The complete genome sequence of attenuated guinea pig cytomegalovirus cloned as bacterial artificial chromosome N13R10 was determined. Comparison to pathogenic salivary gland-derived virus revealed 13 differences, 1 of which disrupted overlapping open reading frames encoding GP129 and GP130. Attenuation of N13R10 may arise from an inability to express GP129 and/or GP130.
Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 are human pathogens that lead to significant morbidity and mortality in certain clinical settings. The development of effective antiviral medications, however, has had little discernible impact on the epidemiology of these pathogens, largely because the majority of infections are clinically silent. Decades of work have gone into various candidate HSV vaccines, but to date none has demonstrated sufficient efficacy to warrant licensure. This review examines developments in HSV immunology and vaccine development published since 2010, and assesses the prospects for improved immunization strategies that may result in an effective, licensed vaccine in the near future.
The guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) provides a useful animal model for studying the pathogenesis of many infectious diseases, and for preclinical evaluation of vaccines. However, guinea pig models are limited by the lack of immunological reagents required for characterization and quantification of antigen-specific T cell responses. To address this deficiency, an enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay for guinea pig interferon (IFN)-? was developed to measure antigen/epitope-specific T cell responses to guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) vaccines. Using splenocytes harvested from animals vaccinated with a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector encoding the GPCMV GP83 (homolog of human CMV pp65 [gpUL83]) protein, we were able to enumerate and map antigen-specific responses, both in vaccinated as well as GPCMV-infected animals, using a panel of GP83-specific peptides. Several potential immunodominant GP83-specific peptides were identified, including one epitope, LGIVHFFDN, that was noted in all guinea pigs that had a detectable CD8+ response to GP83. Development of a guinea pig IFN-? ELISPOT should be useful in characterization of additional T cell-specific responses to GPCMV, as well as other pathogens. This information in turn can help focus future experimental evaluation of immunization strategies, both for GPCMV as well as for other vaccine-preventable illnesses studied in the guinea pig model.
Development of a vaccine against congenital infection with human cytomegalovirus is complicated by the issue of re-infection, with subsequent vertical transmission, in women with pre-conception immunity to the virus. The study of experimental therapeutic prevention of re-infection would ideally be undertaken in a small animal model, such as the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) model, prior to human clinical trials. However, the ability to model re-infection in the GPCMV model has been limited by availability of only one strain of virus, the 22122 strain, isolated in 1957. In this report, we describe the isolation of a new GPCMV strain, the CIDMTR strain. This strain demonstrated morphological characteristics of a typical Herpesvirinae by electron microscopy. Illumina and PacBio sequencing demonstrated a genome of 232,778 nt. Novel open reading frames ORFs not found in reference strain 22122 included an additional MHC Class I homolog near the right genome terminus. The CIDMTR strain was capable of dissemination in immune compromised guinea pigs, and was found to be capable of congenital transmission in GPCMV-immune dams previously infected with salivary gland?adapted strain 22122 virus. The availability of a new GPCMV strain should facilitate study of re-infection in this small animal model.
Development of a vaccine against congenital infection with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major public health priority. A potential vaccine target receiving considerable recent attention is the pentameric complex (PC) of HCMV proteins consisting of gL, gH, UL128, UL130, and UL131, since some antibodies against these target proteins are capable of potently neutralizing virus at epithelial and endothelial cell surfaces. Recently, homologous proteins have been described for guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), consisting of gH, gL, and the GPCMV proteins GP129, GP131, and GP133. To investigate these proteins as potential vaccine targets, expression of GP129-GP133 transcripts was confirmed by reverse-transcriptase PCR. Mass spectrometry combined with western blot assays demonstrated the presence of GP129, GP131, and GP133 proteins in virus particles. Recombinant proteins corresponding to these PC proteins were generated in baculovirus, and as GST fusion proteins. Recombinant proteins were noted to be immunoreactive with convalescent sera from infected animals, suggesting that these proteins are recognized in the humoral immune response to GPCMV infection. These analyses support the study of PC-based recombinant vaccines in the GPCMV congenital infection model.
The sequence of a newly discovered isolate of guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), the CIDMTR strain, was determined. The 232,778-nucleotide genome was generally well conserved with that of the 22122 reference strain, although some regions of substantial sequence divergence allowed annotation of strain-specific open reading frames encoding putative immune modulation gene products.
Novel therapies are urgently needed for the management of cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in high-risk patients. Currently licensed agents target the viral DNA polymerase, and although they are effective, they are fraught with toxicities to patients. Moreover, emergence of antiviral resistance is an increasing problem, particularly for patients on long-term suppressive therapy. A new agent, letermovir (AIC246), shows great promise for the management of CMV infection. Advantages include its good oral bioavailability, its lack of toxicity, and the apparent absence of drug-drug interactions. Letermovir has a novel mechanism of action, exerting its antiviral effect by interfering with the viral pUL56 gene product and in the process disrupting the viral terminase complex. This agent demonstrates substantial promise as an alternative to more toxic antivirals in patients at high risk for CMV disease, particularly in the transplantation setting.
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection may be acquired in very low birth weight and extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants from breast milk. The clinical relevance of such infections is uncertain. There is no consensus on whether screening breast milk for CMV, freezing/pasteurizing milk before feeding, or performing virological monitoring on at-risk infants is warranted. We describe an ELBW infant who acquired CMV postnatally from breast milk and developed CMV sepsis syndrome and clinical evidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) at ? 5 weeks of age. The availability of serial dried blood spots from day of life (DOL) 4 to 21, coincidentally obtained for a metabolic study, provided the novel opportunity to retrospectively test for and quantify the magnitude of CMV DNAemia. DNAemia was present for several weeks before the onset of severe CMV disease, first being noted on DOL 18 and increasing in magnitude daily to 4.8 log10 genomes/mL on DOL 21, approximately 8 days before the onset of abdominal distension and 15 days before the onset of CMV sepsis syndrome and NEC. After surgical resection, supportive care, and ganciclovir therapy, the infant recovered. This case underscores the importance of including CMV infection in the differential diagnosis of sepsis and NEC in premature infants. This case also suggests the value of prospective virological monitoring in at-risk low birth weight and ELBW infants. Future studies should examine the potential utility of preemptive monitoring for, and possibly treatment of, CMV DNAemia in premature infants, which may herald the onset of serious disease.
Populations of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a large DNA virus, are highly polymorphic in patient samples, which may allow for rapid evolution within human hosts. To understand HCMV evolution, longitudinally sampled genomic populations from the urine and plasma of 5 infants with symptomatic congenital HCMV infection were analyzed. Temporal and compartmental variability of viral populations were quantified using high throughput sequencing and population genetics approaches. HCMV populations were generally stable over time, with ~88% of SNPs displaying similar frequencies. However, samples collected from plasma and urine of the same patient at the same time were highly differentiated with approximately 1700 consensus sequence SNPs (1.2% of the genome) identified between compartments. This inter-compartment differentiation was comparable to the differentiation observed in unrelated hosts. Models of demography (i.e., changes in population size and structure) and positive selection were evaluated to explain the observed patterns of variation. Evidence for strong bottlenecks (>90% reduction in viral population size) was consistent among all patients. From the timing of the bottlenecks, we conclude that fetal infection occurred between 13-18 weeks gestational age in patients analyzed, while colonization of the urine compartment followed roughly 2 months later. The timing of these bottlenecks is consistent with the clinical histories of congenital HCMV infections. We next inferred that positive selection plays a small but measurable role in viral evolution within a single compartment. However, positive selection appears to be a strong and pervasive driver of evolution associated with compartmentalization, affecting ? 34 of the 167 open reading frames (~20%) of the genome. This work offers the most detailed map of HCMV in vivo evolution to date and provides evidence that viral populations can be stable or rapidly differentiate, depending on host environment. The application of population genetic methods to these data provides clinically useful information, such as the timing of infection and compartment colonization.
A multidisciplinary meeting addressed priorities related to development of vaccines against cytomegalovirus (CMV), the cause of congenital CMV (cCMV) disease and of serious disease in the immunocompromised. Participants discussed optimal uses of a CMV vaccine, aspects of clinical study design, and the value of additional research. A universal childhood CMV vaccine could potentially rapidly reduce cCMV disease, as infected children are sources of viral transmission to seronegative and seropositive mothers. A vaccine administered to adolescents or adult women could also reduce cCMV disease by making them immune prior to pregnancy. Clinical trials of CMV vaccines in women should evaluate protection against cCMV infection, an essential precursor of cCMV disease, which is a more practical and acceptable endpoint for assessing vaccine effects on maternal-fetal transmission. Clinical trials of vaccines to evaluate prevention of CMV disease in stem cell transplant recipients could use CMV viremia at a level triggering pre-emptive antiviral therapy as an endpoint, because widespread use of pre-emptive and prophylactic antivirals has rendered CMV-induced disease too rare to be a practical endpoint for clinical trials. In solid organ transplant patients, CMV-associated disease is sufficiently common for use as a primary endpoint. Additional research to advance CMV vaccine development should include identifying factors that predict fetal loss due to CMV, determining age-specific incidence and transmission rates, defining the mechanism and relative contributions of maternal reactivation and re-infection to cCMV disease, developing assays that can distinguish between reactivation and re-infection in seropositive vaccinees, further defining predictors of sequelae from cCMV infection, and identifying clinically relevant immune response parameters to CMV (including developing validated assays that could assess CMV antibody avidity) that could lead to the establishment of immune correlates of protection.
Publication of a report from the Institute of Medicine in 2000 showing that a vaccine against cytomegalovirus (CMV) would likely be cost saving was very influential and encouraged the clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines. The major objective of a CMV vaccination program would be to reduce disease caused by congenital CMV infection, which is the leading viral cause of sensorineural hearing loss and neurodevelopmental delay. CMV has challenges as a vaccine target because it is a herpesvirus, it persists lifelong despite host immunity, infected individuals can be reinfected with new strains, overt disease occurs in those with immature or impaired immune systems and persons with this infection do not usually report symptoms. Nevertheless, natural immunity against CMV provides some protection against infection and disease, natural history studies have defined the serological and molecular biological techniques needed for endpoints in future clinical trials of vaccines and CMV is not highly communicable, suggesting that it may not be necessary to achieve very high levels of population immunity through vaccination in order to affect transmission. Three phase 2 CMV vaccine studies have been completed in the last 3 years and all report encouraging outcomes. A key international meeting was organized by the Food and Drug Administration in January 2012 at which interested parties from regulatory bodies, industry and academia discussed and prioritised designs for phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials. Vaccines able to prevent primary infection with CMV and to boost the immune response of those already infected are desirable. The major target populations for a CMV vaccine include women of childbearing age and adolescents. Toddlers represent another potential population, since an effect of vaccine in this age group could potentially decrease transmission to adults. In addition, prospective recipients of transplants and patients with AIDS would be expected to benefit.
The sequence of guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) was determined by direct sequencing of salivary gland homogenates obtained following sustained, serial in vivo passage of pathogenic virus in guinea pigs. The 233,501-nucleotide salivary gland (SG) genome was noted to have 11 differences compared to the tissue culture-passaged virus, although no variations were noted in putative protein coding sequences.
Cytomegalovirus is the commonest congenital viral infection in the developed world, with an overall prevalence of approximately 0.6%. Approximately 10% of congenitally infected infants have signs and symptoms of disease at birth, and these symptomatic infants have a substantial risk of subsequent neurologic sequelae. These include sensorineural hearing loss, mental retardation, microcephaly, development delay, seizure disorders, and cerebral palsy. Antiviral therapy for children with symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus infection is effective at reducing the risk of long-term disabilities and should be offered to families with affected newborns. An effective preconceptual vaccine against CMV could protect against long-term neurologic sequelae and other disabilities.
The transmission of cytomegalovirus (CMV) from mother to fetus can give rise to severe neurodevelopment defects in newborns. One strategy to prevent these congenital defects is prophylactic vaccination in young women. A candidate vaccine antigen is glycoprotein B (gB). This antigen is abundant on the virion surface and is a major target of neutralization responses in human infections. Here, we have evaluated in a challenge model of congenital guinea pig CMV (GPCMV) infection, GPCMV-gB vaccines formulated with the clinically relevant Adjuvant Systems AS01B and AS02V, or with Freunds adjuvant (FA). Fifty-two GPCMV-seronegative female guinea pigs were administered three vaccine doses before being mated. GPCMV-challenge was performed at Day 45 of pregnancy (of an estimated 65 day gestation). Pup mortality rates in the gB/AS01B, gB/AS02V, and gB/FA groups were 24% (8/34), 10% (4/39) and 36% (12/33), respectively, and in the unvaccinated control group was 65% (37/57). Hence, efficacies against pup mortality were estimated at 64%, 84% and 44% for gB/AS01B (p<0.001), gB/AS02V (p<0.001) and gB/FA (p=0.014), respectively. Efficacies against GPCMV viremia (i.e. DNAemia, detected by PCR) were estimated at 88%, 68% and 25% for the same vaccines, respectively, but were only significant for gB/AS01B (p<0.001), and gB/AS02V (p=0.002). In dams with viremia, viral load was approximately 6-fold lower with vaccination than without. All vaccines were highly immunogenic after two and three doses. In light of these results and of other results of AS01-adjuvanted vaccines in clinical development, vaccine immunogenicity was further explored using human CMV-derived gB antigen adjuvanted with either AS01B or the related formulation AS01E. Both adjuvanted vaccines were highly immunogenic after two doses, in contrast to the lower immunogenicity of the unadjuvanted vaccine. In conclusion, the protective efficacy and immunogenicity of adjuvanted vaccines in this guinea pig model are supportive of investigating gB/AS01 and gB/AS02 in the clinic.
Fetal and neonatal infections caused by human cytomegalovirus (CMV) are important causes of morbidity and occasional mortality. Development of a vaccine against congenital CMV infection is a major public health priority. Vaccine design is currently focused on strategies that aim to elicit neutralizing antibody and T-cell responses, toward the goal of preventing primary or recurrent infection in women of child-bearing age. However, there has been relatively little attention given to understanding the mechanisms of immune protection against acquisition of CMV infection in the fetus and newborn and how this information might be exploited for vaccine design. There has similarly been an insufficient study of what deficits in the immune response to CMV, both for mother and fetus, may increase susceptibility to congenital infection and disease. Protection of the fetus against vertical transmission can likely be achieved by protection of the placenta, which has its own unique immunological milieu, further complicating the analysis of the correlates of protective immunity. In this review, the current state of knowledge about immune effectors of protection against CMV in the maternal, placental, and fetal compartments is reviewed. A better understanding of immune responses that prevent and/or predispose to infection will help in the development of novel vaccine strategies.
Development of a vaccine against congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a public health priority, but CMVs encode immune evasion genes that complicate live virus vaccine design. To resolve this problem, this study employed guanosyl phosphoribosyl transferase (gpt) mutagenesis to generate a recombinant guinea pig CMV (GPCMV) with a knockout of a viral chemokine gene, GPCMV MIP (gp1). MIP deletion virus replicated with wild-type kinetics in cell culture but was attenuated in nonpregnant guinea pigs, demonstrating reduced viremia and reduced inflammation and histopathology (compared to a control virus with an intact GPCMV MIP gene) following footpad inoculation. In spite of attenuation, the vaccine was immunogenic, eliciting antibody responses comparable to those observed in natural infection. To assess its protective potential as a vaccine, either recombinant virus or placebo was used to immunize seronegative female guinea pigs. Dams were challenged in the early 3rd trimester with salivary gland-adapted GPCMV. Immunization protected against DNAemia (1/15 in vaccine group versus 12/13 in the control group, P < 0.01). Mean birth weights were significantly higher in pups born to vaccinated dams compared to controls (98.7?g versus 71.2?g, P < 0.01). Vaccination reduced pup mortality, from 35/50 (70%) in controls to 8/52 (15%) in the immunization group. Congenital GPCMV infection was also reduced, from 35/50 (70%) in controls to 9/52 (17%) in the vaccine group (P < 0.0001). We conclude that deletion of an immune modulation gene can attenuate the pathogenicity of GPCMV while resulting in a viral vaccine that retains immunogenicity and demonstrates efficacy against congenital infection and disease.
To assess the validity of the guinea pig as a model for congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection by comparing the effectiveness of detecting the virus by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in blood, urine, and saliva.
: Bedside newborn hearing screening is highly successful in identifying deaf or hard-of-hearing infants. However, newborn hearing screening protocols have high loss to follow-up rates. We propose that bloodspot-based genetic testing for GJB2 alleles can provide a means for rapid confirmation in a subset of infants who fail bedside newborn hearing screening.
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is responsible for approximately 40,000 congenital infections in the United States each year. Congenital CMV disease frequently produces serious neurodevelopmental disability, as well as vision impairment and sensorineural hearing loss. Development of a CMV vaccine is therefore considered to be a major public health priority. The mechanisms by which CMV injures the fetus are complex and likely include a combination of direct fetal injury induced by pathologic virally-encoded gene products, an inability of the maternal immune response to control infection, and the direct impact of infection on placental function. CMV encodes gene products that function, both at the RNA and the protein level, to interfere with many cellular processes. These include gene products that modify the cell cycle; interfere with apoptosis; induce an inflammatory response; mediate vascular injury; induce site-specific breakage of chromosomes; promote oncogenesis; dysregulate cellular proliferation; and facilitate evasion of host immune responses. This minireview summarizes current concepts regarding these aspects of the molecular virology of CMV and the potential pathogenic impact of viral gene expression on the developing fetus. Areas for potential development of novel therapeutic intervention are suggested for improving the outcome of this disabling congenital infection.
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the leading cause of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in children. During murine (M)CMV-induced encephalitis, the immune response is important for both the control of viral dissemination and the clearance of virus from the brain. While the importance of CMV-induced SNHL has been described, the mechanisms surrounding its pathogenesis and the role of inflammatory responses remain unclear. This study presents a neonatal mouse model of profound SNHL in which MCMV preferentially infected both cochlear perilymphatic epithelial cells and spiral ganglion neurons. Interestingly, MCMV infection induced cochlear hair cell death by 21 days post-infection, despite a clear lack of direct infection of hair cells and the complete clearance of the virus from the cochlea by 14 dpi. Flow cytometric, immunohistochemical, and quantitative PCR analysis of MCMV-infected cochlea revealed a robust and chronic inflammatory response, including a prolonged increase in reactive oxygen species production by infiltrating macrophages. These data support a pivotal role for inflammation during MCMV-induced SNHL.
The objective of this study was to compare intravaginal (ivg) and subcutaneous (sc) administration of the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) in pregnant and non-pregnant guinea pigs. These studies tested the hypotheses that ivg infection would elicit immune responses, produce maternal viremia, and lead to vertical transmission, with an efficiency similar to the traditionally employed sc route.
The magnitude and durability of immunity to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) following natural infection is compromised by the presence of immune modulation genes that appear to promote evasion of host clearance mechanisms. Since immunity to HCMV offers limited protection, rational design of effective vaccines has been challenging. In this issue of the JCI, Slavuljica and colleagues employ techniques to genetically modify the highly related mouse CMV (MCMV), in the process generating a virus that was rapidly cleared by NK cells. The virus functioned as a safe and highly effective vaccine. Demonstration of the ability to engineer a safe and highly effective live virus vaccine in a relevant rodent model of CMV infection may open the door to clinical trials of safer and more immunogenic HCMV vaccines.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is ubiquitous in all populations, and is the most commonly recognized cause of congenital viral infection in developed countries. On the basis of the economic costs saved and the improvement in quality of life that could potentially be conferred by a successful vaccine for prevention of congenital HCMV infection, the Institute of Medicine has identified HCMV vaccine development as a major public health priority. An effective vaccine could potentially also be beneficial in preventing or ameliorating HCMV disease in immunocompromised individuals. Although there are no licensed HCMV vaccines currently available, enormous progress has been made in the last decade, as evidenced by the recently reported results of a Phase II trial of a glycoprotein B vaccine for the prevention of HCMV infection in seronegative women of childbearing age. HCMV vaccines currently in clinical trials include: glycoprotein B subunit vaccines; alphavirus replicon particle vaccines; DNA vaccines; and live-attenuated vaccines. A variety of vaccine strategies are also being examined in preclinical systems and animal models of infection. These include: recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vaccines; recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara; replication-deficient adenovirus-vectored vaccines; and recombinant live-attenuated virus vaccines generated by mutagenesis of cloned rodent CMV genomes maintained as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. In this article, we provide an overview of the current state of clinical trials and preclinical development of vaccines against HCMV, with an emphasis on studies that have been conducted in the past 5 years. We also summarize a number of recent advances in the study of the biology of HCMV, particularly with respect to epithelial and endothelial cell entry of the virus, which have implications for future vaccine design.
Although pediatric research enjoyed significant benefits during the National Institutes of Health (NIH) doubling era, the proportion of the NIH budget devoted to the pediatric-research portfolio has declined overall. In light of this declining support for pediatric biomedical research, the Federation of Pediatric Organizations held a topic symposium at the 2009 Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting as a forum for discussion of the past and future states of funding, the rationale for directing public funds toward the understanding of child health and disease, and new programs and paradigms for promoting child health research. This report of the symposium is intended to disseminate more broadly the information presented and conclusions discussed to encourage those in the child health research community to exert influence with policy makers to increase the allocation of national funding for this underfunded area.
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common cause of congenital viral infection in the developed world. Approximately 40,000 congenitally infected infants are born in the US each year. Congenital CMV infection is responsible for a wide range of neurodevelopmental disabilities and is the most common infectious cause of hearing loss in children. The significant public health impact of congenital CMV has led the Institute of Medicine to rank development of a CMV vaccine as a top priority. Vaccine development has been ongoing; however, there is no licensed CMV vaccine currently available. Before vaccines can be optimized, a better understanding of how CMV infects the host is required. Recently, it has been demonstrated that CMV enters epithelial and endothelial cells by different pathways than those used for entry into fibroblasts, and that a recently described complex of CMV proteins, the gH/gL/UL128/130/131 complex, is essential for this process to occur. This discovery has allowed identification of a novel, heretofore unexplored, potential CMV vaccine targets, and provides the basis for the patent, Cytomegalovirus Vaccines and Methods of Production - WO2009049138. In this patent evaluation, the basis for this patent is reviewed. The potential application of this discovery for future CMV vaccine design is discussed.
A major public health challenge today is the problem of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) transmission. Maternal-fetal CMV infections are common, occurring in 0.5-2% of pregnancies, and these infections often lead to long-term injury of the newborn infant. In spite of the well-recognized burden that these infections place on society, there are as yet no clearly established interventions available to prevent transmission of CMV. In order to study potential interventions, such as vaccines or antiviral therapies, an animal model of congenital CMV transmission is required. The best small animal model of CMV transmission is the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) model. This article summarizes the GPCMV model, putting it into the larger context of how studies in this system have relevance to human health. An emphasis is placed on how the vertical transmission of GPCMV recapitulates the pathogenesis of congenital CMV in infants, making this a uniquely well-suited model for the study of potential CMV vaccines.
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the most common infection in newborns worldwide and causes hearing loss and other neurological disability in 15-20% of infected infants. Only about half of the hearing loss resulting from congenital CMV infection is currently detected by universal newborn hearing screening because of late-onset hearing loss. Thus, much of the hearing loss and the majority of other CMV-associated disabilities remain undetected for years after birth and are never connected to CMV infection. Congenital CMV may be appropriate to include in national newborn screening (NBS) programs because it is more common than other disorders tested for by NBS programs and is a major cause of disability. Significant obstacles to the implementation of screening for congenital CMV include the lack of a standardized, high-throughput screening test and a protocol for follow-up of CMV-infected children. Nonetheless, screening newborns for congenital CMV infection merits further consideration.
Up to 15% of infants with asymptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection will experience some degree of sensorineural hearing loss. Many infants who fail newborn hearing screening (NHS) are likely to have congenital CMV infection, but may escape definitive virologic identification because diagnostic evaluation may not commence until several weeks or months of age, making differentiation between congenital and postnatal CMV infection difficult. Early diagnosis linking virologic identification of congenital CMV infection to infants failing NHS may improve diagnostic precision and enhance opportunities for therapeutic intervention.
Vaccines for the prevention of human CMV (hCMV) infection and disease are a major public health priority. Immunization with DNA vaccines encoding key proteins involved in the immune response to hCMV has emerged as a major focus of hcmv vaccine research. Validation of the protective effect of DNA vaccination in animal models has provided support for clinical trials. VCL-CB01, under development by Vical Inc for the prevention of hCMV infection and disease, is a poloxamer-formulated, bivalent DNA vaccine that contains plasmids encoding hCMV tegument phosphoprotein 65 and the major hCMV surface glycoprotein B. In a phase I trial in healthy adults, VCL-CB01 was well tolerated. In interim results from a phase II trial in hCMV-seropositive hematopoietic cell transplant recipients, VCL-CB01 increased T-cell responses compared with placebo. The final results from the phase II trial will be of value for developing strategies to prevent hCMV disease in hCMV-seropositive transplant recipients, and may lead to other trials of VCL-CB01 or related vaccines for the prevention of congenital hCMV infection.
This study investigated the impact of pretransplant cytomegalovirus (CMV) serostatus and posttransplant CMV reactivation and disease on umbilical cord blood transplant (UCBT) outcomes. Between 1994 and 2007, 332 patients with hematologic malignancies underwent UCBT and 54% were CMV seropositive. Pretransplant recipient CMV serostatus had no impact on acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD, cGVHD), relapse, disease-free survival (DFS), or overall survival (OS). There was a trend toward greater day 100 treatment-related mortality (TRM) in CMV-seropositive recipients (P=.07). CMV reactivation occurred in 51% (92/180) of patients with no difference in myeloablative (MA) versus reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) recipients (P=.33). Similarly, reactivation was not influenced by the number of UCB units transplanted, the degree of HLA disparity, the CD34(+) or CD3(+) cell dose, or donor killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) gene haplotype. Rapid lymphocyte recovery was associated with CMV reactivation (P=.02). CMV reactivation was not associated with aGVHD (P=.97) or cGVHD (P=.65), nor did it impact TRM (P=.88), relapse (P=.62), or survival (P=.78). CMV disease occurred in 13.8% of the CMV-seropositive patients, resulting in higher TRM (P=.01) and lower OS (P=.02). Thus, although recipient CMV serostatus and CMV reactivation have little demonstrable impact on UCB transplant outcomes, the development of CMV disease remains a risk, associated with inferior outcomes.
Yow and Demmler published an editorial in 1992 entitled Congenital cytomegalovirus disease--20 years is long enough. This editorial pointed out that, despite the long-standing recognition of the major public health importance of congenital human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, few solutions had been forthcoming. In no area has the lack of progress been more frustrating than in the realm of CMV vaccine development. Although a number of vaccine strategies have been considered, few have advanced to the stage of efficacy testing.
Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) has not been used in the United States since 2000. Type 1 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) was identified in September 2005, from an unvaccinated Amish infant hospitalized in Minnesota with severe combined immunodeficiency. An investigation was conducted to determine the source of the virus and its means of transmission.
The impact of genome length on replication and genome stability was assessed for guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), a member of the Herpesviridae. The 233-kb genome could be decreased by 15.1 kb without discernable impact on viral replication efficiency in vitro. Viruses with genomes under-length by up to 31 kb replicated with decreased efficiencies but this appeared to arise from the loss of augmenting viral genes rather than decreased genome length. Two deletions that were non-lethal on their own were lethal when combined, suggesting that the resulting 40.1 kb under-length genome fell below a minimum packageable size. Genomes over-length by 8.8 kb gave rise to spontaneous deletions just to the right of the major immediate early locus, the same region that undergoes deletions during fibroblast passage of human and rhesus cytomegaloviruses. These results suggest that genome integrity should be confirmed for herpesvirus mutants in which genome length is increased even modestly.
Live attenuated vaccines for prevention of congenital cytomegalovirus infections encode numerous immune evasion genes. Their removal could potentially improve vaccine safety and efficacy. To test this hypothesis, three genes encoding MHC class I homologs (presumed NK evasins) were deleted from the guinea pig cytomegalovirus genome and the resulting virus, 3DX, was evaluated as a live attenuated vaccine in the guinea pig congenital infection model. 3DX was attenuated in vivo but not in vitro. Vaccination with 3DX produced elevated cytokine levels and higher antibody titers than wild type (WT) virus while avidity and neutralizing titers were similar. Protection, assessed by maternal viral loads and pup mortality following pathogenic viral challenge during pregnancy, was comparable between 3DX and WT and significant compared to naïve animals. These results suggest that the safety and perhaps efficacy of live attenuated human cytomegalovirus vaccines could be enhanced by deletion of viral immunomodulatory genes.
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the leading infectious cause of mental retardation and hearing loss in the developed world. In recent years, there has been an improved understanding of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and long-term disabilities associated with CMV infection. In this review, current concepts regarding the pathogenesis of neurological injury caused by CMV infections acquired by the developing fetus are summarized. The pathogenesis of CMV-induced disabilities is considered in the context of the epidemiology of CMV infection in pregnant women and newborn infants, and the clinical manifestations of brain injury are reviewed. The prospects for intervention, including antiviral therapies and vaccines, are summarized. Priorities for future research are suggested to improve the understanding of this common and disabling illness of infancy.
Viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) activates protein kinase R (PKR), which phosphorylates eIF2? and inhibits translation. In response, viruses have evolved various strategies to evade the antiviral impact of PKR. We investigated whether guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), a useful model of congenital CMV infection, encodes a gene that interferes with the PKR pathway. Using a proteomic screen, we identified several GPCMV dsRNA-binding proteins, among which only gp145 rescued replication of a vaccinia virus mutant that lacks E3L. gp145 also reversed the inhibitory effects of PKR on expression of a cotransfected reporter gene. Mapping studies demonstrated that the gp145 dsRNA-binding domain has homology to the PKR antagonists of other CMVs. However, dsRNA-binding by gp145 is not sufficient for it to block PKR. gp145 differs from the PKR antagonists of murine CMV in that it functions alone and from those encoded by human CMV in functioning in cells from both primates and rodents.
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a common cause of hearing loss and intellectual disability. We assessed CMV knowledge and the frequency of womens behaviors that may enable CMV transmission to inform strategies for communicating prevention messages to women.
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