[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes fatal neurological disease in humans, is one of the most important emerging pathogens of public health significance. JEV represents the JE serogroup, which also includes West Nile, Murray Valley encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis viruses. Within this serogroup, JEV is a vaccine-preventable pathogen, but the molecular basis of its neurovirulence remains unknown. Here, we constructed an infectious cDNA of the most widely used live-attenuated JE vaccine, SA14-14-2, and rescued from the cDNA a molecularly cloned virus, SA14-14-2MCV, which displayed in vitro growth properties and in vivo attenuation phenotypes identical to those of its parent, SA14-14-2. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of neurovirulence, we selected three independent, highly neurovirulent variants (LD50, <1.5 PFU) from SA14-14-2MCV (LD50, >1.5×105 PFU) by serial intracerebral passage in mice. Complete genome sequence comparison revealed a total of eight point mutations, with a common single G1708→A substitution replacing a Gly with Glu at position 244 of the viral E glycoprotein. Using our infectious SA14-14-2 cDNA technology, we showed that this single Gly-to-Glu change at E-244 is sufficient to confer lethal neurovirulence in mice, including rapid development of viral spread and tissue inflammation in the central nervous system. Comprehensive site-directed mutagenesis of E-244, coupled with homology-based structure modeling, demonstrated a novel essential regulatory role in JEV neurovirulence for E-244, within the ij hairpin of the E dimerization domain. In both mouse and human neuronal cells, we further showed that the E-244 mutation altered JEV infectivity in vitro, in direct correlation with the level of neurovirulence in vivo, but had no significant impact on viral RNA replication. Our results provide a crucial step toward developing novel therapeutic and preventive strategies against JEV and possibly other encephalitic flaviviruses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), an arterivirus that causes significant losses in the pig industry, is one of the most important animal pathogens of global significance. Since the discovery of the virus, significant progress has been made in understanding its epidemiology and transmission, but no adequate control measures are yet available to eliminate infection with this pathogen. The genome replication of PRRSV is required to reproduce, within a few hours of infection, the millions of progeny virions that establish, disseminate, and maintain infection. Replication of the viral RNA genome is a multistep process involving a replication complex that is formed not only from components of viral and cellular origin but also from the viral genomic RNA template; this replication complex is embedded within particular virus-induced membrane vesicles. PRRSV RNA replication is directed by at least 14 replicase proteins that have both common enzymatic activities, including viral RNA polymerase, and also unusual and poorly understood RNA-processing functions. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of PRRSV replication, which is important for developing a successful strategy for the prevention and control of this pathogen.
The Journal of Microbiology 12/2013; 51(6):711-23. · 1.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Japanese encephalitis (JE) is an infectious disease of the central nervous system caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a zoonotic mosquito-borne flavivirus. JEV is prevalent in much of Asia and the Western Pacific, with over four billion people living at risk of infection. In the absence of antiviral intervention, vaccination is the only strategy to develop long-term sustainable protection against JEV infection. Over the past half-century, a mouse brain-derived inactivated vaccine has been used internationally for active immunization. To date, however, JEV is still a clinically important, emerging, and re-emerging human pathogen of global significance. In recent years, production of the mouse brain-derived vaccine has been discontinued, but three new cell culture-derived vaccines are available in various parts of the world. Here we review current aspects of JEV biology, summarize the four types of JEV vaccine, and discuss the potential of an infectious JEV cDNA technology for future vaccine development.
Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics. 10/2013; 10(2).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, is a major cause of acute encephalitis, a disease of significance for global public health. In the absence of antiviral therapy to treat JEV infection, vaccination is the most effective method of preventing the disease. In JE-endemic areas, the most widely used vaccine to date is SA(14)-14-2, a live-attenuated virus derived from its virulent parent SA(14). In this study, we describe the biological properties of SA(14)-14-2, both in vitro and in vivo, and report the genetic characteristics of its genomic RNA. In BHK-21 (hamster kidney) cells, SA(14)-14-2 displayed a slight delay in plaque formation and growth kinetics when compared to a virulent JEV strain, CNU/LP2, with no decrease in maximum virus production. The delay in viral growth was also observed in two other cell lines, SH-SY5Y (human neuroblastoma) and C6/36 (mosquito larva), which are potentially relevant to JEV pathogenesis and transmission. In 3-week-old ICR mice, SA(14)-14-2 did not cause any symptoms or death after either intracerebral or peripheral inoculation with a maximum dose of up to 1.5×10(3) plaque-forming units (PFU) per mouse. The SA(14)-14-2 genome consisted of 10977 nucleotides, one nucleotide longer than all the previously reported genomes of SA(14)-14-2, SA(14) and two other SA(14)-derived attenuated viruses. This difference was due to an insertion of one G nucleotide at position 10701 in the 3 noncoding region. Also, we noted a significant number of nucleotide and/or amino acid substitutions throughout the genome of SA(14)-14-2, except for the prM protein-coding region, that differed from SA(14) and/or the other two attenuated viruses. Our results, together with others', provide a foundation not only for the study of JEV virulence but also for the development of new and improved vaccines for JEV.
The Journal of Microbiology 08/2012; 50(4):698-706. · 1.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite a resurgence of flavivirus infections worldwide, no approved therapeutic agent exists for any member of the genus. While cross-reactive antibodies with therapeutic potential against flaviviruses have been generated, the majority of them are anti-E antibodies with the potential to cause antibody-dependent enhancement of flavivirus infection and disease. We described previously mAbs against the non-structural NS1 protein of the West Nile virus (WNV) that were protective in mice when administered pre- or post-infection of WNV. Here, we demonstrate that one of these mAbs (16NS1) cross-reacted with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and exhibited protective activity against a lethal JEV infection. Overlapping peptide mapping analysis combined with site-specific mutations identified a novel epitope ¹¹⁶KAWGKSILFA¹²⁵ and critical amino acid residues (¹¹⁸W and ¹²²I) for 16NS1 mAb binding. These results may facilitate the development of a broadly therapeutic mAb that lacks enhancing potential and/or subunit-based vaccine against flaviviruses that target the NS1 protein.
Journal of General Virology 09/2011; 93(Pt 1):20-6. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), a member of the Arteriviridae family, is one of the most common and economically important swine pathogens. Although both live-attenuated and killed-inactivated vaccines against the virus have been available for a decade, PRRSV is still a major problem in the swine industry worldwide. To explore the possibility of producing single-round infectious PRRSV replicon particles as a potential vaccine strategy, we have now generated two necessary components: 1) a stable cell line (BHK/Sinrepl9/PRRSV-N) that constitutively expresses the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein localized to the cytoplasm and the nucleolus and 2) a PRRSV replicon vector (pBAC/PRRSV/Replicon-AN) with a 177-nucleotide deletion, removing the 3'-half portion of ORF7 in the viral genome, from which the self-replicating propagation-defective replicon RNAs were synthesized in vitro by SP6 polymerase run-off transcription. Transfection of this replicon RNA into N protein-expressing BHK-21 cells led to the secretion of infectious particles that packaged the replicon RNA, albeit with a low production efficiency of 0.4 × 10(2) to 1.1 × 10(2) infectious units/ml; the produced particles had only single-round infectivity with no cell-to-cell spread. This trans-complementation system for PRRSV provides a useful platform for studies to define the packaging signals and motifs present within the viral genome and N protein, respectively, and to develop viral replicon-based antiviral vaccines that will stop the infection and spread of this pathogen.
The Journal of Microbiology 06/2011; 49(3):516-23. · 1.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have determined the complete nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the RNA genome of CBNU1, a human norovirus (NoV) recovered from a 2006 outbreak in South Korea. The genome of 7547 nucleotides, excluding a 3'-poly(A) tail of 11-105 nucleotides, encodes three overlapping open reading frames (ORFs): ORF1 (nucleotides 5-5104), ORF2 (nucleotides 5085-6731), and ORF3 (nucleotides 6731-7495). In a comparison to 108 other currently available completely sequenced NoVs representing all five genogroups (GI-GV) except GIV, the CBNU1 strain was highly similar to GII.3 NoVs. Multiple sequence alignments of the completely sequenced NoV genomes revealed five hypervariable regions throughout their genomes: two in ORF1, one in ORF2, and two in ORF3. At both the nucleotide and amino acid levels, genome-based phylogenetic analyses invariably showed that the CBNU1 strain was most closely related to three GII.3 NoVs: the American Texas/TCH04-577 and the two Japanese Saitama U18 and Saitama U201 strains; furthermore, these genome-based phylogenetic topologies corresponded most closely to those based on the ORF2 genes, as compared to those based on the ORF1 and ORF3 genes. Subsequent ORF2-based phylogenetic analyses of a selection of 126 other NoVs representing all 19 GII genotypes, in combination with genome-based Simplot analyses, showed that the CBNU1 strain was a recombinant GII.3 NoV with a breakpoint at the ORF1/ORF2 junction between two putative parent-like strains, Guangzhou/NVgz01 and Texas/TCH04-577. Overall, the CBNU1 strain represents the first Korean human NoV whose genome has been completely sequenced and for which its relationship with a large panel of genetically diverse NoVs has been extensively characterized.
Virus Research 09/2010; 152(1-2):137-52. · 2.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a member of the mosquito-borne flaviviruses, causes epidemics of viral encephalitis in the Southeastern Asia. JEV is a small enveloped virus with a positive-sense RNA genome; the infectious virion consists of three structural proteins, namely capsid, membrane (M; a mature form of its prM precursor), and envelope proteins. Here, we investigated a role of the charged residues found at the N-terminus of the JEV M protein in virus production. Using an infectious JEV cDNA, we generated two mutant cDNAs, Mm1 and Mm2, by charged-to-alanine substitution for and residues of the M protein, respectively. By transfection of wild-type or each of the two mutant RNAs transcribed from the corresponding cDNAs, we found that Mm2, but not Mm1, had a ~3-log decrease in virus production, even though a comparable amount of all three structural proteins were produced in transfected cells. Interestingly, the prM protein expressed in Mm2 RNA-transfected cells was not recognized by the polyclonal antiserum raised against the N-terminal 44 amino acids of the wild type M protein, but reacted to the antiserum raised against the corresponding region of the mutant Mm2. Our results indicate that three charged residues () in JEV M protein play a role in virus production. Two polyclonal antisera specifically recognizing the wild-type or Mm2 version of the M protein would provide a useful reagent for the functional study of this protein in the virus life cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The positive-strand RNA genome of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) terminates in a highly conserved 3'-noncoding region (3'NCR) of six domains (V, X, I, II-1, II-2, and III in the 5'-to-3' direction). By manipulating the JEV genomic RNA, we have identified important roles for RNA elements present within the 574-nucleotide 3'NCR in viral replication. The two 3'-proximal domains (II-2 and III) were sufficient for RNA replication and virus production, whereas the remaining four (V, X, I, and II-1) were dispensable for RNA replication competence but required for maximal replication efficiency. Surprisingly, a lethal mutant lacking all of the 3'NCR except domain III regained viability through pseudoreversion by duplicating an 83-nucleotide sequence from the 3'-terminal region of the viral open reading frame. Also, two viable mutants displayed severe genetic instability; these two mutants rapidly developed 12 point mutations in domain II-2 in the mutant lacking domains V, X, I, and II-1 and showed the duplication of seven upstream sequences of various sizes at the junction between domains II-1 and II-2 in the mutant lacking domains V, X, and I. In all cases, the introduction of these spontaneous mutations led to an increase in RNA production that paralleled the level of protein accumulation and virus yield. Interestingly, the mutant lacking domains V, X, I, and II-1 was able to replicate in hamster BHK-21 and human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells but not in mosquito C6/36 cells, indicating a cell type-specific restriction of its viral replication. Thus, our findings provide the basis for a detailed map of the 3' cis-acting elements in JEV genomic RNA, which play an essential role in viral replication. They also provide experimental evidence for the function of 3' direct repeat sequences and suggest possible mechanisms for the emergence of these sequences in the 3'NCR of JEV and perhaps in other flaviviruses.
Journal of Virology 07/2009; 83(16):7909-30. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ectopic expression of the structural protein Pr55(Gag) of HIV-1 has been limited by the presence of inhibitory sequences in the gag coding region that must normally be counteracted by HIV-1 Rev and RRE. Here, we describe a cytoplasmic RNA replicon based on the RNA genome of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) that is capable of expressing HIV-1 gag without requiring Rev/RRE. This replicon system was constructed by deleting all three JEV structural protein-coding regions (C, prM, and E) from the 5'-proximal region of the genome and simultaneously inserting an HIV-1 gag expression cassette driven by the internal ribosome entry site of encephalomyocarditis virus into the 3'-proximal noncoding region of the genome. Transfection of this JEV replicon RNA led to expression of Pr55(Gag) in the absence of Rev/RRE in the cytoplasm of hamster BHK-21, human HeLa, and mouse NIH/3T3 cells. Production of the Pr55(Gag) derived from this JEV replicon RNA appeared to be increased by approximately 3-fold when compared to that based on an alphavirus replicon RNA. Biochemical and morphological analyses demonstrated that the Pr55(Gag) proteins were released into the culture medium in the form of virus-like particles. We also observed that the JEV replicon RNAs expressing the Pr55(Gag) could be encapsidated into single-round infectious JEV replicon particles when transfected into a stable packaging cell line that provided the three JEV structural proteins in trans. This ectopic expression of the HIV-1 Pr55(Gag) by JEV-based replicon RNAs/particles in diverse cell types may represent a useful molecular platform for various biological applications in medicine and industry.
Virus Research 06/2009; 144(1-2):298-305. · 2.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Norovirus (NV) with a variety of genotypes, a member of the family Caliciviridae, causes acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis in humans. We determined the nucleotide sequence of three open reading frames (ORFs) of a NV Korean strain and characterized the genetic relationship with others. The Korean strain designated Hu/NLV/Gunpo/2006/KO was isolated from the stool specimen of a 2-year-old female suffering from gastroenteritis. By performing reverse transcription and PCR amplification, three overlapping cDNAs were synthesized and used for direct sequencing. We found that like other NVs, this strain contains three ORFs: ORF1, 5,100 bp; ORF2, 1,647 bp; ORF3, 765 bp. Of 35 NVs, ORF1 had a level of genetic diversity lower than ORF2 and ORF3, of which the C-termini of the ORF2 and ORF3 showed a relatively high degree of genetic diversity. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that the Korean strain belonged to genogroup II, with Saitama U1, Gifu'96, Mc37, and Vietnam 026 being formed a single genetic cluster. The nucleotide sequence information of three ORFs of a NV Korean isolate will be useful not only for the development of a diagnostic tool and understanding of genetic relationship, but also provide important basic information for the functional analysis of their gene products.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tertiary or higher-order RNA motifs that regulate replication of positive-strand RNA viruses are as yet poorly understood. Using Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), we now show that a key element in JEV RNA replication is a complex RNA motif that includes a string of three discontinuous complementary sequences (TDCS). The TDCS consists of three 5-nt-long strands, the left (L) strand upstream of the translation initiator AUG adjacent to the 5'-end of the genome, and the middle (M) and right (R) strands corresponding to the base of the Flavivirus-conserved 3' stem-loop structure near the 3'-end of the RNA. The three strands are arranged in an antiparallel configuration, with two sets of base-pairing interactions creating L-M and M-R duplexes. Disrupting either or both of these duplex regions of TDCS completely abolished RNA replication, whereas reconstructing both duplex regions, albeit with mutated sequences, fully restored RNA replication. Modeling of replication-competent genomes recovered from a large pool of pseudorevertants originating from six replication-incompetent TDCS mutants suggests that both duplex base-pairing potentials of TDCS are required for RNA replication. In all cases, acquisition of novel sequences within the 3'M-R duplex facilitated a long-range RNA-RNA interaction of its 3'M strand with either the authentic 5'L strand or its alternative (invariably located upstream of the 5' initiator), thereby restoring replicability. We also found that a TDCS homolog is conserved in other flaviviruses. These data suggest that two duplex base-pairings defined by the TDCS play an essential regulatory role in a key step(s) of Flavivirus RNA replication.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prM protein of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) contains a single potential N-linked glycosylation site, N(15)-X(16)-T(17), which is highly conserved among JEV strains and closely related flaviviruses. To investigate the role of this site in JEV replication and pathogenesis, we manipulated the RNA genome by using infectious JEV cDNA to generate three prM mutants (N15A, T17A, and N15A/T17A) with alanine substituting for N(15) and/or T(17) and one mutant with silent point mutations introduced into the nucleotide sequences corresponding to all three residues in the glycosylation site. An analysis of these mutants in the presence or absence of endoglycosidases confirmed the addition of oligosaccharides to this potential glycosylation site. The loss of prM N glycosylation, without significantly altering the intracellular levels of viral RNA and proteins, led to an approximately 20-fold reduction in the production of extracellular virions, which had protein compositions and infectivities nearly identical to those of wild-type virions; this reduction occurred at the stage of virus release, rather than assembly. This release defect was correlated with small-plaque morphology and an N-glycosylation-dependent delay in viral growth. A more conservative mutation, N15Q, had the same effect as N15A. One of the four prM mutants, N15A/T17A, showed an additional defect in virus growth in mosquito C6/36 cells but not human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y or hamster BHK-21 cells. This cell type dependence was attributed to abnormal N-glycosylation-independent biogenesis of prM. In mice, the elimination of prM N glycosylation resulted in a drastic decrease in virulence after peripheral inoculation. Overall, our findings indicate that this highly conserved N-glycosylation motif in prM is crucial for multiple stages of JEV biology: prM biogenesis, virus release, and pathogenesis.
Journal of Virology 08/2008; 82(16):7846-62. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using the RNA replication machinery of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), the authors have established and characterized three strategies for the expression of foreign genes. Initially, approximately 11 kb genomic RNA was engineered to express heterologous genes of various sizes by preferentially inserting a new cistron at the beginning of the 3' nontranslated variable region. RNA transfection yielded recombinant viruses that initiated foreign gene expression after infecting permissive cells. JEV was capable of packaging recombinant genomes as large as approximately 15 kb. However, larger genome size was inversely correlated with RNA replication efficiency and cytopathogenicity, with no significant change in infectivity. Second, a variety of self-replicating propagation-deficient viral replicons were constructed by introducing one to three in-frame deletions into the ectodomains of all the structural proteins of JEV. These replicons displayed a spectrum of RNA replication efficiency upon transfection, suggesting that remnant transmembrane domains play a suppressive role in this process. Third, the authors generated a panel of stable packaging cell lines (PCLs) providing all three JEV structural proteins in trans. These PCLs efficiently packaged viral replicon RNAs into single-round infectious viral replicon particles. These JEV-based virus/vector systems may provide useful tools for a variety of biological applications, including foreign gene expression, antiviral compound screening, and genetic immunization.
Journal of NeuroVirology 01/2008; 13(6):522-35. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Avian influenza virus (AIV) is recognized as key to the emergence of pandemic influenza for humans; there are growing concerns that AIV H9N2 may become more efficient to transmit to humans in the near future, since the infection of poultry with AIV H9N2 has been common in recent years. In this study, we aimed to produce antisera recognizing the HA and NA proteins of AIV H9N2. Initially, coding sequences corresponding to the N-terminal regions of the HA and NA proteins of the Korean AIV H9N2 (A/Ck/Kr/MS96/96) isolated from a domestic chicken were amplified from the genomic RNA. Following cloning of the amplified cDNA fragments into pGEX4T-1 vector, two GST-fusion proteins (GST-HAln and GST-NAn) were expressed in E. coli BL21 and purified with glutathione sepharose columns; the recombinant GST-HAln and GST-NAn proteins were both used as immunogens in rabbits. The antigenicity of the rabbit antisera was analyzed by immunoblotting of the cell lysates prepared from AIV H9N2-infected MDCK cells. Overall, the recombinant HAln and NAn proteins fused to the C-terminus of GST and the rabbit antisera raised against the corresponding recombinant proteins would provide a valuable reagent for AIV diagnosis and basic research.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We here demonstrate the successful engineering of the RNA genome of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) by using an infectious cDNA as a bacterial artificial chromosome. Runoff transcription from this cDNA by SP6 polymerase resulted in capped synthetic RNAs bearing authentic 5' and 3' ends of the viral genome that had specific infectivities of >5 x 10(5) PFU/microg of RNA. The synthetic viruses recovered from the transfected cells were genotypically and phenotypically indistinguishable from the parental virus. Using our system, a series of genomic RNAs with nucleotide deletions in their 5' ends produced viruses with decreased or no infectivity. Various pseudorevertants were isolated, and acquisition of novel 5' sequences of various sizes, composed predominantly of A and U bases, restored their infectivities, providing a novel insight into functional elements of the 5' end of the PRRSV genome. In addition, our system was further engineered to generate a panel of self-replicating, self-limiting, luciferase-expressing PRRSV viral replicons bearing various deletions. Analysis of these replicons revealed the presence and location of a 3' cis-acting element in the genome that was required for replication. Moreover, we produced enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing infectious viruses, which indicates that the PRRSV cDNA/viral replicon/recombinant virus can be developed as a vector for the expression of a variety of heterologous genes. Thus, our PRRSV reverse genetics system not only offers a means of directly investigating the molecular mechanisms of PRRSV replication and pathogenesis but also can be used to generate new heterologous gene expression vectors and genetically defined antiviral vaccines.
Journal of Virology 02/2006; 80(2):723-36. · 5.08 Impact Factor