Viruses2015, 7(8), 4254-4281; doi:10.3390/v7082819 (registering DOI) - published 30 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A wide gap exists between the rapid acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops for cultivation by farmers in many countries and in the global markets for food and feed, and the often-limited acceptance by consumers. This review contrasts the advances of practical applications of agricultural biotechnology with the divergent paths—also affecting the development of virus resistant transgenic crops—of political and regulatory frameworks for GM crops and food in different parts of the world. These have also shaped the different opinions of consumers. Important factors influencing consumer’s attitudes are the perception of risks and benefits, knowledge and trust, and personal values. Recent political and societal developments show a hardening of the negative environment for agricultural biotechnology in Europe, a growing discussion—including calls for labeling of GM food—in the USA, and a careful development in China towards a possible authorization of GM rice that takes the societal discussions into account. New breeding techniques address some consumers’ concerns with transgenic crops, but it is not clear yet how consumers’ attitudes towards them will develop. Discussions about agriculture would be more productive, if they would focus less on technologies, but on common aims and underlying values.
Viruses2015, 7(8), 4230-4253; doi:10.3390/v7082817 (registering DOI) - published 30 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an important human pathogen associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. The present study tested the hypothesis that RSV infection would increase matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 expression, and that MMP-9 inhibition would decrease RSV replication both in vitro and in vivo. RSV A2 infection of human bronchial epithelial cells increased MMP-9 mRNA and protein release. Cells transfected with siRNA against MMP-9 following RSV infection had lower viral titers. In RSV infected wild-type (WT) mice, MMP-9, airway resistance and viral load peaked at day 2 post infection, and remained elevated on days 4 and 7. RSV infected MMP-9 knockout (KO) mice had decreased lung inflammation. On days 2 and 4 post inoculation, the RSV burden was lower in the MMP-9 KO mice compared to WT controls. In conclusion, our studies demonstrate that RSV infection is a potent stimulus of MMP-9 expression both in vitro and in vivo. Reduction of MMP-9 (via siRNA knockdown, and in MMP-9 KO mice) resulted in decreased viral replication. Our findings suggest MMP-9 is a potential therapeutic target for RSV disease.
Viruses2015, 7(8), 4204-4229; doi:10.3390/v7082818 - published 29 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Recombinant virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a promising tool for protein engineering. Recently, trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus (TSPyV) viral protein 1 (VP1) was efficiently produced in yeast expression system and shown to self-assemble to VLPs. In the current study, TSPyV VP1 protein was exploited as a carrier for construction of chimeric VLPs harboring selected B and T cell-specific epitopes and evaluated in comparison to hamster polyomavirus VP1 protein. Chimeric VLPs with inserted either hepatitis B virus preS1 epitope DPAFR or a universal T cell-specific epitope AKFVAAWTLKAAA were produced in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Target epitopes were incorporated either at the HI or BC loop of the VP1 protein. The insertion sites were selected based on molecular models of TSPyV VP1 protein. The surface exposure of the insert positions was confirmed using a collection of monoclonal antibodies raised against the intact TSPyV VP1 protein. All generated chimeric proteins were capable to self-assemble to VLPs, which induced a strong immune response in mice. The chimeric VLPs also activated dendritic cells and T cells as demonstrated by analysis of cell surface markers and cytokine production profiles in spleen cell cultures. In conclusion, TSPyV VP1 protein represents a new potential carrier for construction of chimeric VLPs harboring target epitopes.