Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging hemorrhagic fever caused by a tick-borne banyangvirus and is associated with high fatality. Despite increasing incidence of SFTS and serious public health concerns in East Asia, the pathogenesis of lethal SFTS virus (SFTSV) infection in humans is not fully understood. Numbers of postmortem examinations to determine target cells of the viral infection have so far been limited. Here we showed that B cells differentiating into plasmablasts and macrophages in secondary lymphoid organs were targets for SFTSV at the end stage of lethal infection, and the majority of SFTSV-infected cells were B cell–lineage lymphocytes. In affected individuals, B cell–lineage lymphocytes with SFTSV infection were widely distributed in both lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs, and infiltration of these cells into the capillaries of the organs could be observed occasionally. Moreover, a human plasmablastic lymphoma cell line, PBL-1, was susceptible to SFTSV propagation, and had a similar immunophenotype to that of target cells of SFTSV in fatal SFTS. PBL-1 can therefore provide a potential in vitro model for human SFTSV infection. These results extend our understanding of the pathogenesis of human lethal SFTSV infection, and can facilitate the development of SFTSV countermeasures.
Tadaki Suzuki, Yuko Sato, Kaori Sano, Takeshi Arashiro, Harutaka Katano, Noriko Nakajima, Masayuki Shimojima, Michiyo Kataoka, Kenta Takahashi, Yuji Wada, Shigeru Morikawa, Shuetsu Fukushi, Tomoki Yoshikawa, Masayuki Saijo, Hideki Hasegawa
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus capable of causing a severe and often debilitating rheumatic syndrome in humans. CHIKV replicates in a wide variety of cell types in mammals, which has made attributing pathologic outcomes to replication at specific sites difficult. To assess the contribution of CHIKV replication in skeletal muscle cells to pathogenesis, we engineered a CHIKV strain exhibiting restricted replication in these cells via incorporation of target sequences for skeletal muscle cell-specific miR-206. This virus, which we term SKE, displayed diminished replication in skeletal muscle cells in a mouse model of CHIKV disease. Mice infected with SKE developed less severe disease signs, including diminished swelling in the inoculated foot and less necrosis and inflammation in the interosseous muscles. SKE infection was associated with diminished infiltration of T cells into the interosseous muscle as well as decreased production of IL-1b, IL-6, IP-10, and TNFa. Importantly, blockade of the IL-6 receptor led to diminished swelling of a control CHIKV strain capable of replication in skeletal muscle, reducing swelling to levels observed in mice infected with SKE. These data implicate replication in skeletal muscle cells and release of IL-6 as important mediators of CHIKV disease.
Anthony J. Lentscher, Mary K. McCarthy, Nicholas A. May, Bennett J. Davenport, Stephanie A. Montgomery, Krishnan Raghunathan, Nicole McAllister, Laurie A. Silva, Thomas E. Morrison, Terence S. Dermody
Recent occurrences of filoviruses and the arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV) in overlapping endemic areas of Africa highlight the need for a prophylactic vaccine that would confer protection against all of these viruses that cause lethal hemorrhagic fever (HF). We developed a quadrivalent formulation of Vesiculovax that contains recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vectors expressing filovirus glycoproteins and also contains a rVSV vector expressing the glycoprotein of a lineage IV strain of LASV. Cynomolgus macaques were vaccinated twice with the quadrivalent formulation, followed by challenge 28 days after the boost vaccination with each of the three corresponding filoviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg) or a heterologous contemporary lineage II strain of LASV. Serum IgG and neutralizing antibody responses specific for all four glycoproteins were detected in all vaccinated animals. A modest and balanced cell-mediated immune response specific for the glycoproteins was also detected in most of the vaccinated macaques. Regardless of the levels of total glycoprotein-specific immune response detected after vaccination, all immunized animals were protected from disease and death following lethal challenges. These findings indicate that vaccination with attenuated rVSV vectors each expressing a single HF virus glycoprotein may provide protection against those filoviruses and LASV most commonly responsible for outbreaks of severe HF in Africa.
Robert W. Cross, Rong Xu, Demetrius Matassov, Stefan Hamm, Theresa E. Latham, Cheryl S. Gerardi, Rebecca M. Nowak, Joan B. Geisbert, Ayuko Ota-Setlik, Krystle N. Agans, Amara Luckay, Susan E. Witko, Lena Soukieh, Daniel J. Deer, Chad E. Mire, Heinz Feldmann, Christian Happi, Karla A. Fenton, John H. Eldridge, Thomas W. Geisbert
A vaccine for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is urgently needed. Development of broadly-neutralizing plasma antibodies during acute infection is associated with HCV clearance, but the viral epitopes of these plasma antibodies are unknown. Identification of these epitopes could define the specificity and function of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) that should be induced by a vaccine. Here, we present development and application of a high-throughput method that deconvolutes polyclonal anti-HCV NAbs in plasma, delineating the epitope specificities of anti-HCV NAbs in acute infection plasma of forty-four humans with subsequent clearance or persistence of HCV. Remarkably, we identified multiple broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) combinations that were associated with greater plasma neutralizing breadth and with HCV clearance. These studies have potential to inform new strategies for vaccine development by identifying bNAb combinations in plasma associated with natural clearance of HCV, while also providing a high-throughput assay that could identify these responses after vaccination trials.
Valerie J. Kinchen, Guido Massaccesi, Andrew I. Flyak, Madeleine C. Mankowski, Michelle D. Colbert, William O. Osburn, Stuart C. Ray, Andrea L. Cox, James E. Crowe Jr., Justin R. Bailey
We previously generated 32 rotavirus-specific (RV-specific) recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) derived from B cells isolated from human intestinal resections. Twenty-four of these mAbs were specific for the VP8* fragment of RV VP4, and most (20 of 24) were non-neutralizing when tested in the conventional MA104 cell–based assay. We reexamined the ability of these mAbs to neutralize RVs in human intestinal epithelial cells including ileal enteroids and HT-29 cells. Most (18 of 20) of the “non-neutralizing” VP8* mAbs efficiently neutralized human RV in HT-29 cells or enteroids. Serum RV neutralization titers in adults and infants were significantly higher in HT-29 than MA104 cells and adsorption of these sera with recombinant VP8* lowered the neutralization titers in HT-29 but not MA104 cells. VP8* mAbs also protected suckling mice from diarrhea in an in vivo challenge model. X-ray crystallographic analysis of one VP8* mAb (mAb9) in complex with human RV VP8* revealed that the mAb interaction site was distinct from the human histo-blood group antigen binding site. Since MA104 cells are the most commonly used cell line to detect anti-RV neutralization activity, these findings suggest that prior vaccine and other studies of human RV neutralization responses may have underestimated the contribution of VP8* antibodies to the overall neutralization titer.
Ningguo Feng, Liya Hu, Siyuan Ding, Mrinmoy Sanyal, Boyang Zhao, Banumathi Sankaran, Sasirekha Ramani, Monica McNeal, Linda L. Yasukawa, Yanhua Song, B.V. Venkatar Prasad, Harry B. Greenberg
Type 1 IFNs (IFN-I) generally protect mammalian hosts from virus infections, but in some cases, IFN-I is pathogenic. Because IFN-I is protective, it is commonly used to treat virus infections for which no specific approved drug or vaccine is available. The Middle East respiratory syndrome–coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is such an infection, yet little is known about the role of IFN-I in this setting. Here, we show that IFN-I signaling is protective during MERS-CoV infection. Blocking IFN-I signaling resulted in delayed virus clearance, enhanced neutrophil infiltration, and impaired MERS-CoV–specific T cell responses. Notably, IFN-I administration within 1 day after infection (before virus titers peak) protected mice from lethal infection, despite a decrease in IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) and inflammatory cytokine gene expression. In contrast, delayed IFN-β treatment failed to effectively inhibit virus replication, increased infiltration and activation of monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils in the lungs, and enhanced proinflammatory cytokine expression, resulting in fatal pneumonia in an otherwise sublethal infection. Together, these results suggest that the relative timing of the IFN-I response and maximal virus replication is key in determining outcomes, at least in infected mice. By extension, IFN-αβ or combination therapy may need to be used cautiously to treat viral infections in clinical settings.
Rudragouda Channappanavar, Anthony R. Fehr, Jian Zheng, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, Juan E. Abrahante, Matthias Mack, Ramakrishna Sompallae, Paul B. McCray Jr., David K. Meyerholz, Stanley Perlman
Cytosolic arginine sensor for mTORC1 subunits 1 and 2 (CASTOR1 and CASTOR2) inhibit the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) upon arginine deprivation. mTORC1 regulates cell proliferation, survival, and metabolism and is often dysregulated in cancers, indicating that cancer cells may regulate CASTOR1 and CASTOR2 to control mTORC1 signaling and promote tumorigenesis. mTORC1 is the most effective therapeutic target of Kaposi sarcoma, which is caused by infection with the Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Hence, KSHV-induced cellular transformation is a suitable model for investigating mTORC1 regulation in cancer cells. Currently, the mechanism of KSHV activation of mTORC1 in KSHV-induced cancers remains unclear. We showed that KSHV suppressed CASTOR1 and CASTOR2 expression to activate the mTORC1 pathway. CASTOR1 or CASTOR2 overexpression and mTOR inhibitors abolished cell proliferation and colony formation in soft agar of KSHV-transformed cells by attenuating mTORC1 activation. Furthermore, the KSHV-encoded miRNA miR-K4-5p, and probably miR-K1-5p, directly targeted CASTOR1 to inhibit its expression. Knockdown of miR-K1-5p and -K4-5p restored CASTOR1 expression and thereby attenuated mTORC1 activation. Overexpression of CASTOR1 or CASTOR2 and mTOR inhibitors abolished the activation of mTORC1 and growth transformation induced by pre–miR-K1 and -K4. Our results define the mechanism of KSHV activation of the mTORC1 pathway and establish the scientific basis for targeting this pathway to treat KSHV-associated cancers.
Tingting Li, Enguo Ju, Shou-Jiang Gao
Highly effective direct-acting antivirals against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) have created an opportunity to transplant organs from HCV-positive individuals into HCV-negative recipients, since de novo infection can be routinely cured. As this procedure is performed more widely, it becomes increasingly important to understand the biological underpinnings of virus transmission, especially the multiplicity of infection. Here, we used single genome sequencing of plasma virus in four genotype 1a HCV-positive organ donors and their seven organ recipients to assess the genetic bottleneck associated with HCV transmission following renal and cardiac transplantation. In all recipients, de novo infection was established by multiple genetically distinct viruses that reflect the full phylogenetic spectrum of replication-competent virus circulating in donor plasma. This was true in renal and cardiac transplantation and in recipients with peak viral loads ranging between 2.9 and 6.6 log10 IU/mL. The permissive transmission process characterized here contrasts sharply with sexual or injection-related transmission, which occurs less frequently per exposure and is generally associated with a stringent genetic bottleneck. These findings highlight the effectiveness of current anti-HCV regimens, while raising caution regarding the substantially higher multiplicity of infection seen in organ transplantation-associated HCV acquisition.
Muhammad N. Zahid, Shuyi Wang, Gerald H. Learn, Peter L. Abt, Emily A. Blumberg, Peter P. Reese, David S. Goldberg, George M. Shaw, Katharine J. Bar
Influenza A virus (IAV)-specific T cell responses are important correlates of protection during primary and subsequent infections. Generation and maintenance of robust IAV-specific T cell responses relies on T cell interactions with dendritic cells (DCs). In this study, we explore the role of nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing receptor family member NLRC4 in modulating the DC phenotype during IAV infection. Nlrc4-/- mice had worsened survival and increased viral titers during infection, normal innate immune cell recruitment and IAV-specific CD8 T cell responses, but severely blunted IAV-specific CD4 T cell responses compared to wild-type mice. The defect in the pulmonary IAV-specific CD4 T cell response was not a result of defective priming or migration of these cells in Nlrc4-/- mice but was instead due to an increase in FasL+ DCs, resulting in IAV-specific CD4 T cell death. Together, our data support a novel role for NLRC4 in regulating the phenotype of lung DCs during a respiratory viral infection, and thereby influencing the magnitude of protective T cell responses.
Emma E. Hornick, Jargalsaikhan Dagvadorj, Zeb R. Zacharias, Ann M. Miller, Ryan A. Langlois, Peter Chen, Kevin L. Legge, Gail A. Bishop, Fayyaz S. Sutterwala, Suzanne L. Cassel
T cell therapy is a promising means to treat chronic HBV infection and HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma. T cells engineered to express an HBV-specific T cell receptor (TCR) may achieve cure of HBV infection upon adoptive transfer. We investigated the therapeutic potential and safety of T cells stably expressing high affinity HBV envelope- or core-specific TCRs recognizing European and Asian HLA-A2 subtypes. Both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells from healthy donors and from chronic hepatitis B patients became polyfunctional effector cells when grafted with HBV-specific TCRs and eliminated HBV from infected HepG2-NTCP cell cultures. A single transfer of TCR-grafted T cells into HBV-infected, humanized mice controlled HBV infection and virological markers declined 4-5 log or below detection limit. When — as in a typical clinical setting — only a minority of hepatocytes were infected, engineered T cells specifically cleared infected hepatocytes without damaging non-infected cells. Cell death was compensated by hepatocyte proliferation and alanine amino transferase levels peaking at day 5 to 7 normalized again thereafter. Co-treatment with the entry inhibitor Myrcludex B ensured long-term control of HBV infection. Thus, T cells stably transduced with highly functional TCRs have the potential to mediate clearance of HBV-infected cells causing limited liver injury.
Karin Wisskirchen, Janine Kah, Antje Malo, Theresa Asen, Tassilo Volz, Lena Allweiss, Jochen M. Wettengel, Marc Lütgehetmann, Stephan Urban, Tanja Bauer, Maura Dandri, Ulrike Protzer
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