Persistent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is established by the formation of an intranuclear pool of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) in the liver. Very little is known about the intrahepatic distribution of HBV cccDNA in infected patients, particularly at the single-cell level. Here, we established a highly sensitive and specific ISH assay for the detection of HBV RNA, DNA, and cccDNA. The specificity of our cccDNA probe set was confirmed by its strict intranuclear signal and by a series of Southern blot analyses. Use of our in situ assay in conjunction with IHC or immunofluorescence uncovered a surprisingly mosaic distribution of viral antigens and nucleic acids. Most strikingly, a mutually exclusive pattern was found between HBV surface antigen–positive (HBsA-positive) and HBV DNA– and cccDNA-positive cells. A longitudinal observation of patients over a 1-year period of adeforvir therapy confirmed the persistence of a nuclear reservoir of viral DNA, although cytoplasmic DNA was effectively depleted in these individuals. In conclusion, our method for detecting viral nucleic acids, including cccDNA, with single-cell resolution provides a means for monitoring intrahepatic virological events in chronic HBV infection. More important, our observations unravel the complexity of the HBV life cycle in vivo.
Xiaonan Zhang, Wei Lu, Ye Zheng, Weixia Wang, Lu Bai, Liang Chen, Yanling Feng, Zhanqing Zhang, Zhenghong Yuan
Simone Lanini, Gina Portella, Francesco Vairo, Gary P Kobinger, Antonio Pesenti, Martin Langer, Soccoh Kabia, Giorgio Brogiato, Jackson Amone, Concetta Castilletti, Rossella Miccio, Alimuddin Zumla, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Antonino Di Caro, Gino Strada, Giuseppe Ippolito, INMI-EMERGENCY EBOV Sierra Leone Study group
BACKGROUND. Ebola virus (EBOV) causes periodic outbreaks of life-threatening EBOV disease in Africa. Historically, these outbreaks have been relatively small and geographically contained; however, the magnitude of the EBOV outbreak that began in 2014 in West Africa has been unprecedented. The aim of this study was to describe the viral kinetics of EBOV during this outbreak and identify factors that contribute to outbreak progression.
METHODS. From July to December 2014, one laboratory in Sierra Leone processed over 2,700 patient samples for EBOV detection by quantitative PCR (qPCR). Viremia was measured following patient admission. Age, sex, and approximate time of symptom onset were also recorded for each patient. The data was analyzed using various mathematical models to find trends of potential interest.
RESULTS. The analysis revealed a significant difference (
CONCLUSIONS. Our results indicate that initial viremia is associated with outcome of the individual and outbreak duration; therefore, care must be taken in planning clinical trials and interventions. Additional research in virus adaptation and the impacts of host factors on EBOV transmission and pathogenesis is needed.
Marc-Antoine de La Vega, Grazia Caleo, Jonathan Audet, Xiangguo Qiu, Robert A. Kozak, James I. Brooks, Steven Kern, Anja Wolz, Armand Sprecher, Jane Greig, Kamalini Lokuge, David K. Kargbo, Brima Kargbo, Antonino Di Caro, Allen Grolla, Darwyn Kobasa, James E. Strong, Giuseppe Ippolito, Michel Van Herp, Gary P. Kobinger
For hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other highly variable viruses, broadly neutralizing mAbs are an important guide for vaccine development. The development of resistance to anti-HCV mAbs is poorly understood, in part due to a lack of neutralization testing against diverse, representative panels of HCV variants. Here, we developed a neutralization panel expressing diverse, naturally occurring HCV envelopes (E1E2s) and used this panel to characterize neutralizing breadth and resistance mechanisms of 18 previously described broadly neutralizing anti-HCV human mAbs. The observed mAb resistance could not be attributed to polymorphisms in E1E2 at known mAb-binding residues. Additionally, hierarchical clustering analysis of neutralization resistance patterns revealed relationships between mAbs that were not predicted by prior epitope mapping, identifying 3 distinct neutralization clusters. Using this clustering analysis and envelope sequence data, we identified polymorphisms in E2 that confer resistance to multiple broadly neutralizing mAbs. These polymorphisms, which are not at mAb contact residues, also conferred resistance to neutralization by plasma from HCV-infected subjects. Together, our method of neutralization clustering with sequence analysis reveals that polymorphisms at noncontact residues may be a major immune evasion mechanism for HCV, facilitating viral persistence and presenting a challenge for HCV vaccine development.
Justin R. Bailey, Lisa N. Wasilewski, Anna E. Snider, Ramy El-Diwany, William O. Osburn, Zhenyong Keck, Steven K.H. Foung, Stuart C. Ray
Unlike other picornaviruses, hepatitis A virus (HAV) is cloaked in host membranes when released from cells, providing protection from neutralizing antibodies and facilitating spread in the liver. Acute HAV infection is typified by minimal type I IFN responses; therefore, we questioned whether plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), which produce IFN when activated, are capable of sensing enveloped virions (eHAV). Although concentrated nonenveloped virus failed to activate freshly isolated human pDCs, these cells produced substantial amounts of IFN-α via TLR7 signaling when cocultured with infected cells. pDCs required either close contact with infected cells or exposure to concentrated culture supernatants for IFN-α production. In isopycnic and rate-zonal gradients, pDC-activating material cosedimented with eHAV but not membrane-bound acetylcholinesterase, suggesting that eHAV, and not viral RNA exosomes, is responsible for IFN-α induction. pDC activation did not require virus replication and was associated with efficient eHAV uptake, which was facilitated by phosphatidylserine receptors on pDCs. In chimpanzees, pDCs were transiently recruited to the liver early in infection, during or shortly before maximal intrahepatic IFN-stimulated gene expression, but disappeared prior to inflammation onset. Our data reveal that, while membrane envelopment protects HAV against neutralizing antibody, it also facilitates an early but limited detection of HAV infection by pDCs.
Zongdi Feng, You Li, Kevin L. McKnight, Lucinda Hensley, Robert E. Lanford, Christopher M. Walker, Stanley M. Lemon
Successful hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment is defined as the absence of viremia 6 months after therapy cessation. We previously reported that trace amounts of HCV RNA, below the sensitivity of the standard clinical assay, can reappear sporadically in treatment responders. Here, we assessed the infectivity of this RNA and infused 3 chimpanzees sequentially at 9-week intervals with plasma or PBMCs from patients who tested positive for trace amounts of HCV RNA more than 6 months after completing pegylated IFN-α/ribavirin therapy. A fourth chimpanzee received HCV RNA–negative plasma and PBMCs from healthy blood donors. The 3 experimental chimpanzees, but not the control chimpanzee, generated HCV-specific T cell responses against nonstructural and structural HCV sequences 6–10 weeks after the first infusion of patient plasma and during subsequent infusions. In 1 chimpanzee, T cell responses declined, and this animal developed high-level viremia at week 27. Deep sequencing of HCV demonstrated transmission of a minor HCV variant from the first infusion donor that persisted in the chimpanzee for more than 6 months despite undetectable systemic viremia. Collectively, these results demonstrate that trace amounts of HCV RNA, which appear sporadically in successfully treated patients, can be infectious; furthermore, transmission can be masked in the recipient by an extended eclipse phase prior to establishing high-level viremia.
Naga Suresh Veerapu, Su-Hyung Park, Damien C. Tully, Todd M. Allen, Barbara Rehermann
A wide range of antiviral drugs is currently available; however, drug-resistant viruses have begun to emerge and represent a potential public health risk. Here, we explored the use of compounds that inhibit or interfere with the action of essential host factors to prevent virus replication. In particular, we focused on the cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) inhibitor, FIT-039, which suppressed replication of a broad spectrum of DNA viruses through inhibition of mRNA transcription. Specifically, FIT-039 inhibited replication of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), HSV-2, human adenovirus, and human cytomegalovirus in cultured cells, and topical application of FIT-039 ointment suppressed skin legion formation in a murine HSV-1 infection model. FIT-039 did not affect cell cycle progression or cellular proliferation in host cells. Compared with the general CDK inhibitor flavopiridol, transcriptome analyses of FIT-039–treated cells revealed that FIT-039 specifically inhibited CDK9. Given at concentrations above the inhibitory concentration, FIT-039 did not have a cytotoxic effect on mammalian cells. Importantly, administration of FIT-039 ameliorated the severity of skin lesion formation in mice infected with an acyclovir-resistant HSV-1, without noticeable adverse effects. Together, these data indicate that FIT-039 has potential as an antiviral agent for clinical therapeutics.
Makoto Yamamoto, Hiroshi Onogi, Isao Kii, Suguru Yoshida, Kei Iida, Hiroyuki Sakai, Minako Abe, Toshiaki Tsubota, Nobutoshi Ito, Takamitsu Hosoya, Masatoshi Hagiwara
Eric G. Meissner, David Wu, Anu Osinusi, Dimitra Bon, Kimmo Virtaneva, Dan Sturdevant, Steve Porcella, Honghui Wang, Eva Herrmann, John McHutchison, Anthony F. Suffredini, Michael Polis, Stephen Hewitt, Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Henry Masur, Anthony S. Fauci, Shyamasundaran Kottilil
Vaccines are largely evaluated for their ability to promote adaptive immunity, with little focus on the induction of negative immune regulators. Adjuvants facilitate and enhance vaccine-induced immune responses and have been explored for mediating protection against HIV. Using a regimen of peptide priming followed by a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) boost in a nonhuman primate model, we found that an SIV vaccine incorporating molecular adjuvants mediated partial protection against rectal SIVmac251 challenges. Animals treated with vaccine and multiple adjuvants exhibited a reduced viral load (VL) compared with those treated with vaccine only. Surprisingly, animals treated with adjuvant alone had reduced VLs that were comparable to or better than those of the vaccine-treated group. VL reduction was greatest in animals with the MHC class I allele Mamu-A*01 that were treated with adjuvant only and was largely dependent on CD8+ T cells. Early VLs correlated with Ki67+CCR5+CD4+ T cell frequency, while set-point VL was associated with expansion of a myeloid cell population that was phenotypically similar to myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and that suppressed T cell responses in vitro. MDSC expansion occurred in animals receiving vaccine and was not observed in the adjuvant-only group. Collectively, these results indicate that vaccine-induced MDSCs inhibit protective cellular immunity and suggest that preventing MDSC induction may be critical for effective AIDS vaccination.
Yongjun Sui, Alison Hogg, Yichuan Wang, Blake Frey, Huifeng Yu, Zheng Xia, David Venzon, Katherine McKinnon, Jeremy Smedley, Mercy Gathuka, Dennis Klinman, Brandon F. Keele, Sol Langermann, Linda Liu, Genoveffa Franchini, Jay A. Berzofsky
Damage to the intestinal mucosa results in the translocation of microbes from the intestinal lumen into the circulation. Microbial translocation has been proposed to trigger immune activation, inflammation, and coagulopathy, all of which are key factors that drive HIV disease progression and non-HIV comorbidities; however, direct proof of a causal link is still lacking. Here, we have demonstrated that treatment of acutely SIV-infected pigtailed macaques with the drug sevelamer, which binds microbial lipopolysaccharide in the gut, dramatically reduces immune activation and inflammation and slightly reduces viral replication. Furthermore, sevelamer administration reduced coagulation biomarkers, confirming the contribution of microbial translocation in the development of cardiovascular comorbidities in SIV-infected nonhuman primates. Together, our data suggest that early control of microbial translocation may improve the outcome of HIV infection and limit noninfectious comorbidities associated with AIDS.
Jan Kristoff, George Haret-Richter, Dongzhu Ma, Ruy M. Ribeiro, Cuiling Xu, Elaine Cornell, Jennifer L. Stock, Tianyu He, Adam D. Mobley, Samantha Ross, Anita Trichel, Cara Wilson, Russell Tracy, Alan Landay, Cristian Apetrei, Ivona Pandrea
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