John Law

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Publications (5)26.97 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although effective Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antivirals are on the horizon, a global prophylactic vaccine for HCV remains elusive. The diversity of the virus is a major concern for vaccine development; there are 7 major genotypes of HCV found globally. Therefore, a successful vaccine will need to protect against HCV infection of all genotypes. Despite the diversity, many monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with broadly cross-neutralizing activity have been described suggesting the presence of conserved epitopes that can be targeted to prevent infection. Similarly, a vaccine comprising recombinant envelope glycoproteins (rE1E2) derived from the genotype 1a HCV-1 strain has been shown to be capable of eliciting cross-neutralizing antibodies in guinea pigs, chimpanzees, and healthy human volunteers. In order to investigate the basis for this cross-neutralization, epitope mapping of anti-E1E2 antibodies present within antisera from goats and humans immunized with HCV-1 rE1E2 was conducted through peptide mapping and competition studies with a panel of cross-neutralizing mAbs targeting various epitopes within E1E2. The immunized goat antisera was shown to compete with the binding of all mAbs tested (AP33, HC33.4, HC84.26, 1:7, AR3B, AR4A, AR5A, IGH526, A4). Antisera showed the best competition against HC84.26/AR3B and the weakest competition against AR4A. Furthermore, antisera from five immunized human vaccinees were shown to compete with five pre-selected mAbs (AP33, AR3B, AR4A, AR5A, IGH526). These data show that immunization with HCV-1 rE1E2 elicits antibodies targeting multiple cross-neutralizing epitopes. Our results further support the use of such a vaccine antigen to induce cross-genotype neutralization.
    Journal of Virology 10/2014; DOI:10.1128/JVI.01911-14 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we differentiated the human hepatoma cell line Huh7.5 by supplementing tissue culture media with human serum (HS) and examined the production of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by these cells. We compared the standard tissue culture protocol, using media supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS), to media supplemented with 2% HS. Cells cultured in HS undergo rapid growth arrest, have a hepatocyte-like morphology, and increase the expression of hepatocyte differentiation markers. In addition, expression of cell adhesion proteins claudin-1, occludin, and e-cadherin are also increased. The lipid droplet content of these cells is highly increased, as are key lipid metabolism regulators liver X receptor alpha, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α, and PPAR-γ. Very-low-density lipoprotein secretion, which is absent in FBS-grown cells, is restored in Huh7.5 cells that are cultured in HS. All these factors have been implicated in the life cycle of HCV. We show that viral production of Japanese fulminant hepatitis type 1 increases 1,000-fold when cells are grown in HS, compared to standard FBS culture conditions. The virus produced under these conditions is associated with apolipoprotein B, has a lower density, higher specific infectivity, and has a longer half-life than virus produced in media supplemented with FBS. Conclusion: We describe a convenient, cost-effective method to produce hepatocyte-like cells, which produce large amounts of virus that more closely resemble HCV present in serum of infected patients. (Hepatology 2013; 58:1907–1917)
    Hepatology 12/2013; 58(6). DOI:10.1002/hep.26566 · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA polymerase, NS5B, is a leading target for novel and selective HCV drug design. The enzyme has been the subject of intensive drug discovery aimed at developing direct acting antiviral (DAA) agents that inhibit its activity and hence prevent the virus from replicating its genome. In this study, we focus on one class of NS5B inhibitors, namely nucleos(t)ide mimetics. Forty-one distinct nucleotide structures have been modeled within the active site of NS5B for the six major HCV genotypes. Our comprehensive modeling protocol employed 287 different molecular dynamics simulations combined with the Molecular Mechanics/Poisson Boltzmann Surface Area (MM-PBSA) methodology to rank and analyze these structures for all genotypes. The binding interactions of the individual compounds have been investigated and reduced to the atomic level. The present study significantly refines our understanding of the mode of action of NS5B-nucleotide-inhibitors, identifies the key structural elements necessary for their activity, and implements the tools for ranking the potential of additional much needed novel inhibitors of NS5B.
    Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 10/2013; 53(11). DOI:10.1021/ci4003969 · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although a cure for HCV is on the near horizon, emerging drug cocktails will be expensive, associated with side-effects and resistance making a global vaccine an urgent priority given the estimated high incidence of infection around the world. Due to the highly heterogeneous nature of HCV, an effective HCV vaccine which could elicit broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies has represented a major challenge. In this study, we tested for the presence of cross-neutralizing antibodies in human volunteers who were immunized with recombinant glycoproteins gpE1/gpE2 derived from a single HCV strain (HCV1 of genotype 1a). Cross neutralization was tested in Huh-7.5 human hepatoma cell cultures using infectious recombinant HCV (HCVcc) expressing structural proteins of heterologous HCV strains from all known major genotypes, 1-7. Vaccination induced significant neutralizing antibodies against heterologous HCV genotype 1a virus which represents the most common genotype in North America. Of the 16 vaccinees tested, 3 were selected on the basis of strong 1a virus neutralization for testing of broad cross-neutralizing responses. At least 1 vaccinee was shown to elicit broad cross-neutralization against all HCV genotypes. Although observed in only a minority of vaccinees, our results prove the key concept that a vaccine derived from a single strain of HCV can elicit broad cross-neutralizing antibodies against all known major genotypes of HCV and provide considerable encouragement for the further development of a human vaccine against this common, global pathogen.
    PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e59776. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0059776 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The gammaretroviruses xenotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related virus (XMRV) and MLV have been reported to be more prevalent in plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients than in healthy controls. Here, we report the complex analysis of whole blood and plasma samples from 58 CFS patients and 57 controls from Canada for the presence of XMRV/MLV nucleic acids, infectious virus, and XMRV/MLV-specific antibodies. Multiple techniques were employed, including nested and qRT-PCR, cell culture, and immunoblotting. We found no evidence of XMRV or MLV in humans and conclude that CFS is not associated with these gammaretroviruses.
    PLoS ONE 11/2011; 6(11):e27870. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0027870 · 3.53 Impact Factor