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Host-Pathogen Interactions - Top 30 Publications

Antibody trapping: A novel mechanism of parasite immune evasion by the trematode Echinostoma caproni.

Helminth infections are among the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases, causing an enormous impact in global health and the socioeconomic growth of developing countries. In this context, the study of helminth biology, with emphasis on host-parasite interactions, appears as a promising approach for developing new tools to prevent and control these infections.

Zika virus alters the microRNA expression profile and elicits an RNAi response in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Zika virus (ZIKV), a flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti, has recently spread globally in an unprecedented fashion, yet we have a poor understanding of host-microbe interactions in this system. To gain insights into the interplay between ZIKV and the mosquito, we sequenced the small RNA profiles in ZIKV-infected and non-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes at 2, 7 and 14 days post-infection. ZIKA induced an RNAi response in the mosquito with virus-derived short interfering RNAs and PIWI-interacting RNAs dramatically increased in abundance post-infection. Further, we found 17 host microRNAs (miRNAs) that were modulated by ZIKV infection at all time points. Strikingly, many of these regulated miRNAs have been reported to have their expression altered by dengue and West Nile viruses, while the response was divergent from that induced by the alphavirus Chikungunya virus in mosquitoes. This suggests that conserved miRNA responses occur within mosquitoes in response to flavivirus infection. This study expands our understanding of ZIKV-vector interactions and provides potential avenues to be further investigated to target ZIKV in the mosquito host.

Zika virus inhibits eIF2α-dependent stress granule assembly.

Zika virus (ZIKV), a member of the Flaviviridae family, is the most recent emerging arbovirus with pandemic potential. During infection, viruses trigger the host cell stress response, leading to changes in RNA translation and the assembly of large aggregates of stalled translation preinitiation complexes, termed stress granules (SGs). Several reports demonstrate that flaviviruses modulate the assembly of stress granules (SG). As an emerging pathogen, little is known however about how ZIKV modulates the host cell stress response. In this work, we investigate how ZIKV modulates SG assembly. We demonstrate that ZIKV negatively impacts SG assembly under oxidative stress conditions induced by sodium arsenite (Ars), a treatment that leads to the phosphorylation of eIF2α. By contrast, no measurable difference in SG assembly was observed between mock and ZIKV-infected cells treated with sodium selenite (Se) or Pateamine A (PatA), compounds that trigger eIF2α-independent SG assembly. Interestingly, ZIKV infection markedly impaired the phosphorylation of eIF2α triggered in Ars-treated infected cells, and the abrogation of SG assembly in ZIKV-infected cells is, at least in part, dependent on eIF2α dephosphorylation. These data demonstrate that ZIKV elicits mechanisms to counteract host anti-viral stress responses to promote a cellular environment propitious for viral replication.

The activation of B cells enhances DC-SIGN expression and promotes susceptibility of B cells to HPAI H5N1 infection.

The interplay between highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus and immune cells has been extensively studied for years, as host immune components are thought to play significant roles in promoting the systemic spread of the virus and responsible for cytokine storm. Previous studies suggested that the interaction of B cells and monocytes could promote HPAI H5N1 infection by enhancing avian influenza virus receptor expression. In this study, we further investigate the relationship between the HPAI H5N1 virus, activated B cells, and DC-SIGN expression. DC-SIGN has been described as an important factor for mediating various types of viral infection. Here, we first demonstrate that HPAI H5N1 infection could induce an activation of B cells, which was associated with DC-SIGN expression. Using CD40L and recombinant IL-4 for B cell stimulation, we determined that DC-SIGN expressed on activated B cells was able to enhance its susceptibility to HPAI H5N1 infection. Our findings uncover the interplay between this H5N1 virus and B cells and provide important information in understanding how the virus overcomes our immune system, contributing to its unusual immunopathogenesis.

Expression of wild-type or G1862T mutant HBe antigen of subgenotype A1 of hepatitis B virus and the unfolded protein response in Huh7 cells.

The G1862T mutation, which occurs most frequently in subgenotype A1 of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), results in a valine to phenylalanine substitution at the -3 position of the signal peptide cleavage site at the amino end of the precore/core (preC/C) precursor protein. The objective of this study was to functionally characterize the G1862T mutation relative to its wild-type counterpart in subgenotype A1. Huh7 cells were transfected with subgenotype A1 replication-competent plasmids, with and without G1862T. Secretion of HBsAg and HBeAg, preC/C/HBeAg expression in the secretory pathway, activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and subsequent activation of apoptosis were monitored. The introduction of G1862T did not affect HBsAg expression. Cells transfected with the G1862T subgenotype A1 plasmid showed decreased expression of intracellular HBcAg and of nuclear preC/C/HBeAg and extracellular HBeAg, when compared to cells transfected with its wild-type counterpart as a result of the accumulation of the mutant protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC) . This accumulation of preC/C/HBeAg protein in the ER led to the earlier activation of the three UPR pathways, but not to an increase in apoptosis. Therefore, it is evident that the presence of G1862T in subgenotype A1 does not completely abolish HBeAg expression, but affects the rate of HBeAg maturation, its passage through the secretory pathway and activation of the UPR. Increase in ER stress can result in liver damage, which has been shown to be a contributing factor to hepatocarcinogenesis and may explain why G1862T is frequently found in subgenotype A1 from liver disease patients.

Foot-and-mouth disease virus induces lysosomal degradation of host protein kinase PKR by 3C proteinase to facilitate virus replication.

The interferon-induced double-strand RNA activated protein kinase (PKR) plays important roles in host defense against viral infection. Here we demonstrate the significant antiviral role of PKR against foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) and report that FMDV infection inhibits PKR expression and activation in porcine kidney (PK-15) cells. The viral nonstructural protein 3C proteinase (3C(pro)) is identified to be responsible for this inhibition. However, it is independent of the well-known proteinase activity of 3C(pro) or 3C(pro)-induced shutoff of host protein synthesis. We show that 3C(pro) induces PKR degradation by lysosomal pathway and no interaction is determined between 3C(pro) and PKR. Together, our results indicate that PKR acts an important antiviral factor during FMDV infection, and FMDV has evolved a strategy to overcome PKR-mediated antiviral role by downregulation of PKR protein.

A conserved mitochondrial surveillance pathway is required for defense against Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

All living organisms exist in a precarious state of homeostasis that requires constant maintenance. A wide variety of stresses, including hypoxia, heat, and infection by pathogens perpetually threaten to imbalance this state. Organisms use a battery of defenses to mitigate damage and restore normal function. Previously, we described a Caenorhabditis elegans-Pseudomonas aeruginosa assay (Liquid Killing) in which toxicity to the host is dependent upon the secreted bacterial siderophore pyoverdine. Although pyoverdine is also indispensable for virulence in mammals, its cytological effects are unclear. We used genetics, transcriptomics, and a variety of pathogen and chemical exposure assays to study the interactions between P. aeruginosa and C. elegans. Although P. aeruginosa can kill C. elegans through at least 5 different mechanisms, the defense responses activated by Liquid Killing are specific and selective and have little in common with innate defense mechanisms against intestinal colonization. Intriguingly, the defense response utilizes the phylogenetically-conserved ESRE (Ethanol and Stress Response Element) network, which we and others have previously shown to mitigate damage from a variety of abiotic stresses. This is the first report of this networks involvement in innate immunity, and indicates that host innate immune responses overlap with responses to abiotic stresses. The upregulation of the ESRE network in C. elegans is mediated in part by a family of bZIP proteins (including ZIP-2, ZIP-4, CEBP-1, and CEBP-2) that have overlapping and unique functions. Our data convincingly show that, following exposure to P. aeruginosa, the ESRE defense network is activated by mitochondrial damage, and that mitochondrial damage also leads to ESRE activation in mammals. This establishes a role for ESRE in a phylogenetically-conserved mitochondrial surveillance system important for stress response and innate immunity.

Differential replication of Foot-and-mouth disease viruses in mice determine lethality.

Adult C57BL/6J mice have been used to study Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) biology. In this work, two variants of an FMDV A/Arg/01 strain exhibiting differential pathogenicity in adult mice were identified and characterized: a non-lethal virus (A01NL) caused mild signs of disease, whereas a lethal virus (A01L) caused death within 24-48h independently of the dose used. Both viruses caused a systemic infection with pathological changes in the exocrine pancreas. Virus A01L reached higher viral loads in plasma and organs of inoculated mice as well as increased replication in an ovine kidney cell line. Complete consensus sequences revealed 6 non-synonymous changes between A01L and A10NL genomes that might be linked to replication differences, as suggested by in silico prediction studies. Our results highlight the biological significance of discrete genomic variations and reinforce the usefulness of this animal model to study viral determinants of lethality.

Identification of MAPKs as signal transduction components required for the cell death response during compatible infection by the synergistic pair Potato virus X-Potato virus Y.

Systemic necrosis is one of the most severe symptoms caused in compatible plant-virus interactions and shares common features with the hypersensitive response (HR). Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are associated with responses to compatible and incompatible host-virus interactions. Here, we show that virus-induced gene silencing of the Nicotiana benthamiana MAPK genes salicylic acid-induced protein kinase (SIPK) and wound-induced protein kinase (WIPK), and the MAPK kinase (MAPKK) genes MEK1 and MKK1, partially compromised the HR-like response induced by the synergistic interaction of Potato virus X with Potato virus Y (PVX-PVY). Nevertheless, ameliorated cell death induced by PVX-PVY in the MAPK(K)-silenced plants did not facilitate virus accumulation in systemically infected leaves. Dual silencing of SIPK and of the oxylipin biosynthetic gene 9-Lipoxygenase showed that the latter was epistatic to SIPK in response to PVX-PVY infection. These findings demonstrate that SIPK, WIPK, MEK1 and MKK1 function as positive regulators of PVX-PVY-induced cell death.

Influenza A virus cap-snatches host RNAs based on their abundance early after infection.

The influenza A virus RNA polymerase cleaves the 5' ends of host RNAs and uses these RNA fragments as primers for viral mRNA synthesis. We performed deep sequencing of the 5' host-derived ends of the eight viral mRNAs of influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 (H1N1) virus in infected A549 cells, and compared the population to those of A/Hong Kong/1/1968 (H3N2) and A/WSN/1933 (H1N1). In the three strains, the viral RNAs target different populations of host RNAs. Host RNAs are cap-snatched based on their abundance, and we found that RNAs encoding proteins involved in metabolism are overrepresented in the cap-snatched populations. Because this overrepresentation could be a reflection of the host response early after infection, and thus of the increased availability of these transcripts, our results suggest that host RNAs are cap-snatched mainly based on their abundance without preferential targeting.

Influenza Hemagglutinin and M2 ion channel priming by trypsin: Killing two birds with one stone.

Influenza A virus membrane fusion and disassembly, prerequisite processes for viral infectivity, depend on acidic pH. In a recent study, Zhirnov et al. reported an important finding-that influenza virions are not permeable to protons unless the hemagglutinin (HA) fusion protein is primed by trypsin cleavage. This raises the question of whether in the viral context the M2 ion channel requires priming prior to its activation by low pH. Here, it is hypothesized that both HA and M2 ion channel direct priming by trypsin is required for their sensitization by low pH.

Principles of Chemical Biology: From Sexy Fatty Acids and EBV probes to Anti-Acid Antibiotic via Post-Biotics and Host-Microbe Metabolic Complementarity.

This month: The role of fatty acids in sex determination; a probe to monitor and inhibit EBNA1 at the same time; a biological role for post-biotics; what happens when you mix microbes, hosts, and drugs; and an antibiotic that cross-protects with acid.

Imbalance between innate antiviral and pro-inflammatory immune responses may contribute to different outcomes involving low- and highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N3 infections in chickens.

In order to gain further insight into the early virus-host interactions associated with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus infections in chickens, genome-wide expression profiling of chicken lung and brain was carried out at 24 and 72 h post-inoculation (h p.i.). For this purpose two recombinant H5N3 viruses were utilized, each possessing a polybasic HA0 cleavage site but differing in pathogenicity. The original rH5N3 P0 virus, which has a low-pathogenic phenotype, was passaged six times through chickens to give rise to the derivative rH5N3 P6 virus, which is highly pathogenic (Diederich S, Berhane Y, Embury-Hyatt C, Hisanaga T, Handel K et al.J Virol 2015;89:10724-10734). The gene-expression profiles in lung were similar for both viruses, although they varied in magnitude. While both viruses produced systemic infections, differences in clinical disease progression and viral tissue loads, particularly in brain, where loads of rH5N3 P6 were three orders of magnitude higher than rH5N3 P0 at 72 .p.i., were observed. Although genes associated with gene ontology (GO) categories INFα and INFβ biosynthesis, regulation of innate immune response, response to exogenous dsRNA, defence response to virus, positive regulation of NF-κB import into the nucleus and positive regulation of immune response were up-regulated in rH5N3 P0 and rH5N3 P6 brains, fold changes were higher for rH5N3 P6. The additional up-regulation of genes associated with cytokine production, inflammasome and leukocyte activation, and cell-cell adhesion detected in rH5N3 P6 versus rH5N3 P0 brains, suggested that the balance between antiviral and pro-inflammatory innate immune responses leading to acute CNS inflammation might explain the observed differences in pathogenicity.

Genome sequence variation in the constricta strain dramatically alters the protein interaction and localization map of Potato yellow dwarf virus.

The genome sequence of the constricta strain of Potato yellow dwarf virus (CYDV) was determined to be 12 792 nt long and organized into seven ORFs with the gene order 3'-N-X-P-Y-M-G-L-5', which encodes the nucleocapsid, phospho, movement, matrix, glyco, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase proteins, respectively, except for X, which is of unknown function. Cloned ORFs for each gene, except L, were used to construct a protein interaction and localization map (PILM) for this virus, which shares greater than 80 % amino acid similarity in all ORFs except X and P with the sanguinolenta strain of this species (SYDV). Protein localization patterns and interactions unique to each viral strain were identified, resulting in strain-specific PILMs. Localization of CYDV and SYDV proteins in virus-infected cells mapped subcellular loci likely to be sites of replication, morphogenesis and movement.

Viral genes and cellular markers associated with neurological complications during herpesvirus infections.

Despite the importance of neurological disorders associated with herpesviruses, the mechanism by which these viruses influence the central nervous system (CNS) has not been definitively established. Owing to the limitations of studying neuropathogenicity of human herpesviruses in their natural host, many aspects of their pathogenicity and immune response are studied in animal models. Here, we present an important model system that enables studying neuropathogenicity of herpesviruses in the natural host. Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) is an alphaherpesvirus that causes a devastating neurological disease (EHV-1 myeloencephalopathy; EHM) in horses. Like other alphaherpesviruses, our understanding of virus neuropathogenicity in the natural host beyond the essential role of viraemia is limited. In particular, information on the role of different viral proteins for virus transfer to the spinal cord endothelium in vivo is lacking. In this study, the contribution of two viral proteins, DNA polymerase (ORF30) and glycoprotein D (gD), to the pathogenicity of EHM was addressed. Furthermore, different cellular immune markers, including alpha-interferon (IFN-α), gamma-interferon (IFN-γ), interleukin-10 (IL-10) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), were identified to play a role during the course of the disease.

Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase acts as a host restriction factor on pseudorabies virus replication.

Cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H) catalyses the production of 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) from cholesterol by adding a second hydroxyl group at position 25. The aim of this study was to examine the antiviral effect of CH25H on pseudorabies virus (PRV), a swine pathogen that can cause devastating disease and economic losses worldwide. The results showed that porcine ch25h was induced by either interferon or PRV infection. PRV infection of porcine alveolar macrophages (3D4/21 cells) was attenuated by CH25H overexpression and enhanced by silencing of CH25H. Furthermore, treatment of 3D4/21 cells with 25HC inhibited the growth of PRV in vitro, suggesting that CH25H may restrict PRV replication by 25HC production. We further identified that the anti-PRV role of CH25H and 25HC was subject to their inhibitory effect on PRV attachment and entry. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that CH25H is an intrinsic host restriction factor in PRV infection of porcine alveolar macrophages.

A 32 kDa viral attachment protein of lymphocystis disease virus (LCDV) specifically interacts with a 27.8 kDa cellular receptor from flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus).

The 27.8 kDa protein in flounder gill (FG) cells was previously proved to be a receptor specific for lymphocystis disease virus (LCDV) entry and infection. In this paper, a 32 kDa viral attachment protein (VAP) of LCDV specifically binding to the 27.8 kDa receptor (27.8R) was found by far-Western blotting coupled with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against 27.8R. The 32 kDa protein was confirmed to be encoded by the open reading frame (ORF) 038 gene in LCDV-C, and predicted to contain a putative transmembrane region, multiple N-myristoylation and glycosylation sites and phosphorylation motifs. The expression plasmid of pET-32a-ORF038 was constructed and the recombinant VAP (rVAP) was obtained. Rabbit polyclonal antibodies against the rVAP were prepared and could recognize the rVAP and 32 kDa protein in LCDV. Immunogold electron microscopy showed that the 32 kDa protein was located on the surface of LCDV particles. Immunofluorescence assay demonstrated that the rVAP could bind to the 27.8R on the cell membrane of the FG monolayer and the anti-27.8R MAbs could block the rVAP binding. Pre-incubation of the rVAP with FG cells before LCDV infection, or pre-incubation of LCDV with the antibodies against the rVAP, could significantly decrease the LCDV copy numbers (P<0.05) and delay the emergence of cytopathic effects in FG cells in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicated for the first time that the 32 kDa protein functioned as an attachment protein for the initial attachment and entry of LCDV, and the interaction of the 32 kDa VAP with the 27.8R-initiated LCDV infection.

Comparison of protein expression during wild-type, and E1B-55k-deletion, adenovirus infection using quantitative time-course proteomics.

Adenovirus has evolved strategies to usurp host-cell factors and machinery to facilitate its life cycle, including cell entry, replication, assembly and egress. Adenovirus continues, therefore, to be an important model system for investigating fundamental cellular processes. The role of adenovirus E1B-55k in targeting host-cell proteins that possess antiviral activity for proteasomal degradation is now well established. To expand our understanding of E1B-55k in regulating the levels of host-cell proteins, we performed comparative proteome analysis of wild-type, and E1B-55k-deletion, adenovirus-infected cancer cells. As such we performed quantitative MS/MS analysis to monitor protein expression changes affected by viral E1B-55k. We identified 5937 proteins, and of these, 69 and 58 proteins were down-regulated during wild-type and E1B-55k (dl1520) adenovirus infection, respectively. This analysis revealed that there are many, previously unidentified, cellular proteins subjected to degradation by adenovirus utilizing pathways independent of E1B-55k expression. Moreover, we found that ALCAM, EPHA2 and PTPRF, three cellular proteins that function in the regulation of cell-cell contacts, appeared to be degraded by E1B-55k/E4orf3 and/or E1B-55k/E4orf6 complexes. These molecules, like integrin α3 (a known substrate of E1B-55k/E4orf6), are critical regulators of cell signalling, cell adhesion and cell surface modulation, and their degradation during infection is, potentially, pertinent to adenovirus propagation. The data presented in this study illustrate the broad nature of protein down-regulation mediated by adenovirus.

Sensitivity to BST-2 restriction correlates with Orthobunyavirus host range.

Orthobunyaviruses include several recently emerging viruses of significant medical and veterinary importance. There is currently very limited understanding on what determines the host species range of these pathogens. In this study we discovered that BST-2/tetherin restricts orthobunyavirus replication in a host-specific manner. We show that viruses with human tropism (Oropouche virus and La Crosse virus) are restricted by sheep BST-2 but not by the human orthologue, while viruses with ruminant tropism (Schmallenberg virus and others) are restricted by human BST-2 but not by the sheep orthologue. We also show that BST-2 blocks orthobunyaviruses replication by reducing the amount of envelope glycoprotein into viral particles egressing from infected cells. This is the first study identifying a restriction factor that correlates with species susceptibility to orthobunyavirus infection. This work provides insight to help us dissect the adaptive changes that bunyaviruses require to cross the species barrier and emerge into new species.

Biological and chemical strategies for exploring inter- and intra-kingdom communication mediated via bacterial volatile signals.

Airborne chemical signals emitted by bacteria influence the behavior of other bacteria and plants. We present an overview of in vitro methods for evaluating bacterial and plant responses to bacterial volatile compounds (BVCs). Three types of equipment have been used to physically separate the bacterial test strains from either other bacterial strains or plants (in our laboratory we use either Arabidopsis or tobacco plant seedlings): a Petri dish containing two compartments (BI Petri dish); two Petri dishes connected with tubing; and a microtiter-based assay. The optimized procedure for the BI Petri dish system is described in this protocol and can be widely used for elucidation of potential function in interactions between diverse microbes and those plant and chemical volatiles emitted by bacteria that are most likely to mediate bacterial or plant responses to BVCs. We also describe a procedure for metabolome-based BVC profiling via dynamic (i.e., continuous airflow) or static headspace sampling using solid-phase microextraction (SPME). Using both these procedures, bacteria-bacteria communications and bacteria-plant interactions mediated by BVCs can be rapidly investigated (within 1-4 weeks).

Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 5 Contributes to H3N2 Influenza Virus Infection in Human Lungs.

Hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza virus must be activated by proteolysis before the virus can become infectious. Previous studies indicated that HA cleavage is driven by membrane-bound or extracellular serine proteases in the respiratory tract. However, there is still uncertainty as to which proteases are critical for activating HAs of seasonal influenza A viruses (IAVs) in humans. This study focuses on human KLK1 and KLK5, 2 of the 15 serine proteases known as the kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs). We find that their mRNA expression in primary human bronchial cells is stimulated by IAV infection. Both enzymes cleaved recombinant HA from several strains of the H1 and/or H3 virus subtype in vitro, but only KLK5 promoted the infectivity of A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (H1N1) and A/Scotland/20/74 (H3N2) virions in MDCK cells. We assessed the ability of treated viruses to initiate influenza in mice. The nasal instillation of only the KLK5-treated virus resulted in weight loss and lethal outcomes. The secretion of this protease in the human lower respiratory tract is enhanced during influenza. Moreover, we show that pretreatment of airway secretions with a KLK5-selective inhibitor significantly reduced the activation of influenza A/Scotland/20/74 virions, providing further evidence of its importance. Differently, increased KLK1 secretion appeared to be associated with the recruitment of inflammatory cells in human airways regardless of the origin of inflammation. Thus, our findings point to the involvement of KLK5 in the proteolytic activation and spread of seasonal influenza viruses in humans.IMPORTANCE Influenza A viruses (IAVs) cause acute infection of the respiratory tract that affects millions of people during seasonal outbreaks every year. Cleavage of the hemagglutinin precursor by host proteases is a critical step in the life cycle of these viruses. Consequently, host proteases that activate HA can be considered promising targets for the development of new antivirals. However, the specific proteases that activate seasonal influenza viruses, especially H3N2 viruses, in the human respiratory tract have remain undefined despite many years of work. Here we demonstrate that the secreted, extracellular protease KLK5 (kallikrein-related peptidase 5) is efficient in promoting the infectivity of H3N2 IAV in vitro and in vivo Furthermore, we found that its secretion was selectively enhanced in the human lower respiratory tract during a seasonal outbreak dominated by an H3N2 virus. Collectively, our data support the clinical relevance of this protease in human influenza pathogenesis.

Impaired Downregulation of NKG2D Ligands by Nef Proteins from Elite Controllers Sensitizes HIV-1-Infected Cells to Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity.

HIV-1 Nef clones isolated from a rare subset of HIV-1-infected elite controllers (EC), with the ability to suppress viral load to undetectable levels in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, are unable to fully downregulate CD4 from the plasma membrane of CD4(+) T cells. Residual CD4 left at the plasma membrane allows Env-CD4 interaction, which leads to increased exposure of Env CD4-induced epitopes and increases susceptibility of infected cells to antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). ADCC is mediated largely by natural killer (NK) cells, which control their activation status through the cumulative signals received through activating and inhibitory receptors. Recently, the activating NKG2D receptor was demonstrated to positively influence ADCC responses. Since HIV-1 Nef has been reported to reduce the expression of NKG2D ligands, we evaluated the relative abilities of Nef from EC and progressors to downmodulate NKG2D ligands. Furthermore, we assessed the impact of EC and progressor Nef on the ADCC susceptibility of HIV-1-infected cells. We observed a significantly increased expression of NKG2D ligands on cells infected with viruses coding for Nef from EC. Importantly, NKG2D ligand expression levels correlated with enhanced susceptibility of HIV-1-infected cells to ADCC. The biological significance of this correlation was corroborated by the demonstration that antibody-mediated blockade of NKG2D significantly reduced ADCC of cells infected with viruses carrying Nef from EC. These results suggest the involvement of NKG2D-NKG2D ligand interactions in the enhanced susceptibility of EC HIV-1-infected cells to ADCC responses.IMPORTANCE Attenuated Nef functions have been reported in HIV-1 isolated from EC. The inability of elite controller Nef to fully remove CD4 from the surface of infected cells enhanced their susceptibility to elimination by ADCC. We now show that downregulation of NKG2D ligands by HIV-1 Nef from EC is inefficient and leaves infected cells susceptible to ADCC. These data suggest a critical role for NKG2D ligands in anti-HIV-1 ADCC responses.

Microtubule Regulation and Function during Virus Infection.

Microtubules (MTs) form a rapidly adaptable network of filaments that radiate throughout the cell. These dynamic arrays facilitate a wide range of cellular processes, including the capture, transport, and spatial organization of cargos and organelles, as well as changes in cell shape, polarity, and motility. Nucleating from MT-organizing centers, including but by no means limited to the centrosome, MTs undergo rapid transitions through phases of growth, pause, and catastrophe, continuously exploring and adapting to the intracellular environment. Subsets of MTs can become stabilized in response to environmental cues, acquiring distinguishing posttranslational modifications and performing discrete functions as specialized tracks for cargo trafficking. The dynamic behavior and organization of the MT array is regulated by MT-associated proteins (MAPs), which include a subset of highly specialized plus-end-tracking proteins (+TIPs) that respond to signaling cues to alter MT behavior. As pathogenic cargos, viruses require MTs to transport to and from their intracellular sites of replication. While interactions with and functions for MT motor proteins are well characterized and extensively reviewed for many viruses, this review focuses on MT filaments themselves. Changes in the spatial organization and dynamics of the MT array, mediated by virus- or host-induced changes to MT regulatory proteins, not only play a central role in the intracellular transport of virus particles but also regulate a wider range of processes critical to the outcome of infection.

Reduction of infection by inhibiting mTOR pathway is associated with reversed repression of type I interferon by porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.

Type I interferons (IFNs) are critical in animal antiviral regulation. IFN-mediated signalling regulates hundreds of genes that are directly associated with antiviral, immune and other physiological responses. The signalling pathway mediated by mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), a serine/threonine kinase regulated by IFNs, is key in regulation of cellular metabolism and was recently implicated in host antiviral responses. However, little is known about how animal type I IFN signalling coordinates immunometabolic reactions during antiviral defence. Here, using porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), we found that the genes in the mTOR signalling pathway were differently regulated in PRRSV-infected porcine alveolar macrophages at different activation statuses. Moreover, mTOR signalling regulated PRRSV infection in MARC-145 and primary porcine cells, in part, through modulating the production and signalling of type I IFNs. Taken together, we determined that the mTOR signalling pathway involves PRRSV infection and regulates expression and signalling of type I IFNs against viral infection. These findings suggest that the mTOR signalling pathway has a bi-directional loop with the type I IFN system and imply that some components in the mTOR signalling pathway can be utilized as targets for studying antiviral immunity and for designing therapeutic reagents.

Influenza virus protein PB1-F2 interacts with CALCOCO2 (NDP52) to modulate innate immune response.

PB1-F2 is a viral protein encoded by influenza A viruses (IAVs). PB1-F2 is implicated in virulence by triggering immune cell apoptosis and enhancing inflammation. To obtain an insight into the molecular mechanisms of PB1-F2-mediated virulence, we used the yeast two-hybrid approach to find new PB1-F2 cellular interactors. This allowed us to identify calcium-binding and coiled-coil domain 2 (CALCOCO2, also known as NDP52) as a binding partner of PB1-F2. Binding of PB1-F2 to CALCOCO2 was confirmed by pull-down. Surface plasmon resonance binding experiments enabled us to estimate the dissociation constant (Kd) of the two partners to be around 20 nM. Using bioinformatics tools, we designed a CALCOCO2 interaction map based on previous knowledge and showed a strong connection between this protein and the type I interferon production pathways and the I-κB kinase/NF-κB signalling pathway. NF-κB reporter assays in which CALCOCO2, MAVS and PB1-F2 were co-expressed showed a cooperation of these three proteins to increase the inflammatory response. By contrast, PB1-F2 inhibits the TBK1-dependent activation of an ISRE reporter plasmid. We also demonstrated that the signal transducer TRAF6 is implicated in the enhancement of NF-κB activity mediated by PB1-F2/CALCOCO2 binding. Altogether, this report provides evidence of an interaction link between PB1-F2 and human proteins, and allows a better understanding of the involvement of PB1-F2 in the pathologic process mediated by IAV.

Ebolavirus protein VP24 interferes with innate immune responses by inhibiting interferon-λ1 gene expression.

Ebolaviruses (EBOV) cause severe disease with a recent outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015 leading to more than 28 000 cases and 11 300 fatalities. This emphasizes the urgent need for better knowledge on these highly pathogenic RNA viruses. Host innate immune responses play a key role in restricting the spread of a viral disease. In this study we systematically analyzed the effects of cloned EBOV genes on the main host immune response to RNA viruses: the activation of RIG-I pathway and type I and III interferon (IFN) gene expression. EBOV VP24, in addition of inhibiting IFN-induced antiviral responses, was found to efficiently inhibit type III IFN-λ1 gene expression. This inhibition was found to occur downstream of IRF3 activation and to be dependent on VP24 importin binding residues. These results emphasize the importance of VP24 in EBOV infection cycle, making VP24 as an excellent target for drug development.

The enemy within: Targeting host-parasite interaction for antileishmanial drug discovery.

The state of antileishmanial chemotherapy is strongly compromised by the emergence of drug-resistant Leishmania. The evolution of drug-resistant phenotypes has been linked to the parasites' intrinsic genome instability, with frequent gene and chromosome amplifications causing fitness gains that are directly selected by environmental factors, including the presence of antileishmanial drugs. Thus, even though the unique eukaryotic biology of Leishmania and its dependence on parasite-specific virulence factors provide valid opportunities for chemotherapeutical intervention, all strategies that target the parasite in a direct fashion are likely prone to select for resistance. Here, we review the current state of antileishmanial chemotherapy and discuss the limitations of ongoing drug discovery efforts. We finally propose new strategies that target Leishmania viability indirectly via mechanisms of host-parasite interaction, including parasite-released ectokinases and host epigenetic regulation, which modulate host cell signaling and transcriptional regulation, respectively, to establish permissive conditions for intracellular Leishmania survival.

Evasion of the STING DNA-Sensing Pathway by VP11/12 of Herpes Simplex Virus 1.

The stimulator of interferon (IFN) genes (STING) is a broad antimicrobial factor that restricts herpes simplex virus (HSV) by activating type I interferon and proinflammatory responses upon sensing of foreign DNA. UL46 is one of the most abundant tegument proteins of HSV-1, but a well-established function has yet to be found. We found that the HSV-1 UL46 protein interacts with and colocalizes with STING. A ΔUL46 virus displayed growth defects and activated innate immunity, but both effects were alleviated in STING knockdown cells. UL46 was also required for the inhibition of the 2',3'-cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP)-dependent immune responses during infection. In cells expressing UL46, out of the context of the infection, innate immunity to a ΔICP0 virus was largely compromised, and that permitted ICP0-deficient mutants to replicate. The UL46-expressing cell lines also rescued the defects of the ΔUL46 virus and enhanced wild-type virus infection. The UL46-expressing cell lines did not activate interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) transcription following treatment with the noncanonical cyclic dinucleotide 2',3'-cGAMP, suggesting that the STING pathway may be compromised. Indeed, we found that both proteins STING and IFI16 were eliminated in cells constitutively expressing UL46 and that the accumulation of their transcripts was blocked. Finally, we demonstrated that UL46 via its N terminus binds to STING and, via its C terminus, to TBK1. These interactions appear to modulate the functions of STING during HSV-1 infection. Taken together, our studies describe a novel function for one of the least-studied proteins of HSV, the tegument protein UL46, and that function involves the evasion of foreign DNA-sensing pathways.IMPORTANCE Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) afflicts 80% of the population worldwide, causing various diseases. After initial infection, the virus establishes latent reservoirs in sensory neurons and persists for life. Here we describe novel interactions between HSV-1 and the DNA sensor STING. We found that (i) HSV-1 tegument protein UL46 interacts with and colocalizes with STING; (ii) UL46 expressed out of the context of the infection blocks type I interferon triggered by STING stimuli, through the elimination of STING and of interferon-inducible protein 16 (IFI16); (iii) a ΔUL46 virus displayed growth defects, which were rescued in STING knockdown cells; (iv) the ΔUL46 virus failed to block innate immunity triggered by ligands of STING such as 2',3'-cGAMP and also activated IFN-β and ISG expression; and (v) UL46 binds to both STING and TBK1 through different domains. We conclude that UL46 counteracts the actions of STING during HSV-1 infection.

MicroRNAs of Epstein-Barr Virus Control Innate and Adaptive Antiviral Immunity.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has established lifelong infection in more than 90% of humanity. While infection is usually controlled by the immune system, the human host fails to completely eliminate the pathogen. Several herpesviral proteins are known to act as immunoevasins, preventing or reducing recognition of EBV-infected cells. Only recently were microRNAs of EBV identified to reduce immune recognition further. This Gem summarizes what we know about immunomodulatory microRNAs of herpesviruses.

Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel 1 Interacts with Ribonucleoprotein Complexes To Enhance Infectious Bursal Disease Virus Polymerase Activity.

Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) virus. Segment A contains two overlapping open reading frames (ORFs), which encode viral proteins VP2, VP3, VP4, and VP5. Segment B contains one ORF and encodes the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, VP1. IBDV ribonucleoprotein complexes are composed of VP1, VP3, and dsRNA and play a critical role in mediating viral replication and transcription during the virus life cycle. In the present study, we identified a cellular factor, VDAC1, which was upregulated during IBDV infection and found to mediate IBDV polymerase activity. VDAC1 senses IBDV infection by interacting with viral proteins VP1 and VP3. This association is caused by RNA bridging, and all three proteins colocalize in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated downregulation of VDAC1 resulted in a reduction in viral polymerase activity and a subsequent decrease in viral yield. Moreover, overexpression of VDAC1 enhanced IBDV polymerase activity. We also found that the viral protein VP3 can replace segment A to execute polymerase activity. A previous study showed that mutations in the C terminus of VP3 directly influence the formation of VP1-VP3 complexes. Our immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that protein-protein interactions between VDAC1 and VP3 and between VDAC1 and VP1 play a role in stabilizing the interaction between VP3 and VP1, further promoting IBDV polymerase activity.IMPORTANCE The cellular factor VDAC1 controls the entry and exit of mitochondrial metabolites and plays a pivotal role during intrinsic apoptosis by mediating the release of many apoptogenic molecules. Here we identify a novel role of VDAC1, showing that VDAC1 interacts with IBDV ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) and facilitates IBDV replication by enhancing IBDV polymerase activity through its ability to stabilize interactions in RNP complexes. To our knowledge, this is the first report that VDAC1 is specifically involved in regulating IBDV RNA polymerase activity, providing novel insight into virus-host interactions.