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Human gammaherpesviruses are associated with the development of lymphoproliferative diseases and B cell lymphomas, particularly in immunosuppressed hosts. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which human gammaherpesviruses cause disease is hampered by the lack of convenient small animal models to study them. However, infection of laboratory strains of mice with the rodent virus murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) has been useful in gaining insights into how gammaherpesviruses contribute to the genesis and progression of lymphoproliferative lesions. In this report we make the novel observation that MHV68 infection of murine day 15 fetal liver cells results in their immortalization and differentiation into B plasmablasts that can be propagated indefinitely in vitro, and can establish metastasizing lymphomas in mice lacking normal immune competence. The phenotype of the MHV68 immortalized B cell lines is similar to that observed in lymphomas caused by KSHV and resembles the favored phenotype observed during MHV68 infection in vivo. All established cell lines maintained the MHV68 genome, with limited viral gene expression and little or no detectable virus production - although virus reactivation could be induced upon crosslinking surface Ig. Notably, transcription of the genes encoding the MHV68 viral cyclin D homolog (v-cyclin) and the homolog of the KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA), both of which are conserved among characterized γ2-herpesviruses, could consistently be detected in the established B cell lines. Furthermore, we show that the v-cyclin and LANA homologs are required for MHV68 immortalization of murine B cells. In contrast the M2 gene, which is unique to MHV68 and plays a role in latency and virus reactivation in vivo, was dispensable for B cell immortalization. This new model of gammaherpesvirus-driven B cell immortalization and differentiation in a small animal model establishes an experimental system for detailed investigation of the role of gammaherpesvirus gene products and host responses in the genesis and progression of gammaherpesvirus-associated lymphomas, and presents a convenient system to evaluate therapeutic modalities.
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The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus outbreak is the first pandemic of the twenty-first century. Epidemiological data reveal that of all the people afflicted with H1N1 virus, <5% are over 51 y of age. Interestingly, in the uninfected population, 33% of those >60 y old have pre-existing neutralizing Abs against the 2009 H1N1 virus. This finding suggests that influenza strains that circulated 50-60 y ago might provide cross-protection against the swine-origin 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. To test this, we determined the ability of representative H1N1 influenza viruses that circulated in the human population from 1930 to 2000, to induce cross-reactivity to and cross-protection against the pandemic swine-origin H1N1 virus, A/California/04/09. We show that exposure of mice to the 1947 virus, A/FM/1/47, or the 1934 virus, A/PR/8/34, induced robust cross-protective immune responses and these mice were protected against a lethal challenge with mouse-adapted A/California/04/09 H1N1 virus. Conversely, we observed that mice exposed to the 2009 H1N1 virus were protected against a lethal challenge with mouse-adapted 1947 or 1934 H1N1 viruses. In addition, exposure to the 2009 H1N1 virus induced broad cross-reactivity against H1N1 as well as H3N2 influenza viruses. Finally, we show that vaccination with the older H1N1 viruses, particularly A/FM/1/47, confers protective immunity against the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus. Taken together, our data provide an explanation for the decreased susceptibility of the elderly to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak and demonstrate that vaccination with the pre-1950 influenza strains can cross-protect against the pandemic swine-origin 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.
The Journal of Immunology 08/2010; 185(3):1642-9. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1000091 · 5.36 Impact Factor