[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Until recently, members of the monogeneric family Arenaviridae (arenaviruses) have been known to infect only muroid rodents and, in one case, possibly phyllostomid bats. The paradigm of arenaviruses exclusively infecting small mammals shifted dramatically when several groups independently published the detection and isolation of a divergent group of arenaviruses in captive alethinophidian snakes. Preliminary phylogenetic analyses suggest that these reptilian arenaviruses constitute a sister clade to mammalian arenaviruses. Here, the members of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Arenaviridae Study Group, together with other experts, outline the taxonomic reorganization of the family Arenaviridae to accommodate reptilian arenaviruses and other recently discovered mammalian arenaviruses and to improve compliance with the Rules of the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature (ICVCN). PAirwise Sequence Comparison (PASC) of arenavirus genomes and NP amino acid pairwise distances support the modification of the present classification. As a result, the current genus Arenavirus is replaced by two genera, Mammarenavirus and Reptarenavirus, which are established to accommodate mammalian and reptilian arenaviruses, respectively, in the same family. The current species landscape among mammalian arenaviruses is upheld, with two new species added for Lunk and Merino Walk viruses and minor corrections to the spelling of some names. The published snake arenaviruses are distributed among three new separate reptarenavirus species. Finally, a non-Latinized binomial species name scheme is adopted for all arenavirus species. In addition, the current virus abbreviations have been evaluated, and some changes are introduced to unequivocally identify each virus in electronic databases, manuscripts, and oral proceedings.
Archives of Virology 05/2015; 160(7):1851–1874. DOI:10.1007/s00705-015-2418-y · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite significant advances in antimalarial chemotherapy over the past 30 years, development of resistance to frontline drugs remains a significant challenge that limits efforts to eradicate the disease. We now report the discovery of a new class of antimalarials, salinipostins A-K, with low nanomolar potencies and high selectivity indices against mammalian cells (salinipostin A: Plasmodium falciparum EC50 50 nM, HEK293T cytotoxicity EC50 > 50 μM). These compounds were isolated from a marine-derived Salinospora sp. bacterium and contain a bicyclic phosphotriester core structure, which is a rare motif among natural products. This scaffold differs significantly from the structures of known antimalarial compounds and represents a new lead structure for the development of therapeutic targets in malaria. Examination of the growth stage specificity of salinipostin A indicates that it exhibits growth stage-specific effects that differ from compounds that inhibit heme polymerization, while resistance selection experiments were unable to identify parasite populations that exhibited significant resistance against this compound class.
The Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2015; 80(3). DOI:10.1021/jo5024409 · 4.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The characterization of the transcriptome and proteome of Plasmodium falciparum has been a tremendous resource for the understanding of the molecular physiology of this parasite. However, the translational dynamics that link steady-state mRNA with protein levels are not well understood. In this study, we bridge this disconnect by measuring genome-wide translation using ribosome profiling, through five stages of the P. falciparum blood phase developmental cycle. Our findings show that transcription and translation are tightly coupled, with overt translational control occurring for less than 10% of the transcriptome. Translationally regulated genes are predominantly associated with merozoite egress functions. We systematically define mRNA 5' leader sequences, and 3' UTRs, as well as antisense transcripts, along with ribosome occupancy for each, and establish that accumulation of ribosomes on 5' leaders is a common transcript feature. This work represents the highest resolution and broadest portrait of gene expression and translation to date for this medically important parasite.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Knowledge of bornaviruses has expanded considerably during the last decade. A possible reservoir of mammalian Borna disease virus has been identified, divergent bornaviruses have been detected in birds and reptiles, and endogenous bornavirus-like elements have been discovered in the genomes of vertebrates of several species. Previous sequence comparisons and alignments have indicated that the members of the current family Bornaviridae are phylogenetically diverse and are not adequately classified in the existing bornavirus taxonomy supported by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). We provide an update of these analyses and describe their implications for taxonomy. We propose retaining the family name Bornaviridae and the genus Bornavirus but reorganizing species classification. PAirwise Sequence Comparison (PASC) of bornavirus genomes and Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) comparison of genomic and protein sequences, in combination with other already published phylogenetic analyses and known biological characteristics of bornaviruses, indicate that this genus should include at least five species: Mammalian 1 bornavirus (classical Borna disease virus and divergent Borna disease virus isolate No/98), Psittaciform 1 bornavirus (avian/psittacine bornaviruses 1, 2, 3, 4, 7), Passeriform 1 bornavirus (avian/canary bornaviruses C1, C2, C3, LS), Passeriform 2 bornavirus (estrildid finch bornavirus EF), and Waterbird 1 bornavirus (avian bornavirus 062CG). This classification is also in line with biological characteristics of these viruses and their vertebrate hosts. A snake bornavirus, proposed to be named Loveridge’s garter snake virus 1, should be classified as a member of an additional species (Elapid 1 bornavirus), unassigned to a genus, in the family Bornaviridae. Avian bornaviruses 5, 6, MALL, and another “reptile bornavirus” (“Gaboon viper virus”) should stay unclassified until further information becomes available. Finally, we propose new virus names and abbreviations when necessary to achieve clear differentiation and unique identification.
Archives of Virology 12/2014; 160(2). DOI:10.1007/s00705-014-2276-z · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drug discovery for malaria has been transformed in the last 5 years by the discovery of many new lead compounds identified by phenotypic screening. The process of developing these compounds as drug leads and studying the cellular responses they induce is revealing new targets that regulate key processes in the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria. We disclose herein that the clinical candidate (+)-SJ733 acts upon one of these targets, ATP4. ATP4 is thought to be a cation-transporting ATPase responsible for maintaining low intracellular Na+ levels in the parasite. Treatment of parasitized erythrocytes with (+)-SJ733 in vitro caused a rapid perturbation of Na+ homeostasis in the parasite. This perturbation was followed by profound physical changes in the infected cells, including increased membrane rigidity and externalization of phosphatidylserine, consistent with eryptosis (erythrocyte suicide) or senescence. These changes are proposed to underpin the rapid (+)-SJ733-induced clearance of parasites seen in vivo. Plasmodium falciparum ATPase 4 (pfatp4) mutations that confer resistance to (+)-SJ733 carry a high fitness cost. The speed with which (+)-SJ733 kills parasites and the high fitness cost associated with resistance-conferring mutations appear to slow and suppress the selection of highly drug-resistant mutants in vivo. Together, our data suggest that inhibitors of PfATP4 have highly attractive features for fast-acting antimalarials to be used in the global eradication campaign.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2014; 111(50). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1414221111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The apicoplast is an essential plastid organelle found in Plasmodium parasites which contains several clinically validated antimalarial-drug targets. A chemical rescue screen identified MMV-08138
from the “Malaria Box” library of growth-inhibitory antimalarial compounds as having specific activity against the apicoplast.
MMV-08138 inhibition of blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum growth is stereospecific and potent, with the most active diastereomer demonstrating a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 110 nM. Whole-genome sequencing of 3 drug-resistant parasite populations from two independent selections revealed E688Q
and L244I mutations in P. falciparum IspD, an enzyme in the MEP (methyl-d-erythritol-4-phosphate) isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis pathway in the apicoplast. The active diastereomer of MMV-08138
directly inhibited PfIspD activity in vitro with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 7.0 nM. MMV-08138 is the first PfIspD inhibitor to be identified and, together with heterologously expressed PfIspD,
provides the foundation for further development of this promising antimalarial drug candidate lead. Furthermore, this report
validates the use of the apicoplast chemical rescue screen coupled with target elucidation as a discovery tool to identify
specific apicoplast-targeting compounds with new mechanisms of action.