Influenza A viruses are a continuous threat to human health as illustrated by the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Since circulating influenza virus strains become increasingly resistant against currently available drugs, the development of novel antivirals is urgently needed. Here, we have evaluated a recently described new class of broad-spectrum antiviral peptides (synthetic anti-lipopolysaccharide peptides; SALPs) for their potential to inhibit influenza virus replication in vitro and in vivo. We found that particularly SALP PEP 19-2.5 shows high binding affinities for the influenza virus receptor molecule, N-Acetylneuraminic acid, leading to impaired viral attachment and cellular entry. As a result, replication of several influenza virus subtypes (H7N7, H3N2 and 2009 pandemic H1N1) was strongly reduced. Furthermore, mice co-treated with PEP 19-2.5 were protected against an otherwise 100% lethal H7N7 influenza virus infection. These findings show that SALPs exhibit antiviral activity against influenza viruses by blocking virus attachment and entry into host cells. Thus, SALPs present a new class of broad-spectrum antiviral peptides for further development for influenza virus therapy.
In macrophages, HIV-1 accumulates in intracellular vesicles designated virus-containing compartments (VCCs). These might play an important role in the constitution of macrophages as viral reservoirs and allow HIV-1 to evade the immune system by sequestration in an internal niche, which is difficult to access from the exterior. However, until now, evidence of whether internal virus accumulations are protected from the hosts humoral immune response is still lacking. In order to be able to study the formation and antibody accessibility of VCCs, we generated HIV-1 with green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Gag replicating in primary macrophages. Live-cell observations revealed faint initial cytosolic Gag expression and subsequent large intracellular Gag accumulations which stayed stable over days. Taking advantage of the opportunity to study the accessibility of intracellular VCCs via the cell surface, we demonstrate that macrophage internal HIV-1-containing compartments cannot be targeted by neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, HIV-1 was efficiently transferred from antibody-treated macrophages to T cells. Three-dimensional reconstruction of electron microscopic slices revealed that Gag accumulations correspond to viral particles within enclosed compartments and convoluted membranes. Thus, although some VCCs were connected to the plasma membrane, the complex membrane architecture of the HIV-1-containing compartment might shield viral particles from neutralizing antibodies. In sum, our study provides evidence that HIV-1 is sequestered into a macrophage internal membranous web, posing an obstacle for the elimination of this viral reservoir.
Territoriality functions to monopolize access to resources including mates, but is costly in terms of energy and time investment. Some species reduce these costs by being less aggressive towards their neighbours than towards unfamiliar strangers, the so called dear enemy phenomenon. However, in other species individuals are more, not less aggressive towards their neighbours. It has been hypothesised that this is due to the fact that neighbours can impose a greater threat than strangers, but this has not been tested previously.
The mechanism of budding of influenza A virus revealed important deviation from the consensus mechanism of budding of retroviruses and of a growing number of negative-strand RNA viruses. This study is focused on the role of the influenza A virus matrix protein M1 in virus release. We found that a mutation of the proline residue at position 16 of the matrix protein induces inhibition of virus detachment from cells. Depletion of the M1-binding protein RACK1 also impairs virus release and RACK1 binding requires the proline residue at position 16 of M1. The impaired M1-RACK1 interaction does not affect the plasma membrane binding of M1; in contrast, RACK1 is recruited to detergent-resistant membranes in a M1-proline-16-dependent manner. The proline-16 mutation in M1 and depletion of RACK1 impairs the pinching-off of the budding virus particles. These findings reveal the active role of the viral matrix protein in the release of influenza A virus particles that involves a cross-talk with a RACK1-mediated pathway.
Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) comprise a group of genetically heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorders characterized by spastic weakness of the lower extremities. We have generated a Drosophila model for HSP type 10 (SPG10), caused by mutations in KIF5A. KIF5A encodes the heavy chain of kinesin-1, a neuronal microtubule motor. Our results imply that SPG10 is not caused by haploinsufficiency but by the loss of endogenous kinesin-1 function due to a selective dominant-negative action of mutant KIF5A on kinesin-1 complexes. We have not found any evidence for an additional, more generalized toxicity of mutant Kinesin heavy chain (Khc) or the affected kinesin-1 complexes. Ectopic expression of Drosophila Khc carrying a human SPG10-associated mutation (N256S) is sufficient to disturb axonal transport and to induce motoneuron disease in Drosophila. Neurofilaments, which have been recently implicated in SPG10 disease manifestation, are absent in arthropods. Impairments in the transport of kinesin-1 cargos different from neurofilaments are thus sufficient to cause HSP-like pathological changes such as axonal swellings, altered structure and function of synapses, behavioral deficits, and increased mortality.
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