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Concept: Newcastle disease


Infectious bursal disease (IBD) is characterized by immunosuppression due to the depletion of lymphocytes in the atrophied bursa of Fabricius (BF). We have sometimes encountered contradictory findings: chickens infected with the vaccine IBD virus (IBDV) strain have sometimes exhibited a highly atrophied BF but not immunosuppression. In this study, chickens administered vaccine or wild-type strains of IBDV were later vaccinated with the B1 strain of the Newcastle disease virus (NDV). Bursal changes were examined histologically with a focus on the bursal follicle. The immunoreactivity to NDV was also evaluated with the hemagglutination inhibition test. In gross examination, we observed a few chickens with a severely atrophied BF in vaccine strain-administered groups (vaccine groups), and the level of severity was the same as that in the wild-type strain-administered group (wild-type group). However, these chickens retained humoral antibody responses to NDV and were revealed to possess a higher number of bursal follicles than those of the wild-type group. These results indicated that macroscopic evaluation dose not accurately reflect the immunoreactivity and degree of bursal damage in IBDV-administered chickens. We also found non-immunosuppressed chickens in the wild-type group. These non-immunosuppressed chickens retained a significantly higher number of normal follicles and total follicles according to our statistical analysis. Furthermore, a high correlation coefficient between the NDV-HI titer and the number of normal follicles was found in the wild-type group. These results implied that the retained number of normal follicles is important for the immunoreactivity of chickens infected with IBDV.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Vaccine, Infection, B cell, Humoral immunity, Newcastle disease, Hieronymus Fabricius


The Newcastle disease virus (NDV) matrix (M) protein has been demonstrated to be a nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking protein. Previous studies have shown that the M protein localizes in the nucleus through a bipartite nuclear localization signal. Here, we report that the ability of the M protein to shuttle to the cytoplasm is mediated by three nuclear export signal sequences (NESs). Using leptomycin B (LMB), a specific inhibitor of CRM1, we found that the nuclear export of the three NESs was LMB insensitive and thus was CRM1 independent. In addition, inactivation of these NESs led to nuclear accumulation of the M protein. Our results highlight the significance of these NESs to the nuclear export of the NDV M protein.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Cell biology, Newcastle disease, Molecular genetics, Nuclear localization signal, Ran, Nuclear export signal


Virulent Newcastle disease virus (NDV) isolates from new sub-genotypes within genotype VII are rapidly spreading through Asia and the Middle East causing outbreaks of Newcastle disease (ND) characterized by significant illness and mortality in poultry, suggesting the existence of a fifth panzootic. These viruses, which belong to the new sub-genotypes VIIh and VIIi, have epizootic characteristics and do not appear to have originated directly from other genotype VII NDV isolates that are currently circulating elsewhere, but are related to the present and past Indonesian NDV viruses isolated from wild birds since the 80s. Viruses from sub-genotype VIIh were isolated in Indonesia (2009-2010), Malaysia (2011), China (2011), and Cambodia (2011-2012) and are closely related to the Indonesian NDV isolated in 2007, APMV1/Chicken/Karangasem, Indonesia (Bali-01)/2007. Since 2011 and during 2012 highly related NDV isolates from sub-genotype VIIi have been isolated from poultry production facilities and occasionally from pet birds, throughout Indonesia, Pakistan and Israel. In Pakistan, the viruses of sub-genotype VIIi have replaced NDV isolates of genotype XIII, which were commonly isolated in 2009-2011, and they have become the predominant sub-genotype causing ND outbreaks since 2012. In a similar fashion, the numbers of viruses of sub-genotype VIIi isolated in Israel increased in 2012, and isolates from this sub-genotype are now found more frequently than viruses from the previously predominant sub-genotypes VIId and VIIb, from 2009 to 2012. All NDV isolates of sub-genotype VIIi are approximately 99% identical to each other and are more closely related to Indonesian viruses isolated from 1983 through 1990 than to those of genotype VII, still circulating in the region. Similarly, in addition to the Pakistani NDV isolates of the original genotype XIII (now called sub-genotype XIIIa), there is an additional sub-genotype (XIIIb) that was initially detected in India and Iran. This sub-genotype also appears to have as an ancestor a NDV strain from an Indian cockatoo isolated in1982. These data suggest the existence of a new panzootic composed of viruses of subgenotype VIIi and support our previous findings of co-evolution of multiple virulent NDV genotypes in unknown reservoirs, e.g. as recorded with the virulent NDV identified in Dominican Republic in 2008. The co-evolution of at least three different sub-genotypes reported here and the apparent close relationship of some of those genotypes from ND viruses isolated from wild birds, suggests that identifying wild life reservoirs may help predict new panzootics.

Concepts: Evolution, Newcastle disease


Our study demonstrates the repeated isolation of vaccine-derived Newcastle disease viruses from different species of wild birds across four continents from 1997 through 2014. The data indicate that at least 17 species from ten avian orders occupying different habitats excrete vaccine-derived Newcastle disease viruses. The most frequently reported isolates were detected among individuals in the order Columbiformes (n = 23), followed in frequency by the order Anseriformes (n = 13). Samples were isolated from both free-ranging (n = 47) and wild birds kept in captivity (n = 7). The number of recovered vaccine-derived viruses corresponded with the most widely utilized vaccines, LaSota (n = 28) and Hitchner B1 (n = 19). Other detected vaccine-derived viruses resembled the PHY-LMV2 and V4 vaccines, with five and two cases, respectively. These results and the ubiquitous and synanthropic nature of wild pigeons highlight their potential role as indicator species for the presence of Newcastle disease virus of low virulence in the environment. The reverse spillover of live agents from domestic animals to wildlife as a result of the expansion of livestock industries employing massive amounts of live virus vaccines represent an underappreciated and poorly studied effect of human activity on wildlife.

Concepts: Microbiology, Virus, Natural environment, Influenza, Avian influenza, Newcastle disease, Bird, Columbiformes


Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are a versatile new class of therapeutic agents based on native or genetically modified viruses that selectively replicate in tumor cells and can express therapeutic transgenes designed to target cells within the tumor microenvironment and/or host immunity. To date, however, confirmation of the underlying mechanism of action and an understanding of innate and acquired drug resistance for most OVs have been limited. In this issue of the JCI, Zamarin et al. report a comprehensive analysis of an oncolytic Newcastle disease virus (NDV) using both murine melanoma tumor models and human tumor explants to explore how the virus promotes tumor eradication and details of the mechanisms involved. These findings have implications for the optimization of oncolytic immunotherapy, at least that based on NDV, and further confirm that specific combinatorial approaches are promising for clinical development.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Oncology, Microbiology, Innate immune system, Newcastle disease, Viruses


Anti-viral immunity presents a major hurdle for systemically administered oncolytic viruses (OV). Intratumoral OV therapy has a potential to overcome this problem through activation of anti-tumor immune response, with local and abscopal effects. However, the effects of anti-viral immunity in such a setting are still not well defined. Using Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) as a model, we explore the effects of pre-existing anti-viral immunity on therapeutic efficacy in syngeneic mouse tumor models. Unexpectedly, we find that while pre-existing immunity to NDV limits its replication in tumors, tumor clearance, abscopal anti-tumor immune effects, and survival are not compromised and, on the contrary, are superior in NDV-immunized mice. These findings demonstrate that pre-existing immunity to NDV may increase its therapeutic efficacy through potentiation of systemic anti-tumor immunity, which provides clinical rationale for repeated therapeutic dosing and prompts investigation of such effects with other OVs.

Concepts: Immune system, Oncology, Microbiology, Vaccination, Innate immune system, Immunology, Newcastle disease, Viruses


To investigate the roles and explore the altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) and mRNAs in chicken embryos in response to Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection, deep sequencing was performed. Then, a conjoint analysis of small RNA-seq and mRNA-seq was performed to screen interactional miRNA⁻mRNA pairs during NDV infection. In total, 15 and 17 up- and downregulated miRNAs were identified that potentially targeted 4279 and 6080 mRNAs in NDV-infected chicken embryonic tissues, respectively; in addition, 595 upregulated and 480 downregulated mRNAs were identified. The conjoint analysis of the obtained data identified 1069 miRNA⁻mRNA pairs. Among these pairs, 130 pairs were related to immune or inflammatory responses. The relationship between gga-miR-203a and its target transglutaminase 2 (TGM2) was confirmed using a dual-luciferase reporter system and a real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assay. Overall, the discovery of miRNAs, mRNAs, and their potential pairing relationships, which may be involved in the regulation of NDV infection, will facilitate our understanding of the complex regulatory relationship between the host and the virus.

Concepts: Inflammation, DNA, Gene expression, Infectious disease, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, RNA, Newcastle disease


In order to improve current understanding of the molecular epidemiology of avian avulavirus 1 (AAvV-1, formerly avian paramyxovirus 1) in wild birds in Kazakhstan, 860 cloacal swab samples were evaluated. Samples were collected from 37 families of wild birds in nine different regions in the years 2011 and 2014. Overall, 54 positive samples (4.2%) were detected from 17 different families of wild birds, and 16 AAvV-1 isolates were characterized. Three of the isolates contained the fusion protein cleavage site motif RRQKR, and 13 contained KRQKR, which is typical for pathogenic strains of AAvV-1. The AAvV-1 isolates were found to belong to the genotypes VIg and VIIb.

Concepts: Evolution, Biology, Virus, Newcastle disease, Animal virology, Mononegavirales, Poultry diseases, Avulavirus


The breeding of wild birds in captivity assumes an increasingly important role in conservation due to the loss of species and their habitats. Providing the environmental and nutritional needs of species kept in captivity is the key for achieving success in such initiatives. Among the flock health practices, we highlight here wild bird vaccination, a scarcely studied subject. This study clinically and serologically evaluates the effect of applying a vaccination protocol against Newcastle disease in three groups of ornamental wild birds. The responses observed in 10 ornamental chickens were compared to those recorded in 12 ring-neck pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), 6 psittacines (2 cockatiels Nymphicus hollandicus, 2 lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus molucanos, and 2 eastern rosellas Platycercus eximius), and 6 touracos (2 guinea Tauraco persa, 2 white-cheeked Tauraco leucotis, and 2 violet Musophaga violacea). One drop of each live Newcastle HB1 and La Sota vaccines were ocularly instilled on the 1st and 21st experimental days, respectively. On the 112th day, one shot of an inactivated oily Newcastle vaccine was intramuscularly injected. Serum samples were submitted to the Newcastle disease virus antibody Test Kit ELISA-BioChek. Except for the psittacines, other bird species showed a considerable increase in the antibody titers. However, their mean antibody titers differed significantly (P < 0.05) from that recorded in the chickens.

Concepts: Vaccination, Newcastle disease, Bird, Phasianidae, Parrot, Lories and lorikeets, Cockatoo, Rosella


Newcastle disease, caused by infection with virulent strains of Newcastle disease virus (NDV), poses a risk for the poultry industry. The virulence of NDV is mainly determined by the cleavage site of F protein. Lentogenic NDV can become velogenic after passages in SPF chicken brain and air sac based on some strains isolated from water birds, because the proportion of virulent-related strains gradually increases. In contrast, this proportion remains unchanged if NDV is passaged via 10-day-old SPF chicken embryos. This information suggests that environmental conditions rather than mutation affect NDV fitness in quasispecies. However, it is unknown how the environment selects virulent-related strains from a viral population. In this study, velogenic and lentogenic NDV marked by green or red fluorescence were used to establish persistent infection (PI) in BHK-21 cells. Monitoring viruses by different methods, we found that, without competition, persistently infected cells harbored lentogenic and velogenic NDV strains similarly in terms of viral release, viral spread and the period of persistent viral infection. In contrast, under competitive co-infection, velogenic NDV became dominant in quasispecies from the fifth passage of PI cells, which resulted in the progressive disappearance of the lentogenic NDV strain. This domination was concomitant with a short-term reduction in the superinfection exclusion and supernatant interference in PI cells resulting in a velogenic virus rebound. We concluded that virulent-related F protein cleavage site facilitates the spread and replication of NDV in conditions under which cells do not secret trypsin-like proteases and do not inhibit free virus infection, resulting in a gradual increase in virulent strains in quasispecies with the number of passages.

Concepts: Gene, Infectious disease, Bacteria, Microbiology, Virus, Infection, Newcastle disease, Virology