Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
SARS CoV-2 (Delta Variant) Infection Kinetics and Immunopathogenesis in Domestic Cats
Viruses 2022, 14(6), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14061207 - 01 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1334
Abstract
Continued emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants highlights the critical need for adaptable and translational animal models for acute COVID-19. Limitations to current animal models for SARS CoV-2 (e.g., transgenic mice, non-human primates, ferrets) include subclinical to mild lower respiratory disease, divergence from clinical COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Continued emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants highlights the critical need for adaptable and translational animal models for acute COVID-19. Limitations to current animal models for SARS CoV-2 (e.g., transgenic mice, non-human primates, ferrets) include subclinical to mild lower respiratory disease, divergence from clinical COVID-19 disease course, and/or the need for host genetic modifications to permit infection. We therefore established a feline model to study COVID-19 disease progression and utilized this model to evaluate infection kinetics and immunopathology of the rapidly circulating Delta variant (B.1.617.2) of SARS-CoV-2. In this study, specific-pathogen-free domestic cats (n = 24) were inoculated intranasally and/or intratracheally with SARS CoV-2 (B.1.617.2). Infected cats developed severe clinical respiratory disease and pulmonary lesions at 4- and 12-days post-infection (dpi), even at 1/10 the dose of previously studied wild-type SARS-CoV-2. Infectious virus was isolated from nasal secretions of delta-variant infected cats in high amounts at multiple timepoints, and viral antigen was co-localized in ACE2-expressing cells of the lungs (pneumocytes, vascular endothelium, peribronchial glandular epithelium) and strongly associated with severe pulmonary inflammation and vasculitis that were more pronounced than in wild-type SARS-CoV-2 infection. RNA sequencing of infected feline lung tissues identified upregulation of multiple gene pathways associated with cytokine receptor interactions, chemokine signaling, and viral protein–cytokine interactions during acute infection with SARS-CoV-2. Weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA) of differentially expressed genes identified several distinct clusters of dysregulated hub genes that are significantly correlated with both clinical signs and lesions during acute infection. Collectively, the results of these studies help to delineate the role of domestic cats in disease transmission and response to variant emergence, establish a flexible translational model to develop strategies to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and identify potential targets for downstream therapeutic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Coronavirus Pathogenesis and Immunity)
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Article
Duplex One-Step RT-qPCR Assays for Simultaneous Detection of Genomic and Subgenomic RNAs of SARS-CoV-2 Variants
Viruses 2022, 14(5), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14051066 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 765
Abstract
A hallmark of severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS-CoV-2) replication is the discontinuous transcription of open reading frames (ORFs) encoding structural virus proteins. Real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assays in previous publications used either single or multiplex assays for SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA detection [...] Read more.
A hallmark of severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS-CoV-2) replication is the discontinuous transcription of open reading frames (ORFs) encoding structural virus proteins. Real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assays in previous publications used either single or multiplex assays for SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA detection and a singleplex approach for subgenomic RNA detection. Although multiplex approaches often target multiple genomic RNA segments, an assay that concurrently detects genomic and subgenomic targets has been lacking. To bridge this gap, we developed two duplex one-step RT-qPCR assays that detect SARS-CoV-2 genomic ORF1a and either subgenomic spike or subgenomic ORF3a RNAs. All primers and probes for our assays were designed to bind to variants of SARS-CoV-2. In this study, our assays successfully detected SARS-CoV-2 Washington strain and delta variant isolates at various time points during the course of live virus infection in vitro. The ability to quantify subgenomic SARS-CoV-2 RNA is important, as it may indicate the presence of active replication, particularly in samples collected longitudinally. Furthermore, specific detection of genomic and subgenomic RNAs simultaneously in a single reaction increases assay efficiency, potentially leading to expedited lucidity about viral replication and pathogenesis of any variant of SARS-CoV-2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Article
Unique Aggregation of Retroviral Particles Pseudotyped with the Delta Variant SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein
Viruses 2022, 14(5), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14051024 - 11 May 2022
Viewed by 1202
Abstract
Individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, lineage B.1.617.2, exhibit faster initial infection with a higher viral load than prior variants, and pseudotyped viral particles bearing the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant spike protein induce a faster initial infection rate of target cells compared to [...] Read more.
Individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, lineage B.1.617.2, exhibit faster initial infection with a higher viral load than prior variants, and pseudotyped viral particles bearing the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant spike protein induce a faster initial infection rate of target cells compared to those bearing other SARS-CoV-2 variant spikes. Here, we show that pseudotyped viral particles bearing the Delta variant spike form unique aggregates, as evidenced by negative stain and cryogenic electron microscopy (EM), flow cytometry, and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Viral particles pseudotyped with other SARS-CoV-2 spike variants do not show aggregation by any of these criteria. The contribution to infection kinetics of the Delta spike’s unique property to aggregate is discussed with respect to recent evidence for collective infection by other viruses. Irrespective of this intriguing possibility, spike-dependent aggregation is a new functional parameter of spike-expressing viral particles to evaluate in future spike protein variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Article
Depo Medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) Promotes Papillomavirus Infections but Does Not Accelerate Disease Progression in the Anogenital Tract of a Mouse Model
Viruses 2022, 14(5), 980; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14050980 - 06 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 560
Abstract
Contraceptives such as Depo-medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) are used by an estimated 34 million women worldwide. DMPA has been associated with increased risk of several viral infections including Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the current study, we used the mouse [...] Read more.
Contraceptives such as Depo-medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) are used by an estimated 34 million women worldwide. DMPA has been associated with increased risk of several viral infections including Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the current study, we used the mouse papillomavirus (MmuPV1) anogenital infection model to test two hypotheses: (1) contraceptives such as DMPA increase the susceptibility of the anogenital tract to viral infection and (2) long-term contraceptive administration induces more advanced disease at the anogenital tract. DMPA treatments of both athymic nude mice and heterozygous NU/J (Foxn1nu/+) but ovariectomized mice led to a significantly increased viral load at the anogenital tract, suggesting that endogenous sex hormones were involved in increased viral susceptibility by DMPA treatment. Consistent with previous reports, DMPA treatment suppressed host anti-viral activities at the lower genital tract. To test the impact of long-term contraceptive treatment on the MmuPV1-infected lower genital tract, we included two other treatments in addition to DMPA: 17β-estradiol and a non-hormone based contraceptive Cilostazol (CLZ, Pletal). Viral infections were monitored monthly up to nine months post infection by qPCR. The infected vaginal and anal tissues were harvested and further examined by histological, virological, and immunological analyses. Surprisingly, we did not detect a significantly higher grade of histology in animals in the long-term DMPA and 17β-estradiol treated groups when compared to the control groups in the athymic mice we tested. Therefore, although DMPA promotes initial papillomavirus infections in the lower genital tract, the chronic administration of DMPA does not promote cancer development in the infected tissues in our mouse model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Causes Lung Inflammation through Metabolic Reprogramming and RAGE
Viruses 2022, 14(5), 983; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14050983 - 06 May 2022
Viewed by 1363
Abstract
Clinical studies indicate that patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop hyperinflammation, which correlates with increased mortality. The SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19-dependent inflammation is thought to occur via increased cytokine production and hyperactivity of RAGE in several cell types, a phenomenon observed for other disorders and diseases. Metabolic [...] Read more.
Clinical studies indicate that patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop hyperinflammation, which correlates with increased mortality. The SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19-dependent inflammation is thought to occur via increased cytokine production and hyperactivity of RAGE in several cell types, a phenomenon observed for other disorders and diseases. Metabolic reprogramming has been shown to contribute to inflammation and is considered a hallmark of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and viral infections. Malfunctioning glycolysis, which normally aims to convert glucose into pyruvate, leads to the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Being aberrantly generated, AGEs then bind to their receptor, RAGE, and activate several pro-inflammatory genes, such as IL-1b and IL-6, thus, increasing hypoxia and inducing senescence. Using the lung epithelial cell (BEAS-2B) line, we demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 proteins reprogram the cellular metabolism and increase pyruvate kinase muscle isoform 2 (PKM2). This deregulation promotes the accumulation of AGEs and senescence induction. We showed the ability of the PKM2 stabilizer, Tepp-46, to reverse the observed glycolysis changes/alterations and restore this essential metabolic process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
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Article
Longitudinal Analysis of Coronavirus-Neutralizing Activity in COVID-19 Patients
Viruses 2022, 14(5), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14050882 - 23 Apr 2022
Viewed by 854
Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has now been continuing for more than two years. The infection causes COVID-19, a disease of the respiratory and cardiovascular system of variable severity. Here, the humoral immune response of 80 COVID-19 patients from the [...] Read more.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has now been continuing for more than two years. The infection causes COVID-19, a disease of the respiratory and cardiovascular system of variable severity. Here, the humoral immune response of 80 COVID-19 patients from the University Hospital Frankfurt/Main, Germany, was characterized longitudinally. The SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity of serum waned over time. The neutralizing potential of serum directed towards the human alpha-coronavirus NL-63 (NL63) also waned, indicating that no cross-priming against alpha-coronaviruses occurred. A subset of the recovered patients (n = 13) was additionally vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine Comirnaty. Vaccination increased neutralization activity against SARS-CoV-2 wild-type (WT), Delta, and Omicron, although Omicron-specific neutralization was not detectable prior to vaccination. In addition, the vaccination induced neutralizing antibodies against the more distantly related SARS-CoV-1 but not against NL63. The results indicate that although SARS-CoV-2 humoral immune responses induced by infection wane, vaccination induces a broad neutralizing activity against multiple SARS-CoVs, but not to the common cold alpha-coronavirus NL63. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Coronaviruses)
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Article
Human Cytomegalovirus Infection Elicits Global Changes in Host Transcription by RNA Polymerases I, II, and III
Viruses 2022, 14(4), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14040779 - 09 Apr 2022
Viewed by 689
Abstract
How human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection impacts the transcription of the host genome remains incompletely understood. Here, we examine the global consequences of infection of primary human foreskin fibroblasts (HFFs) on transcription by RNA polymerase I, II, and III over the course of a [...] Read more.
How human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection impacts the transcription of the host genome remains incompletely understood. Here, we examine the global consequences of infection of primary human foreskin fibroblasts (HFFs) on transcription by RNA polymerase I, II, and III over the course of a lytic infection using PRO-Seq. The expected rapid induction of innate immune response genes is observed with specific subsets of genes exhibiting dissimilar expression kinetics. We find minimal effects on Pol II initiation, but increased rates of the release of paused Pol II into productive elongation are detected by 24 h postinfection and pronounced at late times postinfection. Pol I transcription increases during infection and we provide evidence for a potential Pol I elongation control mechanism. Pol III transcription of tRNA genes is dramatically altered, with many induced and some repressed. All effects are partially dependent on viral genome replication, suggesting a link to viral mRNA levels and/or a viral early–late or late gene product. Changes in tRNA transcription are connected to distinct alterations in the chromatin state around tRNA genes, which were probed with high-resolution DFF-ChIP. Additionally, evidence is provided that the Pol III PIC stably contacts an upstream −1 nucleosome. Finally, we compared and contrasted our HCMV data with results from published experiments with HSV-1, EBV, KSHV, and MHV68. We report disparate effects on Pol II transcription and potentially similar effects on Pol III transcription. Full article
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Article
Early Emergence Phase of SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant in Florida, US
Viruses 2022, 14(4), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14040766 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 868
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, emerged in late 2019. The highly contagious B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of concern (VOC) was first identified in October 2020 in India and subsequently disseminated worldwide, later becoming the dominant lineage in the US. Understanding the local transmission [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, emerged in late 2019. The highly contagious B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of concern (VOC) was first identified in October 2020 in India and subsequently disseminated worldwide, later becoming the dominant lineage in the US. Understanding the local transmission dynamics of early SARS-CoV-2 introductions may inform actionable mitigation efforts during subsequent pandemic waves. Yet, despite considerable genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in the US, several gaps remain. Here, we explore the early emergence of the Delta variant in Florida, US using phylogenetic analysis of representative Florida and globally sampled genomes. We find multiple independent introductions into Florida primarily from North America and Europe, with a minority originating from Asia. These introductions led to three distinct clades that demonstrated varying relative rates of transmission and possessed five distinct substitutions that were 3–21 times more prevalent in the Florida sample as compared to the global sample. Our results underscore the benefits of routine viral genomic surveillance to monitor epidemic spread and support the need for more comprehensive genomic epidemiology studies of emerging variants. In addition, we provide a model of epidemic spread of newly emerging VOCs that can inform future public health responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Article
IFITM3 Interacts with the HBV/HDV Receptor NTCP and Modulates Virus Entry and Infection
Viruses 2022, 14(4), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14040727 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1119
Abstract
The Na+/taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP, gene symbol SLC10A1) is both a physiological bile acid transporter and the high-affinity hepatic receptor for the hepatitis B and D viruses (HBV/HDV). Virus entry via endocytosis of the virus/NTCP complex involves co-factors, but this [...] Read more.
The Na+/taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP, gene symbol SLC10A1) is both a physiological bile acid transporter and the high-affinity hepatic receptor for the hepatitis B and D viruses (HBV/HDV). Virus entry via endocytosis of the virus/NTCP complex involves co-factors, but this process is not fully understood. As part of the innate immunity, interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITM) 1–3 have been characterized as virus entry-restricting factors for many viruses. The present study identified IFITM3 as a novel protein–protein interaction (PPI) partner of NTCP based on membrane yeast-two hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation experiments. Surprisingly, IFITM3 knockdown significantly reduced in vitro HBV infection rates of NTCP-expressing HuH7 cells and primary human hepatocytes (PHHs). In addition, HuH7-NTCP cells showed significantly lower HDV infection rates, whereas infection with influenza A virus was increased. HBV-derived myr-preS1 peptide binding to HuH7-NTCP cells was intact even under IFITM3 knockdown, suggesting that IFITM3-mediated HBV/HDV infection enhancement occurs in a step subsequent to the viral attachment to NTCP. In conclusion, IFITM3 was identified as a novel NTCP co-factor that significantly affects in vitro infection with HBV and HDV in NTCP-expressing hepatoma cells and PHHs. While there is clear evidence for a direct PPI between IFITM3 and NTCP, the specific mechanism by which this PPI facilitates the infection process remains to be identified in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Entry Inhibitors 2022)
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Communication
Evolution of Anti-RBD IgG Avidity following SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Viruses 2022, 14(3), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14030532 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly elicits anti-Spike antibodies whose quantity in plasma gradually declines upon resolution of symptoms. This decline is part of the evolution of an immune response leading to B cell differentiation into short-lived antibody-secreting cells or resting memory B cells. At the [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly elicits anti-Spike antibodies whose quantity in plasma gradually declines upon resolution of symptoms. This decline is part of the evolution of an immune response leading to B cell differentiation into short-lived antibody-secreting cells or resting memory B cells. At the same time, the ongoing class switch and antibody maturation processes occurring in germinal centers lead to the selection of B cell clones secreting antibodies with higher affinity for their cognate antigen, thereby improving their functional activity. To determine whether the decline in SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is paralleled with an increase in avidity of the anti-viral antibodies produced, we developed a simple assay to measure the avidity of anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) IgG elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection. We longitudinally followed a cohort of 29 convalescent donors with blood samples collected between 6- and 32-weeks post-symptoms onset. We observed that, while the level of antibodies declines over time, the anti-RBD avidity progressively increases and correlates with the B cell class switch. Additionally, we observed that anti-RBD avidity increased similarly after SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination and after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our results suggest that anti-RBD IgG avidity determination could be a surrogate assay for antibody affinity maturation and, thus, suitable for studying humoral responses elicited by natural infection and/or vaccination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Basic Sciences for the Conquest of COVID-19)
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Article
Functional Characterization of Replication-Associated Proteins Encoded by Alphasatellites Identified in Yunnan Province, China
Viruses 2022, 14(2), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14020222 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
Alphasatellites, which encode only a replication-associated protein (alpha-Rep), are frequently found to be non-essential satellite components associated with begomovirus/betasatellite complexes, and their presence can modulate disease symptoms and/or viral DNA accumulation during infection. Our previous study has shown that there are three types [...] Read more.
Alphasatellites, which encode only a replication-associated protein (alpha-Rep), are frequently found to be non-essential satellite components associated with begomovirus/betasatellite complexes, and their presence can modulate disease symptoms and/or viral DNA accumulation during infection. Our previous study has shown that there are three types of alphasatellites associated with begomovirus/betasatellite complexes in Yunnan province in China and they encode three corresponding types of alpha-Rep proteins. However, the biological functions of alpha-Reps remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the biological functions of alpha-Reps in post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) and transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) using 16c and 16-TGS transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana plants. Results showed that all the three types of alpha-Rep proteins were capable of suppressing the PTGS and reversing the TGS. Among them, the alpha-Rep of Y10DNA1 has the strongest PTGS and TGS suppressor activities. We also found that the alpha-Rep proteins were able to increase the accumulation of their helper virus during coinfection. These results suggest that the alpha-Reps may have a role in overcoming host defense, which provides a possible explanation for the selective advantage provided by the association of alphasatellites with begomovirus/betasatellite complexes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viruses of Plants, Fungi and Protozoa)
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Article
Efficacy of Corticosteroid Therapy for HTLV-1-Associated Myelopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial (HAMLET-P)
Viruses 2022, 14(1), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14010136 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Corticosteroids are most commonly used to treat HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM); however, their clinical efficacy has not been tested in randomized clinical trials. This randomized controlled trial included 8 and 30 HAM patients with rapidly and slowly progressing walking disabilities, respectively. Rapid progressors were [...] Read more.
Corticosteroids are most commonly used to treat HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM); however, their clinical efficacy has not been tested in randomized clinical trials. This randomized controlled trial included 8 and 30 HAM patients with rapidly and slowly progressing walking disabilities, respectively. Rapid progressors were assigned (1:1) to receive or not receive a 3-day course of intravenous methylprednisolone in addition to oral prednisolone therapy. Meanwhile, slow progressors were assigned (1:1) to receive oral prednisolone or placebo. The primary outcomes were a composite of ≥1-grade improvement in the Osame Motor Disability Score or ≥30% improvement in the 10 m walking time (10 mWT) at week 2 for rapid progressors and changes from baseline in 10 mWT at week 24 for slow progressors. In the rapid progressor trial, all four patients with but only one of four without intravenous methylprednisolone achieved the primary outcome (p = 0.14). In the slow progressor trial, the median changes in 10 mWT were −13.8% (95% CI: −20.1–−7.1; p < 0.001) and −6.0% (95% CI: −12.8–1.3; p = 0.10) with prednisolone and placebo, respectively (p for between-group difference = 0.12). Whereas statistical significance was not reached for the primary endpoints, the overall data indicated the benefit of corticosteroid therapy. (Registration number: UMIN000023798, UMIN000024085) Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HTLV-1 and HTLV-1-Associated Diseases)
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Article
Characterization and Tissue Tropism of Newly Identified Iflavirus and Negeviruses in Glossina morsitans morsitans Tsetse Flies
Viruses 2021, 13(12), 2472; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13122472 - 10 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Tsetse flies cause major health and economic problems as they transmit trypanosomes causing sleeping sickness in humans (Human African Trypanosomosis, HAT) and nagana in animals (African Animal Trypanosomosis, AAT). A solution to control the spread of these flies and their associated diseases is [...] Read more.
Tsetse flies cause major health and economic problems as they transmit trypanosomes causing sleeping sickness in humans (Human African Trypanosomosis, HAT) and nagana in animals (African Animal Trypanosomosis, AAT). A solution to control the spread of these flies and their associated diseases is the implementation of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). For successful application of SIT, it is important to establish and maintain healthy insect colonies and produce flies with competitive fitness. However, mass production of tsetse is threatened by covert virus infections, such as the Glossina pallidipes salivary gland hypertrophy virus (GpSGHV). This virus infection can switch from a covert asymptomatic to an overt symptomatic state and cause the collapse of an entire fly colony. Although the effects of GpSGHV infections can be mitigated, the presence of other covert viruses threaten tsetse mass production. Here we demonstrated the presence of two single-stranded RNA viruses isolated from Glossina morsitans morsitans originating from a colony at the Seibersdorf rearing facility. The genome organization and the phylogenetic analysis based on the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) revealed that the two viruses belong to the genera Iflavirus and Negevirus, respectively. The names proposed for the two viruses are Glossina morsitans morsitans iflavirus (GmmIV) and Glossina morsitans morsitans negevirus (GmmNegeV). The GmmIV genome is 9685 nucleotides long with a poly(A) tail and encodes a single polyprotein processed into structural and non-structural viral proteins. The GmmNegeV genome consists of 8140 nucleotides and contains two major overlapping open reading frames (ORF1 and ORF2). ORF1 encodes the largest protein which includes a methyltransferase domain, a ribosomal RNA methyltransferase domain, a helicase domain and a RdRp domain. In this study, a selective RT-qPCR assay to detect the presence of the negative RNA strand for both GmmIV and GmmNegeV viruses proved that both viruses replicate in G. m. morsitans. We analyzed the tissue tropism of these viruses in G. m. morsitans by RNA-FISH to decipher their mode of transmission. Our results demonstrate that both viruses can be found not only in the host’s brain and fat bodies but also in their reproductive organs, and in milk and salivary glands. These findings suggest a potential horizontal viral transmission during feeding and/or a vertically viral transmission from parent to offspring. Although the impact of GmmIV and GmmNegeV in tsetse rearing facilities is still unknown, none of the currently infected tsetse species show any signs of disease from these viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses in Mass-Reared Invertebrates)
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Article
Plasma Proteome Fingerprints Reveal Distinctiveness and Clinical Outcome of SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(12), 2456; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13122456 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1667
Abstract
Background: We evaluated how plasma proteomic signatures in patients with suspected COVID-19 can unravel the pathophysiology, and determine kinetics and clinical outcome of the infection. Methods: Plasma samples from patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with symptoms of COVID-19 were stratified into: [...] Read more.
Background: We evaluated how plasma proteomic signatures in patients with suspected COVID-19 can unravel the pathophysiology, and determine kinetics and clinical outcome of the infection. Methods: Plasma samples from patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with symptoms of COVID-19 were stratified into: (1) patients with suspected COVID-19 that was not confirmed (n = 44); (2) non-hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 (n = 44); (3) hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 (n = 53) with variable outcome; and (4) patients presenting to the ED with minor diseases unrelated to SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 20). Besides standard of care diagnostics, 177 circulating proteins related to inflammation and cardiovascular disease were analyzed using proximity extension assay (PEA, Olink) technology. Results: Comparative proteome analysis revealed 14 distinct proteins as highly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and 12 proteins with subsequent hospitalization (p < 0.001). ADM, IL-6, MCP-3, TRAIL-R2, and PD-L1 were each predictive for death (AUROC curve 0.80–0.87). The consistent increase of these markers, from hospital admission to intensive care and fatality, supported the concept that these proteins are of major clinical relevance. Conclusions: We identified distinct plasma proteins linked to the presence and course of COVID-19. These plasma proteomic findings may translate to a protein fingerprint, helping to assist clinical management decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Article
Heterogeneity of Early Host Response to Infection with Four Low-Pathogenic H7 Viruses with a Different Evolutionary History in the Field
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112323 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 8769
Abstract
Once low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIVs) of the H5 and H7 subtypes from wild birds enter into poultry species, there is the possibility of them mutating into highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs), resulting in severe epizootics with up to 100% mortality. This [...] Read more.
Once low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIVs) of the H5 and H7 subtypes from wild birds enter into poultry species, there is the possibility of them mutating into highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs), resulting in severe epizootics with up to 100% mortality. This mutation from a LPAIV to HPAIV strain is the main cause of an AIV’s major economic impact on poultry production. Although AIVs are inextricably linked to their hosts in their evolutionary history, the contribution of host-related factors in the emergence of HPAI viruses has only been marginally explored so far. In this study, transcriptomic sequencing of tracheal tissue from chickens infected with four distinct LP H7 viruses, characterized by a different history of pathogenicity evolution in the field, was implemented. Despite the inoculation of a normalized infectious dose of viruses belonging to the same subtype (H7) and pathotype (LPAI), the use of animals of the same age, sex and species as well as the identification of a comparable viral load in the target samples, the analyses revealed a heterogeneity in the gene expression profile in response to infection with each of the H7 viruses administered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drivers of Evolution of Animal RNA Viruses)
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Article
Analyses of Leishmania-LRV Co-Phylogenetic Patterns and Evolutionary Variability of Viral Proteins
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2305; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112305 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 903
Abstract
Leishmania spp. are important pathogens causing a vector-borne disease with a broad range of clinical manifestations from self-healing ulcers to the life-threatening visceral forms. Presence of Leishmania RNA virus (LRV) confers survival advantage to these parasites by suppressing anti-leishmanial immunity in the vertebrate [...] Read more.
Leishmania spp. are important pathogens causing a vector-borne disease with a broad range of clinical manifestations from self-healing ulcers to the life-threatening visceral forms. Presence of Leishmania RNA virus (LRV) confers survival advantage to these parasites by suppressing anti-leishmanial immunity in the vertebrate host. The two viral species, LRV1 and LRV2 infect species of the subgenera Viannia and Leishmania, respectively. In this work we investigated co-phylogenetic patterns of leishmaniae and their viruses on a small scale (LRV2 in L. major) and demonstrated their predominant coevolution, occasionally broken by intraspecific host switches. Our analysis of the two viral genes, encoding the capsid and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDRP), revealed them to be under the pressure of purifying selection, which was considerably stronger for the former gene across the whole tree. The selective pressure also differs between the LRV clades and correlates with the frequency of interspecific host switches. In addition, using experimental (capsid) and predicted (RDRP) models we demonstrated that the evolutionary variability across the structure is strikingly different in these two viral proteins. Full article
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Article
Impact of Phage CDHS-1 on the Transcription, Physiology and Pathogenicity of a Clostridioides difficile Ribotype 027 Strain, R20291
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2262; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112262 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
All known Clostridioides difficile phages encode integrases rendering them potentially able to lyse or lysogenise bacterial strains. Here, we observed the infection of the siphovirus, CDHS-1 on a ribotype 027 strain, R20291 and determined the phage and bacterial gene expression profiles, and impacts [...] Read more.
All known Clostridioides difficile phages encode integrases rendering them potentially able to lyse or lysogenise bacterial strains. Here, we observed the infection of the siphovirus, CDHS-1 on a ribotype 027 strain, R20291 and determined the phage and bacterial gene expression profiles, and impacts of phage infection on bacterial physiology and pathogenicity. Using RNA-seq and RT-qPCR we analysed transcriptomic changes during early, mid-log and late phases of phage replication at an MOI of 10. The phage has a 20 min latent period, takes 80 min to lyse cells and a burst size of ~37. All phage genes are highly expressed during at least one time point. The Cro/C1-transcriptional regulator, ssDNA binding protein and helicase are expressed early, the holin is expressed during the mid-log phase and structural proteins are expressed from mid-log to late phase. Most bacterial genes, particularly the metabolism and toxin production/regulatory genes, were downregulated from early phage replication. Phage-resistant strains and lysogens showed reduced virulence during Galleria mellonella colonization as ascertained by the larval survival and expression of growth (10), reproduction (2) and infection (2) marker genes. These data suggest that phage infection both reduces colonization and negatively impacts bacterial pathogenicity, providing encouraging data to support the development of this phage for therapy to treat C. difficile infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phage-Bacteria Interplay in Health and Disease)
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Article
Downregulation of Cell Surface Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Expression Is Mediated by the Left-End Transcription Unit of Fowl Adenovirus 9
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2211; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112211 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 731
Abstract
Major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules play a critical role in the host’s antiviral response by presenting virus-derived antigenic peptides to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), enabling the clearance of virus-infected cells. Human adenoviruses evade CTL-mediated cell lysis, in part, by interfering directly [...] Read more.
Major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules play a critical role in the host’s antiviral response by presenting virus-derived antigenic peptides to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), enabling the clearance of virus-infected cells. Human adenoviruses evade CTL-mediated cell lysis, in part, by interfering directly with the MHC-I antigen presentation pathway through the expression of E3-19K, which binds both MHC-I and the transporter associated with antigen processing protein and sequestering MHC-I within the endoplasmic reticulum. Fowl adenoviruses have no homologues of E3-19K. Here, we show that representative virus isolates of the species Fowl aviadenovirus C, Fowl aviadenovirus D, and Fowl aviadenovirus E downregulate the cell surface expression of MHC-I in chicken hepatoma cells, resulting in 71%, 11%, and 14% of the baseline expression level, respectively, at 12 h post-infection. Furthermore, this work reports that FAdV-9 downregulates cell surface MHC-I through a minimum of two separate mechanisms—a lysosomal-independent mechanism that requires the presence of the fowl adenovirus early 1 (FE1) transcription unit located within the left terminal genomic region between nts 1 and 6131 and a lysosomal-dependent mechanism that does not require the presence of FE1. These results establish a new functional role for the FE1 transcription unit in immune evasion. These studies provide important new information about the immune evasion of FAdVs and will enhance our understanding of the pathogenesis of inclusion body hepatitis and advance the progress made in next-generation FAdV-based vectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Adenovirus Infections)
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein S1-Mediated Endothelial Injury and Pro-Inflammatory State Is Amplified by Dihydrotestosterone and Prevented by Mineralocorticoid Antagonism
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2209; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112209 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2315
Abstract
Men are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), and face higher odds of severe illness and death compared to women. The vascular effects of androgen signaling and inflammatory cytokines in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-mediated endothelial injury are not defined. We [...] Read more.
Men are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), and face higher odds of severe illness and death compared to women. The vascular effects of androgen signaling and inflammatory cytokines in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-mediated endothelial injury are not defined. We determined the effects of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-mediated endothelial injury under conditions of exposure to androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-α) and tested potentially therapeutic effects of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism by spironolactone. Circulating endothelial injury markers VCAM-1 and E-selectin were measured in men and women diagnosed with COVID-19. Exposure of endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro to DHT exacerbated spike protein S1-mediated endothelial injury transcripts for the cell adhesion molecules E-selectin, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 and anti-fibrinolytic PAI-1 (p < 0.05), and increased THP-1 monocyte adhesion to ECs (p = 0.032). Spironolactone dramatically reduced DHT+S1-induced endothelial activation. TNF-α exacerbated S1-induced EC activation, which was abrogated by pretreatment with spironolactone. Analysis from patients hospitalized with COVID-19 showed concordant higher circulating VCAM-1 and E-Selectin levels in men, compared to women. A beneficial effect of the FDA-approved drug spironolactone was observed on endothelial cells in vitro, supporting a rationale for further evaluation of mineralocorticoid antagonism as an adjunct treatment in COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 and Thrombosis)
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Article
Comparison of the Proteomes of Porcine Macrophages and a Stable Porcine Cell Line after Infection with African Swine Fever Virus
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2198; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112198 - 01 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
African swine fever virus (ASFV), causing an OIE-notifiable viral disease of swine, is spreading over the Eurasian continent and threatening the global pig industry. Here, we conducted the first proteome analysis of ASFV-infected primary porcine monocyte-derived macrophages (moMΦ). In parallel to moMΦ isolated [...] Read more.
African swine fever virus (ASFV), causing an OIE-notifiable viral disease of swine, is spreading over the Eurasian continent and threatening the global pig industry. Here, we conducted the first proteome analysis of ASFV-infected primary porcine monocyte-derived macrophages (moMΦ). In parallel to moMΦ isolated from different pigs, the stable porcine cell line WSL-R was infected with a recombinant of ASFV genotype IX strain “Kenya1033”. The outcome of the infections was compared via quantitative mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteome analysis. Major differences with respect to the expression of viral proteins or the host cell response were not observed. However, cell-specific expression of some individual viral proteins did occur. The observed modulations of the host proteome were mainly related to cell characteristics and function. Overall, we conclude that both infection models are suitable for use in the study of ASFV infection in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African Swine Fever Virus 2021)
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Article
Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 Infections during Differentiation of Human Cortical Neurons
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 2072; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102072 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1086
Abstract
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) can infect the central nervous system (CNS) with dire consequences; in children and adults, HSV-1 may cause focal encephalitis, while HSV-2 causes meningitis. In neonates, both viruses can cause severe, disseminated CNS infections with high [...] Read more.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) can infect the central nervous system (CNS) with dire consequences; in children and adults, HSV-1 may cause focal encephalitis, while HSV-2 causes meningitis. In neonates, both viruses can cause severe, disseminated CNS infections with high mortality rates. Here, we differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) towards cortical neurons for infection with clinical CNS strains of HSV-1 or HSV-2. Progenies from both viruses were produced at equal quantities in iPSCs, neuroprogenitors and cortical neurons. HSV-1 and HSV-2 decreased viability of neuroprogenitors by 36.0% and 57.6% (p < 0.0001), respectively, 48 h post-infection, while cortical neurons were resilient to infection by both viruses. However, in these functional neurons, both HSV-1 and HSV-2 decreased gene expression of two markers of synaptic activity, CAMK2B and ARC, and affected synaptic activity negatively in multielectrode array experiments. However, unaltered secretion levels of the neurodegeneration markers tau and NfL suggested intact axonal integrity. Viral replication of both viruses was found after six days, coinciding with 6-fold and 22-fold increase in gene expression of cellular RNA polymerase II by HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. Our results suggest a resilience of human cortical neurons relative to the replication of HSV-1 and HSV-2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Replication and Spread of Alphaherpesviruses)
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Article
Spillover of West Caucasian Bat Lyssavirus (WCBV) in a Domestic Cat and Westward Expansion in the Palearctic Region
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 2064; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102064 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1899
Abstract
In June 2020, a cat from Arezzo (Italy) that died from a neurological disease was diagnosed with West Caucasian Bat Lyssavirus (WCBV). The virus retained high identity across the whole-genome with the reference isolate found in 2002 from a Russian bent-winged bat. We [...] Read more.
In June 2020, a cat from Arezzo (Italy) that died from a neurological disease was diagnosed with West Caucasian Bat Lyssavirus (WCBV). The virus retained high identity across the whole-genome with the reference isolate found in 2002 from a Russian bent-winged bat. We applied control measures recommended by national regulations, investigated a possible interface between cats and bats using visual inspections, bioacoustics analyses and camera trapping and performed active and passive surveillance in bats to trace the source of infection. People that were exposed to the cat received full post-exposure prophylaxis while animals underwent six months of quarantine. One year later, they are all healthy. In a tunnel located near the cat’s house, we identified a group of bent-winged bats that showed virus-neutralizing antibodies to WCBV across four sampling occasions, but no virus in salivary swabs. Carcasses from other bat species were all negative. This description of WCBV in a non-flying mammal confirms that this virus can cause clinical rabies in the absence of preventive and therapeutic measures, and highlights the lack of international guidelines against divergent lyssaviruses. We detected bent-winged bats as the most probable source of infection, testifying the encroachment between these bats and pets/human in urban areas and confirming free-ranging cats as potential hazard for public health and conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Virus Emergence from Wildilfe)
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Article
Phage Therapy Related Microbial Succession Associated with Successful Clinical Outcome for a Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 2049; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102049 - 12 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3309
Abstract
We rationally designed a bacteriophage cocktail to treat a 56-year-old male liver transplant patient with complex, recurrent prostate and urinary tract infections caused by an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) (UCS1). We screened our library for phages that killed [...] Read more.
We rationally designed a bacteriophage cocktail to treat a 56-year-old male liver transplant patient with complex, recurrent prostate and urinary tract infections caused by an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) (UCS1). We screened our library for phages that killed UCS1, with four promising candidates chosen for their virulence, mucolytic properties, and ability to reduce bacterial resistance. The patient received 2 weeks of intravenous phage cocktail with concomitant ertapenem for 6 weeks. Weekly serum and urine samples were collected to track the patient’s response. The patient tolerated the phage therapy without any adverse events with symptom resolution. The neutralization of the phage activity occurred with sera collected 1 to 4 weeks after the first phage treatment. This was consistent with immunoassays that detected the upregulation of immune stimulatory analytes. The patient developed asymptomatic recurrent bacteriuria 6 and 11 weeks following the end of phage therapy—a condition that did not require antibiotic treatment. The bacteriuria was caused by a sister strain of E. coli (UCS1.1) that remained susceptible to the original phage cocktail and possessed putative mutations in the proteins involved in adhesion and invasion compared to UCS1. This study highlights the utility of rationally designed phage cocktails with antibiotics at controlling E. coli infection and suggests that microbial succession, without complete eradication, may produce desirable clinical outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Phage Therapy Development in Europe)
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Article
Reduced Infection Efficiency of Phage NCTC 12673 on Non-Motile Campylobacter jejuni Strains Is Related to Oxidative Stress
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 1955; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13101955 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 882
Abstract
Campylobacter jejuni is a Gram-negative foodborne pathogen that causes diarrheal disease and is associated with severe post-infectious sequelae. Bacteriophages (phages) are a possible means of reducing Campylobacter colonization in poultry to prevent downstream human infections. However, the factors influencing phage-host interactions must be [...] Read more.
Campylobacter jejuni is a Gram-negative foodborne pathogen that causes diarrheal disease and is associated with severe post-infectious sequelae. Bacteriophages (phages) are a possible means of reducing Campylobacter colonization in poultry to prevent downstream human infections. However, the factors influencing phage-host interactions must be better understood before this strategy can be predictably employed. Most studies have focused on Campylobacter phage binding to the host surface, with all phages classified as either capsule- or flagella-specific. Here we describe the characterization of a C. jejuni phage that requires functional flagellar glycosylation and motor genes for infection, without needing the flagella for adsorption to the cell surface. Through phage infectivity studies of targeted C. jejuni mutants, transcriptomic analysis of phage-resistant mutants, and genotypic and phenotypic analysis of a spontaneous phage variant capable of simultaneously overcoming flagellar gene dependence and sensitivity to oxidative stress, we have uncovered a link between oxidative stress, flagellar motility, and phage infectivity. Taken together, our results underscore the importance of understanding phage-host interactions beyond the cell surface and point to host oxidative stress state as an important and underappreciated consideration for future phage-host interaction studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phage-Host Interactions 2021)
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VP8, the Major Tegument Protein of Bovine Herpesvirus-1, Is Partially Packaged during Early Tegument Formation in a VP22-Dependent Manner
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1854; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091854 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 871
Abstract
Bovine herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1) is a major cause of rhinotracheitis and vulvovaginitis in cattle. VP8, the major tegument protein of BoHV-1, is essential for viral replication in the host. VP8 is phosphorylated by the viral kinase US3, mediating its translocation to the cytoplasm. VP8 [...] Read more.
Bovine herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1) is a major cause of rhinotracheitis and vulvovaginitis in cattle. VP8, the major tegument protein of BoHV-1, is essential for viral replication in the host. VP8 is phosphorylated by the viral kinase US3, mediating its translocation to the cytoplasm. VP8 remains nuclear when not phosphorylated. Interestingly, VP8 has a significant presence in mature BoHV-1YmVP8, in which the VP8 phosphorylation sites are mutated. This suggests that VP8 might be packaged during primary envelopment of BoHV-1. This was investigated by mass spectrometry and Western blotting, which showed VP8, as well as VP22, to be constituents of the primary enveloped virions. VP8 and VP22 were shown to interact via co-immunoprecipitation experiments, in both BoHV-1-infected and VP8-transfected cells. VP8 and VP22 also co-localised with one another and with nuclear lamin-associated protein 2 in BoHV-1-infected cells, suggesting an interaction between VP8 and VP22 in the perinuclear region. In cells infected with VP22-deleted BoHV-1 (BoHV-1ΔUL49), VP8 was absent from the primary enveloped virions, implying that VP22 might be critical for the early packaging of VP8. In conclusion, a novel VP22-dependent mechanism for packaging of VP8 was identified, which may be responsible for a significant amount of VP8 in the viral particle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Herpesviruses Pathogenesis and Immunity)
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The Pathobiology of H7N3 Low and High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Viruses from the United States Outbreak in 2020 Differs between Turkeys and Chickens
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1851; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091851 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1062
Abstract
An outbreak caused by H7N3 low pathogenicity avian influenza virus (LPAIV) occurred in commercial turkey farms in the states of North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC), United States in March of 2020. Subsequently, H7N3 high pathogenicity avian influenza virus (HPAIV) was detected [...] Read more.
An outbreak caused by H7N3 low pathogenicity avian influenza virus (LPAIV) occurred in commercial turkey farms in the states of North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC), United States in March of 2020. Subsequently, H7N3 high pathogenicity avian influenza virus (HPAIV) was detected on a turkey farm in SC. The infectivity, transmissibility, and pathogenicity of the H7N3 HPAIV and two LPAIV isolates, including one with a deletion in the neuraminidase (NA) protein stalk, were studied in turkeys and chickens. High infectivity [<2 log10 50% bird infectious dose (BID50)] and transmission to birds exposed by direct contact were observed with the HPAIV in turkeys. In contrast, the HPAIV dose to infect chickens was higher than for turkeys (3.7 log10 BID50), and no transmission was observed. Similarly, higher infectivity (<2–2.5 log10 BID50) and transmissibility were observed with the H7N3 LPAIVs in turkeys compared to chickens, which required higher virus doses to become infected (5.4–5.7 log10 BID50). The LPAIV with the NA stalk deletion was more infectious in turkeys but did not have enhanced infectivity in chickens. These results show clear differences in the pathobiology of AIVs in turkeys and chickens and corroborate the high susceptibility of turkeys to both LPAIV and HPAIV infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Emergence)
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Phylogenomic Characterization of Lopma Virus and Praja Virus, Two Novel Rodent-Borne Arteriviruses
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1842; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091842 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Recent years have witnessed the discovery of several new viruses belonging to the family Arteriviridae, expanding the known diversity and host range of this group of complex RNA viruses. Although the pathological relevance of these new viruses is not always clear, several [...] Read more.
Recent years have witnessed the discovery of several new viruses belonging to the family Arteriviridae, expanding the known diversity and host range of this group of complex RNA viruses. Although the pathological relevance of these new viruses is not always clear, several well-studied members of the family Arteriviridae are known to be important animal pathogens. Here, we report the complete genome sequences of four new arterivirus variants, belonging to two putative novel species. These new arteriviruses were discovered in African rodents and were given the names Lopma virus and Praja virus. Their genomes follow the characteristic genome organization of all known arteriviruses, even though they are only distantly related to currently known rodent-borne arteriviruses. Phylogenetic analysis shows that Lopma virus clusters in the subfamily Variarterivirinae, while Praja virus clusters near members of the subfamily Heroarterivirinae: the yet undescribed forest pouched giant rat arterivirus and hedgehog arterivirus 1. A co-divergence analysis of rodent-borne arteriviruses confirms that they share similar phylogenetic patterns with their hosts, with only very few cases of host shifting events throughout their evolutionary history. Overall, the genomes described here and their unique clustering with other arteriviruses further illustrate the existence of multiple rodent-borne arterivirus lineages, expanding our knowledge of the evolutionary origin of these viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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The Isolated in Utero Environment Is Conducive to the Emergence of RNA and DNA Virus Variants
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091827 - 14 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1178
Abstract
The host’s immune status may affect virus evolution. Little is known about how developing fetal and placental immune milieus affect virus heterogeneity. This knowledge will help us better understand intra-host virus evolution and how new virus variants emerge. The goal of our study [...] Read more.
The host’s immune status may affect virus evolution. Little is known about how developing fetal and placental immune milieus affect virus heterogeneity. This knowledge will help us better understand intra-host virus evolution and how new virus variants emerge. The goal of our study was to find out whether the isolated in utero environment—an environment with specialized placental immunity and developing fetal immunity—supports the emergence of RNA and DNA virus variants. We used well-established porcine models for isolated Zika virus (RNA virus) and porcine circovirus 2 (DNA virus) fetal infections. We found that the isolated in utero environment was conducive to the emergence of RNA and DNA virus variants. Next-generation sequencing of nearly whole virus genomes and validated bioinformatics pipelines identified both unique and convergent single nucleotide variations in virus genomes isolated from different fetuses. Zika virus and PCV2 in utero evolution also resulted in single nucleotide variations previously reported in the human and porcine field samples. These findings should encourage further studies on virus evolution in placenta and fetuses, to better understand how virus variants emerge and how in utero viral evolution affects congenital virus transmission and pathogenicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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Histotype-Dependent Oligodendroglial PrP Pathology in Sporadic CJD: A Frequent Feature of the M2C “Strain”
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091796 - 09 Sep 2021
Viewed by 979
Abstract
In sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, molecular subtypes are neuropathologically well identified by the lesioning profile and the immunohistochemical PrPd deposition pattern in the grey matter (histotypes). While astrocytic PrP pathology has been reported in variant CJD and some less frequent histotypes (e.g., MV2K), [...] Read more.
In sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, molecular subtypes are neuropathologically well identified by the lesioning profile and the immunohistochemical PrPd deposition pattern in the grey matter (histotypes). While astrocytic PrP pathology has been reported in variant CJD and some less frequent histotypes (e.g., MV2K), oligodendroglial pathology has been rarely addressed. We assessed a series of sCJD cases with the aim to identify particular histotypes that could be more prone to harbor oligodendroglial PrPd. Particularly, the MM2C phenotype, in both its more “pure” and its mixed MM1+2C or MV2K+2C forms, showed more frequent oligodendroglial PrP pathology in the underlying white matter than the more common MM1/MV1 and VV2 histotypes, and was more abundant in patients with a longer disease duration. We concluded that the MM2C strain was particularly prone to accumulate PrPd in white matter oligodendrocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prion Disease)
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Report of One-Year Prospective Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in Dogs and Cats in France with Various Exposure Risks: Confirmation of a Low Prevalence of Shedding, Detection and Complete Sequencing of an Alpha Variant in a Cat
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091759 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
Despite the probable zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2, only limited research efforts have been made to understand the role of companion animals in SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology. According to recent serological prevalence studies, human-to-companion animal transmission is quite frequent, which led us to consider that the [...] Read more.
Despite the probable zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2, only limited research efforts have been made to understand the role of companion animals in SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology. According to recent serological prevalence studies, human-to-companion animal transmission is quite frequent, which led us to consider that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from animal to human, albeit negligible in the present context, may have been underestimated. In this study, we provide the results of a prospective survey that was conducted to evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 isolation rate by qRT-PCR in dogs and cats with different exposure risks and clinical statuses. From April 2020 to April 2021, we analyzed 367 samples and investigated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using qRT-PCR. Only four animals tested positive, all of them being cats. Three cats were asymptomatic and one presented a coryza-like syndrome. We describe in detail the infection in two cats and the associated clinical characteristics. Importantly, we obtained SARS-CoV-2 genomes from one infected animal and characterized them as Alpha variants. This represents the first identification of the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant in an infected animal in France. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enteric and Respiratory Viruses in Animals)
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Examining the Effects of an Anti-Salmonella Bacteriophage Preparation, BAFASAL®, on Ex-Vivo Human Gut Microbiome Composition and Function Using a Multi-Omics Approach
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1734; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091734 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1203
Abstract
Salmonella infections (salmonellosis) pose serious health risks to humans, usually via food-chain contamination. This foodborne pathogen causes major food losses and human illnesses, with significant economic impacts. Overuse of antibiotics in the food industry has led to multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria, and governments [...] Read more.
Salmonella infections (salmonellosis) pose serious health risks to humans, usually via food-chain contamination. This foodborne pathogen causes major food losses and human illnesses, with significant economic impacts. Overuse of antibiotics in the food industry has led to multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria, and governments are now restricting their use, leading the food industry to search for alternatives to secure food chains. Bacteriophages, viruses that infect and kill bacteria, are currently being investigated and used as replacement treatments and prophylactics due to their specificity and efficacy. They are generally regarded as safe alternatives to antibiotics, as they are natural components of the ecosystem. However, when specifically used in the industry, they can also make their way into humans through our food chain or exposure, as is the case for antibiotics. In particular, agricultural workers could be repeatedly exposed to bacteriophages supplemented to animal feeds. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated the effects of such exposure to bacteriophages on the human gut microbiome. In this study, we used a novel in-vitro assay called RapidAIM to investigate the effect of a bacteriophage mixture, BAFASAL®, used in poultry farming on five individual human gut microbiomes. Multi-omics analyses, including 16S rRNA gene sequencing and metaproteomic, revealed that ex-vivo human gut microbiota composition and function were unaffected by BAFASAL® treatment, providing an additional measure for its safety. Due to the critical role of the gut microbiome in human health and the known role of bacteriophages in regulation of microbiome composition and function, we suggest assaying the impact of bacteriophage-cocktails on the human gut microbiome as a part of their safety assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phage-Bacteria Interplay in Health and Disease)
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Structure-Guided Creation of an Anti-HA Stalk Antibody F11 Derivative That Neutralizes Both F11-Sensitive and -Resistant Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091733 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1269
Abstract
The stalk domain of influenza virus envelope glycoprotein hemagglutinin (HA) constitutes the axis connecting the head and transmembrane domains, and plays pivotal roles in conformational rearrangements of HA for virus infection. Here we characterized molecular interactions between the anti-HA stalk neutralization antibody F11 [...] Read more.
The stalk domain of influenza virus envelope glycoprotein hemagglutinin (HA) constitutes the axis connecting the head and transmembrane domains, and plays pivotal roles in conformational rearrangements of HA for virus infection. Here we characterized molecular interactions between the anti-HA stalk neutralization antibody F11 and influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 HA to understand the structural basis of the actions and modifications of this antibody. In silico structural analyses using a model of the trimeric HA ectodomain indicated that the F11 Fab fragment has physicochemical properties, allowing it to crosslink two HA monomers by binding to a region near the proteolytic cleavage site of the stalk domain. Interestingly, the F11 binding allosterically caused a marked suppression of the structural dynamics of the HA cleavage loop and flanking regions. Structure-guided mutagenesis of the F11 antibody revealed a critical residue in the F11 light chain for the F11-mediated neutralization. Finally, the mutagenesis led to identification of a unique F11 derivative that can neutralize both F11-sensitive and F11-resistant A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses. These results raise the possibility that F11 sterically and physically disturbs proteolytic cleavage of HA for the ordered conformational rearrangements and suggest that in silico guiding experiments can be useful to create anti-HA stalk antibodies with new phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA Viruses: Structure, Adaptation, and Evolution)
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An Absolutely Conserved Tryptophan in the Stem of the Envelope Protein E of Flaviviruses Is Essential for the Formation of Stable Particles
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13091727 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
The major envelope protein E of flaviviruses contains an ectodomain that is connected to the transmembrane domain by the so-called “stem” region. In mature flavivirus particles, the stem is composed of two or three mostly amphipathic α-helices and a conserved sequence element (CS) [...] Read more.
The major envelope protein E of flaviviruses contains an ectodomain that is connected to the transmembrane domain by the so-called “stem” region. In mature flavivirus particles, the stem is composed of two or three mostly amphipathic α-helices and a conserved sequence element (CS) with an undefined role in the viral life cycle. A tryptophan is the only residue within this region which is not only conserved in all vector-borne flaviviruses, but also in the group with no known vector. We investigated the importance of this residue in different stages of the viral life cycle by a mutagenesis-based approach using tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). Replacing W421 by alanine or histidine strongly reduced the release of infectious virions and their thermostability, whereas fusion-related entry functions and virus maturation were still intact. Serial passaging of the mutants led to the emergence of a same-site compensatory mutation to leucine that largely restored these properties of the wildtype. The conserved tryptophan in CS (or another big hydrophobic amino acid at the same position) is thus essential for the assembly and infectivity of flaviviruses by being part of a network required for conferring stability to infectious particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology of Viral Surface Glycoproteins)
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Understanding the Genetic Diversity of Picobirnavirus: A Classification Update Based on Phylogenetic and Pairwise Sequence Comparison Approaches
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081476 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2786
Abstract
Picobirnaviruses (PBVs) are small, double stranded RNA viruses with an ability to infect a myriad of hosts and possessing a high degree of genetic diversity. PBVs are currently classified into two genogroups based upon classification of a 200 nt sequence of RdRp. We [...] Read more.
Picobirnaviruses (PBVs) are small, double stranded RNA viruses with an ability to infect a myriad of hosts and possessing a high degree of genetic diversity. PBVs are currently classified into two genogroups based upon classification of a 200 nt sequence of RdRp. We demonstrate here that this phylogenetic marker is saturated, affected by homoplasy, and has high phylogenetic noise, resulting in 34% unsolved topologies. By contrast, full-length RdRp sequences provide reliable topologies that allow ancestralism of members to be correctly inferred. MAFFT alignment and maximum likelihood trees were established as the optimal methods to determine phylogenetic relationships, providing complete resolution of PBV RdRp and capsid taxa, each into three monophyletic groupings. Pairwise distance calculations revealed these lineages represent three species. For RdRp, the application of cutoffs determined by theoretical taxonomic distributions indicates that there are five genotypes in species 1, eight genotypes in species 2, and three genotypes in species 3. Capsids were also divided into three species, but sequences did not segregate into statistically supported subdivisions, indicating that diversity is lower than RdRp. We thus propose the adoption of a new nomenclature to indicate the species of each segment (e.g., PBV-C1R2). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Genetic Diversity)
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Article
Characterization of the Roles of SGT1/RAR1, EDS1/NDR1, NPR1, and NRC/ADR1/NRG1 in Sw-5b-Mediated Resistance to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081447 - 25 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1660
Abstract
The tomato Sw-5b gene confers resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and encodes a nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) protein with an N-terminal Solanaceae-specific domain (SD). Although our understanding of how Sw-5b recognizes the viral NSm elicitor has increased significantly, the process by [...] Read more.
The tomato Sw-5b gene confers resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and encodes a nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) protein with an N-terminal Solanaceae-specific domain (SD). Although our understanding of how Sw-5b recognizes the viral NSm elicitor has increased significantly, the process by which Sw-5b activates downstream defense signaling remains to be elucidated. In this study, we used a tobacco rattle virus (TRV)-based virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) system to investigate the roles of the SGT1/RAR1, EDS1/NDR1, NPR1, and NRC/ADR1/NRG1 genes in the Sw-5b-mediated signaling pathway. We found that chaperone SGT1 was required for Sw-5b function, but co-chaperone RAR1 was not. Sw-5b-mediated immune signaling was independent of both EDS1 and NDR1. Silencing NPR1, which is a central component in SA signaling, did not result in TSWV systemic infection in Sw-5b-transgenic N. benthamiana plants. Helper NLR NRCs (NLRs required for cell death) were required for Sw-5b-mediated systemic resistance to TSWV infection. Suppression of NRC2/3/4 compromised the Sw-5b resistance. However, the helper NLRs ADR1 and NRG1 may not participate in the Sw-5b signaling pathway. Silencing ADR1, NRG1, or both genes did not affect Sw-5b-mediated resistance to TSWV. Our findings provide new insight into the requirement for conserved key components in Sw-5b-mediated signaling pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Immunity to Virus Infections 2021)
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Article
A Diverse Viral Community from Predatory Wasps in Their Native and Invaded Range, with a New Virus Infectious to Honey Bees
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1431; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081431 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 890
Abstract
Wasps of the genus Vespula are social insects that have become major pests and predators in their introduced range. Viruses present in these wasps have been studied in the context of spillover from honey bees, yet we lack an understanding of the endogenous [...] Read more.
Wasps of the genus Vespula are social insects that have become major pests and predators in their introduced range. Viruses present in these wasps have been studied in the context of spillover from honey bees, yet we lack an understanding of the endogenous virome of wasps as potential reservoirs of novel emerging infectious diseases. We describe the characterization of 68 novel and nine previously identified virus sequences found in transcriptomes of Vespula vulgaris in colonies sampled from their native range (Belgium) and an invasive range (New Zealand). Many viruses present in the samples were from the Picorna-like virus family (38%). We identified one Luteo-like virus, Vespula vulgaris Luteo-like virus 1, present in the three life stages examined in all colonies from both locations, suggesting this virus is a highly prevalent and persistent infection in wasp colonies. Additionally, we identified a novel Iflavirus with similarity to a recently identified Moku virus, a known wasp and honey bee pathogen. Experimental infection of honey bees with this novel Vespula vulgaris Moku-like virus resulted in an active infection. The high viral diversity present in these invasive wasps is a likely indication that their polyphagous diet is a rich source of viral infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Molecular Virology Research in New Zealand)
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Article
Effects of Basic Amino Acids and Their Derivatives on SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza-A Virus Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1301; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071301 - 04 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2721
Abstract
Amino acids have been implicated with virus infection and replication. Here, we demonstrate the effects of two basic amino acids, arginine and lysine, and their ester derivatives on infection of two enveloped viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and influenza A virus. We found that lysine and [...] Read more.
Amino acids have been implicated with virus infection and replication. Here, we demonstrate the effects of two basic amino acids, arginine and lysine, and their ester derivatives on infection of two enveloped viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and influenza A virus. We found that lysine and its ester derivative can efficiently block infection of both viruses in vitro. Furthermore, the arginine ester derivative caused a significant boost in virus infection. Studies on their mechanism of action revealed that the compounds potentially disturb virus uncoating rather than virus attachment and endosomal acidification. Our findings suggest that lysine supplementation and the reduction of arginine-rich food intake can be considered as prophylactic and therapeutic regimens against these viruses while also providing a paradigm for the development of broad-spectrum antivirals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Agents)
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Article
Molecular Evolution and Epidemiological Characteristics of SARS COV-2 in (Northwestern) Poland
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1295; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071295 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1532
Abstract
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) evolved into a worldwide outbreak, with the first Polish cases in February/March 2020. This study aimed to investigate the molecular epidemiology of the circulating virus lineages between March 2020 and February 2021. We performed [...] Read more.
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) evolved into a worldwide outbreak, with the first Polish cases in February/March 2020. This study aimed to investigate the molecular epidemiology of the circulating virus lineages between March 2020 and February 2021. We performed variant identification, spike mutation pattern analysis, and phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses for 1106 high-coverage whole-genome sequences, implementing maximum likelihood, multiple continuous-time Markov chain, and Bayesian birth–death skyline models. For time trends, logistic regression was used. In the dataset, virus B.1.221 lineage was predominant (15.37%), followed by B.1.258 (15.01%) and B.1.1.29 (11.48%) strains. Three clades were identified, being responsible for 74.41% of infections over the analyzed period. Expansion in variant diversity was observed since September 2020 with increasing frequency of the number in spike substitutions, mainly H69V70 deletion, P681H, N439K, and S98F. In population dynamics inferences, three periods with exponential increase in infection were observed, beginning in March, July, and September 2020, respectively, and were driven by different virus clades. Additionally, a notable increase in infections caused by the B.1.1.7 lineage since February 2021 was noted. Over time, the virus accumulated mutations related to optimized transmissibility; therefore, faster dissemination is reflected by the second wave of epidemics in Poland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Article
A New Master Donor Virus for the Development of Live-Attenuated Influenza B Virus Vaccines
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071278 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
Influenza B viruses (IBV) circulate annually, with young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals being at high risk. Yearly vaccinations are recommended to protect against seasonally influenza viruses, including IBV. Live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) provide the unique opportunity for direct exposure to [...] Read more.
Influenza B viruses (IBV) circulate annually, with young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals being at high risk. Yearly vaccinations are recommended to protect against seasonally influenza viruses, including IBV. Live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) provide the unique opportunity for direct exposure to the antigenically variable surface glycoproteins as well as the more conserved internal components. Ideally, LAIV Master Donor Viruses (MDV) should accurately reflect seasonal influenza strains. Unfortunately, the continuous evolution of IBV have led to significant changes in conserved epitopes compared to the IBV MDV based on B/Ann Arbor/1/1966 strain. Here, we propose a recent influenza B/Brisbane/60/2008 as an efficacious MDV alternative, as its internal viral proteins more accurately reflect those of circulating IBV strains. We introduced the mutations responsible for the temperature sensitive (ts), cold adapted (ca) and attenuated (att) phenotype of B/Ann Arbor/1/1966 MDV LAIV into B/Brisbane/60/2008 to generate a new MDV LAIV. In vitro and in vivo analysis demonstrated that the mutations responsible of the ts, ca, and att phenotype of B/Ann Arbor/1/1966 MDV LAIV were able to infer the same phenotype to B/Brisbane/60/2008, demonstrating its potential as a new MDV for the development of LAIV to protect against contemporary IBV strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Immunology, Vaccines, and Antivirals)
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Article
Modular Evolution of Coronavirus Genomes
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1270; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071270 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
The viral family Coronaviridae comprises four genera, termed Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-, and Deltacoronavirus. Recombination events have been described in many coronaviruses infecting humans and other animals. However, formal analysis of the recombination patterns, both in terms of the involved genome regions and [...] Read more.
The viral family Coronaviridae comprises four genera, termed Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-, and Deltacoronavirus. Recombination events have been described in many coronaviruses infecting humans and other animals. However, formal analysis of the recombination patterns, both in terms of the involved genome regions and the extent of genetic divergence between partners, are scarce. Common methods of recombination detection based on phylogenetic incongruences (e.g., a phylogenetic compatibility matrix) may fail in cases where too many events diminish the phylogenetic signal. Thus, an approach comparing genetic distances in distinct genome regions (pairwise distance deviation matrix) was set up. In alpha, beta, and delta-coronaviruses, a low incidence of recombination between closely related viruses was evident in all genome regions, but it was more extensive between the spike gene and other genome regions. In contrast, avian gammacoronaviruses recombined extensively and exist as a global cloud of genes with poorly corresponding genetic distances in different parts of the genome. Spike, but not other structural proteins, was most commonly exchanged between coronaviruses. Recombination patterns differed between coronavirus genera and corresponded to the modular structure of the spike: recombination traces were more pronounced between spike domains (N-terminal and C-terminal parts of S1 and S2) than within domains. The variability of possible recombination events and their uneven distribution over the genome suggest that compatibility of genes, rather than mechanistic or ecological limitations, shapes recombination patterns in coronaviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recombination as an Evolutionary Force in Animal Viruses)
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Article
Tracking HIV-1-Infected Cell Clones Using Integration Site-Specific qPCR
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071235 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1965
Abstract
Efforts to cure HIV-1 infection require better quantification of the HIV-1 reservoir, particularly the clones of cells harboring replication-competent (intact) proviruses, termed repliclones. The digital droplet PCR assays commonly used to quantify intact proviruses do not differentiate among specific repliclones, thus the [...] Read more.
Efforts to cure HIV-1 infection require better quantification of the HIV-1 reservoir, particularly the clones of cells harboring replication-competent (intact) proviruses, termed repliclones. The digital droplet PCR assays commonly used to quantify intact proviruses do not differentiate among specific repliclones, thus the dynamics of repliclones are not well defined. The major challenge in tracking repliclones is the relative rarity of the cells carrying specific intact proviruses. To date, detection and accurate quantification of repliclones requires in-depth integration site sequencing. Here, we describe a simplified workflow using integration site-specific qPCR (IS-qPCR) to determine the frequencies of the proviruses integrated in individual repliclones. We designed IS-qPCR to determine the frequencies of repliclones and clones of cells that carry defective proviruses in samples from three donors. Comparing the results of IS-qPCR with deep integration site sequencing data showed that the two methods yielded concordant estimates of clone frequencies (r = 0.838). IS-qPCR is a potentially valuable tool that can be applied to multiple samples and cell types over time to measure the dynamics of individual repliclones and the efficacy of treatments designed to eliminate them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Viral Persistence)
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Article
Microglial HIV-1 Expression: Role in HIV-1 Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
Viruses 2021, 13(5), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13050924 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1278
Abstract
The persistence of HIV-1 viral reservoirs in the brain, despite treatment with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), remains a critical roadblock for the development of a novel cure strategy for HIV-1. To enhance our understanding of viral reservoirs, two complementary studies were conducted to [...] Read more.
The persistence of HIV-1 viral reservoirs in the brain, despite treatment with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), remains a critical roadblock for the development of a novel cure strategy for HIV-1. To enhance our understanding of viral reservoirs, two complementary studies were conducted to (1) evaluate the HIV-1 mRNA distribution pattern and major cell type expressing HIV-1 mRNA in the HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) rat, and (2) validate our findings by developing and critically testing a novel biological system to model active HIV-1 infection in the rat. First, a restricted, region-specific HIV-1 mRNA distribution pattern was observed in the HIV-1 Tg rat. Microglia were the predominant cell type expressing HIV-1 mRNA in the HIV-1 Tg rat. Second, we developed and critically tested a novel biological system to model key aspects of HIV-1 by infusing F344/N control rats with chimeric HIV (EcoHIV). In vitro, primary cultured microglia were treated with EcoHIV revealing prominent expression within 24 h of infection. In vivo, EcoHIV expression was observed seven days after stereotaxic injections. Following EcoHIV infection, microglia were the major cell type expressing HIV-1 mRNA, results that are consistent with observations in the HIV-1 Tg rat. Within eight weeks of infection, EcoHIV rats exhibited neurocognitive impairments and synaptic dysfunction, which may result from activation of the NogoA-NgR3/PirB-RhoA signaling pathway and/or neuroinflammation. Collectively, these studies enhance our understanding of HIV-1 viral reservoirs in the brain and offer a novel biological system to model HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders and associated comorbidities (i.e., drug abuse) in rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Neurovirology)
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Article
Global Metabolic Profiling of Baculovirus Infection in Silkworm Hemolymph Shows the Importance of Amino-Acid Metabolism
Viruses 2021, 13(5), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13050841 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
Viruses rely on host cell metabolism to provide the necessary energy and biosynthetic precursors for successful viral replication. Infection of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, by Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV), has been studied extensively in the past to unravel interactions between baculoviruses and [...] Read more.
Viruses rely on host cell metabolism to provide the necessary energy and biosynthetic precursors for successful viral replication. Infection of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, by Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV), has been studied extensively in the past to unravel interactions between baculoviruses and their lepidopteran hosts. To understand the interaction between the host metabolic responses and BmNPV infection, we analyzed global metabolic changes associated with BmNPV infection in silkworm hemolymph. Our metabolic profiling data suggests that amino acid metabolism is strikingly altered during a time course of BmNPV infection. Amino acid consumption is increased during BmNPV infection at 24 h post infection (hpi), but their abundance recovered at 72 hpi. Central carbon metabolism, on the other hand, particularly glycolysis and glutaminolysis, did not show obvious changes during BmNPV infection. Pharmacologically inhibiting the glycolytic pathway and glutaminolysis also failed to reduce BmNPV replication, revealing that glycolysis and glutaminolysis are not essential during BmNPV infection. This study reveals a unique amino acid utilization process that is implemented during BmNPV infection. Our metabolomic analysis of BmNPV-infected silkworm provides insights as to how baculoviruses induce alterations in host metabolism during systemic infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Viruses)
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Article
Semipersistently Transmitted, Phloem Limited Plant Viruses Are Inoculated during the First Subphase of Intracellular Stylet Penetrations in Phloem Cells
Viruses 2021, 13(1), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13010137 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1324
Abstract
The green peach aphid Myzus persicae Sulzer is the main vector of the semipersistently transmitted and phloem-limited Beet yellows virus (BYV, Closterovirus). Studies monitoring the M. persicae probing behavior by using the Electrical penetration graphs (EPG) technique revealed that inoculation of BYV [...] Read more.
The green peach aphid Myzus persicae Sulzer is the main vector of the semipersistently transmitted and phloem-limited Beet yellows virus (BYV, Closterovirus). Studies monitoring the M. persicae probing behavior by using the Electrical penetration graphs (EPG) technique revealed that inoculation of BYV occurs during unique brief intracellular punctures (phloem-pds) produced in companion and/or sieve element cells. Intracellular stylet punctures (or pds) are subdivided in three subphases (II-1, II-2 and II-3), which have been related to the delivery or uptake of non-phloem limited viruses transmitted in a non-persistent or semipersistent manner. As opposed to non-phloem limited viruses, the specific pd subphase(s) involved in the successful delivery of phloem limited viruses by aphids remain unknown. Therefore, we monitored the feeding process of BYV-carrying M. persicae individuals in sugar beet plants by the EPG technique and the feeding process was artificially terminated at each phloem-pd subphase. Results revealed that aphids that only performed the subphase II-1 of the phloem-pd transmitted BYV at similar efficiency than those allowed to perform subphase II-2 or the complete phloem-pd. This result suggests that BYV inoculation occurs during the first subphase of the phloem-pd. The specific transmission mechanisms involved in BYV delivery in phloem cells are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Closteroviridae)
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Communication
The Anticoagulant Nafamostat Potently Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 S Protein-Mediated Fusion in a Cell Fusion Assay System and Viral Infection In Vitro in a Cell-Type-Dependent Manner
Viruses 2020, 12(6), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060629 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 130 | Viewed by 6180
Abstract
Although infection by SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus pneumonia disease (COVID-19), is spreading rapidly worldwide, no drug has been shown to be sufficiently effective for treating COVID-19. We previously found that nafamostat mesylate, an existing drug used for disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), [...] Read more.
Although infection by SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus pneumonia disease (COVID-19), is spreading rapidly worldwide, no drug has been shown to be sufficiently effective for treating COVID-19. We previously found that nafamostat mesylate, an existing drug used for disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), effectively blocked Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) S protein-mediated cell fusion by targeting transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), and inhibited MERS-CoV infection of human lung epithelium-derived Calu-3 cells. Here we established a quantitative fusion assay dependent on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) S protein, angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and TMPRSS2, and found that nafamostat mesylate potently inhibited the fusion while camostat mesylate was about 10-fold less active. Furthermore, nafamostat mesylate blocked SARS-CoV-2 infection of Calu-3 cells with an effective concentration (EC)50 around 10 nM, which is below its average blood concentration after intravenous administration through continuous infusion. On the other hand, a significantly higher dose (EC50 around 30 μM) was required for VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells, where the TMPRSS2-independent but cathepsin-dependent endosomal infection pathway likely predominates. Together, our study shows that nafamostat mesylate potently inhibits SARS-CoV-2 S protein-mediated fusion in a cell fusion assay system and also inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro in a cell-type-dependent manner. These findings, together with accumulated clinical data regarding nafamostat’s safety, make it a likely candidate drug to treat COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of Human and Animal Coronaviruses)
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