Kentaro Fujita

The University of Tokyo, Tōkyō, Japan

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Publications (13)36.48 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We characterized two recent Japanese isolate CDV strains.•The Yanaka strain was avirulent, while the Bunkyo-K strain was virulent in dogs.•We tested the ability of the Yanaka strain for vaccination.•The Yanaka strain efficiently induced protective immunity against virulent CDVs.•The Yanaka strain is a potential candidate for a novel live attenuated CDV vaccine.
    Veterinary Microbiology. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Measles, caused by measles virus (MeV) infection, is the leading cause of death in children because of secondary infections attributable to MeV-induced immune suppression. Recently, we have shown that wild-type MeVs induce the suppression of protein synthesis in host cells (referred to as "shutoff") and that viral mRNAs are preferentially translated under shutoff conditions in infected cells. To determine the mechanism behind the preferential translation of viral mRNA, we focused on the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of nucleocapsid (N) mRNA. The La/SSB autoantigen (La) was found to specifically bind to an N-5'UTR probe. Recombinant La enhanced the translation of luciferase mRNA containing the N-5'UTR (N-fLuc), and RNA interference of La suppressed N-fLuc translation. Furthermore, recombinant MeV lacking the La-binding motif in the N-5'UTR displayed delayed viral protein synthesis and growth kinetics at an early phase of infection. These results suggest that La induced predominant translation of N mRNA via binding to its 5'UTR under shutoff conditions. This is the first report on a cellular factor that specifically regulates paramyxovirus mRNA translation.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 01/2011; 2:173. · 3.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction of Nipah virus (NiV) nucleocapsid (N) protein with phosphoprotein (P) during nucleocapsid assembly is the essential process in the viral life cycle, since only the encapsidated RNA genome can be used for replication. To identify the region responsible for N-P interaction, we utilized fluorescent protein tags to visualize NiV N and P proteins in live cells and analyzed their cellular localization. N protein fused to monomeric enhanced cyan fluorescence protein (N-ECFP) exhibited a dotted pattern in transfected cells, while P protein fused to monomeric red fluorescent protein (P-mRFP) showed diffuse distribution. When the two proteins were coexpressed, P-mRFP colocalized with N-ECFP dots. N-ECFP mutants with serial amino acid deletions were generated to search for the region(s) responsible for this N-P colocalization. We found that, in addition to the 467- to 496-amino-acid (aa) region reported previously, aa 135 to 146 were responsible for the N-P colocalization. The residues crucial for N-P interaction were further investigated by introducing alanine substitutions into the untagged N protein. Alanine scanning in the region of aa 135 to 146 has revealed that there are distinct regions essential for the interaction of N-P and the function of N. This is the first study to visualize Nipah viral proteins in live cells and to assess the essential domain of N protein for the interaction with P protein.
    Journal of Virology 10/2010; 84(19):9793-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nipah virus (NiV) P gene encodes P protein and three accessory proteins (V, C and W). It has been reported that all four P gene products have IFN antagonist activity when the proteins were transiently expressed. However, the role of those accessory proteins in natural infection with NiV remains unknown. We generated recombinant NiVs lacking V, C or W protein, rNiV(V-), rNiV(C-), and rNiV(W-), respectively, to analyze the functions of these proteins in infected cells and the implications in in vivo pathogenicity. All the recombinants grew well in cell culture, although the maximum titers of rNiV(V-) and rNiV(C-) were lower than the other recombinants. The rNiV(V-), rNiV(C-) and rNiV(W-) suppressed the IFN response as well as the parental rNiV, thereby indicating that the lack of each accessory protein does not significantly affect the inhibition of IFN signaling in infected cells. In experimentally infected golden hamsters, rNiV(V-) and rNiV(C-) but not the rNiV(W-) virus showed a significant reduction in virulence. These results suggest that V and C proteins play key roles in NiV pathogenicity, and the roles are independent of their IFN-antagonist activity. This is the first report that identifies the molecular determinants of NiV in pathogenicity in vivo.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(9):e12709. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Comparative and mutational analysis of promoter regions of rinderpest virus was conducted. Minigenomic RNAs harboring the genomic and antigenomic promoter of the lapinized virulent strain (Lv) or an attenuated vaccine strain (RBOK) were constructed, and the expression of the reporter gene was examined. The activities of the antigenomic promoters of these strains were similar, whereas the activity of the genomic promoter (GP) of the RBOK strain was significantly higher than that of the Lv strain, regardless of cell type and the source of the N, P and L proteins. Increased replication (and/or encapsidation) activities were observed in the minigenomes that contained RBOK GP. Mutational analysis revealed that the nucleotides specific to the RBOK strain are responsible for the strong GP activity of the strain. It was also demonstrated that other virulent strains of RPV (Kabete O, Saudi/81 and Kuwait 82/1) have weaker GPs than that of the RBOK strain.
    Virology 11/2009; 396(2):169-77. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) is a useful marker protein which enables the tracing of virus infection. Recombinant viruses expressing EGFP are useful for the investigation of the underlying mechanism of viral infection in vitro and in vivo. Using EGFP-expressing recombinant Nipah virus (NiV) and canine distemper virus (CDV), we tested the susceptibility of a variety of cells to infection. Receptor usage in CDV infection was also investigated.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 02/2009; 515:329-37. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The wide tissue tropism of the measles virus (MV) suggests that it involves ubiquitously expressed molecules. We have constructed a recombinant MV expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) (rMV-EGFP) and demonstrated that the rMV-EGFP infected several cell types (HEK-293, HepG2, Hep3B, Huh7, and WRL68 cells) that do not express the human signalling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM), which is known as a cellular receptor for morbilliviruses. MV infection of HEK-293 and HepG2 cells was not inhibited in an infectivity-inhibition assay using an anti-SLAM monoclonal antibody, indicating that MV could infect cells without using SLAM. Soluble heparin (HP) inhibited the rMV-EGFP infectivity in SLAM-negative cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Direct interaction between purified virions and HP was detected in a surface plasmon resonance assay. We also demonstrated that the hemagglutinin (H) protein, but not the fusion (F) protein is responsible for the interaction between the virions and HP. Taken together, our results suggest that HP-like glycosaminoglycans bind to the H protein of MV and play a key role in the infection of SLAM-negative cells.
    Antiviral research 10/2008; 80(3):370-6. · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ten wild masked palm civets infected with canine distemper virus (CDV), captured in Japan from 2005 to 2007, were histopathologically and phylogenetically analyzed. Phylogenetic analysis based on the amino acid sequences of the H protein of two CDV isolates from masked palm civets revealed that the two isolates were classified into the clade of recent isolates in Japan. Histopathologically marked lesions of virus encephalitis were present in the brain, whereas gastrointestinal lesions were absent or at a mild degree. The distribution of the lesions resembles that of recent CDV cases in dogs. Therefore, recent CDV infections in masked palm civets could be caused by recently prevalent CDV in dogs. The possibility of the masked palm civet as a spreader of CDV among wildlife is also discussed.
    Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases 10/2008; 32(6):539-49. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the first identification of phosphorylation sites of the nucleoprotein (N) of the family Paramyxoviridae. The N protein is known to be the most abundant protein in infected cells; it constructs the N-RNA complex (nucleocapsid) and supports transcription and replication of viral genomic RNA. To determine the role of phosphorylation of the N protein, we expressed the N protein of the HL strain of measles virus (MV) in mammalian cells and purified the nucleocapsid. After separation of the C-terminal region from the core region, phosphorylated amino acids were assayed using MALDI-TOF/TOF and ESI-Q-TOF MS analyses. Two amino acids, S479 and S510, were shown to be phosphorylated by both methods of analysis. Metabolic labeling of the N protein with (32)P demonstrated that these two sites are the major phosphorylated sites within the MV-N protein. In transcriptional analysis using negative-strand minigenomic RNA containing the ORF of the luciferase gene, mutants of each phosphorylation site showed approximately 80% reduction in luciferase activity compared with the wild-type N, suggesting that the phosphorylation of N protein is important in the activation of the transcription of viral mRNA and/or replication of the genome in vivo.
    Proteomics 06/2008; 8(9):1871-9. · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We constructed recombinant viruses expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or firefly luciferase from cDNA clones of the canine distemper virus (CDV) (a Japanese field isolate, Yanaka strain). Using these viruses, we examined susceptibilities of different cell lines to CDV infection. The results revealed that the recombinant CDVs can infect a broad range of cell lines. Infectivity inhibition assay using a monoclonal antibody specific to the human SLAM molecule indicated that the infection of B95a cells with these recombinant CDVs is mainly mediated by SLAM but the infection of 293 cell lines with CDV is not, implying the presence of one or more alternative receptors for CDV in non-lymphoid tissue. Infection of 293 cells with the recombinant CDV was inhibited by soluble heparin, and the recombinant virus bound to immobilized heparin. Both F and H proteins of CDV could bind to immobilized heparin. These results suggest that heparin-like molecules are involved in CDV infection.
    Virology 04/2007; 359(2):324-35. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Seven strains of canine parvovirus (CPV) were isolated from affected dogs in Japan between 1999 and 2000, and their VP2 genes were genetically analyzed. Comparison of the predicted amino acid sequences of VP2 suggested that three field isolates corresponded to CPV type 2a, while the other four to CPV type 2b. The phylogenetic tree constructed from the VP2 genes showed that the newly isolated strains are classified into the cluster consisting of recent Japanese and Taiwanese field isolates, which are distinct from Vietnamese isolates, United States Isolates, or classical CPV type 2. These results suggest that the CPV transmission occurred between Japan and Taiwan in 1990s, and the offspring are still circulating in both countries.
    Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 08/2006; 29(4):199-206. · 1.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Forty Caspian seals were surveyed seroepidemiologically between 1993 and 1998 around the times of mass mortality that occurred in 1997 in the Caspian Sea and seven Baikal seals were also surveyed in 1998. Virus neutralizing tests and ELISA clearly suggested that distemper virus epidemic was caused in Caspian seals before the spring of 1997 and that CDV infection continued to occur in Lake Baikal in recent years.
    Veterinary Microbiology 10/2001; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Morbilliviruses in the family Paramyxoviridae including canine distemper virus, rinder- pest virus and measles virus are highly infectious among their natural hosts. We have succeeded in establishing a system of reverse genetics for these three morbilliviruses, using originally isolated strains. The studies on the functions of viral proteins in repli- cation, pathogenicity, and species-specificities have performed. We have also performed the basic research for prevention of Hepatitis C virus infection and hepato- cellular carcinoma. In addition, more than 30,000 mice, mainly transgenic and gene-targeted ones, are always kept for researches of IMSUT and the technical staffs contribute to their maintenance and breeding.