SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Journal of virology

28

The role of the tegument during the herpesvirus lytic cycle is still not clearly established, particularly at the late phase of infection, when the newly produced viral particles need to be fully assembled before being released from the infected cell. The Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) protein coded by ORF9 (ORF9p) is an essential tegument protein and, even though its mRNA is the most expressed during the productive infection, little is known about its functions. Using a GalK positive/negative selection technique, we modified a BAC containing the complete VZV genome creating viruses expressing mutant versions of ORF9p.We showed that ORF9p is hyper-phosphorylated during the infection, especially through its interaction with the viral Ser/Thr kinase ORF47p; we identified a consensus site within ORF9p recognized by ORF47p and demonstrated its importance for ORF9p phosphorylation. Strikingly, an ultra-structural analysis revealed that the mutation of this consensus site (Glutamate 85 to Arginine) strongly affects viral assembly and release, reproducing ORF47 kinase dead VZV phenotype. It also slightly diminishes the infectivity towards immature dendritic cells. Taken together, our results identify ORF9p as a new viral substrate of ORF47p and suggest a determinant role of this phosphorylation for viral infectivity, especially during the process of viral particle formation and egress.

Concepts: Alphaherpesvirinae, Varicella zoster virus, Chickenpox, DNA, Virus latency, Gene, Herpesviridae, Virus

28

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is still a major cause of morbidity and mortality in domestic and some wild cats despite the availability of relatively effective vaccines against the virus. FeLV subgroup A (FeLV-A) is transmitted in natural infections, and FeLV subgroups B, C, and T can evolve directly from FeLV-A by mutation and/or recombination with endogenous retroviruses in domestic cats, resulting in a variety of pathogenic outcomes. The cell-surface entry receptor for FeLV-A is a putative thiamine transporter (THTR1). Here, we have addressed whether FeLV-A infection might disrupt thiamine uptake into cells, and because thiamine is an essential nutrient, whether this disruption might have pathologic consequences. First, we cloned the cat ortholog of the other of the two known thiamine transporters in mammals, THTR2, and show that feline THTR1 (feTHTR1) and feTHTR2 both mediate thiamine uptake, but that feTHTR2 does not function as a receptor for FeLV-A. We found that feTHTR1 is widely expressed in cat tissues and in cell lines, while expression of feTHTR2 is restricted. Thiamine uptake mediated by feTHTR1 was indeed blocked by FeLV-A infection, and in feline fibroblasts that naturally express feTHTR1 and not feTHTR2, this blockade resulted in a growth arrest at physiological concentrations of extracellular thiamine. The growth arrest was reversed at high extracellular concentrations of thiamine. Our results show that FeLV-A infection can indeed disrupt thiamine uptake with pathologic consequences. A prediction of these experiments is that raising the plasma levels of thiamine in FeLV-infected cats may ameliorate the pathogenic effects of infection.

Concepts: Bacteria, Immune system, Feline leukemia virus, Retrovirus, Cat

28

Domestic and non-domestic cats have been shown to be susceptible to feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE), almost certainly caused by consumption of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-contaminated meat. Because domestic and free-ranging non-domestic felids scavenge cervid carcasses, including those in areas affected by chronic wasting disease (CWD), we evaluated the susceptibility of the domestic cat (Felis catus) to CWD infection experimentally. Cohorts of n=5 cats each were inoculated intracerebrally (IC) or orally (PO) with CWD-infected deer brain. At 40 and 42 months post inoculation, two IC-inoculated cats developed signs consistent with prion disease including a stilted gait, weight loss, anorexia, polydipsia, patterned motor behaviors, head and tail tremors and ataxia, and progressed to terminal disease within 5 months. Brains from these two cats were pooled and inoculated into cohorts of cats by IC, PO, and IP/SQ (intraperitoneal/subcutaneous) routes. Upon sub-passage, feline CWD was transmitted to all IC-inoculated cats with a decreased incubation period of 23-27 months. Feline-adapted CWD (Fel(CWD)) was demonstrated in the brains of all the affected cats by western blot and immunohistochemical analysis. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed abnormalities in clinically ill cats, which included multifocal T2 FLAIR signal hyperintensities, ventricular size increases, prominent sulci and white matter tract cavitation. Currently, 3 of 4 IP/SQ and 2 of 4 PO secondary passage inoculated cats have developed abnormal behavior patterns consistent with the early stage of feline CWD. These results demonstrate that CWD can be transmitted and adapted to the domestic cat, thus raising the issue of potential cervid-to-feline transmission in nature.

Concepts: Chronic wasting disease, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, Felis, Felidae, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Prion, Cat, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

28

Although parvoviruses are commonly described in domestic carnivores, little is known about their biodiversity in non-domestic species. A phylogenetic analysis of VP2 gene sequences from puma, coyote, gray wolf, bobcat, raccoon, and striped skunk revealed two major groups related to either feline panleukopenia virus (‘FPV-like’) or canine parvovirus (‘CPV-like’). Cross-species transmission was commonplace, with multiple introductions into each host species but, with the exception of raccoons, relatively little evidence for onward transmission in non-domestic species.

Concepts: Parvovirus, Coyote, Parvoviruses, Canine parvovirus, Felidae, Mammals of North America, Cougar, Feline panleukopenia

28

Equine herpesvirus type 9 (EHV-9), which we isolated from a case of epizootic encephalitis in a herd of Thomson’s gazelles (Gazella thomsoni) in 1993, has been known to cause fatal encephalitis in Thomson’s gazelle, giraffe, and polar bear in natural infections. Our previous report indicated that EHV-9 was similar to the equine pathogen equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1), which mainly causes abortion, respiratory infection, and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy. We determined the genome sequence of EHV-9. The genome has a length of 148,371 bp and all 80 of the open reading frames (ORFs) found in the genome of EHV-1. The nucleotide sequences of the ORFs in EHV-9 were 86 to 95% identical to those in EHV-1. The whole genome sequence should help to reveal the neuropathogenicity of EHV-9.

Concepts: Bacteria, Virus, Mammals of Africa, Gazella, DNA, Eudorcas, Gazelle, Thomson's Gazelle

28

Canine distemper virus (CDV) has recently expanded its host range to non-human primates. A large CDV outbreak occurred in rhesus monkeys at a breeding farm in Guangxi province, China, in 2006, followed by another outbreak in rhesus monkeys at an animal center in Beijing in 2008. In 2008 in Japan, a CDV outbreak also occurred in cynomolgus monkeys imported from China. In that outbreak, forty-six monkeys died from severe pneumonia during a quarantine period. A CDV strain (CYN07-dV) was isolated in Vero cells expressing dog signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM). Phylogenic analysis showed that CYN07-dV was closely related to the recent CDV outbreaks in China, suggesting continuing chains of CDV infection in monkeys. In vitro, CYN07-dV uses macaca SLAM and macaca nectin4 as receptors as efficiently as dog SLAM and dog nectin4, respectively. CYN07-dV showed high virulence in experimentally infected cynomolgus monkeys and excreted progeny viruses in oral fluid and feces. These data revealed that some of the CDV strains, like CYN07-dV, have the potential to cause acute systemic infection in monkeys.

Concepts: Viruses, Monkey, People's Republic of China, Rhesus Macaque, Immune system, Virus, Canine distemper, Primate

28

The double-stranded RNA bacteriophage 6 is an extensively studied prokaryotic model system for virus assembly. There are established in vitro assembly protocols available for the 6 system for obtaining infectious particles from purified protein and RNA constituents. The polymerase complex is a multifunctional nanomachine that replicates, transcribes, and translocates viral RNA molecules in a highly specific manner. The complex is composed of (i) the major structural protein (P1), forming a T=1 icosahedral lattice with two protein subunits in the icosahedral asymmetric unit; (ii) the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (P2); (iii) the hexameric packaging nucleoside triphosphatase (NTPase) (P4); and (iv) the assembly cofactor (P7). In this study, we analyzed several 6 virions and recombinant polymerase complexes to investigate the relative copy numbers of P2, P4, and P7, and we applied saturated concentrations of these proteins in the self-assembly system to probe their maximal numbers of binding sites in the P1 shell. Biochemical quantitation confirmed that the composition of the recombinant particles was similar to that of the virion cores. By including a high concentration of P2 or P7 in the self-assembly reaction mix, we observed that the numbers of these proteins in the resulting particles could be increased beyond those observed in the virion. Our results also suggest a previously unidentified P2-P7 dependency in the assembly reaction. Furthermore, it appeared that P4 must initially be incorporated at each, or a majority, of the 5-fold symmetry positions of the P1 shell for particle assembly. Although required for nucleation, excess P4 resulted in slower assembly kinetics.

Concepts: RNA interference, Transcription, RNA polymerase, Gene, Protein, Virus, RNA, DNA

28

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is characterized by persistent viral replication in the context of CD4(+) T cell depletion and elevated immune activation associated with disease progression. In contrast, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of African-origin sooty mangabeys (SM) generally does not result in simian AIDS despite high viral loads and therefore affords a unique model in which to study the immunologic contributions to a nonpathogenic lentiviral disease outcome. A key feature of these natural SIV infections is the maintenance of low levels of immune activation during chronic infection. Our goal was to delineate the contribution of monocytes to maintaining low levels of immune activation in SIV-infected SM. Utilizing an ex vivo whole-blood assay, proinflammatory cytokine production was quantified in monocytes in response to multiple Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands and a specific, significant reduction in the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was observed in SIV-infected SM. In contrast, monocytes from hosts of pathogenic infections (HIV-infected humans and SIV-infected Asian macaques) maintained a robust TNF-α response. In SIV-infected SM, monocyte TNF-α responses to low levels of LPS could be augmented by the presence of plasma from uninfected control animals. The impact of LPS-induced TNF-α production on immune activation was demonstrated in vitro, as TNF-α blocking antibodies inhibited downstream CD8(+) T cell activation in a dose-dependent manner. These data demonstrate an association between nonpathogenic SIV infection of SM and a reduced monocyte TNF-α response to LPS, and they identify a role for monocytes in contributing to the suppressed chronic immune activation observed in these natural hosts.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Virus, Dendritic cell, Simian immunodeficiency virus, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, HIV, Inflammation, Immune system

28

The early steps of human parvovirus B19 (B19V) infection were investigated in UT7/Epo cells. B19V and its receptor globoside (Gb4Cer) associate with lipid rafts, predominantly of the noncaveolar type. Pharmacological disruption of the lipid rafts inhibited infection when the drug was added prior to virus attachment but not after virus uptake. B19V is internalized by clathrin-dependent endocytosis and spreads rapidly throughout the endocytic pathway, reaching the lysosomal compartment within minutes, where a substantial proportion is degraded. B19V did not permeabilize the endocytic vesicles, indicating a mechanism of endosomal escape without apparent membrane damage. Bafilomycin A(1) (BafA1) and NH(4)Cl, which raise endosomal pH, blocked the infection by preventing endosomal escape, resulting in a massive accumulation of capsids in the lysosomes. In contrast, in the presence of chloroquine (CQ), the transfer of incoming viruses from late endosomes to lysosomes was prevented; the viral DNA was not degraded; and the infection was boosted. In contrast to the findings for untreated or BafA1-treated cells, the viral DNA was progressively associated with the nucleus in CQ-treated cells, reaching a plateau by 3 h postinternalization, a time coinciding with the initiation of viral transcription. At this time, more than half of the total intracellular viral DNA was associated with the nucleus; however, the capsids remained extranuclear. Our studies provide the first insight into the early steps of B19V infection and reveal mechanisms involved in virus uptake, endocytic trafficking, and nuclear penetration.

Concepts: AIDS, Parvoviridae, Cell membrane, Parvovirus, Virus, Parvovirus B19, Protein, Endocytosis

28

The Picornaviridae are a large family of small, spherical RNA viruses that includes numerous pathogens. The picornavirus structural proteins VP0, VP1, and VP3 are believed to first form protomers, which then form 14S particles and subsequently assemble to form empty and RNA-filled particles. 14S particles have long been presumed to be pentamers. However, the structure of the 14S particles, their mechanism of assembly, and the role of empty particles during infection are all unknown. We established an in vitro assembly system for bovine enterovirus (BEV) by using purified baculovirus-expressed proteins. By Rayleigh scattering, we determined that 14S particles are 488 kDa, confirming they are pentamers. Image reconstructions based on negative-stain electron microscopy showed that 14S particles have 5-fold symmetry, and their structures correlate extremely well with the corresponding pentamer from crystal structures of mature BEV. Purified 14S particles readily assemble in response to increasing ionic strength or temperature to form 5.8-MDa 12-pentamer particles, indistinguishable from native empty particles. Surprisingly, empty particles were sufficiently stable that, under physiological conditions, dissociation is unlikely to be a biologically relevant reaction. This suggests that empty particles are not a storage form of 14S particles, at least for bovine enterovirus, but are either a dead-end product or direct precursor into which viral RNA is packaged by as-yet-unidentified machinery.

Concepts: Picornaviruses, RNA, Virus, Virology, Electron, Enterovirus, Structure, Picornavirus