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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (12)
Articles by Marco Vignuzzi in JoVE
Isolation of Fidelity Variants of RNA Viruses and Characterization of Virus Mutation Frequency
Stéphanie Beaucourt, Antonio V. Bordería, Lark L. Coffey, Nina F. Gnädig, Marta Sanz-Ramos, Yasnee Beeharry, Marco Vignuzzi
Viral Populations and Pathogenesis lab and CNRS 3015, Institut Pasteur
The present article describes the steps required to isolate and characterize RNA polymerase fidelity variants of RNA viruses and how to use mutation frequency data to confirm fidelity changes in tissue culture.
Other articles by Marco Vignuzzi on PubMed
Expression of a Membrane-anchored Glycoprotein, the Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin, by Dicistronic Replicons Derived from the Poliovirus Genome
Journal of Virology. May, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11967344
Mono- and dicistronic poliovirus replicons were constructed to express the influenza virus hemagglutinin, retaining its signal peptide and transmembrane region. Picornavirus genomes do not normally encode glycoproteins, and only the dicistronic replicon, in which the foreign and poliovirus sequences were separated by the encephalomyocarditis virus internal ribosomal entry site, replicated and expressed glycosylated hemagglutinin.
Ribavirin and Lethal Mutagenesis of Poliovirus: Molecular Mechanisms, Resistance and Biological Implications
Virus Research. Feb, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15649563
Positive strand RNA virus populations are a collection of similar but genetically different viruses. They exist as viral quasispecies due to the high mutation rates of the low fidelity viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). It is thought that this genomic heterogeneity is advantageous to the population, allowing for adaptation to rapidly changing environments that present varying types and degrees of selective pressure. However, one consequence of this extensive diversity is the susceptibility to mutagens that further increase sequence variation. Since RNA viruses live at the edge of maximal variability, an increase in the mutation rate is likely to force the virus beyond the tolerable mutation frequency into 'error catastrophe'. One such mutagen, ribavirin, is an antiviral nucleoside analog that is mutagenic to several RNA viruses. Ribavirin is incorporated into the viral genome causing lethal mutagenesis and a subsequent decrease in the specific infectivity. Even so, passaging poliovirus in the presence of low to intermediate concentrations of the drug leads to the emergence of a viral population resistant to the effects of ribavirin. These viruses have a point mutation in the RdRp that increases the overall polymerase fidelity. Interestingly, as predicted by the quasispecies theory, ribavirin resistant viruses are less adaptable, as they are more susceptible to other non-mutagenic antiviral drugs and are highly attenuated in vivo. Here, we review the mechanism of action of ribavirin on poliovirus and other RNA viruses, the possibility for escape via increased fidelity of the viral polymerase, the consequences of this response on viral population dynamics, and the biological implications for the therapeutic use of mutagenic antiviral agents.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15878882
The kinetic, thermodynamic, and structural basis for fidelity of nucleic acid polymerases remains controversial. An understanding of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) fidelity has become a topic of considerable interest as a result of recent experiments that show that a 2-fold increase in fidelity attenuates viral pathogenesis and a 2-fold decrease in fidelity reduces viral fitness. Here we show that a conformational change step preceding phosphoryl transfer is a key fidelity checkpoint for the poliovirus RdRp (3Dpol). We provide evidence that this conformational change step is orientation of the triphosphate into a conformation suitable for catalysis, suggesting a kinetic and structural model for RdRp fidelity that can be extrapolated to other classes of nucleic acid polymerases. Finally, we show that a site remote from the catalytic center can control this checkpoint, which occurs at the active site. Importantly, similar connections between a remote site and the active site exist in a wide variety of viral RdRps. The capacity for sites remote from the catalytic center to alter fidelity suggests new possibilities for targeting the viral RdRp for antiviral drug development.
Quasispecies Diversity Determines Pathogenesis Through Cooperative Interactions in a Viral Population
Nature. Jan, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16327776
An RNA virus population does not consist of a single genotype; rather, it is an ensemble of related sequences, termed quasispecies. Quasispecies arise from rapid genomic evolution powered by the high mutation rate of RNA viral replication. Although a high mutation rate is dangerous for a virus because it results in nonviable individuals, it has been hypothesized that high mutation rates create a 'cloud' of potentially beneficial mutations at the population level, which afford the viral quasispecies a greater probability to evolve and adapt to new environments and challenges during infection. Mathematical models predict that viral quasispecies are not simply a collection of diverse mutants but a group of interactive variants, which together contribute to the characteristics of the population. According to this view, viral populations, rather than individual variants, are the target of evolutionary selection. Here we test this hypothesis by examining the consequences of limiting genomic diversity on viral populations. We find that poliovirus carrying a high-fidelity polymerase replicates at wild-type levels but generates less genomic diversity and is unable to adapt to adverse growth conditions. In infected animals, the reduced viral diversity leads to loss of neurotropism and an attenuated pathogenic phenotype. Notably, using chemical mutagenesis to expand quasispecies diversity of the high-fidelity virus before infection restores neurotropism and pathogenesis. Analysis of viruses isolated from brain provides direct evidence for complementation between members in the quasispecies, indicating that selection indeed occurs at the population level rather than on individual variants. Our study provides direct evidence for a fundamental prediction of the quasispecies theory and establishes a link between mutation rate, population dynamics and pathogenesis.
Evolutionary Constraints on Chaperone-mediated Folding Provide an Antiviral Approach Refractory to Development of Drug Resistance
Genes & Development. Jan, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17234885
The genome diversity of RNA viruses allows for rapid adaptation to a wide variety of adverse conditions. Accordingly, viruses can escape inhibition by most antiviral compounds targeting either viral or host factors. Here we exploited the capacity of RNA viruses for rapid adaptation to explore the evolutionary constraints of chaperone-mediated protein folding. We hypothesized that inhibiting a host molecular chaperone required for folding of a viral protein would force the virus to evolve an alternate folding strategy. We identified the chaperone Hsp90 as an essential factor for folding and maturation of picornavirus capsid proteins. Pharmacological inhibition of Hsp90 impaired the replication of poliovirus, rhinovirus, and coxsackievirus in cell culture. Strikingly, anti-Hsp90 treatment did not yield drug-resistant viruses, suggesting that the complexity of capsid folding precludes the emergence of alternate folding pathways. These results reveal tight evolutionary constraints on chaperone-mediated protein folding, which may be exploited for viral inhibition in vivo. Indeed, Hsp90 inhibitors drastically reduced poliovirus replication in infected animals without the emergence of drug-resistant escape mutants. We propose that targeting folding of viral proteins may provide a general antiviral strategy that is refractory to development of drug resistance.
Nature Medicine. Feb, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18246077
Long-lasting protection against viral infection is best achieved by vaccination with attenuated viruses. Obtaining stably attenuated vaccine strains has traditionally been an empirical process, which greatly restricts the number of effective vaccines for viral diseases. Here we describe a rational approach for engineering stably attenuated viruses that can serve as safe and effective vaccines. Our approach exploits the observation that restricting viral population diversity by increasing replication fidelity greatly reduces viral tissue tropism and pathogenicity. We show that poliovirus variants with reduced genetic diversity elicit a protective immune response in an animal model of infection. Indeed, these novel vaccine candidates are comparable in efficacy to the currently available Sabin type 1 vaccine strain, but have the added advantage of being more stable, as their increased replication fidelity prevents reversion to the pathogenic wild-type phenotype. We propose that restricting viral quasispecies diversity provides a general approach for the rational design of stable, attenuated vaccines for a wide variety of viruses.
Delivery of Mengovirus-derived RNA Replicons into Tumoural Liver Enhances the Anti-tumour Efficacy of a Peripheral Peptide-based Vaccine
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy : CII. Aug, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18256833
Hepatocellular carcinoma is a deadly cancer with growing incidence for which immunotherapy is one of the most promising therapeutic approach. Peptide-based vaccines designed to induce strong, sustained CD8+ T cell responses are effective in animal models and cancer patients. We demonstrated the efficacy of curative peptide-based immunisation against a unique epitope of SV40 tumour antigen, through the induction of a strong CD8+ T cell-specific response, in our liver tumour model. However, as in human clinical trials, most tumour antigen epitopes did not induce a therapeutic effect, despite inducing strong CD8+ T cell responses. We therefore modified the tumour environment to enhance peptide-based vaccine efficacy by delivering mengovirus (MV)-derived RNA autoreplicating sequences (MV-RNA replicons) into the liver. The injection of replication-competent RNA replicons into the liver converted partial tumour regression into tumour eradication, whereas non-replicating RNA had no such effect. Replicating RNA replicon injection induced local recruitment of innate immunity effectors (NK and NKT) to the tumour and did not affect specific CD8+ T cell populations or other myelolymphoid subsets. The local delivery of such RNA replicons into tumour stroma is therefore a promising strategy complementary to the use of peripheral peptide-based vaccines for treating liver tumours.
Harnessing Endogenous MiRNAs to Control Virus Tissue Tropism As a Strategy for Developing Attenuated Virus Vaccines
Cell Host & Microbe. Sep, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18779050
Live attenuated vaccines remain the safest, most cost-effective intervention against viral infections. Because live vaccine strains are generated empirically and the basis for attenuation is usually ill defined, many important viruses lack an efficient live vaccine. Here, we present a general strategy for the rational design of safe and effective live vaccines that harnesses the microRNA-based gene-silencing machinery to control viral replication. Using poliovirus as a model, we demonstrate that insertion of small miRNA homology sequences into a viral genome can restrict its tissue tropism, thereby preventing pathogenicity and yielding an attenuated viral strain. Poliovirus strains engineered to become targets of neuronal-specific miRNAs lost their ability to replicate in the central nervous system, leading to significant attenuation of neurovirulence in infected animals. Importantly, these viruses retained the ability to replicate in nonneuronal tissues. As a result, these engineered miRNA-regulated viruses elicited strong protective immunity in mice without producing disease.
Fidelity Variants of RNA Dependent RNA Polymerases Uncover an Indirect, Mutagenic Activity of Amiloride Compounds
PLoS Pathogens. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21060812
In a screen for RNA mutagen resistance, we isolated a high fidelity RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) variant of Coxsackie virus B3 (CVB3). Curiously, this variant A372V is also resistant to amiloride. We hypothesize that amiloride has a previously undescribed mutagenic activity. Indeed, amiloride compounds increase the mutation frequencies of CVB3 and poliovirus and high fidelity variants of both viruses are more resistant to this effect. We hypothesize that this mutagenic activity is mediated through alterations in intracellular ions such as Mg²+ and Mn²+, which in turn increase virus mutation frequency by affecting RdRp fidelity. Furthermore, we show that another amiloride-resistant RdRp variant, S299T, is completely resistant to this mutagenic activity and unaffected by changes in ion concentrations. We show that RdRp variants resist the mutagenic activity of amiloride via two different mechanisms: 1) increased fidelity that generates virus populations presenting lower basal mutation frequencies or 2) resisting changes in divalent cation concentrations that affect polymerase fidelity. Our results uncover a new antiviral approach based on mutagenesis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21896755
The error rate of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRp) affects the mutation frequency in a population of viral RNAs. Using chikungunya virus (CHIKV), we describe a unique arbovirus fidelity variant with a single C483Y amino acid change in the nsP4 RdRp that increases replication fidelity and generates populations with reduced genetic diversity. In mosquitoes, high fidelity CHIKV presents lower infection and dissemination titers than wild type. In newborn mice, high fidelity CHIKV produces truncated viremias and lower organ titers. These results indicate that increased replication fidelity and reduced genetic diversity negatively impact arbovirus fitness in invertebrate and vertebrate hosts.
Host Alternation of Chikungunya Virus Increases Fitness While Restricting Population Diversity and Adaptability to Novel Selective Pressures
Journal of Virology. Jan, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21047966
The mechanisms by which RNA arboviruses, including chikungunya virus (CHIKV), evolve and maintain the ability to infect vertebrate and invertebrate hosts are poorly understood. To understand how host specificity shapes arbovirus populations, we studied CHIKV populations passaged alternately between invertebrate and vertebrate cells (invertebrate ↔ vertebrate) to simulate natural alternation and contrasted the results with those for populations that were artificially released from cycling by passage in single cell types. These CHIKV populations were characterized by measuring genetic diversity, changes in fitness, and adaptability to novel selective pressures. The greatest fitness increases were observed in alternately passaged CHIKV, without drastic changes in population diversity. The greatest increases in genetic diversity were observed after serial passage and correlated with greater adaptability. These results suggest an evolutionary trade-off between maintaining fitness for invertebrate ↔ vertebrate cell cycling, where maximum adaptability is possible only via enhanced population diversity and extensive exploration of sequence space.
Journal of Virology. Mar, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22190724
The ability to extinguish a viral population of fixed reproductive capacity by causing small changes in the mutation rate is referred to as lethal mutagenesis and is a corollary of population genetics theory. Here we show that coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) exhibits reduced mutational robustness relative to poliovirus, manifesting in enhanced sensitivity of CVB3 to lethal mutagens that is dependent on the size of the viral population. We suggest that mutational robustness may be a useful measure of the sensitivity of a virus to lethal mutagenesis.