Successful hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment is defined as the absence of viremia 6 months after therapy cessation. We previously reported that trace amounts of HCV RNA, below the sensitivity of the standard clinical assay, can reappear sporadically in treatment responders. Here, we assessed the infectivity of this RNA and infused 3 chimpanzees sequentially at 9-week intervals with plasma or PBMCs from patients who tested positive for trace amounts of HCV RNA more than 6 months after completing pegylated IFN-α/ribavirin therapy. A fourth chimpanzee received HCV RNA–negative plasma and PBMCs from healthy blood donors. The 3 experimental chimpanzees, but not the control chimpanzee, generated HCV-specific T cell responses against nonstructural and structural HCV sequences 6–10 weeks after the first infusion of patient plasma and during subsequent infusions. In 1 chimpanzee, T cell responses declined, and this animal developed high-level viremia at week 27. Deep sequencing of HCV demonstrated transmission of a minor HCV variant from the first infusion donor that persisted in the chimpanzee for more than 6 months despite undetectable systemic viremia. Collectively, these results demonstrate that trace amounts of HCV RNA, which appear sporadically in successfully treated patients, can be infectious; furthermore, transmission can be masked in the recipient by an extended eclipse phase prior to establishing high-level viremia.
Naga Suresh Veerapu, Su-Hyung Park, Damien C. Tully, Todd M. Allen, Barbara Rehermann
A wide range of antiviral drugs is currently available; however, drug-resistant viruses have begun to emerge and represent a potential public health risk. Here, we explored the use of compounds that inhibit or interfere with the action of essential host factors to prevent virus replication. In particular, we focused on the cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) inhibitor, FIT-039, which suppressed replication of a broad spectrum of DNA viruses through inhibition of mRNA transcription. Specifically, FIT-039 inhibited replication of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), HSV-2, human adenovirus, and human cytomegalovirus in cultured cells, and topical application of FIT-039 ointment suppressed skin legion formation in a murine HSV-1 infection model. FIT-039 did not affect cell cycle progression or cellular proliferation in host cells. Compared with the general CDK inhibitor flavopiridol, transcriptome analyses of FIT-039–treated cells revealed that FIT-039 specifically inhibited CDK9. Given at concentrations above the inhibitory concentration, FIT-039 did not have a cytotoxic effect on mammalian cells. Importantly, administration of FIT-039 ameliorated the severity of skin lesion formation in mice infected with an acyclovir-resistant HSV-1, without noticeable adverse effects. Together, these data indicate that FIT-039 has potential as an antiviral agent for clinical therapeutics.
Makoto Yamamoto, Hiroshi Onogi, Isao Kii, Suguru Yoshida, Kei Iida, Hiroyuki Sakai, Minako Abe, Toshiaki Tsubota, Nobutoshi Ito, Takamitsu Hosoya, Masatoshi Hagiwara
Eric G. Meissner, David Wu, Anu Osinusi, Dimitra Bon, Kimmo Virtaneva, Dan Sturdevant, Steve Porcella, Honghui Wang, Eva Herrmann, John McHutchison, Anthony F. Suffredini, Michael Polis, Stephen Hewitt, Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Henry Masur, Anthony S. Fauci, Shyamasundaran Kottilil
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the major cause of bronchiolitis in young children. The factors that contribute to the increased propensity of RSV-induced distal airway disease compared with other commonly encountered respiratory viruses remain unclear. Here, we identified the RSV-encoded nonstructural 2 (NS2) protein as a viral genetic determinant for initiating RSV-induced distal airway obstruction. Infection of human cartilaginous airway epithelium (HAE) and a hamster model of disease with recombinant respiratory viruses revealed that NS2 promotes shedding of infected epithelial cells, resulting in two consequences of virus infection. First, epithelial cell shedding accelerated the reduction of virus titers, presumably by clearing virus-infected cells from airway mucosa. Second, epithelial cells shedding into the narrow-diameter bronchiolar airway lumens resulted in rapid accumulation of detached, pleomorphic epithelial cells, leading to acute distal airway obstruction. Together, these data indicate that RSV infection of the airway epithelium, via the action of NS2, promotes epithelial cell shedding, which not only accelerates viral clearance but also contributes to acute obstruction of the distal airways. Our results identify RSV NS2 as a contributing factor for the enhanced propensity of RSV to cause severe airway disease in young children and suggest NS2 as a potential therapeutic target for reducing the severity of distal airway disease.
Rachael M. Liesman, Ursula J. Buchholz, Cindy L. Luongo, Lijuan Yang, Alan D. Proia, John P. DeVincenzo, Peter L. Collins, Raymond J. Pickles
The most abundantly produced virion protein in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the immunodominant phosphoprotein 65 (pp65), which is frequently included in CMV vaccines. Although it is nonessential for in vitro CMV growth, pp65 displays immunomodulatory functions that support a potential role in primary and/or persistent infection. To determine the contribution of pp65 to CMV infection and immunity, we generated a rhesus CMV lacking both pp65 orthologs (RhCMVΔpp65ab). While deletion of pp65ab slightly reduced growth in vitro and increased defective particle formation, the protein composition of secreted virions was largely unchanged. Interestingly, pp65 was not required for primary and persistent infection in animals. Immune responses induced by RhCMVΔpp65ab did not prevent reinfection with rhesus CMV; however, reinfection with RhCMVΔUS2-11, which lacks viral-encoded MHC-I antigen presentation inhibitors, was prevented. Unexpectedly, induction of pp65b-specific T cells alone did not protect against RhCMVΔUS2-11 challenge, suggesting that T cells targeting multiple CMV antigens are required for protection. However, pp65-specific immunity was crucial for controlling viral dissemination during primary infection, as indicated by the marked increase of RhCMVΔpp65ab genome copies in CMV-naive, but not CMV-immune, animals. Our data provide rationale for inclusion of pp65 into CMV vaccines but also demonstrate that pp65-induced T cell responses alone do not recapitulate the protective effect of natural infection.
Daniel Malouli, Scott G. Hansen, Ernesto S. Nakayasu, Emily E. Marshall, Colette M. Hughes, Abigail B. Ventura, Roxanne M. Gilbride, Matthew S. Lewis, Guangwu Xu, Craig Kreklywich, Nathan Whizin, Miranda Fischer, Alfred W. Legasse, Kasinath Viswanathan, Don Siess, David G. Camp II, Michael K. Axthelm, Christoph Kahl, Victor R. DeFilippis, Richard D. Smith, Daniel N. Streblow, Louis J. Picker, Klaus Früh
The ability of individual T cells to perform multiple effector functions is crucial for protective immunity against viruses and cancer. This polyfunctionality is frequently lost during chronic infections; however, the molecular mechanisms driving T cell polyfunctionality are poorly understood. We found that human T cells stimulated by a high concentration of antigen lacked polyfunctionality and expressed a transcription profile similar to that of exhausted T cells. One specific pathway implicated by the transcription profile in control of T cell polyfunctionality was the MAPK/ERK pathway. This pathway was altered in response to different antigen concentrations, and polyfunctionality correlated with upregulation of phosphorylated ERK. T cells that were stimulated with a high concentration of antigen upregulated sprouty-2 (
Yen-Ling Chiu, Liang Shan, Hailiang Huang, Carl Haupt, Catherine Bessell, David H. Canaday, Hao Zhang, Ya-Chi Ho, Jonathan D. Powell, Mathias Oelke, Joseph B. Margolick, Joel N. Blankson, Diane E. Griffin, Jonathan P. Schneck
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne arthralgia arbovirus that is reemergent in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. CHIKV infection has been shown to be self-limiting, but the molecular mechanisms of the innate immune response that control CHIKV replication remain undefined. Here, longitudinal transcriptional analyses of PBMCs from a cohort of CHIKV-infected patients revealed that type I IFNs controlled CHIKV infection via RSAD2 (which encodes viperin), an enigmatic multifunctional IFN-stimulated gene (ISG). Viperin was highly induced in monocytes, the major target cell of CHIKV in blood. Anti-CHIKV functions of viperin were dependent on its localization in the ER, and the N-terminal amphipathic α-helical domain was crucial for its antiviral activity in controlling CHIKV replication. Furthermore, mice lacking Rsad2 had higher viremia and severe joint inflammation compared with wild-type mice. Our data demonstrate that viperin is a critical antiviral host protein that controls CHIKV infection and provide a preclinical basis for the design of effective control strategies against CHIKV and other reemerging arthrogenic alphaviruses.
Terk-Shin Teng, Suan-Sin Foo, Diane Simamarta, Fok-Moon Lum, Teck-Hui Teo, Aleksei Lulla, Nicholas K.W. Yeo, Esther G.L. Koh, Angela Chow, Yee-Sin Leo, Andres Merits, Keh-Chuang Chin, Lisa F.P. Ng
SIVs infecting wild-living apes in west central Africa have crossed the species barrier to humans on at least four different occasions, one of which spawned the AIDS pandemic. Although the chimpanzee precursor of pandemic HIV-1 strains must have been able to infect humans, the capacity of SIVcpz strains to replicate in human lymphoid tissues (HLTs) is not known. Here, we show that SIVcpz strains from two chimpanzee subspecies are capable of replicating in human tonsillary explant cultures, albeit only at low titers. However, SIVcpz replication in HLT was significantly improved after introduction of a previously identified human-specific adaptation at position 30 in the viral Gag matrix protein. An Arg or Lys at this position significantly increased SIVcpz replication in HLT, while the same mutation reduced viral replication in chimpanzee-derived CD4+ T cells. Thus, naturally occurring SIVcpz strains are capable of infecting HLTs, the major site of HIV-1 replication in vivo. However, efficient replication requires the acquisition of a host-specific adaptation in the viral matrix protein. These results identify Gag matrix as a major determinant of SIVcpz replication fitness in humans and suggest a critical role in the emergence of HIV/AIDS.
Frederic Bibollet-Ruche, Anke Heigele, Brandon F. Keele, Juliet L. Easlick, Julie M. Decker, Jun Takehisa, Gerald Learn, Paul M. Sharp, Beatrice H. Hahn, Frank Kirchhoff
Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) are highly prevalent neurotropic viruses. While they can replicate lytically in cells of the epithelial lineage, causing lesions on mucocutaneous surfaces, HSVs also establish latent infections in neurons, which act as reservoirs of virus for subsequent reactivation events. Immunological control of HSV involves activation of innate immune pattern-recognition receptors such as TLR3, which detects double-stranded RNA and induces type I IFN expression. Humans with defects in the TLR3/IFN pathway have an elevated susceptibility to HSV infections of the CNS. However, it is not known what cell type mediates the role of TLR3 in the immunological control of HSV, and it is not known whether TLR3 sensing occurs prior to or after CNS entry. Here, we show that in mice TLR3 provides early control of HSV-2 infection immediately after entry into the CNS by mediating type I IFN responses in astrocytes. Tlr3–/– mice were hypersusceptible to HSV-2 infection in the CNS after vaginal inoculation. HSV-2 exhibited broader neurotropism in Tlr3–/– mice than it did in WT mice, with astrocytes being most abundantly infected. Tlr3–/– mice did not exhibit a global defect in innate immune responses to HSV, but astrocytes were defective in HSV-induced type I IFN production. Thus, TLR3 acts in astrocytes to sense HSV-2 infection immediately after entry into the CNS, possibly preventing HSV from spreading beyond the neurons mediating entry into the CNS.
Line S. Reinert, Louis Harder, Christian K. Holm, Marie B. Iversen, Kristy A. Horan, Frederik Dagnæs-Hansen, Benedicte P. Ulhøi, Thomas H. Holm, Trine H. Mogensen, Trevor Owens, Jens R. Nyengaard, Allan R. Thomsen, Søren R. Paludan
Infections by viruses are associated with approximately 12% of human cancer. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is causally linked to several malignancies commonly found in AIDS patients. The mechanism of KSHV-induced oncogenesis remains elusive, due in part to the lack of an adequate experimental system for cellular transformation of primary cells. Here, we report efficient infection and cellular transformation of primary rat embryonic metanephric mesenchymal precursor cells (MM cells) by KSHV. Cellular transformation occurred at as early as day 4 after infection and in nearly all infected cells. Transformed cells expressed hallmark vascular endothelial, lymphatic endothelial, and mesenchymal markers and efficiently induced tumors in nude mice. KSHV established latent infection in MM cells, and lytic induction resulted in low levels of detectable infectious virions despite robust expression of lytic genes. Most KSHV-induced tumor cells were in a latent state, although a few showed heterogeneous expression of lytic genes. This efficient system for KSHV cellular transformation of primary cells might facilitate the study of growth deregulation mechanisms resulting from KSHV infections.
Tiffany Jones, Fengchun Ye, Roble Bedolla, Yufei Huang, Jia Meng, Liwu Qian, Hongyi Pan, Fuchun Zhou, Rosalie Moody, Brent Wagner, Mazen Arar, Shou-Jiang Gao
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