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Preview: PLoS Pathogens: New Articles

PLOS Pathogens: New Articles

A Peer-Reviewed Open-Access Journal

Updated: 2018-04-24T21:41:20Z


(XML) Correction: Hostile intruder: Toxoplasma holds host organelles captive


by Isabelle Coppens, Julia D. Romano


(XML) MoYvh1 subverts rice defense through functions of ribosomal protein MoMrt4 in Magnaporthe oryzae


by Xinyu Liu, Jie Yang, Bin Qian, Yongchao Cai, Xi Zou, Haifeng Zhang, Xiaobo Zheng, Ping Wang, Zhengguang Zhang

The accumulation of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) in rice is important in its interaction with the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae during which the pathogen scavenges ROS through the production of extracellular enzymes that promote blast. We previously characterized the MoYvh1 protein phosphatase from M. oryzae that plays a role in scavenging of ROS. To understand the underlying mechanism, we found that MoYvh1 is translocated into the nucleus following oxidative stress and that this translocation is dependent on MoSsb1 and MoSsz1 that are homologous to heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70) proteins. In addition, we established a link between MoYvh1 and MoMrt4, a ribosome maturation factor homolog whose function also involves shuttling between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Moreover, we found that MoYvh1 regulates the production of extracellular proteins that modulate rice-immunity. Taking together, our evidence suggests that functions of MoYvh1 in regulating ROS scavenging require its nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and the partner proteins MoSsb1 and MoSsz1, as well as MoMrt4. Our findings provide novel insights into the mechanism by which M. oryzae responds to and subverts host immunity through the regulation of ribosome biogenesis and protein biosynthesis.(image)

(XML) The KAT5-Acetyl-Histone4-Brd4 axis silences HIV-1 transcription and promotes viral latency


by Zichong Li, Uri Mbonye, Zeming Feng, Xiaohui Wang, Xiang Gao, Jonathan Karn, Qiang Zhou

The bromodomain protein Brd4 promotes HIV-1 latency by competitively inhibiting P-TEFb-mediated transcription induced by the virus-encoded Tat protein. Brd4 is recruited to the HIV LTR by interactions with acetyl-histones3 (AcH3) and AcH4. However, the precise modification pattern that it reads and the writer for generating this pattern are unknown. By examining a pool of latently infected proviruses with diverse integration sites, we found that the LTR characteristically has low AcH3 but high AcH4 content. This unusual acetylation profile attracts Brd4 to suppress the interaction of Tat with the host super elongation complex (SEC) that is essential for productive HIV transcription and latency reversal. KAT5 (lysine acetyltransferase 5), but not its paralogs KAT7 and KAT8, is found to promote HIV latency through acetylating H4 on the provirus. Antagonizing KAT5 removes AcH4 and Brd4 from the LTR, enhances the SEC loading, and reverses as well as delays, the establishment of latency. The pro-latency effect of KAT5 is confirmed in a primary CD4+ T cell latency model as well as cells from ART-treated patients. Our data thus indicate the KAT5-AcH4-Brd4 axis as a key regulator of latency and a potential therapeutic target to reactivate latent HIV reservoirs for eradication.(image)

(XML) Cryo-EM structure of infectious bronchitis coronavirus spike protein reveals structural and functional evolution of coronavirus spike proteins


by Jian Shang, Yuan Zheng, Yang Yang, Chang Liu, Qibin Geng, Chuming Luo, Wei Zhang, Fang Li

As cell-invading molecular machinery, coronavirus spike proteins pose an evolutionary conundrum due to their high divergence. In this study, we determined the cryo-EM structure of avian infectious bronchitis coronavirus (IBV) spike protein from the γ-genus. The trimeric IBV spike ectodomain contains three receptor-binding S1 heads and a trimeric membrane-fusion S2 stalk. While IBV S2 is structurally similar to those from the other genera, IBV S1 possesses structural features that are unique to different other genera, thereby bridging these diverse spikes into an evolutionary spectrum. Specifically, among different genera, the two domains of S1, the N-terminal domain (S1-NTD) and C-terminal domain (S1-CTD), diverge from simpler tertiary structures and quaternary packing to more complex ones, leading to different functions of the spikes in receptor usage and membrane fusion. Based on the above structural and functional comparisons, we propose that the evolutionary spectrum of coronavirus spikes follows the order of α-, δ-, γ-, and β-genus. This study has provided insight into the evolutionary relationships among coronavirus spikes and deepened our understanding of their structural and functional diversity.(image)

(XML) PgaB orthologues contain a glycoside hydrolase domain that cleaves deacetylated poly-β(1,6)-N-acetylglucosamine and can disrupt bacterial biofilms


by Dustin J. Little, Roland Pfoh, François Le Mauff, Natalie C. Bamford, Christina Notte, Perrin Baker, Manita Guragain, Howard Robinson, Gerald B. Pier, Mark Nitz, Rajendar Deora, Donald C. Sheppard, P. Lynne Howell

Poly-β(1,6)-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (PNAG) is a major biofilm component of many pathogenic bacteria. The production, modification, and export of PNAG in Escherichia coli and Bordetella species require the protein products encoded by the pgaABCD operon. PgaB is a two-domain periplasmic protein that contains an N-terminal deacetylase domain and a C-terminal PNAG binding domain that is critical for export. However, the exact function of the PgaB C-terminal domain remains unclear. Herein, we show that the C-terminal domains of Bordetella bronchiseptica PgaB (PgaBBb) and E. coli PgaB (PgaBEc) function as glycoside hydrolases. These enzymes hydrolyze purified deacetylated PNAG (dPNAG) from Staphylococcus aureus, disrupt PNAG-dependent biofilms formed by Bordetella pertussis, Staphylococcus carnosus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and E. coli, and potentiate bacterial killing by gentamicin. Furthermore, we found that PgaBBb was only able to hydrolyze PNAG produced in situ by the E. coli PgaCD synthase complex when an active deacetylase domain was present. Mass spectrometry analysis of the PgaB-hydrolyzed dPNAG substrate showed a GlcN-GlcNAc-GlcNAc motif at the new reducing end of detected fragments. Our 1.76 Å structure of the C-terminal domain of PgaBBb reveals a central cavity within an elongated surface groove that appears ideally suited to recognize the GlcN-GlcNAc-GlcNAc motif. The structure, in conjunction with molecular modeling and site directed mutagenesis led to the identification of the dPNAG binding subsites and D474 as the probable catalytic acid. This work expands the role of PgaB within the PNAG biosynthesis machinery, defines a new glycoside hydrolase family GH153, and identifies PgaB as a possible therapeutic agent for treating PNAG-dependent biofilm infections.(image)

(XML) HIV-1 adaptation studies reveal a novel Env-mediated homeostasis mechanism for evading lethal hypermutation by APOBEC3G


by Terumasa Ikeda, Menelaos Symeonides, John S. Albin, Ming Li, Markus Thali, Reuben S. Harris

HIV-1 replication normally requires Vif-mediated neutralization of APOBEC3 antiviral enzymes. Viruses lacking Vif succumb to deamination-dependent and -independent restriction processes. Here, HIV-1 adaptation studies were leveraged to ask whether viruses with an irreparable vif deletion could develop resistance to restrictive levels of APOBEC3G. Several resistant viruses were recovered with multiple amino acid substitutions in Env, and these changes alone are sufficient to protect Vif-null viruses from APOBEC3G-dependent restriction in T cell lines. Env adaptations cause decreased fusogenicity, which results in higher levels of Gag-Pol packaging. Increased concentrations of packaged Pol in turn enable faster virus DNA replication and protection from APOBEC3G-mediated hypermutation of viral replication intermediates. Taken together, these studies reveal that a moderate decrease in one essential viral activity, namely Env-mediated fusogenicity, enables the virus to change other activities, here, Gag-Pol packaging during particle production, and thereby escape restriction by the antiviral factor APOBEC3G. We propose a new paradigm in which alterations in viral homeostasis, through compensatory small changes, constitute a general mechanism used by HIV-1 and other viral pathogens to escape innate antiviral responses and other inhibitions including antiviral drugs.(image)

(XML) Type I interferon signaling attenuates regulatory T cell function in viral infection and in the tumor microenvironment


by Arunakumar Gangaplara, Craig Martens, Eric Dahlstrom, Amina Metidji, Ameya S. Gokhale, Deborah D. Glass, Maria Lopez-Ocasio, Rachel Baur, Kishore Kanakabandi, Stephen F. Porcella, Ethan M. Shevach

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a cardinal role in the immune system by suppressing detrimental autoimmune responses, but their role in acute, chronic infectious diseases and tumor microenvironment remains unclear. We recently demonstrated that IFN-α/β receptor (IFNAR) signaling promotes Treg function in autoimmunity. Here we dissected the functional role of IFNAR-signaling in Tregs using Treg-specific IFNAR deficient (IFNARfl/flxFoxp3YFP-Cre) mice in acute LCMV Armstrong, chronic Clone-13 viral infection, and in tumor models. In both viral infection and tumor models, IFNARfl/flxFoxp3YFP-Cre mice Tregs expressed enhanced Treg associated activation antigens. LCMV-specific CD8+ T cells and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes from IFNARfl/flxFoxp3YFP-Cre mice produced less antiviral and antitumor IFN-γ and TNF-α. In chronic viral model, the numbers of antiviral effector and memory CD8+ T cells were decreased in IFNARfl/flxFoxp3YFP-Cre mice and the effector CD4+ and CD8+ T cells exhibited a phenotype compatible with enhanced exhaustion. IFNARfl/flxFoxp3YFP-Cre mice cleared Armstrong infection normally, but had higher viral titers in sera, kidneys and lungs during chronic infection, and higher tumor burden than the WT controls. The enhanced activated phenotype was evident through transcriptome analysis of IFNARfl/flxFoxp3YFP-Cre mice Tregs during infection demonstrated differential expression of a unique gene signature characterized by elevated levels of genes involved in suppression and decreased levels of genes mediating apoptosis. Thus, IFN signaling in Tregs is beneficial to host resulting in a more effective antiviral response and augmented antitumor immunity.(image)

(XML) Differential impact of transplantation on peripheral and tissue-associated viral reservoirs: Implications for HIV gene therapy


by Christopher W. Peterson, Jianbin Wang, Claire Deleage, Sowmya Reddy, Jasbir Kaur, Patricia Polacino, Andreas Reik, Meei-Li Huang, Keith R. Jerome, Shiu-Lok Hu, Michael C. Holmes, Jacob D. Estes, Hans-Peter Kiem

Autologous transplantation and engraftment of HIV-resistant cells in sufficient numbers should recapitulate the functional cure of the Berlin Patient, with applicability to a greater number of infected individuals and with a superior safety profile. A robust preclinical model of suppressed HIV infection is critical in order to test such gene therapy-based cure strategies, both alone and in combination with other cure strategies. Here, we present a nonhuman primate (NHP) model of latent infection using simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) and combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in pigtail macaques. We demonstrate that transplantation of CCR5 gene-edited hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) persist in infected and suppressed animals, and that protected cells expand through virus-dependent positive selection. CCR5 gene-edited cells are readily detectable in tissues, namely those closely associated with viral reservoirs such as lymph nodes and gastrointestinal tract. Following autologous transplantation, tissue-associated SHIV DNA and RNA levels in suppressed animals are significantly reduced (p ≤ 0.05), relative to suppressed, untransplanted control animals. In contrast, the size of the peripheral reservoir, measured by QVOA, is variably impacted by transplantation. Our studies demonstrate that CCR5 gene editing is equally feasible in infected and uninfected animals, that edited cells persist, traffic to, and engraft in tissue reservoirs, and that this approach significantly reduces secondary lymphoid tissue viral reservoir size. Our robust NHP model of HIV gene therapy and viral persistence can be immediately applied to the investigation of combinatorial approaches that incorporate anti-HIV gene therapy, immune modulators, therapeutic vaccination, and latency reversing agents.(image)

(XML) Infant transmitted/founder HIV-1 viruses from peripartum transmission are neutralization resistant to paired maternal plasma


by Amit Kumar, Claire E. P. Smith, Elena E. Giorgi, Joshua Eudailey, David R. Martinez, Karina Yusim, Ayooluwa O. Douglas, Lisa Stamper, Erin McGuire, Celia C. LaBranche, David C. Montefiori, Genevieve G. Fouda, Feng Gao, Sallie R. Permar

Despite extensive genetic diversity of HIV-1 in chronic infection, a single or few maternal virus variants become the founders of an infant’s infection. These transmitted/founder (T/F) variants are of particular interest, as a maternal or infant HIV vaccine should raise envelope (Env) specific IgG responses capable of blocking this group of viruses. However, the maternal or infant factors that contribute to selection of infant T/F viruses are not well understood. In this study, we amplified HIV-1 env genes by single genome amplification from 16 mother-infant transmitting pairs from the U.S. pre-antiretroviral era Women Infant Transmission Study (WITS). Infant T/F and representative maternal non-transmitted Env variants from plasma were identified and used to generate pseudoviruses for paired maternal plasma neutralization sensitivity analysis. Eighteen out of 21 (85%) infant T/F Env pseudoviruses were neutralization resistant to paired maternal plasma. Yet, all infant T/F viruses were neutralization sensitive to a panel of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies and variably sensitive to heterologous plasma neutralizing antibodies. Also, these infant T/F pseudoviruses were overall more neutralization resistant to paired maternal plasma in comparison to pseudoviruses from maternal non-transmitted variants (p = 0.012). Altogether, our findings suggest that autologous neutralization of circulating viruses by maternal plasma antibodies select for neutralization-resistant viruses that initiate peripartum transmission, raising the speculation that enhancement of this response at the end of pregnancy could further reduce infant HIV-1 infection risk.(image)

(XML) ROS and Trypanosoma cruzi: Fuel to infection, poison to the heart


by Claudia N. Paiva, Emiliano Medei, Marcelo T. Bozza

The activation of macrophage respiratory burst in response to infection with Trypanosoma cruzi inflicts oxidative damage to the host’s tissues. For decades, the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the elimination of T. cruzi was taken for granted, but recent evidence suggests parasite growth is stimulated in oxidative environments. It is still a matter of debate whether indeed oxidative environments provide ideal conditions (e.g., iron availability in macrophages) for T. cruzi growth and whether indeed ROS signals directly to stimulate growth. Nitric oxide (NO) and ROS combine to form peroxynitrite, participating in the killing of phagocytosed parasites by activated macrophages. In response to infection, mitochondrial ROS are produced by cardiomyocytes. They contribute to oxidative damage that persists at the chronic stage of infection and is involved in functional impairment of the heart. In this review, we discuss how oxidative stress helps parasite growth during the acute stage and how it participates in the development of cardiomyopathy at the chronic stage.(image)

(XML) Antibiotic interceptors: Creating safe spaces for bacteria


by Akshay Sabnis, Elizabeth V. K. Ledger, Vera Pader, Andrew M. Edwards


(XML) Actin polymerization in the endosomal pathway, but not on the Coxiella-containing vacuole, is essential for pathogen growth


by Heather E. Miller, Charles L. Larson, Robert A. Heinzen

Coxiella burnetii is an intracellular bacterium that replicates within an expansive phagolysosome-like vacuole. Fusion between the Coxiella-containing vacuole (CCV) and late endosomes/multivesicular bodies requires Rab7, the HOPS tethering complex, and SNARE proteins, with actin also speculated to play a role. Here, we investigated the importance of actin in CCV fusion. Filamentous actin patches formed around the CCV membrane that were preferred sites of vesicular fusion. Accordingly, the mediators of endolysosomal fusion Rab7, VAMP7, and syntaxin 8 were concentrated in CCV actin patches. Generation of actin patches required C. burnetii type 4B secretion and host retromer function. Patches decorated with VPS29 and VPS35, components of the retromer, FAM21 and WASH, members of the WASH complex that engage the retromer, and Arp3, a component of the Arp2/3 complex that generates branched actin filaments. Depletion by siRNA of VPS35 or VPS29 reduced CCV actin patches and caused Rab7 to uniformly distribute in the CCV membrane. C. burnetii grew normally in VPS35 or VPS29 depleted cells, as well as WASH-knockout mouse embryo fibroblasts, where CCVs are devoid of actin patches. Endosome recycling to the plasma membrane and trans-Golgi of glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) and cationic-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor (CI-M6PR), respectively, was normal in infected cells. However, siRNA knockdown of retromer resulted in aberrant trafficking of GLUT1, but not CI-M6PR, suggesting canonical retrograde trafficking is unaffected by retromer disruption. Treatment with the specific Arp2/3 inhibitor CK-666 strongly inhibited CCV formation, an effect associated with altered endosomal trafficking of transferrin receptor. Collectively, our results show that CCV actin patches generated by retromer, WASH, and Arp2/3 are dispensable for CCV biogenesis and stability. However, Arp2/3-mediated production of actin filaments required for cargo transport within the endosomal system is required for CCV generation. These findings delineate which of the many actin related events that shape the endosomal compartment are important for CCV formation.(image)

(XML) Clostridium sordellii outer spore proteins maintain spore structural integrity and promote bacterial clearance from the gastrointestinal tract


by Rebecca Rabi, Sarah Larcombe, Rommel Mathias, Sheena McGowan, Milena Awad, Dena Lyras

Bacterial spores play an important role in disease initiation, transmission and persistence. In some species, the exosporium forms the outermost structure of the spore and provides the first point of contact between the spore and the environment. The exosporium may also be involved in spore adherence, protection and germination. Clostridium sordellii is a highly lethal, spore forming pathogen that causes soft-tissue infections, enteritis and toxic-shock syndrome. Despite the importance of C. sordellii spores in disease, spore proteins from this bacterium have not been defined or interrogated functionally. In this study, we identified the C. sordellii outer spore proteome and two of the identified proteins, CsA and CsB, were characterised using a genetic and phenotypic approach. Both proteins were essential for the correct formation and positioning of the C. sordellii spore coat and exosporium. The absence of CsA reduced sporulation levels and increased spore sensitivity to heat, sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid. By comparison, CsB was required for normal levels of spore adherence to cervical, but not vaginal, cells, with csB mutant spores having increased adherence properties. The establishment of a mouse infection model of the gastrointestinal tract for C. sordellii allowed the role of CsA and CsB to be interrogated in an infected host. Following the oral administration of spores to mice, the wild-type strain efficiently colonized the gastrointestinal tract, with the peak of bacterial numbers occurring at one day post-infection. Colonization was reduced by two logs at four days post-infection. By comparison, mice infected with the csB mutant did not show a reduction in bacterial numbers. We conclude that C. sordellii outer spore proteins are important for the structural and functional integrity of spores. Furthermore, outer spore proteins are required for wild-type levels of colonization during infection, possibly as a result of the role that the proteins play in spore structure and morphology.(image)

(XML) Identifying the assembly intermediate in which Gag first associates with unspliced HIV-1 RNA suggests a novel model for HIV-1 RNA packaging


by Brook C. Barajas, Motoko Tanaka, Bridget A. Robinson, Daryl J. Phuong, Kasana Chutiraka, Jonathan C. Reed, Jaisri R. Lingappa

During immature capsid assembly, HIV-1 genome packaging is initiated when Gag first associates with unspliced HIV-1 RNA by a poorly understood process. Previously, we defined a pathway of sequential intracellular HIV-1 capsid assembly intermediates; here we sought to identify the intermediate in which HIV-1 Gag first associates with unspliced HIV-1 RNA. In provirus-expressing cells, unspliced HIV-1 RNA was not found in the soluble fraction of the cytosol, but instead was largely in complexes ≥30S. We did not detect unspliced HIV-1 RNA associated with Gag in the first assembly intermediate, which consists of soluble Gag. Instead, the earliest assembly intermediate in which we detected Gag associated with unspliced HIV-1 RNA was the second assembly intermediate (~80S intermediate), which is derived from a host RNA granule containing two cellular facilitators of assembly, ABCE1 and the RNA granule protein DDX6. At steady-state, this RNA-granule-derived ~80S complex was the smallest assembly intermediate that contained Gag associated with unspliced viral RNA, regardless of whether lysates contained intact or disrupted ribosomes, or expressed WT or assembly-defective Gag. A similar complex was identified in HIV-1-infected T cells. RNA-granule-derived assembly intermediates were detected in situ as sites of Gag colocalization with ABCE1 and DDX6; moreover these granules were far more numerous and smaller than well-studied RNA granules termed P bodies. Finally, we identified two steps that lead to association of assembling Gag with unspliced HIV-1 RNA. Independent of viral-RNA-binding, Gag associates with a broad class of RNA granules that largely lacks unspliced viral RNA (step 1). If a viral-RNA-binding domain is present, Gag further localizes to a subset of these granules that contains unspliced viral RNA (step 2). Thus, our data raise the possibility that HIV-1 packaging is initiated not by soluble Gag, but by Gag targeted to a subset of host RNA granules containing unspliced HIV-1 RNA.(image)

(XML) Loss of CXCR6 coreceptor usage characterizes pathogenic lentiviruses


by Katherine S. Wetzel, Yanjie Yi, Anjana Yadav, Anya M. Bauer, Ezekiel A. Bello, Dino C. Romero, Frederic Bibollet-Ruche, Beatrice H. Hahn, Mirko Paiardini, Guido Silvestri, Martine Peeters, Ronald G. Collman

Pandemic HIV-1 originated from the cross-species transmission of SIVcpz, which infects chimpanzees, while SIVcpz itself emerged following the cross-species transmission and recombination of monkey SIVs, with env contributed by the SIVgsn/mus/mon lineage that infects greater spot-nosed, mustached and mona monkeys. SIVcpz and HIV-1 are pathogenic in their respective hosts, while the phenotype of their SIVgsn/mus/mon ancestors is unknown. However, two well-studied SIV infected natural hosts, sooty mangabeys (SMs) and African green monkeys (AGMs), typically remain healthy despite high viral loads; these species express low levels of the canonical coreceptor CCR5, and recent work shows that CXCR6 is a major coreceptor for SIV in these hosts. It is not known what coreceptors were used by the precursors of SIVcpz, whether coreceptor use changed during emergence of the SIVcpz/HIV-1 lineage, and what T cell subsets express CXCR6 in natural hosts. Using species-matched coreceptors and CD4, we show here that SIVcpz uses only CCR5 for entry and, like HIV-1, cannot use CXCR6. In contrast, SIVmus efficiently uses both CXCR6 and CCR5. Coreceptor selectivity was determined by Env, with CXCR6 use abrogated by Pro326 in the V3 crown, which is absent in monkey SIVs but highly conserved in SIVcpz/HIV-1. To characterize which cells express CXCR6, we generated a novel antibody that recognizes CXCR6 of multiple primate species. Testing lymphocytes from SM, the best-studied natural host, we found that CXCR6 is restricted to CD4+ effector memory cells, and is expressed by a sub-population distinct from those expressing CCR5. Thus, efficient CXCR6 use, previously identified in SM and AGM infection, also characterizes a member of the SIV lineage that gave rise to SIVcpz/HIV-1. Loss of CXCR6 usage by SIVcpz may have altered its cell tropism, shifting virus from CXCR6-expressing cells that may support replication without disrupting immune function or homeostasis, towards CCR5-expressing cells with pathogenic consequences.(image)

(XML) N6-methyladenosine modification and the YTHDF2 reader protein play cell type specific roles in lytic viral gene expression during Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection


by Charles Hesser, John Karijolich, Dan Dominissini, Chuan He, Britt A. Glaunsinger

Methylation at the N6 position of adenosine (m6A) is a highly prevalent and reversible modification within eukaryotic mRNAs that has been linked to many stages of RNA processing and fate. Recent studies suggest that m6A deposition and proteins involved in the m6A pathway play a diverse set of roles in either restricting or modulating the lifecycles of select viruses. Here, we report that m6A levels are significantly increased in cells infected with the oncogenic human DNA virus Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Transcriptome-wide m6A-sequencing of the KSHV-positive renal carcinoma cell line iSLK.219 during lytic reactivation revealed the presence of m6A across multiple kinetic classes of viral transcripts, and a concomitant decrease in m6A levels across much of the host transcriptome. However, we found that depletion of the m6A machinery had differential pro- and anti-viral impacts on viral gene expression depending on the cell-type analyzed. In iSLK.219 and iSLK.BAC16 cells the pathway functioned in a pro-viral manner, as depletion of the m6A writer METTL3 and the reader YTHDF2 significantly impaired virion production. In iSLK.219 cells the defect was linked to their roles in the post-transcriptional accumulation of the major viral lytic transactivator ORF50, which is m6A modified. In contrast, although the ORF50 mRNA was also m6A modified in KSHV infected B cells, ORF50 protein expression was instead increased upon depletion of METTL3, or, to a lesser extent, YTHDF2. These results highlight that the m6A pathway is centrally involved in regulating KSHV gene expression, and underscore how the outcome of this dynamically regulated modification can vary significantly between cell types.(image)

(XML) KSHV induces immunoglobulin rearrangements in mature B lymphocytes


by Jennifer Totonchy, Jessica M. Osborn, Amy Chadburn, Ramina Nabiee, Lissenya Argueta, Geoffrey Mikita, Ethel Cesarman

Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) is a B cell tropic human pathogen, which is present in vivo in monotypic immunoglobulin λ (Igλ) light chain but polyclonal B cells. In the current study, we use cell sorting to infect specific B cell lineages from human tonsil specimens in order to examine the immunophenotypic alterations associated with KSHV infection. We describe IL-6 dependent maturation of naïve B lymphocytes in response to KSHV infection and determine that the Igλ monotypic bias of KSHV infection in vivo is due to viral induction of BCR revision. Infection of immunoglobulin κ (Igκ) naïve B cells induces expression of Igλ and isotypic inclusion, with eventual loss of Igκ. We show that this phenotypic shift occurs via re-induction of Rag-mediated V(D)J recombination. These data explain the selective presence of KSHV in Igλ B cells in vivo and provide the first evidence that a human pathogen can manipulate the molecular mechanisms responsible for immunoglobulin diversity.(image)

(XML) Tissue maintenance of CMV-specific inflationary memory T cells by IL-15


by Nicolas S. Baumann, Nicole Torti, Suzanne P. M. Welten, Isabel Barnstorf, Mariana Borsa, Katharina Pallmer, Jennifer D. Oduro, Luka Cicin-Sain, Koichi Ikuta, Burkhard Ludewig, Annette Oxenius

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection induces an atypical CD8 T cell response, termed inflationary, that is characterised by accumulation and maintenance of high numbers of effector memory like cells in circulation and peripheral tissues—a feature being successfully harnessed for vaccine purposes. Although stability of this population depends on recurrent antigen encounter, the requirements for prolonged survival in peripheral tissues remain unknown. Here, we reveal that murine CMV-specific inflationary CD8 T cells are maintained in an antigen-independent manner and have a half-life of 12 weeks in the lung tissue. This half-life is drastically longer than the one of phenotypically comparable inflationary effector cells. IL-15 alone, and none of other common γ-cytokines, was crucial for survival of inflationary cells in peripheral organs. IL-15, mainly produced by non-hematopoietic cells in lung tissue and being trans-presented, promoted inflationary T cell survival by increasing expression of Bcl-2. These results indicate that inflationary CD8 T cells are not just simply effector-like cells, rather they share properties of both effector and memory CD8 T cells and they appear to be long-lived cells compared to the effector cells from acute virus infections.(image)

(XML) A novel mechanism of RNase L inhibition: Theiler's virus L* protein prevents 2-5A from binding to RNase L


by Melissa Drappier, Babal Kant Jha, Sasha Stone, Ruth Elliott, Rong Zhang, Didier Vertommen, Susan R. Weiss, Robert H. Silverman, Thomas Michiels

The OAS/RNase L pathway is one of the best-characterized effector pathways of the IFN antiviral response. It inhibits the replication of many viruses and ultimately promotes apoptosis of infected cells, contributing to the control of virus spread. However, viruses have evolved a range of escape strategies that act against different steps in the pathway. Here we unraveled a novel escape strategy involving Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) L* protein. Previously we found that L* was the first viral protein binding directly RNase L. Our current data show that L* binds the ankyrin repeats R1 and R2 of RNase L and inhibits 2’-5’ oligoadenylates (2-5A) binding to RNase L. Thereby, L* prevents dimerization and oligomerization of RNase L in response to 2-5A. Using chimeric mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) expressing TMEV L*, we showed that L* efficiently inhibits RNase L in vivo. Interestingly, those data show that L* can functionally substitute for the MHV-encoded phosphodiesterase ns2, which acts upstream of L* in the OAS/RNase L pathway, by degrading 2-5A.(image)

(XML) Limited immune surveillance in lymphoid tissue by cytolytic CD4+ T cells during health and HIV disease


by Marcus Buggert, Son Nguyen, Laura M. McLane, Maria Steblyanko, Nadia Anikeeva, Dominic Paquin-Proulx, Perla M. Del Rio Estrada, Yuria Ablanedo-Terrazas, Kajsa Noyan, Morgan A. Reuter, Korey Demers, Johan Sandberg, Michael A. Eller, Hendrik Streeck, Marianne Jansson, Piotr Nowak, Anders Sönnerborg, David H. Canaday, Ali Naji, E. John Wherry, Merlin Robb, Steven G. Deeks, Gustavo Reyes-Teran, Yuri Sykulev, Annika C. Karlsson, Michael R. Betts

CD4+ T cells subsets have a wide range of important helper and regulatory functions in the immune system. Several studies have specifically suggested that circulating effector CD4+ T cells may play a direct role in control of HIV replication through cytolytic activity or autocrine β-chemokine production. However, it remains unclear whether effector CD4+ T cell populations expressing cytolytic molecules and β-chemokines are present within lymph nodes (LNs), a major site of HIV replication. Here, we report that expression of β-chemokines and cytolytic molecules are enriched within a CD4+ T cell population with high levels of the T-box transcription factors T-bet and eomesodermin (Eomes). This effector population is predominately found in peripheral blood and is limited in LNs regardless of HIV infection or treatment status. As a result, CD4+ T cells generally lack effector functions in LNs, including cytolytic capacity and IFNγ and β-chemokine expression, even in HIV elite controllers and during acute/early HIV infection. While we do find the presence of degranulating CD4+ T cells in LNs, these cells do not bear functional or transcriptional effector T cell properties and are inherently poor to form stable immunological synapses compared to their peripheral blood counterparts. We demonstrate that CD4+ T cell cytolytic function, phenotype, and programming in the peripheral blood is dissociated from those characteristics found in lymphoid tissues. Together, these data challenge our current models based on blood and suggest spatial and temporal dissociated mechanisms of viral control in lymphoid tissues.(image)

(XML) Host Pah1p phosphatidate phosphatase limits viral replication by regulating phospholipid synthesis


by Zhenlu Zhang, Guijuan He, Gil-Soo Han, Jiantao Zhang, Nicholas Catanzaro, Arturo Diaz, Zujian Wu, George M. Carman, Lianhui Xie, Xiaofeng Wang

Replication of positive-strand RNA viruses [(+)RNA viruses] takes place in membrane-bound viral replication complexes (VRCs). Formation of VRCs requires virus-mediated manipulation of cellular lipid synthesis. Here, we report significantly enhanced brome mosaic virus (BMV) replication and much improved cell growth in yeast cells lacking PAH1 (pah1Δ), the sole yeast ortholog of human LIPIN genes. PAH1 encodes Pah1p (phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase), which converts phosphatidate (PA) to diacylglycerol that is subsequently used for the synthesis of the storage lipid triacylglycerol. Inactivation of Pah1p leads to altered lipid composition, including high levels of PA, total phospholipids, ergosterol ester, and free fatty acids, as well as expansion of the nuclear membrane. In pah1Δ cells, BMV replication protein 1a and double-stranded RNA localized to the extended nuclear membrane, there was a significant increase in the number of VRCs formed, and BMV genomic replication increased by 2-fold compared to wild-type cells. In another yeast mutant that lacks both PAH1 and DGK1 (encodes diacylglycerol kinase converting diacylglycerol to PA), which has a normal nuclear membrane but maintains similar lipid compositional changes as in pah1Δ cells, BMV replicated as efficiently as in pah1Δ cells, suggesting that the altered lipid composition was responsible for the enhanced BMV replication. We further showed that increased levels of total phospholipids play an important role because the enhanced BMV replication required active synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, the major membrane phospholipid. Moreover, overexpression of a phosphatidylcholine synthesis gene (CHO2) promoted BMV replication. Conversely, overexpression of PAH1 or plant PAH1 orthologs inhibited BMV replication in yeast or Nicotiana benthamiana plants. Competing with its host for limited resources, BMV inhibited host growth, which was markedly alleviated in pah1Δ cells. Our work suggests that Pah1p promotes storage lipid synthesis and thus represses phospholipid synthesis, which in turn restricts both viral replication and cell growth during viral infection.(image)

(XML) Host shifts result in parallel genetic changes when viruses evolve in closely related species


by Ben Longdon, Jonathan P. Day, Joel M. Alves, Sophia C. L. Smith, Thomas M. Houslay, John E. McGonigle, Lucia Tagliaferri, Francis M. Jiggins

Host shifts, where a pathogen invades and establishes in a new host species, are a major source of emerging infectious diseases. They frequently occur between related host species and often rely on the pathogen evolving adaptations that increase their fitness in the novel host species. To investigate genetic changes in novel hosts, we experimentally evolved replicate lineages of an RNA virus (Drosophila C Virus) in 19 different species of Drosophilidae and deep sequenced the viral genomes. We found a strong pattern of parallel evolution, where viral lineages from the same host were genetically more similar to each other than to lineages from other host species. When we compared viruses that had evolved in different host species, we found that parallel genetic changes were more likely to occur if the two host species were closely related. This suggests that when a virus adapts to one host it might also become better adapted to closely related host species. This may explain in part why host shifts tend to occur between related species, and may mean that when a new pathogen appears in a given species, closely related species may become vulnerable to the new disease.(image)

(XML) Evolution of structural diversity of trichothecenes, a family of toxins produced by plant pathogenic and entomopathogenic fungi


by Robert H. Proctor, Susan P. McCormick, Hye-Seon Kim, Rosa E. Cardoza, April M. Stanley, Laura Lindo, Amy Kelly, Daren W. Brown, Theresa Lee, Martha M. Vaughan, Nancy J. Alexander, Mark Busman, Santiago Gutiérrez

Trichothecenes are a family of terpenoid toxins produced by multiple genera of fungi, including plant and insect pathogens. Some trichothecenes produced by the fungus Fusarium are among the mycotoxins of greatest concern to food and feed safety because of their toxicity and frequent occurrence in cereal crops, and trichothecene production contributes to pathogenesis of some Fusarium species on plants. Collectively, fungi produce over 150 trichothecene analogs: i.e., molecules that share the same core structure but differ in patterns of substituents attached to the core structure. Here, we carried out genomic, phylogenetic, gene-function, and analytical chemistry studies of strains from nine fungal genera to identify genetic variation responsible for trichothecene structural diversity and to gain insight into evolutionary processes that have contributed to the variation. The results indicate that structural diversity has resulted from gain, loss, and functional changes of trichothecene biosynthetic (TRI) genes. The results also indicate that the presence of some substituents has arisen independently in different fungi by gain of different genes with the same function. Variation in TRI gene duplication and number of TRI loci was also observed among the fungi examined, but there was no evidence that such genetic differences have contributed to trichothecene structural variation. We also inferred ancestral states of the TRI cluster and trichothecene biosynthetic pathway, and proposed scenarios for changes in trichothecene structures during divergence of TRI cluster homologs. Together, our findings provide insight into evolutionary processes responsible for structural diversification of toxins produced by pathogenic fungi.(image)

(XML) Disabling of lymphocyte immune response by Ebola virus


by Patrick Younan, Mathieu Iampietro, Alexander Bukreyev


(XML) The best laid plans of mice and women


by Susan R. Ross


(XML) Zika virus infection in immunocompetent pregnant mice causes fetal damage and placental pathology in the absence of fetal infection


by Frank M. Szaba, Michael Tighe, Lawrence W. Kummer, Kathleen G. Lanzer, Jerrold M. Ward, Paula Lanthier, In-Jeong Kim, Atsuo Kuki, Marcia A. Blackman, Stephen J. Thomas, Jr-Shiuan Lin

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during human pregnancy may cause diverse and serious congenital defects in the developing fetus. Previous efforts to generate animal models of human ZIKV infection and clinical symptoms often involved manipulating mice to impair their Type I interferon (IFN) signaling, thereby allowing enhanced infection and vertical transmission of virus to the embryo. Here, we show that even pregnant mice competent to generate Type I IFN responses that can limit ZIKV infection nonetheless develop profound placental pathology and high frequency of fetal demise. We consistently found that maternal ZIKV exposure led to placental pathology and that ZIKV RNA levels measured in maternal, placental or embryonic tissues were not predictive of the pathological effects seen in the embryos. Placental pathology included trophoblast hyperplasia in the labyrinth, trophoblast giant cell necrosis in the junctional zone, and loss of embryonic vessels. Our findings suggest that, in this context of limited infection, placental pathology rather than embryonic/fetal viral infection may be a stronger contributor to adverse pregnancy outcomes in mice. Our finding demonstrates that in immunocompetent mice, direct viral infection of the embryo is not essential for fetal demise. Our immunologically unmanipulated pregnancy mouse model provides a consistent and easily measurable congenital abnormality readout to assess fetal outcome, and may serve as an additional model to test prophylactic and therapeutic interventions to protect the fetus during pregnancy, and for studying the mechanisms of ZIKV congenital immunopathogenesis.(image)

(XML) HIV-specific Fc effector function early in infection predicts the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies


by Simone I. Richardson, Amy W. Chung, Harini Natarajan, Batsirai Mabvakure, Nonhlanhla N. Mkhize, Nigel Garrett, Salim Abdool Karim, Penny L. Moore, Margaret E. Ackerman, Galit Alter, Lynn Morris

While the induction of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) is a major goal of HIV vaccination strategies, there is mounting evidence to suggest that antibodies with Fc effector function also contribute to protection against HIV infection. Here we investigated Fc effector functionality of HIV-specific IgG plasma antibodies over 3 years of infection in 23 individuals, 13 of whom developed bNAbs. Antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP), complement deposition (ADCD), cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and cellular trogocytosis (ADCT) were detected in almost all individuals with levels of activity increasing over time. At 6 months post-infection, individuals with bNAbs had significantly higher levels of ADCD and ADCT that correlated with antibody binding to C1q and FcγRIIa respectively. In addition, antibodies from individuals with bNAbs showed more IgG subclass diversity to multiple HIV antigens which also correlated with Fc polyfunctionality. Germinal center activity represented by CXCL13 levels and expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) was found to be associated with neutralization breadth, Fc polyfunctionality and IgG subclass diversity. Overall, multivariate analysis by random forest classification was able to group bNAb individuals with 85% sensitivity and 80% specificity based on the properties of their antibody Fc early in HIV infection. Thus, the Fc effector function profile predicted the development of neutralization breadth in this cohort, suggesting that intrinsic immune factors within the germinal center provide a mechanistic link between the Fc and Fab of HIV-specific antibodies.(image)

(XML) An ADAM-10 dependent EPCR shedding links meningococcal interaction with endothelial cells to purpura fulminans


by Hervé Lécuyer, Zoé Virion, Jean-Philippe Barnier, Soraya Matczak, Sandrine Bourdoulous, Elsa Bianchini, François Saller, Delphine Borgel, Xavier Nassif, Mathieu Coureuil

Purpura fulminans is a deadly complication of Neisseria meningitidis infections due to extensive thrombosis of microvessels. Although a Disseminated Intra-vascular Coagulation syndrome (DIC) is frequently observed during Gram negative sepsis, it is rarely associated with extensive thrombosis like those observed during meningococcemia, suggesting that the meningococcus induces a specific dysregulation of coagulation. Another specific feature of N. meningitidis pathogenesis is its ability to colonize microvessels endothelial cells via type IV pili. Importantly, endothelial cells are key in controlling the coagulation cascade through the activation of the potent anticoagulant Protein C (PC) thanks to two endothelial cell receptors among which the Endothelial Protein C Receptor (EPCR). Considering that congenital or acquired deficiencies of PC are associated with purpura fulminans, we hypothesized that a defect in the activation of PC following meningococcal adhesion to microvessels is responsible for the thrombotic events observed during meningococcemia. Here we showed that the adhesion of N. meningitidis on endothelial cells results in a rapid and intense decrease of EPCR expression by inducing its cleavage in a process know as shedding. Using siRNA experiments and CRISPR/Cas9 genome edition we identified ADAM10 (A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase-10) as the protease responsible for this shedding. Surprisingly, ADAM17, the only EPCR sheddase described so far, was not involved in this process. Finally, we showed that this ADAM10-mediated shedding of EPCR induced by the meningococcal interaction with endothelial cells was responsible for an impaired activation of Protein C. This work unveils for the first time a direct link between meningococcal adhesion to endothelial cells and a severe dysregulation of coagulation, and potentially identifies new therapeutic targets for meningococcal purpura fulminans.(image)

(XML) STAT3 activation by E6 is essential for the differentiation-dependent HPV18 life cycle


by Ethan L. Morgan, Christopher W. Wasson, Lucy Hanson, David Kealy, Ieisha Pentland, Victoria McGuire, Cinzia Scarpini, Nicholas Coleman, J. Simon C. Arthur, Joanna L. Parish, Sally Roberts, Andrew Macdonald

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) activate a number of host factors to control their differentiation-dependent life cycles. The transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 is important for cell cycle progression and cell survival in response to cytokines and growth factors. STAT3 requires phosphorylation on Ser727, in addition to phosphorylation on Tyr705 to be transcriptionally active. In this study, we show that STAT3 is essential for the HPV life cycle in undifferentiated and differentiated keratinocytes. Primary human keratinocytes containing high-risk HPV18 genomes display enhanced STAT3 phosphorylation compared to normal keratinocytes. Expression of the E6 oncoprotein is sufficient to induce the dual phosphorylation of STAT3 at Ser727 and Tyr705 by a mechanism requiring Janus kinases and members of the MAPK family. E6-mediated activation of STAT3 induces the transcription of STAT3 responsive genes including cyclin D1 and Bcl-xL. Silencing of STAT3 protein expression by siRNA or inhibition of STAT3 activation by small molecule inhibitors, or by expression of dominant negative STAT3 phosphorylation site mutants, results in blockade of cell cycle progression. Loss of active STAT3 impairs HPV gene expression and prevents episome maintenance in undifferentiated keratinocytes and upon differentiation, lack of active STAT3 abolishes virus genome amplification and late gene expression. Organotypic raft cultures of HPV18 containing keratinocytes expressing a phosphorylation site STAT3 mutant display a profound reduction in suprabasal hyperplasia, which correlates with a loss of cyclin B1 expression and increased differentiation. Finally, increased STAT3 expression and phosphorylation is observed in HPV positive cervical disease biopsies compared to control samples, highlighting a role for STAT3 activation in cervical carcinogenesis. In summary, our data provides evidence of a critical role for STAT3 in the HPV18 life cycle.(image)

(XML) Viral chimeras decrypt the role of enterovirus capsid proteins in viral tropism, acid sensitivity and optimal growth temperature


by Léna Royston, Manel Essaidi-Laziosi, Francisco J. Pérez-Rodríguez, Isabelle Piuz, Johan Geiser, Karl-Heinz Krause, Song Huang, Samuel Constant, Laurent Kaiser, Dominique Garcin, Caroline Tapparel

Despite their genetic similarities, enteric and respiratory enteroviruses (EVs) have highly heterogeneous biophysical properties and cause a vast diversity of human pathologies. In vitro differences include acid sensitivity, optimal growth temperature and tissue tropism, which reflect a preferential in vivo replication in the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract and are thus key determinants of EV virulence. To investigate the underlying cause of these differences, we generated chimeras at the capsid-level between EV-D68 (a respiratory EV) and EV-D94 (an enteric EV). Although some chimeras were nonfunctional, EV-D94 with both the capsid and 2A protease or the capsid only of EV-D68 were both viable. Using this latter construct, we performed several functional assays, which indicated that capsid proteins determine acid sensitivity and tropism in cell lines and in respiratory, intestinal and neural tissues. Additionally, capsid genes were shown to also participate in determining the optimal growth temperature, since EV-D94 temperature adaptation relied on single mutations in VP1, while constructs with EV-D68 capsid could not adapt to higher temperatures. Finally, we demonstrate that EV-D68 maintains residual binding-capacity after acid-treatment despite a loss of infectivity. In contrast, non-structural rather than capsid proteins modulate the innate immune response in tissues. These unique biophysical insights expose another layer in the phenotypic diversity of one of world’s most prevalent pathogens and could aid target selection for vaccine or antiviral development.(image)