Viruses2016, 8(7), 208; doi:10.3390/v8070208 - published 23 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Bunyaviridae is a family of arboviruses including both plant- and vertebrate-infecting representatives. The Tospovirus genus accommodates plant-infecting bunyaviruses, which not only replicate in their plant host, but also in their insect thrips vector during persistent propagative transmission. For this reason, they are generally assumed to encounter antiviral RNA silencing in plants and insects. Here we present an overview on how tospovirus nonstructural NSs protein counteracts antiviral RNA silencing in plants and what is known so far in insects. Like tospoviruses, members of the related vertebrate-infecting bunyaviruses classified in the genera Orthobunyavirus, Hantavirus and Phlebovirus also code for a NSs protein. However, for none of them RNA silencing suppressor activity has been unambiguously demonstrated in neither vertebrate host nor arthropod vector. The second part of this review will briefly describe the role of these NSs proteins in modulation of innate immune responses in mammals and elaborate on a hypothetical scenario to explain if and how NSs proteins from vertebrate-infecting bunyaviruses affect RNA silencing. If so, why this discovery has been hampered so far.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 203; doi:10.3390/v8070203 - published 22 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In 2007, the United States– Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance concerning animal models for testing the efficacy of medical countermeasures against variola virus (VARV), the etiologic agent for smallpox. Ectromelia virus (ECTV) is naturally-occurring and responsible for severe mortality and morbidity as a result of mousepox disease in the murine model, displaying similarities to variola infection in humans. Due to the increased need of acceptable surrogate animal models for poxvirus disease, we have characterized ECTV infection in the BALB/c mouse. Mice were inoculated intranasally with a high lethal dose (125 PFU) of ECTV, resulting in complete mortality 10 days after infection. Decreases in weight and temperature from baseline were observed eight to nine days following infection. Viral titers via quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and plaque assay were first observed in the blood at 4.5 days post-infection and in tissue (spleen and liver) at 3.5 days post-infection. Adverse clinical signs of disease were first observed four and five days post-infection, with severe signs occurring on day 7. Pathological changes consistent with ECTV infection were first observed five days after infection. Examination of data obtained from these parameters suggests the ECTV BALB/c model is suitable for potential use in medical countermeasures (MCMs) development and efficacy testing.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 204; doi:10.3390/v8070204 - published 22 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Effective inactivation of biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) pathogens is vital in order to study these agents safely. Gamma irradiation is a commonly used method for the inactivation of BSL-4 viruses, which among other advantages, facilitates the study of inactivated yet morphologically intact virions. The reported values for susceptibility of viruses to inactivation by gamma irradiation are sometimes inconsistent, likely due to differences in experimental protocols. We analyzed the effects of common sample attributes on the inactivation of a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus expressing the Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein and green fluorescent protein. Using this surrogate virus, we found that sample volume and protein content of the sample modulated viral inactivation by gamma irradiation but that air volume within the sample container and the addition of external disinfectant surrounding the sample did not. These data identify several factors which alter viral susceptibility to inactivation and highlight the usefulness of lower biosafety level surrogate viruses for such studies. Our results underscore the need to validate inactivation protocols of BSL-4 pathogens using “worst-case scenario” procedures to ensure complete sample inactivation.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 207; doi:10.3390/v8070207 - published 22 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The chicken upper respiratory tract is the portal of entry for respiratory pathogens, such as avian influenza virus (AIV). The presence of microorganisms is sensed by pathogen recognition receptors (such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs)) of the innate immune defenses. Innate responses are essential for subsequent induction of potent adaptive immune responses, but little information is available about innate antiviral responses of the chicken trachea. We hypothesized that TLR ligands induce innate antiviral responses in the chicken trachea. Tracheal organ cultures (TOC) were used to investigate localized innate responses to TLR ligands. Expression of candidate genes, which play a role in antiviral responses, was quantified. To confirm the antiviral responses of stimulated TOC, chicken macrophages were treated with supernatants from stimulated TOC, prior to infection with AIV. The results demonstrated that TLR ligands induced the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, type I interferons and interferon stimulated genes in the chicken trachea. In conclusion, TLR ligands induce functional antiviral responses in the chicken trachea, which may act against some pathogens, such as AIV.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 205; doi:10.3390/v8070205 - published 22 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a major pest to agricultural crops. It transmits begomoviruses, such as Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), in a circular, persistent fashion. Transcriptome analyses revealed that B. tabaci knottin genes were responsive to various stresses. Upon ingestion of tomato begomoviruses, two of the four knottin genes were upregulated, knot-1 (with the highest expression) and knot-3. In this study, we examined the involvement of B. tabaci knottin genes in relation to TYLCV circulative transmission. Knottins were silenced by feeding whiteflies with knottin dsRNA via detached tomato leaves. Large amounts of knot-1 transcripts were present in the abdomen of whiteflies, an obligatory transit site of begomoviruses in their circulative transmission pathway; knot-1 silencing significantly depleted the abdomen from knot-1 transcripts. Knot-1 silencing led to an increase in the amounts of TYLCV ingested by the insects and transmitted to tomato test plants by several orders of magnitude. This effect was not observed following knot-3 silencing. Hence, knot-1 plays a role in restricting the quantity of virions an insect may acquire and transmit. We suggest that knot-1 protects B. tabaci against deleterious effects caused by TYLCV by limiting the amount of virus associated with the whitefly vector.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 200; doi:10.3390/v8070200 - published 21 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: RNA splicing is a critical step in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication cycle because it controls the expression of the complex viral proteome. The major 5′ splice site (5′ss) that is positioned in the untranslated leader of the HIV-1 RNA transcript is of particular interest because it is used for the production of the more than 40 differentially spliced subgenomic mRNAs. HIV-1 splicing needs to be balanced tightly to ensure the proper levels of all viral proteins, including the Gag-Pol proteins that are translated from the unspliced RNA. We previously presented evidence that the major 5′ss is regulated by a repressive local RNA structure, the splice donor (SD) hairpin, that masks the 11 nucleotides (nts) of the 5′ss signal for recognition by U1 small nuclear RNA (snRNA) of the spliceosome machinery. A strikingly different multiple-hairpin RNA conformation was recently proposed for this part of the HIV-1 leader RNA. We therefore inspected the sequence of natural HIV-1 isolates in search for support, in the form of base pair (bp) co-variations, for the different RNA conformations.