Acute and persistent infection of human neural cell lines by human coronavirus OC43.
Human coronaviruses (HuCV) are recognized respiratory pathogens. Data accumulated by different laboratories suggest their neurotropic potential. For example, primary cultures of human astrocytes and microglia were shown to be susceptible to an infection by the OC43 strain of HuCV (A. Bonavia, N. Arbour, V. W. Yong, and P. J. Talbot, J. Virol. 71:800-806, 1997). We speculate that the neurotropism of HuCV will lead to persistence within the central nervous system, as was observed for murine coronaviruses. As a first step in the verification of our hypothesis, we have characterized the susceptibility of various human neural cell lines to infection by HuCV-OC43. Viral antigen, infectious virus progeny, and viral RNA were monitored during both acute and persistent infections. The astrocytoma cell lines U-87 MG, U-373 MG, and GL-15, as well as neuroblastoma SK-N-SH, neuroglioma H4, oligodendrocytic MO3.13, and the CHME-5 immortalized fetal microglial cell lines, were all susceptible to an acute infection by HuCV-OC43. Viral antigen and RNA and release of infectious virions were observed during persistent HuCV-OC43 infections ( approximately 130 days of culture) of U-87 MG, U-373 MG, MO3.13, and H4 cell lines. Nucleotide sequences of RNA encoding the putatively hypervariable viral S1 gene fragment obtained after 130 days of culture were compared to that of initial virus input. Point mutations leading to amino acid changes were observed in all persistently infected cell lines. Moreover, an in-frame deletion was also observed in persistently infected H4 cells. Some point mutations were observed in some molecular clones but not all, suggesting evolution of the viral population and the emergence of viral quasispecies during persistent infection of H4, U-87 MG, and MO3.13 cell lines. These results are consistent with the potential persistence of HuCV-OC43 in cells of the human nervous system, accompanied by the production of infectious virions and molecular variation of viral genomic RNA. (+info)
Pigs with highly prevalent antibodies to human coronavirus and swine haemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus in the Tohoku District of Japan.
From 1985 to 1988, a total of 2496 swine sera from 60 farms in the Tohoku District of the Honshu Island of Japan were examined for antibodies to swine haemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (HEV), human coronavirus (HCV) and bovine coronavirus (BCV) by haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) test. Antibodies to HEV 67N strain and HCV OC43 strain were highly prevalent with positivity rates of 82.1 and 91.4%, respectively, while seropositivity rate to BCV Kakegawa strain was 44.2%. No clinical signs of HEV infection were noticed in any farms including farms with relatively high seropositivity. The results suggested that HCV or antigenitically related virus(es) as well as HEV might be perpetuated in swine in the Tohoku District. (+info)
Neuroinvasion by human respiratory coronaviruses.
Human coronaviruses (HCoV) cause common colds but can also infect neural cell cultures. To provide definitive experimental evidence for the neurotropism and neuroinvasion of HCoV and its possible association with multiple sclerosis (MS), we have performed an extensive search and characterization of HCoV RNA in a large panel of human brain autopsy samples. Very stringent reverse transcription-PCR with two primer pairs for both viral strains (229E and OC43), combined with Southern hybridization, was performed on samples from 90 coded donors with various neurological diseases (39 with MS and 26 with other neurological diseases) or normal controls (25 patients). We report that 44% (40 of 90) of donors were positive for 229E and that 23% (21 of 90) were positive for OC43. A statistically significant higher prevalence of OC43 in MS patients (35.9%; 14 of 39) than in controls (13.7%; 7 of 51) was observed. Sequencing of nucleocapsid protein (N) gene amplicons revealed point mutations in OC43, some consistently found in three MS patient brains and one normal control but never observed in laboratory viruses. In situ hybridization confirmed the presence of viral RNA in brain parenchyma, outside blood vessels. The presence of HCoV in human brains is consistent with neuroinvasion by these respiratory pathogens. Further studies are needed to distinguish between opportunistic and disease-associated viral presence in human brains. (+info)
Characterization of a coronavirus isolated from a diarrheic foal.
A coronavirus was isolated from feces of a diarrheic foal and serially propagated in human rectal adenocarcinoma (HRT-18) cells. Antigenic and genomic characterizations of the virus (isolate NC99) were based on serological comparison with other avian and mammalian coronaviruses and sequence analysis of the nucleocapsid (N) protein gene. Indirect fluorescent-antibody assay procedures and virus neutralization assays demonstrated a close antigenic relationship with bovine coronavirus (BCV) and porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (mammalian group 2 coronaviruses). Using previously described BCV primers, the N protein gene of isolate NC99 was amplified by a reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) procedure. The RT-PCR product was cloned into pUC19 and sequenced; the complete N protein of NC99 (446 amino acids) was then compared with published N protein sequences of other avian and mammalian coronaviruses. A high degree of identity (89.0 to 90.1%) was observed between the N protein sequence of NC99 and published sequences of BCV (Mebus and F15 strains) and human coronavirus (strain OC43); only limited identity (<25%) was observed with group 1 and group 3 coronaviruses. Based on these findings, the virus has been tentatively identified as equine coronavirus (ECV). ECV NC99 was determined to have close antigenic and/or genetic relationships with mammalian group 2 coronaviruses, thus identifying it as a member of this coronavirus antigenic group. (+info)
Vacuolating encephalitis in mice infected by human coronavirus OC43.
Involvement of viruses in human neurodegenerative diseases and the underlying pathologic mechanisms remain generally unclear. Human respiratory coronaviruses (HCoV) can infect neural cells, persist in human brain, and activate myelin-reactive T cells. As a means of understanding the human infection, we characterized in vivo the neurotropic and neuroinvasive properties of HCoV-OC43 through the development of an experimental animal model. Virus inoculation of 21-day postnatal C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice led to a generalized infection of the whole CNS, demonstrating HCoV-OC43 neuroinvasiveness and neurovirulence. This acute infection targeted neurons, which underwent vacuolation and degeneration while infected regions presented strong microglial reactivity and inflammatory reactions. Damage to the CNS was not immunologically mediated and microglial reactivity was instead a consequence of direct virus-mediated neuronal injury. Although this acute encephalitis appears generally similar to that induced by murine coronaviruses, an important difference rests in the prominent spongiform-like degeneration that could trigger neuropathology in surviving animals. (+info)
Frequent detection of human coronaviruses in clinical specimens from patients with respiratory tract infection by use of a novel real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.
During the past years, human coronaviruses (HCoVs) have been increasingly identified as pathogens associated with more-severe respiratory tract infection (RTI). Diagnostic tests for HCoVs are not frequently used in the routine setting. It is likely that, as a result, the precise role that HCoVs play in RTIs is greatly underestimated. We describe a rapid, sensitive, and highly specific quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the detection of HCoV that can easily be implemented in the routine diagnostic setting. HCoV was detected in 28 (11%) of the 261 clinical specimens obtained from patients presenting with symptoms of RTI ranging from common cold to severe pneumonia. Only 1 (0.4%) of the 243 control specimens obtained from patients without symptoms of RTI showed the presence of HCoV. We conclude that HCoVs can be frequently detected in patients presenting with RTI. Real-time RT-PCR provides a tool for large-scale epidemiological studies to further clarify the role that coronavirus infection plays in RTI in humans. (+info)
Human respiratory coronavirus OC43: genetic stability and neuroinvasion.
The complete genome sequences of the human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) laboratory strain from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), and a HCoV-OC43 clinical isolate, designated Paris, were obtained. Both genomes are 30,713 nucleotides long, excluding the poly(A) tail, and only differ by 6 nucleotides. These six mutations are scattered throughout the genome and give rise to only two amino acid substitutions: one in the spike protein gene (I958F) and the other in the nucleocapsid protein gene (V81A). Furthermore, the two variants were shown to reach the central nervous system (CNS) after intranasal inoculation in BALB/c mice, demonstrating neuroinvasive properties. Even though the ATCC strain could penetrate the CNS more effectively than the Paris 2001 isolate, these results suggest that intrinsic neuroinvasive properties already existed for the HCoV-OC43 ATCC human respiratory isolate from the 1960s before it was propagated in newborn mouse brains. It also demonstrates that the molecular structure of HCoV-OC43 is very stable in the environment (the two variants were isolated ca. 40 years apart) despite virus shedding and chances of persistence in the host. The genomes of the two HCoV-OC43 variants display 71, 53.1, and 51.2% identity with those of mouse hepatitis virus A59, severe acute respiratory syndrome human coronavirus Tor2 strain (SARS-HCoV Tor2), and human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), respectively. HCoV-OC43 also possesses well-conserved motifs with regard to the genome sequence of the SARS-HCoV Tor2, especially in open reading frame 1b. These results suggest that HCoV-OC43 and SARS-HCoV may share several important functional properties and that HCoV-OC43 may be used as a model to study the biology of SARS-HCoV without the need for level three biological facilities. (+info)
Complete genomic sequence of human coronavirus OC43: molecular clock analysis suggests a relatively recent zoonotic coronavirus transmission event.
Coronaviruses are enveloped, positive-stranded RNA viruses with a genome of approximately 30 kb. Based on genetic similarities, coronaviruses are classified into three groups. Two group 2 coronaviruses, human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) and bovine coronavirus (BCoV), show remarkable antigenic and genetic similarities. In this study, we report the first complete genome sequence (30,738 nucleotides) of the prototype HCoV-OC43 strain (ATCC VR759). Complete genome and open reading frame (ORF) analyses were performed in comparison to the BCoV genome. In the region between the spike and membrane protein genes, a 290-nucleotide deletion is present, corresponding to the absence of BCoV ORFs ns4.9 and ns4.8. Nucleotide and amino acid similarity percentages were determined for the major HCoV-OC43 ORFs and for those of other group 2 coronaviruses. The highest degree of similarity is demonstrated between HCoV-OC43 and BCoV in all ORFs with the exception of the E gene. Molecular clock analysis of the spike gene sequences of BCoV and HCoV-OC43 suggests a relatively recent zoonotic transmission event and dates their most recent common ancestor to around 1890. An evolutionary rate in the order of 4 x 10(-4) nucleotide changes per site per year was estimated. This is the first animal-human zoonotic pair of coronaviruses that can be analyzed in order to gain insights into the processes of adaptation of a nonhuman coronavirus to a human host, which is important for understanding the interspecies transmission events that led to the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak. (+info)