Characterization of virulence-associated determinants in the envelope glycoprotein of Pichinde virus
ABSTRACT We use a small animal model, based on guinea pigs infected with a non-pathogenic Pichinde virus (PICV), to understand the virulence mechanisms of arenavirus infections in the hosts. PICV P2 strain causes a mild febrile reaction in guinea pigs, while P18 causes severe disease with clinical and pathological features reminiscent of Lassa hemorrhagic fever in humans. The envelope glycoproteins (GPC) of P2 and P18 viruses differ at positions 119, 140, and 164, all localized to the receptor-binding G1 subunit. We found that lentiviral pseudotyped virions (VLPs) bearing P18 GPC show more efficient cell entry than those with P2 GPC, and that the E140 residue plays a critical role in this process. Infection of guinea pigs with the recombinant viruses containing the E140K change demonstrated that E140 of GPC is a necessary virulence determinant of P18 infections, possibly by enhancing the ability of virus to enter target cells.
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ABSTRACT: A number of arenaviruses are pathogenic for humans, but they differ significantly in virulence. Lassa virus, found in West Africa, causes severe hemorrhagic fever (HF), while the other principal Old World arenavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, causes mild illness in persons with normal immune function, and poses a threat only to immunocompromised individuals. The New World agents, including Junin, Machupo and Sabia virus, are highly pathogenic for humans. Arenaviral HF is characterized by high viremia and general immune suppression, the mechanism of which is unknown. Studies using viral reverse genetics, cell-based assays, animal models and human genome-wide association analysis have revealed potential mechanisms by which arenaviruses cause severe disease in humans. Each of the four viral gene products (GPC, L polymerase, NP, and Z matrix protein) and several host-cell factors (e.g., α-dystroglycan) are responsible for mediating viral entry, genome replication, and the inhibition of apoptosis, translation and interferon-beta (IFNβ) production. This review summarizes current knowledge of the role of each viral protein and host factor in the pathogenesis of arenaviral HF. Insights from recent studies are being exploited for the development of novel therapies.Antiviral research 12/2012; 97(2). DOI:10.1016/j.antiviral.2012.12.003 · 3.43 Impact Factor