Viruses2016, 8(7), 181; doi:10.3390/v8070181 - published 28 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a member of the Alphavirus genus, is an important human emerging/re-emerging pathogen. Currently, there are no effective antiviral drugs or vaccines against CHIKV infection. Herein, we construct an infectious clone of CHIKV and an eGFP reporter CHIKV (eGFP-CHIKV) with an isolated strain (assigned to Asian lineage) from CHIKV-infected patients. The eGFP-CHIKV reporter virus allows for direct visualization of viral replication through the levels of eGFP expression. Using a known CHIKV inhibitor, ribavirin, we confirmed that the eGFP-CHIKV reporter virus could be used to identify inhibitors against CHIKV. Importantly, we developed a novel and reliable eGFP-CHIKV reporter virus-based neutralization assay that could be used for rapid screening neutralizing antibodies against CHIKV.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 180; doi:10.3390/v8070180 - published 28 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: After viral infection, host cells respond by mounting an anti-viral stress response in order to create a hostile atmosphere for viral replication, leading to the shut-off of mRNA translation (protein synthesis) and the assembly of RNA granules. Two of these RNA granules have been well characterized in yeast and mammalian cells, stress granules (SGs), which are translationally silent sites of RNA triage and processing bodies (PBs), which are involved in mRNA degradation. This review discusses the role of these RNA granules in the evasion of anti-viral stress responses through virus-induced remodeling of cellular ribonucleoproteins (RNPs).
Viruses2016, 8(7), 182; doi:10.3390/v8070182 - published 28 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Among the components of the RNA silencing pathway in plants, RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) play fundamental roles in antiviral defence. Here, we demonstrate that the Nicotiana benthamiana RDR6 is involved in defence against the bipartite crinivirus (genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae) Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV). Additionally, by producing a p22-deficient ToCV infectious mutant clone (ToCVΔp22), we studied the role of this viral suppressor of RNA silencing in viral infection in both wild-type and RDR6-silenced N. benthamiana (NbRDR6i) plants. We demonstrate that p22 is dispensable for the replication of ToCV, where RDR6 appears not to have any effect. Furthermore, the finding that ToCV∆p22 systemic accumulation was impaired in wild-type N. benthamiana but not in NbRDR6i plants suggests a role for p22 in counteracting an RDR6-mediated antiviral response of the plant during systemic infection.
Viruses2016, 8(7), 179; doi:10.3390/v8070179 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Influenza A viruses (IAV) cause annual seasonal human respiratory disease epidemics. In addition, IAV have been implicated in occasional pandemics with inordinate health and economic consequences. Studying IAV, in vitro or in vivo, requires the use of laborious secondary methodologies to identify virus-infected cells. To circumvent this requirement, replication-competent IAV expressing an easily traceable reporter protein can be used. Here we discuss the development and applications of recombinant replication-competent IAV harboring diverse fluorescent or bioluminescent reporter genes in different locations of the viral genome. These viruses have been employed for in vitro and in vivo studies, such as the screening of neutralizing antibodies or antiviral compounds, the identification of host factors involved in viral replication, cell tropism, the development of vaccines, or the assessment of viral infection dynamics. In summary, reporter-expressing, replicating-competent IAV represent a powerful tool for the study of IAV both in vitro and in vivo.
Viruses2016, 8(6), 176; doi:10.3390/v8060176 - published 22 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While addition of the first-approved protease inhibitors (PIs), telaprevir and boceprevir, to pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy significantly increased sustained virologic response (SVR) rates, PI-based triple therapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was prone to the emergence of resistant viral variants. Meanwhile, multiple direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs) targeting either the HCV NS3/4A protease, NS5A or NS5B polymerase have been approved and these have varying potencies and distinct propensities to provoke resistance. The pre-clinical in vivo assessment of drug efficacy and resistant variant emergence underwent a great evolution over the last decade. This field had long been hampered by the lack of suitable small animal models that robustly support the entire HCV life cycle. In particular, chimeric mice with humanized livers (humanized mice) and chimpanzees have been instrumental for studying HCV inhibitors and the evolution of drug resistance. In this review, we present the different in vivo HCV infection models and discuss their applicability to assess HCV therapy response and emergence of resistant variants.
Viruses2016, 8(6), 174; doi:10.3390/v8060174 - published 22 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The genus Phlebovirus of the family Bunyaviridae contains a number of emerging virus species which pose a threat to both human and animal health. Most prominent members include Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), sandfly fever Naples virus (SFNV), sandfly fever Sicilian virus (SFSV), Toscana virus (TOSV), Punta Toro virus (PTV), and the two new members severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) and Heartland virus (HRTV). The nonstructural protein NSs is well established as the main phleboviral virulence factor in the mammalian host. NSs acts as antagonist of the antiviral type I interferon (IFN) system. Recent progress in the elucidation of the molecular functions of a growing list of NSs proteins highlights the astonishing variety of strategies employed by phleboviruses to evade the IFN system.