[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, A/H5N1 influenza viruses were shown to acquire airborne transmissibility between ferrets upon targeted mutagenesis and virus passage. The critical genetic changes in airborne A/Indonesia/5/05 were not yet identified. Here, five substitutions proved to be sufficient to determine this airborne transmission phenotype. Substitutions in PB1 and PB2 collectively caused enhanced transcription and virus replication. One substitution increased HA thermostability and lowered the pH of membrane fusion. Two substitutions independently changed HA binding preference from α2,3-linked to α2,6-linked sialic acid receptors. The loss of a glycosylation site in HA enhanced overall binding to receptors. The acquired substitutions emerged early during ferret passage as minor variants and became dominant rapidly. Identification of substitutions that are essential for airborne transmission of avian influenza viruses between ferrets and their associated phenotypes advances our fundamental understanding of virus transmission and will increase the value of future surveillance programs and public health risk assessments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Central nervous system (CNS) disease is the most common extra-respiratory complication of influenza in humans. However, the pathogenesis, including the route of virus entry, is largely unknown. Here we present for the first time evidence for influenza virus entry into the CNS via the olfactory route in an immune-compromised infant. Since the nasal cavity is a primary site of influenza virus replication and is directly connected to the CNS via the olfactory nerve, these results imply that influenza virus invasion of the CNS may occur more often than hitherto suspected.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 02/2014; · 5.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We determined the attachment pattern of avian-origin H7N9 influenza viruses A/Anhui/1/2013 and A/Shanghai/1/2013 to the respiratory tract in ferrets, macaques, mice, pigs and guinea pigs, and compared it to that in humans. The H7N9 attachment pattern in macaques, mice, and to a lesser extent pigs and guinea pigs resembled that in humans more closely than the attachment pattern in ferrets. This knowledge contributes to our knowledge on the different animal models for influenza.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory viruses that emerge in the human population may cause high morbidity and mortality, as well as concern about pandemic spread. Examples are severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and novel variants of influenza A virus, such as H5N1 and pandemic H1N1. Different animal models are used to develop therapeutic and preventive measures against such viruses, but it is not clear which are most suitable. Therefore, this review compares animal models of SARS and influenza, with an emphasis on non-human primates, ferrets and cats. Firstly, the pathology and pathogenesis of SARS and influenza are compared. Both diseases are similar in that they affect mainly the respiratory tract and cause inflammation and necrosis centred on the pulmonary alveoli and bronchioles. Important differences are the presence of multinucleated giant cells and intra-alveolar fibrosis in SARS and more fulminant necrotizing and haemorrhagic pneumonia in H5N1 influenza. Secondly, the pathology and pathogenesis of SARS and influenza in man and experimental animals are compared. Host species, host age, route of inoculation, location of sampling and timing of sampling are important to design an animal model that most closely mimics human disease. The design of appropriate animal models requires an accurate pathological description of human cases, as well as a good understanding of the effect of experimental variables on disease outcome.
Journal of comparative pathology 01/2014; · 1.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory viruses that emerge in the human population may cause high morbidity and mortality, as well as concern about pandemic spread. Examples are severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and novel variants of influenza A virus, such as H5N1 and pandemic H1N1. Different animal models are used to develop therapeutic and preventive measures against such viruses, but it is not clear which are most suitable. Therefore, this review compares animal models of SARS and influenza, with an emphasis on non-human primates, ferrets and cats. Firstly, the pathology and pathogenesis between SARS and influenza is compared. Both diseases are similar in that they affect mainly the respiratory tract and cause inflammation and necrosis centred on the pulmonary alveoli and bronchioles. Important differences are the presence of multinucleated giant cells and intra-alveolar fibrosis in SARS and more fulminant necrotizing and haemorrhagic pneumonia in H5N1 influenza. Secondly, the pathology and pathogenesis of SARS and influenza between human beings and experimental animals is compared. Host species, host age, route of inoculation, location of sampling and timing of sampling are important to design an animal model that most closely mimicshuman disease. The design of appropriate animal models requires an accurate pathological description of human cases, as well as a good understanding of the effect of experimental variables on disease outcome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The armamentarium of antiviral drugs against influenza viruses is limited. Furthermore, influenza viruses emerge that are resistant to existing antiviral drugs like the M2 and NA inhibitors. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of novel classes of antiviral drugs. Here we investigated the antiviral properties of recombinant porcine surfactant protein D (RpSP-D), an innate defense molecule with lectin properties, against influenza B viruses. We have previously shown that porcine SP-D has more potent neutralizing activity against influenza A viruses than human SP-D. Here we show that RpSP-D neutralizes influenza B viruses efficiently and inhibited the binding of these viruses to epithelial cells of the human trachea.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The zoonotic outbreak of H7N9 subtype avian influenza virus that occurred in eastern China in the spring of 2013 resulted in 135 confirmed human cases, 44 of which were lethal. Sequencing of the viral genome revealed a number of molecular signatures associated with virulence or transmission in mammals. Here we report that, in the guinea pig model, a human isolate of novel H7N9 influenza virus, A/Anhui/1/2013 (An/13), is highly dissimilar to an H7N1 avian isolate and instead behaves similarly to a human seasonal strain in several respects. An/13 was found to have a low 50% infectious dose, grow to high titers in the upper respiratory tract, and transmit efficiently among co-caged guinea pigs. The pH of fusion of the HA and the binding of virus to fixed guinea pig tissues were also examined. The An/13 HA displayed a relatively elevated pH of fusion characteristic of many avian strains, and An/13 resembled avian viruses in terms of attachment to tissues. One important difference was seen between An/13 and both the H3N2 human and H7N1 avian viruses: when inoculated intranasally at high dose, only the An/13 virus led to productive infection of the lower respiratory tract of guinea pigs. In sum, An/13 was found to retain fusion and attachment properties of an avian influenza virus but displayed robust growth and contact transmission in the guinea pig model atypical of avian strains and indicative of mammalian adaptation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hepatitis B virus (HBV), family Hepadnaviridae, is one of most relevant human pathogens. HBV origins are enigmatic, and no zoonotic reservoirs are known. Here, we screened 3,080 specimens from 54 bat species representing 11 bat families for hepadnaviral DNA. Ten specimens (0.3%) from Panama and Gabon yielded unique hepadnaviruses in coancestral relation to HBV. Full genome sequencing allowed classification as three putative orthohepadnavirus species based on genome lengths (3,149-3,377 nt), presence of middle HBV surface and X-protein genes, and sequence distance criteria. Hepatic tropism in bats was shown by quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. Infected livers showed histopathologic changes compatible with hepatitis. Human hepatocytes transfected with all three bat viruses cross-reacted with sera against the HBV core protein, concordant with the phylogenetic relatedness of these hepadnaviruses and HBV. One virus from Uroderma bilobatum, the tent-making bat, cross-reacted with monoclonal antibodies against the HBV antigenicity determining S domain. Up to 18.4% of bat sera contained antibodies against bat hepadnaviruses. Infectious clones were generated to study all three viruses in detail. Hepatitis D virus particles pseudotyped with surface proteins of U. bilobatum HBV, but neither of the other two viruses could infect primary human and Tupaia belangeri hepatocytes. Hepatocyte infection occurred through the human HBV receptor sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide but could not be neutralized by sera from vaccinated humans. Antihepadnaviral treatment using an approved reverse transcriptase inhibitor blocked replication of all bat hepadnaviruses. Our data suggest that bats may have been ancestral sources of primate hepadnaviruses. The observed zoonotic potential might affect concepts aimed at eradicating HBV.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A viruses from animal reservoirs have the capacity to adapt to humans and cause influenza pandemics. The occurrence of an influenza pandemic requires efficient virus transmission among humans, which is associated with virus attachment to the upper respiratory tract. Pandemic severity depends on virus ability to cause pneumonia, which is associated with virus attachment to the lower respiratory tract. Recently, a novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza A virus with unknown pandemic potential emerged in humans. We determined the pattern of attachment of two genetically engineered viruses containing the hemagglutinin of either influenza virus A/Shanghai/1/13 or A/Anhui/1/13 to formalin-fixed human respiratory tract tissues using histochemical analysis. Our results show that the emerging H7N9 virus attached moderately or abundantly to both upper and lower respiratory tract, a pattern not seen before for avian influenza A viruses. With the caveat that virus attachment is only the first step in the virus replication cycle, these results suggest that the emerging H7N9 virus has the potential both to transmit efficiently among humans and to cause severe pneumonia.
American Journal Of Pathology 09/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus causes a severe, often fatal, pneumonia in humans. The tropism and pathogenesis of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus can partly be explained by the presence of H5N1 virus receptors in the human alveoli, which are the site of inflammation during pneumonia. Although studies on the distribution of influenza virus receptors in normal respiratory tract tissues have provided significant insights into the cell tropism and pathogenesis of influenza viruses, the distribution of influenza virus receptors have not been studied during influenza virus infection. Therefore, we studied the distribution of H5N1 virus receptors, by virus and lectin histochemistry, during highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus infection in alveolar tissues of humans, macaques, ferrets, and cats. In all species, we observed a decrease of H5N1 virus receptors in influenza virus-infected and neighboring cells. The observed decrease of H5N1 virus receptors was associated with the presence of MxA, a known marker for interferon activity. Taken together, our data suggest that the decrease of H5N1 virus receptors might be part of a defense mechanism that limits viral replication in the lower respiratory tract.
American Journal Of Pathology 08/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD44 variant (CD44(v)) isoforms play important roles in the development of autoimmune disorders, including colitis and arthritis, but their role in multiple sclerosis (MS) has been explored only to a limited extent. We determined the functional relevance of CD44(v) isoforms in MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Genetic ablation of CD44(v7) and CD44(v10) isoforms significantly reduced the clinical EAE burden, as well as the number of inflammatory infiltrates. CD44(v7) and CD44(v10) expression on both memory T and antigen-presenting cells, participated in the development of adoptive transfer EAE. Significantly reduced mRNA expression of Th1 signature genes was detected in the brains of CD44(v10-/-) mice compared with those of CD44(WT) mice. Furthermore, forkhead transcription factor 3 (Foxp3), Bcl-2, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) levels were reduced in CD44(v10-/-) brains, whereas active caspase-3 was elevated. Brain-infiltrating CD4(hi)CD44(v10+) T cells preceded EAE onset and paralleled disease severity in wild-type but not in CD44(v7-/-) and CD44(v10-/-) mice. CD44(v7) and CD44(v10) expression contributed to EAE by increasing the longevity of autoreactive CD4(hi)panCD44(hi) T cells. Accordingly, the absence of CD44(v7) and CD44(v10) led to increased apoptosis in the inflammatory infiltrates and reduced Th1 responses, resulting in marked disease reduction. Although absent in noninflamed human brains, we detected CD44(v3), CD44(v7), and CD44(v10) isoforms on glial cells and on perivascular infiltrating cells of MS lesions. We conclude that CD44(v7) and CD44(v10), expressed on autoreactive CD4(hi)panCD44(hi) T cells, are critically involved in the pathogenesis of classic EAE by increasing their life span. Targeting these short CD44(v) isoform regions may reduce inflammatory processes and clinical symptoms in MS.-Ghazi-Visser, L., Laman, J. D., Nagel, S., van Meurs, M., van Riel, D., Tzankov, A., Frank, S., Adams, H., Wolk, K., Terracciano, L., Melief, M.-J., Sabat, R., Günthert, U. CD44 variant isoforms control experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by affecting the lifespan of the pathogenic T cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is among the most relevant causes of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Research is complicated by a lack of accessible small animal models. The systematic investigation of viruses of small mammals could guide efforts to establish such models, while providing insight into viral evolutionary biology. We have assembled the so-far largest collection of small-mammal samples from around the world, qualified to be screened for bloodborne viruses, including sera and organs from 4,770 rodents (41 species); and sera from 2,939 bats (51 species). Three highly divergent rodent hepacivirus clades were detected in 27 (1.8%) of 1,465 European bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and 10 (1.9%) of 518 South African four-striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio). Bats showed anti-HCV immunoblot reactivities but no virus detection, although the genetic relatedness suggested by the serologic results should have enabled RNA detection using the broadly reactive PCR assays developed for this study. 210 horses and 858 cats and dogs were tested, yielding further horse-associated hepaciviruses but none in dogs or cats. The rodent viruses were equidistant to HCV, exceeding by far the diversity of HCV and the canine/equine hepaciviruses taken together. Five full genomes were sequenced, representing all viral lineages. Salient genome features and distance criteria supported classification of all viruses as hepaciviruses. Quantitative RT-PCR, RNA in-situ hybridisation, and histopathology suggested hepatic tropism with liver inflammation resembling hepatitis C. Recombinant serology for two distinct hepacivirus lineages in 97 bank voles identified seroprevalence rates of 8.3 and 12.4%, respectively. Antibodies in bank vole sera neither cross-reacted with HCV, nor the heterologous bank vole hepacivirus. Co-occurrence of RNA and antibodies was found in 3 of 57 PCR-positive bank vole sera (5.3%). Our data enable new hypotheses regarding HCV evolution and encourage efforts to develop rodent surrogate models for HCV.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We explored the attachment of an H16N3 influenza virus to human, mallard, and gull tissues using virus histochemistry applied to tissue microarrays and employing human and mallard viruses as references. Of the viruses tested, the H16N3 gull virus most readily attached to the human respiratory tract and eye. These results underscore the need to assess the potential for gull influenza viruses to replicate in human tissues and further investigate the role of gulls in influenza virus ecology.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e60757. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Author Summary
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most relevant causes of liver disease and cancer in humans. The lack of a small animal models represents an important hurdle on our way to understanding, treating, and preventing hepatitis C. The investigation of small mammals could identify virus infections similar to hepatitis C in animals that can be kept in laboratories, such as rodents, and can also yield insights into the evolution of those ancestral virus lineages out of which HCV developed. Here, we investigated a worldwide sample of 4,770 rodents, 2,939 bats, 210 horses and 858 cats and dogs for HCV-related viruses. New viruses were discovered in European bank voles ( Myodes glareolus ) and South African four-striped mice ( Rhabdomys pumilio ). The disease in bank voles was studied in more detail, suggesting that infection of the liver occurs with similar symptoms to those caused by HCV in humans. These rodents might thus enable the development of new laboratory models of hepatitis C. Moreover, the phylogenetic history of those viruses provides fascinating new ideas regarding the evolution of HCV ancestors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many subtypes of low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus circulate in wild bird reservoirs, but their prevalence may vary among species. We aimed to compare by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, virus isolation, histology, and immunohistochemistry the distribution and pathogenicity of 2 such subtypes of markedly different origins in Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos): H2N3 isolated from a Mallard duck and H13N6 isolated from a Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis). Following intratracheal and intraesophageal inoculation, neither virus caused detectable clinical signs, although H2N3 virus infection was associated with a significantly decreased body weight gain during the period of virus shedding. Both viruses replicated in the lungs and air sacs until approximately day 3 after inoculation and were associated with a locally extensive interstitial, exudative, and proliferative pneumonia. Subtype H2N3, but not subtype H13N6, went on to infect the epithelia of the intestinal mucosa and cloacal bursa, where it replicated without causing lesions until approximately day 5 after inoculation. Larger quantities of subtype H2N3 virus were detected in cloacal swabs than in pharyngeal swabs. The possible clinical significance of LPAI virus-associated pulmonary lesions and intestinal tract infection in ducks deserves further evaluation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patterns of virus attachment to the respiratory tract of 4 marine mammal species were determined for avian and human influenza viruses. Attachment of avian influenza A viruses (H4N5) and (H7N7) and human influenza B viruses to trachea and bronchi of harbor seals is consistent with reported influenza outbreaks in this species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study assessed the presence of sialic acid α-2,3 and α-2,6 linked glycan receptors in seven avian species. The respiratory and intestinal tracts of the chicken, common quail, red-legged partridge, turkey, golden pheasant, ostrich, and mallard were tested by means of lectin histochemistry, using the lectins Maackia amurensis agglutinin II and Sambucus nigra agglutinin, which show affinity for α-2,3 and α-2,6 receptors, respectively. Additionally, the pattern of virus attachment (PVA) was evaluated with virus histochemistry, using an avian-origin H4N5 virus and a human-origin seasonal H1N1 virus. There was a great variation of receptor distribution among the tissues and avian species studied. Both α-2,3 and α-2,6 receptors were present in the respiratory and intestinal tracts of the chicken, common quail, red-legged partridge, turkey, and golden pheasant. In ostriches, the expression of the receptor was basically restricted to α-2,3 in both the respiratory and intestinal tracts and in mallards the α-2,6 receptors were absent from the intestinal tract. The results obtained with the lectin histochemistry were, in general, in agreement with the PVA. The differential expression and distribution of α-2,3 and α-2,6 receptors among various avian species might reflect a potentially decisive factor in the emergence of new viral strains.
Veterinary Research 04/2012; 43(1):28. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The route by which highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus spreads systemically, including the central nervous system (CNS), is largely unknown in mammals. Especially, the olfactory route, which could be a route of entry into the CNS, has not been studied in detail. Although the multibasic cleavage site (MBCS) in the hemagglutinin (HA) of HPAI H5N1 viruses is a major determinant of systemic spread in poultry, the association between the MBCS and systemic spread in mammals is less clear. Here we determined the virus distribution of HPAI H5N1 virus in ferrets in time and space-including along the olfactory route-and the role of the MBCS in systemic replication. Intranasal inoculation with wild-type H5N1 virus revealed extensive replication in the olfactory mucosa, from which it spread to the olfactory bulb and the rest of the CNS, including the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Virus spread to the heart, liver, pancreas, and colon was also detected, indicating hematogenous spread. Ferrets inoculated intranasally with H5N1 virus lacking an MBCS demonstrated respiratory tract infection only. In conclusion, HPAI H5N1 virus can spread systemically via two different routes, olfactory and hematogenous, in ferrets. This systemic spread was dependent on the presence of the MBCS in HA.
Journal of Virology 01/2012; 86(7):3975-84. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) of the subtype H5N1 causes severe, often fatal pneumonia in humans. The pathogenesis of HPAIV H5N1 infection is not completely understood, although the alveolar macrophage (AM) is thought to play an important role. HPAIV H5N1 infection of macrophages cultured from monocytes leads to high percentages of infection accompanied by virus production and an excessive pro-inflammatory immune response. However, macrophages cultured from monocytes are different from AM, both in phenotype and in response to seasonal influenza virus infection. Consequently, it remains unclear whether the results of studies with macrophages cultured from monocytes are valid for AM. Therefore we infected AM and for comparison macrophages cultured from monocytes with seasonal H3N2 virus, HPAIV H5N1 or pandemic H1N1 virus, and determined the percentage of cells infected, virus production and induction of TNF-alpha, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. In vitro HPAIV H5N1 infection of AM compared to that of macrophages cultured from monocytes resulted in a lower percentage of infected cells (up to 25% vs up to 84%), lower virus production and lower TNF-alpha induction. In vitro infection of AM with H3N2 or H1N1 virus resulted in even lower percentages of infected cells (up to 7%) than with HPAIV H5N1, while virus production and TNF-alpha induction were comparable. In conclusion, this study reveals that macrophages cultured from monocytes are not a good model to study the interaction between AM and these influenza virus strains. Furthermore, the interaction between HPAIV H5N1 and AM could contribute to the pathogenicity of this virus in humans, due to the relative high percentage of infected cells rather than virus production or an excessive TNF-alpha induction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is considered an important maintenance host for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses, viral cell tropism and pathology in naturally infected birds are largely unknown. In August 2006, we collected 19 free-living hatch-year Mallards that were positive for LPAI virus by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) in combined oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs. We investigated virus infection and associated lesions in the digestive and respiratory tracts by RRT-PCR, virus culture, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and histology. By RRT-PCR, 15 birds were positive in cloacal bursa, colon/cloaca, or both, and three were positive in lungs. Virus was isolated from eight birds and typed as H2N3 (three birds), H3N3 (two birds), H3N8 (one bird), H4N6 (one bird), and H?N3 (one bird). By IHC, birds were positive in the cloacal bursa (eight birds), colon (three), cecum (two), or ileum (one). Cell types infected were superficial epithelial cells of the bursa and epithelial cells of the intestinal villi and, less commonly, mucosal glands. By histology, there was no evidence of lesions associated with LPAI virus infection. These results show that epithelia of the cloacal bursa and of the lower intestine are important sites of natural LPAI virus infection in free-living hatch-year Mallards. The lack of lesions associated with this infection suggests that there is a strong selection by LPAI virus to cause minimal virulence in this maintenance host species.
Journal of wildlife diseases 04/2011; 47(2):401-9. · 1.27 Impact Factor