Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a flavivirus transmitted by mosquitoes that causes severe encephalitis in humans and animals. It has been suggested that AXL, a transmembrane protein, can promote the replication of various flaviviruses, such as dengue (DENV), Zika (ZIKV), and West Nile (WNV) viruses. However, the effect of AXL on JEV infection has not yet been determined. In the present study, we demonstrate that AXL is down-regulated after JEV infection in the late stage. JEV NS2B-3 protein specifically interacted with AXL, and promoted AXL degradation through the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway. AXL-degradation increased cell apoptosis by disrupting phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signal transduction. In addition, the degradation of AXL promoted JEV release to supernatant, whereas the virus in the cell lysates decreased. The supplementation of AXL ligand Gas6 inhibited the JEV-mediated degradation of AXL. Altogether, we discover a new function of NS2B-3 during the process of JEV replication, and provide a new insight into the interactions between JEV and cell hosts.
We have previously reported that bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) DNA can replicate its genome and produce infectious virus-like particles in short term virion-infected S. cerevisiae (budding yeast) cultures (Zhao and Frazer 2002, Journal of Virology, 76:3359–64 and 76:12265–73). Here, we report the episomal replications of BPV-1 DNA in long term virion-infected S. cerevisiae culture up to 108 days. Episomal replications of the BPV-1 DNA could be divided into three patterns at three stages, early active replication (day 3–16), middle weak replication (day 23–34/45) and late stable replication (day 45–82). Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis analysis and Southern blot hybridization have revealed further that multiple replication intermediates of BPV-1 DNA including linear form, stranded DNA, monomers and higher oligomers were detected in the virion-infected yeast cells over the time course. Higher oligomers shown as covalently closed circular DNAs (cccDNAs) are the most important replication intermediates that serve as the main nuclear transcription template for producing all viral RNAs in the viral life cycle. In this study, the cccDNAs were generated at the early active replication stage with the highest frequencies and then at late stable replication, but they appeared to be suppressed at the middle weak replication. Our data provided a novel insight that BPV-1 genomic DNA could replicate episomally for the long period and produce the key replication intermediates cccDNAs in S. cerevisiae system.
The sudden emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has caused global panic in 2003, and the risk of SARS-CoV outbreak still exists. However, no specific antiviral drug or vaccine is available; thus, the development of therapeutic antibodies against SARS-CoV is needed. In this study, a nanobody phage-displayed library was constructed from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of alpacas immunized with the recombinant receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV. Four positive clones were selected after four rounds of bio-panning and subjected to recombinant expression in E. coli. Further biological identification demonstrated that one of the nanobodies, S14, showed high affinity to SARS-CoV RBD and potent neutralization activity at the picomole level against SARS-CoV pseudovirus. A competitive inhibition assay showed that S14 blocked the binding of SARS-CoV RBD to either soluble or cell-expressed angiotensinconverting enzyme 2 (ACE2). In summary, we developed a novel nanobody targeting SARS-CoV RBD, which might be useful for the development of therapeutics against SARS.
SARS-CoV-2 has become a global pandemic threatening human health and safety. It is urgent to find effective therapeutic agents and targets with the continuous emergence of novel mutant strains. The knowledge of the molecular basis and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 in host cells requires to be understood comprehensively. The unknown structure and function of nsp2 have hindered our understanding of its role in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we report the crystal structure of the N-terminal of SARS-CoV-2 nsp2 to a high resolution of 1.96?. This novel structure contains three zinc fingers, belonging to the C2H2, C4, and C2HC types, respectively. Structure analysis suggests that nsp2 may be involved in binding nucleic acids and regulating intracellular signaling pathways. The binding to single or double-stranded nucleic acids was mainly through the large positively charged region on the surface of nsp2, and K111, K112, K113 were key residues. Our findings lay the foundation for a better understanding of the relationship between structure and function for nsp2. It is helpful to make full use of nsp2 as further research and development of antiviral targets and drug design.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major pathogen of acute lower respiratory tract infection among young children. To investigate the prevalence and genetic characteristics of RSV in China, we performed a molecular epidemiological study during 2015-2019. A total of 964 RSV-positive specimens were identified from 5529 enrolled patients during a multi-center study. RSV subgroup A (RSV-A) was the predominant subgroup during this research period except in 2016. Totally, 535 sequences of the second hypervariable region (HVR-2) of the G gene were obtained. Combined with 182 Chinese sequences from GenBank, phylogenetic trees showed that 521 RSV-A sequences fell in genotypes ON1 (512), NA1 (6) and GA5 (3), respectively; while 196 RSV-B sequences fell in BA9 (193) and SAB4 (3). ON1 and BA9 were the only genotypes after December 2015. Genotypes ON1 and BA9 can be separated into 10 and 7 lineages, respectively. The HVR-2 of genotype ON1 had six amino acid changes with a frequency more than 10%, while two substitutions H258Q and H266L were co-occurrences. The HVR-2 of genotype BA9 had nine amino acid substitutions with a frequency more than 10%, while the sequences with T290I and T312I were all from 2018 to 2019. One N-glycosylation site at 237 was identified among ON1 sequences, while two N-glycosylation sites (296 and 310) were identified in the 60-nucleotide duplication region of BA9. To conclusion, ON1 and BA9 were the predominant genotypes in China during 2015-2019. For the genotypes ON1 and BA9, the G gene exhibited relatively high diversity and evolved continuously.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus. As an emerging virus, CHIKV imposes a threat to public health. Currently, there are no vaccines or antivirals available for the prevention of CHIKV infection. Lycorine, an alkaloid from Amaryllidaceae plants, has antiviral activity against a number of viruses such as coronavirus, flavivirus and enterovirus. In this study, we found that lycorine could inhibit CHIKV in cell culture at a concentration of 10 μmol/L without apparent cytotoxicity. In addition, it exhibited broad-spectrum anti-alphavirus activity, including Sindbis virus (SINV), Semliki Forest virus (SFV), and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus (VEEV). The time of addition studies indicated that lycorine functions at an early post-entry stage of CHIKV life cycle. The results based on two different CHIKV replicons provided further evidence that lycorine exerts its antiviral activity mainly by inhibiting CHIKV translation. Overall, our study extends the antiviral spectrum of lycorine.
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are important human and animal pathogens that cause respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. Porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), characterized by severe diarrhoea and vomiting in pigs, is a highly lethal disease caused by porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) and causes substantial losses in the swine industry worldwide. However, currently available commercial drugs have not shown great therapeutic effects. In this study, a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based assay was applied to screen a library containing 1, 590 compounds and identified two compounds, 3-(aminocarbonyl)-1-phenylpyridinium and 2, 3-dichloronaphthoquinone, that target the 3C-like protease (3CLpro) of PEDV. These compounds are of low molecular weight (MW) and greatly inhibited the activity of this enzyme (IC50 values were obtained in this study). Furthermore, these compounds exhibited antiviral capacity against another member of the CoV family, feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Here, the inhibitory effects of these compounds against CoVs on Vero cells and feline kidney cells were identified (with EC50 values) and cell viability assays were performed. The results of putative molecular docking models indicate that these compounds, labeled compound 1 and compound 2, contact the conserved active sites (Cys144, Glu165, Gln191) of 3CLpro via hydrogen bonds. These findings provide insight into the antiviral activities of compounds 1 and 2 that may facilitate future research on anti-CoV drugs.
Zika virus (ZIKV) infection could disrupt neurogenesis and cause microcephaly in neonates by targeting neural progenitor cells (NPCs). The tumor suppressor p53-mediated cell cycle arrest and apoptotic cell death have been suggested to be activated upon ZIKV infection,yet the detailed mechanism is not well understood. In the present study,we investigated the effects of ZIKV-encoded proteins in the activation of p53 signaling pathway and found that,among the ten viral proteins,the nonstructural protein 5 (NS5) of ZIKV most significantly activated the transcription of p53 target genes. Using the immunoprecipitation-coupled mass spectrometry approach,we identified that ZIKV-NS5 interacted with p53 protein. The NS5-p53 interaction was further confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation and GST pull-down assays. In addition,the MTase domain of NS5 and the C-terminal domain of p53 were mapped to be responsible for the interaction between these two proteins. We further showed that ZIKV-NS5 was colocalized with p53 and increased its protein level in the nuclei and able to prolong the half-life of p53. Furthermore,lentivirus-mediated expression of ZIKV-NS5 in hNPCs led to an apparent cell death phenotype. ZIKV-NS5 promoted the cleavage of PARP1 and significantly increased the cell apoptosis of hNPCs. Taken together,these findings revealed that ZIKV-NS5 is a previously undiscovered regulator of p53-mediated apoptosis in hNPCs,which may contribute to the ZIKV-caused abnormal neurodevelopment.
Human adenovirus type 55 (HAdV-B55) is a re-emergent acute respiratory disease pathogen that causes adult community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Previous studies have shown that the receptor of HAdV-B14,which genome is highly similar with HAdV-B55,is human Desmoglein 2 (DSG2). However,whether the receptor of HAdV-B55 is DSG2 is undetermined because there are three amino acid mutations in the fiber gene between HAdV-B14 and HAdV-B55. Here,firstly we found the 3T3 cells,a mouse embryo fibroblast rodent cell line which does not express human DSG2,were able to be infected by HAdV-B55 after transfected with pcDNA3.1-DSG2,while normal 3T3 cells were still unsusceptible to HAdV-B55 infection. Next,A549 cells with hDSG2 knock-down by siRNA were hard to be infected by HAdV-B3/-B14/-B55,while the control siRNA group was still able to be infected by all these types of HAdVs. Finally,immunofluorescence confocal microscopy indicated visually that Cy3-conjugated HAdV-B55 viruses entered A549 cells by binding to DSG2 protein. Therefore,DSG2 is a major receptor of HAdV-B55 causing adult CAP. Our finding is important for better understanding of interactions between adenoviruses and host cells and may shed light on the development of new drugs that can interfere with these processes as well as for the development of potent prophylactic vaccines.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has precipitated multiple variants resistant to therapeutic antibodies. In this study,12 high-affinity antibodies were generated from convalescent donors in early outbreaks using immune antibody phage display libraries. Of them,two RBD-binding antibodies (F61 and H121) showed high-affinity neutralization against SARS-CoV-2,whereas three S2-target antibodies failed to neutralize SARS-CoV-2. Following structure analysis,F61 identified a linear epitope located in residues G446–S494,which overlapped with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) binding sites,while H121 recognized a conformational epitope located on the side face of RBD,outside from ACE2 binding domain. Hence the cocktail of the two antibodies achieved better performance of neutralization to SARS-CoV-2. Importantly,these two antibodies also showed efficient neutralizing activities to the variants including B.1.1.7 and B.1.351,and reacted with mutations of N501Y,E484K,and L452R,indicated that it may also neutralize the recent India endemic strain B.1.617. The unchanged binding activity of F61 and H121 to RBD with multiple mutations revealed a broad neutralizing activity against variants,which mitigated the risk of viral escape. Our findings revealed the therapeutic basis of cocktail antibodies against constantly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and provided promising candidate antibodies to clinical treatment of COVID-19 patients infected with broad SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Similar to that of other enteroviruses, the replication of enterovirus 71 (EV71) occurs on rearranged membranous structures called replication organelles (ROs). Phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase Ⅲ (PI4KB), which is required by enteroviruses for RO formation, yields phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P) on ROs. PI4P then binds and induces conformational changes in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) to modulate RdRp activity. Here, we targeted 3D polymerase, the core enzyme of EV71 ROs, and found that the host factor Annexin A2 (ANXA2) can interact with 3D polymerase and promote the replication of EV71. Then, an experiment showed that the annexin domain of ANXA2, which possesses membrane-binding capacity, mediates the interaction of ANXA2 with EV71 3D polymerase. Further research showed that ANXA2 is localized on ROs and interacts with PI4KB. Overexpression of ANXA2 stimulated the formation of PI4P, and the level of PI4P was decreased in ANXA2-knockout cells. Furthermore, ANXA2, PI4KB, and 3D were shown to be localized to the viral RNA replication site, where they form a higher-order protein complex, and the presence of ANXA2 promoted the PI4KB-3D interaction. Altogether, our data provide new insight into the role of ANXA2 in facilitating formation of the EV71 RNA replication complex.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a pathogenic virus known to cause central nervous system (CNS) diseases in humans, and has become an increasing public health threat nowadays. The rates of TBEV infection in the endemic countries are increasing. However, there is no effective antiviral against the disease. This underscores the urgent need for tools to study the emergence and pathogenesis of TBEV and to accelerate the development of vaccines and antivirals. In this study, we reported an infectious cDNA clone of TBEV that was isolated in China (the WH2012 strain). A beta-globin intron was inserted in the coding region of nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) gene to improve the stability of viral genome in bacteria. In mammalian cells, the inserted intron was excised and spliced precisely, which did not lead to the generation of inserted mutants. High titers of infectious progeny viruses were generated after the transfection of the infectious clone. The cDNA-derived TBEV replicated efficiently, and caused typical cytopathic effect (CPE) and plaques in BHK-21 cells. In addition, the CPE and growth curve of cDNA-derived virus were similar to that of its parental isolate in cells. Together, we have constructed the first infectious TBEV cDNA clone in China, and the clone can be used to investigate the genetic determinants of TBEV virulence and disease pathogenesis, and to develop countermeasures against the virus.
Enteroviruses (EVs) 3C proteins suppress type Ⅰ interferon (IFN) responses mediated by retinoid acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), while an E3 ubiquitin ligase, tripartite motif protein 25 (TRIM25)-mediated RIG-I ubiquitination is essential for RIG-I antiviral activity. Therefore, whether the effect of EVs 3C on RIG-I is associated with TRIM25 expression is worth to be further investigated. Here, we demonstrate that 3C proteins of EV71 and coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) reduced not only RIG-I expression but also TRIM25 expression through protease cleavage activity, while overexpression of TRIM25 restored RIG-I expression and IFN-β production reduced by 3C proteins. Further investigation confirmed that the two amino acids and functional domains in TRIM25 required for RIG-I ubiquitination and TRIM25 structural conformation were essential for the recovery of RIG-I expression. Moreover, we also observed that TRIM25 could rescue RIG-I expression reduced by 3C proteins of CVA6 and EV-D68 but not CVA16. Our findings provide an insightful interpretation of 3C-mediated host innate immune suppression and support TRIM25 as an attractive target against multiple EVs infection.
Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) is a histone deacetylase inhibitor that shows marked efficacy against many types of cancers and is approved to treat severe metastatic cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. In addition to its anticancer activity, SAHA has significant effects on the growth of many viruses. The effect of SAHA on replication of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has not, however, been investigated. Here, we showed that the replication of HCMV was significantly suppressed by treatment with SAHA at concentrations that did not show appreciable cytotoxicity. SAHA reduced transcription and protein levels of HCMV immediate early genes, showing that SAHA acts at an early stage in the viral life-cycle. RNA-sequencing data mining showed that numerous pathways and molecules were affected by SAHA. Interferon-mediated immunity was one of the most relevant pathways in the RNA-sequencing data, and we confirmed that SAHA inhibits HCMV-induced IFN-mediated immune responses using quantitative Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4), which plays a role in lipid metabolism, was identified by RNA-sequencing. We found that FABP4 expression was reduced by HCMV infection but increased by treatment with SAHA. We then showed that knockdown of FABP4 partially rescued the effect of SAHA on HCMV replication. Our data suggest that FABP4 contributes to the inhibitory effect of SAHA on HCMV replication.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection identified as a definitive human carcinogen is increasingly being recognized for its role in carcinogenesis of human cancers. Up to 38%–80% of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in oropharyngeal location (OPSCC) and nearly all cervical cancers contain the HPV genome which is implicated in causing cancer through its oncoproteins E6 and E7. Given by the biologically distinct HPV-related OPSCC and a more favorable prognosis compared to HPV-negative tumors, clinical trials on de-escalation treatment strategies for these patients have been studied. It is therefore raised the questions for the patient stratification if treatment de-escalation is feasible. Moreover, understanding the crosstalk of HPV-mediated malignancy and immunity with clinical insights from the proportional response rate to immune checkpoint blockade treatments in patients with HNSCC is of importance to substantially improve the treatment efficacy. This review discusses the biology of HPV-related HNSCC as well as successful clinically findings with promising candidates in the pipeline for future directions. With the advent of various sequencing technologies, further biomolecules associated with HPV-related HNSCC progression are currently being identified to be used as potential biomarkers or targets for clinical decisions throughout the continuum of cancer care.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children. Inactivated RSV vaccine was developed in the late 1960's,but the vaccine-enhanced disease (VED) occurred to vaccinated infants upon subsequent natural RSV infection. The excessive inflammatory immunopathology in the lungs might be involved in the VED,but the underlying mechanisms remain not fully understood. In this study,we utilized UV-inactivated RSV in the prime/boost approach followed by RSV challenge in BALB/c mice to mimic RSV VED. The dynamic virus load,cytokines,histology and transcriptome profiles in lung tissues of mice were investigated from day 1 to day 6 post-infection. Compared to PBS-treated mice,UV-RSV vaccination leads to a Th2 type inflammatory response characterized by enhanced histopathology,reduced Treg cells and increased IL4+CD4 T cells in the lung. Enhanced production of several Th2 type cytokines (IL-4,IL-5,IL-10) and TGF-β,reduction of IL-6 and IL-17 were observed in UV-RSV vaccinated mice. A total of 5582 differentially expressed (DE) genes between PBS-treated or vaccinated mice and naïve mice were identified by RNA-Seq. Eleven conserved high-influential modules (HMs) were recognized,majorly grouped into regulatory networks related to cell cycle and cell metabolism,signal transduction,immune and inflammatory responses. At an early time post-infection,the vaccinated mice showed obvious decreased expression patterns of DE genes in 11 HMs compared to PBS-treated mice. The extracellular matrix (HM5) and immune responses (HM8) revealed tremendous differences in expression and regulation characteristics of transcripts between PBS-treated and vaccinated mice at both early and late time points. The highly connected genes in HM5 and HM8 networks were further validated by RT-qPCR. These findings reveal the relationship between RSV VED and immune responses,which could benefit the development of novel RSV vaccines.
Cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H) is a membrane protein associated with endoplasmic reticulum, and it is an interferon-stimulated factor regulated by interferon. CH25H catalyzes cholesterol to produce 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) by adding a second hydroxyl to the 25th carbon atom of cholesterol. Recent studies have shown that both CH25H and 25HC could inhibit the replication of many viruses. In this study, we found that ectopic expression of CH25H in HEK-293T and BHK-21 cell lines could inhibit the replication of Seneca Valley virus (SVV) and that there was no species difference. On the other hand, the knockdown of CH25H could enhance the replication of SVV in HEK-293T and BHK-21 cells, indicating the importance of CH25H. To some extent, the CH25H mutant without hydroxylase activity also lost its ability to inhibit SVV amplification. Further studies demonstrated that 25HC was involved in the entire life cycle of SVV, especially in repressing its adsorption process. This study reveals that CH25H exerts the advantage of innate immunity mainly by producing 25HC to block virion adsorption.
Cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H) and its enzymatic product 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) exert broadly antiviral activity including inhibiting HIV-1 infection. However, their antiviral immunity and therapeutic efficacy in a nonhuman primate model are unknown. Here, we report that the regimen of 25HC combined with antiretroviral therapy (ART), provides profound immunological modulation towards inhibiting viral replication in chronically SIVmac239-infected rhesus macaques (RMs). Compared to the ART alone, this regimen more effectively controlled SIV replication, enhanced SIV-specific cellular immune responses, restored the ratio of CD4/CD8 cells, reversed the hyperactivation state of CD4+ T cells, and inhibited the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines by CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in chronically SIV-infected RMs. Furthermore, the in vivo safety and the preliminary pharmacokinetics of the 25HC compound were assessed in this RM model. Taken together, these assessments help explain the profound relationship between cholesterol metabolism, immune modulation, and antiviral activities by 25HC. These results provide insight for developing novel therapeutic drug candidates against HIV-1 infection and other related diseases.
P rotavirus (RV) has been identified in many species, including human, simian, dog, and bat. Several glycans, including sialic acid, histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) are reported as RV attachment factors. The glycan binding specificity of different P RV VP8*s were investigated in this study. Human HCR3A and dog P RV VP8*s recognized glycans with terminal sialic acid and hemagglutinated the red blood cells, while bat P VP8* showed neither binding to glycans nor hemagglutination. However, the bat P VP8* mutant of C189Y obtained the ability to hemagglutinate the red blood cells, while human P HCR3A/M2-102 mutants of Y189C lost the ability. Sequence alignment and structural analysis indicated that residue 189 played an important role in the ligand recognition and may contribute to the cross-species transmission. Structural superimposition exhibited that bat P VP8* model was quite different from the simian P Rhesus rotavirus (RRV) P VP8*, indicating that bat P RV was relatively distinct and partially contributed to the no binding to tested glycans. These results promote our understanding of P VP8*/glycans interactions and the potential transmission of bat/human P RVs, offering more insight into the RV infection and prevalence.
We previously isolated a new species of the genus Phlebovirus from wild sandflies collected from Wuxiang County in central China, which named the Wuxiang virus (WUXV). In this study, we re-isolated the WUXV from wild sandflies collected from two villages in Yangquan County, China in 2019. Four virus isolates that caused cytopathic effects in BHK-21 cells were successfully isolated from sandfly specimens collected from chicken pens and sheep pens. Phylogenetic analyses of the L, M and S gene segments of the viruses revealed that the four virus strains represented the previously isolated WUXV. The minimum infection rate (MIR) of the virus isolated from the sheep pen was 3.21, and the MIR of the virus isolated from the chicken pen was 3.45. The positive rates of Wuxiang virus neutralizing antibodies in serum samples of local healthy people and domestic chickens were 8.7% (4/46) and 100% (4/4), respectively, suggesting that Wuxiang virus can infect human and animal. In view of the fact that Wuxiang virus is infectious to humans and animals and has a relatively wide geographical distribution in China, it is of great public health significance to strengthen the investigation and study on the infection status of Wuxiang virus in humans and animals.
Influenza A viruses (IAV) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics, which can lead to high morbidity and mortality each year. Like other viruses, influenza virus can hijack host cellular machinery for its replication. Host cells have evolved diverse cellular defense to resist the invasion of viruses. As the main components of promyelocytic leukemia protein nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), PML can inhibit the replication of many medically important viruses including IAV. However, the mechanism of PML against IAV is unclear. In the present study, we found PML was induced in response to IAV infection and ectopic expression of PML could inhibit IAV replication, whereas knockdown of endogenous PML expression could enhance IAV replication. Further studies showed that PML increased the expression of FBXW7 by inhibiting its K48-linked ubiquitination and enhanced the interaction between FBXW7 and SHP2, which negatively regulated IAV replication during infection. Moreover, PML stabilized RIG-I to promote the production of type Ⅰ IFN. Collectively, these data indicated that PML inhibited IAV replication by enhancing FBXW7 expression in the antiviral immunity against influenza virus and extended the mechanism of PML in antiviral immunity.
The emergence and re-emergence of RNA virus outbreaks highlight the urgent need for the development of broad-spectrum antivirals. Polyamines are positively-charged small molecules required for the infectivity of a wide range of RNA viruses, therefore may become good antiviral targets. Cucurbituril (CB), a synthetic macrocyclic molecule, which can bind with amine-based organic compounds with high affinity, has been shown to regulate bioactive molecules through competitive binding. In this study, we tested the antiviral activity of CB against diverse RNA viruses, including a panel of enteroviruses (i.e. human enterovirus A71, coxsackievirus A16, coxsackievirus B3, and echovirus 11), some flaviviruses (i.e. dengue virus and Zika virus), and an alphavirus representative Semliki forest virus. CB can inhibit virus replications in a variety of cell lines, and its mechanism of action is through the competitive binding with polyamines. Our findings not only for the first time provide evidence that CB can be a promising broad-spectrum antiviral agent, but more importantly, offer a novel therapeutic strategy to fight against RNA viruses by supramolecular sequestration of polyamines.
Influenza is one of the major respiratory diseases in humans. Macau is a tourist city with high density of population and special population mobility. The study on the epidemiological characteristics of influenza in Macau should bring great value for preventing influenza in tourist cities like Macau in the world. In this study, we collected a total of 104, 874 samples with influenza-like illness (ILI) in Macau from 2010 to 2018. Chi-square test and binary multivariable logistic regression were used to investigate the epidemiological characteristics of influenza A and B in Macau. Among these ILI samples, the overall positive rate is 17.17% for influenza A and 6.97% for influenza B. The epidemics of influenza in three years (i.e., 2012, 2017 and 2018) differ from the remaining years (i.e., normal years). In a normal year, influenza A occurs year-round whereas influenza B is seasonal. Our research shows significant differences in influenza infections between different age groups in normal years. Interestingly, our analysis shows no significant difference between locals and tourists in influenza A and B infection in a normal year, whereas the odds of influenza A in tourists were significantly higher than those in locals in July 2017 and the odds of influenza B in tourists were significantly higher than those in locals in January–February 2012 and January–February 2018. This is possibly attributed by the policy of free vaccination to everyone in Macau. These findings should be valuable for preventing influenza in not only Macau but also the world.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are the remains of ancient retroviruses that invaded our ancestors' germline cell and were integrated into the genome. The expression of HERVs has always been a cause for concern because of its association with various cancers and diseases. However, few previous studies have focused on specific activation of HERVs by viral infections. Our previous study has shown that dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2) infection induces the transcription of a large number of abnormal HERVs loci; therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between exogenous viral infection and HERV activation further. In this study, we retrieved and reanalyzed published data on 21 transcriptomes of human cells infected with various viruses. We found that infection with different viruses could induce transcriptional activation of HERV loci. Through the comparative analysis of all viral datasets, we identified 43 key HERV loci that were up-regulated by DENV-2, influenza A virus, influenza B virus, Zika virus, measles virus, and West Nile virus infections. Furthermore, the neighboring genes of these HERVs were simultaneously up-regulated, and almost all such neighboring genes were interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), which are enriched in the host's antiviral immune response pathways. Our data supported the hypothesis that activation of HERVs, probably via an interferon-mediated mechanism, plays an important role in innate immunity against viral infections.
SARS-CoV-2 causes the pandemic of COVID-19 and no effective drugs for this disease are available thus far. Due to the high infectivity and pathogenicity of this virus, all studies on the live virus are strictly confined in the biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory but this would hinder the basic research and antiviral drug development of SARS-CoV-2 because the BSL3 facility is not commonly available and the work in the containment is costly and laborious. In this study, we constructed a reverse genetics system of SARS-CoV-2 by assembling the viral cDNA in a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) vector with deletion of the spike (S) gene. Transfection of the cDNA into cells results in the production of an RNA replicon that keeps the capability of genome or subgenome replication but is deficient in virion assembly and infection due to the absence of S protein. Therefore, such a replicon system is not infectious and can be used in ordinary biological laboratories. We confirmed the efficient replication of the replicon by demonstrating the expression of the subgenomic RNAs which have similar profiles to the wild-type virus. By mutational analysis of nsp12 and nsp14, we showed that the RNA polymerase, exonuclease, and cap N7 methyltransferase play essential roles in genome replication and sgRNA production. We also created a SARS-CoV-2 replicon carrying a luciferase reporter gene and this system was validated by the inhibition assays with known anti-SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors. Thus, such a one-plasmid system is biosafe and convenient to use, which will benefit both fundamental research and development of antiviral drugs.
As a respiratory tract virus, SARS-CoV-2 infected people through contacting with the upper respiratory tract first. Previous studies indicated that microbiota could modulate immune response against pathogen infection. In the present study, we performed metagenomic sequencing of pharyngeal swabs from eleven patients with COVID-19 and eleven Non-COVID-19 patients who had similar symptoms such as fever and cough. Through metagenomic analysis of the above two groups and a healthy group from the public data, there are 6502 species identified in the samples. Specifically, the Pielou index indicated a lower evenness of the microbiota in the COVID-19 group than that in the Non-COVID-19 group. Combined with the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and the generalized linear model, eighty-one bacterial species were found with increased abundance in the COVID-19 group, where 51 species were enriched more than 8 folds. The top three enriched genera were Streptococcus, Prevotella and Campylobacter containing some opportunistic pathogens. More interestingly, through experiments, we found that two Streptococcus strains, S. suis and S. agalactiae, could stimulate the expression of ACE2 of Vero cells in vitro, which may promote SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, these enriched pathogens in the pharynxes of COVID-19 patients may involve in the virus-host interactions to affect SARS-CoV-2 infection and cause potential secondary bacterial infections through changing the expression of the viral receptor ACE2 and/or modulate the host's immune system.
No avian H7N9 outbreaks have occurred since the introduction of H7N9 inactivated vaccine in the fall of 2017. However, H7N9 is still prevalent in poultry. To surveil the prevalence, genetic characteristics, and antigenic changes of H7N9, over 7000 oropharyngeal and cloaca swab specimens were collected from live poultry markets and farms in 15 provinces of China from 2017 to 2019. A total of 85 influenza virus subtype H7N9 strains were isolated and 20 representative strains were selected for genetic analysis and antigenicity evaluation. Results indicated the decreased prevalence of low-pathogenic H7N9 strains while highly-pathogenic H7N9 strains became dominated since the introduction of vaccine. Phylogenetic analysis showed that strains from 2019 formed an independent small branch and were genetically distant to strains isolated in 2013–2018. Analysis of key amino acid sites showed that the virus strains may adapt to the host environment evolutionally through mutation. Our analysis predicted additional potential glycosylation sites for HA and NA genes in the 2019 strains. Sequence analysis of HA gene in strains isolated from 2018 to 2019 showed that there were an increased nucleotide substitution rate and an increased mutation rate in the first and second nucleotides of coding codons within the open reading frame. The hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay showed that H7-Re1 and H7-Re2 exhibited a lower HI titer for isolates from 2019, while H7-Re3 and rLN79 showed a high HI titer. The protective effect of the vaccine decreased after 15 months of use. Overall, under vaccination pressure, the evolution of influenza virus subtype H7N9 has accelerated.
Although antiretroviral treatment lowers the burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related disease, it does not always result in immunological recovery. This manifests as persistent chronic inflammation, immune activation or exhaustion that can promote the onset of co-morbidities. As the exact function of regulatory T (Treg) cells in HIV remains unclear, this cross-sectional study investigated three expression markers (Forkhead box protein P3 [FOXP3], glycoprotein A repetitions predominant [GARP], special AT-rich sequence binding protein 1 [SATB1]) and compared their expansion between CD4+CD25- and CD4+CD25++ T cells. Age-matched study subjects were recruited (Western Cape, South Africa) and sub-divided: HIV-negative subjects (n = 12), HIV-positive naïve treated (n = 22), HIV-positive treated based on CD4 count cells/μL (CD4 > 500 and CD4 < 500) (n = 34) and HIV-treated based on viral load (VL) copies/mL (VL < 1000 and VL > 1000) (n = 34). Markers of immune activation (CD38) and coagulation (CD142) on T cells (CD8) were assessed by flow cytometry together with FOXP3, GARP and SATB1 expression on CD4+CD25- and CD4+CD25++ T cells. Plasma levels of interleukin-10 (IL-10; anti-inflammatory marker), IL-6 (inflammatory marker) and D-dimer (coagulation marker) were assessed. This study revealed three major findings in immuno-compromised patients with virological failure (CD4 < 500; VL > 1000): (1) the expansion of the unconventional Treg cell subset (CD4+CD25-FOXP3+) is linked with disease progression markers; (2) increased GARP expression in the CD4+CD25- and CD4+CD25++ subsets; and (3) the identification of a strong link between CD4+CD25-SATB1+ cells and markers of immune activation (CD8+CD38+) and coagulation (CD8+CD142+ and D-dimer).
Porcine bocavirus (PBoV) is a single-stranded DNA virus, belongs to the genus Bocaparvovirus of family Parvoviridae. It was discovered along with porcine circovirus 2 (PCV 2) and torque tenovirus (TTV) in the lymph nodes of pigs suffering from postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) in Sweden in 2009. PBoV has been reported throughout the world, mostly in weaning piglets, and has a broad range of tissue tropism. Since PBoV is prevalent in healthy as well as clinically infected pigs and is mostly associated with coinfection with other viruses, the pathogenic nature of PBoV is still unclear. Currently, there are no cell lines available for the study of PBoV, and animal model experiments have not been described. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge about PBoV, including the epidemiology, evolution analysis, detection methods, pathogenesis and public health concerns.
Highly virulent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) strains re-emerged and circulated in China at the end of 2010, causing significant economic losses in the pork industry worldwide. To understand the genetic dynamics of PEDV during its passage in vitro,the PEDV G2 strain FJzz1 was serially propagated in Vero cells for up to 200 passages. The susceptibility and adaptability of the FJzz1 strain increased gradually as it was serially passaged in vitro. Sequence analysis revealed that amino acid (aa) changes were mainly concentrated in the S glycoprotein,which accounted for 72.22%–85.71% of all aa changes. A continuous aa deletion (55I56G57E→55K56Δ57Δ) occurred in the N-terminal domain of S1 (S1-NTD). To examine how the aa changes affected its virulence,FJzz1-F20 and FJzz1-F200 were selected to simultaneously evaluate their pathogenicity in suckling piglets. All the piglets in the FJzz1-F20-infected group showed typical diarrhea at 24 h postinfection,and the piglets died successively by 48 h postinfection. However,the clinical signs of the piglets in the FJzz1-F200-infected group were significantly weaker,and no deaths occurred. The FJzz1-F200-infected group also showed a lower level of fecal viral shedding and lower viral loads in the intestinal tissues,and no obvious histopathological lesions. Type I and III interferon were induced in the FJzz1-F200 infection group,together with pro-inflammatory cytokines,such as TNF-α,IL-1β and IL-8. These results indicate that the identified genetic changes may contribute to the attenuation of FJzz1 strain,and the attenuated FJzz1-F200 may have the potential for developing PEDV live-attenuated vaccines.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) were formed via ancient integration of exogenous retroviruses into the human genome and are considered to be viral "fossils". The human genome is embedded with a considerable amount of HERVs, witnessing the long-term evolutionary history of the viruses and the host. Most HERVs have lost coding capability during selection but still function in terms of HERV-mediated regulation of host gene expression. In this review, we summarize the roles of HERV activation in response to viral infections and diseases, and emphasize the potential use of HERVs as biomedicine markers in the early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, which provides a new perspective for the clinical application of HERVs.
Genome sequencing has shown strong capabilities in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic such as pathogen identification and virus preliminary tracing. While the rapid acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 genome from clinical specimens is limited by their low nucleic acid load and the complexity of the nucleic acid background. To address this issue, we modified and evaluated an approach by utilizing SARS-CoV-2-specific amplicon amplification and Oxford Nanopore PromethION platform. This workflow started with the throat swab of the COVID-19 patient, combined reverse transcript PCR, and multi-amplification in one-step to shorten the experiment time, then can quickly and steadily obtain high-quality SARS-CoV-2 genome within 24 h. A comprehensive evaluation of the method was conducted in 42 samples: the sequencing quality of the method was correlated well with the viral load of the samples; high-quality SARS-CoV-2 genome could be obtained stably in the samples with Ct value up to 39.14; data yielding for different Ct values were assessed and the recommended sequencing time was 8 h for samples with Ct value of less than 20; variation analysis indicated that the method can detect the existing and emerging genomic mutations as well; Illumina sequencing verified that ultra-deep sequencing can greatly improve the single read error rate of Nanopore sequencing, making it as low as 0.4/10, 000 bp. In summary, high-quality SARS-CoV-2 genome can be acquired by utilizing the amplicon amplification and it is an effective method in accelerating the acquisition of genetic resources and tracking the genome diversity of SARS-CoV-2.
The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused more than 96 million infections and over 2 million deaths worldwide so far. However, there is no approved vaccine available for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the disease causative agent. Vaccine is the most effective approach to eradicate a pathogen. The tests of safety and efficacy in animals are pivotal for developing a vaccine and before the vaccine is applied to human populations. Here we evaluated the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of an inactivated vaccine based on the whole viral particles in human ACE2 transgenic mouse and in non-human primates. Our data showed that the inactivated vaccine successfully induced SARS-CoV-2-specific neutralizing antibodies in mice and non-human primates, and subsequently provided partial (in low dose) or full (in high dose) protection of challenge in the tested animals. In addition, passive serum transferred from vaccine-immunized mice could also provide full protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice. These results warranted positive outcomes in future clinical trials in humans.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a devastating pandemic worldwide. Vaccines and antiviral drugs are the most promising candidates for combating this global epidemic, and scientists all over the world have made great efforts to this end. However, manipulation of the SARS-CoV-2 should be performed in the biosafety level 3 laboratory. This makes experiments complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, a safer system for working with this virus is urgently needed. Here, we report the construction of plasmid-based, non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 replicons with turbo-green fluorescent protein and/or firefly luciferase reporters by reverse genetics using transformation-associated recombination cloning in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Replication of these replicons was achieved simply by direct transfection of cells with the replicon plasmids as evident by the expression of reporter genes. Using SARS-CoV-2 replicons, the inhibitory effects of E64-D and remdesivir on SARS-CoV-2 replication were confirmed, and the half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) value of remdesivir and E64-D was estimated by different quantification methods respectively, indicating that these SARS-CoV-2 replicons are useful tools for antiviral drug evaluation.
3h-31 of Heliothis virescens ascovirus 3h (HvAV-3h) is a highly conserved gene of ascoviruses. As an early gene of HvAV-3h, 3h-31 codes for a non-structural protein (3H-31) of HvAV-3h. In the study, 3h-31 was initially transcribed and expressed at 3 h post-infection (hpi) in the infected Spodoptera exigua fat body cells (SeFB). 3h-31 was further inserted into the bacmid of Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) to generate an infectious baculovirus (AcMNPV-31). In vivo experiments showed that budded virus production and viral DNA replication decreased with the expression of 3H-31, and lucent tubular structures were found around the virogenic stroma in the AcMNPV-31-infected SeFB cells. In vivo, both LD50 and LD90 values of AcMNPV-31 were significantly higher than those of the wild-type AcMNPV (AcMNPV-wt) in third instar S. exigua larvae. An interesting finding was that the liquefaction of the larvae killed by the infection of AcMNPV-31 was delayed. Chitinase and cathepsin activities of AcMNPV-31-infected larvae were significantly lower than those of AcMNPV-wt-infected larvae. The possible regulatory function of the chitinase and cathepsin for 3H-31 was further confirmed by RNAi, which showed that larval cathepsin activity was significantly upregulated, but chitinase activity was not significantly changed due to the RNAi of 3h-31. Based on the obtained results, we assumed that the function of 3H-31 was associated with the inhibition of host larval chitinase and cathepsin activities, so as to restrain the hosts in their larval stages.
Host interferon-stimulated gene 20 (ISG20) exerts antiviral effects on viruses by degrading viral RNA or by enhancing IFN signaling. Here, we examined the role of ISG20 during pseudorabies virus (PRV) proliferation. We found that ISG20 modulates PRV replication by enhancing IFN signaling. Further, ISG20 expression was upregulated following PRV infection and poly(I: C) treatment. Ectopic expression of ISG20 inhibited PRV proliferation in PK15 cells, whereas knockdown of ISG20 promoted PRV proliferation. In addition, ISG20 expression upregulated IFN-β expression and enhanced IFN downstream signaling during PRV infection. Notably, PRV UL24 suppressed the transcription of ISG20, thus antagonizing its antiviral effect. Further domain mapping analysis showed that the N terminus (amino acids 1-90) of UL24 was responsible for the inhibition of ISG20 transcription. Collectively, these findings characterize the role of ISG20 in suppressing PRV replication and increase the understanding of host-PRV interplay.
In multiple sclerosis (MS), human endogenous retrovirus W family (HERV-W) envelope protein, pHERV-W ENV, limits remyelination and induces microglia-mediated neurodegeneration. To better understand its role, we examined the soluble pHERV-W antigen from MS brain lesions detected by specific antibodies. Physico-chemical and antigenic characteristics confirmed differences between pHERV-W ENV and syncytin-1. pHERV-W ENV monomers and trimers remained associated with membranes, while hexamers self-assembled from monomers into a soluble macrostructure involving sulfatides in MS brain. Extracellular hexamers are stabilized by internal hydrophobic bonds and external hydrophilic moieties. HERV-W studies in MS also suggest that this diffusible antigen may correspond to a previously described high-molecular-weight neurotoxic factor secreted by MS B-cells and thus represents a major agonist in MS pathogenesis. Adapted methods are now needed to identify encoding HERV provirus(es) in affected cells DNA. The properties and origin of MS brain pHERV-W ENV soluble antigen will allow a better understanding of the role of HERVs in MS pathogenesis. The present results anyhow pave the way to an accurate detection of the different forms of pHERV-W ENV antigen with appropriate conditions that remained unseen until now.
Human SAMHD1 (hSAM) restricts lentiviruses at the reverse transcription step through its dNTP triphosphohydrolase (dNTPase) activity. Besides humans, several mammalian species such as cats and cows that carry their own lentiviruses also express SAMHD1. However, the intracellular distribution of feline and bovine SAMHD1 (fSAM and bSAM) and its significance in their lentiviral restriction function is not known. Here, we demonstrated that fSAM and bSAM were both predominantly localized to the nucleus and nuclear localization signal (11KRPR14)-deleted fSAM and bSAM relocalized to the cytoplasm. Both cytoplasmic fSAM and bSAM retained the antiviral function against different lentiviruses and cytoplasmic fSAM could restrict Vpx-encoding SIV and HIV-2 more efficiently than its wild-type (WT) protein as cytoplasmic hSAM. Further investigation revealed that cytoplasmic fSAM was resistant to Vpx-induced degradation like cytoplasmic hSAM, while cytoplasmic bSAM was not, but they all demonstrated the same in vitro dNTPase activity and all could interact with Vpx as their WT proteins, indicating that cytoplasmic hSAM and fSAM can suppress more SIV and HIV-2 by being less sensitive to Vpx-mediated degradation. Our results suggested that fSAM- and bSAM-mediated lentiviral restriction does not require their nuclear localization and that fSAM shares more common features with hSAM. These findings may provide insights for the establishment of alternative animal models to study SAMHD1 in vivo.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) caused by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is widespread in the world. In recent years, the increased virulence of the virus due to viral variations, has caused great economic losses to the pig industry in many countries. It is always worthy to find effective therapeutic methods for PED. As an important class of antivirals, nucleoside drugs which target viral polymerases have been applied in treating human viral infections for half a century. Herein, we evaluated the anti-PEDV potential of three broad-spectrum antiviral nucleoside analogs, remdesivir (RDV), its parent nucleoside (RDV-N) and β-D-N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC). Among them, RDV-N was the most active agent in Vero E6 cells with EC50 of 0.31 μmol/L, and more potent than RDV (EC50 = 0.74 μmol/L) and NHC (EC50 = 1.17 μmol/L). The activity of RDV-N was further confirmed using an indirect immuno-fluorescence assay. Moreover, RDV-N exhibited a good safety profile in cells and in mice. The high sequence similarity of the polymerase functional domains of PEDV with other five porcine coronaviruses indicated a broader antiviral spectrum for the three compounds. Generally, RDV-N is a promising broad-spectrum antiviral nucleoside, and it would be worthy to make some structural modifications to increase its oral bioavailability.
Editor in Chief: Zheng-Li Shi
2020 Impact Factor 4.327
2020 Journal Citation Reports