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Recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Vaccine Vectors Expressing Filovirus Glycoproteins Lack Neurovirulence in Nonhuman Primates  [PDF]
Chad E. Mire,Andrew D. Miller,Angela Carville,Susan V. Westmoreland,Joan B. Geisbert,Keith G. Mansfield,Heinz Feldmann,Lisa E. Hensley ,Thomas W. Geisbert
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001567
Abstract: The filoviruses, Marburg virus and Ebola virus, cause severe hemorrhagic fever with high mortality in humans and nonhuman primates. Among the most promising filovirus vaccines under development is a system based on recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) that expresses an individual filovirus glycoprotein (GP) in place of the VSV glycoprotein (G). The main concern with all replication-competent vaccines, including the rVSV filovirus GP vectors, is their safety. To address this concern, we performed a neurovirulence study using 21 cynomolgus macaques where the vaccines were administered intrathalamically. Seven animals received a rVSV vector expressing the Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) GP; seven animals received a rVSV vector expressing the Lake Victoria marburgvirus (MARV) GP; three animals received rVSV-wild type (wt) vector, and four animals received vehicle control. Two of three animals given rVSV-wt showed severe neurological symptoms whereas animals receiving vehicle control, rVSV-ZEBOV-GP, or rVSV-MARV-GP did not develop these symptoms. Histological analysis revealed major lesions in neural tissues of all three rVSV-wt animals; however, no significant lesions were observed in any animals from the filovirus vaccine or vehicle control groups. These data strongly suggest that rVSV filovirus GP vaccine vectors lack the neurovirulence properties associated with the rVSV-wt parent vector and support their further development as a vaccine platform for human use.
Protein Evolution by Molecular Tinkering: Diversification of the Nuclear Receptor Superfamily from a Ligand-Dependent Ancestor  [PDF]
Jamie T. Bridgham,Geeta N. Eick,Claire Larroux,Kirti Deshpande,Michael J. Harms,Marie E. A. Gauthier,Eric A. Ortlund,Bernard M. Degnan,Joseph W. Thornton
PLOS Biology , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000497
Abstract: Understanding how protein structures and functions have diversified is a central goal in molecular evolution. Surveys of very divergent proteins from model organisms, however, are often insufficient to determine the features of ancestral proteins and to reveal the evolutionary events that yielded extant diversity. Here we combine genomic, biochemical, functional, structural, and phylogenetic analyses to reconstruct the early evolution of nuclear receptors (NRs), a diverse superfamily of transcriptional regulators that play key roles in animal development, physiology, and reproduction. By inferring the structure and functions of the ancestral NR, we show—contrary to current belief—that NRs evolved from a ligand-activated ancestral receptor that existed near the base of the Metazoa, with fatty acids as possible ancestral ligands. Evolutionary tinkering with this ancestral structure generated the extraordinary diversity of modern receptors: sensitivity to different ligands evolved because of subtle modifications of the internal cavity, and ligand-independent activation evolved repeatedly because of various mutations that stabilized the active conformation in the absence of ligand. Our findings illustrate how a mechanistic dissection of protein evolution in a phylogenetic context can reveal the deep homology that links apparently “novel” molecular functions to a common ancestral form.
Protein Evolution by Molecular Tinkering: Diversification of the Nuclear Receptor Superfamily from a Ligand-Dependent Ancestor  [PDF]
Jamie T. Bridgham,Geeta N. Eick,Claire Larroux,Kirti Deshpande,Michael J. Harms,Marie E. A. Gauthier,Eric A. Ortlund,Bernard M. Degnan,Joseph W. Thornton
PLOS Biology , 2010, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000497
Abstract: Understanding how protein structures and functions have diversified is a central goal in molecular evolution. Surveys of very divergent proteins from model organisms, however, are often insufficient to determine the features of ancestral proteins and to reveal the evolutionary events that yielded extant diversity. Here we combine genomic, biochemical, functional, structural, and phylogenetic analyses to reconstruct the early evolution of nuclear receptors (NRs), a diverse superfamily of transcriptional regulators that play key roles in animal development, physiology, and reproduction. By inferring the structure and functions of the ancestral NR, we show—contrary to current belief—that NRs evolved from a ligand-activated ancestral receptor that existed near the base of the Metazoa, with fatty acids as possible ancestral ligands. Evolutionary tinkering with this ancestral structure generated the extraordinary diversity of modern receptors: sensitivity to different ligands evolved because of subtle modifications of the internal cavity, and ligand-independent activation evolved repeatedly because of various mutations that stabilized the active conformation in the absence of ligand. Our findings illustrate how a mechanistic dissection of protein evolution in a phylogenetic context can reveal the deep homology that links apparently “novel” molecular functions to a common ancestral form.
Arenavirus Budding  [PDF]
Shuzo Urata,Juan Carlos de la Torre
Advances in Virology , 2011, DOI: 10.1155/2011/180326
Abstract: Several arenaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever disease in humans and pose a significant public health concern in their endemic regions. On the other hand, the prototypic arenavirus LCMV is a superb workhorse for the investigation of virus-host interactions and associated disease. The arenavirus small RING finger protein called Z has been shown to be the main driving force of virus budding. The budding activity of Z is mediated by late (L) domain motifs, PT/SAP, and PPXY, located at the C-terminus of Z. This paper will present the current knowledge on arenavirus budding including the diversity of L domain motifs used by different arenaviruses. We will also discuss how improved knowledge of arenavirus budding may facilitate the development of novel antiviral strategies to combat human pathogenic arenaviruses. 1. Introduction Arenaviruses are enveloped viruses with a bisegmented negative strand (NS) RNA genome with coding capability for four known genes: nucleoprotein (NP), surface glycoprotein precursor (GPC), polymerase (L), and matrix-like (Z) proteins. Despite their limited genome and proteomic complexity, arenaviruses are able to exhibit very different phenotypic infection outcomes ranging from long-term subclinical chronic infections on their natural rodent hosts [1] to hemorrhagic fever (HF) disease in humans, infected through mucosal exposure to aerosols or by direct contact of abrade skin with infectious material. Thus, Lassa virus (LASV), the causative agent of Lassa fever (LF) is estimated to infect several hundred thousand individuals yearly in its endemic regions of West Africa, resulting in a high number of LF cases associated with high morbidity and significant mortality. Likewise, Junin virus (JUNV) causes Argentine HF, a severe illness with hemorrhagic and neurological manifestations and a case fatality of 15–30%, whereas the Machupo (MACV) and Guanarito (GTOV) arenaviruses emerged as causative agents of HF in Bolivia and Venezuela, respectively. On the other hand, the prototypic arenavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), is a superb workhorse for the investigation of virus-host interactions including mechanisms of virus control and clearance by the host immune defenses, as well as viral counteracting measures leading to chronic infection and associated disease [2, 3]. Moreover, evidence indicates that the globally distributed prototypic arenavirus LCMV is a neglected human pathogen of clinical significance, especially in cases of congenital infection. In addition, LCMV poses a special threat to immunocompromised individuals, as
Correlates of Immunity to Filovirus Infection  [PDF]
Steven B. Bradfute,Sina Bavari
Viruses , 2011, DOI: 10.3390/v3070982
Abstract: Filoviruses can cause severe, often fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans. Recent advances in vaccine and therapeutic drug development have provided encouraging data concerning treatment of these infections. However, relatively little is known about immune responses in fatal versus non-fatal filovirus infection. This review summarizes the published literature on correlates of immunity to filovirus infection, and highlights deficiencies in our knowledge on this topic. It is likely that there are several types of successful immune responses, depending on the type of filovirus, and the presence and timing of vaccination or drug treatment.
Envelope Exchange for the Generation of Live-Attenuated Arenavirus Vaccines  [PDF]
Andreas Bergthaler,Nicolas U Gerber,Doron Merkler,Edit Horvath,Juan Carlos de la Torre,Daniel D Pinschewer
PLOS Pathogens , 2006, DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.0020051
Abstract: Arenaviruses such as Lassa fever virus cause significant mortality in endemic areas and represent potential bioterrorist weapons. The occurrence of arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers is largely confined to Third World countries with a limited medical infrastructure, and therefore live-attenuated vaccines have long been sought as a method of choice for prevention. Yet their rational design and engineering have been thwarted by technical limitations. In addition, viral genes had not been identified that are needed to cause disease but can be deleted or substituted to generate live-attenuated vaccine strains. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, the prototype arenavirus, induces cell-mediated immunity against Lassa fever virus, but its safety for humans is unclear and untested. Using this virus model, we have developed the necessary methodology to efficiently modify arenavirus genomes and have exploited these techniques to identify an arenaviral Achilles' heel suitable for targeting in vaccine design. Reverse genetic exchange of the viral glycoprotein for foreign glycoproteins created attenuated vaccine strains that remained viable although unable to cause disease in infected mice. This phenotype remained stable even after extensive propagation in immunodeficient hosts. Nevertheless, the engineered viruses induced T cell–mediated immunity protecting against overwhelming systemic infection and severe liver disease upon wild-type virus challenge. Protection was established within 3 to 7 d after immunization and lasted for approximately 300 d. The identification of an arenaviral Achilles' heel demonstrates that the reverse genetic engineering of live-attenuated arenavirus vaccines is feasible. Moreover, our findings offer lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus or other arenaviruses expressing foreign glycoproteins as promising live-attenuated arenavirus vaccine candidates.
Envelope Exchange for the Generation of Live-Attenuated Arenavirus Vaccines.  [cached]
Bergthaler,Gerber,Merkler,Horvath
PLOS Pathogens , 2006,
Abstract: Arenaviruses such as Lassa fever virus cause significant mortality in endemic areas and represent potential bioterrorist weapons. The occurrence of arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers is largely confined to Third World countries with a limited medical infrastructure, and therefore live-attenuated vaccines have long been sought as a method of choice for prevention. Yet their rational design and engineering have been thwarted by technical limitations. In addition, viral genes had not been identified that are needed to cause disease but can be deleted or substituted to generate live-attenuated vaccine strains. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, the prototype arenavirus, induces cell-mediated immunity against Lassa fever virus, but its safety for humans is unclear and untested. Using this virus model, we have developed the necessary methodology to efficiently modify arenavirus genomes and have exploited these techniques to identify an arenaviral Achilles' heel suitable for targeting in vaccine design. Reverse genetic exchange of the viral glycoprotein for foreign glycoproteins created attenuated vaccine strains that remained viable although unable to cause disease in infected mice. This phenotype remained stable even after extensive propagation in immunodeficient hosts. Nevertheless, the engineered viruses induced T cell-mediated immunity protecting against overwhelming systemic infection and severe liver disease upon wild-type virus challenge. Protection was established within 3 to 7 d after immunization and lasted for approximately 300 d. The identification of an arenaviral Achilles' heel demonstrates that the reverse genetic engineering of live-attenuated arenavirus vaccines is feasible. Moreover, our findings offer lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus or other arenaviruses expressing foreign glycoproteins as promising live-attenuated arenavirus vaccine candidates.
Serological Assays Based on Recombinant Viral Proteins for the Diagnosis of Arenavirus Hemorrhagic Fevers  [PDF]
Shuetsu Fukushi,Hideki Tani,Tomoki Yoshikawa,Masayuki Saijo,Shigeru Morikawa
Viruses , 2012, DOI: 10.3390/v4102097
Abstract: The family Arenaviridae, genus Arenavirus, consists of two phylogenetically independent groups: Old World (OW) and New World (NW) complexes. The Lassa and Lujo viruses in the OW complex and the Guanarito, Junin, Machupo, Sabia, and Chapare viruses in the NW complex cause viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) in humans, leading to serious public health concerns. These viruses are also considered potential bioterrorism agents. Therefore, it is of great importance to detect these pathogens rapidly and specifically in order to minimize the risk and scale of arenavirus outbreaks. However, these arenaviruses are classified as BSL-4 pathogens, thus making it difficult to develop diagnostic techniques for these virus infections in institutes without BSL-4 facilities. To overcome these difficulties, antibody detection systems in the form of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and an indirect immunofluorescence assay were developed using recombinant nucleoproteins (rNPs) derived from these viruses. Furthermore, several antigen-detection assays were developed. For example, novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the rNPs of Lassa and Junin viruses were generated. Sandwich antigen-capture (Ag-capture) ELISAs using these mAbs as capture antibodies were developed and confirmed to be sensitive and specific for detecting the respective arenavirus NPs. These rNP-based assays were proposed to be useful not only for an etiological diagnosis of VHFs, but also for seroepidemiological studies on VHFs. We recently developed arenavirus neutralization assays using vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based pseudotypes bearing arenavirus recombinant glycoproteins. The goal of this article is to review the recent advances in developing laboratory diagnostic assays based on recombinant viral proteins for the diagnosis of VHFs and epidemiological studies on the VHFs caused by?arenaviruses.
Mouse Models for Filovirus Infections  [PDF]
Steven B. Bradfute,Kelly L. Warfield,Mike Bray
Viruses , 2012, DOI: 10.3390/v4091477
Abstract: The filoviruses marburg- and ebolaviruses can cause severe hemorrhagic fever (HF) in humans and nonhuman primates. Because many cases have occurred in geographical areas lacking a medical research infrastructure, most studies of the pathogenesis of filoviral HF, and all efforts to develop drugs and vaccines, have been carried out in biocontainment laboratories in non-endemic countries, using nonhuman primates (NHPs), guinea pigs and mice as animal models. NHPs appear to closely mirror filoviral HF in humans (based on limited clinical data), but only small numbers may be used in carefully regulated experiments; much research is therefore done in rodents. Because of their availability in large numbers and the existence of a wealth of reagents for biochemical and immunological testing, mice have become the preferred small animal model for filovirus research. Since the first experiments following the initial 1967 marburgvirus outbreak, wild-type or mouse-adapted viruses have been tested in immunocompetent or immunodeficient mice. In this paper, we review how these types of studies have been used to investigate the pathogenesis of filoviral disease, identify immune responses to infection and evaluate antiviral drugs and vaccines. We also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of murine models for filovirus research, and identify important questions for further study.
Filovirus Entry: A Novelty in the Viral Fusion World  [PDF]
Catherine L. Hunt,Nicholas J. Lennemann,Wendy Maury
Viruses , 2012, DOI: 10.3390/v4020258
Abstract: Ebolavirus (EBOV) and Marburgvirus (MARV) that compose the filovirus family of negative strand RNA viruses infect a broad range of mammalian cells. Recent studies indicate that cellular entry of this family of viruses requires a series of cellular protein interactions and molecular mechanisms, some of which are unique to filoviruses and others are commonly used by all viral glycoproteins. Details of this entry pathway are highlighted here. Virus entry into cells is initiated by the interaction of the viral glycoprotein1 subunit (GP1) with both adherence factors and one or more receptors on the surface of host cells. On epithelial cells, we recently demonstrated that TIM-1 serves as a receptor for this family of viruses, but the cell surface receptors in other cell types remain unidentified. Upon receptor binding, the virus is internalized into endosomes primarily via macropinocytosis, but perhaps by other mechanisms as well. Within the acidified endosome, the heavily glycosylated GP1 is cleaved to a smaller form by the low pH-dependent cellular proteases Cathepsin L and B, exposing residues in the receptor binding site (RBS). Details of the molecular events following cathepsin-dependent trimming of GP1 are currently incomplete; however, the processed GP1 specifically interacts with endosomal/lysosomal membranes that contain the Niemann Pick C1 (NPC1) protein and expression of NPC1 is required for productive infection, suggesting that GP/NPC1 interactions may be an important late step in the entry process. Additional events such as further GP1 processing and/or reducing events may also be required to generate a fusion-ready form of the glycoprotein. Once this has been achieved, sequences in the filovirus GP2 subunit mediate viral/cellular membrane fusion via mechanisms similar to those previously described for other enveloped viruses. This multi-step entry pathway highlights the complex and highly orchestrated path of internalization and fusion that appears unique for filoviruses.
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