Intervirology (Intervirology )

Publisher: S. Karger (Firm), Karger


As its title suggests, ëIntervirologyí covers progress in both basic and clinical virus research, and aims to provide a forum of exchange among the various disciplines within virology. Issues publishing original papers alternate with thematic issues, focusing on one clearly defined topic of basic or medical virology. This thematic concentration serves to make timely reviews, research reports and controversy easily accessible to both specialists in the field and those who want to keep track of the latest developments outside their own area of interest. The scope encompasses work on the molecular biology of animal viruses, including genome organization and regulation, and the structure and function of viral proteins. The pathogenesis, immunology, diagnosis and prophylaxis of viral diseases are discussed, with attention also given to virus-like agents such as prions and viroids.

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    Intervirology (Online)
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: We previously attenuated the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strain CK/CH/LDL/97I and found that it can convey protection against the homologous pathogenic virus. Objective: To compare the full-length genome sequences of the Chinese IBV strain CK/CH/LDL/97I and its embryo-passaged, attenuated level to identify sequence substitutions responsible for the attenuation and define markers of attenuation. Methods: The full-length genomes of CK/CH/LDL/97I P5 and P115 were amplified and sequenced. The sequences were assembled and compared using the MEGALIGN program (DNAStar) and a phylogenetic tree was constructed using MEGA4 software. Results: The CK/CH/LDL/97I virus population contained subpopulations with a mixture of genetic mutants. Changes were observed in nsp4, nsp9, nsp11/12, nsp14, nsp15, nsp16, and ORF3a, but these did not result in amino acid substitutions or did not show functional variations. Amino acid substitutions occurred in the remaining genes between P5 and P115; most were found in the S region, and some of the nucleotide mutations resulted in amino acid substitutions. Among the 9 nsps in the ORF1 region, nsp3 contained the most nucleotide substitutions. Conclusions: Sequence variations in different genes, especially the S gene and nsp3, in the genomes of CK/CH/LDL/97I viruses might contribute to differences in viral replication, pathogenicity, antigenicity, immunogenicity, and tissue tropism. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 08/2014; 57(6):319-330.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has emerged as a leading cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. The purpose of this study was to describe the distribution pattern of HCV genotypes in chronic hepatitis patients in the Campania region of southern Italy and estimate their association with risk factors and viral load. Materials and Methods: 404 consecutive HCV ribonucleic acid-positive patients were included in the study. HCV genotyping was carried out by the HCV line probe assay test and viral load estimation by the TaqMan real-time PCR system. Results: The predominant genotype was 1 (63.6%), followed by genotype 2 (29.4%), 3 (6.2%) and 4 (0.8%). Subtype 1b was more frequent in females than in males. Conversely, genotype 3 was more frequent in males. No significant difference was observed in age distribution of HCV genotypes. Surgery and dental therapy were the most frequent risk factors for genotype 1 and intravenous drug abuse and tattooing for genotype 3. Patients with genotype 1 more frequently showed high HCV viral load when compared to those with genotypes 2 and 3. Conclusion: The present study revealed that HCV genotypes 1 and 2 accounted for over 95% of all HCV infections in the Campania region, and genotype 1 was more frequently associated with a higher viral load when compared to genotypes 2 and 3. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 08/2014; 57(6):311-318.
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was scaled up in Guangxi, China in 2005. The number of individuals receiving free HAART increased dramatically from June 2010 under the Guangxi Government's anti-HIV programme. We aimed to determine the prevalence of HIV-transmitted drug resistance (TDR) of Guangxi. Methods: HIV-positive, antiretroviral-naive individuals were recruited from the east (Hezhou), south (Qinzhou), west (Baise), north (Guilin) and centre (Laibin) of Guangxi. The pol gene of the virus from the individuals was analysed. Results: The overall prevalence of HIV TDR was 3.2% (7/216, 95% CI 0.9-5.5). The prevalence rates in Baise, Guilin, Hezhou, Qinzhou and Laibin are 4.9% (2/41, 95% CI -1.7 to 11.5), 2.3% (1/44, 95% CI -2.1 to 5.7), 4.7% (2/43, 95% CI -1.6 to 11.0), 2.6% (1/38, 95% CI -2.5 to 7.7) and 2.0% (1/50, 95% CI -1.9 to 5.9), respectively. No significant difference in the prevalence was found among them. No factors were found to be associated with TDR, including CD4 cell counts, viral loads and genotypes. The subtypes CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC, CRF08_BC and B were found. Subtype CRF08_BC is the predominant subtype in Baise while CRF01_AE is the predominant subtype elsewhere in Guangxi. Conclusions: The prevalence of TDR in antiretroviral-naive patients in Guangxi remains low 8 years after scale-up of HAART. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 06/2014; 57(5):270-276.
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    ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genetic diversity is one of the most important features of HIV-1 infections and the result of error accumulation during reverse transcription and of high viral turnover. HIV-1 reverse transcription is influenced by factors such as the level of nucleotides and/or the cellular activation state. HIV-1 diversity was investigated after 48 h of viral propagation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from healthy donors in three different cell culture conditions: (1) resting PBMCs, (2) simultaneous infection and PBMC activation, and (3) PBMC activation 72 h before infection. Cellular DNA was extracted and proviruses of each culture condition were amplified. Single-genome PCR clones were obtained and the protease and reverse transcriptase of the pol gene were sequenced. An elevated number of nucleotide substitutions in all three culture conditions were observed. In condition 1, the mutational rate observed ranged from 1.0 × 10(-3) to 2.1 × 10(-2), the genetic diversity was 0.6%, and hypermutation was observed in 7.1% of sequenced clones. In condition 2, the mutational rate ranged from 1.0 × 10(-3) to 1.0 × 10(-2), the genetic diversity was 0.8%, and hypermutation affected 6.7% of clones. In condition 3, the mutational rate ranged from 2.8 × 10(-3) to 1.1 × 10(-2), the genetic diversity was 1%, and 5.9% of clones were hypermutated. Substitutions occurred more frequently in some specific nucleotide stretches, and a common pattern for substitutions in all the different conditions was identified. There was a significant accumulation of mutations during the initial periods of in vitro HIV-1 propagation irrespective of culture conditions. The rapid accumulation of virus diversity might represent a viral strategy when colonizing new hosts. Complementary studies are necessary to allow for a better understanding of the initial periods of infection, which represent a crucial event related to disease progression. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 06/2014; 57(5):277-288.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study was designed to prospectively evaluate the antiviral responses and evolution of resistance mutations during adefovir (ADV) plus lamivudine (LMV) therapy in patients with entecavir (ETV)-resistant hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Methods: Twenty chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients who had been receiving ETV for more than 6 months and developed virologic breakthrough due to ETV resistance were consecutively enrolled. Results: Patients received ADV plus LMV therapy for 12 months. The baseline mean serum HBV DNA level was 5.59 ± 1.28 log10 IU/ml. The rtT184L/I/A/F (50%), rtS202G (25%) and mixed ETV-resistant mutations (25%) were detected at enrollment. The mean reduction in serum HBV DNA levels from baseline to 12 months was -2.3 ± 1.06 log10 IU/ml (p < 0.001). Seventeen patients were followed up for the full 12 months, and complete virologic response (HBV DNA <20 IU/ml) was observed in 4 patients (23.5%). Among the remaining 13 patients who still had detectable HBV DNA, 7 patients showed disappearance of ETV-resistant mutations or reduction of the proportion of ETV-resistant mutants. An ADV- and LMV-resistant mutant (rtA181T) emerged in 2 patients (11.7%). Conclusions: ADV plus LMV combination therapy suppresses ETV-resistant mutants in the viral population and significantly reduces serum HBV DNA levels in ETV-resistant CHB patients. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 06/2014; 57(5):239-247.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Some patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection fail to achieve complete early virologic response (EVR) despite a marked decrease in HCV RNA at 4 weeks. We investigated the characteristics and final treatment outcomes of this patient subpopulation. Methods: A total of 516 patients with HCV genotype 1 were enrolled. Background characteristics and final outcomes were compared between patients who achieved complete EVR and those who did not among patients whose HCV RNA levels decreased 3.0 log10 or more at 4 weeks. Results: 78 of 334 patients (23.4%) with a ≥3.0 log10 reduction in HCV RNA levels at 4 weeks failed to achieve complete EVR. Female sex, higher pretreatment HCV RNA levels and lower baseline alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity were independently associated with failure of complete EVR. The rate of sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients without complete EVR was 47.4%, significantly lower than that in patients with complete EVR (89.7%, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Female patients, patients with higher pretreatment HCV RNA levels and patients with lower baseline ALT have a high likelihood of failure of complete EVR even when they had a ≥3 log10 reduction of HCV RNA at 4 weeks, resulting in a significantly lower SVR rate. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 06/2014; 57(5):289-296.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: We report the infection of New Zealand white rabbits with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Methods: EBV prepared in B95-8 (producer) cells was inoculated to rabbits by combined intranasal and oral routes. Blood and white blood cell (WBC) samples were taken before infection, then on days 8, 28 and 98 post-infection (p.i.). Results: Administration of either 3 × 10(8) (group A, 11 rabbits) or 1 × 10(9) (group B, 10 rabbits) EBV DNA copies per animal induced subacute and/or persistent infection. The IgG antibodies in plasma were detected by ELISA as well as by immunoblot (IB). The IB bands showed mainly antibodies to the BZRF1/Zta transactivation polypeptide (69.2%), the p54 early protein (53.4%) and to the p23 capsid protein (35.8%). No anti-EBNA1 antibody was detected throughout. Viral DNA could be detected by PCR in WBCs and/or spleen of 7 out of 21 infected rabbits (30%), while 60-80% of them showed serologic response. The transiently present EBV DNA was accompanied by LMP1 antigen. Conclusions: Rabbits developed persistent EBV infection in the absence of EBNA1 antibodies and by the lack of typical infectious mononucleosis-like syndrome. The absence of EBNA1 antibody may reflect the lack of EBNA1 in B cells of EBV-inoculated rabbits. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 06/2014; 57(5):254-269.
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) may exhibit significant liver pathology despite alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and HBV DNA levels below the cutoff values advised by treatment guidelines. We evaluated candidacy for HBV therapy when baseline histopathological changes are taken into consideration. Methods: Clinical, biochemical, serological, virological, and histopathological (METAVIR score) data of 117 patients with HBeAg-negative chronic HBV genotype D were collected and analyzed. Results: Significant pathology (≥F2 and/or ≥A2) and fibrosis (≥F2 ± ≥A2) were found in 73 (62.4%) and 59 (50.4%) patients, respectively. Based on HBV DNA (>2,000 IU/ml) and ALT levels >2 × 40 U/l (the standard cutoff value), only 31 (26.5%) patients were candidates for therapy. This increased to 58 (49.6%) patients when the new ALT cutoff values (30 U/l for males, and 19 U/l for females) were applied. Relying on either ≥F2 and/or A ≥2 or ≥F2 ± ≥A2 increases the treatment candidacy to 73 (62.4%) and 59 (50.4%) patients, respectively. Also, when compared with standard ALT cutoff values, applying both new ALT cutoff values with either significant pathology or fibrosis increases treatment candidacy to 28 (23.9%) and 42 (35.9%) patients, respectively. Conclusion: Liver pathology is more reliable than ALT and HBV DNA in the decision to treat patients with HBeAg-negative chronic HBV genotype D. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 06/2014; 57(5):248-253.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Herpesviridae encode a family of protein homologues that function as the 'port of entry' for insertion of the viral DNA into preformed capsids during encapsidation. Methods: Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of recombinant varicella-zoster virus pORF54 was performed. Results: Results suggest that pORF54 forms higher-order structures with itself. Enriched fractions analyzed by TEM revealed non-axial oriented portals with defined central channels and distinguishable crown, wing and clip regions. Conclusion: These morphological features are consistent with those previously reported for other herpesvirus and bacteriophage portal proteins. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 03/2014; 57(2):121-125.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of human herpesviruses (HHV) 1-6 and community-acquired respiratory viruses (CARVs) in specimens from patients with nasal polyposis undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) and investigate the potential clinical role. Methods: Viral occurrence was evaluated by molecular methods in polyp, turbinate mucosa, and pre- and postoperative scraping specimens from 35 consecutive patients at different time points in relation to FESS. Results: Overall, 21 patients (60%) were positive to at least one virus in at least one specimen; in particular, 12.1% of all specimens for HHV-6 (3/35 polyps, 11/31 turbinates, 1 presurgical scraping) and 10.5% for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) (8/35 polyps, 3/31 turbinates, 1/29 pre- and 1/29 postsurgical scraping), followed by CMV and HSV-1 (both 1.6%; 1/35 polyps, 1/29 postsurgical scraping and 2/35 polyps, respectively). EBV positivity tended to be higher in polyps, as well as HHV-6 in adjacent healthy turbinate mucosa, although no significant association was found. Only one preoperative cytological specimen was positive to parainfluenza virus-1. Conclusion: No association between the development of nasal polyps, herpesviruses and CARVs seems to exist. However, the higher EBV frequency in polyps could suggest a causative role or persistence in the inflammatory lymphoid tissue. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: T lymphocytes are not infected by dengue virus (DENV), nevertheless it is possible that exposure to DENV may affect their function. T lymphocytes from DENV-infected individuals are impaired in their proliferative capacity, although this effect has been attributed to altered function of antigen-presenting cells rather than to an intrinsic defect on T lymphocytes. Here we analyzed whether T lymphocytes from healthy donors became impaired in their proliferative capacity following in vitro exposure to DENV serotype-2 (DENV-2), as well as the possible mechanisms for this. Methods: Isolated CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes from healthy donors were in vitro exposed to DENV-2, before polyclonal activation, cell proliferation, IL-2 synthesis. IL-2Rα expression, nuclear translocation of NF-AT and NF-κB, and intracellular calcium flux were assessed. Results: In vitro exposure of both CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes from healthy donors to DENV-2 impairs cell proliferation, IL-2 synthesis, and IL-2Rα (CD25) cell membrane expression. Signalling wise, exposure to DENV-2 impairs the nuclear translocation of NF-AT, downstream of intracellular calcium mobilization, as well as that of NF-κB. Conclusion: In the course of a dengue infection, direct exposure of T lymphocytes to DENV could affect cell-mediated immune responses. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Infectious cDNA clones are important tools for studying molecular mechanisms in RNA viruses. The aim of this study was to construct an infectious cDNA clone for SAAS-JDY5, which is a genotype 3 HEV strain of swine origin. Methods: Construction employed overlapping PCR and restriction analysis to ligate nine cDNA fragments into a full-length cDNA clone containing 14 mutations compared to the consensus HEV genome sequence. Megaprimer PCR-directed mutagenesis restored nine non-silent mutations back to the consensus sequence while the other five silent mutations were maintained as genetic markers. Results: HEV proteins were identified by an immunofluorescence assay in Huh7 cells infected with capped RNA transcripts of the full-length cDNA clone, while HEV viremia, fecal HEV RNA and seroconversion were recorded in inoculated Sprague-Dawley rats. Conclusions: Our data confirmed the successful construction of an infectious cDNA clone of swine HEV strain pGEM4z-SAAS-JDY5, and support the use of rats as an HEV infectious model. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Since it has been reported that in humans there is a relationship between human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and symptom reduction, and that the polymerase (structural L protein) is highly conserved among different strains, this work aimed to identify the CD8 T cell epitopes H-2(d) restricted within the L sequence for immunization purposes. Methods: We screened the hRSV strain A2 L protein sequence using two independent algorithms, SYFPEITHI and PRED/(BALB/c), to predict CD8 T cell epitopes. The selected peptides were synthesized and used to immunize BALB/c mice for the evaluation of T cell response. The production of IFN-γ from splenocytes of hRSV-infected animals stimulated by these peptides was assayed by ELISPOT. Results: Nine peptides showing the best binding scores to the BALB/c MHC-I molecules (H-2K(d), L(d) and D(d)) were selected. Sequence homology analysis showed that these sequences are conserved among different hRSV strains. Two of these peptides induced significant IFN-γ production by ex vivo-stimulated T cells. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the hRSV L protein contains H-2(d)-restricted epitopes. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near the interleukin (IL) 28B gene encoding a type III interferon (IFN-λ) are the most important genetic predictors of treatment response to hepatitis C virus (HCV). This retrospective study was undertaken to determine any association between IL28B SNPs and the development of viraemia in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-driven acute infectious mononucleosis (IM) and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). Methods: Genomic DNA extracted from plasma from 45 EBV seropositive controls and 46 acute IM, 23 non-PTLD (transplant) and 21 PTLD patients was tested by PCR for 2 SNPs within IL28B. EBV DNA levels were tested in IM and PTLD samples by a real-time quantitative PCR. Results: No significant differences were seen in SNP frequencies at rs12979860 and rs8099917 in IM and PTLD patients compared to EBV seropositive controls and transplant patients. EBV DNA levels were lower in IM and PTLD patients with CC (a favourable genotype in HCV) at rs12979860 compared to non-CC genotypes (p = 0.055). Acute IM patients with CC had significantly lower levels of EBV DNA in plasma compared to those with non-CC genotypes (p = 0.011). Conclusions: Genotype CC may influence anti-viral responses of IFN-λ, thereby allowing better control of EBV viraemia during lymphoproliferation, particularly in IM. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) nonstructural protein NS1 (NS1) has been shown to block interferon (IFN)-inducible antiviral signaling. The suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) gene family could utilize a feedback loop to block the activation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway, further inhibiting the activation of host type I IFN. We evaluated the role of the SOCS1 and SOCS3 genes in this antiviral mechanism. Material and Methods: A humanized stable NS1 (rich in GC)-expressing plasmid was constructed, and A549 cells were transfected with it. Expression of the SOCS1, SOCS3, RIG-I, and TLR3 mRNAs was measured with real-time PCR. STAT2 and pSTAT2 expression was determined with Western blotting. Results: RSV NS1 upregulated SOCS1 mRNA expression 30-fold increase compared with the baseline level in very early phase (p < 0.01), and silence of RIG-I or TLR3 mRNA did not affect NS1-induced SOCS1 expression. NS1 inhibited IFN-α-induced STAT2 phosphorylation and degraded STAT2 in a time-dependent manner compared with the empty-vector control (p < 0.05). Conclusion: RSV NS1 upregulates SOCS1 expression in a RIG-I- and TLR3-independent pathway, to inhibit STAT2 phosphorylation. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance testing, genotype analysis, and the determination of immune and vaccine escape variants support personalized antiviral treatment for hepatitis B patients. As phenotypic drug resistance testing for hepatitis B virus (HBV) is especially labor-intensive, due to the lack of simple cell culture systems, genotypic methods play a very pronounced role. The genetic structure of HBV allows the simultaneous analysis of two different genes by examination of a single region in the genome of HBV. Nevertheless, the overlapping open reading frames of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and the reverse transcriptase (RT) have to be interpreted separately. In diagnostic procedures, standard Sanger type sequencing (mostly performed as a dye-dideoxynucleotide terminator system) is still the most commonly used method. This allows using established techniques for interpreting those types of genetic information. Besides reviewing the foundation of drug resistance interpretation for HBV, different interpretation systems, either commercially available (TRUGENE, Abbott, ViroScore) or free to use (geno2pheno[HBV], HIV-GRADE HBV tool), are compared in this article. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014; 57(3-4):232-6.
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) resistance to nucleos(t)ide analogue (NA) therapy is essentially structure specific, with each NA falling within three main structural groups. Resistance to each of these is characterized by specific mutations in the reverse transcriptase domains of the HBV polymerase, and may be associated with compensatory mutations which can increase replication. HBV polymerase is considered to have a traditional 'right-handed' structural conformation, and each of the resistance mutations is predicted to cause a specific structural change of the polymerase, thereby preventing incorporation of NA into replicating DNA. The selection of resistance occurs at different rates for each NA, and is affected by the high mutational rate of HBV and the ability of the drug to suppress viral replication. Some mutations or combinations of mutations may be associated with multidrug resistance, limiting treatment options. In contrast to most other viruses, resistance in HBV is confounded by the overlapping surface gene, the major NA-resistant mutations also altering the surface proteins in most cases, potentially altering virus secretion and neutralization, which may pose a public health threat in the future. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Intervirology 01/2014; 57(3-4):218-24.

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