The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic (pH1N1) led to record sales of neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors, which has contributed significantly to the recent increase in oseltamivir-resistant viruses. Therefore, development and careful evaluation of novel NA inhibitors is of great interest. Recently, a highly potent NA inhibitor, laninamivir, has been approved for use in Japan. Laninamivir is effective using a single inhaled dose via its octanoate prodrug (CS-8958) and has been demonstrated to be effective against oseltamivir-resistant NA in vitro. However, effectiveness of laninamivir octanoate prodrug against oseltamivir-resistant influenza infection in adults has not been demonstrated. NA is classified into 2 groups based upon phylogenetic analysis and it is becoming clear that each group has some distinct structural features. Recently, we found that pH1N1 N1 NA (p09N1) is an atypical group 1 NA with some group 2-like features in its active site (lack of a 150-cavity). Furthermore, it has been reported that certain oseltamivir-resistant substitutions in the NA active site are group 1 specific. In order to comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of laninamivir, we utilized recombinant N5 (typical group 1), p09N1 (atypical group 1) and N2 from the 1957 pandemic H2N2 (p57N2) (typical group 2) to carry out in vitro inhibition assays. We found that laninamivir and its octanoate prodrug display group specific preferences to different influenza NAs and provide the structural basis of their specific action based upon their novel complex crystal structures. Our results indicate that laninamivir and zanamivir are more effective against group 1 NA with a 150-cavity than group 2 NA with no 150-cavity. Furthermore, we have found that the laninamivir octanoate prodrug has a unique binding mode in p09N1 that is different from that of group 2 p57N2, but with some similarities to NA-oseltamivir binding, which provides additional insight into group specific differences of oseltamivir binding and resistance.
The influenza neuraminidase (NA) enzyme is the most successful drug target against the seasonal and pandemic flu. The 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic led to record sales of the NA inhibitors oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Recently, a new drug, laninamivir (Inavir), has been approved for use in Japan can also be administered effectively using a single dose via its octanoate prodrug (CS-8958), however its effectiveness against oseltamivir-resistant influenza infection has not been demonstrated in clinical studies. In this study we comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of laninamivir and its prodrug using NA from different groups with different active site features. We expressed and purified a group 2 NA from the 1957 pandemic H2N2, an atypical group 1 NA from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and a group 1 NA from avian H12N5. NA inhibition was assayed and NAs were further crystallized with each inhibitor to determine the structural basis of their action. We found that laninamivir inhibition is highly potent for each NA, however binding and inhibition of laninamivir and its prodrug showed group specific preferences. Our results provide the structural and functional basis of NA inhibition using classical and novel inhibitors, with NAs from multiple serotypes with different properties.
Nematode-trapping fungi are “carnivorous” and attack their hosts using specialized trapping devices. The morphological development of these traps is the key indicator of their switch from saprophytic to predacious lifestyles. Here, the genome of the nematode-trapping fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora Fres. (ATCC24927) was reported. The genome contains 40.07 Mb assembled sequence with 11,479 predicted genes. Comparative analysis showed that A. oligospora shared many more genes with pathogenic fungi than with non-pathogenic fungi. Specifically, compared to several sequenced ascomycete fungi, the A. oligospora genome has a larger number of pathogenicity-related genes in the subtilisin, cellulase, cellobiohydrolase, and pectinesterase gene families. Searching against the pathogen-host interaction gene database identified 398 homologous genes involved in pathogenicity in other fungi. The analysis of repetitive sequences provided evidence for repeat-induced point mutations in A. oligospora. Proteomic and quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses revealed that 90 genes were significantly up-regulated at the early stage of trap-formation by nematode extracts and most of these genes were involved in translation, amino acid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, cell wall and membrane biogenesis. Based on the combined genomic, proteomic and qPCR data, a model for the formation of nematode trapping device in this fungus was proposed. In this model, multiple fungal signal transduction pathways are activated by its nematode prey to further regulate downstream genes associated with diverse cellular processes such as energy metabolism, biosynthesis of the cell wall and adhesive proteins, cell division, glycerol accumulation and peroxisome biogenesis. This study will facilitate the identification of pathogenicity-related genes and provide a broad foundation for understanding the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms underlying fungi-nematodes interactions.
The fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora has multiple lifestyles. It's not only a nematode pathogen, but also a saprophyte, a pathogen of other fungi, and a colonizer of plant roots. As a nematode pathogen, A. oligospora forms adhesive networks to capture nematodes and is a model organism for understanding the interaction between these fungi and their host nematodes. In this study, the whole genome sequence of A. oligospora was reported. Our analyses of the proteome profiles of intracellular proteins from cells treated with nematode extracts for 10 h and 48 h revealed a key set of genes involved in trap formation. The changes in protein levels for some trap formation related genes were further confirmed by qPCR. The combined genome and proteome analysis identified the major genetic and metabolic pathways involved in trap formation in A. oligospora. Our results provide the first glimpse into the genome and proteome of this fascinating group of carnivorous fungi. The data should serve as a roadmap for further investigations into the interaction between nematode-trapping fungi and their host nematodes, providing broad foundations for research on the biocontrol of pathogenic nematodes.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, first described in China in 1984, causes hemorrhagic necrosis of the liver. Its etiological agent, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), belongs to the Lagovirus genus in the family Caliciviridae. The detailed molecular structure of any lagovirus capsid has yet to be determined. Here, we report a cryo-electron microscopic (cryoEM) reconstruction of wild-type RHDV at 6.5 Å resolution and the crystal structures of the shell (S) and protruding (P) domains of its major capsid protein, VP60, each at 2.0 Å resolution. From these data we built a complete atomic model of the RHDV capsid. VP60 has a conserved S domain and a specific P2 sub-domain that differs from those found in other caliciviruses. As seen in the shell portion of the RHDV cryoEM map, which was resolved to ∼5.5 Å, the N-terminal arm domain of VP60 folds back onto its cognate S domain. Sequence alignments of VP60 from six groups of RHDV isolates revealed seven regions of high variation that could be mapped onto the surface of the P2 sub-domain and suggested three putative pockets might be responsible for binding to histo-blood group antigens. A flexible loop in one of these regions was shown to interact with rabbit tissue cells and contains an important epitope for anti-RHDV antibody production. Our study provides a reliable, pseudo-atomic model of a Lagovirus and suggests a new candidate for an efficient vaccine that can be used to protect rabbits from RHDV infection.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD), first described in China in 1984, causes hemorrhagic necrosis of the liver within three days after infection and with a mortality rate that exceeds 90%. RHD has spread to large parts of the world and threatens the rabbit industry and related ecology. Its etiological agent, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), belongs to the Lagovirus genus in the family Caliciviridae. Currently, the absence of a high-resolution model of any lagovirus impedes our understanding of its molecular interactions with hosts and successful design of an efficient anti-RHDV vaccine. Here, we use hybrid structural approaches to construct a pseudo-atomic model of RHDV that reveals significant differences in the P2 sub-domain of the major capsid protein compared to that seen in other caliciviruses. We identified seven regions of high sequence variation in this sub-domain that dictate the binding specificities of histo-blood group antigens. In one of these regions, we identified an antigenic peptide that interacts with rabbit tissue cells and elicits a significant immune response in rabbits and, hence, protects them from RHDV infection. Our pseudo-atomic model provides a structural framework for developing new anti-RHDV vaccines and will also help guide use of the RHDV capsid as a vehicle to display human tumor antigens as part of anti-tumor therapy.
The cellular endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery participates in membrane scission and cytoplasmic budding of many RNA viruses. Here, we found that expression of dominant negative ESCRT proteins caused a blockade of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) release and retention of viral BFRF1 at the nuclear envelope. The ESCRT adaptor protein Alix was redistributed and partially colocalized with BFRF1 at the nuclear rim of virus replicating cells. Following transient transfection, BFRF1 associated with ESCRT proteins, reorganized the nuclear membrane and induced perinuclear vesicle formation. Multiple domains within BFRF1 mediated vesicle formation and Alix recruitment, whereas both Bro and PRR domains of Alix interacted with BFRF1. Inhibition of ESCRT machinery abolished BFRF1-induced vesicle formation, leading to the accumulation of viral DNA and capsid proteins in the nucleus of EBV-replicating cells. Overall, data here suggest that BFRF1 recruits the ESCRT components to modulate nuclear envelope for the nuclear egress of EBV.
Herpesviruses are large DNA viruses associated with human and animal diseases. After viral DNA replication, the herpesviral nucleocapsids egress through the nuclear membrane for subsequent cytoplasmic virion maturation. However, the mechanism by which the virus regulates the nuclear membrane and cellular machinery involved in this process remained elusive. The cellular endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery is known to participate in the biogenesis of multivesicular bodies, cytokinesis and the release of enveloped viruses from cytoplasmic membranes. Here, we show that functional ESCRT machinery is required for the maturation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). ESCRT proteins are redistributed close to the nucleus-associated membrane through interaction with the viral BFRF1 protein, leading to vesicle formation and structural changes of the nuclear membrane. Remarkably, inhibition of ESCRT machinery abolishes BFRF1-induced vesicle formation, and leads to the accumulation of viral DNA and capsid proteins in the nucleus. Specific interactions between BFRF1 and Alix are required for BFRF1-derived vesicle formation and crucial for the nuclear egress of EBV.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) pathogenesis is a complex process involving a diverse array of extracellular and cell wall components. ClfB, an MSCRAMM (Microbial Surface Components Recognizing Adhesive Matrix Molecules) family surface protein, described as a fibrinogen-binding clumping factor, is a key determinant of S. aureus nasal colonization, but the molecular basis for ClfB-ligand recognition remains unknown. In this study, we solved the crystal structures of apo-ClfB and its complexes with fibrinogen α (Fg α) and cytokeratin 10 (CK10) peptides. Structural comparison revealed a conserved glycine-serine-rich (GSR) ClfB binding motif (GSSGXGXXG) within the ligands, which was also found in other human proteins such as Engrailed protein, TCF20 and Dermokine proteins. Interaction between Dermokine and ClfB was confirmed by subsequent binding assays. The crystal structure of ClfB complexed with a 15-residue peptide derived from Dermokine revealed the same peptide binding mode of ClfB as identified in the crystal structures of ClfB-Fg α and ClfB-CK10. The results presented here highlight the multi-ligand binding property of ClfB, which is very distinct from other characterized MSCRAMMs to-date. The adherence of multiple peptides carrying the GSR motif into the same pocket in ClfB is reminiscent of MHC molecules. Our results provide a template for the identification of other molecules targeted by S. aureus during its colonization and infection. We propose that other MSCRAMMs like ClfA and SdrG also possess multi-ligand binding properties.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), an important opportunistic pathogen, is a major threat to humans and animals, causing high morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is responsible for a variety of infections ranging from mild superficial infections to severe infections such as infective endocarditis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis and sepsis. Such infections are of growing concern due to the increasing antibiotic resistance of S. aureus. In order to understand the mechanism of the S. aureus pathogenesis, we studied one of the bacterial surface proteins clumping factor B (ClfB) bound by the fibrinogen α (Fg α) and cytokeratin 10 (CK10). From analyses of the high resolution crystal structures we found that the ClfB-binding peptides harbor a stretch with consensus sequence (GSSGXGXXG) that is also conserved in Engrailed protein, TCF20 and Dermokines. The interaction between ClfB and a dermokine-derived peptide was demonstrated using binding assays. Consistent with a role of ClfB in the inflammatory responses induced by S. aureus, expression of dermokines is predominant in epithelial tissues and upregulated in inflammatory diseases. The data presented in this study raise a possibility that multiple human proteins are targeted by ClfB during S. aureus infection. The multi-ligand binding feature of ClfB would be valuable for developing new therapeutic strategies.
Plant intracellular immune receptors comprise a large number of multi-domain proteins resembling animal NOD-like receptors (NLRs). Plant NLRs typically recognize isolate-specific pathogen-derived effectors, encoded by avirulence (AVR) genes, and trigger defense responses often associated with localized host cell death. The barley MLA gene is polymorphic in nature and encodes NLRs of the coiled-coil (CC)-NB-LRR type that each detects a cognate isolate-specific effector of the barley powdery mildew fungus. We report the systematic analyses of MLA10 activity in disease resistance and cell death signaling in barley and Nicotiana benthamiana. MLA10 CC domain-triggered cell death is regulated by highly conserved motifs in the CC and the NB-ARC domains and by the C-terminal LRR of the receptor. Enforced MLA10 subcellular localization, by tagging with a nuclear localization sequence (NLS) or a nuclear export sequence (NES), shows that MLA10 activity in cell death signaling is suppressed in the nucleus but enhanced in the cytoplasm. By contrast, nuclear localized MLA10 is sufficient to mediate disease resistance against powdery mildew fungus. MLA10 retention in the cytoplasm was achieved through attachment of a glucocorticoid receptor hormone-binding domain (GR), by which we reinforced the role of cytoplasmic MLA10 in cell death signaling. Together with our data showing an essential and sufficient nuclear MLA10 activity in disease resistance, this suggests a bifurcation of MLA10-triggered cell death and disease resistance signaling in a compartment-dependent manner.
Plants utilize a multilayered immune system to protect themselves against pathogens. One layer of innate immunity is controlled by intracellular immune receptors called disease resistance (R) proteins. Plant R proteins are powerful molecules capable of triggering host cell suicide thereby restricting pathogen growth. Therefore, it is crucial for plants to control R protein activity in signaling cell death to avoid harmful autoimmune responses. The Barley MLA locus encodes a number of immune receptors that each recognizes a specific powdery mildew fungal strain. Upon pathogen recognition MLAs trigger host defenses concomitant with a rapid cell death response. We here show that MLA10 cell death-inducing activity is tightly regulated by conserved motifs located in two of its domains and by specific cellular chaperone components. Furthermore, we show distinct functions for the nuclear and cytoplasmic MLA10 pools in disease resistance and cell death signaling and provide evidence for a model uncoupling MLA10 cell death signaling from its disease resistance activity. Our results suggest that plant immune receptors integrate signals from multiple sub-cellular compartments to coordinate effective immune responses against pathogen attack.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is closely associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), a human malignancy notorious for its highly metastatic nature. Among EBV-encoded genes, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is expressed in most NPC tissues and exerts oncogenicity by engaging multiple signaling pathways in a ligand-independent manner. LMP1 expression also results in actin cytoskeleton reorganization, which modulates cell morphology and cell motility— cellular process regulated by RhoGTPases, such as Cdc42. Despite the prominent association of Cdc42 activation with tumorigenesis, the molecular basis of Cdc42 activation by LMP1 in NPC cells remains to be elucidated. Here using GST-CBD (active Cdc42-binding domain) as bait in GST pull-down assays to precipitate active Cdc42 from cell lysates, we demonstrated that LMP1 acts through its transmembrane domains to preferentially induce Cdc42 activation in various types of epithelial cells, including NPC cells. Using RNA interference combined with re-introduction experiments, we identified FGD4 (FYVE, RhoGEF and PH domain containing 4) as the GEF (guanine nucleotide exchange factor) responsible for the activation of Cdc42 by LMP1. Serial deletion experiments and co-immunoprecipitation assays further revealed that ectopically expressed FGD4 modulated LMP1-mediated Cdc42 activation by interacting with LMP1. Moreover, LMP1, through its transmembrane domains, directly bound FGD4 and enhanced FGD4 activity toward Cdc42, leading to actin cytoskeleton rearrangement and increased motility of NPC cells. Depletion of FGD4 or Cdc42 significantly reduced (∼50%) the LMP1-stimulated cell motility, an effect that was partially reversed by expression of a constitutively active mutant of Cdc42. Finally, quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry analyses showed that FGD4 and LMP1 were expressed in NPC tissues, supporting the potential physiologically relevance of this mechanism in NPC. Collectively, our results not only uncover a novel mechanism underlying LMP1-mediated Cdc42 activation, namely LMP1 interaction with FGD4, but also functionally link FGD4 to NPC tumorigenesis.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is closely associated with human malignancies, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Among EBV-expressed genes, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) has been detected in most NPC tissues and has the ability to transform cell growth and drive cell migration, both of which are highly associated with tumorigenesis and tumor progression. Previous reports have demonstrated that cell migration primarily involves cytoskeleton rearrangement, and the RhoGTPase Cdc42 is known to actively mediate such rearrangement processes. Using LMP1-expressing NPC cells, we discovered that LMP1 induces Cdc42 activation by directly binding to FGD4, a positive regulator of Cdc42, thereby promoting motility of NPC cells. The observed correlation between FGD4 and LMP1 expression in NPC tissues provides support of physiological relevance. Notably, FGD4 has recently been shown to be responsible for a type of inherited neural disease. Our findings not only provide a novel insight into EBV pathogenesis, but also suggest a role for FGD4 in tumorigenesis.
The signaling of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) is the host's first line of defense against microbial invasion. The mitochondrion is emerging as a critical platform for antiviral signal transduction. The regulatory role of mitochondria for TLR signaling remains to be explored. Here, we show that the mitochondrial outer-membrane protein MARCH5 positively regulates TLR7 signaling. Ectopic expression or knockdown of MARCH5 enhances or impairs NF-κB-mediated gene expression, respectively. MARCH5 interacts specifically with TANK, and this interaction is enhanced by R837 stimulation. MARCH5 catalyzes the K63-linked poly-ubiquitination of TANK on its Lysines 229, 233, 280, 302 and 306, thus impairing the ability of TANK to inhibit TRAF6. Mislocalization of MARCH5 abolishes its action on TANK, revealing the critical role of mitochondria in modulating innate immunity. Arguably, this represents the first study linking mitochondria to TLR signaling.
In 2005, MAVS was characterized as the critical adaptor protein for the signal transduction of RIG-I-like receptors (RLRs). This provided the first link between mitochondria and the intracellular antiviral defense system. From then on, exploring the potential functions of novel mitochondrial proteins in microbe-host interactions became a rapidly expanding frontier. Notably, it remains unknown whether mitochondrial proteins can directly regulate TLR signaling. Here, we demonstrate that the mitochondrial protein MARCH5 positively modulates TLR7 signaling. Our study reveals that MARCH5 is a novel E3 ubiquitin ligase and catalyzes the K63-linked poly-ubiquitination of TANK. This modification releases the inhibitory effects of TANK on TRAF6. Arguably, this represents the first study linking mitochondria to TLR signaling, shedding new light on the role of mitochondria in the proinflammatory response.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a major public health concern, with no effective vaccines currently available and 3% of the world's population being infected. Despite the existence of both B- and T-cell immunity in HCV-infected patients, chronic viral infection and HCV-related malignancies progress. Here we report the identification of a novel HCV TCR from an HLA-A2-restricted, HCV NS3:1073–1081-reactive CTL clone isolated from a patient with chronic HCV infection. We characterized this HCV TCR by expressing it in human T cells and analyzed the function of the resulting HCV TCR-transduced cells. Our results indicate that both the HCV TCR-transduced CD4+ and CD8+ T cells recognized the HCV NS3:1073–1081 peptide-loaded targets and HCV+ hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HCC) in a polyfunctional manner with cytokine (IFN-γ, IL-2, and TNF-α) production as well as cytotoxicity. Tumor cell recognition by HCV TCR transduced CD8− Jurkat cells and CD4+ PBL-derived T cells indicated this TCR was CD8-independent, a property consistent with other high affinity TCRs. HCV TCR-transduced T cells may be promising for the treatment of patients with chronic HCV infections.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a major public health concern with a large number of individuals infected (3% world wide). Currently, there is no effective vaccine available to prevent HCV infection and the treatment is effective in less than half of all patients. Therefore, many patients have long term infections that lead to severe liver damage or liver cancer. It has been shown that some HCV infected patients can eliminate the virus and the host immune system is involved. The problem is most people do not have the capacity to fight their HCV infection. We have developed a gene therapy based approach where a patient's own immune cells can be made to recognize cells expressing HCV genes. This can be accomplished regardless of his or her natural capacity to fight their HCV infection. This manuscript describes how normal immune cells can be genetically altered to recognize cells expressing HCV proteins and characterizes their reactivity and sensitivity to antigen stimulation.
The membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the HIV-1 glycoprotein gp41 is targeted by the broadly neutralizing antibodies 2F5 and 4E10. To date, no immunization regimen in animals or humans has produced HIV-1 neutralizing MPER-specific antibodies. We immunized llamas with gp41-MPER proteoliposomes and selected a MPER-specific single chain antibody (VHH), 2H10, whose epitope overlaps with that of mAb 2F5. Bi-2H10, a bivalent form of 2H10, which displayed an approximately 20-fold increased affinity compared to the monovalent 2H10, neutralized various sensitive and resistant HIV-1 strains, as well as SHIV strains in TZM-bl cells. X-ray and NMR analyses combined with mutagenesis and modeling revealed that 2H10 recognizes its gp41 epitope in a helical conformation. Notably, tryptophan 100 at the tip of the long CDR3 is not required for gp41 interaction but essential for neutralization. Thus bi-2H10 is an anti-MPER antibody generated by immunization that requires hydrophobic CDR3 determinants in addition to epitope recognition for neutralization similar to the mode of neutralization employed by mAbs 2F5 and 4E10.
Due to the absence of an effective vaccine or cure for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), HIV-1 infections still result in high mortality. Two antibodies, 2F5 and 4E10, previously isolated from HIV-1 infected patients, prevent infections by binding to the MPER of gp41, a part of the virus that is difficult to access and only transiently exposed. Here, we immunized llamas with a gp41-based immunogen and subsequently isolated a small antibody fragment (VHH) that can easily access and recognize the MPER. We showed that a unit of two VHH, named bi-2H10, was indeed capable of preventing HIV-1 from infecting cells. We determined the three dimensional structure of the VHH and mapped its interaction site to an MPER region that overlaps with the 2F5 epitope. The 2H10 VHH displays a membrane binding component important for neutralization that resembles that of 2F5. In conclusion, we have developed an immunogen and a small antibody that may have great potential for development of novel anti-HIV/AIDS vaccines and treatments.
Arthropod-borne pathogens account for millions of deaths each year. Understanding the genetic mechanisms controlling vector susceptibility to pathogens has profound implications for developing novel strategies for controlling insect-transmitted infectious diseases. The fact that many viruses carry genes that have anti-apoptotic activity has long led to the hypothesis that induction of apoptosis could be a fundamental innate immune response. However, the cellular mechanisms mediating the induction of apoptosis following viral infection remained enigmatic, which has prevented experimental verification of the functional significance of apoptosis in limiting viral infection in insects. In addition, studies with cultured insect cells have shown that there is sometimes a lack of apoptosis, or the pro-apoptotic response happens relatively late, thus casting doubt on the functional significance of apoptosis as an innate immunity. Using in vivo mosquito models and the native route of infection, we found that there is a rapid induction of reaper-like pro-apoptotic genes within a few hours following exposure to DNA or RNA viruses. Recapitulating a similar response in Drosophila, we found that this rapid induction of apoptosis requires the function of P53 and is mediated by a stress–responsive regulatory region upstream of reaper. More importantly, we showed that the rapid induction of apoptosis is responsible for preventing the expression of viral genes and blocking the infection. Genetic changes influencing this rapid induction of reaper-like pro-apoptotic genes led to significant differences in susceptibility to viral infection.
Arthropod-borne pathogens account for millions of deaths each year. Understanding the genetic mechanisms controlling arthropod susceptibility to pathogens has profound implications for developing novel strategies for controlling insect-transmitted infectious diseases. Although it was postulated that apoptosis (a genetically controlled form of cellular suicide) may play a very important role in insect innate immunity against viral infection, direct evidence has been lacking due to the lack of knowledge on the regulatory pathways responsible for the induction of apoptosis following viral infection. In this study, we found that there is a rapid induction of pro-apoptotic genes within 1–3 hours of exposure to virus. This rapid pro-apoptotic response was only observed in live animals but not in cultured cells. Genetic analysis indicated that animals lacking this rapid pro-apoptotic response were hypersensitive to viral infection. Thus our work provides unequivocal evidence indicating that rapid induction of apoptosis plays a very important role in mediating insect resistance to viral infection.
Of the Orthomyxoviridae family of viruses, only influenza A viruses are thought to exist as multiple subtypes and has non-human maintenance hosts. In April 2011, nasal swabs were collected for virus isolation from pigs exhibiting influenza-like illness. Subsequent electron microscopic, biochemical, and genetic studies identified an orthomyxovirus with seven RNA segments exhibiting approximately 50% overall amino acid identity to human influenza C virus. Based on its genetic organizational similarities to influenza C viruses this virus has been provisionally designated C/Oklahoma/1334/2011 (C/OK). Phylogenetic analysis of the predicted viral proteins found that the divergence between C/OK and human influenza C viruses was similar to that observed between influenza A and B viruses. No cross reactivity was observed between C/OK and human influenza C viruses using hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays. Additionally, screening of pig and human serum samples found that 9.5% and 1.3%, respectively, of individuals had measurable HI antibody titers to C/OK virus. C/OK virus was able to infect both ferrets and pigs and transmit to naive animals by direct contact. Cell culture studies showed that C/OK virus displayed a broader cellular tropism than a human influenza C virus. The observed difference in cellular tropism was further supported by structural analysis showing that hemagglutinin esterase (HE) proteins between two viruses have conserved enzymatic but divergent receptor-binding sites. These results suggest that C/OK virus represents a new subtype of influenza C viruses that currently circulates in pigs that has not been recognized previously. The presence of multiple subtypes of co-circulating influenza C viruses raises the possibility of reassortment and antigenic shift as mechanisms of influenza C virus evolution.
Influenza C viruses infect most humans during childhood. Unlike influenza A viruses, influenza C viruses exhibit little genetic variability and evolve at a comparably slower rate. Influenza A viruses exist as multiple subtypes and cause disease in numerous mammals. In contrast, influenza C viruses are comprised of a single subtype in its primary human host. Here we characterize a novel swine influenza virus, C/swine/Oklahoma/1334/2011 (C/OK), having only modest genetic similarity to human influenza C viruses. No cross-reaction was observed between C/OK and human influenza C viruses. Antibodies that cross react with C/OK were identified in a significant number of swine but not human sera samples, suggesting that C/OK circulates in pigs. Additionally, we show that C/OK is capable of infecting and transmitting by direct contact in both pigs and ferrets. These results suggest that C/OK represents a new subtype of influenza C viruses. This is significant, as co-circulation of multiple subtypes of influenza allows for rapid viral evolution through antigenic shift, a property previously only shown for influenza A viruses. The ability of C/OK to infect ferrets along with the absence of antibodies to C/OK in humans, suggests that such viruses may become a potential threat to human health.
The interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) protein family represents a new class of cellular restriction factors that block early stages of viral replication; the underlying mechanism is currently not known. Here we provide evidence that IFITM proteins restrict membrane fusion induced by representatives of all three classes of viral membrane fusion proteins. IFITM1 profoundly suppressed syncytia formation and cell-cell fusion induced by almost all viral fusion proteins examined; IFITM2 and IFITM3 also strongly inhibited their fusion, with efficiency somewhat dependent on cell types. Furthermore, treatment of cells with IFN also markedly inhibited viral membrane fusion and entry. By using the Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus envelope and influenza A virus hemagglutinin as models for study, we showed that IFITM-mediated restriction on membrane fusion is not at the steps of receptor- and/or low pH-mediated triggering; instead, the creation of hemifusion was essentially blocked by IFITMs. Chlorpromazine (CPZ), a chemical known to promote the transition from hemifusion to full fusion, was unable to rescue the IFITM-mediated restriction on fusion. In contrast, oleic acid (OA), a lipid analog that generates negative spontaneous curvature and thereby promotes hemifusion, virtually overcame the restriction. To explore the possible effect of IFITM proteins on membrane molecular order and fluidity, we performed fluorescence labeling with Laurdan, in conjunction with two-photon laser scanning and fluorescence-lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). We observed that the generalized polarizations (GPs) and fluorescence lifetimes of cell membranes expressing IFITM proteins were greatly enhanced, indicating higher molecularly ordered and less fluidized membranes. Collectively, our data demonstrated that IFITM proteins suppress viral membrane fusion before the creation of hemifusion, and suggested that they may do so by reducing membrane fluidity and conferring a positive spontaneous curvature in the outer leaflets of cell membranes. Our study provides novel insight into the understanding of how IFITM protein family restricts viral membrane fusion and infection.
Many pathogenic viruses contain an envelope that must fuse with the cell membrane in order to gain entry and initiate infection. This process is mediated by one or more glycoproteins present on the surface of the virions, known as viral fusion proteins. Recently, a family of interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) protein has been shown to block viral infection, including those of highly pathogenic viruses. Here we provide evidence that these IFITM proteins potently suppress membrane fusion induced by representatives of all three classes of viral fusion proteins. Interestingly, we found that the block is not at the steps of receptor binding or low pH that triggers conformational changes of viral fusion proteins required for membrane fusion. Rather, we discovered that the creation of hemifusion, an intermediate in which the outer membranes of the two lipid bilayers have merged but the inner membranes still remain intact is blocked by IFITM proteins. We further demonstrated that overexpression of IFITM proteins rigidify the cell membrane, thereby reducing membrane fluidity and fusion potential. Our study provides novel insight into the understanding of how IFITM proteins restrict viral entry and infection.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is an oncogenic γ-herpesvirus that capably establishes both latent and lytic modes of infection in host cells and causes malignant diseases in humans. Nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA2)-mediated transcription of both cellular and viral genes is essential for the establishment and maintenance of the EBV latency program in B lymphocytes. Here, we employed a protein affinity pull-down and LC-MS/MS analysis to identify nucleophosmin (NPM1) as one of the cellular proteins bound to EBNA2. Additionally, the specific domains that are responsible for protein-protein interactions were characterized as EBNA2 residues 300 to 360 and the oligomerization domain (OD) of NPM1. As in c-MYC, dramatic NPM1 expression was induced in EBV positively infected B cells after three days of viral infection, and both EBNA2 and EBNALP were implicated in the transactivation of the NPM1 promoter. Depletion of NPM1 with the lentivirus-expressed short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) effectively abrogated EBNA2-dependent transcription and transformation outgrowth of lymphoblastoid cells. Notably, the ATP-bound state of NPM1 was required to induce assembly of a protein complex containing EBNA2, RBP-Jκ, and NPM1 by stabilizing the interaction of EBNA2 with RBP-Jκ. In a NPM1-knockdown cell line, we demonstrated that an EBNA2-mediated transcription defect was fully restored by the ectopic expression of NPM1. Our findings highlight the essential role of NPM1 in chaperoning EBNA2 onto the latency-associated membrane protein 1 (LMP1) promoters, which is coordinated with the subsequent activation of transcriptional cascades through RBP-Jκ during EBV infection. These data advance our understanding of EBV pathology and further imply that NPM1 can be exploited as a therapeutic target for EBV-associated diseases.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infects human B cells to establish a permanent infection in hosts, which can cause diseases ranging from infectious mononucleosis to a broad spectrum of human malignancies. The conversion of human primary B cells into indefinitely proliferating lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) by in vitro EBV infection provides a suitable model for virus-mediated cellular transformation. Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA) 2-mediated transcription is essential for the establishment and maintenance of EBV latent infection. In this report, we have extensively explored the mechanism by which EBNA2 activates the latency-specific LMP1 promoter to establish a permanent infection in B cells. We have identified and characterized the protein-protein interaction of EBNA2 with the nuclear shuttle protein nucleophosmin (NPM1) in vivo and in vitro. In particular, we have determined that the expression of NPM1 is promptly induced upon EBV infection and that EBNA2 has a role in activating NPM1 gene expression. Furthermore, we have shown that oligomerized NPM1 is charged by ATP and binds to EBNA2, which is crucial for its ability to stabilize its interaction with the DNA binding protein RBP-Jκ, which is in turn essential for supporting the transcriptional cascades of EBV latent infection. Our findings provide striking evidence to illustrate a new model for understanding EBV pathology.
Viral attachment to target cells is the first step in infection and also serves as a determinant of tropism. Like many viruses, mammalian reoviruses bind with low affinity to cell-surface carbohydrate receptors to initiate the infectious process. Reoviruses disseminate with serotype-specific tropism in the host, which may be explained by differential glycan utilization. Although α2,3-linked sialylated oligosaccharides serve as carbohydrate receptors for type 3 reoviruses, neither a specific glycan bound by any reovirus serotype nor the function of glycan binding in type 1 reovirus infection was known. We have identified the oligosaccharide portion of ganglioside GM2 (the GM2 glycan) as a receptor for the attachment protein σ1 of reovirus strain type 1 Lang (T1L) using glycan array screening. The interaction of T1L σ1 with GM2 in solution was confirmed using NMR spectroscopy. We established that GM2 glycan engagement is required for optimal infection of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) by T1L. Preincubation with GM2 specifically inhibited type 1 but not type 3 reovirus infection of MEFs. To provide a structural basis for these observations, we defined the mode of receptor recognition by determining the crystal structure of T1L σ1 in complex with the GM2 glycan. GM2 binds in a shallow groove in the globular head domain of T1L σ1. Both terminal sugar moieties of the GM2 glycan, N-acetylneuraminic acid and N-acetylgalactosamine, form contacts with the protein, providing an explanation for the observed specificity for GM2. Viruses with mutations in the glycan-binding domain display diminished hemagglutination capacity, a property dependent on glycan binding, and reduced capacity to infect MEFs. Our results define a novel mode of virus-glycan engagement and provide a mechanistic explanation for the serotype-dependent differences in glycan utilization by reovirus.
Receptor utilization plays an important role in viral disease. Viruses must recognize a receptor or sometimes multiple receptors to infect a cell. Mammalian orthoreoviruses (reoviruses) serve as useful models for studies of viral receptor binding and pathogenesis. The reovirus experimental system allows manipulation of both the virus and the host to define mechanisms of viral attachment and disease. Like many viruses, reoviruses engage carbohydrate molecules on the cell-surface, but the oligosaccharide sequences bound and the function of glycan binding in infection were not known prior to this study. We used glycan array screening to determine that serotype 1 reoviruses bind ganglioside GM2 and found that this interaction is required for efficient infection of some types of cells. To better understand how reovirus engages GM2, we determined the structure of the reovirus attachment protein σ1 in complex with the GM2 glycan and defined residues that are required for functional receptor binding. Reoviruses are being tested in clinical trials for efficacy in the treatment of cancer. Cancer cells commonly have altered glycan profiles. Therefore, understanding how reoviruses engage cell-surface glycans might lead to improvements in oncolytic therapy.
Rice dwarf virus (RDV) replicates in and is transmitted by a leafhopper vector in a persistent-propagative manner. Previous cytopathologic and genetic data revealed that tubular structures, constructed by the nonstructural viral protein Pns10, contain viral particles and are directly involved in the intercellular spread of RDV among cultured leafhopper cells. Here, we demonstrated that RDV exploited these virus-containing tubules to move along actin-based microvilli of the epithelial cells and muscle fibers of visceral muscle tissues in the alimentary canal, facilitating the spread of virus in the body of its insect vector leafhoppers. In cultured leafhopper cells, the knockdown of Pns10 expression due to RNA interference (RNAi) induced by synthesized dsRNA from Pns10 gene strongly inhibited tubule formation and prevented the spread of virus among insect vector cells. RNAi induced after ingestion of dsRNA from Pns10 gene strongly inhibited formation of tubules, preventing intercellular spread and transmission of the virus by the leafhopper. All these results, for the first time, show that a persistent-propagative virus exploits virus-containing tubules composed of a nonstructural viral protein to traffic along actin-based cellular protrusions, facilitating the intercellular spread of the virus in the vector insect. The RNAi strategy and the insect vector cell culture provide useful tools to investigate the molecular mechanisms enabling efficient transmission of persistent-propagative plant viruses by vector insects.
Numerous plant viruses that seriously damage agricultural crops are transmitted by insects. However, the mechanisms enabling virus transmission by vector insects have been poorly understood, in part, due to the lack of useful tools. A persistent-propagative plant virus replicates and encodes nonstructural proteins to form various cytopathological structures in their two types of hosts: plants and vector insects. Here, we took advantage of unique biological tools, including insect vector cell culture and RNA interference (RNAi) induced by synthesized dsRNA, to investigate the molecular mechanisms facilitating the efficient spread of Rice dwarf virus (RDV), a persistent-propagative plant virus, among cells and organs of leafhopper vector. Our experimental evidence shows that RDV exploited virus-containing tubules composed of nonstructural viral protein Pns10 to traffic along actin-based cellular machinery, allowing efficient cell-to-cell spread of the virus in leafhopper vector. Consistently, and in support of a function of Pns10 tubules as a determinant for viral spread in vector insect, the introduction of dsRNA from Pns10 gene into cultured insect vector cells or intact insect strongly inhibited such tubule formation, preventing efficient viral intercellular spread in the leafhopper in vitro and in vivo and subsequent transmission by the vector, without significant effect on viral multiplication in leafhopper cells.
Genomic DNA replication is a universal and essential process for all herpesvirus including human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). HCMV UL70 protein, which is believed to encode the primase activity of the viral DNA replication machinery and is highly conserved among herpesviruses, needs to be localized in the nucleus, the site of viral DNA synthesis. No host factors that facilitate the nuclear import of UL70 have been reported. In this study, we provided the first direct evidence that UL70 specifically interacts with a highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed member of the heat shock protein Hsp40/DNAJ family, DNAJB6, which is expressed as two isoforms, a and b, as a result of alternative splicing. The interaction of UL70 with a common region of DNAJB6a and b was identified by both a two hybrid screen in yeast and coimmunoprecipitation in human cells. In transfected cells, UL70 was primarily co-localized with DNAJB6a in the nuclei and with DNAJB6b in the cytoplasm, respectively. The nuclear import of UL70 was increased in cells in which DNAJB6a was up-regulated or DNAJB6b was down-regulated, and was reduced in cells in which DNAJB6a was down-regulated or DNAJB6b was up-regulated. Furthermore, the level of viral DNA synthesis and progeny production was increased in cells in which DNAJB6a was up-regulated or DNAJB6b was down-regulated, and was reduced in cells in which DNAJB6a was down-regulated or DNAJB6b was up-regulated. Thus, DNAJB6a and b appear to enhance the nuclear import and cytoplasmic accumulation of UL70, respectively. Our results also suggest that the relative expression levels of DNAJB6 isoforms may play a key role in regulating the cellular localization of UL70, leading to modulation of HCMV DNA synthesis and lytic infection.
Genomic DNA replication is highly conserved across all herpesviruses including human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and is the target for most of the current FDA-approved anti-herpes therapeutic agents. Little is known about how UL70, which is believed to encode the primase activity of the viral DNA replication machinery and is essential for genomic replication, is imported to the nuclei, the site of viral DNA synthesis. In this study, we demonstrated that the HCMV primase interacts with a highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed chaperone protein DNAJB6 that belongs to the heat shock protein 40 (Hsp40) family. As a result of alternative splicing, DNAJB6 is expressed as two isoforms, a and b. While DNAJB6b promotes cytoplasmic accumulation of the viral primase, DNAJB6a enhances its nuclear distribution, representing the first example of a cellular factor involved in facilitating nuclear import of a herpesvirus primase. Our study suggests that the relative expression level of DNAJB6 isoforms may represent a novel mechanism for modulating HCMV lytic replication by regulating the cellular localization of the viral primase. Furthermore, our results raise the possibility of developing new strategies for treating herpesvirus replication by modulating the cellular distribution of the primase with altered expression of a cellular protein.
The disease cryptococcosis, caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, is acquired directly from environmental exposure rather than transmitted person-to-person. One explanation for the pathogenicity of this species is that interactions with environmental predators select for virulence. However, co-incubation of C. neoformans with amoeba can cause a “switch” from the normal yeast morphology to a pseudohyphal form, enabling fungi to survive exposure to amoeba, yet conversely reducing virulence in mammalian models of cryptococcosis. Like other human pathogenic fungi, C. neoformans is capable of microevolutionary changes that influence the biology of the organism and outcome of the host-pathogen interaction. A yeast-pseudohyphal phenotypic switch also happens under in vitro conditions. Here, we demonstrate that this morphological switch, rather than being under epigenetic control, is controlled by DNA mutation since all pseudohyphal strains bear mutations within genes encoding components of the RAM pathway. High rates of isolation of pseudohyphal strains can be explained by the physical size of RAM pathway genes and a hypermutator phenotype of the strain used in phenotypic switching studies. Reversion to wild type yeast morphology in vitro or within a mammalian host can occur through different mechanisms, with one being counter-acting mutations. Infection of mice with RAM mutants reveals several outcomes: clearance of the infection, asymptomatic maintenance of the strains, or reversion to wild type forms and progression of disease. These findings demonstrate a key role of mutation events in microevolution to modulate the ability of a fungal pathogen to cause disease.
Many diseases are contracted from the environment, rather than from sick people. It is unclear why those species are able to cause disease, since the selective pressures in the environment are presumed to be very different from those found within the host. Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that causes life-threatening lung and central nervous system disease in approximately one million people each year. The fungus is inhaled from environmental sources. One hypothesis to account for C. neoformans virulence is that amoeba are predators for this fungus, and surviving strains are pre-selected to be virulent in the human host. On the other hand, experiments have found that amoeba eat C. neoformans. A pseudohyphal cell type can survive, and while protecting against amoeba these cells are unable to cause disease in mouse models. We predicted that the pseudohyphal morphology reflected a change in function of a pathway of genes, and found that all pseudohyphal isolates contain mutations within genes for this pathway. The pseudohyphal trait is unstable, with reversion to normal yeast growth by counter-acting mutations. These mutations can occur during the course of mammalian infection. Our results show that mutation events account for a microevolution system currently described as phenotypic switching, and that mutations, at least under experimental conditions, can regulate pathogen adaptation and influence its host range.
Two classes of antiviral drugs, neuraminidase inhibitors and adamantanes, are approved for prophylaxis and therapy against influenza virus infections. A major concern is that antiviral resistant viruses emerge and spread in the human population. The 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus is already resistant to adamantanes. Recently, a novel neuraminidase inhibitor resistance mutation I223R was identified in the neuraminidase of this subtype. To understand the resistance mechanism of this mutation, the enzymatic properties of the I223R mutant, together with the most frequently observed resistance mutation, H275Y, and the double mutant I223R/H275Y were compared. Relative to wild type, KM values for MUNANA increased only 2-fold for the single I223R mutant and up to 8-fold for the double mutant. Oseltamivir inhibition constants (KI) increased 48-fold in the single I223R mutant and 7500-fold in the double mutant. In both cases the change was largely accounted for by an increased dissociation rate constant for oseltamivir, but the inhibition constants for zanamivir were less increased. We have used X-ray crystallography to better understand the effect of mutation I223R on drug binding. We find that there is shrinkage of a hydrophobic pocket in the active site as a result of the I223R change. Furthermore, R223 interacts with S247 which changes the rotamer it adopts and, consequently, binding of the pentoxyl substituent of oseltamivir is not as favorable as in the wild type. However, the polar glycerol substituent present in zanamivir, which mimics the natural substrate, is accommodated in the I223R mutant structure in a similar way to wild type, thus explaining the kinetic data. Our structural data also show that, in contrast to a recently reported structure, the active site of 2009 pandemic neuraminidase can adopt an open conformation.
Recently, a pandemic A/H1N1 influenza virus was isolated from an immune compromised patient with a novel antiviral resistance pattern to the neuraminidase inhibitor class of drugs. This virus had an amino acid change in the viral neuraminidase enzyme; an isoleucine at position 223 was substituted by an arginine (I223R). Patients infected with such a virus leave physicians with reduced antiviral treatment options, since pandemic viruses are naturally resistant to the other class of antivirals, the adamantanes. Previously, we have shown that this mutant virus retains its potential to cause disease and may still be able to spread in the human population.
Here we used enzyme kinetic measurements and crystal structures of the I223R mutant neuraminidase to determine the resistance mechanism of this amino acid change. We found that the I223R change results in shrinkage of the active site of the enzyme. As a result, binding of the neuraminidase inhibitors is affected. In addition, we found that the active site of our pandemic neuraminidase structure, crystallized in the absence of inhibitor, has an extra cavity (150-cavity) adjacent to the active site. Our study could aid in the development of novel inhibitors designed to target the 150-cavity and active site of the enzyme.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of invasive bacterial infections in human newborns and immune-compromised adults. The pore-forming toxin (PFT) β hemolysin/cytolysin (βh/c) is a major virulence factor for GBS, which is generally attributed to its cytolytic functions. Here we show βh/c has immunomodulatory properties on macrophages at sub-lytic concentrations. βh/c-mediated activation of p38 MAPK drives expression of the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, and inhibits both IL-12 and NOS2 expression in GBS-infected macrophages, which are critical factors in host defense. Isogenic mutant bacteria lacking βh/c fail to activate p38-mediated IL-10 production in macrophages and promote increased IL-12 and NOS2 expression. Furthermore, targeted deletion of p38 in macrophages increases resistance to invasive GBS infection in mice, associated with impaired IL-10 induction and increased IL-12 production in vivo. These data suggest p38 MAPK activation by βh/c contributes to evasion of host defense through induction of IL-10 expression and inhibition of macrophage activation, a new mechanism of action for a PFT and a novel anti-inflammatory role for p38 in the pathogenesis of invasive bacterial infection. Our studies suggest p38 MAPK may represent a new therapeutic target to blunt virulence and improve clinical outcome of invasive GBS infection.
Our studies show β hemolysin/cytolysin (βh/c) from Group B Streptococcus (GBS), inhibits the activation of macrophages and the innate immune response to GBS. We show that βh/c triggers activation of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) in GBS-infected macrophages leading to expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 and the suppression of genes required for effective anti-bacterial immunity. Furthermore, mice deficient in MAPK activation, specifically in macrophages, show increased resistance to invasive GBS infection. Our data describe a new role for a PFT in the evasion of host immunity that may have significant impact on the pathogenesis of invasive bacterial infections, and suggest targeting the signaling pathways triggered by PFTs in immune cells could increase innate immunity and host resistance.
CLEC5A/MDL-1, a member of the myeloid C-type lectin family expressed on macrophages and neutrophils, is critical for dengue virus (DV)-induced hemorrhagic fever and shock syndrome in Stat1−/− mice and ConA-treated wild type mice. However, whether CLEC5A is involved in the pathogenesis of viral encephalitis has not yet been investigated. To investigate the role of CLEC5A to regulate JEV-induced neuroinflammation, antagonistic anti-CLEC5A mAb and CLEC5A-deficient mice were generated. We find that Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) directly interacts with CLEC5A and induces DAP12 phosphorylation in macrophages. In addition, JEV activates macrophages to secrete proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, which are dramatically reduced in JEV-infected Clec5a−/− macrophages. Although blockade of CLEC5A cannot inhibit JEV infection of neurons and astrocytes, anti-CLEC5A mAb inhibits JEV-induced proinflammatory cytokine release from microglia and prevents bystander damage to neuronal cells. Moreover, JEV causes blood-brain barrier (BBB) disintegrity and lethality in STAT1-deficient (Stat1−/−) mice, whereas peripheral administration of anti-CLEC5A mAb reduces infiltration of virus-harboring leukocytes into the central nervous system (CNS), restores BBB integrity, attenuates neuroinflammation, and protects mice from JEV-induced lethality. Moreover, all surviving mice develop protective humoral and cellular immunity against JEV infection. These observations demonstrate the critical role of CLEC5A in the pathogenesis of Japanese encephalitis, and identify CLEC5A as a target for the development of new treatments to reduce virus-induced brain damage.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is one of the most common forms of viral encephalitis worldwide, and the common complication post viral encephalitis is permanent neuropsychiatric sequelae resulting from severe neuroinflammation. However, specific treatment to inhibit JEV-induced neuroinflammation is not available. We found that JEV interacts directly with CLEC5A, a C-type lectin expressed on the myeloid cell surface. This observation led to two major findings; first, we demonstrate that JEV activates macrophages and microglia via CLEC5A, and blockade of CLEC5A reduces bystander neuronal damage and JEV-induced proinflammatory cytokine secretion from macrophages and microglia. Second, peripheral administration of anti-CLEC5A mAb does not only inhibit JEV-induced BBB permeability, but also reduces the numbers of activated microglia and cell infiltration into the CNS. The attenuation of neuronal damage and reduced viral load correlate with the suppression of inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, IL-18, and MCP-1 in the CNS. Our studies provide new insights into the molecular mechanism of neuroinflammation, and reveal a possible strategy to control neuroinflammation during viral encephalitis.
Candida albicans is an important opportunistic fungal pathogen of immunocompromised individuals. One critical virulence attribute is its morphogenetic plasticity. Hyphal development requires two temporally linked changes in promoter chromatin, which is sequentially regulated by temporarily clearing the transcription inhibitor Nrg1 upon activation of the cAMP/PKA pathway and promoter recruitment of the histone deacetylase Hda1 under reduced Tor1 signaling. Molecular mechanisms for the temporal connection and the link to Tor1 signaling are not clear. Here, through a forward genetic screen, we report the identification of the GATA family transcription factor Brg1 as the factor that recruits Hda1 to promoters of hypha-specific genes during hyphal elongation. BRG1 expression requires both the removal of Nrg1 and a sub-growth inhibitory level of rapamycin; therefore, it is a sensitive readout of Tor1 signaling. Interestingly, promoters of hypha-specific genes are not accessible to Brg1 in yeast cells. Furthermore, ectopic expression of Brg1 cannot induce hyphae, but can sustain hyphal development. Nucleosome mapping of a hypha-specific promoter shows that Nrg1 binding sites are in nucleosome free regions in yeast cells, whereas Brg1 binding sites are occupied by nucleosomes. Nucleosome disassembly during hyphal initiation exposes the binding sites for both regulators. During hyphal elongation, Brg1-mediated Hda1 recruitment causes nucleosome repositioning and occlusion of Nrg1 binding sites. We suggest that nucleosome repositioning is the underlying mechanism for the yeast-hyphal transition. The hypha-specific regulator Ume6 is a key downstream target of Brg1 and functions after Brg1 as a built-in positive feedback regulator of the hyphal transcriptional program to sustain hyphal development. With the levels of Nrg1 and Brg1 dynamically and sensitively controlled by the two major cellular growth pathways, temporal changes in nucleosome positioning during the yeast-to-hypha transition provide a mechanism for signal integration and cell fate specification. This mechanism is likely used broadly in development.
Candida is part of the gut microflora in healthy individuals, but can disseminate and cause systemic disease when the host's immune system is suppressed. Its ability to grow as yeast and hyphae in response to environmental cues is a major virulence attribute. Hyphal development requires temporary clearing of the transcription inhibitor Nrg1 upon activation of cAMP/PKA for initiation and promoter recruitment of the histone deacetylase Hda1 under reduced Tor1 signaling for maintenance. Here, we show that, during hyphal initiation when Nrg1 is gone, expression of the GATA family transcription factor Brg1 is activated under reduced Tor1 signaling. Accumulated Brg1 recruits Hda1 to hyphal promoters to reposition nucleosomes, leading to obstruction of Nrg1 binding sites and sustained hyphal development. The nucleosome repositioning during the yeast-hyphal transition provides a mechanism for temporal integration of extracellular signals and cell-fate specification. The hypha-specific transcription factor Ume6 functions after Brg1 in this succession of feed-forward regulation of hyphal development. Since misregulation of either Nrg1 or Ume6 causes altered virulence, and Brg1 regulates both Nrg1 accessibility and Ume6 transcription, our findings should provide a better understanding of how Candida controls its morphological program in different host niches to exist as a commensal and a pathogen.
The innate immune system is the first line of host defense against invading organisms. Thus, pathogens have developed virulence mechanisms to evade the innate immune system. Here, we report a novel means for inhibition of neutrophil recruitment by Group A Streptococcus (GAS). Deletion of the secreted esterase gene (designated sse) in M1T1 GAS strains with (MGAS5005) and without (MGAS2221) a null covS mutation enhances neutrophil ingress to infection sites in the skin of mice. In trans expression of SsE in MGAS2221 reduces neutrophil recruitment and enhances skin invasion. The sse deletion mutant of MGAS5005 (ΔsseMGAS5005) is more efficiently cleared from skin than the parent strain. SsE hydrolyzes the sn-2 ester bond of platelet-activating factor (PAF), converting biologically active PAF into inactive lyso-PAF. KM and kcat of SsE for hydrolysis of 2-thio-PAF were similar to those of the human plasma PAF acetylhydrolase. Treatment of PAF with SsE abolishes the capacity of PAF to induce activation and chemotaxis of human neutrophils. More importantly, PAF receptor-deficient mice significantly reduce neutrophil infiltration to the site of ΔsseMGAS5005 infection. These findings identify the first secreted PAF acetylhydrolase of bacterial pathogens and support a novel GAS evasion mechanism that reduces phagocyte recruitment to sites of infection by inactivating PAF, providing a new paradigm for bacterial evasion of neutrophil responses.
GAS is a major human pathogen causing a variety of infections, including pharyngitis and necrotizing fasciitis. GAS pathogenesis is mediated by a large array of secreted and cell-surface virulence factors. However, the functions of many GAS virulence factors are poorly understood. Recently, we reported that the esterase secreted by GAS (SsE) is a CovRS (the control of virulence two component regulatory system)-regulated protective antigen and is critical for spreading in the skin and systemic dissemination of GAS in a mouse model of necrotizing fasciitis. This report presents three major findings regarding the function and functional mechanism of SsE: 1) SsE contributes to GAS inhibition of neutrophil recruitment; 2) SsE is a potent PAF acetylhydrolase and the first secreted bacterial PAF acetylhydrolase identified so far; and 3) the PAF receptor significantly contributes to neutrophil recruitment in skin GAS infection. These findings support a novel mechanism for evasion of the innate immune system by GAS that may be relevant to other infections.
NOD-like receptor (NLR) proteins (Nlrps) are cytosolic sensors responsible for detection of pathogen and danger-associated molecular patterns through unknown mechanisms. Their activation in response to a wide range of intracellular danger signals leads to formation of the inflammasome, caspase-1 activation, rapid programmed cell death (pyroptosis) and maturation of IL-1β and IL-18. Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) induces the caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis of mouse and rat macrophages isolated from certain inbred rodent strains through activation of the NOD-like receptor (NLR) Nlrp1 inflammasome. Here we show that LT cleaves rat Nlrp1 and this cleavage is required for toxin-induced inflammasome activation, IL-1 β release, and macrophage pyroptosis. These results identify both a previously unrecognized mechanism of activation of an NLR and a new, physiologically relevant protein substrate of LT.
Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) is a protease which can induce rapid death of macrophages accompanied by activation and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The previously identified cellular substrates for this toxin have not been shown to play a role in this rapid cell death. This report identifies a new substrate for LT, and demonstrates that its cleavage by the toxin is required for macrophage death. The substrate, Nlrp1, is a member of a large family of intracellular sensors of danger. These sensors, once activated, form a multiprotein complex called the inflammasome and are essential to the host innate immune response. The mechanism of activation for these sensors is not known. The demonstration of cleavage-mediated activation of Nlrp1 in this study represents the first report on a direct biochemical mechanism for inflammasome activation.