Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
UK Pigs at the Time of Slaughter: Investigation into the Correlation of Infection with PRRSV and HEV
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 110; doi:10.3390/v9050110 -
Abstract
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and are both globally prevalent in the pig population. While HEV does not cause clinical disease in pigs, its zoonotic potential has raised concerns in the food safety sector. PRRS has
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Hepatitis E virus (HEV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and are both globally prevalent in the pig population. While HEV does not cause clinical disease in pigs, its zoonotic potential has raised concerns in the food safety sector. PRRS has become endemic in the United Kingdom (UK) since its introduction in 1991, and continues to cause considerable economic losses to the swine industry. A better understanding of the current prevalence and diversity of PRRSV and HEV in the UK, and their potential association, is needed to assess risks and target control measures appropriately. This study used plasma, tonsil, and cecal content samples previously collected from pigs in 14 abattoirs in England and Northern Ireland to study the prevalence of several pathogens including PRRSV and HEV. The diversity of PRRSV strains detected in these samples was analyzed by sequencing open reading frame 5 (ORF5), revealing no substantial difference in PRRSV strains from these clinically unaffected pigs relative to those from clinical cases of disease in the UK. Despite the potential immuno-modulatory effect of PRRSV infection, previously demonstrated to affect Salmonella and HEV shedding profiles, no significant association was found between positive PRRSV status and positive HEV status. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Metagenomic Approaches to Assess Bacteriophages in Various Environmental Niches
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 127; doi:10.3390/v9060127 -
Abstract
Bacteriophages are ubiquitous and numerous parasites of bacteria and play a critical evolutionary role in virtually every ecosystem, yet our understanding of the extent of the diversity and role of phages remains inadequate for many ecological niches, particularly in cases in which the
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Bacteriophages are ubiquitous and numerous parasites of bacteria and play a critical evolutionary role in virtually every ecosystem, yet our understanding of the extent of the diversity and role of phages remains inadequate for many ecological niches, particularly in cases in which the host is unculturable. During the past 15 years, the emergence of the field of viral metagenomics has drastically enhanced our ability to analyse the so-called viral ‘dark matter’ of the biosphere. Here, we review the evolution of viral metagenomic methodologies, as well as providing an overview of some of the most significant applications and findings in this field of research. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Bacterial Virus Ontology; Coordinating across Databases
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 126; doi:10.3390/v9060126 -
Abstract
Bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophages, display a great genetic diversity and utilize unique processes for infecting and reproducing within a host cell. All these processes were investigated and indexed in the ViralZone knowledge base. To facilitate standardizing data, a simple ontology of viral
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Bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophages, display a great genetic diversity and utilize unique processes for infecting and reproducing within a host cell. All these processes were investigated and indexed in the ViralZone knowledge base. To facilitate standardizing data, a simple ontology of viral life-cycle terms was developed to provide a common vocabulary for annotating data sets. New terminology was developed to address unique viral replication cycle processes, and existing terminology was modified and adapted. Classically, the viral life-cycle is described by schematic pictures. Using this ontology, it can be represented by a combination of successive events: entry, latency, transcription/replication, host–virus interactions and virus release. Each of these parts is broken down into discrete steps. For example enterobacteria phage lambda entry is broken down in: viral attachment to host adhesion receptor, viral attachment to host entry receptor, viral genome ejection and viral genome circularization. To demonstrate the utility of a standard ontology for virus biology, this work was completed by annotating virus data in the ViralZone, UniProtKB and Gene Ontology databases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Distinct Contributions of Autophagy Receptors in Measles Virus Replication
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 123; doi:10.3390/v9050123 -
Abstract
Autophagy is a potent cell autonomous defense mechanism that engages the lysosomal pathway to fight intracellular pathogens. Several autophagy receptors can recognize invading pathogens in order to target them towards autophagy for their degradation after the fusion of pathogen-containing autophagosomes with lysosomes. However,
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Autophagy is a potent cell autonomous defense mechanism that engages the lysosomal pathway to fight intracellular pathogens. Several autophagy receptors can recognize invading pathogens in order to target them towards autophagy for their degradation after the fusion of pathogen-containing autophagosomes with lysosomes. However, numerous intracellular pathogens can avoid or exploit autophagy, among which is measles virus (MeV). This virus induces a complete autophagy flux, which is required to improve viral replication. We therefore asked how measles virus interferes with autophagy receptors during the course of infection. We report that in addition to NDP52/CALCOCO2 and OPTINEURIN/OPTN, another autophagy receptor, namely T6BP/TAXIBP1, also regulates the maturation of autophagosomes by promoting their fusion with lysosomes, independently of any infection. Surprisingly, only two of these receptors, NDP52 and T6BP, impacted measles virus replication, although independently, and possibly through physical interaction with MeV proteins. Thus, our results suggest that a restricted set of autophagosomes is selectively exploited by measles virus to replicate in the course of infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Japanese Encephalitis Virus Vaccine Inducing Antibodies Strongly Enhancing In Vitro Infection Is Protective in Pigs
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 124; doi:10.3390/v9050124 -
Abstract
The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is responsible for zoonotic severe viral encephalitis transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. Although birds are reservoirs, pigs play a role as amplifying hosts, and are affected in particular through reproductive failure. Here, we show that a lentiviral JEV vector,
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The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is responsible for zoonotic severe viral encephalitis transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. Although birds are reservoirs, pigs play a role as amplifying hosts, and are affected in particular through reproductive failure. Here, we show that a lentiviral JEV vector, expressing JEV prM and E proteins (TRIP/JEV.prME), but not JEV infection induces strong antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) activities for infection of macrophages. Such antibodies strongly promoted infection via Fc receptors. ADE was found at both neutralizing and non-neutralizing serum dilutions. Nevertheless, in vivo JEV challenge of pigs demonstrated comparable protection induced by the TRIP/JEV.prME vaccine or heterologous JEV infection. Thus, either ADE antibodies cause no harm in the presence of neutralizing antibodies or may even have protective effects in vivo in pigs. Additionally, we found that both pre-infected and vaccinated pigs were not fully protected as low levels of viral RNA were found in lymphoid and nervous system tissue in some animals. Strikingly, the virus from the pre-infection persisted in the tonsils throughout the experiment. Finally, despite the vaccination challenge, viral RNA was detected in the oronasal swabs in all vaccinated pigs. These latter data are relevant when JEV vaccination is employed in pigs. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Role for the Host DNA Damage Response in Hepatitis B Virus cccDNA Formation—and Beyond?
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 125; doi:10.3390/v9050125 -
Abstract
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection puts more than 250 million people at a greatly increased risk to develop end-stage liver disease. Like all hepadnaviruses, HBV replicates via protein-primed reverse transcription of a pregenomic (pg) RNA, yielding an unusually structured, viral polymerase-linked relaxed-circular
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Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection puts more than 250 million people at a greatly increased risk to develop end-stage liver disease. Like all hepadnaviruses, HBV replicates via protein-primed reverse transcription of a pregenomic (pg) RNA, yielding an unusually structured, viral polymerase-linked relaxed-circular (RC) DNA as genome in infectious particles. Upon infection, RC-DNA is converted into nuclear covalently closed circular (ccc) DNA. Associating with cellular proteins into an episomal minichromosome, cccDNA acts as template for new viral RNAs, ensuring formation of progeny virions. Hence, cccDNA represents the viral persistence reservoir that is not directly targeted by current anti-HBV therapeutics. Eliminating cccDNA will thus be at the heart of a cure for chronic hepatitis B. The low production of HBV cccDNA in most experimental models and the associated problems in reliable cccDNA quantitation have long hampered a deeper understanding of cccDNA molecular biology. Recent advancements including cccDNA-dependent cell culture systems have begun to identify select host DNA repair enzymes that HBV usurps for RC-DNA to cccDNA conversion. While this list is bound to grow, it may represent just one facet of a broader interaction with the cellular DNA damage response (DDR), a network of pathways that sense and repair aberrant DNA structures and in the process profoundly affect the cell cycle, up to inducing cell death if repair fails. Given the divergent interactions between other viruses and the DDR it will be intriguing to see how HBV copes with this multipronged host system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stumbling across the Same Phage: Comparative Genomics of Widespread Temperate Phages Infecting the Fish Pathogen Vibrio anguillarum
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 122; doi:10.3390/v9050122 -
Abstract
Nineteen Vibrio anguillarum-specific temperate bacteriophages isolated across Europe and Chile from aquaculture and environmental sites were genome sequenced and analyzed for host range, morphology and life cycle characteristics. The phages were classified as Siphoviridae with genome sizes between 46,006 and 54,201 bp.
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Nineteen Vibrio anguillarum-specific temperate bacteriophages isolated across Europe and Chile from aquaculture and environmental sites were genome sequenced and analyzed for host range, morphology and life cycle characteristics. The phages were classified as Siphoviridae with genome sizes between 46,006 and 54,201 bp. All 19 phages showed high genetic similarity, and 13 phages were genetically identical. Apart from sporadically distributed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genetic diversifications were located in three variable regions (VR1, VR2 and VR3) in six of the phage genomes. Identification of specific genes, such as N6-adenine methyltransferase and lambda like repressor, as well as the presence of a tRNAArg, suggested a both mutualistic and parasitic interaction between phages and hosts. During short term phage exposure experiments, 28% of a V. anguillarum host population was lysogenized by the temperate phages and a genomic analysis of a collection of 31 virulent V. anguillarum showed that the isolated phages were present as prophages in >50% of the strains covering large geographical distances. Further, phage sequences were widely distributed among CRISPR-Cas arrays of publicly available sequenced Vibrios. The observed distribution of these specific temperate Vibriophages across large geographical scales may be explained by efficient dispersal of phages and bacteria in the marine environment combined with a mutualistic interaction between temperate phages and their hosts which selects for co-existence rather than arms race dynamics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Complex Patterns Observed during Hepatitis B Virus Therapy
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 117; doi:10.3390/v9050117 -
Abstract
Data from human clinical trials have shown that the hepatitis B virus (HBV) follows complex profiles, such as bi-phasic, tri-phasic, stepwise decay and rebound. We utilized a deterministic model of HBV kinetics following antiviral therapy to uncover the mechanistic interactions behind HBV dynamics.
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Data from human clinical trials have shown that the hepatitis B virus (HBV) follows complex profiles, such as bi-phasic, tri-phasic, stepwise decay and rebound. We utilized a deterministic model of HBV kinetics following antiviral therapy to uncover the mechanistic interactions behind HBV dynamics. Analytical investigation of the model was used to separate the parameter space describing virus decay and rebound. Monte Carlo sampling of the parameter space was used to determine the virological, pharmacological and immunological factors that separate the bi-phasic and tri-phasic virus profiles. We found that the level of liver infection at the start of therapy best separates the decay patterns. Moreover, drug efficacy, ratio between division of uninfected and infected cells, and the strength of cytotoxic immune response are important in assessing the amount of liver damage experienced over time and in quantifying the duration of therapy leading to virus resolution in each of the observed profiles. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
ATP-Driven Contraction of Phage T3 Capsids with DNA Incompletely Packaged In Vivo
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 119; doi:10.3390/v9050119 -
Abstract
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) cleavage powers packaging of a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) molecule in a pre-assembled capsid of phages that include T3. Several observations constitute a challenge to the conventional view that the shell of the capsid is energetically inert during packaging. Here, we
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Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) cleavage powers packaging of a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) molecule in a pre-assembled capsid of phages that include T3. Several observations constitute a challenge to the conventional view that the shell of the capsid is energetically inert during packaging. Here, we test this challenge by analyzing the in vitro effects of ATP on the shells of capsids generated by DNA packaging in vivo. These capsids retain incompletely packaged DNA (ipDNA) and are called ipDNA-capsids; the ipDNA-capsids are assumed to be products of premature genome maturation-cleavage. They were isolated via preparative Nycodenz buoyant density centrifugation. For some ipDNA-capsids, Nycodenz impermeability increases hydration and generates density so low that shell hyper-expansion must exist to accommodate associated water. Electron microscopy (EM) confirmed hyper-expansion and low permeability and revealed that 3.0 mM magnesium ATP (physiological concentration) causes contraction of hyper-expanded, lowpermeability ipDNA-capsids to less than mature size; 5.0 mM magnesium ATP (border of supraphysiological concentration) or more disrupts them. Additionally, excess sodium ADP reverses 3.0 mM magnesium ATP-induced contraction and re-generates hyper-expansion. The Nycodenz impermeability implies assembly perfection that suggests selection for function in DNA packaging. These findings support the above challenge and can be explained via the assumption that T3 DNA packaging includes a back-up cycle of ATP-driven capsid contraction and hyper-expansion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variation in the Genetic Repertoire of Viruses Infecting Micromonas pusilla Reflects Horizontal Gene Transfer and Links to Their Environmental Distribution
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 116; doi:10.3390/v9050116 -
Abstract
Prasinophytes, a group of eukaryotic phytoplankton, has a global distribution and is infected by large double-stranded DNA viruses (prasinoviruses) in the family Phycodnaviridae. This study examines the genetic repertoire, phylogeny, and environmental distribution of phycodnaviruses infecting Micromonas pusilla, other prasinophytes and
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Prasinophytes, a group of eukaryotic phytoplankton, has a global distribution and is infected by large double-stranded DNA viruses (prasinoviruses) in the family Phycodnaviridae. This study examines the genetic repertoire, phylogeny, and environmental distribution of phycodnaviruses infecting Micromonas pusilla, other prasinophytes and chlorophytes. Based on comparisons among the genomes of viruses infecting M. pusilla and other phycodnaviruses, as well as the genome from a host isolate of M. pusilla, viruses infecting M. pusilla (MpVs) share a limited set of core genes, but vary strongly in their flexible pan-genome that includes numerous metabolic genes, such as those associated with amino acid synthesis and sugar manipulation. Surprisingly, few of these presumably host-derived genes are shared with M. pusilla, but rather have their closest non-viral homologue in bacteria and other eukaryotes, indicating horizontal gene transfer. A comparative analysis of full-length DNA polymerase (DNApol) genes from prasinoviruses with their overall gene content, demonstrated that the phylogeny of DNApol gene fragments reflects the gene content of the viruses; hence, environmental DNApol gene sequences from prasinoviruses can be used to infer their overall genetic repertoire. Thus, the distribution of virus ecotypes across environmental samples based on DNApol sequences implies substantial underlying differences in gene content that reflect local environmental conditions. Moreover, the high diversity observed in the genetic repertoire of prasinoviruses has been driven by horizontal gene transfer throughout their evolutionary history, resulting in a broad suite of functional capabilities and a high diversity of prasinovirus ecotypes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Differentiation and Structure in Sulfolobus islandicus Rod-Shaped Virus Populations
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 120; doi:10.3390/v9050120 -
Abstract
In the past decade, molecular surveys of viral diversity have revealed that viruses are the most diverse and abundant biological entities on Earth. In culture, however, most viral isolates that infect microbes are represented by a few variants isolated on type strains, limiting
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In the past decade, molecular surveys of viral diversity have revealed that viruses are the most diverse and abundant biological entities on Earth. In culture, however, most viral isolates that infect microbes are represented by a few variants isolated on type strains, limiting our ability to study how natural variation affects virus-host interactions in the laboratory. We screened a set of 137 hot spring samples for viruses that infect a geographically diverse panel of the hyperthemophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus islandicus. We isolated and characterized eight SIRVs (Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped viruses) from two different regions within Yellowstone National Park (USA). Comparative genomics revealed that all SIRV sequenced isolates share 30 core genes that represent 50–60% of the genome. The core genome phylogeny, as well as the distribution of variable genes (shared by some but not all SIRVs) and the signatures of host-virus interactions recorded on the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) repeat-spacer arrays of S. islandicus hosts, identify different SIRV lineages, each associated with a different geographic location. Moreover, our studies reveal that SIRV core genes do not appear to be under diversifying selection and thus we predict that the abundant and diverse variable genes govern the coevolutionary arms race between SIRVs and their hosts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation and Comparison of the Pathogenicity and Host Immune Responses Induced by a G2b Taiwan Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (Strain Pintung 52) and Its Highly Cell-Culture Passaged Strain in Conventional 5-Week-Old Pigs
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 121; doi:10.3390/v9050121 -
Abstract
A genogroup 2b (G2b) porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) Taiwan Pintung 52 (PEDVPT) strain was isolated in 2014. The pathogenicity and host antibody responses elicited by low-passage (passage 5; PEDVPT-P5) and high-passage (passage 96; PEDVPT-P96) PEDVPT strains were compared in post-weaning PEDV-seronegative pigs
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A genogroup 2b (G2b) porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) Taiwan Pintung 52 (PEDVPT) strain was isolated in 2014. The pathogenicity and host antibody responses elicited by low-passage (passage 5; PEDVPT-P5) and high-passage (passage 96; PEDVPT-P96) PEDVPT strains were compared in post-weaning PEDV-seronegative pigs by oral inoculation. PEDVPT-P5-inoculation induced typical diarrhea during 1–9 days post inoculation with fecal viral shedding persisting for 26 days. Compared to PEDVPT-P5, PEDVPT-P96 inoculation induced none-to-mild diarrhea and lower, delayed fecal viral shedding. Although PEDVPT-P96 elicited slightly lower neutralizing antibodies and PEDV-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin A (IgA) titers, a reduction in pathogenicity and viral shedding of the subsequent challenge with PEDVPT-P5 were noted in both PEDVPT-P5- and PEDVPT-P96-inoculated pigs. Alignment and comparison of full-length sequences of PEDVPT-P5 and PEDVPT-P96 revealed 23 nucleotide changes and resultant 19 amino acid substitutions in non-structure proteins 2, 3, 4, 9, 14, 15, spike, open reading frame 3 (ORF3), and membrane proteins with no detectable deletion or insertion. The present study confirmed the pathogenicity of the PEDVPT isolate in conventional post-weaning pigs. Moreover, data regarding viral attenuation and potency of induced antibodies against PEDVPT-P5 identified PEDVPT-P96 as a potential live-attenuated vaccine candidate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Manipulation of Viral MicroRNAs as a Potential Antiviral Strategy for the Treatment of Cytomegalovirus Infection
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 118; doi:10.3390/v9050118 -
Abstract
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection leads to notable morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients. Current antiviral drugs are effective but seriously limited in their long-term use due to their relatively high toxicity. In the present study, we characterized the expression of murine CMV microRNAs (MCMV
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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection leads to notable morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients. Current antiviral drugs are effective but seriously limited in their long-term use due to their relatively high toxicity. In the present study, we characterized the expression of murine CMV microRNAs (MCMV miRNAs) both in vitro and in vivo. Although 29 miRNAs were detectable during in vitro infection, only 11 miRNAs (classified as Group 1) were detectable during in vivo infection, and as many as 18 viral miRNAs (classified as Group 2) were less detectable (<50% of animals) in both the liver and lungs. In addition, viral miRNA profiles in the blood revealed unstable and reduced expression. We next explored the in vitro effects of viral miRNAs on MCMV replication. The inhibition of Group 1 viral miRNAs had little effect on virus production, but transfected cells overexpressing miR-m01-3-5p, miR-M23-1-5p, miR-M55-1, and miR-m107-1-5p in Group 2 showed statistically lower viral loads than those transfected with control miRNA (29%, 29%, 39%, and 43%, respectively, versus control). Finally, we performed hydrodynamic injection of viral miRNA agomirs and observed lower levels of MCMV recurrence in the livers of animals overexpressing the miR-m01-3-5p or mcmv-miR-M23-1-5p agomirs compared with those of animals transfected with control agomir, confirming the antiviral effects of viral miRNA manipulation in vivo. Therefore, the manipulation of viral miRNA expression shows great therapeutic potential and represents a novel antiviral strategy for the miRNA-based treatment of cytomegalovirus infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
TMPRSS2 and MSPL Facilitate Trypsin-Independent Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Replication in Vero Cells
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 114; doi:10.3390/v9050114 -
Abstract
Type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs) facilitate the spread and replication of viruses such as influenza and human coronaviruses, although it remains unclear whether TTSPs play a role in the progression of animal coronavirus infections, such as that by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus
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Type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs) facilitate the spread and replication of viruses such as influenza and human coronaviruses, although it remains unclear whether TTSPs play a role in the progression of animal coronavirus infections, such as that by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). In this study, TTSPs including TMPRSS2, HAT, DESC1, and MSPL were tested for their ability to facilitate PEDV replication in Vero cells. Our results showed that TMPRSS2 and MSPL played significant roles in the stages of cell–cell fusion and virus–cell fusion, whereas HAT and DESC1 exhibited weaker effects. This activation may be involved in the interaction between TTSPs and the PEDV S protein, as the S protein extensively co-localized with TMPRSS2 and MSPL and could be cleaved by co-expression with TMPRSS2 or MSPL. Moreover, the use of Vero cells expressing TMPRSS2 and MSPL facilitated PEDV replication in the absence of exogenous trypsin. In sum, we identified two host proteases, TMPRSS2 and MSPL, which may provide insights and a novel method for enhancing viral titers, expanding virus production, and improving the adaptability of PEDV isolates in vitro. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Label-Free Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of Chitosan Oligosaccharide-Treated Rice Infected with Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 115; doi:10.3390/v9050115 -
Abstract
Southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) has spread from thesouth of China to the north of Vietnam in the past few years and severelyinfluenced rice production. Its long incubation period and early symptoms are not evident; thus, controlling it is difficult. Chitosan oligosaccharide
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Southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV) has spread from thesouth of China to the north of Vietnam in the past few years and severelyinfluenced rice production. Its long incubation period and early symptoms are not evident; thus, controlling it is difficult. Chitosan oligosaccharide (COS) is a green plant immunomodulator. Early studies showed that preventing and controlling SRBSDV have a certain effect and reduce disease infection rate, but its underlying controlling and preventing mechanism is unclear. In this study, label-free proteomics was used to analyze differentially expressed proteins in rice after COS treatment. The results showed that COS can up-regulate the plant defense-related proteins and down-regulate the protein expression levels of SRBSDV. Meanwhile, quantitative real-time PCR test results showed that COS can improve defense gene expression in rice. Moreover, COS can enhance the defense enzymatic activities of peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase through mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascade pathway, and enhance the rice disease resistance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antigenic and Biological Characterization of ORF2–6 Variants at Early Times Following PRRSV Infection
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 113; doi:10.3390/v9050113 -
Abstract
Genetic diversity of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) challenges efforts to develop effective and broadly acting vaccines. Although genetic variation in PRRSV has been extensively documented, the effects of this variation on virus phenotype are less well understood. In the present
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Genetic diversity of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) challenges efforts to develop effective and broadly acting vaccines. Although genetic variation in PRRSV has been extensively documented, the effects of this variation on virus phenotype are less well understood. In the present study, PRRSV open reading frame (ORF)2–6 variants predominant during the first six weeks following experimental infection were characterized for antigenic and replication phenotype. There was limited genetic variation during these early times after infection; however, distinct ORF2–6 haplotypes that differed from the NVSL97-7895 inoculum were identified in each of the five pigs examined. Chimeric viruses containing all or part of predominant ORF2–6 haplotypes were constructed and tested in virus neutralization and in vitro replication assays. In two pigs, genetic variation in ORF2–6 resulted in increased resistance to neutralization by autologous sera. Mapping studies indicated that variation in either ORF2–4 or ORF5–6 could confer increased neutralization resistance, but there was no single amino acid substitution that was predictive of neutralization phenotype. Detailed analyses of the early steps in PRRSV replication in the presence and absence of neutralizing antibody revealed both significant inhibition of virion attachment and, independently, a significant delay in the appearance of newly synthesized viral RNA. In all pigs, genetic variation in ORF2–6 also resulted in significant reduction in infectivity on MARC-145 cells, suggesting variation in ORF2–6 may also be important for virus replication in vivo. Together, these data reveal that variation appearing early after infection, though limited, alters important virus phenotypes and contributes to antigenic and biologic diversity of PRRSV. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Silico Analysis of Epitope-Based Vaccine Candidates against Hepatitis B Virus Polymerase Protein
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 112; doi:10.3390/v9050112 -
Abstract
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has persisted as a major public health problem due to the lack of an effective treatment for those chronically infected. Therapeutic vaccination holds promise, and targeting HBV polymerase is pivotal for viral eradication. In this research, a computational
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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has persisted as a major public health problem due to the lack of an effective treatment for those chronically infected. Therapeutic vaccination holds promise, and targeting HBV polymerase is pivotal for viral eradication. In this research, a computational approach was employed to predict suitable HBV polymerase targeting multi-peptides for vaccine candidate selection. We then performed in-depth computational analysis to evaluate the predicted epitopes’ immunogenicity, conservation, population coverage, and toxicity. Lastly, molecular docking and MHC-peptide complex stabilization assay were utilized to determine the binding energy and affinity of epitopes to the HLA-A0201 molecule. Criteria-based analysis provided four predicted epitopes, RVTGGVFLV, VSIPWTHKV, YMDDVVLGA and HLYSHPIIL. Assay results indicated the lowest binding energy and high affinity to the HLA-A0201 molecule for epitopes VSIPWTHKV and YMDDVVLGA and epitopes RVTGGVFLV and VSIPWTHKV, respectively. Regions 307 to 320 and 377 to 387 were considered to have the highest probability to be involved in B cell epitopes. The T cell and B cell epitopes identified in this study are promising targets for an epitope-focused, peptide-based HBV vaccine, and provide insight into HBV-induced immune response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Human Beta Defensin 2 Selectively Inhibits HIV-1 in Highly Permissive CCR6+CD4+ T Cells
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 111; doi:10.3390/v9050111 -
Abstract
Chemokine receptor type 6 (CCR6)+CD4+ T cells are preferentially infected and depleted during HIV disease progression, but are preserved in non-progressors. CCR6 is expressed on a heterogeneous population of memory CD4+ T cells that are critical to mucosal immunity.
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Chemokine receptor type 6 (CCR6)+CD4+ T cells are preferentially infected and depleted during HIV disease progression, but are preserved in non-progressors. CCR6 is expressed on a heterogeneous population of memory CD4+ T cells that are critical to mucosal immunity. Preferential infection of these cells is associated, in part, with high surface expression of CCR5, CXCR4, and α4β7. In addition, CCR6+CD4+ T cells harbor elevated levels of integrated viral DNA and high levels of proliferation markers. We have previously shown that the CCR6 ligands MIP-3α and human beta defensins inhibit HIV replication. The inhibition required CCR6 and the induction of APOBEC3G. Here, we further characterize the induction of apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme (APOBEC3G) by human beta defensin 2. Human beta defensin 2 rapidly induces transcriptional induction of APOBEC3G that involves extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) activation and the transcription factors NFATc2, NFATc1, and IRF4. We demonstrate that human beta defensin 2 selectively protects primary CCR6+CD4+ T cells infected with HIV-1. The selective protection of CCR6+CD4+ T cell subsets may be critical in maintaining mucosal immune function and preventing disease progression. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
HIV-Enhancing and HIV-Inhibiting Properties of Cationic Peptides and Proteins
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 108; doi:10.3390/v9050108 -
Abstract
Cationic antimicrobial peptides and proteins have historically been ascribed roles in innate immunity that infer killing of microbial and viral pathogens and protection of the host. In the context of sexually transmitted HIV-1, we take an unconventional approach that questions this paradigm. It
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Cationic antimicrobial peptides and proteins have historically been ascribed roles in innate immunity that infer killing of microbial and viral pathogens and protection of the host. In the context of sexually transmitted HIV-1, we take an unconventional approach that questions this paradigm. It is becoming increasingly apparent that many of the cationic polypeptides present in the human genital or anorectal mucosa, or human semen, are capable of enhancing HIV-1 infection, often in addition to other reported roles as viral inhibitors. We explore how the in vivo environment may select for or against the HIV-enhancing aspects of these cationic polypeptides by focusing on biological relevance. We stress that the distinction between enhancing and inhibiting HIV-1 infection is not mutually exclusive to specific classes of cationic polypeptides. Understanding how virally enhancing peptides and proteins act to promote sexual transmission of HIV-1 would be important for the design of topical microbicides, mucosal vaccines, and other preventative measures. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Novel Roseosiphophage Isolated from the Oligotrophic South China Sea
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 109; doi:10.3390/v9050109 -
Abstract
The Roseobacter clade is abundant and widespread in marine environments and plays an important role in oceanic biogeochemical cycling. In this present study, a lytic siphophage (labeled vB_DshS-R5C) infecting the strain type of Dinoroseobacter shibae named DFL12T, which is part of
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The Roseobacter clade is abundant and widespread in marine environments and plays an important role in oceanic biogeochemical cycling. In this present study, a lytic siphophage (labeled vB_DshS-R5C) infecting the strain type of Dinoroseobacter shibae named DFL12T, which is part of the Roseobacter clade, was isolated from the oligotrophic South China Sea. Phage R5C showed a narrow host range, short latent period and low burst size. The genome length of phage R5C was 77, 874 bp with a G+C content of 61.5%. Genomic comparisons detected no genome matches in the GenBank database and phylogenetic analysis based on DNA polymerase I revealed phylogenetic features that were distinct to other phages, suggesting the novelty of R5C. Several auxiliary metabolic genes (e.g., phoH gene, heat shock protein and queuosine biosynthesis genes) were identified in the R5C genome that may be beneficial to the host and/or offer a competitive advantage for the phage. Among siphophages infecting the Roseobacter clade (roseosiphophages), four gene transfer agent-like genes were commonly located with close proximity to structural genes, suggesting that their function may be related to the tail of siphoviruses. The isolation and characterization of R5C demonstrated the high genomic and physiological diversity of roseophages as well as improved our understanding of host–phage interactions and the ecology of the marine Roseobacter. Full article
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