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Viruses, Volume 13, Issue 7 (July 2021) – 232 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs) play central roles in both transcription and viral genome replication. Sequential X-ray structures of the permutotetravirus Thosea asigna virus (TaV) RdRP catalytic complexes allowed defining the requirements for processive RNA synthesis by a non-canonical RdRP during replication elongation. These data also remark on the important similarity in mechanistic details between non-canonical and canonical polymerases, including those of flaviviruses with which the TaV RdRP shares important similarities. View this paper
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Article
Identification, Genetic Characterization and Validation of Highly Diverse HIV-1 Viruses for Reference Panel Development
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1417; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071417 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 608
Abstract
The continued diversification of HIV poses potentially significant challenges to HIV diagnostics and therapeutics. The dynamic evolution of emerging variants is highlighted in countries such as Cameroon in West Central Africa, where all known subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) have been shown [...] Read more.
The continued diversification of HIV poses potentially significant challenges to HIV diagnostics and therapeutics. The dynamic evolution of emerging variants is highlighted in countries such as Cameroon in West Central Africa, where all known subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) have been shown to be prevalent. We obtained several hundred HIV-positive plasma and viruses from this region for characterization and identification of highly divergent HIV strains. A total of 163 viral strains were cultured to high titers and high volumes using donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Initially, 101 viruses representing 59 strains were well characterized and categorized. Results showed that the viral load (VL) range was 0.36–398.9 × 107 copies/mL, p24 values was 0.2–1134 ng/mL. Phylogenetic analysis of thirty-six near full-length HIV-1 genomic sequences demonstrated that most recombinants were highly diverse CRF02 containing unique recombinant forms (URFs). There were seven viral isolates identified as pure subtype/sub-subtypes (F2, A1, G, and D), six as CRFs (CRF06, CRF18, and CRF22), and ten as URFs. These extensively characterized reagents reflect the current dynamic and complex HIV epidemic in Cameroon and provide valuable insights into the potential phylogenetic evolutionary trend of global HIV molecular epidemiology in the future. These materials may be useful for development of HIV validation and reference panels to evaluate the performance of serologic antigen and nucleic acid assays for their ability to detect and quantitate highly divergent HIV strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV Molecular Epidemiology for Prevention 2020)
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Communication
Vimentin as a Cap of Invisibility: Proposed Role of Vimentin in Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1416; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071416 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 577
Abstract
Vimentin is an intermediate filament, a cytoskeleton protein expressed mainly in cells of mesenchymal origin. Increasing evidence indicates that vimentin could play a key role in viral infections. Therefore, changes in tissue and extracellular vimentin expression and associated signal trails may determine/protect the [...] Read more.
Vimentin is an intermediate filament, a cytoskeleton protein expressed mainly in cells of mesenchymal origin. Increasing evidence indicates that vimentin could play a key role in viral infections. Therefore, changes in tissue and extracellular vimentin expression and associated signal trails may determine/protect the fate of cells and the progression of disease caused by viral infection. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), genotype GI.1, is an etiological agent that causes a severe and highly lethal disease—RHD (rabbit hemorrhagic disease). This article evaluates the gene and protein expression of vimentin in the tissues (liver, lungs, spleen, and kidneys) and serum of rabbits experimentally infected with two RHDV variants (GI.1a). The VIM mRNA expression levels in the tissues were determined using reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). In addition, the amount of vimentin protein in the serum was analyzed by an ELISA test. We observed significantly elevated expression levels of VIM mRNA and protein in the liver and kidney tissues of infected rather than healthy rabbits. In addition, VIM mRNA expression was increased in the lung tissues; meanwhile, we observed only protein-enhanced vimentin in the spleen. The obtained results are significant and promising, as they indicate the role of vimentin in RHDV infection and the course of RHD. The role of vimentin in RHDV infection could potentially rely on the one hand, on creating a cap of invisibility against the intracellular viral spread, or, on the other hand, after the damage of cells, vimentin could act as a signal of tissue damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Animal Virus Research in Poland)
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Article
Acetylation, Methylation and Allysine Modification Profile of Viral and Host Proteins during Influenza A Virus Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1415; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071415 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Protein modifications dynamically occur and regulate biological processes in all organisms. Towards understanding the significance of protein modifications in influenza virus infection, we performed a global mass spectrometry screen followed by bioinformatics analyses of acetylation, methylation and allysine modification in human lung epithelial [...] Read more.
Protein modifications dynamically occur and regulate biological processes in all organisms. Towards understanding the significance of protein modifications in influenza virus infection, we performed a global mass spectrometry screen followed by bioinformatics analyses of acetylation, methylation and allysine modification in human lung epithelial cells in response to influenza A virus infection. We discovered 8 out of 10 major viral proteins and 245 out of 2280 host proteins detected to be differentially modified by three modifications in infected cells. Some of the identified proteins were modified on multiple amino acids residues and by more than one modification; the latter occurred either on different or same residues. Most of the modified residues in viral proteins were conserved across >40 subtypes of influenza A virus, and influenza B or C viruses and located on the protein surface. Importantly, many of those residues have already been determined to be critical for the influenza A virus. Similarly, many modified residues in host proteins were conserved across influenza A virus hosts like humans, birds, and pigs. Finally, host proteins undergoing the three modifications clustered in common functional networks of metabolic, cytoskeletal, and RNA processes, all of which are known to be exploited by the influenza A virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein and Nucleic Acid Modifications in Response to Virus Infection)
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Article
Membrane Insertion of the M13 Minor Coat Protein G3p Is Dependent on YidC and the SecAYEG Translocase
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1414; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071414 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
The minor coat protein G3p of bacteriophage M13 is the key component for the host interaction of this virus and binds to Escherichia coli at the tip of the F pili. As we show here, during the biosynthesis of G3p as a preprotein, [...] Read more.
The minor coat protein G3p of bacteriophage M13 is the key component for the host interaction of this virus and binds to Escherichia coli at the tip of the F pili. As we show here, during the biosynthesis of G3p as a preprotein, the signal sequence interacts primarily with SecY, whereas the hydrophobic anchor sequence at the C-terminus interacts with YidC. Using arrested nascent chains and thiol crosslinking, we show here that the ribosome-exposed signal sequence is first contacted by SecY but not by YidC, suggesting that only SecYEG is involved at this early stage. The protein has a large periplasmic domain, a hydrophobic anchor sequence of 21 residues and a short C-terminal tail that remains in the cytoplasm. During the later synthesis of the entire G3p, the residues 387, 389 and 392 in anchor domain contact YidC in its hydrophobic slide to hold translocation of the C-terminal tail. Finally, the protein is processed by leader peptidase and assembled into new progeny phage particles that are extruded out of the cell. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phage Assembly Pathways - To the Memory of Lindsay Black)
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Article
Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Binding and Neutralizing Antibodies in Healthcare Workers during the Epidemic Peak in Referral Hospitals and Quarantine Sites: Saudi Arabia
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1413; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071413 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to the general population. Here, we aimed to evaluate and characterize the SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity rate in randomly collected samples among HCWs from the largest referral hospitals and quarantine sites during the peak [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to the general population. Here, we aimed to evaluate and characterize the SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity rate in randomly collected samples among HCWs from the largest referral hospitals and quarantine sites during the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic in the city of Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, using a cross-sectional analytic study design. Out of 693 participants recruited from 29 June to 10 August 2020, 223 (32.2%, 95% CI: 28.8–35.8) were found to be confirmed seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and among those 197 (88.3%) had never been diagnosed with COVID-19. Seropositivity was not significantly associated with participants reporting COVID-19 compatible symptoms as most seropositive HCW participants 140 (62.8%) were asymptomatic. The large proportion of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 cases detected in our study demands periodic testing as a general hospital policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Burden of COVID-19 in Different Countries)
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Article
Phylogenetic Analysis of Massilia phlebovirus in Portugal
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1412; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071412 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 706
Abstract
In the last two decades, molecular surveys of arboviruses have enabled the identification of several new viruses, contributing to the knowledge of viral diversity and providing important epidemiological data regarding possible new emerging viruses. A combination of diagnostic assays, Illumina sequencing and phylogenetic [...] Read more.
In the last two decades, molecular surveys of arboviruses have enabled the identification of several new viruses, contributing to the knowledge of viral diversity and providing important epidemiological data regarding possible new emerging viruses. A combination of diagnostic assays, Illumina sequencing and phylogenetic inference are here used to characterize two new Massilia phlebovirus strains isolated from sandflies collected in the Arrábida region, Portugal. Whole genome sequence analysis enabled their identification as reassortants and the recognition of genomic variants co-circulating in Portugal. Much is still unknown about the life cycle, geographic range, evolutionary forces and public health importance of these viruses in Portugal and elsewhere, and more studies are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sand Fly-Borne Phleboviruses)
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Communication
Antiviral Effect of Budesonide against SARS-CoV-2
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1411; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071411 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 3089
Abstract
Treatment options for COVID-19, a disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, are currently severely limited. Therefore, antiviral drugs that efficiently reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication or alleviate COVID-19 symptoms are urgently needed. Inhaled glucocorticoids are currently being [...] Read more.
Treatment options for COVID-19, a disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, are currently severely limited. Therefore, antiviral drugs that efficiently reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication or alleviate COVID-19 symptoms are urgently needed. Inhaled glucocorticoids are currently being discussed in the context of treatment for COVID-19, partly based on a previous study that reported reduced recovery times in cases of mild COVID-19 after inhalative administration of the glucocorticoid budesonide. Given various reports that describe the potential antiviral activity of glucocorticoids against respiratory viruses, we aimed to analyze a potential antiviral activity of budesonide against SARS-CoV-2 and circulating variants of concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta). We demonstrate a dose-dependent inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 that was comparable between all viral variants tested while cell viability remains unaffected. Our results are encouraging as they could indicate a multimodal mode of action of budesonide against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, which could contribute to an improved clinical performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Broad-Spectrum Antivirals of Coronaviruses Replication)
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Article
Viral Load and Patterns of SARS-CoV-2 Dissemination to the Lungs, Mediastinal Lymph Nodes, and Spleen of Patients with COVID-19 Associated Lymphopenia
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1410; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071410 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
Lymphopenia is a frequent hematological manifestation, associated with a severe course of COVID-19, with an insufficiently understood pathogenesis. We present molecular genetic immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic data on SARS-CoV-2 dissemination and viral load (VL) in lungs, mediastinum lymph nodes, and the spleen of [...] Read more.
Lymphopenia is a frequent hematological manifestation, associated with a severe course of COVID-19, with an insufficiently understood pathogenesis. We present molecular genetic immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic data on SARS-CoV-2 dissemination and viral load (VL) in lungs, mediastinum lymph nodes, and the spleen of 36 patients who died from COVID-19. Lymphopenia <1 × 109/L was observed in 23 of 36 (63.8%) patients. In 12 of 36 cases (33%) SARS-CoV-2 was found in lung tissues only with a median VL of 239 copies (range 18–1952) SARS-CoV-2 cDNA per 100 copies of ABL1. Histomorphological changes corresponding to bronchopneumonia and the proliferative phase of DAD were observed in these cases. SARS-CoV-2 dissemination into the lungs, lymph nodes, and spleen was detected in 23 of 36 patients (58.4%) and was associated with the exudative phase of DAD in most of these cases. The median VL in the lungs was 12,116 copies (range 810–250281), lymph nodes—832 copies (range 96–11586), and spleen—71.5 copies (range 0–2899). SARS-CoV-2 in all cases belonged to the 19A strain. A immunohistochemical study revealed SARS-CoV-2 proteins in pneumocytes, alveolar macrophages, and bronchiolar epithelial cells in lung tissue, sinus histiocytes of lymph nodes, as well as cells of the Billroth pulp cords and spleen capsule. SARS-CoV-2 particles were detected by transmission electron microscopy in the cytoplasm of the endothelial cell, macrophages, and lymphocytes. The infection of lymphocytes with SARS-CoV-2 that we discovered for the first time may indicate a possible link between lymphopenia and SARS-CoV-2-mediated cytotoxic effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Article
Previous Usutu Virus Exposure Partially Protects Magpies (Pica pica) against West Nile Virus Disease But Does Not Prevent Horizontal Transmission
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1409; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071409 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 544
Abstract
The mosquito-borne flaviviruses USUV and WNV are known to co-circulate in large parts of Europe. Both are a public health concern, and USUV has been the cause of epizootics in both wild and domestic birds, and neurological cases in humans in Europe. Here, [...] Read more.
The mosquito-borne flaviviruses USUV and WNV are known to co-circulate in large parts of Europe. Both are a public health concern, and USUV has been the cause of epizootics in both wild and domestic birds, and neurological cases in humans in Europe. Here, we explore the susceptibility of magpies to experimental USUV infection, and how previous exposure to USUV would affect infection with WNV. None of the magpies exposed to USUV showed clinical signs, viremia, or detectable neutralizing antibodies. After challenge with a neurovirulent WNV strain, neither viremia, viral titer of WNV in vascular feathers, nor neutralizing antibody titers of previously USUV-exposed magpies differed significantly with respect to magpies that had not previously been exposed to USUV. However, 75% (6/8) of the USUV-exposed birds survived, while only 22.2% (2/9) of those not previously exposed to USUV survived. WNV antigen labeling by immunohistochemistry in tissues was less evident and more restricted in magpies exposed to USUV prior to challenge with WNV. Our data indicate that previous exposure to USUV partially protects magpies against a lethal challenge with WNV, while it does not prevent viremia and direct transmission, although the mechanism is unclear. These results are relevant for flavivirus ecology and contention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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Review
Oncolytic HSV: Underpinnings of Tumor Susceptibility
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1408; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071408 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 753
Abstract
Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) is a therapeutic modality that has seen substantial success for the treatment of cancer, though much remains to be improved. Commonly attenuated through the deletion or alteration of the γ134.5 neurovirulence gene, the basis for the [...] Read more.
Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) is a therapeutic modality that has seen substantial success for the treatment of cancer, though much remains to be improved. Commonly attenuated through the deletion or alteration of the γ134.5 neurovirulence gene, the basis for the success of oHSV relies in part on the malignant silencing of cellular pathways critical for limiting these viruses in healthy host tissue. However, only recently have the molecular mechanisms underlying the success of these treatments begun to emerge. Further clarification of these mechanisms can strengthen rational design approaches to develop the next generation of oHSV. Herein, we review our current understanding of the molecular basis for tumor susceptibility to γ134.5-attenuated oHSV, with particular focus on the malignant suppression of nucleic acid sensing, along with strategies meant to improve the clinical efficacy of these therapeutic viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncolytic HSVs)
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Review
The Molecular Evolution of Type 2 Vaccine-Derived Polioviruses in Individuals with Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1407; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071407 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 575
Abstract
The oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), which prevents person-to-person transmission of poliovirus by inducing robust intestinal immunity, has been a crucial tool for global polio eradication. However, polio outbreaks, mainly caused by type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2), are increasing worldwide. Meanwhile, immunodeficiency-associated vaccine-derived [...] Read more.
The oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), which prevents person-to-person transmission of poliovirus by inducing robust intestinal immunity, has been a crucial tool for global polio eradication. However, polio outbreaks, mainly caused by type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2), are increasing worldwide. Meanwhile, immunodeficiency-associated vaccine-derived poliovirus (iVDPV) is considered another risk factor during the final stage of global polio eradication. Patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases are associated with higher risks for long-term iVDPV infections. Although a limited number of chronic iVDPV excretors were reported, the recent identification of a chronic type 2 iVDPV (iVDPV2) excretor in the Philippines highlights the potential risk of inapparent iVDPV infection for expanding cVDPV outbreaks. Further research on the genetic characterizations and molecular evolution of iVDPV2, based on comprehensive iVDPV surveillance, will be critical for elucidating the remaining risk of iVDPV2 during the post-OPV era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA Viruses: Structure, Adaptation, and Evolution)
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Article
Targeting JAK/STAT Signaling Antagonizes Resistance to Oncolytic Reovirus Therapy Driven by Prior Infection with HTLV-1 in Models of T-Cell Lymphoma
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1406; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071406 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that infects at least 10 million people worldwide and is associated with the development of T-cell lymphoma (TCL). The treatment of TCL remains challenging and new treatment options are urgently needed. With the [...] Read more.
Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that infects at least 10 million people worldwide and is associated with the development of T-cell lymphoma (TCL). The treatment of TCL remains challenging and new treatment options are urgently needed. With the goal of developing a novel therapeutic approach for TCL, we investigated the activity of the clinical formulation of oncolytic reovirus (Reolysin, Pelareorep) in TCL models. Our studies revealed that HTLV-1-negative TCL cells were highly sensitive to Reolysin-induced cell death, but HTLV-1-positive TCL cells were resistant. Consistent with these data, reovirus displayed significant viral accumulation in HTLV-1-negative cells, but failed to efficiently replicate in HTLV-1-positive cells. Transcriptome analyses of HTLV-1-positive vs. negative cells revealed a significant increase in genes associated with retroviral infection including interleukin-13 and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5). To investigate the relationship between HTLV-1 status and sensitivity to Reolysin, we infected HTLV-1-negative cells with HTLV-1. The presence of HTLV-1 resulted in significantly decreased sensitivity to Reolysin. Treatment with the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib suppressed STAT5 phosphorylation and expression of the key anti-viral response protein MX1 and enhanced the anti-TCL activity of Reolysin in both HTLV-1-positive and negative cells. Our data demonstrate that the inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway can be used as a novel approach to antagonize the resistance of HTLV-1-positive cells to oncolytic virus therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reoviruses)
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Review
Quaternary Interaction of the HIV-1 Envelope Trimer with CD4 and Neutralizing Antibodies
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1405; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071405 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 525
Abstract
The entry of HIV-1 into host cells is initiated by the interaction of the viral envelope (Env) spike with the CD4 receptor. During this process, the spike undergoes a series of conformational changes that eventually lead to the exposure of the fusion peptide [...] Read more.
The entry of HIV-1 into host cells is initiated by the interaction of the viral envelope (Env) spike with the CD4 receptor. During this process, the spike undergoes a series of conformational changes that eventually lead to the exposure of the fusion peptide located at the N-terminus of the transmembrane glycoprotein, gp41. Recent structural and functional studies have provided important insights into the interaction of Env with CD4 at various stages. However, a fine elucidation of the earliest events of CD4 contact and its immediate effect on the Env conformation remains a challenge for investigation. Here, we summarize the discovery of the quaternary nature of the CD4-binding site in the HIV-1 Env and the role of quaternary contact in the functional interaction with the CD4 receptor. We propose two models for this initial contact based on the current knowledge and discuss how a better understanding of the quaternary interaction may lead to improved immunogens and antibodies targeting the CD4-binding site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Biology of HIV-1 Entry)
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Article
Establishment of a Three-Dimensional In Vitro Model of Equine Papillomavirus Type 2 Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1404; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071404 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 596
Abstract
There is growing evidence that equine papillomavirus type 2 (EcPV2) infection is etiologically associated with the development of genital squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and precursor lesions in equids. However, the precise mechanisms underlying neoplastic progression remain unknown. To allow the study of EcPV2-induced [...] Read more.
There is growing evidence that equine papillomavirus type 2 (EcPV2) infection is etiologically associated with the development of genital squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and precursor lesions in equids. However, the precise mechanisms underlying neoplastic progression remain unknown. To allow the study of EcPV2-induced carcinogenesis, we aimed to establish a primary equine cell culture model of EcPV2 infection. Three-dimensional (3D) raft cultures were generated from equine penile perilesional skin, plaques and SCCs. Using histological, molecular biological and immunohistochemical methods, rafts versus corresponding natural tissue sections were compared with regard to morphology, presence of EcPV2 DNA, presence and location of EcPV2 gene transcripts and expression of epithelial, mesenchymal and tumor/proliferation markers. Raft cultures from perilesional skin harboring only a few EcPV2-positive (EcPV2+) cells accurately recapitulated the differentiation process of normal skin, whilst rafts from EcPV2+ penile plaques were structurally organized but showed early hyperplasia. Rafts from EcPV2+ SCCs exhibited pronounced hyperplasia and marked dysplasia. Raft levels of EcPV2 oncogene transcription (E6/E7) and expression of tumor/proliferation markers p53, Ki67 and MCM7 expression positively correlated with neoplastic progression, again reflecting the natural situation. Three-dimensional raft cultures accurately reflected major features of corresponding ex vivo material, thus constituting a valuable new research model to study EcPV2-induced carcinogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equine Viruses in Continental Europe)
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Article
Impact of Analytical Treatment Interruption on Burden and Diversification of HIV Peripheral Reservoir: A Pilot Study
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1403; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071403 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Background: If analytical antiretroviral-treatment (ART) interruption (ATI) might significantly impact quantitative or qualitative peripheral-total HIV-DNA is still debated. Methods: Six chronically HIV-1 infected patients enrolled in APACHE-study were analysed for peripheral-total HIV-DNA and residual viremia, major-resistance-mutations (MRMs) and C2-V3-C3 evolution at pre-ATI (T1), [...] Read more.
Background: If analytical antiretroviral-treatment (ART) interruption (ATI) might significantly impact quantitative or qualitative peripheral-total HIV-DNA is still debated. Methods: Six chronically HIV-1 infected patients enrolled in APACHE-study were analysed for peripheral-total HIV-DNA and residual viremia, major-resistance-mutations (MRMs) and C2-V3-C3 evolution at pre-ATI (T1), during ATI (T2) and at achievement of virological success after ART-resumption (post-ATI, T3). These data were obtained at three comparable time-points in five chronically HIV-1 infected patients on suppressive ART for ≥1 year, enrolled in MODAt-study. Results: At T1, APACHE and MODAt individuals had similar peripheral-total HIV-DNA and residual viremia (p = 0.792 and 0.662, respectively), and no significant changes for these parameters were observed between T1 and T3 in both groups. At T1, 4/6 APACHE and 2/5 MODAt carried HIV-DNA MRMs. MRMs disappeared at T3 in 3/4 APACHE. All disappearing MRMs were characterized by T1 intra-patient prevalence <80%, and mainly occurred in APOBEC3-related sites. All MRMs persisted over-time in the 2 MODAt. C2-V3-C3 genetic-distance significantly changed from T1 to T3 in APACHE individuals (+0.36[0.11–0.41], p = 0.04), while no significant changes were found in MODAt. Accordingly, maximum likelihood trees (bootstrap > 70%) and genealogical sorting indices (GSI > 0.50 with p-value < 0.05) showed that T1 C2-V3-C3 DNA sequences were distinct from T2 and T3 viruses in 4/6 APACHE. Virus populations at all three time-points were highly interspersed in MODAt. Conclusions: This pilot study indicates that short ATI does not alter peripheral-total HIV-DNA burden and residual viremia, but in some cases could cause a genetic diversification of peripheral viral reservoir in term of both MRMs rearrangement and viral evolution. Full article
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Article
Impact of HCV Eradication on Lipid Metabolism in HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients: Data from ICONA and HepaICONA Foundation Cohort Study
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1402; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071402 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Objectives: HCV shows complex interactions with lipid metabolism. Our aim was to examine total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) changes in HIV/HCV coinfected patients, after achieving sustained virological response (SVR), according to different HCV genotypes and specific antiretroviral use. Methods: HIV/HCV [...] Read more.
Objectives: HCV shows complex interactions with lipid metabolism. Our aim was to examine total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) changes in HIV/HCV coinfected patients, after achieving sustained virological response (SVR), according to different HCV genotypes and specific antiretroviral use. Methods: HIV/HCV coinfected patients, enrolled in the ICONA and HepaICONA cohorts, who achieved DAA-driven SVR were included. Paired t-tests were used to examine whether the pre- and post-SVR laboratory value variations were significantly different from zero. ANCOVA regression models were employed to estimate the causal effect of SVR and of PI/r use on lipid changes. The interaction between the effect of eradication and HCV genotype was formally tested. Results: six hundred and ninety-nine HIV/HCV coinfected patients were enrolled. After HCV eradication, a significant improvement in liver function occurred, with a significant decrease in AST, ALT, GGT, and total plasmatic bilirubin. TC and LDL-C significantly increased by 21.4 mg/dL and 22.4 mg/dL, respectively (p < 0.001), after SVR, whereas there was no evidence for a change in HDL-C (p = 0.45) and triglycerides (p = 0.49). Notably, the TC and LDL-C increase was higher for participants who were receiving darunavir/ritonavir, and the TC showed a more pronounced increase among HCV genotype 3 patients (interaction-p value = 0.002). Conclusions: complex and rapid changes in TC and LDL-C levels, modulated by HCV genotype and PI/r-based ART combinations, occurred in HIV/HCV coinfected patients after SVR. Further studies are needed to evaluate the clinical impact of these changes on the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. Full article
Communication
Laboratory Findings in Patients with Probable Dengue Diagnosis from an Endemic Area in Colombia in 2018
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1401; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071401 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 596
Abstract
As demonstrated with the novel coronavirus pandemic, rapid and accurate diagnosis is key to determine the clinical characteristic of a disease and to improve vaccine development. Once the infected person is identified, hematological findings may be used to predict disease outcome and offer [...] Read more.
As demonstrated with the novel coronavirus pandemic, rapid and accurate diagnosis is key to determine the clinical characteristic of a disease and to improve vaccine development. Once the infected person is identified, hematological findings may be used to predict disease outcome and offer the correct treatment. Rapid and accurate diagnosis and clinical parameters are pivotal to track infections during clinical trials and set protection status. This is also applicable for re-emerging diseases like dengue fever, which causes outbreaks in Asia and Latin America every 4 to 5 years. Some areas in the US are also endemic for the transmission of dengue virus (DENV), the causal agent of dengue fever. However, significant number of DENV infections in rural areas are diagnosed solely by clinical and hematological findings because of the lack of availability of ELISA or PCR-based tests or the infrastructure to implement them in the near future. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) are a less sensitive, yet they represent a timely way of detecting DENV infections. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an association between hematological findings and the probability for an NS1-based DENV RDT to detect the DENV NS1 antigen. We also aimed to describe the hematological parameters that are associated with the diagnosis through each test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flavivirus Immunity)
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Review
Antibody Responsiveness to Influenza: What Drives It?
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1400; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071400 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 538
Abstract
The induction of a specific antibody response has long been accepted as a serological hallmark of recent infection or antigen exposure. Much of our understanding of the influenza antibody response has been derived from studying antibodies that target the hemagglutinin (HA) protein. However, [...] Read more.
The induction of a specific antibody response has long been accepted as a serological hallmark of recent infection or antigen exposure. Much of our understanding of the influenza antibody response has been derived from studying antibodies that target the hemagglutinin (HA) protein. However, growing evidence points to limitations associated with this approach. In this review, we aim to highlight the issue of antibody non-responsiveness after influenza virus infection and vaccination. We will then provide an overview of the major factors known to influence antibody responsiveness to influenza after infection and vaccination. We discuss the biological factors such as age, sex, influence of prior immunity, genetics, and some chronic infections that may affect the induction of influenza antibody responses. We also discuss the technical factors, such as assay choices, strain variations, and viral properties that may influence the sensitivity of the assays used to measure influenza antibodies. Understanding these factors will hopefully provide a more comprehensive picture of what influenza immunogenicity and protection means, which will be important in our effort to improve influenza vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunity to Influenza Viruses)
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Review
The Role of Coinfections in the EBV–Host Broken Equilibrium
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1399; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071399 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1249
Abstract
The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a well-adapted human virus, and its infection is exclusive to our species, generally beginning in the childhood and then persisting throughout the life of most of the affected adults. Although this infection generally remains asymptomatic, EBV can trigger [...] Read more.
The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a well-adapted human virus, and its infection is exclusive to our species, generally beginning in the childhood and then persisting throughout the life of most of the affected adults. Although this infection generally remains asymptomatic, EBV can trigger life-threatening conditions under unclear circumstances. The EBV lifecycle is characterized by interactions with other viruses or bacteria, which increases the probability of awakening its pathobiont capacity. For instance, EBV infects B cells with the potential to alter the germinal center reaction (GCR)—an adaptive immune structure wherein mutagenic-driven processes take place. HIV- and Plasmodium falciparum-induced B cell hyperactivation also feeds the GCR. These agents, along with the B cell tropic KSHV, converge in the ontogeny of germinal center (GC) or post-GC lymphomas. EBV oral transmission facilitates interactions with local bacteria and HPV, thereby increasing the risk of periodontal diseases and head and neck carcinomas. It is less clear as to how EBV is localized in the stomach, but together with Helicobacter pylori, they are known to be responsible for gastric cancer. Perhaps this mechanism is reminiscent of the local inflammation that attracts different herpesviruses and enhances graft damage and chances of rejection in transplanted patients. In this review, we discussed the existing evidence suggestive of EBV possessing the potential to synergize or cooperate with these agents to trigger or worsen the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epstein Barr Virus)
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Article
Cross-Reaction or Co-Infection? Serological Discrimination of Antibodies Directed against Dugbe and Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Orthonairovirus in Nigerian Cattle
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1398; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071398 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 571
Abstract
Dugbe orthonairovirus (DUGV) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever orthonairovirus (CCHFV) are tick-borne arboviruses within the order Bunyavirales. Both viruses are endemic in several African countries and can induce mild (DUGV, BSL 3) or fatal (CCHFV, BSL 4) disease in humans. Ruminants play a [...] Read more.
Dugbe orthonairovirus (DUGV) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever orthonairovirus (CCHFV) are tick-borne arboviruses within the order Bunyavirales. Both viruses are endemic in several African countries and can induce mild (DUGV, BSL 3) or fatal (CCHFV, BSL 4) disease in humans. Ruminants play a major role in their natural transmission cycle. Therefore, they are considered as suitable indicator animals for serological monitoring studies to assess the risk for human infections. Although both viruses do not actually belong to the same serogroup, cross-reactivities have already been reported earlier—hence, the correct serological discrimination of DUGV and CCHFV antibodies is crucial. In this study, 300 Nigerian cattle sera (150 CCHFV seropositive and seronegative samples, respectively) were screened for DUGV antibodies via N protein-based ELISA, indirect immunofluorescence (iIFA) and neutralization assays. Whereas no correlation between the CCHFV antibody status and DUGV seroprevalence data could be demonstrated with a newly established DUGV ELISA, significant cross-reactivities were observed in an immunofluorescence assay. Moreover, DUGV seropositive samples did also cross-react in a species-adapted commercial CCHFV iIFA. Therefore, ELISAs seem to be able to reliably differentiate between DUGV and CCHFV antibodies and should preferentially be used for monitoring studies. Positive iIFA results should always be confirmed by ELISAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arboviruses: Molecular Biology, Evolution and Control)
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Review
An Appraisal of the Current Scenario in Vaccine Research for COVID-19
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1397; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071397 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1177
Abstract
The recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has drawn global attention, affecting millions, disrupting economies and healthcare modalities. With its high infection rate, COVID-19 has caused a colossal health crisis worldwide. While information on the comprehensive nature of this infectious agent, SARS-CoV-2, still [...] Read more.
The recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has drawn global attention, affecting millions, disrupting economies and healthcare modalities. With its high infection rate, COVID-19 has caused a colossal health crisis worldwide. While information on the comprehensive nature of this infectious agent, SARS-CoV-2, still remains obscure, ongoing genomic studies have been successful in identifying its genomic sequence and the presenting antigen. These may serve as promising, potential therapeutic targets in the effective management of COVID-19. In an attempt to establish herd immunity, massive efforts have been directed and driven toward developing vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. This review, in this direction, is aimed at providing the current scenario and future perspectives in the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines and Therapeutics against Coronaviruses)
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Article
Viral RNA Metagenomics of Hyalomma Ticks Collected from Dromedary Camels in Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1396; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071396 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 945
Abstract
Arthropod-borne infections are a medical and economic threat to humans and livestock. Over the last three decades, several unprecedented viral outbreaks have been recorded in the Western part of the Arabian Peninsula. However, little is known about the circulation and diversity of arthropod-borne [...] Read more.
Arthropod-borne infections are a medical and economic threat to humans and livestock. Over the last three decades, several unprecedented viral outbreaks have been recorded in the Western part of the Arabian Peninsula. However, little is known about the circulation and diversity of arthropod-borne viruses in this region. To prepare for new outbreaks of vector-borne diseases, it is important to detect which viruses circulate in each vector population. In this study, we used a metagenomics approach to characterize the RNA virome of ticks infesting dromedary camels (Camelus dromedaries) in Makkah province, Saudi Arabia. Two hundred ticks of species Hyalomma dromedarii (n = 196) and Hyalomma impeltatum (n = 4) were collected from the Alkhurma district in Jeddah and Al-Taif city. Virome analysis showed the presence of several tick-specific viruses and tick-borne viruses associated with severe illness in humans. Some were identified for the first time in the Arabian Peninsula. The human disease-associated viruses detected included Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever virus and Tamdy virus (family Nairoviridae), Guertu virus (family Phenuiviridae), and a novel coltivirus that shares similarities with Tarumizu virus, Tai forest reovirus and Kundal virus (family Reoviridae). Furthermore, Alkhurma hemorrhagic virus (Flaviviridae) was detected in two tick pools by specific qPCR. In addition, tick-specific viruses in families Phenuiviridae (phleboviruses), Iflaviridae, Chuviridae, Totiviridae and Flaviviridae (Pestivirus) were detected. The presence of human pathogenetic viruses warrants further efforts in tick surveillance, xenosurveillence, vector control, and sero-epidemiological investigations in human and animal populations to predict, contain and mitigate future outbreaks in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Zoonoses and Global Public Health)
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Article
Modeling of CCR5 Recognition by HIV-1 gp120: How the Viral Protein Exploits the Conformational Plasticity of the Coreceptor
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1395; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071395 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
The chemokine receptor CCR5 is a key player in HIV-1 infection. The cryo-EM 3D structure of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) subunit gp120 in complex with CD4 and CCR5 has provided important structural insights into HIV-1/host cell interaction, yet it has not explained the [...] Read more.
The chemokine receptor CCR5 is a key player in HIV-1 infection. The cryo-EM 3D structure of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) subunit gp120 in complex with CD4 and CCR5 has provided important structural insights into HIV-1/host cell interaction, yet it has not explained the signaling properties of Env nor the fact that CCR5 exists in distinct forms that show distinct Env binding properties. We used classical molecular dynamics and site-directed mutagenesis to characterize the CCR5 conformations stabilized by four gp120s, from laboratory-adapted and primary HIV-1 strains, and which were previously shown to bind differentially to distinct CCR5 forms and to exhibit distinct cellular tropisms. The comparative analysis of the simulated structures reveals that the different gp120s do indeed stabilize CCR5 in different conformational ensembles. They differentially reorient extracellular loops 2 and 3 of CCR5 and thus accessibility to the transmembrane binding cavity. They also reshape this cavity differently and give rise to different positions of intracellular ends of transmembrane helices 5, 6 and 7 of the receptor and of its third intracellular loop, which may in turn influence the G protein binding region differently. These results suggest that the binding of gp120s to CCR5 may have different functional outcomes, which could result in different properties for viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Biology of HIV-1 Entry)
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Review
The Neural Gut–Brain Axis of Pathological Protein Aggregation in Parkinson’s Disease and Its Counterpart in Peroral Prion Infections
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1394; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071394 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 677
Abstract
A neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the cerebral deposition of abnormally aggregated α-synuclein (αSyn). PD-associated αSyn (αSynPD) aggregates are assumed to act, in a prion-like manner, as proteinaceous nuclei (“seeds”) capable of self-templated propagation. Braak and colleagues put forward [...] Read more.
A neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the cerebral deposition of abnormally aggregated α-synuclein (αSyn). PD-associated αSyn (αSynPD) aggregates are assumed to act, in a prion-like manner, as proteinaceous nuclei (“seeds”) capable of self-templated propagation. Braak and colleagues put forward the idea of a neural gut-brain axis mediating the centripetal spread of αSynPD pathology from the enteric nervous system (ENS) to the brain in PD. This has sparked great interest and initiated passionate discussions both in support of and opposing the suggested hypothesis. A precedent for the spread of protein seeds or seeding from the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract to the central nervous system (CNS) had been previously revealed for pathological prion protein in peroral prion infections. This article scrutinizes the similarities and dissimilarities between the pathophysiological spread of disease-associated protein aggregation along the neural gut–brain axis in peroral prion infections and PD. On this basis, evidence supporting the proposed neural gut–brain axis in PD is concluded to be not as robust as that established for peroral prion infections. New tools for the ultrasensitive detection of αSynPD-associated seeding activity in archived or fresh human tissue samples such as real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC) or protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) assays can possibly help to address this deficit in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prion Neuroinvasion)
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Article
Potential Phosphorylation of Viral Nonstructural Protein 1 in Dengue Virus Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1393; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071393 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 763
Abstract
Dengue virus (DENV) infection causes a spectrum of dengue diseases that have unclear underlying mechanisms. Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is a multifunctional protein of DENV that is involved in DENV infection and dengue pathogenesis. This study investigated the potential post-translational modification of DENV [...] Read more.
Dengue virus (DENV) infection causes a spectrum of dengue diseases that have unclear underlying mechanisms. Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is a multifunctional protein of DENV that is involved in DENV infection and dengue pathogenesis. This study investigated the potential post-translational modification of DENV NS1 by phosphorylation following DENV infection. Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), 24 potential phosphorylation sites were identified in both cell-associated and extracellular NS1 proteins from three different cell lines infected with DENV. Cell-free kinase assays also demonstrated kinase activity in purified preparations of DENV NS1 proteins. Further studies were conducted to determine the roles of specific phosphorylation sites on NS1 proteins by site-directed mutagenesis with alanine substitution. The T27A and Y32A mutations had a deleterious effect on DENV infectivity. The T29A, T230A, and S233A mutations significantly decreased the production of infectious DENV but did not affect relative levels of intracellular DENV NS1 expression or NS1 secretion. Only the T230A mutation led to a significant reduction of detectable DENV NS1 dimers in virus-infected cells; however, none of the mutations interfered with DENV NS1 oligomeric formation. These findings highlight the importance of DENV NS1 phosphorylation that may pave the way for future target-specific antiviral drug design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section General Virology)
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Review
Understanding Antibody Responses in Early Life: Baby Steps towards Developing an Effective Influenza Vaccine
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1392; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071392 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The immune system of young infants is both quantitatively and qualitatively distinct from that of adults, with diminished responsiveness leaving these individuals vulnerable to infection. Because of this, young infants suffer increased morbidity and mortality from respiratory pathogens such as influenza viruses. The [...] Read more.
The immune system of young infants is both quantitatively and qualitatively distinct from that of adults, with diminished responsiveness leaving these individuals vulnerable to infection. Because of this, young infants suffer increased morbidity and mortality from respiratory pathogens such as influenza viruses. The impaired generation of robust and persistent antibody responses in these individuals makes overcoming this increased vulnerability through vaccination challenging. Because of this, an effective vaccine against influenza viruses in infants under 6 months is not available. Furthermore, vaccination against influenza viruses is challenging even in adults due to the high antigenic variability across viral strains, allowing immune evasion even after induction of robust immune responses. This has led to substantial interest in understanding how specific antibody responses are formed to variable and conserved components of influenza viruses, as immune responses tend to strongly favor recognition of variable epitopes. Elicitation of broadly protective antibody in young infants, therefore, requires that both the unique characteristics of young infant immunity as well as the antibody immunodominance present among epitopes be effectively addressed. Here, we review our current understanding of the antibody response in newborns and young infants and discuss recent developments in vaccination strategies that can modulate both magnitude and epitope specificity of IAV-specific antibody. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibodies and B Cell Memory in Viral Immunity)
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Article
Deletion of Kif5c Does Not Alter Prion Disease Tempo or Spread in Mouse Brain
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1391; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071391 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 686
Abstract
In prion diseases, the spread of infectious prions (PrPSc) is thought to occur within nerves and across synapses of the central nervous system (CNS). However, the mechanisms by which PrPSc moves within axons and across nerve synapses remain undetermined. Molecular motors, including kinesins [...] Read more.
In prion diseases, the spread of infectious prions (PrPSc) is thought to occur within nerves and across synapses of the central nervous system (CNS). However, the mechanisms by which PrPSc moves within axons and across nerve synapses remain undetermined. Molecular motors, including kinesins and dyneins, transport many types of intracellular cargo. Kinesin-1C (KIF5C) has been shown to transport vesicles carrying the normal prion protein (PrPC) within axons, but whether KIF5C is involved in PrPSc axonal transport is unknown. The current study tested whether stereotactic inoculation in the striatum of KIF5C knock-out mice (Kif5c−/−) with 0.5 µL volumes of mouse-adapted scrapie strains 22 L or ME7 would result in an altered rate of prion spreading and/or disease timing. Groups of mice injected with each strain were euthanized at either pre-clinical time points or following the development of prion disease. Immunohistochemistry for PrP was performed on brain sections and PrPSc distribution and tempo of spread were compared between mouse strains. In these experiments, no differences in PrPSc spread, distribution or survival times were observed between C57BL/6 and Kif5c−/− mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prion Neuroinvasion)
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Review
Human Papillomaviruses Target the DNA Damage Repair and Innate Immune Response Pathways to Allow for Persistent Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1390; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071390 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Persistent infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is the major risk factor associated with development of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. Initial infection by HPVs occurs into basal epithelial cells where viral genomes are established as nuclear episomes and persist until cleared by the [...] Read more.
Persistent infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is the major risk factor associated with development of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. Initial infection by HPVs occurs into basal epithelial cells where viral genomes are established as nuclear episomes and persist until cleared by the immune response. Productive replication or amplification occurs upon differentiation and is dependent upon activation of the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM), ataxia telangiectasia and RAD3-related (ATR) DNA damage repair (DDR) pathways. In addition to activating DDR pathways, HPVs must escape innate immune surveillance mechanisms by antagonizing sensors, adaptors, interferons and antiviral gene expression. Both DDR and innate immune pathways are key host mechanisms that crosstalk with each other to maintain homeostasis of cells persistently infected with HPVs. Interestingly, it is still not fully understood why some HPV infections get cleared while others do not. Targeting of these two processes with antiviral therapies may provide opportunities for treatment of cancers caused by high-risk HPVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Papillomaviruses Research)
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Article
Ecological Approach to Understanding Superinfection Inhibition in Bacteriophage
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1389; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071389 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 522
Abstract
In microbial communities, viruses compete with each other for host cells to infect. As a consequence of competition for hosts, viruses evolve inhibitory mechanisms to suppress their competitors. One such mechanism is superinfection exclusion, in which a preexisting viral infection prevents a secondary [...] Read more.
In microbial communities, viruses compete with each other for host cells to infect. As a consequence of competition for hosts, viruses evolve inhibitory mechanisms to suppress their competitors. One such mechanism is superinfection exclusion, in which a preexisting viral infection prevents a secondary infection. The bacteriophage ΦX174 exhibits a potential superinfection inhibition mechanism (in which secondary infections are either blocked or resisted) known as the reduction effect. In this auto-inhibitory phenomenon, a plasmid containing a fragment of the ΦX174 genome confers resistance to infection among cells that were once permissive to ΦX174. Taking advantage of this plasmid system, we examine the inhibitory properties of the ΦX174 reduction effect on a range of wild ΦX174-like phages. We then assess how closely the reduction effect in the plasmid system mimics natural superinfection inhibition by carrying out phage–phage competitions in continuous culture, and we evaluate whether the overall competitive advantage can be predicted by phage fitness or by a combination of fitness and reduction effect inhibition. Our results show that viral fitness often correctly predicts the winner. However, a phage’s reduction sequence also provides an advantage to the phage in some cases, modulating phage–phage competition and allowing for persistence where competitive exclusion was expected. These findings provide strong evidence for more complex dynamics than were previously thought, in which the reduction effect may inhibit fast-growing viruses, thereby helping to facilitate coexistence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phage Ecology 2021)
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Article
STAT-1 Knockout Mice as a Model for Wild-Type Sudan Virus (SUDV)
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1388; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071388 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Currently there is no FDA-licensed vaccine or therapeutic against Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) infections. The largest ever reported 2014–2016 West Africa outbreak, as well as the 2021 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlight the critical need for countermeasures against filovirus infections. A [...] Read more.
Currently there is no FDA-licensed vaccine or therapeutic against Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) infections. The largest ever reported 2014–2016 West Africa outbreak, as well as the 2021 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlight the critical need for countermeasures against filovirus infections. A well-characterized small animal model that is susceptible to wild-type filoviruses would greatly add to the screening of antivirals and vaccines. Here, we infected signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 knock out (STAT-1 KO) mice with five different wildtype filoviruses to determine susceptibility. SUDV and Marburg virus (MARV) were the most virulent, and caused 100% or 80% lethality, respectively. Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV), and Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV) caused 40%, 20%, and no mortality, respectively. Further characterization of SUDV in STAT-1 KO mice demonstrated lethality down to 3.1 × 101 pfu. Viral genomic material was detectable in serum as early as 1 to 2 days post-challenge. The onset of viremia was closely followed by significant changes in total white blood cells and proportion of neutrophils and lymphocytes, as well as by an influx of neutrophils in the liver and spleen. Concomitant significant fluctuations in blood glucose, albumin, globulin, and alanine aminotransferase were also noted, altogether consistent with other models of filovirus infection. Finally, favipiravir treatment fully protected STAT-1 KO mice from lethal SUDV challenge, suggesting that this may be an appropriate small animal model to screen anti-SUDV countermeasures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vivo Mouse Models of Human Viral Infections)
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