Enveloped viruses need to fuse with a host cell membrane in order to deliver their genome into the host cell. While some viruses fuse with the plasma membrane, many viruses are endocytosed prior to fusion. Specific cues in the endosomal microenvironment induce conformational changes in the viral fusion proteins leading to viral and host membrane fusion. In the present study we investigated the entry of coronaviruses (CoVs). Using siRNA gene silencing, we found that proteins known to be important for late endosomal maturation and endosome-lysosome fusion profoundly promote infection of cells with mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV). Using recombinant MHVs expressing reporter genes as well as a novel, replication-independent fusion assay we confirmed the importance of clathrin-mediated endocytosis and demonstrated that trafficking of MHV to lysosomes is required for fusion and productive entry to occur. Nevertheless, MHV was shown to be less sensitive to perturbation of endosomal pH than vesicular stomatitis virus and influenza A virus, which fuse in early and late endosomes, respectively. Our results indicate that entry of MHV depends on proteolytic processing of its fusion protein S by lysosomal proteases. Fusion of MHV was severely inhibited by a pan-lysosomal protease inhibitor, while trafficking of MHV to lysosomes and processing by lysosomal proteases was no longer required when a furin cleavage site was introduced in the S protein immediately upstream of the fusion peptide. Also entry of feline CoV was shown to depend on trafficking to lysosomes and processing by lysosomal proteases. In contrast, MERS-CoV, which contains a minimal furin cleavage site just upstream of the fusion peptide, was negatively affected by inhibition of furin, but not of lysosomal proteases. We conclude that a proteolytic cleavage site in the CoV S protein directly upstream of the fusion peptide is an essential determinant of the intracellular site of fusion.
Isolation of porcine epidemic diarrhea coronavirus (PEDV) from clinical material in cell culture requires supplementation of trypsin. This may relate to the confinement of PEDV natural infection to the protease-rich small intestine of pigs. Our study focused on the role of protease activity on infection by investigating the spike protein of a PEDV isolate (wtPEDV) using a reverse genetics system based on the trypsin-independent cell culture-adapted strain DR13 (caPEDV). We demonstrate that trypsin acts on the wtPEDV spike protein after receptor binding. We mapped the genetic determinant for trypsin-dependent cell entry to the N-terminal region of the fusion subunit of this class I fusion protein, revealing a conserved arginine just upstream of the putative fusion peptide as the potential cleavage site. Whereas coronaviruses are typically processed by endogenous proteases of the producer or target cell, PEDV S protein activation strictly required supplementation of a protease, enabling us to study mechanistic details of proteolytic processing. Importance: Recurring PEDV epidemics constitute a serious animal health threat and an economic burden, particularly in Asia but, as of recently, also on the North-American subcontinent. Understanding the biology of PEDV is critical for combatting the infection. Here, we provide new insight into the protease-dependent cell entry of PEDV.
Rabies is a disease characterized by an invariably lethal encephalitis of viral origin that can be controlled by preventive vaccination programs of wildlife, domestic animals and humans in areas with a high risk of exposure. Currently available vaccines are expensive, cumbersome to produce and require intensive immunization and booster schemes to induce and maintain protective immunity. In the present study, we describe the development of candidate recombinant subunit rabies vaccines based on the glycoprotein G of the prototype rabies virus (RABV-G) expressed either as a monomer (RABV-mG) or in its native trimeric configuration (RABV-tG), with or without Matrix-M™ adjuvant. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the respective candidate vaccines were tested in outbred NIH Swiss albino mice. The RABV-tG candidate vaccine proved to be superior to the RABV-mG vaccine candidate both in terms of immunogenicity and efficacy. The relatively poor immunogenicity of the RABV-mG vaccine candidate was greatly improved by the addition of the adjuvant. A single, low dose of RABV-tG in combination with Matrix-M™ induced high levels of high avidity neutralizing antibodies and protected all mice against challenge with a lethal dose of RABV. Consequently RABV-tG used in combination with Matrix-M™ is a promising vaccine candidate that overcomes the limitations of currently used vaccines.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus is a major threat to public health as well as to the global poultry industry. Most fatal human infections are caused by contact with infected poultry. Therefore, preventing the virus from entering the poultry population is a priority. This is, however, problematic in emergency situations, e.g. during outbreaks in poultry, as there are currently no mass application methods to effectively vaccinate large numbers of birds within a short period of time. To evaluate the suitability of needle-free pulmonary immunization for mass vaccination of poultry against HPAI H5N1, we performed a proof-of-concept study in which we investigated whether non-adjuvanted spray-freeze-dried (SFD) whole inactivated virus (WIV) can be used as a dry powder aerosol vaccine to immunize chickens. Our results show that chickens that received SFD-WIV vaccine as aerosolized powder directly at the syrinx (the site of the tracheal bifurcation), mounted a protective antibody response after two vaccinations and survived a lethal challenge with HPAI H5N1. Furthermore, both the number of animals that shed challenge virus, as well as the level of virus shedding, were significantly reduced. Based on antibody levels and reduction of virus shedding, pulmonary vaccination with non-adjuvanted vaccine was at least as efficient as intratracheal vaccination using live virus. Animals that received aerosolized SFD-WIV vaccine by temporary passive inhalation showed partial protection (22% survival) and a delay in time-to-death, thereby demonstrating the feasibility of the method, but indicating that the efficiency of vaccination by passive inhalation needs further improvement. Altogether our results provide a proof-of-concept that pulmonary vaccination using an SFD-WIV powder vaccine is able to protect chickens from lethal HPAI challenge. If the efficacy of pulmonary vaccination by passive inhalation can be improved, this method might be suitable for mass application.
Enveloped viruses carry highly specialized glycoproteins that catalyze membrane fusion under strict spatial and temporal control. To prevent premature activation after biosynthesis, viral class I fusion proteins adopt a locked conformation and require proteolytic cleavage to render them fusion-ready. This priming step may occur during virus exit from the infected cell, in the extracellular milieu or during entry at or in the next target cell. Proteolytic processing of coronavirus spike (S) fusion proteins during virus entry has been suggested but not yet formally demonstrated, while the nature and functionality of the resulting subunit is still unclear. We used a prototype coronavirus--mouse hepatitis virus (MHV)--to develop a conditional biotinylation assay that enables the specific identification and biochemical characterization of viral S proteins on virions that mediated membrane fusion with the target cell. We demonstrate that MHV S proteins are indeed cleaved upon virus endocytosis, and we identify a novel processing product S2* with characteristics of a fusion-active subunit. The precise cleavage site and the enzymes involved remain to be elucidated.
Coronaviruses replicate their genomes in association with rearranged cellular membranes. The coronavirus nonstructural integral membrane proteins (nsps) 3, 4 and 6, are key players in the formation of the rearranged membranes. Previously, we demonstrated that nsp3 and nsp4 interact and that their co-expression results in the relocalization of these proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) into discrete perinuclear foci. We now show that these foci correspond to areas of rearranged ER-derived membranes, which display increased membrane curvature. These structures, which were able to recruit other nsps, were only detected when nsp3 and nsp4 were derived from the same coronavirus species. We propose, based on the analysis of a large number of nsp3 and nsp4 mutants, that interaction between the large luminal loops of these proteins drives the formation of membrane rearrangements, onto which the coronavirus replication-transcription complexes assemble in infected cells.
Studies of viral entry into host cells often rely on the detection of post-entry parameters, such as viral replication or the expression of a reporter gene, rather than on measuring entry per se. The lack of assays to easily detect the different steps of entry severely hampers the analysis of this key process in virus infection. Here we describe novel, highly adaptable viral entry assays making use of minimal complementation of the E. coli ?-galactosidase in mammalian cells. Enzyme activity is reconstituted when a small intravirion peptide (?-peptide) is complementing the inactive mutant form ?M15 of ?-galactosidase. The method allows to dissect and to independently detect binding, internalization, and fusion of viruses during host cell entry. Here we use it to confirm and extend current knowledge on the entry process of two enveloped viruses: vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and murine hepatitis coronavirus (MHV).
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) replicates in cells of different species using dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) as a functional receptor. Here we show resistance of ferrets to MERS-CoV infection and inability of ferret DDP4 to bind MERS-CoV. Site-directed mutagenesis of amino acids variable in ferret DPP4 thus revealed the functional human DPP4 virus binding site. Adenosine deaminase (ADA), a DPP4 binding protein, competed for virus binding, acting as a natural antagonist for MERS-CoV infection.
Pandemic influenza A H1N1 (pH1N1) virus emerged in 2009. In the subsequent 4 years, it acquired several genetic changes in its hemagglutinin (HA). Mutations may be expected while virus is adapting to the human host or upon evasion from adaptive immune responses. However, pH1N1 has not displayed any major antigenic changes so far. We examined the effect of the amino acid substitutions found to be most frequently occurring in the pH1N1 HA protein before 1 April 2012 on the receptor-binding properties of the virus by using recombinant soluble HA trimers. Two changes (S186P and S188T) were shown to increase the receptor-binding avidity of HA, whereas two others (A137T and A200T) decreased binding avidity. Construction of an HA protein tree revealed the worldwide emergence of several HA variants during the past few influenza seasons. Strikingly, two major variants harbor combinations of substitutions (S186P/A137T and S188T/A200T, respectively) with opposite individual effects on binding. Stepwise reconstruction of the HA proteins of these variants demonstrated that the mutations that increase receptor-binding avidity are compensated for by the acquisition of subsequent mutations. The combination of these substitutions restored the receptor-binding properties (avidity and specificity) of these HA variants to those of the parental virus. The results strongly suggest that the HA of pH1N1 was already optimally adapted to the human host upon its emergence in April 2009. Moreover, these results are in agreement with a recent model for antigenic drift, in which influenza A virus mutants with high and low receptor-binding avidity alternate.
A new betacoronavirus-Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)-has been identified in patients with severe acute respiratory infection. Although related viruses infect bats, molecular clock analyses have been unable to identify direct ancestors of MERS-CoV. Anecdotal exposure histories suggest that patients had been in contact with dromedary camels or goats. We investigated possible animal reservoirs of MERS-CoV by assessing specific serum antibodies in livestock.
The spike (S) protein of the recently emerged human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) mediates infection by binding to the cellular receptor dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4). Here we mapped the receptor binding domain in the S protein to a 231-amino-acid fragment (residues 358 to 588) by evaluating the interaction of spike truncation variants with receptor-expressing cells and soluble DPP4. Antibodies to this domain--much less so those to the preceding N-terminal region--efficiently neutralize MERS-CoV infection.
Most human coronaviruses cause mild upper respiratory tract disease but may be associated with more severe pulmonary disease in immunocompromised individuals. However, SARS coronavirus caused severe lower respiratory disease with nearly 10% mortality and evidence of systemic spread. Recently, another coronavirus (human coronavirus-Erasmus Medical Center (hCoV-EMC)) was identified in patients with severe and sometimes lethal lower respiratory tract infection. Viral genome analysis revealed close relatedness to coronaviruses found in bats. Here we identify dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4; also known as CD26) as a functional receptor for hCoV-EMC. DPP4 specifically co-purified with the receptor-binding S1 domain of the hCoV-EMC spike protein from lysates of susceptible Huh-7 cells. Antibodies directed against DPP4 inhibited hCoV-EMC infection of primary human bronchial epithelial cells and Huh-7 cells. Expression of human and bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) DPP4 in non-susceptible COS-7 cells enabled infection by hCoV-EMC. The use of the evolutionarily conserved DPP4 protein from different species as a functional receptor provides clues about the host range potential of hCoV-EMC. In addition, it will contribute critically to our understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of this emerging human coronavirus, and may facilitate the development of intervention strategies.
Whereas temporal gene expression in mammalian herpesviruses has been studied extensively, little is known about gene expression in fish herpesviruses. Here we report a genome-wide transcription analysis of a fish herpesvirus, anguillid herpesvirus 1, in cell culture, studied during the first 6 hours of infection using reverse transcription quantitative PCR.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of respiratory tract disease in infants and the elderly. Currently, no licensed vaccine against RSV is available. Here we describe the development of a safe and effective intranasal subunit vaccine that is based on recombinant fusion (F) protein bound to the surface of immunostimulatory bacterium-like particles (BLPs) derived from the food-grade bacterium Lactococcus lactis. Different variants of F were analyzed with respect to their conformation and reactivity with neutralizing antibodies, assuming that F proteins mimicking the metastable prefusion form of RSV F expose a more extensive and relevant epitope repertoire than F proteins corresponding to the postfusion structure. Our results indicate that the recombinant soluble ectodomain of RSV F readily adopts a postfusion conformation, generation of which cannot be prevented by C-terminal addition of a trimerization motif, but whose formation is prevented by mutation of the two furin cleavage sites in F. While the putative postfusion form of F is recognized well by the monoclonal antibody Palivizumab, this is much less so for the more potently neutralizing, prefusion-specific antibodies D25 and AM22. Both addition of the trimerization motif and mutation of the furin cleavage sites increased the reactivity of F with D25 and AM22, with the highest reactivity being observed for F proteins in which both these features were combined. Intranasal vaccination of mice or cotton rats with BLPs loaded with this latter prefusion-like F protein (BLP-F), resulted in the potent induction of F-specific immunoglobulins and in significantly decreased virus titers in the lungs upon RSV challenge. Moreover, and in contrast to animals vaccinated with formalin-inactivated RSV, animals that received BLP-F exhibited high levels of F-specific secretory IgA in the nose and RSV-neutralizing antibodies in sera, but did not show symptoms of enhanced disease after challenge with RSV.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) causes severe economic losses in the swine industry in China and other Asian countries. Infection usually leads to an acute, often lethal diarrhea in piglets. Despite the impact of the disease, no system is yet available to manipulate the viral genome which has severely hampered research on this virus until today. We have established a reverse genetics system for PEDV based on targeted RNA recombination that allows the modification of the 3-end of the viral genome, which encodes the structural proteins and the ORF3 protein. Using this system, we deleted the ORF3 gene entirely from the viral genome and showed that the ORF3 protein is not essential for replication of the virus in vitro. In addition, we inserted heterologous genes (i.e. the GFP and Renilla luciferase genes) at two positions in the viral genome, either as an extra expression cassette or as a replacement for the ORF3 gene. We demonstrated the expression of both GFP and Renilla luciferase as well as the application of these viruses by establishing a convenient and rapid virus neutralization assay. The new PEDV reverse genetics system will enable functional studies of the structural proteins and the accessory ORF3 protein and will allow the rational design and development of next generation PEDV vaccines.
In the last decade many studies have been performed on the virulence of Newcastle disease virus (NDV). This is mainly due to the development of reverse genetics systems which made it possible to genetically modify NDV and to investigate the contribution of individual genes and genome regions to its virulence. However, the available information is scattered and a comprehensive overview of the factors and conditions determining NDV virulence is lacking. This review summarises, compares and discusses the available literature and shows that virulence of NDV is a complex trait determined by multiple genetic factors.
Many of the known fish herpesviruses have important aquaculture species as their natural host, and may cause serious disease and mortality. Anguillid herpesvirus 1 (AngHV-1) causes a hemorrhagic disease in European eel, Anguilla anguilla. Despite their importance, fundamental molecular knowledge on fish herpesviruses is still limited. In this study we describe the identification and localization of the structural proteins of AngHV-1. Purified virions were fractionated into a capsid-tegument and an envelope fraction, and premature capsids were isolated from infected cells. Proteins were extracted by different methods and identified by mass spectrometry. A total of 40 structural proteins were identified, of which 7 could be assigned to the capsid, 11 to the envelope, and 22 to the tegument. The identification and localization of these proteins allowed functional predictions. Our findings include the identification of the putative capsid triplex protein 1, the predominant tegument protein, and the major antigenic envelope proteins. Eighteen of the 40 AngHV-1 structural proteins had sequence homologues in related Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3). Conservation of fish herpesvirus structural genes seemed to be high for the capsid proteins, limited for the tegument proteins, and low for the envelope proteins. The identification and localization of the structural proteins of AngHV-1 in this study adds to the fundamental knowledge of members of the Alloherpesviridae family, especially of the Cyprinivirus genus.
To identify host factors involved in Salmonella replication, SILAC-based quantitative proteomics was used to investigate the interactions of Salmonella typhimurium with the secretory pathway in human epithelial cells. Protein profiles of Golgi-enriched fractions isolated from S. typhimurium-infected cells were compared with those of mock-infected cells, revealing significant depletion or enrichment of 105 proteins. Proteins annotated to play a role in membrane traffic were overrepresented among the depleted proteins whereas proteins annotated to the cytoskeleton showed a diverse behavior with some proteins being enriched, others being depleted from the Golgi fraction upon Salmonella infection. To study the functional relevance of identified proteins in the Salmonella infection cycle, small interfering RNA (siRNA) experiments were performed. siRNA-mediated depletion of a selection of affected proteins identified five host factors involved in Salmonella infection. Depletion of peroxiredoxin-6 (PRDX6), isoform ?-4c of integrin ?-4 (ITGB4), isoform 1 of protein lap2 (erbin interacting protein; ERBB2IP), stomatin (STOM) or TBC domain containing protein 10b (TBC1D10B) resulted in increased Salmonella replication. Surprisingly, in addition to the effect on Salmonella replication, depletion of STOM or ITGB4 resulted in a dispersal of intracellular Salmonella microcolonies. It can be concluded that by using SILAC-based quantitative proteomics we were able to identify novel host cell proteins involved in the complex interplay between Salmonella and epithelial cells.
Influenza A virus (IAV) enters host cells upon binding of its hemagglutinin glycoprotein to sialylated host cell receptors. Whereas dynamin-dependent, clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is generally considered as the IAV infection pathway, some observations suggest the occurrence of an as yet uncharacterized alternative entry route. By manipulating entry parameters we established experimental conditions that allow the separate analysis of dynamin-dependent and -independent entry of IAV. Whereas entry of IAV in phosphate-buffered saline could be completely inhibited by dynasore, a specific inhibitor of dynamin, a dynasore-insensitive entry pathway became functional in the presence of fetal calf serum. This finding was confirmed with the use of small interfering RNAs targeting dynamin-2. In the presence of serum, both IAV entry pathways were operational. Under these conditions entry could be fully blocked by combined treatment with dynasore and the amiloride derivative EIPA, the hallmark inhibitor of macropinocytosis, whereas either drug alone had no effect. The sensitivity of the dynamin-independent entry pathway to inhibitors or dominant-negative mutants affecting actomyosin dynamics as well as to a number of specific inhibitors of growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases and downstream effectors thereof all point to the involvement of macropinocytosis in IAV entry. Consistently, IAV particles and soluble FITC-dextran were shown to co-localize in cells in the same vesicles. Thus, in addition to the classical dynamin-dependent, clathrin-mediated endocytosis pathway, IAV enters host cells by a dynamin-independent route that has all the characteristics of macropinocytosis.
Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged mouse hepatitis coronavirus nonstructural protein 4 (nsp4) was shown to localize to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and to be recruited to the coronavirus replicative structures. Fluorescence loss in photobleaching and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments demonstrated that while the membranes of the ER are continuous with those harboring the replicative structures, the mobility of nsp4 at the latter structures is relatively restricted. In agreement with that observation, nsp4 was shown to be engaged in homotypic and heterotypic interactions, the latter with nsp3 and nsp6. In addition, the coexpression of nsp4 with nsp3 affected the subcellular localization of the two proteins.
In view of its critical role in influenza A virus (IAV) tropism and pathogenesis, we evaluated the receptor binding properties of HA proteins of the closely related swine and new pandemic human IAVs. We generated recombinant soluble trimeric H1 ectodomains of several IAVs and analyzed their sialic acid binding properties using fetuin-binding and glycan array analysis. The results show that closely related swine and new pandemic H1 proteins differ dramatically in their ability to bind these receptors. Although new pandemic H1 protein exhibited hardly any binding, swine H1 bound efficiently to a number of ?2-6-linked sialyl glycans. The responsible amino acids were identified by analyzing chimeric H1 proteins and by performing systematic site-directed mutagenesis of swine and new pandemic human H1 proteins. The difference was found to map to residues at positions 200 and 227. Although substitution of either residue significantly affected the binding phenotype, substitution of both was found to act synergistically and reverse the phenotype almost completely. Modeling of the T200A and E227A substitutions into the crystal structure of the new pandemic human H1 protein revealed the loss of potential hydrogen bond formation with Gln(191), which is part of the 190-loop of the receptor binding site, and with the penultimate galactose, respectively. Thus, a residue not belonging to the receptor binding site may affect the interaction of HA with its receptor. Interestingly, whereas alanine at position 200 is found in most new pandemic human viruses, the residue at position 227 in these viruses is invariably a glutamic acid.
The coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein is a virion structural protein. It also functions, however, in an unknown way in viral replication and localizes to the viral replication-transcription complexes (RTCs). Here we investigated, using recombinant murine coronaviruses expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged versions of the N protein, the dynamics of its interactions with the RTCs and the domain(s) involved. Using fluorescent recovery after photobleaching, we showed that the N protein, unlike the nonstructural protein 2, is dynamically associated with the RTCs. Recruitment of the N protein to the RTCs requires the C-terminal N2b domain, which interacts with other N proteins in an RNA-independent manner.
The emergence and subsequent swift and global spread of the swine-origin influenza virus A(H1N1) in 2009 once again emphasizes the strong need for effective vaccines that can be developed rapidly and applied safely. With this aim, we produced soluble, multimeric forms of the 2009 A(H1N1) HA (sHA(3)) and NA (sNA(4)) surface glycoproteins using a virus-free mammalian expression system and evaluated their efficacy as vaccines in ferrets. Immunization twice with 3.75-microg doses of these antigens elicited strong antibody responses, which were adjuvant dependent. Interestingly, coadministration of both antigens strongly enhanced the HA-specific but not the NA-specific responses. Distinct patterns of protection were observed upon challenge inoculation with the homologous H1N1 virus. Whereas vaccination with sHA(3) dramatically reduced virus replication (e.g., by lowering pulmonary titers by about 5 log(10) units), immunization with sNA(4) markedly decreased the clinical effects of infection, such as body weight loss and lung pathology. Clearly, optimal protection was achieved by the combination of the two antigens. Our observations demonstrate the great vaccine potential of multimeric HA and NA ectodomains, as these can be easily, rapidly, flexibly, and safely produced in high quantities. In particular, our study underscores the underrated importance of NA in influenza vaccination, which we found to profoundly and specifically contribute to protection by HA. Its inclusion in a vaccine is likely to reduce the HA dose required and to broaden the protective immunity.
Feline coronaviruses (FCoV) comprise two biotypes: feline enteric coronaviruses (FECV) and feline infectious peritonitis viruses (FIPV). FECV is associated with asymptomatic persistent enteric infections, while FIPV causes feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a usually fatal systemic disease in domestic cats and some wild Felidae. FIPV arises from FECV by mutation. FCoV also occur in two serotypes, I and II, of which the serotype I viruses are by far the most prevalent in the field. Yet, most of our knowledge about FCoV infections relates to serotype II viruses, particularly about the FIPV, mainly because type I viruses grow poorly in cell culture. Hence, the aim of the present work was the detailed study of the epidemiologically most relevant viruses, the avirulent serotype I viruses. Kittens were inoculated oronasally with different doses of two independent FECV field strains, UCD and RM. Persistent infection could be reproducibly established. The patterns of clinical symptoms, faecal virus shedding and seroconversion were monitored for up to 10 weeks revealing subtle but reproducible differences between the two viruses. Faecal virus, i.e. genomic RNA, was detected during persistent FECV infection only in the large intestine, downstream of the appendix, and could occasionally be observed also in the blood. The implications of our results, particularly our insights into the persistently infected state, are discussed.
We have demonstrated that influenza A virus (IAV) RNA synthesis depends on the ubiquitin-proteasome system. IAV replication was reduced both by proteasome inhibitors and in E36ts20 cells, which contain the thermolabile ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1. While virus entry was not affected in E36ts20 cells, the proteasome inhibitor MG132 retained viral particles in the cytoplasm. Addition-removal experiments of MG132 in combination with bafilomycin A1, a well-established inhibitor of IAV entry and fusion, showed that MG132 affected IAV infection at a postfusion step. This was confirmed by the lack of inhibition of IAV entry by proteasome inhibitors in a virus-like particle fusion assay.
Many viruses, including coronaviruses (CoVs), depend on a functional cellular proteasome for efficient infection in vitro. Hence, the proteasome inhibitor Velcade (bortezomib), a clinically approved anticancer drug, shown in an accompanying study (M. Raaben et al., J. Virol. 84:7869-7879, 2010) to strongly inhibit mouse hepatitis CoV (MHV) infection in cultured cells, seemed an attractive candidate for testing its antiviral properties in vivo. Surprisingly, however, the drug did not reduce replication of the virus in mice. Rather, inhibition of the proteasome caused enhanced infection with lethal outcome, calling for caution when using this type of drug during infection.
The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a key player in regulating the intracellular sorting and degradation of proteins. In this study we investigated the role of the UPS in different steps of the coronavirus (CoV) infection cycle. Inhibition of the proteasome by different chemical compounds (i.e., MG132, epoxomicin, and Velcade) appeared to not only impair entry but also RNA synthesis and subsequent protein expression of different CoVs (i.e., mouse hepatitis virus [MHV], feline infectious peritonitis virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV). MHV assembly and release were, however, not appreciably affected by these compounds. The inhibitory effect on CoV protein expression did not appear to result from a general inhibition of translation due to induction of a cellular stress response by the inhibitors. Stress-induced phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha) generally results in impaired initiation of protein synthesis, but the sensitivity of MHV infection to proteasome inhibitors was unchanged in cells lacking a phosphorylatable eIF2alpha. MHV infection was affected not only by inhibition of the proteasome but also by interfering with protein ubiquitination. Viral protein expression was reduced in cells expressing a temperature-sensitive ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1 at the restrictive temperature, as well as in cells in which ubiquitin was depleted by using small interfering RNAs. Under these conditions, the susceptibility of the cells to virus infection was, however, not affected, excluding an important role of ubiquitination in virus entry. Our observations reveal an important role of the UPS in multiple steps of the CoV infection cycle and identify the UPS as a potential drug target to modulate the impact of CoV infection.
In this study, we applied a quantitative proteomic approach, based on SILAC, to investigate the interactions of coronaviruses with the secretory pathway of the host cell, with the aim to identify host factors involved in coronavirus replication. Comparison of the protein profiles of Golgi-enriched fractions of cells that were either mock infected or infected with mouse hepatitis virus revealed the significant depletion or enrichment of 116 proteins. Although ribosomal/nucleic acid binding proteins were enriched in the Golgi-fractions of mouse hepatitis virus-infected cells, proteins annotated to localize to several organelles of the secretory pathway were overrepresented among the proteins that were depleted from these fractions upon infection. We hypothesized that proteins, of which the abundance or distribution is affected by infection, are likely to be involved in the virus life cycle. Indeed, depletion of a small subset of the affected proteins by using small interfering RNAs identified several host factors involved in coronavirus infection. Transfection of small interfering RNAs targeting either C11orf59 or Golgi apparatus glycoprotein 1 resulted in increased virus replication, whereas depletion of vesicle-trafficking protein vesicle-trafficking protein sec22b enhanced the release of infectious progeny virus. Overexpression of these proteins, on the other hand, had a negative effect on virus replication. Overall, our study shows that the SILAC approach is a suitable tool to study host-pathogen interactions and to identify host proteins involved in virus replication.
The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus H5N1 causes multi-organ disease and death in poultry, resulting in significant economic losses in the poultry industry. In addition, it poses a major public health threat as it can be transmitted directly from infected poultry to humans with very high (60%) mortality rate. Effective vaccination against HPAI H5N1 would protect commercial poultry and would thus provide an important control measure by reducing the likelihood of bird-to-bird and bird-to-human transmission.
In this study we evaluated the receptor-binding properties of recombinant soluble hemagglutinin (HA) trimers (subtype H2 and H7) produced in insect S2 cells, human HEK293T or HEK293S GnTI(-) cells, which produce proteins with paucimannose, complex or high-mannose N-linked glycans, respectively. The results show that HA proteins that only differ in their glycosylation status possess different receptor fine specificities. HEK293T cell-produced HA displayed a very narrow receptor specificity. However, when treated with neuraminidase this HA was able to bind more glycans with similar specificity as HEK293S GnTI(-) cell-produced HA. Insect cell-produced HA demonstrated decreased receptor specificity. As a consequence, differences in HA fine receptor specificities could not be observed with the insect cell-, but were readily detected with the HEK293S GnTI(-) cell-produced HAs.
Eel herpesvirus or anguillid herpesvirus 1 (AngHV1) frequently causes disease in freshwater eels. The complete genome sequence of AngHV1 and its taxonomic position within the family Alloherpesviridae were determined. Shotgun sequencing revealed a 249 kbp genome including an 11 kbp terminal direct repeat that contains 7 of the 136 predicted protein-coding open reading frames. Twelve of these genes are conserved among other members of the family Alloherpesviridae and another 28 genes have clear homologues in cyprinid herpesvirus 3. Phylogenetic analyses based on amino acid sequences of five conserved genes, including the ATPase subunit of the terminase, confirm the position of AngHV1 within the family Alloherpesviridae, where it is most closely related to the cyprinid herpesviruses. Our analyses support a recent proposal to subdivide the family Alloherpesviridae into two sister clades, one containing AngHV1 and the cyprinid herpesviruses and the other containing Ictalurid herpesvirus 1 and the ranid herpesviruses.
Coronaviruses induce in infected cells the formation of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) in which the replication-transcription complexes (RTCs) are anchored. To study the dynamics of these coronavirus replicative structures, we generated recombinant murine hepatitis coronaviruses that express tagged versions of the nonstructural protein nsp2. We demonstrated by using immunofluorescence assays and electron microscopy that this protein is recruited to the DMV-anchored RTCs, for which its C terminus is essential. Live-cell imaging of infected cells demonstrated that small nsp2-positive structures move through the cytoplasm in a microtubule-dependent manner. In contrast, large fluorescent structures are rather immobile. Microtubule-mediated transport of DMVs, however, is not required for efficient replication. Biochemical analyses indicated that the nsp2 protein is associated with the cytoplasmic side of the DMVs. Yet, no recovery of fluorescence was observed when (part of) the nsp2-positive foci were bleached. This result was confirmed by the observation that preexisting RTCs did not exchange fluorescence after fusion of cells expressing either a green or a red fluorescent nsp2. Apparently, nsp2, once recruited to the RTCs, is not exchanged with nsp2 present in the cytoplasm or at other DMVs. Our data show a remarkable resemblance to results obtained recently by others with hepatitis C virus. The observations point to intriguing and as yet unrecognized similarities between the RTC dynamics of different plus-strand RNA viruses.
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a lethal systemic disease caused by FIP virus (FIPV), a virulent mutant of apathogenic feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). We analysed the 3c gene--a proposed virulence marker--in 27 FECV- and 28 FIPV-infected cats. Our findings suggest that functional 3c protein expression is crucial for FECV replication in the gut, but dispensable for systemic FIPV replication. Whilst intact in all FECVs, the 3c gene was mutated in the majority (71.4 %) of FIPVs, but not in all, implying that mutation in 3c is not the (single) cause of FIP. Most cats with FIP had no detectable intestinal feline coronaviruses (FCoVs) and had seemingly cleared the primary FECV infection. In those with detectable intestinal FCoV, the virus always had an intact 3c and seemed to have been acquired by FECV superinfection. Apparently, 3c-inactivated viruses replicate not at all--or only poorly--in the gut, explaining the rare incidence of FIP outbreaks.
Equid herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1)-associated myeloencephalopathy (EHM) may follow an infection with the virus in horses. This study tested three hypotheses: (1) a large inhaled dose of a neuropathogenic EHV-1 strain would induce a cell-associated viraemia in all infected horses; (2) neurological disease will only occur in viraemic horses, and (3) the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) composition following EHV-1 viraemia will be an indicator for EHM. Four EHV-1 seronegative horses were inoculated with EHV-1 by inhalation. Three developed clinical signs of neurological disease, which were mild in two horses and lacking typical EHM histopathological findings, but moderately severe in the third horse. This latter animal was the only one found to be viraemic, with xanthochromic CSF and spinal cord histopathology findings characteristic of EHM. This study showed that cell-associated viraemia was not guaranteed, despite a large-dose inoculation with EHV-1, yet viraemia was probably a pre-requisite for subsequent development of EHM. The histopathological changes used to confirm EHM may be predicted from CSF analysis.
Two pathogenetically different pigeon paramyxovirus type 1 (PPMV-1) virus clones were recently derived by passage of a single isolate with an intracerebral pathogenicity index (ICPI) of 0.32. The virus clones had an ICPI of 0.025 and 1.3, respectively (Fuller et al., 2007). Remarkably both viruses contained a cleavage site motif in the precursor fusion (F) protein that is usually associated with virulent viruses. In the current study, both viral genomes were completely sequenced and only four amino acid differences were observed. Of these, two were considered irrelevant on theoretical grounds and two amino acid changes were unique for virus 0.025. The latter were introduced into an infectious clone of a virulent Newcastle disease virus strain, individually and combined, and the effects of the mutations on pathogenicity were examined. The results indicate that only the S453P substitution in the F protein had a modest effect on pathogenicity. We were not able to identify the molecular basis for the pathogenicity difference between both viruses. However, our observations emphasize the need to determine both the virulence (ICPI) and the sequence of the cleavage site of the F protein to avoid dismissing of potential virulent PPMV-1 isolates.
Coronaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses with features attractive for oncolytic therapy. To investigate this potential, we redirected the coronavirus murine hepatitis virus (MHV), which is normally unable to infect human cells, to human tumor cells by using a soluble receptor (soR)-based expression construct fused to an epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor targeting moiety. Addition of this adapter protein to MHV allowed infection of otherwise nonsusceptible, EGF receptor (EGFR)-expressing cell cultures. We introduced the sequence encoding the adaptor protein soR-EGF into the MHV genome to generate a self-targeted virus capable of multiround infection. The resulting recombinant MHV was viable and had indeed acquired the ability to infect all glioblastoma cell lines tested in vitro. Infection of malignant human glioblastoma U87DeltaEGFR cells gave rise to release of progeny virus and efficient cell killing in vitro. To investigate the oncolytic capacity of the virus in vivo, we used an orthotopic U87DeltaEGFR xenograft mouse model. Treatment of mice bearing a lethal intracranial U87DeltaEGFR tumor by injection with MHVsoR-EGF significantly prolonged survival compared to phosphate-buffered saline-treated (P = 0.001) and control virus-treated (P = 0.004) animals, and no recurrent tumor load was observed. However, some adverse effects were seen in normal mouse brain tissues that were likely caused by the natural murine tropism of MHV. This is the first demonstration of oncolytic activity of a coronavirus in vivo. It suggests that nonhuman coronaviruses may be attractive new therapeutic agents against human tumors.
The role of type I IFNs in protecting against coronavirus (CoV) infections is not fully understood. While CoVs are poor inducers of type I IFNs in tissue culture, several studies have demonstrated the importance of the type I IFN response in controlling MHV infection in animals. The protective effectors against MHV infection are, however, still unknown.
Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a powerful new method to study virus dissemination in the live animal. Here we used this method to monitor the spatial and temporal progression of mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV) infection in mice using luciferase-expressing viruses. Upon intranasal inoculation, virus replication could initially be observed in the nasal cavity and the cervical lymph nodes, after which the infection spread to the brain and frequently to the eyes. The kinetics of virus spread to and clearance from the brain appeared to depend on the inoculation dose. After intraperitoneal inoculation, virus replication was predominantly observed in the liver and occasionally in the intestines, but interestingly also in the tail and paws. BLI thus elucidated new anatomic locations of virus replication. Furthermore, MHV dissemination was shown to be critically depended on the viral spike protein, but also on the mouse strain used. Widespread dissemination was observed in mice lacking a functional type I interferon response. The importance of the type I interferon system in limiting viral spread was also demonstrated by the administration of type I interferons to mice. Our results provide new insights in coronavirus pathogenesis and demonstrate the potential of BLI to study coronavirus-host interactions in vivo.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses containing the largest reported RNA genomes. As a result of their pleomorphic nature, our structural insight into the coronavirion is still rudimentary, and it is based mainly on 2D electron microscopy. Here we report the 3D virion structure of coronaviruses obtained by cryo-electron tomography. Our study focused primarily on the coronavirus prototype murine hepatitis virus (MHV). MHV particles have a distinctly spherical shape and a relatively homogenous size ( approximately 85 nm envelope diameter). The viral envelope exhibits an unusual thickness (7.8 +/- 0.7 nm), almost twice that of a typical biological membrane. Focal pairs revealed the existence of an extra internal layer, most likely formed by the C-terminal domains of the major envelope protein M. In the interior of the particles, coiled structures and tubular shapes are observed, consistent with a helical nucleocapsid model. Our reconstructions provide no evidence of a shelled core. Instead, the ribonucleoprotein seems to be extensively folded onto itself, assuming a compact structure that tends to closely follow the envelope at a distance of approximately 4 nm. Focal contact points and thread-like densities connecting the envelope and the ribonucleoprotein are revealed in the tomograms. Transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirion tomograms confirm all the general features and global architecture observed for MHV. We propose a general model for the structure of the coronavirion in which our own and published observations are combined.
Coronaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses that are important infectious agents of both animals and humans. A common feature among positive-strand RNA viruses is their assembly of replication-transcription complexes in association with cytoplasmic membranes. Upon infection, coronaviruses extensively rearrange cellular membranes into organelle-like replicative structures that consist of double-membrane vesicles and convoluted membranes to which the nonstructural proteins involved in RNA synthesis localize. Double-stranded RNA, presumably functioning as replicative intermediate during viral RNA synthesis, has been detected at the double-membrane vesicle interior. Recent studies have provided new insights into the assembly and functioning of the coronavirus replicative structures. This review will summarize the current knowledge on the biogenesis of the replicative structures, the membrane anchoring of the replication-transcription complexes, and the location of viral RNA synthesis, with particular focus on the dynamics of the coronavirus replicative structures and individual replication-associated proteins.
Equine arteritis virus (EAV) is an enveloped, positive-strand RNA virus. Genome replication of EAV has been associated with modified intracellular membranes that are shaped into double-membrane vesicles (DMVs). We showed by immuno-electron microscopy that the DMVs induced in EAV-infected cells contain double-strand (ds)RNA molecules, presumed RNA replication intermediates, and are decorated with the autophagy marker protein microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3). Replication of EAV, however, was not affected in autophagy-deficient cells lacking autophagy-related protein 7 (ATG7). Nevertheless, colocalization of DMVs and LC3 was still observed in these knockout cells, which only contain the nonlipidated form of LC3. Although autophagy is not required, depletion of LC3 markedly reduced the replication of EAV. EAV replication could be fully restored in these cells by expression of a nonlipidated form of LC3. These findings demonstrate an autophagy-independent role for LC3 in EAV replication. Together with the observation that EAV-induced DMVs are also positive for ER degradation-enhancing ?-mannosidase-like 1 (EDEM1), our data suggested that this virus, similarly to the distantly-related mouse hepatitis coronavirus, hijacks the ER-derived membranes of EDEMosomes to ensure its efficient replication.
Highly virulent pantropic canine coronavirus (CCoV) strains belonging to subtype IIa were recently identified in dogs. To assess the distribution of such strains in Europe, tissue samples were collected from 354 dogs that had died after displaying systemic disease in France (n = 92), Hungary (n = 75), Italy (n = 69), Greece (n = 87), The Netherlands (n = 27), Belgium (n = 4), and Bulgaria (n = 1). A total of 124 animals tested positive for CCoV, with 33 of them displaying the virus in extraintestinal tissues. Twenty-four CCoV strains (19.35% of the CCoV-positive dogs) detected in internal organs were characterized as subtype IIa and consequently assumed to be pantropic CCoVs. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses of the 5 end of the spike protein gene showed that pantropic CCoV strains are closely related to each other, with the exception of two divergent French viruses that clustered with enteric strains.
Influenza A virus (IAV) contains a segmented negative-strand RNA genome. How IAV balances the replication and transcription of its multiple genome segments is not understood. We developed a dual competition assay based on the co-transfection of firefly or Gaussia luciferase-encoding genome segments together with plasmids encoding IAV polymerase subunits and nucleoprotein. At limiting amounts of polymerase subunits, expression of the firefly luciferase segment was negatively affected by the presence of its Gaussia luciferase counterpart, indicative of competition between reporter genome segments. This competition could be relieved by increasing or decreasing the relative amounts of firefly or Gaussia reporter segment, respectively. The balance between the luciferase expression levels was also affected by the identity of the untranslated regions (UTRs) as well as segment length. In general it appeared that genome segments displaying inherent higher expression levels were more efficient competitors of another segment. When natural genome segments were tested for their ability to suppress reporter gene expression, shorter genome segments generally reduced firefly luciferase expression to a larger extent, with the M and NS segments having the largest effect. The balance between different reporter segments was most dramatically affected by the introduction of UTR panhandle-stabilizing mutations. Furthermore, only reporter genome segments carrying these mutations were able to efficiently compete with the natural genome segments in infected cells. Our data indicate that IAV genome segments compete for available polymerases. Competition is affected by segment length, coding region, and UTRs. This competition is probably most apparent early during infection, when limiting amounts of polymerases are present, and may contribute to the regulation of segment-specific replication and transcription.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) causes a highly contagious often fatal disease in poultry, resulting in significant economic losses in the poultry industry. HPAIV H5N1 also poses a major public health threat as it can be transmitted directly from infected poultry to humans. One effective way to combat avian influenza with pandemic potential is through the vaccination of poultry. Several live vaccines based on attenuated Newcastle disease virus (NDV) that express influenza hemagglutinin (HA) have been developed to protect chickens or mammalian species against HPAIV. However, the zoonotic potential of NDV raises safety concerns regarding the use of live NDV recombinants, as the incorporation of a heterologous attachment protein may result in the generation of NDV with altered tropism and/or pathogenicity.
Recombinant soluble trimeric influenza A virus (IAV) hemagglutinin (sHA(3)) has proven an effective vaccine antigen against IAV. Here, we investigate to what extent the glycosylation status of the sHA(3) glycoprotein affects its immunogenicity. Different glycosylation forms of subtype H5 trimeric HA protein (sH5(3)) were produced by expression in insect cells and different mammalian cells in the absence and presence of inhibitors of N-glycan-modifying enzymes or by enzymatic removal of the oligosaccharides. The following sH5(3) preparations were evaluated: (i) HA proteins carrying complex glycans produced in HEK293T cells; (ii) HA proteins carrying Man(9)GlcNAc(2) moieties, expressed in HEK293T cells treated with kifunensine; (iii) HA proteins containing Man(5)GlcNAc(2) moieties derived from HEK293S GnTI(-) cells; (iv) insect cell-produced HA proteins carrying paucimannosidic N-glycans; and (v) HEK293S GnTI(-) cell-produced HA proteins treated with endoglycosidase H, thus carrying side chains composed of only a single N-acetylglucosamine each. The different HA glycosylation states were confirmed by comparative electrophoretic analysis and by mass spectrometric analysis of released glycans. The immunogenicity of the HA preparations was studied in chickens and mice. The results demonstrate that HA proteins carrying terminal mannose moieties induce significantly lower hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers than HA proteins carrying complex glycans or single N-acetylglucosamine side chains. However, the glycosylation state of the HA proteins did not affect the breadth of the antibody response as measured by an HA1 antigen microarray. We conclude that the glycosylation state of recombinant antigens is a factor of significant importance when developing glycoprotein-based vaccines, such as recombinant HA proteins.
We used deep sequencing of poly(A) RNA to characterize the transcriptome of an economically important eel virus, anguillid herpesvirus 1 (AngHV1), at a stage during the lytic life cycle when infectious virus was being produced. In contrast to the transcription of mammalian herpesviruses, the overall level of antisense transcription from the 248,526-bp genome was low, amounting to only 1.5% of transcription in predicted protein-coding regions, and no abundant, nonoverlapping, noncoding RNAs were identified. RNA splicing was found to be more common than had been anticipated previously. Counting the 10,634-bp terminal direct repeat once, 100 splice junctions were identified, of which 58 were considered likely to be involved in the expression of functional proteins because they represent splicing between protein-coding exons or between 5 untranslated regions and protein-coding exons. Each of the 30 most highly represented of these 58 splice junctions was confirmed by RT-PCR. We also used deep sequencing to identify numerous putative 5 and 3 ends of AngHV1 transcripts, confirming some and adding others by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). The findings prompted a revision of the AngHV1 genome map to include a total of 129 protein-coding genes, 5 of which are duplicated in the terminal direct repeat. Not counting duplicates, 11 genes contain integral, spliced protein-coding exons, and 9 contain 5 untranslated exons or, because of alternative splicing, 5 untranslated and 5 translated exons. The results of this study sharpen our understanding of AngHV1 genomics and provide the first detailed view of a fish herpesvirus transcriptome.
Coronaviruses are well known for their potential to change their host or tissue tropism, resulting in unpredictable new diseases and changes in pathogenicity; severe acute respiratory syndrome and feline coronaviruses, respectively, are the most recognized examples. Feline coronaviruses occur as 2 pathotypes: nonvirulent feline enteric coronaviruses (FECVs), which replicate in intestinal epithelium cells, and lethal feline infectious peritonitis viruses (FIPVs), which replicate in macrophages. Evidence indicates that FIPV originates from FECV by mutation, but consistent distinguishing differences have not been established. We sequenced the full genome of 11 viruses of each pathotype and then focused on the single most distinctive site by additionally sequencing hundreds of viruses in that region. As a result, we identified 2 alternative amino acid differences in the putative fusion peptide of the spike protein that together distinguish FIPV from FECV in >95% of cases. By these and perhaps other mutations, the virus apparently acquires its macrophage tropism and spreads systemically.
Immunological checkpoints, such as the inhibitory CD200 receptor (CD200R), play a dual role in balancing the immune system during microbial infection. On the one hand these inhibitory signals prevent excessive immune mediated pathology but on the other hand they may impair clearance of the pathogen. We studied the influence of the inhibitory CD200-CD200R axis on clearance and pathology in two different virus infection models. We find that lack of CD200R signaling strongly enhances type I interferon (IFN) production and viral clearance and improves the outcome of mouse hepatitis corona virus (MHV) infection, particularly in female mice. MHV clearance is known to be dependent on Toll like receptor 7 (TLR7)-mediated type I IFN production and sex differences in TLR7 responses previously have been reported for humans. We therefore hypothesize that CD200R ligation suppresses TLR7 responses and that release of this inhibition enlarges sex differences in TLR7 signaling. This hypothesis is supported by our findings that in vivo administration of synthetic TLR7 ligand leads to enhanced type I IFN production, particularly in female Cd200(-/-) mice and that CD200R ligation inhibits TLR7 signaling in vitro. In influenza A virus infection we show that viral clearance is determined by sex but not by CD200R signaling. However, absence of CD200R in influenza A virus infection results in enhanced lung neutrophil influx and pathology in females. Thus, CD200-CD200R and sex are host factors that together determine the outcome of viral infection. Our data predict a sex bias in both beneficial and pathological immune responses to virus infection upon therapeutic targeting of CD200-CD200R.
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 cells 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.
Influenza A virus (IAV) enters host cells after attachment of its hemagglutinin (HA) to surface-exposed sialic acid. Sialylated N-linked glycans have been reported to be essential for IAV entry [Chu VC, Whittaker GR (2004) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:18153-18158], thereby implicating the requirement for proteinaceous receptors in IAV entry. Here we show, using different N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase 1 (GnT1)-deficient cells, that N-linked sialosides can mediate, but are not required for, entry of IAV. Entry into GnT1-deficient cells was fully dependent on sialic acid. Although macropinocytic entry appeared to be affected by the absence of sialylated N-glycans, dynamin-dependent entry was not affected at all. However, binding of HA to GnT1-deficient cells and subsequent entry of IAV were reduced by the presence of serum, which could be reversed by back-transfection of a GnT1-encoding plasmid. The inhibitory effect of serum was significantly increased by inhibition of the viral receptor-destroying enzyme neuraminidase (NA). Our results indicate that decoy receptors on soluble serum factors compete with cell surface receptors for binding to HA in the absence of sialylated N-glycans at the cell surface. This competition is particularly disturbed by the additional presence of NA inhibitors, resulting in strongly reduced IAV entry. Our results indicate that the balance between HA and NA is important not only for virion release, but also for entry into cells.
Coronaviruses induce in infected cells the formation of replicative structures, consisting of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) and convoluted membranes, where viral RNA synthesis supposedly takes place and to which the nonstructural proteins (nsps) localize. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), the presumed intermediate in RNA synthesis, is localized to the DMV interior. However, as pores connecting the DMV interior with the cytoplasm have not been detected, it is unclear whether RNA synthesis occurs at these same sites. Here, we studied coronavirus RNA synthesis by feeding cells with a uridine analogue, after which nascent RNAs were detected using click chemistry. Early in infection, nascent viral RNA and nsps colocalized with or occurred adjacent to dsRNA foci. Late in infection, the correlation between dsRNA dots, then found dispersed throughout the cytoplasm, and nsps and nascent RNAs was less obvious. However, foci of nascent RNAs were always found to colocalize with the nsp12-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. These results demonstrate the feasibility of detecting viral RNA synthesis by using click chemistry and indicate that dsRNA dots do not necessarily correspond with sites of active viral RNA synthesis. Rather, late in infection many DMVs may harbor dsRNA molecules that are no longer functioning as intermediates in RNA synthesis.
Expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is associated with aggressive growth and metastasis of a range of tumours, including osteosarcomas (OS), although some studies have reported no relevance to clinicopathological events or prognosis. The present study evaluated EGFR mRNA and protein expression in a panel of OS cell lines, normal bones, frozen primary OS and tissue microarrays. EGFR expression was significantly elevated in primary OS compared to normal bones and in metastases of OS to the lungs in comparison with extrapulmonary sites. However, there were no clinical or pathological associations with mRNA expression levels in frozen tumours. Tissue microarray analysis demonstrated that a subset of canine OS with high EGFR expression was associated with significantly shorter survival times and disease-free intervals. Cytoplasmic expression of EGFR was present in 75% of metastases and was similar to expression in primary tumours. EGFR expression alone is not a reliable predictor of outcome and other markers are necessary for further prognostic stratification of dogs with OS. However, these findings suggest that a subset of dogs may benefit from anti-EGFR adjuvant therapies.
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