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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) are two closely related viruses that cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants and the elderly, with a significant health burden. There are no licensed vaccines or small-molecule antiviral treatments specific to these two viruses at present. A humanized murine monoclonal antibody (palivizumab) is approved to treat high-risk infants for RSV infection, but other treatments, as well as vaccines, for both viruses are still in development. Recent epidemiological modelling suggests that cross-immunity between RSV, HMPV and human parainfluenzaviruses may contribute to their periodic outbreaks, suggesting that a deeper understanding of host immunity to these viruses may lead to enhanced strategies for their control. Cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies to the RSV and HMPV fusion (F) proteins have been identified. Here, we examine the structural basis for cross-reactive antibody binding to RSV and HMPV F protein by two related, independently isolated antibodies, MPE8 and 25P13. We solved the structure of the MPE8 antibody bound to RSV F protein and identified the 25P13 antibody from an independent blood donor. Our results indicate that both antibodies use germline residues to interact with a conserved surface on F protein that could guide the emergence of cross-reactivity. The induction of similar cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies using structural vaccinology approaches could enhance intrinsic cross-immunity to these paramyxoviruses and approaches to controlling recurring outbreaks.
Structure-based design of vaccines, particularly the iterative optimization used so successfully in the structure-based design of drugs, has been a long-sought goal. We previously developed a first-generation vaccine antigen called DS-Cav1, comprising a prefusion-stabilized form of the fusion (F) glycoprotein, which elicits high-titer protective responses against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in mice and macaques. Here we report the improvement of DS-Cav1 through iterative cycles of structure-based design that significantly increased the titer of RSV-protective responses. The resultant second-generation 'DS2'-stabilized immunogens have their F subunits genetically linked, their fusion peptides deleted and their interprotomer movements stabilized by an additional disulfide bond. These DS2 immunogens are promising vaccine candidates with superior attributes, such as their lack of a requirement for furin cleavage and their increased antigenic stability against heat inactivation. The iterative structure-based improvement described here may have utility in the optimization of other vaccine antigens.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a significant cause of severe respiratory illness worldwide, particularly in infants, young children, and the elderly. Although no licensed vaccine is currently available, an engineered version of the metastable RSV fusion (F) surface glycoprotein-stabilized in the pre-fusion (pre-F) conformation by "DS-Cav1" mutations-elicits high titer RSV-neutralizing responses. Moreover, pre-F-specific antibodies, often against the neutralization-sensitive antigenic site Ø in the membrane-distal head region of trimeric F glycoprotein, comprise a substantial portion of the human response to natural RSV infection. To focus the vaccine-elicited response to antigenic site Ø, we designed a series of RSV F immunogens that comprised the membrane-distal head of the F glycoprotein in its pre-F conformation. These "head-only" immunogens formed monomers, dimers, and trimers. Antigenic analysis revealed that a majority of the 70 engineered head-only immunogens displayed reactivity to site Ø-targeting antibodies, which was similar to that of the parent RSV F DS-Cav1 trimers, often with increased thermostability. We evaluated four of these head-only immunogens in detail, probing their recognition by antibodies, their physical stability, structure, and immunogenicity. When tested in naïve mice, a head-only trimer, half the size of the parent RSV F trimer, induced RSV titers, which were statistically comparable to those induced by DS-Cav1. When used to boost DS-Cav1-primed mice, two head-only RSV F immunogens, a dimer and a trimer, boosted RSV-neutralizing titers to levels that were comparable to those boosted by DS-Cav1, although with higher site Ø-directed responses. Our results provide proof-of-concept for the ability of the smaller head-only RSV F immunogens to focus the vaccine-elicited response to antigenic site Ø. Decent primary immunogenicity, enhanced physical stability, potential ease of manufacture, and potent immunogenicity upon boosting suggest these head-only RSV F immunogens, engineered to retain the pre-fusion conformation, may have advantages as candidate RSV vaccines.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) are paramyxoviruses that are responsible for substantial human health burden, particularly in children and the elderly. The fusion (F) glycoproteins are major targets of the neutralizing antibody response and studies have mapped dominant antigenic sites in F. Here we grafted a major neutralizing site of RSV F, recognized by the prophylactic monoclonal antibody palivizumab, onto HMPV F, generating a chimeric protein displaying epitopes of both viruses. We demonstrate that the resulting chimeric protein (RPM-1) is recognized by both anti-RSV and anti-HMPV F neutralizing antibodies indicating that it can be used to map the epitope specificity of antibodies raised against both viruses. Mice immunized with the RPM-1 chimeric antigen generate robust neutralizing antibody responses to MPV but weak or no cross-reactive recognition of RSV F, suggesting that grafting of the single palivizumab epitope stimulates a comparatively limited antibody response. The RPM-1 protein provides a new tool for characterizing the immune responses resulting from RSV and HMPV infections and provides insights into the requirements for developing a chimeric subunit vaccine that could induce robust and balanced immunity to both virus infections.
BACKGROUND - The clinical significance of viruses detected in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is often unclear.
METHODS - We conducted a prospective study to identify the prevalence of 13 viruses in the upper respiratory tract of patients with CAP and concurrently enrolled asymptomatic controls with real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. We compared age-stratified prevalence of each virus between patients with CAP and controls and used multivariable logistic regression to calculate attributable fractions (AFs).
RESULTS - We enrolled 1024 patients with CAP and 759 controls. Detections of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus were substantially more common in patients with CAP of all ages than in controls (AFs near 1.0). Parainfluenza and coronaviruses were also more common among patients with CAP (AF, 0.5-0.75). Rhinovirus was associated with CAP among adults (AF, 0.93) but not children (AF, 0.02). Adenovirus was associated with CAP only among children <2 years old (AF, 0.77).
CONCLUSIONS - The probability that a virus detected with real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in patients with CAP contributed to symptomatic disease varied by age group and specific virus. Detections of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus among patients with CAP of all ages probably indicate an etiologic role, whereas detections of parainfluenza, coronaviruses, rhinovirus, and adenovirus, especially in children, require further scrutiny.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail email@example.com.
BACKGROUND - Incidence estimates of hospitalizations for community-acquired pneumonia among children in the United States that are based on prospective data collection are limited. Updated estimates of pneumonia that has been confirmed radiographically and with the use of current laboratory diagnostic tests are needed.
METHODS - We conducted active population-based surveillance for community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among children younger than 18 years of age in three hospitals in Memphis, Nashville, and Salt Lake City. We excluded children with recent hospitalization or severe immunosuppression. Blood and respiratory specimens were systematically collected for pathogen detection with the use of multiple methods. Chest radiographs were reviewed independently by study radiologists.
RESULTS - From January 2010 through June 2012, we enrolled 2638 of 3803 eligible children (69%), 2358 of whom (89%) had radiographic evidence of pneumonia. The median age of the children was 2 years (interquartile range, 1 to 6); 497 of 2358 children (21%) required intensive care, and 3 (<1%) died. Among 2222 children with radiographic evidence of pneumonia and with specimens available for bacterial and viral testing, a viral or bacterial pathogen was detected in 1802 (81%), one or more viruses in 1472 (66%), bacteria in 175 (8%), and both bacterial and viral pathogens in 155 (7%). The annual incidence of pneumonia was 15.7 cases per 10,000 children (95% confidence interval [CI], 14.9 to 16.5), with the highest rate among children younger than 2 years of age (62.2 cases per 10,000 children; 95% CI, 57.6 to 67.1). Respiratory syncytial virus was more common among children younger than 5 years of age than among older children (37% vs. 8%), as were adenovirus (15% vs. 3%) and human metapneumovirus (15% vs. 8%). Mycoplasma pneumoniae was more common among children 5 years of age or older than among younger children (19% vs. 3%).
CONCLUSIONS - The burden of hospitalization for children with community-acquired pneumonia was highest among the very young, with respiratory viruses the most commonly detected causes of pneumonia. (Funded by the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.).
Two meetings, one sponsored by the Wellcome Trust in 2012 and the other by the Global Virology Foundation in 2013, assembled academic, public health and pharmaceutical industry experts to assess the challenges and opportunities for developing antivirals for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections. The practicalities of clinical trials and establishing reliable outcome measures in different target groups were discussed in the context of the regulatory pathways that could accelerate the translation of promising compounds into licensed agents. RSV drug development is hampered by the perceptions of a relatively small and fragmented market that may discourage major pharmaceutical company investment. Conversely, the public health need is far too large for RSV to be designated an orphan or neglected disease. Recent advances in understanding RSV epidemiology, improved point-of-care diagnostics, and identification of candidate antiviral drugs argue that the major obstacles to drug development can and will be overcome. Further progress will depend on studies of disease pathogenesis and knowledge provided from controlled clinical trials of these new therapeutic agents. The use of combinations of inhibitors that have different mechanisms of action may be necessary to increase antiviral potency and reduce the risk of resistance emergence.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
While 30%-70% of RSV-infected infants develop bronchiolitis, 2% require hospitalization. It is not clear why disease severity differs among healthy, full-term infants; however, virus titers, inflammation, and Th2 bias are proposed explanations. While TLR4 is associated with these disease phenotypes, the role of this receptor in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pathogenesis is controversial. Here, we evaluated the interaction between TLR4 and environmental factors in RSV disease and defined the immune mediators associated with severe illness. Two independent populations of infants with RSV bronchiolitis revealed that the severity of RSV infection is determined by the TLR4 genotype of the individual and by environmental exposure to LPS. RSV-infected infants with severe disease exhibited a high GATA3/T-bet ratio, which manifested as a high IL-4/IFN-γ ratio in respiratory secretions. The IL-4/IFN-γ ratio present in infants with severe RSV is indicative of Th2 polarization. Murine models of RSV infection confirmed that LPS exposure, Tlr4 genotype, and Th2 polarization influence disease phenotypes. Together, the results of this study identify environmental and genetic factors that influence RSV pathogenesis and reveal that a high IL-4/IFN-γ ratio is associated with severe disease. Moreover, these molecules should be explored as potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
A first step in primary disease prevention is identifying common, modifiable risk factors that contribute to a significant proportion of disease development. Infant respiratory viral infection and childhood asthma are the most common acute and chronic diseases of childhood, respectively. Common clinical features and links between these diseases have long been recognized, with early-life respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus (RV) lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) being strongly associated with increased asthma risk. However, there has long been debate over the role of these respiratory viruses in asthma inception. In this article, we systematically review the evidence linking early-life RSV and RV LRTIs with asthma inception and whether they could therefore be targets for primary prevention efforts.
BACKGROUND - Some investigators find a deficiency in IFN production from airway epithelial cells infected with human rhinovirus in asthma, but whether this abnormality occurs with other respiratory viruses is uncertain.
OBJECTIVE - To assess the effect of influenza A virus (IAV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection on IFN production and viral level in human bronchial epithelial cells (hBECs) from subjects with and without asthma.
METHODS - Primary-culture hBECs from subjects with mild to severe asthma (n = 11) and controls without asthma (hBECs; n = 7) were infected with live or ultraviolet-inactivated IAV (WS/33 strain), RSV (Long strain), or RSV (A/2001/2-20 strain) with multiplicity of infection 0.01 to 1. Levels of virus along with IFN-β and IFN-λ and IFN-stimulated gene expression (tracked by 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase 1 and myxovirus (influenza virus) resistance 1 mRNA) were determined up to 72 hours postinoculation.
RESULTS - After IAV infection, viral levels were increased 2-fold in hBECs from asthmatic subjects compared with nonasthmatic control subjects (P < .05) and this increase occurred in concert with increased IFN-λ1 levels and no significant difference in IFNB1, 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase 1, or myxovirus (influenza virus) resistance 1mRNA levels. After RSV infections, viral levels were not significantly increased in hBECs from asthmatic versus nonasthmatic subjects and the only significant difference between groups was a decrease in IFN-λ levels (P < .05) that correlated with a decrease in viral titer. All these differences were found only at isolated time points and were not sustained throughout the 72-hour infection period.
CONCLUSIONS - The results indicate that IAV and RSV control and IFN response to these viruses in airway epithelial cells is remarkably similar between subjects with and without asthma.
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.