Vaccination with live attenuated classical swine fever virus (CSFV) vaccines can rapidly confer protection in the absence of neutralizing antibodies. With an aim of providing information on the cellular mechanisms that may mediate this protection, we explored the interaction of porcine natural killer (NK) cells and ?? T cells with CSFV. Both NK and ?? T cells were refractory to infection with attenuated or virulent CSFV, and no stimulatory effects, as assessed by the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (MHC-II), perforin, and gamma interferon (IFN-?), were observed when the cells were cultured in the presence of CSFV. Coculture with CSFV and myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) or plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) showed that pDCs led to a partial activation of both NK and ?? T cells, with upregulation of MHC-II being observed. An analysis of cytokine expression by infected DC subsets suggested that this effect was due to IFN-? secreted by infected pDCs. These results were supported by ex vivo analyses of NK and ?? T cells in the tonsils and retropharyngeal lymph nodes from pigs that had been vaccinated with live attenuated CSFV and/or virulent CSFV. At 5 days postchallenge, there was evidence of significant upregulation of MHC-II but not perforin on NK and ?? T cells, which was observed only following a challenge of the unvaccinated pigs and correlated with increased CSFV replication and IFN-? expression in both the tonsils and serum. Together, these data suggest that it is unlikely that NK or ?? T cells contribute to the cellular effector mechanisms induced by live attenuated CSFV.
Vaccination with live attenuated classical swine fever virus (CSFV) induces solid protection after only 5 days, which has been associated with virus-specific T cell gamma interferon (IFN-?) responses. In this study, we employed flow cytometry to characterize T cell responses following vaccination and subsequent challenge infections with virulent CSFV. The CD3(+) CD4(-) CD8(hi) T cell population was the first and major source of CSFV-specific IFN-?. A proportion of these cells showed evidence for cytotoxicity, as evidenced by CD107a mobilization, and coexpressed tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?). To assess the durability and recall of these responses, a second experiment was conducted where vaccinated animals were challenged with virulent CSFV after 5 days and again after a further 28 days. While virus-specific CD4 T cell (CD3(+) CD4(+) CD8?(+)) responses were detected, the dominant response was again from the CD8 T cell population, with the highest numbers of these cells being detected 14 and 7 days after the primary and secondary challenges, respectively. These CD8 T cells were further characterized as CD44(hi) CD62L(-) and expressed variable levels of CD25 and CD27, indicative of a mixed effector and effector memory phenotype. The majority of virus-specific IFN-?(+) CD8 T cells isolated at the peaks of the response after each challenge displayed CD107a on their surface, and subpopulations that coexpressed TNF-? and interleukin 2 (IL-2) were identified. While it is hoped that these data will aid the rational design and/or evaluation of next-generation marker CSFV vaccines, the novel flow cytometric panels developed should also be of value in the study of porcine T cell responses to other pathogens/vaccines.
Vaccination with live attenuated classical swine fever virus (CSFV) vaccines induces a rapid onset of protection which has been associated with virus-specific CD8 T cell IFN-? responses. In this study, we assessed the specificity of this response, by screening a peptide library spanning the CSFV C-strain vaccine polyprotein to identify and characterise CD8 T cell epitopes. Synthetic peptides were pooled to represent each of the 12 CSFV proteins and used to stimulate PBMC from four pigs rendered immune to CSFV by C-strain vaccination and subsequently challenged with the virulent Brescia strain. Significant IFN-? expression by CD8 T cells, assessed by flow cytometry, was induced by peptide pools representing the core, E2, NS2, NS3 and NS5A proteins. Dissection of these antigenic peptide pools indicated that, in each instance, a single discrete antigenic peptide or pair of overlapping peptides was responsible for the IFN-? induction. Screening and titration of antigenic peptides or truncated derivatives identified the following antigenic regions: core241-255 PESRKKLEKALLAWA and NS31902-1912 VEYSFIFLDEY, or minimal length antigenic peptides: E2996-1003 YEPRDSYF, NS21223-1230 STVTGIFL and NS5A3070-3078 RVDNALLKF. The epitopes are highly conserved across CSFV strains and variable sequence divergence was observed with related pestiviruses. Characterisation of epitope-specific CD8 T cells revealed evidence of cytotoxicity, as determined by CD107a mobilisation, and a significant proportion expressed TNF-? in addition to IFN-?. Finally, the variability in the antigen-specificity of these immunodominant CD8 T cell responses was confirmed to be associated with expression of distinct MHC class I haplotypes. Moreover, recognition of NS21223-1230 STVTGIFL and NS31902-1912 VEYSFIFLDEY by a larger group of C-strain vaccinated animals showed that these peptides could be restricted by additional haplotypes. Thus the antigenic regions and epitopes identified represent attractive targets for evaluation of their vaccine potential against CSFV.
A single-step, multiplex, real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was developed for the simultaneous and differential laboratory diagnosis of Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) and African swine fever virus (ASFV) alongside an exogenous internal control RNA (IC-RNA). Combining a single extraction methodology and primer and probe sets for detection of the three target nucleic acids CSFV, ASFV and IC-RNA, had no effect on the analytical sensitivity of the assay and the new triplex RT-PCR was comparable to standard PCR techniques for CSFV and ASFV diagnosis. After optimisation the assay had a detection limit of 5 CSFV genome copies and 22 ASFV genome copies. Analytical specificity of the triplex assay was validated using a panel of viruses representing 9 of the 11 CSFV subgenotypes, at least 8 of the 22 ASFV genotypes as well as non-CSFV pestiviruses. Positive and negative clinical samples from animals infected experimentally, due to field exposure or collected from the UK which is free from both swine diseases, were used to evaluate the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for detection of both viruses. The diagnostic sensitivity was 100% for both viruses whilst diagnostic specificity estimates were 100% for CSFV detection and 97.3% for ASFV detection. The inclusion of a heterologous internal control allowed identification of false negative results, which occurred at a higher level than expected. The triplex assay described here offers a valuable new tool for the differential detection of the causative viruses of two clinically indistinguishable porcine diseases, whose geographical occurrence is increasingly overlapping.
Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious disease, causing severe economic losses in the pig industry worldwide. Vaccination of pigs with lapinized Chinese vaccines is still practised in some regions of the world, where the virus is enzootic, in order to prevent and control the disease. However, a single real-time assay that can detect all lapinized Chinese vaccines used widely, namely, Lapinized Philippines Coronel (LPC), Hog Cholera Lapinized virus (HCLV) and the Riems C-strain is still lacking. This study describes a real-time RT-PCR assay, targeting the N(pro) gene region, for specific detection of these lapinized vaccine strains. The assay is highly sensitive, with a detection limit of 10 genome copies per reaction for HCLV and Riems C-strain and highly specific, as more than 100 strains of wild type CSFV representing all major genotypes were not detected. The assay is also highly repeatable: the coefficient of variation of Ct values in three runs was 2.77% for the detection of 10 copies of the vaccine viral RNA. This study provides a potentially useful tool for specific detection of the lapinized Chinese vaccines, HCLV and C-strain, and the differentiation of these vaccines from wild type CSFV.
The positive-stranded RNA genome of classical swine fever virus (CSFV) encodes 12 known proteins. The first protein to be translated is the N-terminal protease (N(pro)). N(pro) helps evade the innate interferon response by targeting interferon regulatory factor-3 for proteasomal degradation and also participates in the evasion of dsRNA-induced apoptosis. To elucidate the mechanisms by which N(pro) functions, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen in which the anti-apoptotic protein HAX-1 was identified. The N(pro)-HAX-1 interaction was confirmed using co-precipitation assays. A dramatic redistribution of both N(pro) and HAX-1 was observed in co-transfected cells, as well as in transfected cells infected with wild-type CSFV, but not in cells infected with an N(pro)-deleted CSFV strain.
Classical swine fever (CSF) is one of the most important diseases of pigs. Vaccination in the European Union is limited to emergency situations. Currently, vaccination for the purpose of disease control is carried out in wild boar populations. Wild boar are in most cases vaccinated using an oral bait vaccine based on the live modified vaccine virus C-strain "Riems". A real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocol for differentiation of C-strain "Riems" vaccine virus from CSF virus (CSFV) field isolates was published previously. In this real-time RT-PCR system differentiation is based on two nucleotide difference one at the 3 end of each of the primer-binding sites in the E(RNS) encoding genome region. During extensive diagnostic use of this protocol in an outbreak of CSF in wild boar in Germany, some C-strain positive field samples were found to give negative results in the C-strain "Riems" specific real-time RT-PCR, but positive results in a pan-CSFV real-time RT-PCR system. Moreover, sequencing of C-strain "Riems" vaccine batches for intramuscular use revealed differences in the E(RNS) encoding region. This led to the assumption that mutations in the corresponding primer-binding site of the C-strain specific system had appeared in the field, and possibly also during manufacturing of different vaccine batches. To test this hypothesis and restore sensitivity, a new primer set for detection of the possible C-strain virus quasi species was designed and tested.
This study describes evaluation of a real-time PCR assay based on primer-probe energy transfer (PriProET) technology for detection of classical swine fever virus (CSFV). The PriProET technology allows melting curve analysis following PCR amplification and thus provides a higher specificity. The assay was compared with a TaqMan assay by testing a total of 203 samples including 175 clinical specimens and 28 batches of Hog Cholera Lapinized Virus (HCLV) vaccine. The two assays gave the same results for 184 (91%) samples. Compared with the TaqMan assay, 19 additional samples were found to be positive for CSFV using the PriProET assay. In an RNA mixture of both wild type CSFV and C-strain vaccine, the melting curves displayed only one curve: either a wild type-like or a vaccine-like depending on the dominating RNA. The PriProET assay can be a routine molecular tool or a confirmative tool for diagnosis of classical swine fever (CSF), especially in the case of samples that yield an inconclusive result by the TaqMan assay.
Existing live attenuated classical swine fever virus (CSFV) vaccines provide a rapid onset of complete protection but pose problems in discriminating infected amongst vaccinated animals. With a view to providing additional information on the cellular mechanisms that may contribute to protection, which in turn may aid the development of the next generation of CSFV vaccines, we explored the kinetics of the cytokine responses from peripheral blood cells of pigs vaccinated with an attenuated C-strain vaccine strain and/or infected with a recent CSFV isolate. Peripheral blood cells were isolated over the course of vaccination/infection and stimulated in vitro with C-strain or UK2000/7.1 viruses. Virus-specific responses of peripheral blood cells isolated from C-strain vaccinated pigs were dominated by the production of IFN-gamma. IFN-gamma production in response to the C-strain virus was first detected in vaccinates 9 days post-vaccination and was sustained over the period of observation. In contrast, cells from challenge control animals did not secrete IFN-gamma in response to stimulation with C-strain or UK2000/7.1 viruses. Supernatants from UK2000/7.1 infected animals contained significant levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines from day 8 post-infection and these cytokines were present in both virus and mock stimulated cultures. The results suggest that the C-strain virus is a potent inducer of a type-1 T cell response, which may play a role in the protection afforded by such vaccines, whereas the pro-inflammatory cytokine responses observed in cultures from infected pigs may reflect a pathological pro-inflammatory cascade initiated in vivo following the replication and spread of CSFV.
Live attenuated C-strain classical swine fever viruses (CSFV) provide a rapid onset of protection, but the lack of a serological test that can differentiate vaccinated from infected animals limits their application in CSF outbreaks. Since immunity may precede antibody responses, we examined the kinetics and specificity of peripheral blood T cell responses from pigs vaccinated with a C-strain vaccine and challenged after five days with a genotypically divergent CSFV isolate. Vaccinated animals displayed virus-specific IFN-? responses from day 3 post-challenge, whereas, unvaccinated challenge control animals failed to mount a detectable response. Both CD4(+) and cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells were identified as the cellular source of IFN-?. IFN-? responses showed extensive cross-reactivity when T cells were stimulated with CSFV isolates spanning the major genotypes. To determine the specificity of these responses, T cells were stimulated with recombinant CSFV proteins and a proteome-wide peptide library from a related virus, BVDV. Major cross-reactive peptides were mapped on the E2 and NS3 proteins. Finally, IFN-? was shown to exert potent antiviral effects on CSFV in vitro. These data support the involvement of broadly cross-reactive T cell IFN-? responses in the rapid protection conferred by the C-strain vaccine and this information should aid the development of the next generation of CSFV vaccines.
Pre-emptive culling is becoming increasingly questioned as a means of controlling animal diseases, including classical swine fever (CSF). This has prompted discussions on the use of emergency vaccination to control future CSF outbreaks in domestic pigs. Despite a long history of safe use in endemic areas, there is a paucity of data on aspects important to emergency strategies, such as how rapidly CSFV vaccines would protect against transmission, and if this protection is equivalent for all viral genotypes, including highly divergent genotype 3 strains. To evaluate these questions, pigs were vaccinated with the Riemser® C-strain vaccine at 1, 3 and 5 days prior to challenge with genotype 2.1 and 3.3 challenge strains. The vaccine provided equivalent protection against clinical disease caused by for the two challenge strains and, as expected, protection was complete at 5 days post-vaccination. Substantial protection was achieved after 3 days, which was sufficient to prevent transmission of the 3.3 strain to animals in direct contact. Even by one day post-vaccination approximately half the animals were partially protected, and were able to control the infection, indicating that a reduction of the infectious potential is achieved very rapidly after vaccination. There was a close temporal correlation between T cell IFN-? responses and protection. Interestingly, compared to responses of animals challenged 5 days after vaccination, challenge of animals 3 or 1 days post-vaccination resulted in impaired vaccine-induced T cell responses. This, together with the failure to detect a T cell IFN-? response in unprotected and unvaccinated animals, indicates that virulent CSFV can inhibit the potent antiviral host defences primed by C-strain in the early period post vaccination.
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