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1.  The PA and HA Gene-Mediated High Viral Load and Intense Innate Immune Response in the Brain Contribute to the High Pathogenicity of H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus in Mallard Ducks 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(20):11063-11075.
Most highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses cause only mild clinical signs in ducks, serving as an important natural reservoir of influenza A viruses. However, we isolated two H5N1 viruses that are genetically similar but differ greatly in virulence in ducks. A/Chicken/Jiangsu/k0402/2010 (CK10) is highly pathogenic, whereas A/Goose/Jiangsu/k0403/2010 (GS10) is low pathogenic. To determine the genetic basis for the high virulence of CK10 in ducks, we generated a series of single-gene reassortants between CK10 and GS10 and tested their virulence in ducks. Expression of the CK10 PA or hemagglutinin (HA) gene in the GS10 context resulted in increased virulence and virus replication. Conversely, inclusion of the GS10 PA or HA gene in the CK10 background attenuated the virulence and virus replication. Moreover, the PA gene had a greater contribution. We further determined that residues 101G and 237E in the PA gene contribute to the high virulence of CK10. Mutations at these two positions produced changes in virulence, virus replication, and polymerase activity of CK10 or GS10. Position 237 plays a greater role in determining these phenotypes. Moreover, the K237E mutation in the GS10 PA gene increased PA nuclear accumulation. Mutant GS10 viruses carrying the CK10 HA gene or the PA101G or PA237E mutation induced an enhanced innate immune response. A sustained innate response was detected in the brain rather than in the lung and spleen. Our results suggest that the PA and HA gene-mediated high virus replication and the intense innate immune response in the brain contribute to the high virulence of H5N1 virus in ducks.
PMCID: PMC3807287  PMID: 23926340
2.  The PA-Gene-Mediated Lethal Dissemination and Excessive Innate Immune Response Contribute to the High Virulence of H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus in Mice 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(5):2660-2672.
Highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A virus remains a substantial threat to public health. To understand the molecular basis and host mechanism for the high virulence of H5N1 viruses in mammals, we compared two H5N1 isolates which have similar genetic backgrounds but greatly differ in their virulence in mice. A/Chicken/Jiangsu/k0402/2010 (CK10) is highly pathogenic, whereas A/Goose/Jiangsu/k0403/2010 (GS10) is nonpathogenic. We first showed that CK10 elicited a more potent innate immune response than did GS10 in mouse lungs by increasing the number and expression levels of activated genes. We then generated a series of reassortants between the two viruses and evaluated their virulence in mice. Inclusion of the CK10 PA gene in the GS10 background resulted in a dramatic increase in virulence. Conversely, expression of the GS10 PA gene in the CK10 background significantly attenuated the virulence. These results demonstrated that the PA gene mainly determines the pathogenicity discrepancy between CK10 and GS10 in mice. We further determined that arginine (R) at position 353 of the PA gene contributes to the high virulence of CK10 in mice. The reciprocal substitution at position 353 in PA or the exchange of the entire PA gene largely caused the transfer of viral phenotypes, including virus replication, polymerase activity, and manipulation of the innate response, between CK10 and GS10. We therefore defined a novel molecular marker associated with the high virulence of H5N1 influenza viruses, providing further insights into the pathogenesis of H5N1 viruses in mammals.
PMCID: PMC3571398  PMID: 23255810
3.  A Novel Genotype H9N2 Influenza Virus Possessing Human H5N1 Internal Genomes Has Been Circulating in Poultry in Eastern China since 1998 ▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(17):8428-8438.
Many novel reassortant influenza viruses of the H9N2 genotype have emerged in aquatic birds in southern China since their initial isolation in this region in 1994. However, the genesis and evolution of H9N2 viruses in poultry in eastern China have not been investigated systematically. In the current study, H9N2 influenza viruses isolated from poultry in eastern China during the past 10 years were characterized genetically and antigenically. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these H9N2 viruses have undergone extensive reassortment to generate multiple novel genotypes, including four genotypes (J, F, K, and L) that have never been recognized before. The major H9N2 influenza viruses represented by A/Chicken/Beijing/1/1994 (Ck/BJ/1/94)-like viruses circulating in poultry in eastern China before 1998 have been gradually replaced by A/Chicken/Shanghai/F/1998 (Ck/SH/F/98)-like viruses, which have a genotype different from that of viruses isolated in southern China. The similarity of the internal genes of these H9N2 viruses to those of the H5N1 influenza viruses isolated from 2001 onwards suggests that the Ck/SH/F/98-like virus may have been the donor of internal genes of human and poultry H5N1 influenza viruses circulating in Eurasia. Experimental studies showed that some of these H9N2 viruses could be efficiently transmitted by the respiratory tract in chicken flocks. Our study provides new insight into the genesis and evolution of H9N2 influenza viruses and supports the notion that some of these viruses may have been the donors of internal genes found in H5N1 viruses.
PMCID: PMC2738149  PMID: 19553328
4.  Influenza H7N9 and H9N2 Viruses: Coexistence in Poultry Linked to Human H7N9 Infection and Genome Characteristics 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(6):3423-3431.
Avian influenza virus A of the novel H7N9 reassortant subtype was recently found to cause severe human respiratory infections in China. Live poultry markets were suspected locations of the human H7N9 infection sources, based on the cases' exposure histories and sequence similarities between viral isolates. To explore the role of live poultry markets in the origin of the novel H7N9 virus, we systematically examined poultry and environmental specimens from local markets and farms in Hangzhou, using real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) as well as high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS). RT-PCR identified specimens positive for the H7 and N9 genomic segments in all of the 12 poultry markets epidemiologically linked to 10 human H7N9 cases. Chickens, ducks, and environmental specimens from the markets contained heavily mixed subtypes, including H7, N9, H9, and N2 and sometimes H5 and N1. The idea of the coexistence of H7N9 and H9N2 subtypes in chickens was further supported by metagenomic sequencing. In contrast, human H7N9 infection cases (n = 31) were all negative for H9N2 virus according to real-time RT-PCR. The six internal segments were indistinguishable for the H7N9 and H9N2 viruses. The H9, N2, and internal-segment sequences were very close to the sequence of the H9N2 virus circulating in chickens in China recently. Our results provide direct evidence that H9N2 strains coexisted with the novel human-pathogenic H7N9 influenza virus in epidemiologically linked live poultry markets. Avian influenza A virus of the H9N2 subtype likely made a recent contribution to the evolution of the H7N9 virus and continues to do so.
IMPORTANCE Our results suggest that avian influenza A virus of the H9N2 subtype likely made a recent contribution to the evolution of the H7N9 virus, a novel reassortant avian influenza virus A subtype, and continues to do so. The finding helps shed light on how the H7N9 virus emerged, spread, and transmitted to humans. It is of considerable interest for assessing the risk of the possible emergence of novel reassortant viruses with enhanced transmissibility to humans.
PMCID: PMC3957952  PMID: 24403589
5.  Hepatitis C Virus Activates Bcl-2 and MMP-2 Expression through Multiple Cellular Signaling Pathways 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(23):12531-12543.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with numerous liver diseases and causes serious global health problems, but the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of HCV infections remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) are significantly stimulated in HCV-infected patients. We further show that HCV activates STAT3, MMP-2, Bcl-2, extracellular regulated protein kinase (ERK), and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in infected Huh7.5.1 cells. Functional screening of HCV proteins revealed that nonstructural protein 4B (NS4B) is responsible for the activation of MMP-2 and Bcl-2 by stimulating STAT3 through repression of the suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3). Our results also demonstrate that multiple signaling cascades, including several members of the protein kinase C (PKC) family, JNK, ERK, and STAT3, play critical roles in the activation of MMP-2 and Bcl-2 mediated by NS4B. Further studies revealed that the C-terminal domain (CTD) of NS4B is sufficient for the activation of STAT3, JNK, ERK, MMP-2, and Bcl-2. We also show that amino acids 227 to 250 of NS4B are essential for regulation of STAT3, JNK, ERK, MMP-2, and Bcl-2, and among them, three residues (237L, 239S, and 245L) are crucial for this regulation. Thus, we reveal a novel mechanism underlying HCV pathogenesis in which multiple intracellular signaling cascades are cooperatively involved in the activation of two important cellular factors, MMP-2 and Bcl-2, in response to HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3497616  PMID: 22951829
6.  Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis in Living Host Cells Visualized through Quantum Dot Labeling of Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(13):6252-6262.
Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is an important fish pathogen that infects both wild and cultured salmonids. As a species of the genus Novirhabdovirus, IHNV is a valuable model system for exploring the host entry mechanisms of rhabdoviruses. In this study, quantum dots (QDs) were used as fluorescent labels for sensitive, long-term tracking of IHNV entry. Using live-cell fluorescence microscopy, we found that IHNV is internalized through clathrin-coated pits after the virus binds to host cell membranes. Pretreatment of host cells with chlorpromazine, a drug that blocks clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and clathrin light chain (LCa) depletion using RNA interference both resulted in a marked reduction in viral entry. We also visualized transport of the virus via the cytoskeleton (i.e., actin filaments and microtubules) in real time. Actin polymerization is involved in the transport of endocytic vesicles into the cytosol, whereas microtubules are required for the trafficking of clathrin-coated vesicles to early endosomes, late endosomes, and lysosomes. Disrupting the host cell cytoskeleton with cytochalasin D or nocodazole significantly impaired IHNV infectivity. Furthermore, infection was significantly affected by pretreating the host cells with bafilomycin A1, a compound that inhibits the acidification of endosomes and lysosomes. Strong colocalizations of IHNV with endosomes indicated that the virus is internalized into these membrane-bound compartments. This is the first report in which QD labeling is used to visualize the dynamic interactions between viruses and endocytic structures; the results presented demonstrate that IHNV enters host cells via clathrin-mediated endocytic, cytoskeleton-dependent, and low-pH-dependent pathways.
PMCID: PMC3126507  PMID: 21525360
7.  Subversion of Cellular Autophagy Machinery by Hepatitis B Virus for Viral Envelopment▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(13):6319-6333.
Autophagy is a conserved eukaryotic mechanism that mediates the removal of long-lived cytoplasmic macromolecules and damaged organelles via a lysosomal degradative pathway. Recently, a multitude of studies have reported that viral infections may have complex interconnections with the autophagic process. The findings reported here demonstrate that hepatitis B virus (HBV) can enhance the autophagic process in hepatoma cells without promoting protein degradation by the lysosome. Mutation analysis showed that HBV small surface protein (SHBs) was required for HBV to induce autophagy. The overexpression of SHBs was sufficient to induce autophagy. Furthermore, SHBs could trigger unfolded protein responses (UPR), and the blockage of UPR signaling pathways abrogated the SHB-induced lipidation of LC3-I. Meanwhile, the role of the autophagosome in HBV replication was examined. The inhibition of autophagosome formation by the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or small interfering RNA duplexes targeting the genes critical for autophagosome formation (Beclin1 and ATG5 genes) markedly inhibited HBV production, and the induction of autophagy by rapamycin or starvation greatly contributed to HBV production. Furthermore, evidence was provided to suggest that the autophagy machinery was required for HBV envelopment but not for the efficiency of HBV release. Finally, SHBs partially colocalized and interacted with autophagy protein LC3. Taken together, these results suggest that the host's autophagy machinery is activated during HBV infection to enhance HBV replication.
PMCID: PMC3126540  PMID: 21507968
8.  Civets Are Equally Susceptible to Experimental Infection by Two Different Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Isolates 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(4):2620-2625.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was caused by a novel virus now known as SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The discovery of SARS-CoV-like viruses in masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) raises the possibility that civets play a role in SARS-CoV transmission. To test the susceptibility of civets to experimental infection by different SARS-CoV isolates, 10 civets were inoculated with two human isolates of SARS-CoV, BJ01 (with a 29-nucleotide deletion) and GZ01 (without the 29-nucleotide deletion). All inoculated animals displayed clinical symptoms, such as fever, lethargy, and loss of aggressiveness, and the infection was confirmed by virus isolation, detection of viral genomic RNA, and serum-neutralizing antibodies. Our data show that civets were equally susceptible to SARS-CoV isolates GZ01 and BJ01.
PMCID: PMC546564  PMID: 15681462
9.  Evaluation of Transcriptional Efficiency of Hepatitis B Virus Covalently Closed Circular DNA by Reverse Transcription-PCR Combined with the Restriction Enzyme Digestion Method†  
Journal of Virology  2005;79(3):1813-1823.
Virus persistence in chronic hepatitis B patients is due to the sustaining level of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) within the nuclei of infected hepatocytes. In this study, we used a modified 1.3-fold hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome, with a BclI genetic marker embedded in the redundancy region, to examine the transcriptional activity of cccDNA and the effect of the HBx protein on transcriptional regulation. After harvesting total RNA from transfected cells or stable lines, we specifically identified and monitored the transcripts from cccDNA by using reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) combined with the restriction enzyme digestion method. In this approach, we have found that (i) RT-PCR combined with detection of the BclI marker is a highly specific method for distinguishing cccDNA-derived transcripts from the original integrated viral genome, (ii) the transcriptional ability of cccDNA was less efficient than that from the integrated viral genome, and (iii) the transcriptional activity of cccDNA was significantly regulated by the HBx protein, a potential transcription activator. In conclusion, we provided a tool with which to elucidate the transcriptional regulation of cccDNA and clarified the transcriptional regulation mechanism of HBx on cccDNA. The results obtained may be helpful in the development of a clinical intervention for patients with chronic HBV infections.
PMCID: PMC544084  PMID: 15650205
10.  Cocirculation of Three Hemagglutinin and Two Neuraminidase Subtypes of Avian Influenza Viruses in Huzhou, China, April 2013: Implication for the Origin of the Novel H7N9 Virus 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(11):6506-6511.
We detected three avian influenza hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes (H7, H9, and H5) and two neuraminidase (NA) subtypes (N9 and N2), as well as H7N9-related H9N9 reassortant intermediates, cocirculating among poultry in Huzhou, China, during April 2013. The results of our study reveal not only that Huzhou is one of the geographic origins of the novel H7N9 virus but also that cocirculation poses a potential threat to humans in the future.
PMCID: PMC4093899  PMID: 24623437
11.  3Cpro of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Antagonizes the Interferon Signaling Pathway by Blocking STAT1/STAT2 Nuclear Translocation 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(9):4908-4920.
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes a highly contagious, debilitating disease in cloven-hoofed animals with devastating economic consequences. To survive in the host, FMDV has evolved to antagonize the host type I interferon (IFN) response. Previous studies have reported that the leader proteinase (Lpro) and 3Cpro of FMDV are involved in the inhibition of type I IFN production. However, whether the proteins of FMDV can inhibit type I IFN signaling is less well understood. In this study, we first found that 3Cpro of FMDV functioned to interfere with the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. Expression of 3Cpro significantly reduced the transcript levels of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) promoter activity. The protein level, tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2, and their heterodimerization were not affected. However, the nuclear translocation of STAT1/STAT2 was blocked by the 3Cpro protein. Further mechanistic studies demonstrated that 3Cpro induced proteasome- and caspase-independent protein degradation of karyopherin α1 (KPNA1), the nuclear localization signal receptor for tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT1, but not karyopherin α2, α3, or α4. Finally, we showed that the protease activity of 3Cpro contributed to the degradation of KPNA1 and thus blocked STAT1/STAT2 nuclear translocation. Taken together, results of our experiments describe for the first time a novel mechanism by which FMDV evolves to inhibit IFN signaling and counteract host innate antiviral responses.
IMPORTANCE We show that 3Cpro of FMDV antagonizes the JAK-STAT signaling pathway by blocking STAT1/STAT2 nuclear translocation. Furthermore, 3Cpro induces KPNA1 degradation, which is independent of proteasome and caspase pathways. The protease activity of 3Cpro contributes to the degradation of KPNA1 and governs the ability of 3Cpro to inhibit the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. This study uncovers a novel mechanism evolved by FMDV to antagonize host innate immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3993825  PMID: 24554650
12.  A Host-Oriented Inhibitor of Junin Argentine Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Egress 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(9):4736-4743.
There are currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccines or therapeutics to prevent or treat Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF). The causative agent of AHF is Junin virus (JUNV); a New World arenavirus classified as a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention category A priority pathogen. The PTAP late (L) domain motif within JUNV Z protein facilitates virion egress and transmission by recruiting host Tsg101 and other ESCRT complex proteins to promote scission of the virus particle from the plasma membrane. Here, we describe a novel compound (compound 0013) that blocks the JUNV Z-Tsg101 interaction and inhibits budding of virus-like particles (VLPs) driven by ectopic expression of the Z protein and live-attenuated JUNV Candid-1 strain in cell culture. Since inhibition of the PTAP-Tsg101 interaction inhibits JUNV egress, compound 0013 serves as a prototype therapeutic that could reduce virus dissemination and disease progression in infected individuals. Moreover, since PTAP l-domain-mediated Tsg101 recruitment is utilized by other RNA virus pathogens (e.g., Ebola virus and HIV-1), PTAP inhibitors such as compound 0013 have the potential to function as potent broad-spectrum, host-oriented antiviral drugs.
IMPORTANCE There are currently no FDA-approved vaccines or therapeutics to prevent or treat Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF). The causative agent of AHF is Junin virus (JUNV); a New World arenavirus classified as an NIAID/CDC category A priority pathogen. Here, we describe a prototype therapeutic that blocks budding of JUNV and has the potential to function as a broad-spectrum antiviral drug.
PMCID: PMC3993831  PMID: 24522922
13.  Assessment of the Internal Genes of Influenza A (H7N9) Virus Contributing to High Pathogenicity in Mice 
Journal of Virology  2014;89(1):2-13.
The recently identified H7N9 influenza A virus has caused severe economic losses and worldwide public concern. Genetic analysis indicates that its six internal genes all originated from H9N2 viruses. However, the H7N9 virus is more highly pathogenic in humans than H9N2, which suggests that the internal genes of H7N9 have mutated. To analyze which H7N9 virus internal genes contribute to its high pathogenicity, a series of reassortants was generated by reverse genetics, with each virus containing a single internal gene of the typical A/Anhui/1/2013 (H7N9) (AH-H7N9) virus in the genetic background of the A/chicken/Shandong/lx1023/2007 (H9N2) virus. The replication ability, polymerase activity, and pathogenicity of these viruses were then evaluated in vitro and in vivo. These recombinants displayed high genetic compatibility, and the H7N9-derived PB2, M, and NP genes were identified as the virulence genes for the reassortants in mice. Further investigation confirmed that the PB2 K627 residue is critical for the high pathogenicity of the H7N9 virus and the reassortant containing the H7N9-derived PB2 segment (H9N2-AH/PB2). Notably, the H7N9-derived PB2 gene displayed greater compatibility with the H9N2 genome than that of H7N9, endowing the H9N2-AH/PB2 reassortant with greater viability and virulence than the parental H7N9 virus. In addition, the H7N9 virus, with the exception of the H9N2 reassortants, could effectively replicate in human A549 cells. Our results indicate that PB2, M, and NP are the key virulence genes, together with the surface hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins, contributing to the high infectivity of the H7N9 virus in humans.
IMPORTANCE To date, the novel H7N9 influenza A virus has caused 437 human infections, with approximately 30% mortality. Previous work has primarily focused on the two viral surface proteins, HA and NA, but the contribution of the six internal genes to the high pathogenicity of H7N9 has not been systematically studied. Here, the H9N2 virus was used as a genetic backbone to evaluate the virulence genes of H7N9 virus in vitro and in vivo. Our data indicate that the PB2, M, and NP genes play important roles in viral infection in mice and, together with HA and NA, contribute to the high infectivity of the H7N9 virus in humans.
PMCID: PMC4301103  PMID: 25320305
14.  Resveratrol Inhibits the TRIF-Dependent Pathway by Upregulating Sterile Alpha and Armadillo Motif Protein, Contributing to Anti-Inflammatory Effects after Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(8):4229-4236.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important cause of lower respiratory tract infection in young children and the leading cause of infant hospitalization worldwide. Uncontrolled response to RSV is mediated by a toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated immune response. Resveratrol possesses anti-RSV activity and is an inhibitor of the TRIF/TBK1/IRF-3 complex. We hypothesize that resveratrol inhibits the TRIF-dependent pathway through upregulation of SARM post-RSV infection. BALB/c mice were infected with RSV and were injected with resveratrol 1 h postinoculation. SARM short interfering RNA was administered to RSV-infected and resveratrol-treated mice. Lung function was measured by whole-body plethysmography, lung histopathology was examined, and lymphocytes in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were quantified. SARM and TRIF protein expression were detected in the lung by Western blot analyses. The expression of gamma interferon in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). SARM expression was reduced and TRIF expression was increased after infection with RSV. Resveratrol increased SARM expression and decreased TRIF expression after RSV infection. SARM knockdown in resveratrol-treated mice enhanced gamma interferon production, RSV-induced airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). Resveratrol decreased TRIF expression and prevented the RSV-mediated reduction of SARM expression. Resveratrol-mediated inhibition of the TRIF-dependent pathway may be dependent on SARM expression.
IMPORTANCE Our study provides insights into the regulation of innate immunity in response to RSV infection. The results suggest that resveratrol-mediated alterations in SARM have therapeutic potential against RSV immunopathology caused by deregulation of the TLR-mediated immune response. Ultimately, improved insight into the complex interplay between TLR adaptor proteins and the occurrence of severe RSV infection might lead to novel therapeutic treatment strategies, such as TLR adjuvants.
PMCID: PMC3993725  PMID: 24478430
15.  Naturally Occurring Mutations in the PA Gene Are Key Contributors to Increased Virulence of Pandemic H1N1/09 Influenza Virus in Mice 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(8):4600-4604.
We examined the molecular basis of virulence of pandemic H1N1/09 influenza viruses by reverse genetics based on two H1N1/09 virus isolates (A/California/04/2009 [CA04] and A/swine/Shandong/731/2009 [SD731]) with contrasting pathogenicities in mice. We found that four amino acid mutations (P224S in the PA protein [PA-P224S], PB2-T588I, NA-V106I, and NS1-I123V) contributed to the lethal phenotype of SD731. In particular, the PA-P224S mutation when combined with PA-A70V in CA04 drastically reduced the virus's 50% mouse lethal dose (LD50), by almost 1,000-fold.
PMCID: PMC3993729  PMID: 24522908
16.  The MYC, TERT, and ZIC1 Genes Are Common Targets of Viral Integration and Transcriptional Deregulation in Avian Leukosis Virus Subgroup J-Induced Myeloid Leukosis 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(6):3182-3191.
The integration of retroviruses into the host genome following nonrandom genome-wide patterns may lead to the deregulation of gene expression and oncogene activation near the integration sites. Slow-transforming retroviruses have been widely used to perform genetic screens for the identification of genes involved in cancer. To investigate the involvement of avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) integration in myeloid leukosis (ML) in chickens, we utilized an ALV-J insertional identification platform based on hybrid capture target enrichment and next-generation sequencing (NGS). Using high-definition mapping of the viral integration sites in the chicken genome, 241 unique insertion sites were obtained from six different ALV-J-induced ML samples. On the basis of previous statistical definitions, MYC, TERT, and ZIC1 genes were identified as common insertion sites (CIS) of provirus integration in tumor cells; these three genes have previously been shown to be involved in the malignant transformation of different human cell types. Compared to control samples, the expression levels of all three CIS genes were significantly upregulated in chicken ML samples. Furthermore, they were frequently, but not in all field ML cases, deregulated at the mRNA level as a result of ALV-J infection. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the relationship between multipathotypes associated with ALV-J infection and the molecular background of tumorigenesis.
IMPORTANCE ALV-Js have been successfully eradicated from chicken breeding flocks in the poultry industries of developed countries, and the control and eradication of ALV-J in China are now progressing steadily. To further study the pathogenesis of ALV-J infections, it will be necessary to elucidate the in vivo viral integration and tumorigenesis mechanism. In this study, 241 unique insertion sites were obtained from six different ALV-J-induced ML samples. In addition, MYC, TERT, and ZIC1 genes were identified as the CIS of ALV-J in tumor cells, which might be a putative “driver” for the activation of the oncogene. In addition, the CIS genes showed deregulated expression compared to nontumor samples. These results have potentially important implications for the mechanism of viral carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3957963  PMID: 24371071
17.  Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Tax-Deregulated Autophagy Pathway and c-FLIP Expression Contribute to Resistance against Death Receptor-Mediated Apoptosis 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(5):2786-2798.
The human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax protein is considered to play a central role in the process that leads to adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). HTLV-1 Tax-expressing cells show resistance to apoptosis induced by Fas ligand (FasL) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). The regulation of Tax on the autophagy pathway in HeLa cells and peripheral T cells was recently reported, but the function and underlying molecular mechanism of the Tax-regulated autophagy are not yet well defined. Here, we report that HTLV-1 Tax deregulates the autophagy pathway, which plays a protective role during the death receptor (DR)-mediated apoptosis of human U251 astroglioma cells. The cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP), which is upregulated by Tax, also contributes to the resistance against DR-mediated apoptosis. Both Tax-induced autophagy and Tax-induced c-FLIP expression require Tax-induced activation of IκB kinases (IKK). Furthermore, Tax-induced c-FLIP expression is regulated through the Tax-IKK-NF-κB signaling pathway, whereas Tax-triggered autophagy depends on the activation of IKK but not the activation of NF-κB. In addition, DR-mediated apoptosis is correlated with the degradation of Tax, which can be facilitated by the inhibitors of autophagy.
IMPORTANCE Our study reveals that Tax-deregulated autophagy is a protective mechanism for DR-mediated apoptosis. The molecular mechanism of Tax-induced autophagy is also illuminated, which is different from Tax-increased c-FLIP. Tax can be degraded via manipulation of autophagy and TRAIL-induced apoptosis. These results outline a complex regulatory network between and among apoptosis, autophagy, and Tax and also present evidence that autophagy represents a new possible target for therapeutic intervention for the HTVL-1 related diseases.
PMCID: PMC3958099  PMID: 24352466
18.  Human Astrocytic Cells Support Persistent Coxsackievirus B3 Infection 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(22):12407-12421.
Enteroviruses can frequently target the human central nervous system to induce a variety of neurological diseases. Although enteroviruses are highly cytolytic, emerging evidence has shown that these viruses can establish persistent infections both in vivo and in vitro. Here, we investigated the susceptibility of three human brain cell lines, CCF-STTG1, T98G, and SK-N-SH, to infection with three enterovirus serotypes: coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3), enterovirus 71, and coxsackievirus A9. Persistent infection was observed in CVB3-infected CCF-STTG1 cells, as evidenced by prolonged detection of infectious virions, viral RNA, and viral antigens. Of note, infected CCF-STTG1 cells expressed the nonfunctional canonical viral receptors coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor and decay-accelerating factor, while removal of cell surface chondroitin sulfate from CCF-STTG1 cells inhibited the replication of CVB3, suggesting that receptor usage was one of the major limiting factors in CVB3 persistence. In addition, CVB3 curtailed the induction of beta interferon in infected CCF-STTG1 cells, which likely contributed to the initiation of persistence. Furthermore, proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines, such as vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, interleukin-8 (IL-8), and IL-6, were upregulated in CVB3-infected CCF-STTG1 cells and human progenitor-derived astrocytes. Our data together demonstrate the potential of CCF-STTG1 cells to be a novel cell model for studying CVB3-central nervous system interactions, providing the basis toward a better understanding of CVB3-induced chronic neuropathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3807905  PMID: 24027313
19.  Novel Recombinant Hepatitis B Virus Vectors Efficiently Deliver Protein and RNA Encoding Genes into Primary Hepatocytes 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(12):6615-6624.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has extremely restricted host and hepatocyte tropism. HBV-based vectors could form the basis of novel therapies for chronic hepatitis B and other liver diseases and would also be invaluable for the study of HBV infection. Previous attempts at developing HBV-based vectors encountered low yields of recombinant viruses and/or lack of sufficient infectivity/cargo gene expression in primary hepatocytes, which hampered follow-up applications. In this work, we constructed a novel vector based on a naturally occurring, highly replicative HBV mutant with a 207-bp deletion in the preS1/polymerase spacer region. By applying a novel insertion strategy that preserves the continuity of the polymerase open reading frame (ORF), recombinant HBV (rHBV) carrying protein or small interfering RNA (siRNA) genes were obtained that replicated and were packaged efficiently in cultured hepatocytes. We demonstrated that rHBV expressing a fluorescent reporter (DsRed) is highly infective in primary tree shrew hepatocytes, and rHBV expressing HBV-targeting siRNA successfully inhibited antigen expression from coinfected wild-type HBV. This novel HBV vector will be a powerful tool for hepatocyte-targeting gene delivery, as well as the study of HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3676104  PMID: 23552416
20.  Tyrosine 132 Phosphorylation of Influenza A Virus M1 Protein Is Crucial for Virus Replication by Controlling the Nuclear Import of M1 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(11):6182-6191.
Phosphorylation of viral proteins plays important roles in the influenza A virus (IAV) life cycle. By using mass spectrometry, we identified tyrosine 132 (Y132) as a phosphorylation site of the matrix protein (M1) of the influenza virus A/WSN/1933(H1N1). Phosphorylation at this site is essential to the process of virus replication by controlling the nuclear import of M1. We further demonstrated that the phosphorylated tyrosine is crucial for the binding of M1 to the nuclear import factor importin-α1, since any substitutions at this site severely reduce this protein-protein interaction and damage the importin-α1-mediated nuclear import of M1. Additionally, the tyrosine phosphorylation which leads to the nuclear import of M1 is blocked by a Janus kinase inhibitor. The present study reveals a pivotal role of this tyrosine phosphorylation in the intracellular transportation of M1, which controls the process of viral replication.
PMCID: PMC3648105  PMID: 23536660
22.  Complete Genome Sequence of Seoul Virus Isolated from Rattus norvegicus in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(24):13853.
Seoul virus (SEOV) is responsible for 25% of cases of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Asia. Here we report the complete genome of strain DPRK08. The sequence information provided here is useful for understanding the molecular character of SEOV in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the circulation of SEOV in East Asia.
PMCID: PMC3503101  PMID: 23166256
23.  Complete Genome Sequence Analysis of a Natural Reassortant Infectious Bursal Disease Virus in China 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(21):11942-11943.
A novel isolate of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) was designated GX-NN-L. The GX-NN-L IBDV was a very virulent infectious bursal disease virus (vvIBDV) isolated from broiler flocks in Guangxi province, China, in 2011. The GX-NN-L IBDV caused high mortality, immunosuppression, low weight gain, and bursal atrophy in commercial broilers. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of the GX-NN-L IBDV, a reassortment strain with segments A and B derived from very virulent strains and attenuated IBDV, respectively. These findings from this study provide additional insights into the genetic exchange between attenuated and very virulent strains of IBDV and continuous monitoring of the spread of the virus in chicken.
PMCID: PMC3486314  PMID: 23043174
24.  Complete Genomic Sequence of a Novel Reassortant H11N3 Influenza Virus Isolated from Domestic Ducks in Jiangsu, China 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(21):11950-11951.
For the first time we report the complete genomic sequence of an H11N3 influenza virus from domestic ducks in China. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the H11N3 virus was a novel reassortant with its genes from different subtypes of domestic duck-origin avian influenza viruses, which further underlined that domestic ducks play a key role in the genetic reassortment and evolution of influenza viruses in China.
PMCID: PMC3486340  PMID: 23043179
25.  Complete Genome Sequence of a Newcastle Disease Virus Strain Isolated from Broiler Breeder Flocks in China 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(22):12461-12462.
In 2010 and 2011, several devastating Newcastle disease (ND) outbreaks occurred in China, affecting broilers, layers, and breeders. The CK-JSX1-201005 virus was isolated from broiler breeder flocks vaccinated with the classical ND virus (NDV) vaccine program, but laying rate decreased from 80% to 30 to 40% in the clinic. Here, we report the complete genome sequence and molecular characteristic of the CK-JSX1-201005 NDV. These findings provide additional insights into the genetic variation of NDV circulating in China and are useful for vaccine development for NDV.
PMCID: PMC3486497  PMID: 23087120

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