[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ISG20 is an interferon-inducible 3'-5' exonuclease that inhibits replication of several human and animal RNA viruses. However, the specificities of ISG20's antiviral action remain poorly defined. Here we determine the impact of ectopic expression of ISG20 on replication of several positive-strand RNA viruses from distinct viral families. ISG20 inhibited infections by cell culture-derived hepatitis C virus (HCV) and a pestivirus, bovine viral diarrhea virus and a picornavirus, hepatitis A virus. Moreover, ISG20 demonstrated cell-type specific antiviral activity against yellow fever virus, a classical flavivirus. Overexpression of ISG20, however, did not inhibit propagation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, a highly-pathogenic human coronavirus in Huh7.5 cells. The antiviral effects of ISG20 were all dependent on its exonuclease activity. The closely related cellular exonucleases, ISG20L1 and ISG20L2, did not inhibit HCV replication. Together, these data may help better understand the antiviral specificity and action of ISG20.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genus Alphavirus contains members that threaten human health, both as natural pathogens and as potential biological weapons. Peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PPMO) enter cells readily and can inhibit viral replication through sequence-specific steric blockade of viral RNA. Sindbis virus (SINV) has low pathogenicity in humans and is regularly utilized as a model alphavirus. PPMO targeting the 5'-terminal and AUG translation start site regions of the SINV genome blocked the production of infectious SINV in tissue culture. PPMO designed against corresponding regions in Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) were likewise found to be effective in vitro against several strains of VEEV. Mice treated with PPMO before and after VEEV infection were completely protected from lethal outcome while mice receiving only post-infection PPMO treatment were partially protected. Levels of virus in tissue samples correlated with animal survival. Uninfected mice suffered no apparent ill-effects from PPMO treatment. Thus, PPMO appear promising as candidates for therapeutic development against alphaviruses.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the genera Enterovirus and Rhinovirus (family Picornaviridae) cause a wide range of human diseases. An established vaccine is available only for poliovirus, and no effective therapy is available for the treatment of infections caused by any pathogenic picornavirus. Peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PPMO) are single-stranded DNA-like antisense agents that readily enter cells. A panel of PPMO was tested for their antiviral activities against various picornaviruses. PPMO targeting conserved internal ribosome entry site (IRES) sequence were highly active against human rhinovirus type 14, coxsackievirus type B2, and poliovirus type 1 (PV1), reducing PV1 titers by up to 6 log(10) in cell cultures. Comparative sequence analysis led us to design a PPMO (EnteroX) targeting 22 nucleotides of IRES sequence that are perfectly conserved across greater than 99% of all human enteroviruses and rhinoviruses. EnteroX reduced PV1 replication in cell culture to an extent similar to that of other IRES-specific PPMO. Resistant PV1 arose in cell cultures after 12 passages in the presence of EnteroX and were found to have two mutations within the EnteroX target sequence. Nevertheless, cPVR transgenic mice treated once daily by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection with EnteroX before and/or after i.p. infection with 3 x 10(8) PFU (three times the 50% lethal dose) of PV1 had an approximately 80% higher rate of survival than the controls. The viral titer in tissues taken at day 5 postinfection showed that animals in the EnteroX-treated group averaged over 3, 4, and 5 log(10) less virus in the small intestine, spinal cord, and brain, respectively, than the amount in the control animals. These results suggest that EnteroX may have broad therapeutic potential against entero- and rhinoviruses.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 07/2008; 52(6):1970-81. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathogenesis of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infections is complex and only partly understood. It remains controversial whether interferon is produced in cells infected with cytopathic(cp) BVDVs which do not persist in vivo. We show here that a cpBVDV (NADL strain) does not induce interferon responses in cell culture and blocks induction of interferon-stimulated genes by a super-infecting paramyxovirus. cpBVDV infection causes a marked loss of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3), a cellular transcription factor that controls interferon synthesis. This is attributed to expression of Npro, but not its protease activity. Npro interacts with IRF-3, prior to its activation by virus-induced phosphorylation, resulting in polyubiquitination and subsequent proteasomal degradation of IRF-3. Thermal inactivation of the E1 ubiquitin-activating enzyme prevents Npro-induced IRF-3 loss. These data suggest that inhibition of interferon production is a shared feature of both ncp and cpBVDVs and provide new insights regarding IRF-3 regulation in pestivirus pathogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms of hepatitis C virus (HCV) pathogenesis and persistence has been hampered by the lack of small, convenient animal models. GB virus B (GBV-B) is phylogenetically the closest related virus to HCV. It causes generally acute and occasionally chronic hepatitis in small primates and is used as a surrogate model for HCV. It is not known, however, whether GBV-B has evolved strategies to circumvent host innate defenses similar to those of HCV, a property that may contribute to HCV persistence in vivo. We show here in cultured tamarin hepatocytes that GBV-B NS3/4A protease, but not a related catalytically inactive mutant, effectively blocks innate intracellular antiviral responses signaled through the RNA helicase, retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), an essential sensor molecule that initiates host defenses against many RNA viruses, including HCV. GBV-B NS3/4A protease specifically cleaves mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS; also known as IPS-1/Cardif/VISA) and dislodges it from mitochondria, thereby disrupting its function as a RIG-I adaptor and blocking downstream activation of both interferon regulatory factor 3 and nuclear factor kappa B. MAVS cleavage and abrogation of virus-induced interferon responses were also observed in Huh7 cells supporting autonomous replication of subgenomic GBV-B RNAs. Our data indicate that, as in the case of HCV, GBV-B has evolved to utilize its major protease to disrupt RIG-I signaling and impede innate antiviral defenses. These data provide further support for the use of GBV-B infection in small primates as an accurate surrogate model for deciphering virus-host interactions in hepacivirus pathogenesis.
Journal of Virology 02/2007; 81(2):964-76. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Only humans and chimpanzees are fully permissive for replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV), an important cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer worldwide. The absence of suitable animal models limits opportunities for in vivo evaluation of candidate hepatitis C therapeutics and slows progress in the field. Here, we describe a chimeric virus derived from GB virus B (GBV-B), an unclassified hepatotropic member of the family Flaviviridae that is closely related to HCV and infects tamarins (Saguinus sp.), in which a functionally important HCV regulatory sequence replaced an analogous sequence in the 5' nontranslated region (5'NTR) of the GBV-B genome. The transplanted sequence comprised domain III of the internal ribosome entry site (IRES), which directly binds the 40S ribosome subunit and is a target for candidate therapeutics. The chimeric 5'NTR retained ribosome binding activity and was competent in directing protein translation both in cell-free translation reactions and in transfected primary tamarin hepatocyte cultures. Virus rescued from the chimeric RNA replicated in the liver of tamarins, causing biochemical and histopathological changes typical of viral hepatitis. However, adaptive mutations were required elsewhere in the genome for efficient replication. Virus was not rescued from other, translationally competent, chimeric RNAs in which domain II of the IRES was exchanged. Thus, the 5'NTR appears to contain virus-specific replication signals that interact with other sites within the viral genome or with viral proteins. In conclusion, such novel chimeric flaviviruses offer opportunities for new insights into HCV replication mechanisms, while potentially facilitating the evaluation of candidate therapeutics in vivo.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Translation of the open reading frames (ORF) of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and closely related GB virus B (GBV-B) genomes is driven by internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements located within the 5' non-translated RNA. The functioning of these IRES elements is highly dependent on primary and higher order RNA structures. We present here the solution structures of a common, critical domain within each of these IRESs, stem-loop IIIc. These ten-nucleotide hairpins have nearly identical sequences and similar overall tertiary folds. The final refined structure of each shows a stem with three G:C base-pairs and a novel tetraloop fold. Although the bases are buckled, the first and fourth nucleotides of both tetraloops form a Watson-Crick type base-pair, while the apical nucleotides are located in the major groove where they adopt C(2)-endo sugar puckering with B-form geometry. No hydrogen bonding interactions were observed involving the two apical residues of the tetraloop. Stability of the loops appears to be derived primarily from the stacking of bases, and the hydrogen bonding between the fourth and seventh residues. Mutational analysis shows that the primary sequence of stem-loop IIIc is important for IRES function and that the stem and first and fourth nucleotides of the tetraloop contribute to the efficiency of internal ribosome entry. Base-pair formation between these two positions is essential. In contrast, the apical loop nucleotides differ between HCV and GBV-B, and substitutions in this region of the hairpin are tolerated without major loss of function.
Journal of Molecular Biology 11/2004; 343(4):805-17. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Picornaviruses constitute a medically important family of RNA viruses in which genome replication critically depends on a small RNA element, the cis-acting replication element (cre), that templates 3D(pol) polymerase-catalyzed uridylylation of the protein primer for RNA synthesis, VPg. We report the solution structure of the 33-nt cre of human rhinovirus 14 under solution conditions optimal for uridylylation in vitro. The cre adopts a stem-loop conformation with an extended duplex stem supporting a novel 14-nt loop that derives stability from base-stacking interactions. Base-pair interactions are absent within the loop, and base substitutions within the loop that favor such interactions are detrimental to viral RNA replication. Conserved adenosines in the 5' loop sequence that participate in a slide-back mechanism of VPg-pUpU synthesis are oriented to the inside of the loop but are available for base templating during uridylation. The structure explains why substitutions of the 3' loop nucleotides have little impact on conformation of the critical 5' loop bases and accounts for wide variation in the sequences of cres from different enteroviruses and rhinoviruses.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2004; 101(34):12688-93. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex, multilayered nanoparticles hold great promise for more sophisticated drug/gene delivery systems to single cells. Outermost layers can include cell targeting and cell-entry facilitating molecules. The next layer can include intracellular targeting molecules for precise delivery of the nanoparticle complex inside the cell of interest. Molecular biosensors can be used to confirm the presence of expected molecules (for example, reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a surrogate molecule for signs of infection, or for activation in radiation damage, etc.) prior to delivery of counter-measure molecules such as drugs or gene therapy. They can also be used as a feedback control mechanism to control the proper amount of drug/gene delivery for each cell. Importantly, the full nanoparticle system can be used to prevent any cells from encountering the drug unless that cell is specifically targeted. Thus, if a cell is initially non-specifically targeted, a secondary check for other molecular targets which must also be present inside the target cell of interest can be used to catch initial targeting mistakes and prevent subsequent delivery of treatment molecules to the wrong cells. The precise intracellular location of nanoparticles within specific regions of a cell can be confirmed by 3D multispectral confocal microscopy. These single cell molecular morphology measurements can be extended from individual cells, to other cells in a tissue in tissue monolayers or tissue sections.
Journal of Molecular Histology 09/2004; 35(6):555-64. · 1.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Internally located, cis-acting RNA replication elements, termed cres, are essential for replication of the genomes of picornaviruses such as human rhinovirus 14 (HRV-14) and poliovirus because they template uridylylation of the protein primer, VPg, by the polymerase 3D(pol). These cres form stem-loop structures sharing a common loop motif, and the HRV-14 cre can substitute functionally for the poliovirus cre in both uridylylation in vitro and RNA replication in vivo. We show, however, that the poliovirus cre is unable to support HRV-14 RNA replication. This lack of complementation maps to the stem of the poliovirus cre and was reversed by single nucleotide substitutions in the stem as well as the base of the loop. Replication-competent, revertant viruses rescued from dicistronic HRV-14 RNAs containing the poliovirus cre, or a chimeric cre containing the poliovirus stem, contained adaptive amino acid substitutions. These mapped to the surface of both the polymerase 3D(pol), at the tip of the "thumb" domain, and the protease 3C(pro), on the side opposing the active site and near the end of an extended strand segment implicated previously in RNA binding. These mutations substantially enhanced replication competence when introduced into HRV-14 RNAs containing the poliovirus cre, and they were additive in their effects. The data support a model in which 3CD or its derivatives 3C(pro) and 3D(pol) interact directly with the stem of the cre during uridylylation of VPg.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2004; 279(13):12659-67. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progress in understanding the pathogenesis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been slowed by the absence of tractable small animal models. Whereas GB virus B (GBV-B, an unclassified flavivirus) shares a phylogenetic relationship and several biologic attributes with HCV, including hepatotropism, it is not known to cause persistent infection, a hallmark of HCV. Here, we document persistent GBV-B infection in one of two healthy tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) inoculated intrahepatically with infectious synthetic RNA. High-titer viremia (108 to 109 genome equivalents per ml) and transiently elevated serum alanine transaminase activities were present from weeks 4 to 12 postinoculation in both animals. However, whereas GBV-B was eliminated from one animal by 20 weeks, the second animal remained viremic (103 to 107 genome equivalents per ml) for >2 years, with alanine transaminase levels becoming elevated again before spontaneous resolution of the infection. A liver biopsy taken late in the course of infection demonstrated hepatitis with periportal mononuclear infiltrates, hepatocellular microvesicular changes, cytoplasmic lipid droplets, and disordered mitochondrial ultrastructure, findings remarkably similar to chronic hepatitis C. GBV-B-infected hepatocytes contained numerous small vesicular membranous structures resembling those associated with expression of HCV nonstructural proteins, and sequencing of GBV-B RNA demonstrated a rate of molecular evolution comparable to that of HCV. We conclude that GBV-B is capable of establishing persistent infections in healthy tamarins, a feature that substantially enhances its value as a model for HCV. Mitochondrial structural changes and altered lipid metabolism leading to steatosis are conserved features of the pathogenesis of chronic hepatitis caused by these genetically distinct flaviviruses.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2003; 100(17):9962-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Until recently, the cis-acting signals required for replication of picornaviral RNAs were believed to be restricted to the 5' and 3' noncoding regions of the genome. However, an RNA stem-loop in the VP1-coding sequence of human rhinovirus type 14 (HRV-14) is essential for viral minus-strand RNA synthesis (K. L. McKnight and S. M. Lemon, RNA 4:1569-1584, 1998). The nucleotide sequence of the apical loop of this internal cis-acting replication element (cre) was critical for RNA synthesis, while secondary RNA structure, but not primary sequence, was shown to be important within the duplex stem. Similar cres have since been identified in other picornaviral genomes. These RNA segments appear to serve as template for the uridylylation of the genome-linked protein, VPg, providing the VPg-pUpU primer required for viral RNA transcription (A. V. Paul et al., J. Virol. 74:10359-10370, 2000). Here, we show that the minimal functional HRV-14 cre resides within a 33-nucleotide (nt) RNA segment that is predicted to form a simple stem-loop with a 14-nt loop sequence. An extensive mutational analysis involving every possible base substitution at each position within the loop segment defined the sequence that is required within this loop for efficient replication of subgenomic HRV-14 replicon RNAs. These results indicate that three consecutive adenosine residues (nt 2367 to 2369) within the 5' half of this loop are critically important for cre function and suggest that a common RNNNAARNNNNNNR loop motif exists among the cre sequences of enteroviruses and rhinoviruses. We found a direct, positive correlation between the capacity of mutated cres to support RNA replication and their ability to function as template in an in vitro VPg uridylylation reaction, suggesting that these functions are intimately linked. These data thus define more precisely the sequence and structural requirements of the HRV-14 cre and provide additional support for a model in which the role of the cre in RNA replication is to act as template for VPg uridylylation.
Journal of Virology 09/2002; 76(15):7485-94. · 5.08 Impact Factor