[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Herpes B virus (or Herpesvirus simiae or Macacine herpesvirus 1) is endemic in many populations of macaques, both in the wild and in captivity. The virus elicits only mild clinical symptoms (if any) in monkeys, but can be transmitted by various routes, most commonly via bites, to humans where it causes viral encephalitis with a high mortality rate. Hence, herpes B constitutes a considerable occupational hazard for animal caretakers, veterinarians and laboratory personnel. Efforts are therefore being made to reduce the risk of zoonotic infection and to improve prognosis after accidental exposure. Among the measures envisaged are serological surveillance of monkey colonies and specific diagnosis of herpes B zoonosis against a background of antibodies recognizing the closely related human herpes simplex virus (HSV). 422 pentadecapeptides covering, in an overlapping fashion, the entire amino acid sequences of herpes B proteins gB and gD were synthesized and immobilized on glass slides. Antibodies present in monkey sera that bind to subsets of the peptide collection were detected by microserological techniques. With 42 different rhesus macaque sera, 114 individual responses to 18 different antibody target regions (ATRs) were recorded, 17 of which had not been described earlier. This finding may pave the way for a peptide-based, herpes B specific serological diagnostic test.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86857. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To estimate the effect of the variability of prion disease onset on primary bovine spongiform encephalopathy transmission to humans, we studied 6 cynomolgus macaques. The preclinical incubation period was significantly prolonged in 2 animals, implying that onset of variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans could be more diverse than previously expected.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Risk for human exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-inducing agent was estimated in a nonhuman primate model. To determine attack rates, incubation times, and molecular signatures, we orally exposed 18 macaques to 1 high dose of brain material from cattle with BSE. Several macaques were euthanized at regular intervals starting at 1 year postinoculation, and others were observed until clinical signs developed. Among those who received ≥5 g BSE-inducing agent, attack rates were 100% and prions could be detected in peripheral tissues from 1 year postinoculation onward. The overall median incubation time was 4.6 years (3.7-5.3). However, for 3 macaques orally exposed on multiple occasions, incubation periods were at least 7-10 years. Before clinical signs were noted, we detected a non-type 2B signature, indicating the existence of atypical prion protein during the incubation period. This finding could affect diagnosis of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and might be relevant for retrospective studies of positive tonsillectomy or appendectomy specimens because time of infection is unknown.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The N-terminally myristoylated preS1 domain of the large hepatitis B surface protein (LHBs) mediates specific attachment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) to hepatocytes. Its B-cell epitopes leading to neutralization of infectivity are not yet characterized.
We inserted C- and N-terminal preS1 peptides into the most immunogenic region of HBV core particles, therewith immunized Balb/c mice and determined binding properties and neutralization potential of resulting antibodies in vitro.
The particles with preS1 inserts were highly immunogenic and the corresponding anti-preS antibodies strongly bound to HBV particles from chronic carriers infected with different HBV genotypes A-F. However, antibodies binding to the C-terminal part of preS1 did not neutralize HBV infectivity for susceptible hepatocyte cultures. In contrast, antibodies elicited by the complete N-terminal attachment site of preS1(2-48) strongly neutralized with an IC50<3μg/ml of total immunoglobulin. Interestingly, antibodies against the very N-terminal part of preS1(1-21) could not neutralize infectivity although this sequence contains the most conserved and essential part of the attachment site. These antibodies reacted well with non-myristoylated preS1 peptides but only weakly with myristoylated preS1 peptides, natural HBsAg or HBV.
N-terminal myristic acid obviously favors a topology of LHBs that makes the most essential part of the preS1 attachment site inaccessible for neutralizing antibodies, whereas antibodies to neighbouring sequences neutralized very well. Thus, addition of the preS1(2-48) peptide in a highly immunogenic form to the current hepatitis B vaccine may improve protective immunity and reduce selection of escape mutations.
Journal of Hepatology 11/2010; 55(1):29-37. · 9.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular prion protein (PrP(c)) plays a central role in prion diseases such as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This disease can be transmitted by blood transfusion. However, the exact kinetics of blood infectivity and the blood fraction carrying infectivity have not yet been identified.
Simian PrP(c) epitopes were mapped by flow cytometry using monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs). A whole blood/no wash protocol was established, validated, and applied to investigate peripheral blood cell-associated PrP(c) expression profiles in bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-infected cynomolgus monkeys and age-/sex-matched controls. In addition, physiologic expression patterns on blood cells and in lymphoid tissues were determined.
In BSE-infected macaques, blood lymphocyte-associated PrP(c) fluorescence gradually increased years before the onset of clinical signs (p(F test) < 0.0001). The increase in fluorescence intensity was detectable with MoAb 12F10, whereas we failed to detect an increase with 3F4. In parallel, plasma concentrations of soluble CD230 also increased. Centrifugation of lymphocytes almost completely eliminated differences between infected and noninfected animals, most likely caused by a partial loss in cell-associated CD230 into the plasma supernatant.
Blood lymphocytes from asymptomatically infected as well as diseased macaques were characterized by increased CD230 fluorescence, and phosphatidylinositol-phospholipase C-resistant PrP molecules contributed at least partially to this increase. Conformational changes within PrP(c) molecules may be the underlying mechanism for the increased PrP(c) fluorescence. This cell-associated phenomenon contributed at least partially to an increase in soluble plasma-derived PrP(c) levels. It is not yet known whether these changes reflect infectivity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to analyze the differential expression of miRNAs in the brains of BSE-infected cynomolgus macaques as a model for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs regulating gene expression by mRNA targeting. Among other functions they contribute to neuronal development and survival. Recently, the lack of miRNA processing has been shown to promote neurodegeneration and deregulation of several miRNAs has been reported to be associated with Scrapie in mice. Therefore, we hypothesized that miRNAs are also regulated in response to human prion disease. We have applied miRNA-microarrays to identify deregulated miRNA candidates in brains of BSE-infected macaques. Shock-frozen brain sections of six BSE-infected and five non-infected macaques were used to validate regulated miRNA candidates by two independent qRT-PCR-based methods. Our study revealed significant upregulation of hsa-miR-342-3p and hsa-miR-494 in the brains of BSE-infected macaques compared to non-infected animals. In a pilot study we could show that hsa-miR-342-3p was also upregulated in brain samples of human type 1 and type 2 sporadic CJD. With respect to the reported regulation of this miRNA in Scrapie-infected mice, we propose that upregulation of hsa-miR-342-3p may be a general phenomenon in late stage prion disease and might be used as a novel marker for animal and human TSEs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efficacy assessment of AIDS vaccines relies both on preclinically challenging immunized monkeys with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or monitoring infection rates in large human trials. Although conventional parameters of vaccine-induced immune responses do not completely predict outcome, existing methods for testing cellular immunity are sophisticated and difficult to establish in resource-limited settings.
We have used virus replication kinetics (VVR) on ConA-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from rhesus monkeys immunized with DNA replication-defective adenovirus vector expressing various SIV genes, as an ex vivo model, to mimic the effects of different immune effector functions on viral infection.
VVR was attenuated by the immunization and correlated 2 weeks after first boost, with the number of interferon gamma-secreting cells and T-cell noncytotoxic antiviral responses. Importantly, VVR on the day of challenge but not interferon gamma responses correlated with viremia and with memory CD4+ T-cell measurements after SIVmac239 challenge. Similarly, T-cell noncytotoxic antiviral responses on the day of challenge correlated directly with memory CD4 T cell and inversely with plasma viremia after challenge.
VVR thus served as a better predictor of protective capacity of the vaccine regimen in these monkeys. We suggest that VVR be considered in the evaluation of candidate AIDS vaccines in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of a multigenic vaccine and its protective immunity in the SIVmac239 challenge model, 12 rhesus macaques were divided into two groups. The vaccine group was intramuscularly immunized with multigenic DNA and recombinant adenovirus vaccine, while the control group received buffers. At 16 weeks after the last immunization, all macaques were challenged orally with pathogenic SIVmac239. The mean plasma SIV RNA loads of the vaccine group were significantly lower than those of the placebo control group up to 16 weeks post-challenge. The vaccine-induced Gag-specific IFN-γ ELISPOT T cell responses inversely correlated with the viral loads before the chronic phase. Two out of six vaccinated macaques with strong and sustained Gag-specific T cell responses showed viremia control and maintained CD4+ T cell percentage. However, the other four vaccinated macaques showed high viral loads and reduced level of CD4+ T cell percentages during the chronic phase, comparable to those in control macaques. Five out of six vaccinated macaques survived for more than 72 weeks, while five out of six controls died of an AIDS-related disease. Therefore, the vaccination conferred not only reduction of viral loads in a portion of vaccinated macaques (2/6), but also prolonged survival of all vaccinated macaques regardless of viremia control. Our results further suggest that new experimental approaches may be needed to assess protective effects from AIDS-associated disease in the immunized macaques after oral SIV challenge.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the immunogenicity and efficacy of a bimodal prime/boost vaccine regimen given by various routes in the Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) rhesus monkey model for AIDS. Twelve animals were immunized with SIV DNA-vectors followed by the application of a recombinant adenovirus (rAd5) expressing the same genes either intramuscularly (i.m.) or by oropharyngeal spray. The second rAd5-application was given i.m. All vaccinees plus six controls were challenged orally with SIVmac239 12 weeks post-final immunization. Both immunization strategies induced strong SIV Gag-specific IFN-gamma and T-cell proliferation responses and mediated a conservation of CD4(+) memory T-cells and a reduction of viral load during peak viremia following infection. Interestingly, the mucosal group was superior to the systemic group regarding breadth and strength of SIV-specific T-cell responses and exhibited lower vector specific immune responses. Therefore, our data warrant the inclusion of mucosal vector application in a vaccination regimen which makes it less invasive and easier to apply.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of a multigenic vaccine and its protective immunity in the SIVmac239 challenge model, 12 rhesus macaques were divided into two groups. The vaccine group was intramuscularly immunized with multigenic DNA and recombinant adenovirus vaccine, while the control group received buffers. At 16 weeks after the last immunization, all macaques were challenged orally with pathogenic SIVmac239. The mean plasma SIV RNA loads of the vaccine group were significantly lower than those of the placebo control group up to 16 weeks post-challenge. The vaccine-induced Gag-specific IFN-gamma ELISPOT T cell responses inversely correlated with the viral loads before the chronic phase. Two out of six vaccinated macaques with strong and sustained Gag-specific T cell responses showed viremia control and maintained CD4+ T cell percentage. However, the other four vaccinated macaques showed high viral loads and reduced level of CD4+ T cell percentages during the chronic phase, comparable to those in control macaques. Five out of six vaccinated macaques survived for more than 72 weeks, while five out of six controls died of an AIDS-related disease. Therefore, the vaccination conferred not only reduction of viral loads in a portion of vaccinated macaques (2/6), but also prolonged survival of all vaccinated macaques regardless of viremia control. Our results further suggest that new experimental approaches may be needed to assess protective effects from AIDS-associated disease in the immunized macaques after oral SIV challenge.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we investigated the efficacy of a multigenic DNA prime/modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA)boost vaccine approach, followed by mucosal challenge with highly pathogenic simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) 89.6P, using different routes for vaccine delivery. After three times of DNA priming (SIVmac239, GagPol, and SHIV 89.6P Env) one vaccine group of monkeys was immunized with MVA systemically via intramuscular (IM) and intradermal (ID) application, and in another vaccine group the MVA booster immunization comprised the IM, ID, and atraumatic oral route. Although all vaccinees became infected after intra-rectal challenge with SHIV 89.6P, substantial protection as indicated by lower peak and set point viral loads and unambiguous preservation of CD4 T cells could be achieved. As we could only transiently detect low levels of neutralizing antibodies in some vaccinees, these antibodies did not seem to add to the protection in the vaccinees. Our results indicate that both preventive multigenic DNA prime/MVA booster immunization strategies promote the control of virus replication and protect from disease progression. We also demonstrated that combining mucosal and systemic vaccination mediated better protective effects compared to systemic vaccination alone.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In both human immunodeficiency virus-infected humans and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques, genes encoded in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I region are important determinants of disease progression. However, compared to the human human lymphocyte antigen complex, the macaque MHC region encodes many more class I genes. Macaques with the same immunodominant class I genes express additional Mhc genes with the potential to influence the disease course. We therefore assessed the association between of the Mhc class I haplotypes, rather than single gene variants, and survival time in SIV-infected rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). DNA sequence analysis and Mhc genotyping of 245 pedigreed monkeys identified 17 Mhc class I haplotypes that constitute 10 major genotypes. Among 81 vaccination-naive, SIV-infected macaques, 71 monkeys carried at least one Mhc class I haplotype encoding only MHC antigens that were incapable of inducing an effective anti-SIV cytotoxic T lymphocytes response. Study of these macaques enabled us to relate individual Mhc class I haplotypes to slow, medium and rapid disease progression. In a post hoc analysis, classification according to disease progression was found to explain at least 48% of the observed variation of survival time.
Genes and immunity 02/2008; 9(1):69-80. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experimental transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) is an animal model for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). The presence of 14-3-3 proteins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples indicates neuronal destruction and is therefore used as a clinical biomarker. However, time-course studies using 14-3-3 proteins have not been performed until now in simian vCJD. The main goals of this study were to determine isoform patterns, to examine kinetics and to correlate the clinical course with the occurrence of this biomarker in simian vCJD. In monkeys dosed intracerebrally with BSE, the earliest clinical sign of illness was a drop in body weight that was detected months before the onset of mild neurological signs. Macaques dosed orally or intracerebrally with BSE developed neurological signs 4.3 (3.7-4.6) and 4.8 (2.9-6.0) years post-infection, respectively. 14-3-3beta- and -gamma-positive CSF samples were found around the time of onset of mild neurological signs, but not earlier. In contrast, 14-3-3epsilon and -eta isoforms were not detectable. 14-3-3 levels increased with time and were positively correlated with the degree of neurological symptoms. Post-mortem examination of brain samples revealed a positive correlation between PrP res and 14-3-3epsilon levels. Interestingly, florid plaques characteristic of human vCJD could not be detected in diseased monkeys. It was concluded that analysis of 14-3-3 proteins in CSF is a reliable tool to characterize the time course of brain degeneration in simian vCJD. However, there are differences in the clinical course between orally and intracerebrally infected animals that may influence the detection of other biomarkers.
Journal of General Virology 01/2008; 88(Pt 12):3469-78. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to an ever increasing shortage of rhesus macaques of Indian origin (InR) that have been generally used for preclinical AIDS vaccine trials in non-human primates, demand is rising for Chinese rhesus macaques (ChR). However, the immunogenicity of an AIDS vaccine candidate has not been compared in parallel in both rhesus macaque subspecies.
ChR and InR were immunized with SIV/HIV DNA and adenovirus vaccine and their immune responses to SIV and HIV evaluated.
SIV Gag- and Env-specific T-cell responses and SIV-specific lymphoproliferative responses measured in ChR were significantly weaker than those in InR (P < 0.05). By contrast, antibody responses to SIV Env, Tat, and Nef in ChR were stronger than those in InR (P < 0.05).
Immunogenicity of an AIDS vaccine can vary significantly depending on the geographic origin implying genetic differences of macaques. This must be considered when describing and interpreting results of such vaccine studies.
Journal of Medical Primatology 08/2007; 36(4-5):195-205. · 1.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are a major component of the human genome and an active part of the transcriptome. Some HERVs play vital biological roles, while others potentially contribute to diseases. Many HERVs are relatively new in the primate genome, having entered or expanded after the lineages leading to the platyrrhines (New World monkeys) and catarrhines (Old World monkeys and apes) separated. Most HERVs are active in at least some tissues, though tissue specificity is common for most elements. We analyzed multiple tissues from several Old World monkeys using retroviral pol-based DNA microarrays and quantitative PCR methods to determine their ERV expression profiles. The results demonstrate that while many ERVs are active in nonhuman primates, overall the tissue expression specificity is unique to each species. Most striking is that while the majority of HERVs analyzed in this study are expressed in human brain, almost none are expressed in Old World monkey brains or are only weakly expressed.
Journal of Virology 06/2006; 80(9):4415-21. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigated the ability of a multigenic SIV DNA prime/replication-defective adenovirus serotype 5 (rAd/SIV) boost regimen to induce SIV-specific immune responses and protection against intrarectal challenge with SIVmac251 in rhesus macaques. Four rhesus macaques were immunized intramuscularly three times at 8-week intervals with SIV DNA vaccine and boosted once with rAd/SIV vaccine Four control macaques received the same amount of mock plasmid DNA and mock adenovirus vector. While the SIV DNA vaccine included plasmids expressing a mutated human IL-12 gene (IL-12N222L) as well as SIVmac239 structural and regulatory genes, the rAd/SIV vaccine contained rAd vectors expressing SIVmac239 genes only. Immunization with SIV DNA vaccine alone induced SIV-specific IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses in only two of four vaccinated macaques, whereas all animals developed SIV-specific T-cell responses and Env- and Tat-specific antibody responses following the rAd/SIV vaccine boost. Upon intrarectal challenge with pathogenic SIVmac251, strong anamnestic Env-specific binding and neutralizing antibody responses were detected in the vaccinated macaques. Overall, the immunized macaques had lower peak and set-point viral loads than control macaques, suggesting that the induced immune responses play a role in the control of viremia. In addition, the loss of CD4+ T cells was delayed in the vaccinated macaques after challenge. These results indicate that the multigenic DNA prime-adenovirus boost immunization may be a promising approach in developing an effective AIDS vaccine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular prion protein (PrP(C)), a highly conserved glycoprotein predominantly expressed by neuronal cells, can convert into an abnormal isoform (PrP(Sc)) and provoke a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. In spite of many studies, the physiological function of PrP(C) remains unknown. Recent findings suggest that PrP(C) is a multifunctional protein participating in several cellular processes. Using recombinant human PrP as a probe, we performed far-Western immunoblotting (protein overlay assay) to detect cellular PrP(C) interactors. Brain extracts of wild-type and PrP knockout mice were screened by far-Western immunoblotting for PrP-specific interactions. Subsequently, putative ligands were isolated by 2-DE and identified by MALDI-TOF MS, enabling identification of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2/B1 and aldolase C as novel interaction partners of PrP(C). These data provide the first evidence of a molecule indicating a mechanism for the predicted involvement of PrP(C) in nucleic acid metabolisms. In summary, we have shown the successful combination of 2-DE with far-Western immunoblotting and MALDI-TOF MS for identification of new cellular binding partners of a known protein. Especially the application of this technique to investigate other neurodegenerative diseases is promising.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As part of a European multicenter study designed to determine the optimal combination and order of a mixed-modality vaccine against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, rhesus monkeys received a combination of three different vectors, all expressing the same Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) genes followed by mucosal challenge with highly pathogenic SIV. In the study reported here, animals were primed with DNA followed by one booster immunization with Semliki Forest Virus (SFV) and two immunizations with modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA). To address the relevance of mucosal immunization, we compared systemic versus a combination of systemic and mucosal antigen application. Although all vaccinees became infected after intrarectal challenge with SIV, most (six of eight) were protected from profound loss of CD4+ cells. In addition, vaccinees showed lower viral loads than did controls (p < 0.05). Overall, these protective effects were more pronounced in those animals whose schedule included immunization via the mucosa. In summary, the vaccine regimen used here achieved one important criterion of efficacy: the suppression of disease development as indicated by conservation of CD4+ cells.