CD25+ and CD4+CD25- T cells isolated from infected cats whereas viral RNA was not detected at multiple time points during the early chronic phase of infection. Viral transcription could be reactivated in latently infected CD4+ T cells ex vivo as demonstrated by detectable FIV gag RNA and 2-long terminal repeat (LTR) circle junctions. Viral LTR and gag sequences amplified from peripheral blood mononuclear cells during early and chronic stages of infection demonstrated minimal to no viral sequence variation.
Collectively, these findings are consistent with FIV latency in peripheral blood CD4+ T cells isolated from chronically infected cats. The ability to isolate latently FIV-infected CD4+ T lymphocytes from FIV-infected cats provides a platform for the study of in vivo mechanisms of lentiviral latency.
Lentivirus; FIV; latency; CD4+CD25+; CD4+CD25-; T cell; monocyte; cat; feline
Since 2004, an East African genotype of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has emerged, causing significant epidemics of an arthralgic syndrome. In addition, this virus has been associated for the first time with neonatal transmission and neurological complications. In the current study, pregnant Rhesus macaques were inoculated with an enzootic or epidemic strain of CHIKV to compare pathogenesis and transplacental transmission potential. Viremias were similar for both strains and peaked at 2–3 days post-inoculation (dpi). Viral RNA was detected at necropsy at 21 dpi in maternal lymphoid, joint-associated, and spinal cord tissues. The absence of detectable viral RNA and the lack of germinal center development in fetuses indicated that transplacental transmission did not occur. Neutralizing antibodies were detected in all dams and fetuses. Our study establishes a non-human primate model for evaluating vaccines and antiviral therapies and indicates that Rhesus macaques could serve as a competent enzootic reservoir.
The switch between the latency and lytic cycles of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is accompanied by specific alterations of histone codes. Recently, comprehensive analysis of histone modifications of KSHV showed the deposition of H3K27me3 across the KSHV genome with two specific regions occupied by the heterochromatin marker H3K9me3. Here, we show that knockdown of JMJD2A, an H3K9me3 demethylase, attenuates viral titers, whereas its overexpression increases KSHV reactivation. JMJD2A is localized in regions of latent viral chromosomes that are deficient in the H3K9me3 mark, indicating that JMJD2A may be responsible for the low level of this mark on viral chromatin. The presence of JMJD2A on the latent genome maintains H3K9 in unmethylated form and signals the readiness of specific sets of viral genes to be reactivated. The demethylase activity of JMJD2A is important for KSHV reactivation, because a demethylase-deficient mutant cannot restore the JMJD2A knockdown phenotype. Interestingly, we found that the KSHV encoded K-bZIP associated with JMJD2A, resulting in the inhibition of demethylase activity of JMJD2A both in vivo and in vitro. Inhibition of JMJD2A by K-bZIP is likely due to a physical interaction which blocks substrate accessibility. A consequence of such an inhibition is increasing global levels of H3K9me3 and gene silencing. Consistently, K-bZIP overexpression resulted in a repression of ∼80% of the ≥2-fold differentially regulated genes compared to results for the uninduced control cells. The consequences of K-bZIP targeting JMJD2A during viral replication will be discussed. To our knowledge, this is the first description of a viral product shown to be a potent inhibitor of a host cellular histone demethylase.
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in the ErbB family (EGFR, ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4) are implicated in a variety of human malignancies. Accordingly, determination of both expression and activation (dimerization/heterodimerization and phosphorylation) of ErbB proteins is critical in defining their functional role in cancer. Efficient and comprehensive methods to study molecular functions of ErbB family of RTKs are needed not only for improvements in diagnostics but also for early screening of targeted drugs (eg, small molecule inhibitors and therapeutic antibodies). We report development of 3 multiplex microbead immunoassays for simultaneous detection of expression, protein–protein interactions, and phosphorylation of these RTKs. These novel multiplex immunoassays were used to study ErbB RTKs under different cell activation conditions in 2 breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-453 and MDA-MB-468) and an epidermoid cancer cell line (A431). The results were confirmed by immunoprecipitation/western blot. Importantly, the multiplex immunoassay facilitated time-course studies in these cell lines after cell activation with EGF and neuregulin, revealing the kinetics of phosphorylation of the ErbB family RTKs. This study demonstrates the utility of the Luminex® multiplex system as an efficient and comprehensive approach to study different aspects of molecular roles of these RTKs. Importantly, the study provides proof-of-concept for the utility of the multiplex microbead immunoassay approach for potential use in efficient, robust, and rapid screening of drugs, particularly those targeting functional aspects of these potent signaling molecules. In addition, the assays described here may be useful for cancer diagnostics and monitoring efficacy of therapy targeting the ErbB family of RTKs.
Infection with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) leads to high viral loads and progression to Simian AIDS (SAIDS) in rhesus macaques. The viral accessory protein Nef is required for this phenotype in monkeys as well as in HIV-infected humans. Previously, we determined that HIVNef binds HIVGagPol and Alix for optimal viral replication in cells. In this study, we demonstrated that these interactions could correlate with high viral loads leading to SAIDS in the infected host. By infecting rhesus macaques with a mutant SIVmac239, where sequences in the nef gene that are required for these interactions were mutated, we observed robust viral replication and disease in two out of four monkeys, where they reverted to the wild type genotype and phenotype. These two rhesus macaques also died of SAIDS. Two other monkeys did not progress to disease and continued to harbor mutant nef sequences. We conclude that interactions between Nef, GagPol and Alix contribute to optimal viral replication and progression to disease in the infected host.
SIV; HIV; Nef; monkey infection; pathogenesis; disease progression; GagPol; Alix
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) enables long-term suppression of plasma HIV-1 loads in infected persons, but low-level virus persists and rebounds following cessation of therapy. During HAART, this virus resides in latently infected cells, such as resting CD4+ T cells, and in other cell types that may support residual virus replication. Therapeutic eradication will require elimination of virus from all reservoirs. We report here a comprehensive analysis of these reservoirs in fluids, cells, and tissues in a rhesus macaque model that mimics HAART in HIV-infected humans. This nonhuman primate model uses RT-SHIV, a chimera of simian immunodeficiency virus containing the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). Methods were developed for extraction, preamplification, and real-time PCR analyses of viral DNA (vDNA) and viral RNA (vRNA) in tissues from RT-SHIV-infected macaques. These methods were used to identify viral reservoirs in RT-SHIV-infected macaques treated with a potent HAART regimen consisting of efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir. Plasma virus loads at necropsy ranged from 11 to 28 copies of vRNA per ml. Viral RNA and DNA were detected during HAART, in tissues from numerous anatomical locations. Additional analysis provided evidence for full-length viral RNA in tissues of animals with virus suppressed by HAART. The highest levels of vDNA and vRNA in HAART-treated macaques were in lymphoid tissues, particularly the spleen, lymph nodes, and gastrointestinal tract tissues. This study is the first comprehensive analysis of the tissue and organ distribution of a primate AIDS virus during HAART. These data demonstrate widespread persistence of residual virus in tissues during HAART.
To prevent progression to AIDS, persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) must remain on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) indefinitely since this modality does not eradicate the virus. The mechanisms involved in viral persistence during HAART are poorly understood, but an animal model of HAART could help elucidate these mechanisms and enable studies of HIV-1 eradication strategies. Due to the specificity of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NNRTIs) for HIV-1, we have used RT-SHIV, a chimeric virus of simian immunodeficiency virus with RT from HIV-1. This virus is susceptible to NNRTIs and causes an AIDS-like disease in rhesus macaques. In this study, two groups of HAART-treated, RT-SHIV-infected macaques were analyzed to determine viral decay kinetics. In the first group, viral loads were monitored with a standard TaqMan RT-PCR assay with a limit of detection of 50 viral RNA copies per mL. Upon initiation of HAART, viremia decayed in a bi-phasic manner with half-lives of 1.7 and 8.5 days, respectively. A third phase was observed with little further decay. In the second group, the macaques were followed longitudinally with a more sensitive assay utilizing ultracentrifugation to concentrate virus from plasma. Bi-phasic decay of viral RNA was also observed in these animals with half-lives of 1.8 and 5.8 days. Viral loads in these animals during a third phase ranged from 2–58 RNA copies/mL, with little decay over time. The viral decay kinetics observed in these macaques are similar to those reported for HIV-1 infected humans. These results demonstrate that low-level viremia persists in RT-SHIV-infected macaques despite a HAART regimen commonly used in humans.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has been linked to the development of Kaposi's sarcoma, a major AIDS-associated malignancy, and to hematologic malignancies including primary effusion lymphoma and multicentric Castleman's disease. Like other herpesviruses, KSHV is capable of both latent and lytic replication. Understanding the molecular details associated with this transition from latency to lytic replication is key to controlling virus spread and can impact the development of intervention strategies. Here, we report that KAP-1/TIF1β, a cellular transcriptional repressor that controls chromosomal remodeling, participates in the process of switching viral latency to lytic replication. Knockdown of KAP-1 by siRNA leads to KSHV reactivation mediated by K-Rta, a key transcriptional regulator. In cells harboring latent KSHV, KAP-1 was associated with the majority of viral lytic-gene promoters. K-Rta overexpression induced the viral lytic cycle with concomitant reduction of KAP-1 binding to viral promoters. Association of KAP-1 with heterochromatin was modulated by both sumoylation and phoshorylation. During lytic replication of KSHV, KAP-1 was phosphorylated at Ser824. Several lines of evidence directly linked the viral protein kinase (vPK) to this post-translational modification. Additional studies demonstrated that this phosphorylation of KAP-1 produced a decrease in its sumoylation, consequently decreasing the ability of KAP-1 to condense chromatin on viral promoters. In summary, the cellular transcriptional repressor KAP-1 plays a role in regulating KSHV latency, and vPK modulates the chromatin remodeling function of this repressor.
KAP-1; heterochromatin; sumoylation; phosphorylation; herpesvirus latency; viral protein kinase
Successful viral replication is dependent on a conducive cellular environment; thus, viruses must be sensitive to the state of their host cells. We examined the idea that an interplay between viral and cellular regulatory factors determines the switch from Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) latency to lytic replication. The immediate-early gene product K-Rta is the first viral protein expressed and an essential factor in reactivation; accordingly, this viral protein is in a key position to serve as a viral sensor of cellular physiology. Our approach aimed to define a host transcription factor, i.e., host sensor, which modulates K-Rta activity on viral promoters. To this end, we developed a panel of reporter plasmids containing all 83 putative viral promoters for a comprehensive survey of the response to both K-Rta and cellular transcription factors. Interestingly, members of the NF-κB family were shown to be strong negative regulators of K-Rta transactivation for all but two viral promoters (Ori-RNA and K12). Recruitment of K-Rta to the ORF57 and K-bZIP promoters, but not the K12 promoter, was significantly impaired when NF-κB expression was induced. Many K-Rta-responsive promoters modulated by NF-κB contain the sequence of the RBP-Jκ binding site, a major coactivator which anchors K-Rta to target promoters via consensus motifs which overlap with that of NF-κB. Gel shift assays demonstrated that NF-κB inhibits the binding of RBP-Jκ and forms a complex with RBP-Jκ. Our results support a model in which a balance between K-Rta/RBP-Jκ and NF-κB activities determines KSHV reactivation. An important feature of this model is that the interplay between RBP-Jκ and NF-κB on viral promoters controls viral gene expression mediated by K-Rta.
Studies in non-human primates, with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) have demonstrated that live-attenuated viral vaccines are highly effective; however these vaccine viruses maintain a low level of pathogenicity. Lentivirus attenuation associated with deletion of the viral vif gene carries a significantly reduced risk for pathogencity, while retaining the potential for virus replication of low magnitude in the host. This report describes a vif-deleted simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)mac239 provirus that was tested as an attenuated proviral DNA vaccine by inoculation of female rhesus macaques. SIV-specific interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot responses of low magnitude were observed after immunization with plasmid containing the vif-deleted SIV provirus. However, vaccinated animals displayed strong sustained virus-specific T cell proliferative responses and increasing antiviral antibody titers. These immune responses suggested either persistent vaccine plasmid expression or low level replication of vif-deleted SIV in the host. Immunized and unvaccinated macaques received a single high dose vaginal challenge with pathogenic SIVmac251. A transient suppression of challenge virus load and a greater median survival time was observed for vaccinated animals. However, virus loads for vaccinated and unvaccinated macaques were comparable by 20 weeks after challenge and overall survival curves for the two groups were not significantly different. Thus, a vif-deleted SIVmac239 proviral DNA vaccine is immunogenic and capable of inducing a transient suppression of pathogenic challenge virus, despite severe attenuation of the vaccine virus.
SIV; DNA vaccine; vif; immunogenicity
Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious global disease. The fatality rate attributed to TB is among the highest of infectious diseases, with approximately 2 million deaths occurring per year worldwide. Identification of individuals infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and screening of their immediate contacts is crucial for controlling the spread of TB. Current methods for detection of M. tuberculosis infection are not efficient, in particular, for testing large numbers of samples. We report a novel and efficient multiplex microbead immunoassay (MMIA), based on Luminex technology, for profiling antibodies to M. tuberculosis. Microbead sets identifiable by unique fluorescence were individually coated with each of several M. tuberculosis antigens and tested in multiplex format for antibody detection in the experimental nonhuman primate model of TB. Certain M. tuberculosis antigens, e.g., ESAT-6, CFP-10, and HspX, were included to enhance the specificity of the MMIA, because these antigens are absent in nontuberculous mycobacteria and the vaccine strain Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin. The MMIA enabled simultaneous detection of multiple M. tuberculosis plasma antibodies in several cohorts of macaques representing different stages of infection and/or disease. Antibody profiles were defined in early and latent/chronic infection. These proof-of-concept findings demonstrate the potential clinical use of the MMIA. In addition, the MMIA serodetection system has a potential for mining M. tuberculosis open reading frames (about 4,000) to discover novel target proteins for the development of more-comprehensive TB serodiagnostic tests.
Rationale: HIV-infected patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension have histologic manifestations that are indistinguishable from those found in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. In addition, the role of pleiotropic viral proteins in the development of plexiform lesions in HIV-related pulmonary hypertension (HRPH) has not been explored. Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of macaques has been found to closely recapitulate many of the characteristic features of HIV infection, and thus hallmarks of pulmonary arterial hypertension should also be found in this nonhuman primate model of HIV.
Objectives: To determine whether pulmonary arterial lesions were present in archived SIV-infected macaque lung tissues from Johns Hopkins University and two National Primate Research Centers.
Methods: Archived macaque and human lung sections were examined via immunohistochemistry for evidence of complex vascular lesions.
Results: Complex plexiform-like lesions characterized by lumenal obliteration, intimal disruption, medial hypertrophy, thrombosis, and recanalized lumena were found exclusively in animals infected with SHIV-nef (a chimeric viral construct containing the HIV nef gene in an SIV backbone), but not in animals infected with SIV. The mass of cells in the lesions were factor VIII positive, and contained cells positive for muscle-specific and smooth muscle actins. Lung mononuclear cells were positive for HIV Nef, suggesting viral replication. Endothelial cells in both the SHIV-nef macaques and patients with HRPH, but not in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, were also Nef positive.
Conclusions: The discovery of complex vascular lesions in SHIV-nef– but not SIV-infected animals, and the presence of Nef in the vascular cells of patients with HRPH, suggest that Nef plays a key role in the development of severe pulmonary arterial disease.
idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension; HIV-1; Nef; pulmonary hypertension; SHIV-nef
The oncogenic herpesvirus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, also identified as human herpesvirus 8, contains genes producing proteins that control transcription and influence cell signaling. Open reading frame 36 (ORF36) of this virus encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase, which is designated the viral protein kinase (vPK). Our recent efforts to elucidate the role of vPK in the viral life cycle have focused on identifying viral protein substrates and determining the effects of vPK-mediated phosphorylation on specific steps in viral replication. The vPK gene was transcribed into 4.2-kb and 3.6-kb mRNAs during the early and late phases of viral reactivation. vPK is colocalized with viral DNA replication/transcription compartments as marked by a polymerase processivity factor, and K-bZIP, a protein known to bind the viral DNA replication origin (Ori-Lyt) and to regulate viral transcription. The vPK physically associated with and strongly phosphorylated K-bZIP at threonine 111, a site also recognized by the cyclin-dependent kinase Cdk2. Both K-bZIP and vPK were corecruited to viral promoters targeted by K-bZIP as well as to the Ori-Lyt region. Phosphorylation of K-bZIP by vPK had a negative impact on K-bZIP transcription repression activity. The extent of posttranslational modification of K-bZIP by sumoylation, a process that influences its repression function, was decreased by vPK phosphorylation at threonine 111. Our data thus identify a new role of vPK as a modulator of viral transcription.
To maintain healthy nonhuman primates for use in biomedical research, animals are routinely screened for several infectious agents at most facilities. Commonly, monkey serum samples are tested by conventional immunoassays, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) or Western blotting, for antibodies to specific infectious agents. For testing for antibodies against multiple agents in each sample, conventional immunoassays are laborious and time-consuming. More efficient immunoassays are needed. Accordingly, we have developed a novel multiplex serodiagnostic system based on individually identifiable, fluorescent microbead sets, where each bead set is coated with antigens from a purified preparation of a specific virus. The coated bead sets are mixed to enable the detection of antibodies to multiple viruses in one serum or plasma sample. These viruses include four agents that are routinely tested for maintenance of specific-pathogen-free monkeys, namely, simian immunodeficiency virus, simian type D retrovirus, simian T-cell lymphotropic virus, and herpes B virus, as well as simian foamy virus and rhesus cytomegalovirus, both of which are commonly found in nonhuman primates. This multiplex microbead immunoassay (MMIA) enabled the simultaneous detection of antibodies to all six viruses in single serum samples as small as 1 microliter. The results obtained by MMIA analysis correlated with results of conventional ELISAs, which detect antibodies to single agents. Thus, this multiplex microbead detection system is an efficient diagnostic modality for serosurveillance of nonhuman primates.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtype C infections are on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Therefore, there is a need to develop an HIV vaccine capable of eliciting broadly reactive immune responses against members of this subtype. We show here that modified HIV envelope (env) DNA vaccines derived from the South African subtype C TV1 strain are able to prime for humoral responses in rabbits and rhesus macaques. Priming rabbits with DNA plasmids encoding V2-deleted TV1 gp140 (gp140TV1ΔV2), followed by boosting with oligomeric protein (o-gp140TV1ΔV2) in MF59 adjuvant, elicited higher titers of env-binding and autologous neutralizing antibodies than priming with DNA vaccines encoding the full-length TV1 env (gp160) or the intact TV1 gp140. Immunization with V2-deleted subtype B SF162 env and V2-deleted TV1 env together using a multivalent vaccine approach induced high titers of oligomeric env-binding antibodies and autologous neutralizing antibodies against both the subtypes B and C vaccine strains, HIV-1 SF162 and TV1, respectively. Low-level neutralizing activity against the heterologous South African subtype C TV2 strain, as well as a small subset of viruses in a panel of 13 heterologous primary isolates, was observed in some rabbits immunized with the V2-deleted vaccines. Immunization of rhesus macaques with the V2-deleted TV1 DNA prime/protein boost also elicited high titers of env-binding antibodies and moderate titers of autologous TV1 neutralizing antibodies. The pilot-scale production of the various TV1 DNA vaccine constructs and env proteins described here should provide an initial platform upon which to improve the immunogenicity of these subtype C HIV envelope vaccines.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human gammaherpesvirus implicated in AIDS-related neoplasms. Previously, we demonstrated that the early lytic gene product K-bZIP is a transcriptional repressor that affects a subset of viral gene transcriptions mediated by the viral transactivator K-Rta (Y. Izumiya et al. J. Virol. 77:1441-1451, 2003). Sumoylation has emerged as an important posttranslational modification that affects the location and function of cellular and viral proteins and also plays a significant role in transcriptional repression along with Ubc9, the E2 SUMO conjugation enzyme. Here, we provide evidence that K-bZIP is sumoylated at the lysine 158 residue and associates with Ubc9 both in a cell-free system and in virus-infected BCBL-1 cells. Reporter assays showed that the expression of SUMO-specific protease 1 attenuated the transcriptional repression activity of K-bZIP. The expression of a K-bZIPK158R mutant, which was no longer sumoylated, exhibited the reduced transcriptional repression activity. This indicates that sumoylation plays an important part in the transcriptional repression activity of K-bZIP. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that K-bZIP interacts with and recruits Ubc9 to specific KSHV promoters. Thus, our data indicate that K-bZIP is a SUMO adaptor, which recruits Ubc9 to specific viral target promoters, thereby exerting its transcriptional repression activity.
A safe, replication-defective viral vector that can induce mucosal and systemic immune responses and confer protection against many infectious pathogens, such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), may be an ideal vaccine platform. Accordingly, we have generated and tested alphavirus replicon particles encoding HIV-1 Gag from Sindbis virus (SIN-Gag) and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEE-Gag), as well as chimeras between the two (VEE/SIN-Gag). Following intramuscular (i.m.), intranasal (i.n.), or intravaginal (IVAG) immunization with VEE/SIN-Gag and an IVAG challenge with vaccinia virus encoding HIV Gag (VV-Gag), a larger number of Gag-specific CD8+ intracellular gamma interferon-expressing cells (iIFNEC) were detected in iliac lymph nodes (ILN), which drain the vaginal/uterine mucosa (VUM), than were observed after immunizations with SIN-Gag. Moreover, a single i.n. or IVAG immunization with VEE/SIN-Gag induced a larger number of cells expressing HIV Gag in ILN, and immunizations with VEE/SIN-Gag through any route induced better protective responses than immunizations with SIN-Gag. In VUM, a larger percentage of iIFNEC expressed α4β7 or αEβ7 integrin than expressed CD62L integrin. However, in spleens (SP), a larger percentage of iIFNEC expressed α4β7 or CD62L than expressed αEβ7. Moreover, a larger percentage of iIFNEC expressed the chemokine receptor CCR5 in VUM and ILN than in SP. These results demonstrate a better induction of cellular and protective responses following immunizations with VEE/SIN-Gag than that following immunizations with SIN-Gag and also indicate a differential expression of homing and chemokine receptors on iIFNEC in mucosal effector and inductive sites versus systemic lymphoid tissues.
Under current practices of mouse colony maintenance, sera from mice are analyzed for antibodies against several widespread infectious pathogens by conventional immunoassays, generally enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). To test for multiple agents, these methods consume large volumes of mouse serum and are laborious and time-consuming. More efficient immunoassays, using small amounts of sample, are therefore needed. Accordingly, we have developed a novel multiplex diagnostic system that employs fluorescent microbeads, coated with purified antigens, for simultaneous serodetection of 10 mouse infectious agents. Individually identifiable, fluorescent microbeads were coated with antigens from Sendai virus, mouse hepatitis virus, Theiler's mouse encephalomyelitis virus/GDVII strain, mouse minute virus, mouse cytomegalovirus, respiratory enteric orphan virus (Reo-3 virus), mouse parvovirus, calf rotavirus for epizootic diarrhea virus of infant mice, vaccinia virus for ectromelia virus, and Mycoplasma pulmonis. Standard sera, singly positive for antibodies to individual infectious agents, were generated by inoculation of BALB/cj and C57BL/6j mice. Sera from these experimentally infected mice, as well as sera from naturally infected mice, were analyzed using a mixture of microbeads coated with antigens of the 10 infectious agents listed above. Results demonstrated that the multiplex assay was at least as sensitive and specific as ELISA for serodetection. Importantly, the multiplex assay required only 1 microliter of serum for simultaneous serodetection of the 10 mouse infectious agents in one reaction vessel. Thus, this multiplex microbead assay is a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective diagnostic modality that will impact serosurveillance of mice used in research.
Infection of mice with Helicobacter bilis is widespread in research and commercial mouse colonies. Therefore, sensitive, specific, and high-throughput assays are needed for rapid and accurate testing of mice in large numbers. This report describes a novel multiplex assay, based on fluorescent microbeads, for serodetection of H. bilis infection. The assay requires only a few microliters of serum to perform and is amenable to a high-throughput format. Individual microbead sets were conjugated to purified, H. bilis-specific, recombinant proteins P167C and P167D and bacterial membrane extracts from H. bilis and Helicobacter hepaticus. For detecting H. bilis infection in the microbead multiplex assay, P167C and P167D provided significantly higher sensitivities (94 and 100%, respectively) and specificities (100 and 95%, respectively) than membrane extract (78% sensitivity and 65% specificity). Microbead multiplex assay results were validated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Purified recombinant proteins showed low batch-to-batch variation; this feature allows for ease of quality control, assay robustness, and affordability. Thus, recombinant antigens are highly suitable in the multiplex microbead assay format for serodetection of H. bilis infection.
Newborn rhesus macaques were infected with two chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) strains which contain unique human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) env genes and exhibit distinct phenotypes. Infection with either the CCR5-specific SHIVSF162P3 or the CXCR4-utilizing SHIVSF33A resulted in clinical manifestations consistent with simian AIDS. Most prominent in this study was the detection of severe thymic involution in all SHIVSF33A-infected infants, which is very similar to HIV-1-induced thymic dysfunction in children who exhibit a rapid pattern of disease progression. In contrast, SHIVSF162P3 induced only a minor disruption in thymic morphology. Consistent with the distribution of the coreceptors CXCR4 and CCR5 within the thymus, the expression of SHIVSF162P3 was restricted to the thymic medulla, whereas SHIVSF33A was preferentially detected in the cortex. This dichotomy of tissue tropism is similar to the differential tropism of HIV-1 isolates observed in the reconstituted human thymus in SCID-hu mice. Accordingly, our results show that the SHIV-monkey model can be used for the molecular dissection of cell and tissue tropisms controlled by the HIV-1 env gene and for the analysis of mechanisms of viral immunopathogenesis in AIDS. Furthermore, these findings could help explain the rapid progression of disease observed in some HIV-1-infected children.