In JoVE (2)

Other Publications (44)

Articles by Jason Mercer in JoVE

 JoVE Immunology and Infection

Imaging InlC Secretion to Investigate Cellular Infection by the Bacterial Pathogen Listeria monocytogenes

1Unité des Interactions Bactéries Cellules, Pasteur Institute, 2INSERM U604, 3Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), USC2020, 4Institute of Biochemistry, ETH Zürich, 5Focal Area Infection Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel

JoVE 51043

Other articles by Jason Mercer on PubMed

Opposing Roles of Serine/threonine Kinases MEKK1 and LOK in Regulating the CD28 Responsive Element in T-cells

The Biochemical Journal. Apr, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11903060

T-cell activation requires signals from both the T-cell receptor (TcR) and other co-stimulatory molecules such as CD28. TcR- and CD28-mediated signals are integrated during T-cell activation resulting in the expression of cytokine genes such as interleukin-2 (IL-2). An enhancer element (CD28RE) of the IL-2 gene specifically responsive to CD28 signals has been previously identified and characterized. This response element and an adjacent Activated Protein-1 (nuclear factor-interleukin-2B) site together (RE/AP1) were shown to complex with c-rel, AP-1 and other factors. However, details of the signal transduction pathways leading from CD28 to the composite response element remain poorly understood. We present data showing that overexpression of the serine threonine kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular-signal-regulated kinase kinase kinase-1 (MEKK1), but not nuclear factor-kappa B inducing kinase, or MAP kinase/ERK kinase-1 (MEK1), can significantly increase the level of CD28RE/AP1-driven luciferase (Luc) reporter gene expression in Jurkat E6-1 cells. A MEKK1 dominant negative mutant blocked such activation induced by stimulation with Raji B cells and the superantigen staphylococcus enterotoxin E (SEE), as well as via CD3/CD28. Mutations in either site of the RE/AP1 element abolished MEKK1-induced Luc expression. Calcineurin inhibitors, CsA and FK520, or inhibitors of p38 kinase (SB 203580), or MEK1 (PD 098059), did not affect MEKK1-induced reporter activation. These results directly implicate MEKK1 in the CD28 signalling pathway that activates the CD28 response element. Co-expression of the lymphocyte-oriented kinase (LOK) kinase attenuated Raji/SEE-induced IL-2 production in Jurkat cells, as well as MEKK1 and Raji/SEE-induced reporter gene activation. These data suggest that MEKK1 and LOK may have opposing roles in regulating the CD28RE/AP1 element.

Investigation of Structural and Functional Motifs Within the Vaccinia Virus A14 Phosphoprotein, an Essential Component of the Virion Membrane

Journal of Virology. Aug, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12885904

We have previously reported the construction and characterization of an inducible recombinant virus in which expression of the vaccinia virus membrane protein A14 is experimentally regulated using the tetracycline operator-repressor system. Repression of A14, which results in a 1,000-fold reduction in viral yield, leads to an early block in viral morphogenesis characterized by the accumulation of large virosomes, empty "crescents" that fail to contact these virosomes, and, most strikingly, large numbers of aberrant 25-nm vesicles. Here we report the establishment of a transient-complementation system for the structure-function analysis of A14. We have constructed numerous mutant alleles of A14 designed to identify and test the importance of key structural and sequence motifs within A14, including sites of posttranslational modification, such as glycosylation, phosphorylation, and dimerization. From these studies we have determined that robust complementation ability requires an intact N terminus and two regions flanking the first membrane-spanning domain of A14. We show that A14 is modified by N-linked glycosylation both in vitro and in vivo. However, only a minority of A14 molecules are glycosylated in vivo and these are not encapsidated. In this report we also identify the sole phosphorylated serine residue of A14 as lying within the NHS(85) motif that undergoes glycosylation. Additionally, we show that the Cys(71) residue is required for intermolecular disulfide bond formation and describe the properties of a virus expressing an allele of A14 that cannot form disulfide-linked dimers.

Regulation of CXC Chemokine Receptor 4-mediated Migration by the Tec Family Tyrosine Kinase ITK

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15123627

Chemokines are critical in controlling lymphocyte traffic and migration. The CXC chemokine CXCL12/SDF-1alpha interacts with its receptor CXCR4 to induce the migration of a number of different cell types. Although an understanding of the physiological functions of this chemokine is emerging, the mechanism by which it regulates T cell migration is still unclear. We show here that the Tec family kinase ITK is activated rapidly following CXCL12/SDF-1alpha stimulation, and this requires Src and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activities. ITK regulates the ability of CXCL12/SDF-1alpha to induce T cell migration as overexpression of wild-type ITK-enhanced migration, and T cells lacking ITK exhibit reduced migration as well as adhesion in response to CXCL12/SDF-1alpha. Further analysis suggests that ITK may regulate CXCR4-mediated migration and adhesion by altering the actin cytoskeleton, as ITK null T cells were significantly defective in CXCL12/SDF-1a-mediated actin polymerization. Our data suggest that ITK may regulate the ability of CXCR4 to induce T cell migration.

Natural Killer T Cells: Rapid Responders Controlling Immunity and Disease

The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. Jul, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15833265

Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a subset of T cells that share properties of natural killer cells and conventional T cells. They are involved in immediate immune responses, tumor rejection, immune surveillance and control of autoimmune diseases. Most NKT cells express both an invariant T cell antigen receptor and the NK cell receptor NK1.1, and are referred to as invariant NKT cells. This invariant T cell receptor is restricted to interactions with glycolipids presented by the non-classical MHC, CD1d. These NKT cells rapidly produce high levels of interleukin (IL)-2, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-4 upon stimulation through their TCR. Most also have cytotoxic activity similar to NK cells. NKT cells are involved in a number of pathological conditions, and have been shown to regulate viral infections in vivo, and control tumor growth. They may also play both protective and harmful roles in the progression of certain autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, lupus, atherosclerosis, and allergen-induced asthma.

Genetic and Cell Biological Characterization of the Vaccinia Virus A30 and G7 Phosphoproteins

Journal of Virology. Jun, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15890954

The vaccinia virus proteins A30 and G7 are known to play essential roles in early morphogenesis, acting prior to the formation of immature virions. Their repression or inactivation results in the accumulation of large virosomes, detached membrane crescents, and empty immature virions. We have undertaken further study of these proteins to place them within the context of the F10 kinase, the A14 membrane protein, and the H5 phosphoprotein, which have been the focus of previous studies within our laboratory. Here we confirm that both A30 and G7 undergo F10 kinase-dependent phosphorylation in vivo and recapitulate that modification of A30 in vitro. Although the detached crescents observed upon loss of A30 or G7 echo those seen upon repression of A14, no interaction between A30/G7 and A14 could be detected. We did, however, determine that the A30 and G7 proteins are unstable during nonpermissive tsH5 infections, suggesting that the loss of A30/G7 is the underlying cause for the formation of lacy or curdled virosomes. We also determined that the temperature-sensitive phenotype of the Cts11 virus is due to mutations in two codons of the G7L gene. Phenotypic analysis of nonpermissive Cts11 infections indicated that these amino acid substitutions compromise G7 function without impairing the stability of either G7 or A30. Utilizing Cts11 in conjunction with a rifampin release assay, we determined that G7 acts at multiple stages of virion morphogenesis that can be distinguished both by ultrastructural analysis and by monitoring the phosphorylation status of several viral proteins that undergo F10-mediated phosphorylation.

Large Store-operated Calcium Selective Currents Due to Co-expression of Orai1 or Orai2 with the Intracellular Calcium Sensor, Stim1

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Aug, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16807233

The molecular nature of store-operated Ca(2+)-selective channels has remained an enigma, due largely to the continued inability to convincingly demonstrate Ca(2+)-selective store-operated currents resulting from exogenous expression of known genes. Recent findings have implicated two proteins, Stim1 and Orai1, as having essential roles in store-operated Ca(2+) entry across the plasma membrane. However, transient overexpression of these proteins on their own results in little or no increase in store-operated entry. Here we demonstrate dramatic synergism between these two mediators; co-transfection of HEK293 cells with Stim1 and Orai1 results in an approximate 20-fold increase in store-operated Ca(2+) entry and Ca(2+)-selective current. This demonstrates that these two proteins are limiting for both the signaling and permeation mechanisms for Ca(2+)-selective store-operated Ca(2+) entry. There are three mammalian homologs of Orai1, and in expression experiments they all produced or augmented store-operated Ca(2+) entry with efficacies in the order Orai1 > Orai2 > Orai3. Stim1 apparently initiates the signaling process by acting as a Ca(2+) sensor in the endoplasmic reticulum. This results in rearrangement of Stim1 within the cell and migration toward the plasma membrane to regulate in some manner Orai1 located in the plasma membrane. However, we demonstrate that Stim1 does not incorporate in the surface membrane, and thus likely regulates or interacts with Orai1 at sites of close apposition between the plasma membrane and an intracellular Stim1-containing organelle.

Emerging Perspectives in Store-operated Ca2+ Entry: Roles of Orai, Stim and TRP

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Nov, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17034882

Depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores induces Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane through store-operated channels (SOCs). This store-operated Ca2+ influx is important for the replenishment of the Ca2+ stores, and is also involved in many signaling processes by virtue of the ability of intracellular Ca2+ to act as a second messenger. For many years, the molecular identities of particular SOCs, as well as the signaling mechanisms by which these channels are activated, have been elusive. Recently, however, the mammalian proteins STIM1 and Orai1 were shown to be necessary for the activation of store-operated Ca2+ entry in a variety of mammalian cells. Here we present molecular, pharmacological, and electrophysiological properties of SOCs, with particular focus on the roles that STIM1 and Orai1 may play in the signaling processes that regulate various pathways of store-operated entry.

Subversion of CtBP1-controlled Macropinocytosis by Human Adenovirus Serotype 3

The EMBO Journal. Apr, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18323776

Endocytosis supports cell communication, growth, and pathogen infection. The species B human adenovirus serotype 3 (Ad3) is associated with epidemic conjunctivitis, and fatal respiratory and systemic disease. Here we show that Ad3 uses dynamin-independent endocytosis for rapid infectious entry into epithelial and haematopoietic cells. Unlike Ad5, which uses dynamin-dependent endocytosis, Ad3 endocytosis spatially and temporally coincided with enhanced fluid-phase uptake. It was sensitive to macropinocytosis inhibitors targeting F-actin, protein kinase C, the sodium-proton exchanger, and Rac1 but not Cdc42. Infectious Ad3 macropinocytosis required viral activation of p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) and the C-terminal binding protein 1 of E1A (CtBP1), recruited to macropinosomes. These macropinosomes also contained the Ad3 receptors CD46 and alpha v integrins. CtBP1 is a phosphorylation target of PAK1, and is bifunctionally involved in membrane traffic and transcriptional repression of cell cycle, cancer, and innate immunity pathways. Phosphorylation-defective S147A-CtBP1 blocked Ad3 but not Ad5 infection, providing a direct link between PAK1 and CtBP1. The data show that viruses induce macropinocytosis for infectious entry, a pathway used in antigen presentation and cell migration.

Vaccinia Virus Uses Macropinocytosis and Apoptotic Mimicry to Enter Host Cells

Science (New York, N.Y.). Apr, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18436786

Viruses employ many different strategies to enter host cells. Vaccinia virus, a prototype poxvirus, enters cells in a pH-dependent fashion. Live cell imaging showed that fluorescent virus particles associated with and moved along filopodia to the cell body, where they were internalized after inducing the extrusion of large transient membrane blebs. p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) was activated by the virus, and the endocytic process had the general characteristics of macropinocytosis. The induction of blebs, the endocytic event, and infection were all critically dependent on the presence of exposed phosphatidylserine in the viral membrane, which suggests that vaccinia virus uses apoptotic mimicry to enter cells.

Virus Entry by Macropinocytosis

Nature Cell Biology. May, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19404330

As obligatory intracellular parasites, viruses rely on host-cell functions for most aspects of their replication cycle. This is born out during entry, when most viruses that infect vertebrate and insect cells exploit the endocytic activities of the host cell to move into the cytoplasm. Viruses belonging to vaccinia, adeno, picorna and other virus families have been reported to take advantage of macropinocytosis, an endocytic mechanism normally involved in fluid uptake. The virus particles first activate signalling pathways that trigger actin-mediated membrane ruffling and blebbing. Usually, this is followed by the formation of large vacuoles (macropinosomes) at the plasma membrane, internalization of virus particles and penetration by the viruses or their capsids into the cytosol through the limiting membrane of the macropinosomes. We review the molecular machinery involved in macropinocytosis and describe what is known about its role in virus entry.

Chemico-genetic Identification of Drebrin As a Regulator of Calcium Responses

The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19948240

Store-operated calcium channels are plasma membrane Ca(2+) channels that are activated by depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores, resulting in an increase in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration, which is maintained for prolonged periods in some cell types. Increases in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration serve as signals that activate a number of cellular processes, however, little is known about the regulation of these channels. We have characterized the immuno-suppressant compound BTP, which blocks store-operated channel mediated calcium influx into cells. Using an affinity purification scheme to identify potential targets of BTP, we identified the actin reorganizing protein, drebrin, and demonstrated that loss of drebrin protein expression prevents store-operated channel mediated Ca(2+) entry, similar to BTP treatment. BTP also blocks actin rearrangements induced by drebrin. While actin cytoskeletal reorganization has been implicated in store-operated calcium channel regulation, little is known about actin-binding proteins that are involved in this process, or how actin regulates channel function. The identification of drebrin as a mediator of this process should provide new insight into the interaction between actin rearrangement and store-operated channel mediated calcium influx.

Virus Entry by Endocytosis

Annual Review of Biochemistry. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20196649

Although viruses are simple in structure and composition, their interactions with host cells are complex. Merely to gain entry, animal viruses make use of a repertoire of cellular processes that involve hundreds of cellular proteins. Although some viruses have the capacity to penetrate into the cytosol directly through the plasma membrane, most depend on endocytic uptake, vesicular transport through the cytoplasm, and delivery to endosomes and other intracellular organelles. The internalization may involve clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME), macropinocytosis, caveolar/lipid raft-mediated endocytosis, or a variety of other still poorly characterized mechanisms. This review focuses on the cell biology of virus entry and the different strategies and endocytic mechanisms used by animal viruses.

Vaccinia Virus Strains Use Distinct Forms of Macropinocytosis for Host-cell Entry

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20439710

To enter host cells, vaccinia virus, a prototype poxvirus, can induce transient macropinocytosis followed by endocytic internalization and penetration through the limiting membrane of pinosomes by membrane fusion. Although mature virions (MVs) of the Western reserve (WR) strain do this in HeLa cells by activating transient plasma membrane blebbing, MVs from the International Health Department-J strain were found to induce rapid formation (and lengthening) of filopodia. When the signaling pathways underlying these responses were compared, differences were observed at the level of Rho GTPases. Key to the filopodial formation was the virus-induced activation of Cdc42, and for the blebbing response the activation of Rac1. In addition, unlike WR, International Health Department-J MVs did not rely on genistein-sensitive tyrosine kinase and PI(3)K activities. Only WR MVs had membrane fusion activity at low pH. Inhibitor profiling showed that MVs from both strains entered cells by macropinocytosis and that this was induced by virion-exposed phosphatidylserine. Both MVs relied on the activation of epidermal growth factor receptor, on serine/threonine kinases, protein kinase C, and p21-activated kinase 1. The results showed that different strains of the same virus can elicit dramatically different responses in host cells during entry, and that different macropinocytic mechanisms are possible in the same cell line through subtle differences in the activating ligand.

Activation and Regulation of Store-operated Calcium Entry

Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Oct, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20807283

The process of store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE), whereby Ca(2+) influx across the plasma membrane is activated in response to depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), has been under investigation for greater than 25 years; however, only in the past 5 years have we come to understand this mechanism at the molecular level. A surge of recent experimentation indicates that STIM molecules function as Ca(2+) sensors within the ER that, upon Ca(2+) store depletion, rearrange to sites very near to the plasma membrane. At these plasma membrane-ER junctions, STIM interacts with and activates SOCE channels of the Orai family. The molecular and biophysical data that have led to these findings are discussed in this review, as are several controversies within this rapidly expanding field.

Apoptotic Mimicry: Phosphatidylserine-mediated Macropinocytosis of Vaccinia Virus

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Oct, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20958316

Viruses are obligatory intracellular parasites that rely on cellular processes and factors for most aspects of their replication cycle. For entry, most viruses take advantage of cellular endocytic activities to be transported from the cell surface into the cytoplasm where they penetrate into the host cell cytosol. It has recently emerged that vaccinia virus, the prototypic poxvirus, uses macropinocytosis to gain entry. The incoming virus particles activate a complex signaling network that triggers dramatic changes in the cortical actin network, resulting in membrane blebbing that facilitates virus entry. Phosphatidylserine in the virus membrane is required to trigger the signaling, blebbing, and macropinocytic event, suggesting that the vaccinia virus uses an entry mechanism based on mimicry of apoptotic bodies.

Viral Apoptotic Mimicry Party: P.S. Bring Your Own Gas6

Cell Host & Microbe. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21501823

In the evolutionary battle between virus and host, viruses have developed numerous strategies to subjugate indispensable cellular functions. In this issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Morizono and colleagues (Morizono et al., 2011) describe how viruses hijack host apoptotic clearance machinery for entry. A host factor called Gas6 enhances infection by bridging virus phosphatidylserine to the clearance receptor Axl.

Vaccinia Extracellular Virions Enter Cells by Macropinocytosis and Acid-activated Membrane Rupture

The EMBO Journal. Jul, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21792173

Vaccinia virus (VACV), the model poxvirus, produces two types of infectious particles: mature virions (MVs) and extracellular virions (EVs). EV particles possess two membranes and therefore require an unusual cellular entry mechanism. By a combination of fluorescence and electron microscopy as well as flow cytometry, we investigated the cellular processes that EVs required to infect HeLa cells. We found that EV particles were endocytosed, and that internalization and infection depended on actin rearrangements, activity of Na(+)/H(+) exchangers, and signalling events typical for the macropinocytic mechanism of endocytosis. To promote their internalization, EVs were capable of actively triggering macropinocytosis. EV infection also required vacuolar acidification, and acid exposure in endocytic vacuoles was needed to disrupt the outer EV membrane. Once exposed, the underlying MV-like particle presumably fused its single membrane with the limiting vacuolar membrane. Release of the viral core into the host cell cytosol allowed for productive infection.

Poxvirus Host Cell Entry

Current Opinion in Virology. Feb, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22440962

Poxviruses are characterized by their large size, complex composition, and cytoplasmic life cycle. They produce two types of infectious particles: mature virions (MVs) and extracellular virions (EVs). Both MVs and EVs of vaccinia virus, the model poxvirus, take advantage of host cell endocytosis for internalization: they activate macropinocytosis-the most suitable form of endocytosis for large particles. Although largely dependent on the same cellular machinery, MV and EV entry differs with regard to the mechanisms used to trigger macropinocytosis and to undergo fusion. While EVs have to shed an additional membrane to expose the fusion complex, MV fusion requires the inactivation of fusion inhibitory proteins absent in EVs. This review highlights recent advances in the understanding of poxvirus MV and EV cell entry.

Corannulene and Its Penta-tert-butyl Derivative Co-crystallize 1:1 with Pristine C60-fullerene

Chemical Communications (Cambridge, England). Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22466755

The first X-ray structural determinations of pristine fullerene C(60), cocrystallized 1:1 with corannulene and with its pentaalkyl-substituted derivative, 1,3,5,7,9-penta-tert-butyl-corannulene, have now been achieved.

Single-cell Analysis of Population Context Advances RNAi Screening at Multiple Levels

Molecular Systems Biology. Apr, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22531119

Isogenic cells in culture show strong variability, which arises from dynamic adaptations to the microenvironment of individual cells. Here we study the influence of the cell population context, which determines a single cell's microenvironment, in image-based RNAi screens. We developed a comprehensive computational approach that employs Bayesian and multivariate methods at the single-cell level. We applied these methods to 45 RNA interference screens of various sizes, including 7 druggable genome and 2 genome-wide screens, analysing 17 different mammalian virus infections and four related cell physiological processes. Analysing cell-based screens at this depth reveals widespread RNAi-induced changes in the population context of individual cells leading to indirect RNAi effects, as well as perturbations of cell-to-cell variability regulators. We find that accounting for indirect effects improves the consistency between siRNAs targeted against the same gene, and between replicate RNAi screens performed in different cell lines, in different labs, and with different siRNA libraries. In an era where large-scale RNAi screens are increasingly performed to reach a systems-level understanding of cellular processes, we show that this is often improved by analyses that account for and incorporate the single-cell microenvironment.

Cooperative Vaccinia Infection Demonstrated at the Single-cell Level Using FluidFM

Nano Letters. Aug, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22731659

The mechanisms used by viruses to enter and replicate within host cells are subjects of intense investigation. These studies are ultimately aimed at development of new drugs that interfere with these processes. Virus entry and infection are generally monitored by dispensing bulk virus suspensions on layers of cells without accounting for the fate of each virion. Here, we take advantage of the recently developed FluidFM to deposit single vaccinia virions onto individual cells in a controlled manner. While the majority of virions were blocked prior to early gene expression, infection of individual cells increased in a nondeterministic fashion with respect to the number of viruses placed. Microscopic analyses of several stages of the virus lifecycle indicated that this was the result of cooperativity between virions during early stages of infection. These findings highlight the importance of performing controlled virus infection experiments at the single cell level.

Gulping Rather Than Sipping: Macropinocytosis As a Way of Virus Entry

Current Opinion in Microbiology. Aug, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22749376

Macropinocytosis has emerged as a major endocytic mechanism in the cell entry of animal viruses. The process differs fundamentally from other endocytic mechanisms involved in virus internalization. By activating growth factor receptors or other signaling molecules, plasma membrane-bound viruses trigger the activation of a signaling pathway. When amplified, this causes a transient, global change in cell behavior. The consequences of this change include the actin-dependent formation of membrane protrusions, the elevation of non-specific uptake of fluid, and the internalization of membrane together with surface-bound ligands and particles including viruses. Recent studies show that this strategy is used by a variety of enveloped and non-enveloped viruses.

Vaccinia Virus Egress: Actin OUT with Clathrin

Cell Host & Microbe. Sep, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22980323

To ensure spread from one cell to another, exocytosed vaccinia virions recruit cellular actin polymerization machinery to blast off from the cell surface on actin tails. Humphries et al. (2012) now show that the virus exploits clathrin to organize viral factors into a launch pad that facilitates efficient actin tail formation.

Direct Identification of Ligand-receptor Interactions on Living Cells and Tissues

Nature Biotechnology. Oct, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22983091

Many cellular responses are triggered by proteins, drugs or pathogens binding to cell-surface receptors, but it can be challenging to identify which receptors are bound by a given ligand. Here we describe TRICEPS, a chemoproteomic reagent with three moieties--one that binds ligands containing an amino group, a second that binds glycosylated receptors on living cells and a biotin tag for purifying the receptor peptides for identification by quantitative mass spectrometry. We validated this ligand-based, receptor-capture (LRC) technology using insulin, transferrin, apelin, epidermal growth factor, the therapeutic antibody trastuzumab and two DARPins targeting ErbB2. In some cases, we could also determine the approximate ligand-binding sites on the receptors. Using TRICEPS to label intact mature vaccinia viruses, we identified the cell surface proteins AXL, M6PR, DAG1, CSPG4 and CDH13 as binding factors on human cells. This technology enables the identification of receptors for many types of ligands under near-physiological conditions and without the need for genetic manipulations.

RNAi Screening Reveals Proteasome- and Cullin3-dependent Stages in Vaccinia Virus Infection

Cell Reports. Oct, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23084750

A two-step, automated, high-throughput RNAi silencing screen was used to identify host cell factors required during vaccinia virus infection. Validation and analysis of clustered hits revealed previously unknown processes during virus entry, including a mechanism for genome uncoating. Viral core proteins were found to be already ubiquitinated during virus assembly. After entering the cytosol of an uninfected cell, the viral DNA was released from the core through the activity of the cell's proteasomes. Next, a Cullin3-based ubiquitin ligase mediated a further round of ubiquitination and proteasome action. This was needed in order to initiate viral DNA replication. The results accentuate the value of large-scale RNAi screens in providing directions for detailed cell biological investigation of complex pathways. The list of cell functions required during poxvirus infection will, moreover, provide a resource for future virus-host cell interaction studies and for the discovery of antivirals.

A Facile Protocol for the Immobilisation of Vesicles, Virus Particles, Bacteria, and Yeast Cells

Integrative Biology : Quantitative Biosciences from Nano to Macro. Dec, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23147942

Immobilisation of liposomes and cells is often a prerequisite for long-term observations. The most common immobilisation approaches rely on surface modifications, encapsulation in porous materials or trapping in microfluidic channels by means of hurdle-like structures. While these approaches are useful for larger mammalian cells, the immobilisation of smaller organisms like bacteria and yeast or membrane model systems such as liposomes typically requires modification of their outer membrane to ensure that they are stably arrested at a defined position. Here, we present a protocol to immobilise biological objects, which can interact with hydrophobic cholesterol. A water-soluble molecule (cholesterol-PEG-biotin) is used as a linker, which can bind via avidin to biotinylated BSA (bBSA) previously absorbed on a glass surface. For better visualization, bBSA is arranged in a dot pattern by means of microcontact printing, and a microfluidic channel is used for sample supply. We show that our approach can be used to successfully immobilise artificial liposomes of different sizes, native (cell-derived) vesicles, vaccinia virions, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli, simply by flushing the objects through the channel. Under these conditions, small liposomes and biological objects are stably arrested at high flow rates, while larger cells and liposomes can be released again by application of high shear stress. This protocol can be applied for long-term studies where fluids must be changed repeatedly, for measuring fast kinetics where rapid fluid exchange is essential, and to study the effects of shear stress.

Biogenesis of the Vaccinia Virus Membrane: Genetic and Ultrastructural Analysis of the Contributions of the A14 and A17 Proteins

Journal of Virology. Jan, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23135725

Vaccinia virus membrane biogenesis requires the A14 and A17 proteins. We show here that both proteins can associate with membranes co- but not posttranslationally, and we perform a structure function analysis of A14 and A17 using inducible recombinants. In the absence of A14, electron-dense virosomes and distinct clusters of small vesicles accumulate; in the absence of A17, small vesicles form a corona around the virosomes. When the proteins are induced at 12 h postinfection (hpi), crescents appear at the periphery of the electron-dense virosomes, with the accumulated vesicles likely contributing to their formation. A variety of mutant alleles of A14 and A17 were tested for their ability to support virion assembly. For A14, biologically important motifs within the N-terminal or central loop region affected crescent maturation and the immature virion (IV)→mature virion (MV) transition. For A17, truncation or mutation of the N terminus of A17 engendered a phenotype consistent with the N terminus of A17 recruiting the D13 scaffold protein to nascent membranes. When N-terminal processing was abrogated, virions attempted to undergo the IV-to-MV transition without removing the D13 scaffold and were therefore noninfectious and structurally aberrant. Finally, we show that A17 is phosphorylated exclusively within the C-terminal tail and that this region is a direct substrate of the viral F10 kinase. In vivo, the biological competency of A17 was reduced by mutations that prevented its serine-threonine phosphorylation and restored by phosphomimetic substitutions. Precleavage of the C terminus or abrogation of its phosphorylation diminished the IV→MV maturation; a block to cleavage spared virion maturation but compromised the yield of infectious virus.

Virus Entry by Endocytosis

Advances in Virology. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23710180

Virus Interactions with Endocytic Pathways in Macrophages and Dendritic Cells

Trends in Microbiology. Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23830563

Macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) are at the front line of defence against fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Together with physical barriers, such as mucus and a range of antimicrobial compounds, they constitute a major part of the intrinsic and innate immune systems. They have elaborate features, including pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and specialized endocytic mechanisms, cytokines and chemokines, and the ability to call on reserves. As masters of manipulation and counter-attack, viruses shunt intrinsic and innate recognition, enter immune cells, and spread from these cells throughout an organism. Here, we review mechanisms by which viruses subvert endocytic and pathogen-sensing functions of macrophages and DCs, while highlighting possible strategic advantages of infecting cells normally tuned into pathogen destruction.

[Cellular Protein Disposal System Assists Poxvirus Genome Uncoating]

Medecine Sciences : M/S. Jun-Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23859504

Single-virus Fusion Experiments Reveal Proton Influx into Vaccinia Virions and Hemifusion Lag Times

Biophysical Journal. Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23870263

Recent studies have revealed new insights into the endocytosis of vaccinia virus (VACV). However, the mechanism of fusion between viral and cellular membranes remains unknown. We developed a microfluidic device with a cell-trap array for immobilization of individual cells, with which we analyzed the acid-dependent fusion of single virions. VACV particles incorporating enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and labeled with self-quenching concentrations of R18 membrane dye were used in combination with total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to measure the kinetics of R18 dequenching and thus single hemifusion events initiated by a fast low-pH trigger. These studies revealed unexpectedly long lag phases between pH change and hemifusion. In addition, we found that EGFP fluorescence in the virus was quenched upon acidification, indicating that protons could access the virus core, possibly through a proton channel. In a fraction of virus particles, EGFP fluorescence was recovered, presumably after fusion-pore formation and exposure of the core to the physiological pH of the host-cell cytosol. Given that virus-encoded cation channels play a crucial role in the life cycle of many viruses and can serve as antiviral drug targets, further investigations into a potential VACV viroporin are justified. Our findings indicate that the microfluidic device described may be highly beneficial to similar studies requiring fast kinetic measurements.

Vaccinia Virus Entry is Followed by Core Activation and Proteasome-mediated Release of the Immunomodulatory Effector VH1 from Lateral Bodies

Cell Reports. Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23891003

Host cell entry of vaccinia virus, the prototypic poxvirus, involves a membrane fusion event delivering the viral core and two proteinaceous lateral bodies (LBs) into the cytosol. Uncoating of viral cores is poorly characterized, and the composition and function of LBs remains enigmatic. We found that cytosolic cores rapidly dissociated from LBs and expanded in volume, which coincided with reduction of disulfide-bonded core proteins. We identified the abundant phosphoprotein F17, the dual-specificity phosphatase VH1, and the oxidoreductase G4 as bona fide LB components. After reaching the cytosol, F17 was degraded in a proteasome-dependent manner. Proteasome activity, and presumably LB disassembly, was required for the immediate immunomodulatory activity of VH1: dephosphorylation of STAT1 to prevent interferon-γ-mediated antiviral responses. These results reveal a mechanism used by poxviruses to deliver viral enzymes to the host cell cytosol and are likely to facilitate the identification of additional LB-resident viral effectors.

Tracking Viral Genomes in Host Cells at Single-molecule Resolution

Cell Host & Microbe. Oct, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24139403

Viral DNA trafficking in cells has large impacts on physiology and disease development. Current methods lack the resolution and accuracy to visualize and quantify viral DNA trafficking at single-molecule resolution. We developed a noninvasive protocol for accurate quantification of viral DNA-genome (vDNA) trafficking in single cells. Ethynyl-modified nucleosides were used to metabolically label newly synthesized adenovirus, herpes virus, and vaccinia virus vDNA, without affecting infectivity. Superresolution microscopy and copper(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (click) reactions allowed visualization of infection at single vDNA resolution within mammalian cells. Analysis of adenovirus infection revealed that a large pool of capsid-free vDNA accumulated in the cytosol upon virus uncoating, indicating that nuclear import of incoming vDNA is a bottleneck. The method described here is applicable for the entire replication cycle of DNA viruses and offers opportunities to localize cellular and viral effector machineries on newly replicated viral DNA, or innate immune sensors on cytoplasmic viral DNA.

SiRNA Screen of Early Poxvirus Genes Identifies the AAA+ ATPase D5 As the Virus Genome-uncoating Factor

Cell Host & Microbe. Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24439902

Poxvirus genome uncoating is a two-step process. First, cytoplasmic viral cores are activated and early viral genes are expressed. Next, cores are disassembled and the genomes released. This second step depends on an early viral factor(s) that has eluded identification for over 40 years. We used a large-scale, high-throughput RNAi screen directed against vaccinia virus (VACV) to identify the VACV AAA+ ATPase D5 as the poxvirus uncoating factor. We show that the ATPase activity of D5 is required for uncoating. Superresolution microscopy suggests that D5 acts directly at viral cores for genome release. Thus, the putative helicase D5 is a multifunctional protein required for genome uncoating and replication. Additionally, in vivo delivery of anti-D5 siRNAs reduced virus production in a mouse model of VACV infection. These results demonstrate the use of virus-targeting RNAi libraries to investigate viral gene function and suggest therapeutic avenues.

Next Generation Approaches to Study Virus Entry and Infection

Current Opinion in Virology. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24525289

As obligate intracellular parasites viruses rely on host cell factors and functions for all stages of infection, from entry to spread. Characterization of these cellular components is critical to advance our understanding of the infection process and develop novel means to combat viral pathogens. To this end, the recent application of next generation approaches including compound screening, cell-targeting RNA interference, gene knockouts, and several proteomics approaches has served to expand our understanding of virus-host interactions, and facilitated the discovery of potential anti-viral targets. Here we review recent progress in the use of these next generation approaches and discuss their challenges, pitfalls, and potential applications for the study of virus-host interplay.

Lipid Interactions During Virus Entry and Infection

Cellular Microbiology. Oct, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25131438

For entry and infection viruses have developed numerous strategies to subjugate indispensable cellular factors and functions. Host cell lipids and cellular lipid synthesis machinery are no exception. Not only do viruses exploit existing lipid signalling and modifications for virus entry and trafficking, they also reprogram lipid synthesis, metabolism, and compartmentalization for assembly and egress. Here we review these various concepts and highlight recent progress in understanding viral interactions with host cell lipids during entry and assembly.

Simultaneous Analysis of Large-scale RNAi Screens for Pathogen Entry

BMC Genomics. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25534632

Large-scale RNAi screening has become an important technology for identifying genes involved in biological processes of interest. However, the quality of large-scale RNAi screening is often deteriorated by off-targets effects. In order to find statistically significant effector genes for pathogen entry, we systematically analyzed entry pathways in human host cells for eight pathogens using image-based kinome-wide siRNA screens with siRNAs from three vendors. We propose a Parallel Mixed Model (PMM) approach that simultaneously analyzes several non-identical screens performed with the same RNAi libraries.

DNA Virus Uncoating

Virology. May, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25728300

Virus genomes are condensed and packaged inside stable proteinaceous capsids that serve to protect them during transit from one cell or host organism, to the next. During virus entry, capsid shells are primed and disassembled in a complex, tightly-regulated, multi-step process termed uncoating. Here we compare the uncoating-programs of DNA viruses of the pox-, herpes-, adeno-, polyoma-, and papillomavirus families. Highlighting the chemical and mechanical cues virus capsids respond to, we review the conformational changes that occur during stepwise disassembly of virus capsids and how these culminate in the release of viral genomes at the right time and cellular location to assure successful replication.

Vaccinia Virus Infection Requires Maturation of Macropinosomes

Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark). Aug, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25869659

The prototypic poxvirus, vaccinia virus (VACV), occurs in two infectious forms, mature virions (MVs) and extracellular virions (EVs). Both enter HeLa cells by inducing macropinocytic uptake. Using confocal microscopy, live-cell imaging, targeted RNAi screening and perturbants of endosome maturation, we analyzed the properties and maturation pathway of the macropinocytic vacuoles containing VACV MVs in HeLa cells. The vacuoles first acquired markers of early endosomes [Rab5, early endosome antigen 1 and phosphatidylinositol(3)P]. Prior to release of virus cores into the cytoplasm, they contained markers of late endosomes and lysosomes (Rab7a, lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 and sorting nexin 3). RNAi screening of endocytic cell factors emphasized the importance of late compartments for VACV infection. Follow-up perturbation analysis showed that infection required Rab7a and PIKfyve, confirming that VACV is a late-penetrating virus dependent on macropinosome maturation. VACV EV infection was inhibited by depletion of many of the same factors, indicating that both infectious particle forms share the need for late vacuolar conditions for penetration.

Viral Apoptotic Mimicry

Nature Reviews. Microbiology. Aug, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26052667

As opportunistic pathogens, viruses have evolved many elegant strategies to manipulate host cells for infectious entry and replication. Viral apoptotic mimicry, defined by the exposure of phosphatidylserine - a marker for apoptosis - on the pathogen surface, is emerging as a common theme used by enveloped viruses to promote infection. Focusing on the four best described examples (vaccinia virus, dengue virus, Ebola virus and pseudotyped lentivirus), we summarize our current understanding of apoptotic mimicry as a mechanism for virus entry, binding and immune evasion. We also describe recent examples of non-enveloped viruses that use this mimicry strategy, and discuss future directions and how viral apoptotic mimicry could be targeted therapeutically.

Cloak and Dagger: Alternative Immune Evasion and Modulation Strategies of Poxviruses

Viruses. Aug, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26308043

As all viruses rely on cellular factors throughout their replication cycle, to be successful they must evolve strategies to evade and/or manipulate the defence mechanisms employed by the host cell. In addition to their expression of a wide array of host modulatory factors, several recent studies have suggested that poxviruses may have evolved unique mechanisms to shunt or evade host detection. These potential mechanisms include mimicry of apoptotic bodies by mature virions (MVs), the use of viral sub-structures termed lateral bodies for the packaging and delivery of host modulators, and the formation of a second, "cloaked" form of infectious extracellular virus (EVs). Here we discuss these various strategies and how they may facilitate poxvirus immune evasion. Finally we propose a model for the exploitation of the cellular exosome pathway for the formation of EVs.

Infectio: a Generic Framework for Computational Simulation of Virus Transmission Between Cells

MSphere. Jan-Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27303704

Viruses spread between cells, tissues, and organisms by cell-free and cell-cell mechanisms, depending on the cell type, the nature of the virus, or the phase of the infection cycle. The mode of viral transmission has a large impact on disease development, the outcome of antiviral therapies or the efficacy of gene therapy protocols. The transmission mode of viruses can be addressed in tissue culture systems using live-cell imaging. Yet even in relatively simple cell cultures, the mechanisms of viral transmission are difficult to distinguish. Here we present a cross-platform software framework called "Infectio," which is capable of simulating transmission phenotypes in tissue culture of virtually any virus. Infectio can estimate interdependent biological parameters, for example for vaccinia virus infection, and differentiate between cell-cell and cell-free virus spreading. Infectio assists in elucidating virus transmission mechanisms, a feature useful for designing strategies of perturbing or enhancing viral transmission. The complexity of the Infectio software is low compared to that of other software commonly used to quantitate features of cell biological images, which yields stable and relatively error-free output from Infectio. The software is open source (GPLv3 license), and operates on the major platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux). The complete source code can be downloaded from IMPORTANCE Infectio presents a generalized platform to analyze virus infection spread between cells. It allows the simulation of plaque phenotypes from image-based assays. Viral plaques are the result of virus spreading from primary infected cells to neighboring cells. This is a complex process and involves neighborhood effects at cell-cell contact sites or fluid dynamics in the extracellular medium. Infectio differentiates between two major modes of virus transmission between cells, allowing in silico testing of hypotheses about spreading mechanisms of any virus which can be grown in cell cultures, based on experimentally measured parameters, such as infection intensity or cell killing. The results of these tests can be compared with experimental data and allow interpretations with regard to biophysical mechanisms. Infectio also facilitates characterizations of the mode of action of therapeutic agents, such as oncolytic viruses or other infectious or cytotoxic agents.

VirusMapper: Open-source Nanoscale Mapping of Viral Architecture Through Super-resolution Microscopy

Scientific Reports. Jul, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27374400

The nanoscale molecular assembly of mammalian viruses during their infectious life cycle remains poorly understood. Their small dimensions, generally bellow the 300nm diffraction limit of light microscopes, has limited most imaging studies to electron microscopy. The recent development of super-resolution (SR) light microscopy now allows the visualisation of viral structures at resolutions of tens of nanometers. In addition, these techniques provide the added benefit of molecular specific labelling and the capacity to investigate viral structural dynamics using live-cell microscopy. However, there is a lack of robust analytical tools that allow for precise mapping of viral structure within the setting of infection. Here we present an open-source analytical framework that combines super-resolution imaging and naïve single-particle analysis to generate unbiased molecular models. This tool, VirusMapper, is a high-throughput, user-friendly, ImageJ-based software package allowing for automatic statistical mapping of conserved multi-molecular structures, such as viral substructures or intact viruses. We demonstrate the usability of VirusMapper by applying it to SIM and STED images of vaccinia virus in isolation and when engaged with host cells. VirusMapper allows for the generation of accurate, high-content, molecular specific virion models and detection of nanoscale changes in viral architecture.

VEGF Induces Signalling and Angiogenesis by Directing VEGFR2 Internalisation Through Macropinocytosis

Journal of Cell Science. Nov, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27656109

Endocytosis plays a crucial role in receptor signalling. VEGFR2 (also known as KDR) and its ligand VEGFA are fundamental in neovascularisation. However, our understanding of the role of endocytosis in VEGFR2 signalling remains limited. Despite the existence of diverse internalisation routes, the only known endocytic pathway for VEGFR2 is the clathrin-mediated pathway. Here, we show that this pathway is the predominant internalisation route for VEGFR2 only in the absence of ligand. Intriguingly, VEGFA induces a new internalisation itinerary for VEGFR2, the pathway of macropinocytosis, which becomes the prevalent endocytic route for the receptor in the presence of ligand, whereas the contribution of the clathrin-mediated route becomes minor. Macropinocytic internalisation of VEGFR2, which mechanistically is mediated through the small GTPase CDC42, takes place through macropinosomes generated at ruffling areas of the membrane. Interestingly, macropinocytosis plays a crucial role in VEGFA-induced signalling, endothelial cell functions in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo, whereas clathrin-mediated endocytosis is not essential for VEGFA signalling. These findings expand our knowledge on the endocytic pathways of VEGFR2 and suggest that VEGFA-driven internalisation of VEGFR2 through macropinocytosis is essential for endothelial cell signalling and angiogenesis.

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