Global health is threatened by emerging viral infections, which largely lack effective vaccines or therapies. Targeting host pathways that are exploited by multiple viruses could offer broad-spectrum solutions. We previously reported that AAK1 and GAK, kinase regulators of the host adaptor proteins AP1 and AP2, are essential for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but the underlying mechanism and relevance to other viruses or in vivo infections remained unknown. Here, we have discovered that AP1 and AP2 cotraffic with HCV particles in live cells. Moreover, we found that multiple viruses, including dengue and Ebola, exploit AAK1 and GAK during entry and infectious virus production. In cultured cells, treatment with sunitinib and erlotinib, approved anticancer drugs that inhibit AAK1 or GAK activity, or with more selective compounds inhibited intracellular trafficking of HCV and multiple unrelated RNA viruses with a high barrier to resistance. In murine models of dengue and Ebola infection, sunitinib/erlotinib combination protected against morbidity and mortality. We validated sunitinib- and erlotinib-mediated inhibition of AAK1 and GAK activity as an important mechanism of antiviral action. Additionally, we revealed potential roles for additional kinase targets. These findings advance our understanding of virus-host interactions and establish a proof of principle for a repurposed, host-targeted approach to combat emerging viruses.
Elena Bekerman, Gregory Neveu, Ana Shulla, Jennifer Brannan, Szu-Yuan Pu, Stanley Wang, Fei Xiao, Rina Barouch-Bentov, Russell R. Bakken, Roberto Mateo, Jennifer Govero, Claude M. Nagamine, Michael S. Diamond, Steven De Jonghe, Piet Herdewijn, John M. Dye, Glenn Randall, Shirit Einav
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
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
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
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the major cause of bronchiolitis in young children. The factors that contribute to the increased propensity of RSV-induced distal airway disease compared with other commonly encountered respiratory viruses remain unclear. Here, we identified the RSV-encoded nonstructural 2 (NS2) protein as a viral genetic determinant for initiating RSV-induced distal airway obstruction. Infection of human cartilaginous airway epithelium (HAE) and a hamster model of disease with recombinant respiratory viruses revealed that NS2 promotes shedding of infected epithelial cells, resulting in two consequences of virus infection. First, epithelial cell shedding accelerated the reduction of virus titers, presumably by clearing virus-infected cells from airway mucosa. Second, epithelial cells shedding into the narrow-diameter bronchiolar airway lumens resulted in rapid accumulation of detached, pleomorphic epithelial cells, leading to acute distal airway obstruction. Together, these data indicate that RSV infection of the airway epithelium, via the action of NS2, promotes epithelial cell shedding, which not only accelerates viral clearance but also contributes to acute obstruction of the distal airways. Our results identify RSV NS2 as a contributing factor for the enhanced propensity of RSV to cause severe airway disease in young children and suggest NS2 as a potential therapeutic target for reducing the severity of distal airway disease.
Rachael M. Liesman, Ursula J. Buchholz, Cindy L. Luongo, Lijuan Yang, Alan D. Proia, John P. DeVincenzo, Peter L. Collins, Raymond J. Pickles
The most abundantly produced virion protein in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the immunodominant phosphoprotein 65 (pp65), which is frequently included in CMV vaccines. Although it is nonessential for in vitro CMV growth, pp65 displays immunomodulatory functions that support a potential role in primary and/or persistent infection. To determine the contribution of pp65 to CMV infection and immunity, we generated a rhesus CMV lacking both pp65 orthologs (RhCMVΔpp65ab). While deletion of pp65ab slightly reduced growth in vitro and increased defective particle formation, the protein composition of secreted virions was largely unchanged. Interestingly, pp65 was not required for primary and persistent infection in animals. Immune responses induced by RhCMVΔpp65ab did not prevent reinfection with rhesus CMV; however, reinfection with RhCMVΔUS2-11, which lacks viral-encoded MHC-I antigen presentation inhibitors, was prevented. Unexpectedly, induction of pp65b-specific T cells alone did not protect against RhCMVΔUS2-11 challenge, suggesting that T cells targeting multiple CMV antigens are required for protection. However, pp65-specific immunity was crucial for controlling viral dissemination during primary infection, as indicated by the marked increase of RhCMVΔpp65ab genome copies in CMV-naive, but not CMV-immune, animals. Our data provide rationale for inclusion of pp65 into CMV vaccines but also demonstrate that pp65-induced T cell responses alone do not recapitulate the protective effect of natural infection.
Daniel Malouli, Scott G. Hansen, Ernesto S. Nakayasu, Emily E. Marshall, Colette M. Hughes, Abigail B. Ventura, Roxanne M. Gilbride, Matthew S. Lewis, Guangwu Xu, Craig Kreklywich, Nathan Whizin, Miranda Fischer, Alfred W. Legasse, Kasinath Viswanathan, Don Siess, David G. Camp II, Michael K. Axthelm, Christoph Kahl, Victor R. DeFilippis, Richard D. Smith, Daniel N. Streblow, Louis J. Picker, Klaus Früh
The ability of individual T cells to perform multiple effector functions is crucial for protective immunity against viruses and cancer. This polyfunctionality is frequently lost during chronic infections; however, the molecular mechanisms driving T cell polyfunctionality are poorly understood. We found that human T cells stimulated by a high concentration of antigen lacked polyfunctionality and expressed a transcription profile similar to that of exhausted T cells. One specific pathway implicated by the transcription profile in control of T cell polyfunctionality was the MAPK/ERK pathway. This pathway was altered in response to different antigen concentrations, and polyfunctionality correlated with upregulation of phosphorylated ERK. T cells that were stimulated with a high concentration of antigen upregulated sprouty-2 (
Yen-Ling Chiu, Liang Shan, Hailiang Huang, Carl Haupt, Catherine Bessell, David H. Canaday, Hao Zhang, Ya-Chi Ho, Jonathan D. Powell, Mathias Oelke, Joseph B. Margolick, Joel N. Blankson, Diane E. Griffin, Jonathan P. Schneck
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