As remnants of ancient retroviral infections, human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) become part of the host genome and represent around 8% of the human genome. The envelope of HERV-W family (HERV-W env), located on chromosome 7q21-22, has pivotal physiological functions in formation of the placenta. Recent studies suggest that the abnormal expression of HERV-W env is linked to schizophrenia and may participate in the etiology of schizophrenia, however, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In this issue, Wu et al. observed the aberrant expression of 5-HT4R in patients with schizophrenia. Further analysis indicated a negative correlation between plasma 5-HT4R and HERV-W env. Cytological experiments indicated HERV-W env could upregulate SK2 expression through downregulating 5-HT4R expression. Additionally, electrophysiological recordings suggested that HERV-W env could increase SK2 channel currents via 5-HT4R. The cover image illustrates the possible role of HERV-W env that influences neuronal activity in schizophrenia. See page 9–22 for details.
Influenza A virus (IAV) genome comprises eight negative-sense RNA segments, of which the replication is well orchestrated and the delicate balance of multiple segments are dynamically regulated throughout IAV life cycle. However, previous studies seldom discuss these balances except for functional hemagglutinin-neuraminidase balance that is pivotal for both virus entry and release. Therefore, we attempt to revisit IAV life cycle by highlighting the critical role of "genome balance". Moreover, we raise a "balance regression" model of IAV evolution that the virus evolves to rebalance its genome after reassortment or interspecies transmission, and direct a "balance compensation" strategy to rectify the "genome imbalance" as a result of artificial modifications during creation of recombinant IAVs. This review not only improves our understanding of IAV life cycle, but also facilitates both basic and applied research of IAV in future.
The human endogenous retroviruses type W family envelope (HERV-W env) gene is located on chromosome 7q21-22. Our previous studies show that HERV-W env is elevated in schizophrenia and HERV-W env can increase calcium influx. Additionally, the 5-HTergic system and particularly 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptors play a prominent role in the pathogenesis and treatment of schizophrenia. 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 4 (5-HT4R) agonist can block calcium channels. However, the underlying relationship between HERV-W env and 5-HT4R in the etiology of schizophrenia has not been revealed. Here, we used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to detect the concentration of HERV-W env and 5-HT4R in the plasma of patients with schizophrenia and we found that there were decreased levels of 5-HT4R and a negative correlation between 5-HT4R and HERV-W env in schizophrenia. Overexpression of HERV-W env decreased the transcription and protein levels of 5-HT4R but increased small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ type 2 channels (SK2) expression levels. Further studies revealed that HERV-W env could interact with 5-HT4R. Additionally, luciferase assay showed that an essential region (-364 to -176 from the transcription start site) in the SK2 promoter was required for HERV-W env-induced SK2 expression. Importantly, 5-HT4R participated in the regulation of SK2 expression and promoter activity. Electrophysiological recordings suggested that HERV-W env could increase SK2 channel currents and the increase of SK2 currents was inhibited by 5-HT4R. In conclusion, HERV-W env could activate SK2 channels via decreased 5-HT4R, which might exhibit a novel mechanism for HERV-W env to influence neuronal activity in schizophrenia.
Zika virus (ZIKV) evolves non-structural proteins to evade immune response and ensure efficient replication in the host cells. Cholesterol metabolic enzyme 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7) was recently reported to impact innate immune responses in ZIKV infection. However, the vital non-structural protein and mechanisms involved in DHCR7-mediated viral evasion are not well elucidated. In this study, we demonstrated that ZIKV infection facilitated DHCR7 expression. Notably, the upregulated DHCR7 in turn facilitated ZIKV infection and blocking DHCR7 suppressed ZIKV infection. Mechanically, ZIKV non-structural protein 4B (NS4B) interacted with DHCR7 to induce DHCR7 expression. Moreover, DHCR7 inhibited TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) and interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) phosphorylation, which resulted in the reduction of interferon-beta (IFN-β) and interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) productions. Therefore, we propose that ZIKV NS4B binds to DHCR7 to repress TBK1 and IRF3 activation, which in turn inhibits IFN-β and ISGs, and thereby facilitating ZIKV evasion. This study broadens the insights on how viral non-structural proteins antagonize innate immunity to facilitate viral infection via cholesterol metabolic enzymes and intermediates.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) pathogen that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) characterized by hemorrhagic manifestation, multiple organ failure and high mortality rate, posing great threat to public health. Despite the recently increasing research efforts on CCHFV, host cell responses associated with CCHFV infection remain to be further characterized. Here, to better understand the cellular response to CCHFV infection, we performed a transcriptomic analysis in human kidney HEK293 cells by high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technology. In total, 496 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), including 361 up-regulated and 135 down-regulated genes, were identified in CCHFV-infected cells. These regulated genes were mainly involved in host processes including defense response to virus, response to stress, regulation of viral process, immune response, metabolism, stimulus, apoptosis and protein catabolic process. Therein, a significant up-regulation of type III interferon (IFN) signaling pathway as well as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response was especially remarkable. Subsequently, representative DEGs from these processes were well validated by RT-qPCR, confirming the RNA-seq results and the typical regulation of IFN responses and ER stress by CCHFV. Furthermore, we demonstrate that not only type I but also type III IFNs (even at low dosages) have substantial anti-CCHFV activities. Collectively, the data may provide new and comprehensive insights into the virus-host interactions and particularly highlights the potential role of type III IFNs in restricting CCHFV, which may help inform further mechanistic delineation of the viral infection and development of anti-CCHFV strategies.
H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) circulate globally in poultry and have become the dominant AIV subtype in China in recent years. Previously, we demonstrated that the H9N2 virus (A/chicken/Eastern China/SDKD1/2015) naturally harbors a mammalian-adaptive molecular factor (627K) in the PB2 protein and is weakly pathogenic in mice. Here, we focused on new markers for virulence in mammals. A mouse-adapted H9N2 virus was serially passaged in mice by infecting their lungs. As expected, infected mice showed clinical symptoms and died at passage six. A comparison between the wild-type and mouse-adapted virus sequences identified amino acid substitutions in the hemagglutinin (HA) protein. H9N2 viruses with the T187P + M227L double mutation exhibited an increased affinity to human-type (SAα2,6Gal) receptors and significantly enhanced viral attachment to mouse lung tissues, which contributed to enhancing viral replication and virulence in mice. Additionally, HA with the T187P + M227L mutation enabled H9N2 viral transmission in guinea pigs via direct contact. AIV pathogenicity in mice is a polygenic trait. Our results demonstrated that these HA mutations might be combined with PB2-627K to significantly increase H9N2 virulence in mice, and this enhanced virulence was achieved in other H9N2 AIVs by generating the same combination of mutations. In summary, our study identified novel key elements in the HA protein that are required for H9N2 pathogenicity in mice and provided valuable insights into pandemic preparedness against emerging H9N2 strains.
Noroviruses (NoVs) are the primary cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide. Histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) are receptors or attachment factors that affect the prevalence and host susceptibility of NoVs. GII.6 NoV is one of the predominant genotypes in humans, which recognizes the type ABO secretor of HBGAs. However, the structural basis of GII.6 NoV's interaction with HBGAs receptors remains elusive. In this study, we investigated the binding features of the GII.6 strain to HBGAs using saliva- and glycan-ELISA assays and characterized the molecular basis of the GII.6 virus that recognizes H disaccharide. We showed that the GII.6 P domain recognized some A and O secretor's saliva samples, most B secretor's saliva samples, and H disaccharide antigen, but did not bind non-secretors' saliva. Further, we determined the crystal structures of GII.6 and its complex with H disaccharides at 1.7 Å, revealing that the P domain of GII.6 shares the conventional binding interface and mode of GII HBGAs. Single residue mutations at the GII.6-H binding sites could inhibit the binding of GII.6 to HBGAs, demonstrating that the interaction residues were crucial in maintaining NoV-glycan integrity. Finally, structural and sequence analyses showed that the major residues of the GII.6-H interaction were conserved among NoVs in the GII genogroup. Taken together, our study characterized the functional and structural features of GII.6 that allow it to interact with HBGAs, and shed light on NoV evolution, epidemiology, and anti-viral drug development.
Zika virus (ZIKV) poses a serious threat to global public health due to its close relationship with neurological and male reproductive damage. However, deficiency of human testicular samples hinders the in-depth research on ZIKV-induced male reproductive system injury. Organoids are relatively simple in vitro models, which could mimic the pathological changes of corresponding organs. In this study, we constructed a 3D testicular organoid model using primary testicular cells from adult BALB/c mice. Similar to the testis, this organoid system has a blood-testis barrier (BTB)-like structure and could synthesize testosterone. ZIKV tropism of testicular cells and ZIKV-induced pathological changes in testicular organoid was also similar to that in mammalian testis. Therefore, our results provide a simple and reproducible in vitro testicular model for the investigations of ZIKV-induced testicular injury.
TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) is an essential protein kinase for activation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and induction of the type I interferons (IFN-I). Although the biochemical regulation of TBK1 activation has been studied, little is known about how enterovirus 71 (EV71) employs the deubiquitinases (DUBs) to regulate TBK1 activation for viral immune evasion. Here, we found that EV71 infection upregulated the expression of ubiquitin-specific protease 24 (USP24). Further studies revealed that USP24 physically interacted with TBK1, and can reduce K63-linked polyubiquitination of TBK1. Knockdown of USP24 upregulated TBK1 K63-linked polyubiquitination, promoted the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of IRF3, and in turn improved IFN-I production during EV71 infection. As a consequence, USP24 knockdown dramatically inhibited EV71 infection. This study revealed USP24 as a novel regulator of TBK1 activation, which promotes the understanding of immune evasion mechanisms of EV71 and could provide a potential strategy for treatment of EV71 infection.
African swine fever (ASF) is etiologically an acute, highly contagious and hemorrhagic disease caused by African swine fever virus (ASFV). Due to its genetic variation and phenotypic diversity, until now, no efficient commercial vaccines or therapeutic options are available. The ASFV genome contains a conserved middle region and two flexible ends that code for five multigene families (MGFs), while the biological functions of the MGFs are not fully characterized. Here, ASFV MGF505-2R-deficient mutant ASFV-Δ2R was constructed based on a highly virulent genotype II field isolate ASFV CN/GS/2018 currently circulating in China. Transcriptomic profiling demonstrated that ASFV-Δ2R was capable of inducing a larger number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) compared with ASFV CN/GS/2018. Hierarchical clustering of up-regulated DEGs revealed that ASFV-Δ2R induced the most dramatic expression of interferon-related genes and inflammatory and innate immune genes, as further validated by RT-qPCR. The GO and KEGG pathway analysis identified significantly enriched pathways involved in pathogen recognition and innate antiviral immunity. Conversely, pharmacological activation of those antiviral immune responses by exogenous cytokines, including type I/II IFNs, TNF-α and IL-1β, exerted combinatory effects and synergized in antiviral capacity against ASFV replication. Collectively, MGF505-2R is a newly identified inhibitor of innate immunity potentially implicated in immune evasion.
African swine fever virus (ASFV) is an important pathogen that causes a highly contagious and lethal disease in swine, for which neither a vaccine nor treatment is available. The DNA repair enzyme 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1 (OGG1), which excises the oxidative base lesion 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoG), has been linked to the pathogenesis of different diseases associated with viral infections. However, the role of OGG1-base excision repair (BER) in ASFV infection has been poorly investigated. Our study aimed to characterize the alteration of host reactive oxygen species (ROS) and OGG1 and to analyse the role of OGG1 in ASFV infection. We found that ASFV infection induced high levels and dynamic changes in ROS and 8-oxoG and consistently increased the expression of OGG1. Viral yield, transcription level, and protein synthesis were reduced in ASFV-infected primary alveolar macrophages (PAMs) treated by TH5487 or SU0268 inhibiting OGG1. The expression of BER pathway associated proteins of ASFV was also suppressed in OGG1-inhibited PAMs. Furthermore, OGG1 was found to negatively regulate interferon β (IFN-β) production during ASFV infection and IFN-β could be activated by OGG1 inhibition with TH5487 and SU0268, which blocked OGG1 binding to 8-oxoG. Additionally, the interaction of OGG1 with viral MGF360-14-L protein could disturb IFN-β production to further affect ASFV replication. These results suggest that OGG1 plays the crucial role in successful viral infection and OGG1 inhibitors SU0268 or TH5487 could be used as antiviral agents for ASFV infection.
Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is a widespread neurotropic virus that can reach the brain and cause a rare but acute herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) with a high mortality rate. Most patients present with changes in neurological and behavioral status, and survivors suffer long-term neurological sequelae. To date, the pathogenesis leading to brain damage is still not well understood. HSV-1 induced encephalitis in the central nervous system (CNS) in animals are usually very diffuse and progressing rapidly, and mostly fatal, making the analysis difficult. Here, we established a mouse model of HSE via intracerebral inoculation of modified version of neural-attenuated strains of HSV-1 (deletion of ICP34.5 and inserting a strong promoter into the latency-associated transcript region), in which the LMR-αΔpA strain initiated moderate productive infection, leading to strong host immune and inflammatory response characterized by persistent microglia activation. This viral replication activity and prolonged inflammatory response activated signaling pathways in neuronal damage, amyloidosis, Alzheimer's disease, and neurodegeneration, eventually leading to neuronal loss and behavioral changes characterized by hypokinesia. Our study reveals detailed pathogenic processes and persistent inflammatory responses in the CNS and provides a controlled, mild and non-lethal HSE model for studying long-term neuronal injury and increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases due to HSV-1 infection.
Taurolidine (TRD), a derivative of taurine, has anti-bacterial and anti-tumor effects by chemically reacting with cell-walls, endotoxins and exotoxins to inhibit the adhesion of microorganisms. However, its application in antiviral therapy is seldom reported. Here, we reported that TRD significantly inhibited the replication of influenza virus H5N1 in MDCK cells with the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (EC50) of 34.45 μg/mL. Furthermore, the drug inhibited the amplification of the cytokine storm effect and improved the survival rate of mice lethal challenged with H5N1 (protection rate was 86%). Moreover, TRD attenuated virus-induced lung damage and reduced virus titers in mice lungs. Administration of TRD reduced the number of neutrophils and increased the number of lymphocytes in the blood of H5N1 virus-infected mice. Importantly, the drug regulated the NF-κB signaling pathway by inhibiting the separation of NF-κB and IκBa, thereby reducing the expression of inflammatory factors. In conclusion, our findings suggested that TRD could act as a potential anti-influenza drug candidate in further clinical studies.
Influenza A virus (IAV), responsible for seasonal epidemics and recurring pandemics, represents a global threat to public health. Given the risk of a potential IAV pandemic, it is increasingly important to better understand virus-host interactions and develop new anti-viral strategies. Here, we reported nonmuscle myosin IIA (MYH9)-mediated regulation of IAV infection. MYH9 depletion caused a profound inhibition of IAV infection by reducing viral attachment and internalization in human lung epithelial cells. Surprisingly, overexpression of MYH9 also led to a significant reduction in viral productive infection. Interestingly, overexpression of MYH9 retained viral attachment, internalization, or uncoating, but suppressed the viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) activity in a minigenome system. Further analyses found that excess MYH9 might interrupt the formation of vRNP by interacting with the viral nucleoprotein (NP) and result in the reduction of the completed vRNP in the nucleus, thereby inhibiting subsequent viral RNA transcription and replication. Together, we discovered that MYH9 can interact with IAV NP protein and engage in the regulation of vRNP complexes, thereby involving viral replication. These findings enlighten new mechanistic insights into the complicated interface of host-IAV interactions, ultimately making it an attractive target for the generation of antiviral drugs.
Viral co-infection has been found in animals; however, the mechanisms of co-infection are unclear. The abundance and diversity of viruses in water make fish highly susceptible to co-infection. Here, we reported a co-infection in fish, which resulted in reduced host lethality and illustrated the intracellular molecular mechanism of viral co-infection. The spring viremia of carp virus (SVCV) is a highly lethal virus that infects Cyprinidae, such as zebrafish. The mortality of SVCV infection was significantly reduced when co-infected with the grass carp reovirus (GCRV). The severity of tissue damage and viral proliferation of SVCV was also reduced in co-infection with GCRV. The transcriptome bioinformatics analysis demonstrated that the effect on the host transcripts in response to SVCV infection was significantly reduced in co-infection. After excluding the extracellular interactions of these two viruses, the intracellular mechanisms were studied. We found that the GCRV NS38 remarkably decreased SVCV infection and viral proliferation. The interaction between GCRV NS38 and SVCV nucleoprotein (N) and phosphoprotein (P) proteins was identified, and NS38 downregulated both N and P proteins. Further analysis demonstrated that the N protein was degraded by NS38 indispensable of the autophagy receptor, sequestosome 1 (p62). Meanwhile, K63-linked ubiquitination of the P protein was reduced by NS38, leading to ubiquitinated degradation of the P protein. These results reveal that the intracellular viral protein interactions are a crucial mechanism of co-infection and influence the host pathology and expand our understanding in intracellular viral interactions co-infection.
Highlights 1. H5N8 viruses emerged in the wild bird habitat at Yishui Lake. 2. The homology between HG12 and a Russian human strain was over 99%. 3. HG12 can be transmitted through direct contact between guinea pigs.
Highlights 1. The first study describing the cross-reactivity of antibodies elicited by a Chinese smallpox vaccine against monkeypox virus. 2. Mice immunized with vaccinia virus Tiantan strain yield antibodies cross-reactive with monkeypox virus protective antigens. 3. Cross-reactivities of VTT-elicited antibodies against monkeypox protective antigens are ranging from 33% to 94%.
Highlights 1. Two RPA methods (F-RPA and VF- RPA) have been developed for monkeypox virus rapid detection. 2. The limit of detection was 15.32 copies/μL for F-RPA and 8.53 copies/μL for VF-RPA, 3. No cross-reaction was found in 14 rash and fever-associated viruses. 4. The two RPA methods developed are simple and rapid, making them potentially useful for detection of MPXV in the field/clinic.