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UNLABELLED - Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a major cause of respiratory disease in infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals worldwide. There is currently no licensed HMPV vaccine. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are an attractive vaccine candidate because they are noninfectious and elicit a neutralizing antibody response. However, studies show that serum neutralizing antibodies are insufficient for complete protection against reinfection and that adaptive T cell immunity is important for viral clearance. HMPV and other respiratory viruses induce lung CD8(+) T cell (TCD8) impairment, mediated by programmed death 1 (PD-1). In this study, we generated HMPV VLPs by expressing the fusion and matrix proteins in mammalian cells and tested whether VLP immunization induces functional HMPV-specific TCD8 responses in mice. C57BL/6 mice vaccinated twice with VLPs and subsequently challenged with HMPV were protected from lung viral replication for at least 20 weeks postimmunization. A single VLP dose elicited F- and M-specific lung TCD8s with higher function and lower expression of PD-1 and other inhibitory receptors than TCD8s from HMPV-infected mice. However, after HMPV challenge, lung TCD8s from VLP-vaccinated mice exhibited inhibitory receptor expression and functional impairment similar to those of mice experiencing secondary infection. HMPV challenge of VLP-immunized μMT mice also elicited a large percentage of impaired lung TCD8s, similar to mice experiencing secondary infection. Together, these results indicate that VLPs are a promising vaccine candidate but do not prevent lung TCD8 impairment upon HMPV challenge.
IMPORTANCE - Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a leading cause of acute respiratory disease for which there is no licensed vaccine. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are an attractive vaccine candidate and induce antibodies, but T cell responses are less defined. Moreover, HMPV and other respiratory viruses induce lung CD8(+) T cell (TCD8) impairment mediated by programmed death 1 (PD-1). In this study, HMPV VLPs containing viral fusion and matrix proteins elicited epitope-specific TCD8s that were functional with low PD-1 expression. Two VLP doses conferred sterilizing immunity in C57BL/6 mice and facilitated HMPV clearance in antibody-deficient μMT mice without enhancing lung pathology. However, regardless of whether responding lung TCD8s had previously encountered HMPV antigens in the context of VLPs or virus, similar proportions were impaired and expressed comparable levels of PD-1 upon viral challenge. These results suggest that VLPs are a promising vaccine candidate but do not prevent lung TCD8 impairment upon HMPV challenge.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) and the neo-angiogenic factors induced as a result of hypoxia-inducible factor transcriptional activation may contribute to tumorigenesis by inducing vessel formation that in turn provides oxygen and nutrients promoting tumor expansion. In vitro studies of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), an aggressive malignancy that is nearly always infected by Epstein-Barr virus, show HIF-1alpha is upregulated by viral latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1). The current study used immunohistochemistry to examine the extent to which HIF-1alpha and LMP1 are co-expressed in naturally infected NPC tissues. Analytic procedures were optimized for sensitive localization of HIF-1alpha and LMP1 in fixed tissue sections using immunohistochemistry with sensitive fluorescent and signal amplification technologies. Vessel density was quantified by CD31 immunohistochemistry. LMP1 was expressed focally in all 18 NPCs examined, including 7/8 in situ lesions. There was no consistent co-localization with HIF-1alpha which was usually only weakly expressed in a subset of neoplastic cells. Neither LMP1 nor HIF-1alpha expression correlated with vessel density, and degree of vascularization varied widely among cases. Advanced immunohistochemical technologies reveal that LMP1 is expressed more commonly than previously reported in NPC. There is no consistent relationship between LMP1 and either HIF-1alpha expression or degree of microvasculature. The biologic basis for the wide variation in vessel density deserves further investigation.
Gastric adenocarcinoma is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is present in the malignant cells of approximately 10% of cases. It is unclear whether EBV is being missed in some gastric adenocarcinomas due to insensitive test methods or partial EBV genome loss. In this study, we screened 113 gastric adenocarcinomas from low- and high-incidence regions (United States and Central America) for the presence of EBV using a battery quantitative real-time PCR (Q-PCR) assays targeting disparate segments of the EBV genome (BamH1W, EBNA1, LMP1, LMP2, BZLF1, EBER1) and histochemical stains targeting EBV-encoded RNA (EBER), the latent proteins LMP1 and LMP2, and the lytic proteins BMRF1 and BZLF1. EBV DNA was detected by Q-PCR in 48/75 United States cancers (64%) and in 38/38 Central American cancers (100%), which was a significant difference. EBER was localized to malignant epithelial cells in 8/48 (17%) United States and 3/38 (8%) Central American cancers. Viral loads were considerably higher for EBER-positive vs EBER-negative cancers (mean 162 986 vs 62 EBV DNA copies per 100,000 cells). A viral load of 2000 copies per 100,000 cells is recommended as the threshold distinguishing EBER-positive from EBER-negative tumors. One infected cancer selectively failed to amplify the LMP2 gene because of a point mutation, whereas another cancer had an atypical pattern of Q-PCR positivity suggesting deletion of large segments of the EBV genome. Three different viral latency profiles were observed in the cancers based on constant expression of EBER and focal or variable expression of LMP1 or LMP2, without lytic protein expression. We conclude that EBV DNA levels generally reflect EBER status, and a panel of at least two Q-PCR assays is recommended for sensitive identification of infected cancers.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects polarized epithelia, which have tightly regulated trafficking because of the separation and maintenance of the apical and basolateral membranes. Previously we established a link between the apical recycling endosome (ARE) and the assembly of RSV. The current studies tested the role of a major ARE-associated protein, Rab11 family interacting protein 2 (FIP2) in the virus life cycle. A dominant-negative form of FIP2 lacking its N-terminal C2 domain reduced the supernatant-associated RSV titer 1,000-fold and also caused the cell-associated virus titer to increase. These data suggested that the FIP2 C2 mutant caused a failure at the final budding step in the virus life cycle. Additionally, truncation of the Rab-binding domain from FIP2 caused its accumulation into mature filamentous virions. RSV budding was independent of the ESCRT machinery, the only well-defined budding mechanism for enveloped RNA viruses. Therefore, RSV uses a virus budding mechanism that is controlled by FIP2.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are critical for control of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in humans and mice. To investigate cellular immune responses to infection, it is important to identify major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted CTL epitopes. In this study, we identified a new RSV-specific, H-2K(d)-restricted subdominant epitope in the M2 protein, M2(127-135) (amino acids 127 to 135). This finding allowed us to study the frequency of T lymphocytes responding to two H-2K(d)-presented epitopes in the same protein following RSV infection by enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and intracellular cytokine assays for both lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues. For the subdominant epitope, we identified an optimal nine-amino-acid peptide, VYNTVISYI, which contained an H-2K(d) consensus sequence with Y at position 2 and I at position 9. In addition, an MHC class I stabilization assay using TAP-2-deficient RMA-S cells transfected with K(d) or L(d) indicated that the epitope was presented by K(d). The ratios of T lymphocytes during the peak CTL response to RSV infection that were specific for M2(82-90) (dominant) to T lymphocytes specific for M2(127-135) (subdominant) were approximately 3:1 in the spleen and 10:1 in the lung. These ratios were observed consistently in primary or secondary infection by the ELISPOT assay and in secondary infection by MHC/peptide tetramer staining. The number of antigen-specific T lymphocytes dropped in the 6 weeks after infection; however, the proportions of T lymphocytes specific for the immunodominant and subdominant epitopes were maintained to a remarkable degree in a tissue-specific manner. These studies will facilitate investigation of the regulation of immunodominance of RSV-specific CTL epitopes.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) play a significant role in the clearance of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in humans and mice. Identification of class I MHC-restricted CTL epitopes is critical in elucidating mechanisms of CTL responses against viral infections. However, only four H-2d-restricted epitopes have been reported in mice. Because of the diversity of transgenic and knockout mice available to study immune responses, new epitopes in additional strains of mice must be identified. We therefore attempted to discover novel CTL epitopes in C57Bl/6 mice. Our efforts revealed a new H-2D(b)-restricted CTL epitope from the RSV M protein, corresponding to aa 187-195 (NAITNAKII). Also, M187-195-specific CTLs were activated with kinetics similar to the immunodominant BALB/c epitope, M2 82-90. This is the first RSV-specific CTL epitope described in a strain of mice other than BALB/c. Furthermore, identification of this H-2b-restricted CTL epitope provides access to genetically modified H-2b mice for more detailed studies of CTL mechanisms in RSV infection.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latency III infection converts B lymphocytes into lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) by expressing EBV nuclear and membrane proteins, EBNAs, and latent membrane proteins (LMPs), which regulate transcription through Notch and tumor necrosis factor receptor pathways. The role of NF-kappa B in LMP1 and overall EBV latency III transcriptional effects was investigated by treating LCLs with BAY11-7082 (BAY11). BAY11 rapidly and irreversibly inhibited NF-kappa B, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, induced apoptosis, and altered LCL gene expression. BAY11 effects were similar to those of an NF-kappa B inhibitor, Delta N-I kappa B alpha, in effecting decreased JNK1 expression and in microarray analyses. More than 80% of array elements that decreased with Delta N-I kappa B alpha expression decreased with BAY11 treatment. Newly identified NF-kappa B-induced, LMP1-induced, and EBV-induced genes included pleckstrin, Jun-B, c-FLIP, CIP4, and I kappa B epsilon. Of 776 significantly changed array elements, 134 were fourfold upregulated in EBV latency III, and 74 were fourfold upregulated with LMP1 expression alone, whereas only 28 were more than fourfold downregulated by EBV latency III. EBV latency III-regulated gene products mediate cell migration (EBI2, CCR7, RGS1, RANTES, MIP1 alpha, MIP1 beta, CXCR5, and RGS13), antigen presentation (major histocompatibility complex proteins and JAW1), mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway (DUSP5 and p62Dok), and interferon (IFN) signaling (IFN-gamma R alpha, IRF-4, and STAT1). Comparison of EBV latency III LCL gene expression to immunoglobulin M (IgM)-stimulated B cells, germinal-center B cells, and germinal-center-derived lymphomas clustered LCLs with IgM-stimulated B cells separately from germinal-center cells or germinal-center lymphoma cells. Expression of IRF-2, AIM1, ASK1, SNF2L2, and components of IFN signaling pathways further distinguished EBV latency III-infected B cells from IgM-stimulated or germinal-center B cells.
A retrospective single center study was performed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of valacyclovir for prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection (reactivation) after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). We compared a group of 31 patients at risk for CMV reactivation (donor, recipient or both seropositive for CMV) who received valacyclovir at an oral dose of 1 g three times a day for CMV prophylaxis with a matched cohort of 31 patients who did not receive the drug or any other form of CMV prophylaxis. Valacyclovir was used as primary prophylaxis in 12 patients and as secondary prophylaxis (after a prior CMV reactivation was effectively treated with either ganciclovir or foscarnet and without CMV antigenemia at the start of valacyclovir) in the remaining 19 patients. The two treatment groups were well matched for the donor-recipient CMV serological status and other pre-transplant characteristics. CMV reactivation was detected by blood antigenemia testing using a commercially available immunofluorescence assay for CMV lower matrix protein pp65 in circulating leukocytes. For primary prophylaxis, 3/12 patients who received valacyclovir reactivated CMV compared to 24/31 patients in the control group (P < 0.001). For secondary prophylaxis, 5/19 valacyclovir patients reactivated compared to 16/24 control patients (P < 0.05). Valacyclovir was well tolerated except for infrequent and mild gastrointestinal side-effects. There was no difference in the incidence of CMV disease in the two groups. Prophylaxis with valacyclovir appears to be safe and efficacious in preventing both primary and secondary CMV reactivation in at-risk patients after allogeneic SCT. Larger prospective randomized studies will be required to confirm these observations.
The stable assembly of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules with peptides is controlled by a number of cofactors, including proteins with general housekeeping functions and proteins with dedicated functions in MHC assembly. Recent work in my laboratory has focused on two chaperones, tapasin (tpn) and DM, that play critical roles in the loading of peptides onto MHC class I and MHC class II molecules, respectively. Tapasin is a transmembrane protein that tethers empty class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum to the transporter associated with antigen processing. DM is a peptide exchange factor that binds with empty and peptide-loaded class II molecules in endosomal and lysosomal compartments. Although a number of different functions for tapasin and DM have been proposed, emerging evidence suggests that both of these chaperones retain unstable MHC molecules in peptide-loading compartments until they bind with high-affinity peptides. These cofactors therefore promote the surface expression of long-lived MHC-peptide complexes.
The coronavirus replicase gene (gene 1) is translated into two co-amino-terminal polyproteins that are proteolytically processed to yield more than 15 mature proteins. Several gene 1 proteins have been shown to localize at sites of viral RNA synthesis in the infected cell cytoplasm, notably on late endosomes at early times of infection. However, both immunofluorescence and electron microscopic studies have also detected gene 1 proteins at sites distinct from the putative sites of viral RNA synthesis or virus assembly. In this study, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV)-infected cells were fractionated and analyzed to determine if gene 1 proteins segregated to more than one membrane population. Following differential centrifugation of lysates of MHV-infected DBT cells, gene 1 proteins as well as the structural N and M proteins were detected almost exclusively in a high-speed small membrane pellet. Following fractionation of the small membrane pellet on an iodixanol density gradient, the gene 1 proteins p28 and helicase cofractionated with dense membranes (1.12 to 1.13 g/ml) that also contained peak concentrations of N. In contrast, p65 and p1a-22 were detected in a distinct population of less dense membranes (1.05 to 1.09 g/ml). Viral RNA was detected in membrane fractions containing helicase, p28, and N but not in the fractions containing p65 and p1a-22. LAMP-1, a marker for late endosomes and lysosomes, was detected in both membrane populations. These results demonstrate that multiple gene 1 proteins segregate into two biochemically distinct but tightly associated membrane populations and that only one of these populations appears to be a site for viral RNA synthesis. The results further suggest that p28 is a component of the viral replication complex whereas the gene 1 proteins p1a-22 and p65 may serve roles during infection that are distinct from viral RNA transcription or replication.