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Teemu Smura - Top 30 Publications

Evolution and postglacial colonization of Seewis hantavirus with Sorex araneus in Finland.

Hantaviruses have co-existed with their hosts for millions of years. Seewis virus (SWSV), a soricomorph-borne hantavirus, is widespread in Eurasia, ranging from Central Siberia to Western Europe. To gain insight into the phylogeography and evolutionary history of SWSV in Finland, lung tissue samples of 225 common shrews (Sorex araneus) trapped from different parts of Finland were screened for the presence of SWSV RNA. Forty-two of the samples were positive. Partial small (S), medium (M) and large (L) segments of the virus were sequenced, and analyzed together with all SWSV sequences available in Genbank. The phylogenetic analysis of the partial S-segment sequences suggested that all Finnish SWSV strains shared their most recent common ancestor with the Eastern European strains, while the L-segment suggested multiple introductions. The difference between the L- and S-segment phylogenies implied that reassortment events play a role in the evolution of SWSV. Of the Finnish strains, variants from Eastern Finland occupied the root position in the phylogeny, and had the highest genetic diversity, supporting the hypothesis that SWSV reached Finland first form the east. During the spread in Finland, the virus has formed three separate lineages, identified here by correlation analysis of genetic versus geographic distance combined with median-joining network analysis. These results support the hypothesis that Finnish SWSV recolonized Finland with its host, the common shrew, from east after the last ice age 12,000-8000years ago, and then subsequently spread along emerging land bridges towards west or north with the migration and population expansion of its host.

Seroprevalence of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and Ljungan virus in Finnish patients with suspected neurological infections.

Directly-transmitted rodent-borne zoonotic viruses, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) can cause nervous system infections. Rodent-borne Ljungan virus (LV) is considered potentially zoonotic possibly causing neurological symptoms. Our objective was to understand the role of these two viruses compared to other pathogens in causing neurological infections in Finnish patients. Routine screening data were available for 400 patients aged 5-50 years, collected from December 2013 to December 2014 with suspected neurological infection. Depending on symptoms, patients were variously tested for herpesviruses, enteroviruses, varicella zoster virus, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, while those suspected of tick bite were further tested for Borrelia spp. and tick-borne encephalitis virus using antibody and/or nucleic acid tests. For 380 patients, we also screened the RNA and antibody prevalence of LCMV and LV in order to test if either of these viruses were the causative agent. Data collected indicated that the causative microbial agent was confirmed in only 15.5% of all Finnish patients with neurological symptoms, with M. pneumoniae (26 cases) being the most common causative agent found in sera, whereas Borrelia spp. (15), herpes simplex viruses (7), and enteroviruses (5) were the most common agents confirmed in the CSF. The seroprevalences for LV and LCMV were 33.8% and 5.0%, respectively, but no samples were PCR-positive. In this study, M. pneumoniae and Borrelia spp. were the most common causative agents of neurological infections in Finland. No LCMV or LV infections were detected. We conclude there was no association of LV with neurological diseases in this patient cohort.

Second case of European bat lyssavirus type 2 detected in a Daubenton's bat in Finland.

European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) was detected in Finland in a Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) found in the municipality of Inkoo (60°02'45″N, 024°00'20″E). The bat showed neurological signs and was later found dead. The laboratory analysis revealed the presence of lyssavirus, and the virus was characterized as EBLV-2. This isolation of EBLV-2 was the second time that the virus has been detected in a Daubenton's bat in Finland. This provides additional proof that EBLV-2 is endemic in the Finnish Daubenton's bat population.

Nidovirus-Associated Proliferative Pneumonia in the Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis).

In 2014 we observed a noticeable increase in sudden deaths of green tree pythons (Morelia viridis). Pathological examination revealed accumulation of mucoid material within airways and lung, associated with enlargement of the entire lung. We performed full necropsy and histological examination on 12 affected green tree pythons from 7 different breeders to characterise the pathogenesis of this "mucinous" pneumonia. By histology we could show a marked hyperplasia of the airway epithelium and of faveolar type II pneumocytes. Since routine microbiological tests failed to identify a causative agent, we studied lung samples of a few diseased snakes by next-generation sequencing (NGS). From the NGS data we could assemble a piece of RNA genome <85% identical to nidoviruses previously identified in ball pythons and Indian pythons. We then employed RT-PCR to demonstrate the presence of the novel nidovirus in all diseased snakes. To attempt virus isolation, we established primary cell cultures of Morelia viridis liver and brain, which we inoculated with lung homogenates of infected individuals. Ultrastructural examination of concentrated cell culture supernatants showed the presence of nidovirus particles, and subsequent NGS analysis yielded the full genome of the novel virus, Morelia viridis nidovirus (MVNV). We then generated an antibody against MVNV nucleoprotein, which we used alongside RNA in situ hybridisation to demonstrate viral antigen and RNA in the affected lungs. This suggests that in natural infection MVNV damages the respiratory tract epithelium which then results in epithelial hyperplasia, most likely as an exaggerated regenerative attempt in association with increased epithelial turnover.Importance Fairly recently novel nidoviruses associated with severe respiratory disease were identified in ball pythons and Indian pythons. Herein we report isolation and identification of a further nidovirus from green tree pythons (Morelia viridis) with fatal pneumonia. We thoroughly characterize the pathological changes in the infected individuals, and show that nidovirus infection is associated with marked epithelial proliferation in the respiratory tract. We speculate that this and the associated excess mucus production can lead to the animals' death, by inhibitingthe normal gas exchange in the lung. The virus was predominantly detected in the respiratory tract, which renders transmission via the respiratory route likely. Nidoviruses cause sudden outbreaks with high mortality in breeding collections, most affected snakes die without prior clinical signs. These findings, together with those of other groups, indicate that nidoviruses are a likely cause of severe pneumonia in pythons.

Differences in the growth properties of Zika virus foetal brain isolate and related epidemic strains in vitro.

Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently emerged into new areas in the Americas and Asia, causing an epidemic characterized by severe congenital infections. While ZIKV infection is usually asymptomatic or causes mild symptoms, it has now caused a high rate of foetal brain and ocular abnormalities. The underlying reasons for the varying severity of disease outcomes is poorly understood. In this study, we compared the infectivity and replication of three disease-associated Zika viruses of Asian lineage, as well as the prototypic ZIKV strain from Africa. The recent foetal brain isolate FB-GWUH-2016 demonstrated enhanced infectivity and replication over the serum-origin isolates from French Polynesia and Martinique, suggesting differences in the pathogenic properties.

Recent Zika Virus Isolates Induce Premature Differentiation of Neural Progenitors in Human Brain Organoids.

The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic is associated with microcephaly in newborns. Although the connection between ZIKV and neurodevelopmental defects is widely recognized, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we show that two recently isolated strains of ZIKV, an American strain from an infected fetal brain (FB-GWUH-2016) and a closely-related Asian strain (H/PF/2013), productively infect human iPSC-derived brain organoids. Both of these strains readily target to and replicate in proliferating ventricular zone (VZ) apical progenitors. The main phenotypic effect was premature differentiation of neural progenitors associated with centrosome perturbation, even during early stages of infection, leading to progenitor depletion, disruption of the VZ, impaired neurogenesis, and cortical thinning. The infection pattern and cellular outcome differ from those seen with the extensively passaged ZIKV strain MR766. The structural changes we see after infection with these more recently isolated viral strains closely resemble those seen in ZIKV-associated microcephaly.

Intertypic recombination of human parechovirus 4 isolated from infants with sepsis-like disease.

Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) (family Picornaviridae), are common pathogens in young children. Despite their high prevalence, research on their genetic identity, diversity and evolution have remained scarce.

Metagenomic Evaluation of Bacteria from Voles.

Voles (Arvicolinae, Rodentia) are known carriers of zoonotic bacteria such as Bartonella spp. and Francisella tularensis. However, apart from F. tularensis, the bacterial microbiome of voles has not previously been determined in Finland and rarely elsewhere. Therefore, we studied liver samples from 61 voles using 16S ribosomal RNA gene PCR analysis, followed by Sanger sequencing. Twenty-three of these samples were also studied with tag-encoded pyrosequencing. The samples originated from 21 field voles (Microtus agrestis), 37 tundra voles (Microtus oeconomus), and 3 bank voles (Myodes glareolus). With the more conventional 16S rDNA PCR analysis, 90 (33%) of the recovered 269 sequence types could be identified to genus level, including Bartonella, Francisella, Mycoplasma, Anaplasma, and Acinetobacter in 31, 15, 9, 9, and 9 sequences, respectively. Seventy-five (28%) matched best with sequences of uncultured bacteria, of which 40/75 could be classified to the order Clostridiales and, more specifically, to families Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae. Pyrosequencing from 23 samples revealed comparable and similar results: clinically relevant bacterial families such as Mycoplasmataceae, Bartonellaceae, Anaplasmataceae, and Francisellaceae were recognized. These analyses revealed significant bacterial diversity in vole livers, consisting of distinct and constant sequence patterns reflecting bacteria found in the intestinal gut, but including some known zoonotic pathogens as well. The molecular bacterial sequence types determined with the two different techniques shared major similarities and verified remarkable congruency between the methods.

Mapping of human B-cell epitopes of Sindbis virus.

Mosquito-transmitted Sindbis virus (SINV) causes fever, skin lesions and musculoskeletal symptoms if transmitted to man. SINV is the prototype virus of genus Alphavirus, which includes other arthritogenic viruses such as chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Ross River virus (RRV) that cause large epidemics with a considerable public health burden. Until now the human B-cell epitopes have been studied for CHIKV and RRV, but not for SINV. To identify the B-cell epitopes in SINV-infection, we synthetised a library of linear 18-mer peptides covering the structural polyprotein of SINV, and probed it with SINV IgG-positive and IgG-negative serum pools. By comparing the binding profiles of the pools, we identified 15 peptides that were strongly reactive only with the SINV IgG-positive pools. We then utilized alanine scanning and individual (n=22) patient sera to further narrow the number of common B-cell epitopes to six. These epitopes locate to the capsid, E2, E1 and to a region in PE2 (uncleaved E3-E2), which may only be present in immature virions. By sequence comparison, we observed that one of the capsid protein epitopes shares six identical amino acids with macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) receptor, which is linked to inflammatory diseases and to molecular pathology of alphaviral arthritides. Our results add to the current understanding on SINV disease and raise questions of a potential role of uncleaved PE2 and the MIF receptor (CD74) mimotope in human SINV infection.

Zika Virus Infection with Prolonged Maternal Viremia and Fetal Brain Abnormalities.

The current outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection has been associated with an apparent increased risk of congenital microcephaly. We describe a case of a pregnant woman and her fetus infected with ZIKV during the 11th gestational week. The fetal head circumference decreased from the 47th percentile to the 24th percentile between 16 and 20 weeks of gestation. ZIKV RNA was identified in maternal serum at 16 and 21 weeks of gestation. At 19 and 20 weeks of gestation, substantial brain abnormalities were detected on ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without the presence of microcephaly or intracranial calcifications. On postmortem analysis of the fetal brain, diffuse cerebral cortical thinning, high ZIKV RNA loads, and viral particles were detected, and ZIKV was subsequently isolated.

Sindbis virus as a human pathogen-epidemiology, clinical picture and pathogenesis.

Sindbis virus (SINV; family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus) is an enveloped RNA virus widely distributed in Eurasia, Africa, Oceania and Australia. SINV is transmitted among its natural bird hosts via mosquitoes. Human disease caused by SINV infection has been reported mainly in South Africa and in Northern Europe. Vector mosquito abundance affects the annual incidence of SINV infections with occasional outbreaks of up to 1500 patients. Symptoms include fever, malaise, rash and musculoskeletal pain. In a significant portion of patients the debilitating musculoskeletal symptoms persist for years. Chronic disease after SINV infection shares many features with autoimmune diseases. Currently there is no specific treatment available. Recently SINV infections have been detected outside the previously known distribution range. In this article we will summarize the current knowledge on epidemiology, clinical disease and pathogenesis of SINV infection in man. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The Presence and Seroprevalence of Arthropod-Borne Viruses in Nasiriyah Governorate, Southern Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Study.

The knowledge on the presence and seroprevalence of arboviruses in Iraq is fragmental. To assess the exposure of the population to arbovirus infections in southern Iraq, we conducted a serological screening of the most common arbovirus groups using immunofluorescence, hemagglutination inhibition and neutralization tests. Serum samples of 399 adult volunteers were collected in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Antibodies were detected against West Nile virus (WNV) (11.6%), sandfly-borne Sicilian virus serocomplex (18.2%), sandfly-borne Naples virus serocomplex (7.8%), Sindbis virus (1.5%), chikungunya virus (0.5%), and Tahyna virus (2.0%). The results suggest that WNV and sandfly-borne phlebovirus infections are common in southern Iraq, and these viruses should be considered as potential causative agents in patients with febrile disease and/or neurological manifestations.

Zika virus infection in a traveller returning from the Maldives, June 2015.

We report a Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in a patient with fever and rash after returning to Finland from Maldives, June 2015. The patient had dengue virus (DENV) IgG and IgM antibodies but pan-flavivirus RT-PCR and subsequent sequencing showed presence of ZIKV RNA in urine. Recent association of ZIKV with microcephaly highlights the need for laboratory differentiation of ZIKV from DENV infection and the circulation of ZIKV in areas outside its currently known distribution range.

Enterovirus strain and type-specific differences in growth kinetics and virus-induced cell destruction in human pancreatic duct epithelial HPDE cells.

Enterovirus infections have been suspected to be involved in the development of type 1 diabetes. However, the pathogenetic mechanism of enterovirus-induced type 1 diabetes is not known. Pancreatic ductal cells are closely associated with pancreatic islets. Therefore, enterovirus infections in ductal cells may also affect beta-cells and be involved in the induction of type 1 diabetes. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of different enterovirus strains to infect, replicate and produce cytopathic effect in human pancreatic ductal cells. Furthermore, the viral factors that affect these capabilities were studied. The pancreatic ductal cells were highly susceptible to enterovirus infections. Both viral growth and cytolysis were detected for several enterovirus serotypes. However, the viral growth and capability to induce cytopathic effect (cpe) did not correlate completely. Some of the virus strains replicated in ductal cells without apparent cpe. Furthermore, there were strain-specific differences in the growth kinetics and the ability to cause cpe within some serotypes. Viral adaptation experiments were carried out to study the potential genetic determinants behind these phenotypic differences. The blind-passage of non-lytic CV-B6-Schmitt strain in HPDE-cells resulted in lytic phenotype and increased progeny production. This was associated with the substitution of a single amino acid (K257E) in the virus capsid protein VP1 and the viral ability to use decay accelerating factor (DAF) as a receptor. This study demonstrates considerable plasticity in the cell tropism, receptor usage and cytolytic properties of enteroviruses and underlines the strong effect of single or few amino acid substitutions in cell tropism and lytic capabilities of a given enterovirus. Since ductal cells are anatomically close to pancreatic islets, the capability of enteroviruses to infect and destroy pancreatic ductal cells may also implicate in respect to enterovirus induced type 1 diabetes. In addition, the capability for rapid adaptation to different cell types suggests that, on occasion, enterovirus strains with different pathogenetic properties may arise from less pathogenic ancestors.

Recombination in the evolution of enterovirus C species sub-group that contains types CVA-21, CVA-24, EV-C95, EV-C96 and EV-C99.

Genetic recombination is considered to be a very frequent phenomenon among enteroviruses (Family Picornaviridae, Genus Enterovirus). However, the recombination patterns may differ between enterovirus species and between types within species. Enterovirus C (EV-C) species contains 21 types. In the capsid coding P1 region, the types of EV-C species cluster further into three sub-groups (designated here as A-C). In this study, the recombination pattern of EV-C species sub-group B that contains types CVA-21, CVA-24, EV-C95, EV-C96 and EV-C99 was determined using partial 5'UTR and VP1 sequences of enterovirus strains isolated during poliovirus surveillance and previously published complete genome sequences. Several inter-typic recombination events were detected. Furthermore, the analyses suggested that inter-typic recombination events have occurred mainly within the distinct sub-groups of EV-C species. Only sporadic recombination events between EV-C species sub-group B and other EV-C sub-groups were detected. In addition, strict recombination barriers were inferred for CVA-21 genotype C and CVA-24 variant strains. These results suggest that the frequency of inter-typic recombinations, even within species, may depend on the phylogenetic position of the given viruses.

The evolution of Vp1 gene in enterovirus C species sub-group that contains types CVA-21, CVA-24, EV-C95, EV-C96 and EV-C99.

Genus Enterovirus (Family Picornaviridae,) consists of twelve species divided into genetically diverse types by their capsid protein VP1 coding sequences. Each enterovirus type can further be divided into intra-typic sub-clusters (genotypes). The aim of this study was to elucidate what leads to the emergence of novel enterovirus clades (types and genotypes). An evolutionary analysis was conducted for a sub-group of Enterovirus C species that contains types Coxsackievirus A21 (CVA-21), CVA-24, Enterovirus C95 (EV-C95), EV-C96 and EV-C99. VP1 gene datasets were collected and analysed to infer the phylogeny, rate of evolution, nucleotide and amino acid substitution patterns and signs of selection. In VP1 coding gene, high intra-typic sequence diversities and robust grouping into distinct genotypes within each type were detected. Within each type the majority of nucleotide substitutions were synonymous and the non-synonymous substitutions tended to cluster in distinct highly polymorphic sites. Signs of positive selection were detected in some of these highly polymorphic sites, while strong negative selection was indicated in most of the codons. Despite robust clustering to intra-typic genotypes, only few genotype-specific 'signature' amino acids were detected. In contrast, when different enterovirus types were compared, there was a clear tendency towards fixation of type-specific 'signature' amino acids. The results suggest that permanent fixation of type-specific amino acids is a hallmark associated with evolution of different enterovirus types, whereas neutral evolution and/or (frequency-dependent) positive selection in few highly polymorphic amino acid sites are the dominant forms of evolution when strains within an enterovirus type are compared.

Characteristics of an environmentally monitored prolonged type 2 vaccine derived poliovirus shedding episode that stopped without intervention.

Vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV) type 2 strains strongly divergent from the corresponding vaccine strain, Sabin 2, were repeatedly isolated from sewage in Slovakia over a period of 22 months in 2003-2005. Cell cultures of stool specimens from known immune deficient patients and from an identified putative source population of 500 people failed to identify the potential excretor(s) of the virus. The occurrence of VDPV in sewage stopped without any intervention. No paralytic cases were reported in Slovakia during the episode. According to a GenBank search and similarity plotting-analysis, the closest known relative of the first isolate PV2/03/SVK/E783 through all main sections of the genome was the type 2 poliovirus Sabin strain, with nucleotide identities in 5'UTR, P1, P2, P3, and 3'UTR parts of the genome of 88.6, 85.9, 87.3, 88.5, and 94.0 percent, respectively. Phenotypic properties of selected Slovakian aVDPV strains resembled those of VDPV strains isolated from immune deficient individuals with prolonged PV infection (iVDPV), including antigenic changes and moderate neurovirulence in the transgenic mouse model. One hundred and two unique VP1 coding sequences were determined from VDPV strains isolated from 34 sewage specimens. Nucleotide differences from Sabin 2 in the VP1 coding region ranged from 12.5 to 15.6 percent, and reached a maximum of 9.6 percent between the VDPV strains under study. Most of the nucleotide substitutions were synonymous but as many as 93 amino acid positions out of 301 in VP1 showed substitutions. We conclude that (1) individuals with prolonged poliovirus infection are not as rare as suggested by the studies on immune deficient patients known to the health care systems and (2) genetic divergence of VDPV strains may remain extensive during years long replication in humans.

Evolution of type 2 vaccine derived poliovirus lineages. Evidence for codon-specific positive selection at three distinct locations on capsid wall.

Partial sequences of 110 type 2 poliovirus strains isolated from sewage in Slovakia in 2003-2005, and most probably originating from a single dose of oral poliovirus vaccine, were subjected to a detailed genetic analysis. Evolutionary patterns of these vaccine derived poliovirus strains (SVK-aVDPV2) were compared to those of type 1 and type 3 wild poliovirus (WPV) lineages considered to have a single seed strain origin, respectively. The 102 unique SVK-aVDPV VP1 sequences were monophyletic differing from that of the most likely parental poliovirus type 2/Sabin (PV2 Sabin) by 12.5-15.6%. Judging from this difference and from the rate of accumulation of synonymous transversions during the 22 month observation period, the relevant oral poliovirus vaccine dose had been administered to an unknown recipient more than 12 years earlier. The patterns of nucleotide substitution during the observation period differed from those found in the studied lineages of WPV1 or 3, including a lower transition/transversion (Ts/Tv) bias and strikingly lower Ts/Tv rate ratios at the 2(nd) codon position for both purines and pyrimidines. A relatively low preference of transitions at the 2(nd) codon position was also found in the large set of VP1 sequences of Nigerian circulating (c)VDPV2, as well as in the smaller sets from the Hispaniola cVDPV1 and Egypt cVDPV2 outbreaks, and among aVDPV1and aVDPV2 strains recently isolated from sewage in Finland. Codon-wise analysis of synonymous versus non-synonymous substitution rates in the VP1 sequences suggested that in five codons, those coding for amino acids at sites 24, 144, 147, 221 and 222, there may have been positive selection during the observation period. We conclude that pattern of poliovirus VP1 evolution in prolonged infection may differ from that found in WPV epidemics. Further studies on sufficiently large independent datasets are needed to confirm this suggestion and to reveal its potential significance.

Molecular evolution and epidemiology of echovirus 6 in Finland.

Echovirus 6 (E-6) (family Picornaviridae, genus Enterovirus) is one of the most commonly detected enteroviruses worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine molecular evolutionary and epidemiologic patterns of E-6. A complete genome of one E-6 strain and the partial VP1 coding regions of 169 strains were sequenced and analyzed along with sequences retrieved from the GenBank. The complete genome sequence analysis suggested complex recombination history for the Finnish E-6 strain. In VP1 region, the phylogenetic analysis suggested three major clusters that were further divided to several subclusters. The evolution of VP1 coding region was dominated by negative selection suggesting that the phylogeny of E-6 VP1 gene is predominantly a result of synonymous substitutions (i.e. neutral genetic drift). The partial VP1 sequence analysis suggested wide geographical distribution for some E-6 lineages. In Finland, multiple different E-6 lineages have circulated at the same time.

High seroprevalence of enterovirus infections in apes and old world monkeys.

To estimate population exposure of apes and Old World monkeys in Africa to enteroviruses (EVs), we conducted a seroepidemiologic study of serotype-specific neutralizing antibodies against 3 EV types. Detection of species A, B, and D EVs infecting wild chimpanzees demonstrates their potential widespread circulation in primates.

Cellular tropism of human enterovirus D species serotypes EV-94, EV-70, and EV-68 in vitro: implications for pathogenesis.

Enterovirus 94 (EV-94) is an enterovirus serotype described recently which, together with EV-68 and EV-70, forms human enterovirus D species. This study investigates the seroprevalences of these three serotypes and their abilities to infect, replicate, and damage cell types considered to be essential for enterovirus-induced diseases. The cell types studied included human leukocyte cell lines, primary endothelial cells, and pancreatic islets. High prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against EV-68 and EV-94 was found in the Finnish population. The virus strains studied had wide leukocyte tropism. EV-94 and EV-68 were able to produce infectious progeny in leukocyte cell lines with monocytic, granulocytic, T-cell, or B-cell characteristics. EV-94 and EV-70 were capable of infecting primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells, whereas EV-68 had only marginal progeny production and did not induce cytopathic effects in these cells. Intriguingly, EV-94 was able to damage pancreatic islet β-cells, to infect, replicate, and cause necrosis in human pancreatic islets, and to induce proinflammatory and chemoattractive cytokine expression in endothelial cells. These results suggest that HEV-D viruses may be more prevalent than has been thought previously, and they provide in vitro evidence that EV-94 may be a potent pathogen and should be considered a potentially diabetogenic enterovirus type.

The complete genome sequences for a novel enterovirus type, enterovirus 96, reflect multiple recombinations.

Enterovirus 96 (EV-96) is a recently described genotype in the species Human enterovirus C. So far, only partial genome sequences of this enterovirus type have been available. In this study, we report complete genome sequences for two EV-96 strains isolated from healthy children during enterovirus surveillance in Finland. Sequence analysis revealed substantial nucleotide divergence between EV-96 strains and suggested several recombination events between EV-96 and other HEV-C types.

5' noncoding region alone does not unequivocally determine genetic type of human rhinovirus strains.

Amino acids of Coxsackie B5 virus are critical for infection of the murine insulinoma cell line, MIN-6.

It was shown recently that 15 successive passages of a laboratory strain of the Coxsackie B virus 5 in a mouse pancreas (CBV-5-MPP) resulted in apparent changes in the virus phenotype, which led to the capacity to induce a diabetes-like syndrome in mice. For further characterization of islet cell interactions with a passaged virus strain, a murine insulinoma cell line, MIN-6, was selected as an experimental model. The CBV-5-MPP virus strain was not able to replicate in MIN-6 cells in vitro but required adaptation over a few days for progeny production and the generation of cytopathic effects. In order to determine the genetic characteristics required for virus growth in MIN-6 cells, the whole genome of the MIN-6-adapted virus variant was sequenced, and critical amino acids were identified by comparing the sequence with that of a virus strain passaged repeatedly in the mouse pancreas. The results of site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that only one residue, amino acid 94 of VP1, is a major determinant for virus adaptation to MIN-6 cells.

Visual pigments of Baltic Sea fishes of marine and limnic origin.

Absorbance spectra of rods and some cones were measured by microspectrophotometry in 22 fish species from the brackish-water of the Baltic Sea, and when applicable, in the same species from the Atlantic Ocean (3 spp.), the Mediterranean Sea (1 sp.), or Finnish fresh-water lakes (9 spp.). The main purpose was to study whether there were differences suggesting spectral adaptation of rod vision to different photic environments during the short history (<10(4) years) of postglacial isolation of the Baltic Sea and the Finnish lakes. Rod absorbance spectra of the Baltic subspecies/populations of herring (Clupea harengus membras), flounder (Platichthys flesus), and sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus) were all long-wavelength-shifted (9.8, 1.9, and 5.3 nm, respectively, at the wavelength of maximum absorbance, lambda(max)) compared with their truly marine counterparts, consistent with adaptation for improved quantum catch, and improved signal-to-noise ratio of vision in the Baltic light environment. Judged by the shape of the spectra, the chromophore was pure A1 in all these cases; hence the differences indicate evolutionary tuning of the opsin. In no species of fresh-water origin did we find significant opsin-based spectral shifts specific to the Baltic populations, only spectral differences due to varying A1/A2 chromophore ratio in some. For most species, rod lambda(max) fell within a wavelength range consistent with high signal-to-noise ratio of vision in the spectral conditions prevailing at depths where light becomes scarce in the respective waters. Exceptions were sandeels in the Baltic Sea, which are active only in bright light, and all species in a "brown" lake, where rod lambda(max) lay far below the theoretically optimal range.

Enterovirus surveillance reveals proposed new serotypes and provides new insight into enterovirus 5'-untranslated region evolution.

Human enteroviruses are currently grouped into five species Human enterovirus A (HEV-A), HEV-B, HEV-C, HEV-D and Poliovirus. During surveillance for enteroviruses serologically non-typable enterovirus strains were found from acute flaccid paralysis patients and healthy individuals. In this study, we report isolates of recently described enterovirus types EV76 and EV90 of HEV-A species and characterize two new enterovirus type candidates, EV96 and EV97, to species HEV-C and HEV-B, respectively. Analysis of partial 3D regions of EV96 strains revealed sequence divergence consistent with several recombination events between EV96, other HEV-C viruses and polioviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of all available 5'-untranslated region sequences of human entero- and rhinovirus prototype strains and 10 simian enterovirus strains suggested interspecies recombination involving this region.

Enterovirus 94, a proposed new serotype in human enterovirus species D.

The genus Enterovirus (family Picornaviridae) contains five species with strains isolated from humans: Human enterovirus A (HEV-A), HEV-B, HEV-C, HEV-D and Poliovirus. In this study, a proposed new serotype of HEV-D was characterized. Four virus strains were isolated from sewage in Egypt and one strain from acute flaccid paralysis cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The complete genome of one environmental isolate, the complete coding sequence of one clinical isolate and complete VP1 regions from the other isolates were sequenced. These isolates had 66.6-69.4% nucleotide similarity and 74.7-76.6% amino acid sequence similarity in the VP1 region with the closest enterovirus serotype, enterovirus 70 (EV70), suggesting that the isolates form a new enterovirus type, tentatively designated enterovirus 94 (EV94). Phylogenetic analyses including sequences of the 5' UTR, VP1 and 3D regions demonstrated that EV94 isolates formed a monophyletic group within the species HEV-D. No evidence of recombination was found between EV94 and the other HEV-D serotypes, EV68 and EV70. Further biological characterization showed that EV94 was acid stable and had a wide cell tropism in vitro. Attempts to prevent replication with protective antibodies to known enterovirus receptors (poliovirus receptor, vitronectin alphavbeta3 receptor and decay accelerating factor) were not successful. Seroprevalence studies in the Finnish population revealed a high prevalence of this virus over the past two decades.

Mutations N34S and P55S of the SPINK1 gene in patients with chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer and in healthy subjects: a report from Finland.

Mutations in the Kazal type 1 serine protease inhibitor (SPINK1) gene have recently been associated with chronic pancreatitis (CP), an established risk factor for pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of the SPINK1 gene mutations (N34S and P55S) in patients with CP, or pancreatic cancer, and in healthy subjects in Finland.

Phenotypic and genetic changes in coxsackievirus B5 following repeated passage in mouse pancreas in vivo.

Common enterovirus infections appear to initiate or facilitate the pathogenetic processes leading to type 1 diabetes, and also sometimes precipitate the clinical disease. In experimental infection of mice, coxsackieviruses have shown to have a strong affinity for the exocrine tissue, while even in lethal cases, the islets remain unaffected. The virus strain most intensively studied in this respect is the diabetogenic variant E2 of coxsackievirus B4. In addition, it is known that all six serotypes of coxsackie B viruses can be made diabetogenic by repeated passages in either mouse pancreas in vivo or in cultured mouse beta-cells in vitro. However, the genetic determinants of the phenomenon have not been determined. In the present study, a laboratory strain of coxsackievirus B5 was passaged repeatedly in mouse pancreas in vivo. After 15 passages, the virus phenotype was clearly changed and infection of the variant resulted in a diabetes-like syndrome in mice characterized by chronic pancreatic inflammation together with dysregulation in glucose metabolism, loss of pancreatic acinar tissue, and mild insulitis. In order to characterize the genetic determinants involved in mouse pancreas adaptation, the passaged virus variant together with the parental virus strain was cloned for molecular characterization. The whole genome sequencing of both virus strains revealed only limited differences. Altogether, eight nucleotides were changed resulting in five amino acid substitutions, of which three were located in the capsid proteins.