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(1/120) A 43-nucleotide RNA cis-acting element governs the site-specific formation of the 3' end of a poxvirus late mRNA.

The 3' ends of late mRNAs of the ati gene, encoding the major component of the A-type inclusions, are generated by endoribonucleolytic cleavage at a specific site in the primary transcript [Antczak et al., (1992), Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89, 12033-12037]. In this study, sequence analysis of cDNAs of the 3' ends of ati mRNAs showed these mRNAs are 3' polyadenylated at the RNA cleavage site. This suggests that ati mRNA 3' end formation involves cleavage of a late transcript, with subsequent 3' polyadenylation of the 5' cleavage product. The RNA cis-acting element, the AX element, directing orientation-dependent formation of these mRNA 3' ends, was mapped to a 345-bp AluI-XbaI fragment. Deletion analyses of this fragment showed that the boundaries of the AX element are within -5 and +38 of the RNA cleavage site. Scanning mutagenesis showed that the AX element contains at least two subelements: subelement I, 5'-UUUAU downward arrowCCGAUAAUUC-3', containing the cleavage site ( downward arrow), separated from the downstream subelement II, 5'-AAUUUCGGAUUUGAAUGC-3', by a 10-nucleotide region, whose composition may be altered without effect on RNA 3' end formation. These features, which differ from those of other elements controlling RNA processing, suggest that the AX element is a component of a novel mechanism of RNA 3' end formation.  (+info)

(2/120) Vaccinia virus strains Lister, USSR and Evans express soluble and cell-surface tumour necrosis factor receptors.

Poxviruses encode a broad range of proteins that interfere with host immune functions such as soluble versions of cytokine receptors. Soluble virus tumour necrosis factor receptors (vTNFRs) were described originally in myxoma and Shope fibroma viruses. Cowpox virus (CPV) encodes three vTNFRs (CrmB, CrmC and CrmD). The genes equivalent to CrmB and CrmC in vaccinia virus (VV) Copenhagen are mutated and are named B28R/C22L and A53R, respectively. CrmD was identified recently in CPV and ectromelia virus but the gene is absent in VV Copenhagen. We have tested for expression of soluble binding activity for human TNF in cultures infected with 18 orthopoxviruses and have found that TNFRs are mostly absent but are produced by VV strains Lister, USSR and Evans, by the CPV elephantpox and by camelpox virus. Interestingly, we also found TNFR activity on the surface of cells infected with VV Lister, USSR and Evans. Sequence analysis of the relevant regions in VV Lister identified an intact A53R gene and an inactive B28R gene. Expression of VV Lister A53R in baculovirus and VV Western Reserve demonstrated that gene A53R encodes an active soluble vTNFR of 22 kDa. Expression and characterization of recombinant vTNFRs from VV Lister (A53R) and CPV (CrmB and CrmC) showed a similar binding specificity, with each receptor binding TNF from man, mouse and rat, but not human lymphotoxin-alpha. Lastly, the VV Lister and CPV vTNFRs bind human TNF with high affinity and prevent the binding of TNF to cellular receptors.  (+info)

(3/120) Myxoma virus Serp2 is a weak inhibitor of granzyme B and interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme in vitro and unlike CrmA cannot block apoptosis in cowpox virus-infected cells.

The Serp2 protein encoded by the leporipoxvirus myxoma virus is essential for full virulence (F. Messud-Petit, J. Gelfi, M. Delverdier, M. F. Amardeilh, R. Py, G. Sutter, and S. Bertagnoli, J. Virol. 72:7830-7839, 1998) and, like crmA of cowpox virus (CPV), is reported to inhibit the interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme (ICE, caspase-1) (F. Petit, S. Bertagnoli, J. Gelfi, F. Fassy, C. Boucraut-Baralon, and A. Milon, J. Virol. 70:5860-5866, 1996). Serp2 and CrmA both contain Asp at the P1 position within the serpin reactive site loop and yet are only 35% identical overall. Serp2 protein was cleaved by ICE but, unlike CrmA, did not form a stable complex with ICE that was detectable by native gel electrophoresis. Attempts to covalently cross-link ICE-serpin inhibitory complexes were successful with CrmA, but no complex between ICE and Serp2 was visible after cross-linking. Purified His10-tagged Serp2 protein was a relatively poor inhibitor of ICE, with a Ki of 80 nM compared to 4 pM for CrmA. Serp2 protein resembled CrmA in that a stable complex with the serine proteinase granzyme B was detectable after sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. However, Serp2 was less effective at inhibiting granzyme B activity (Ki = 420 nM) than CrmA (Ki = 100 nM). Finally, Serp2 was tested for the ability to replace CrmA and inhibit apoptosis in LLC-PK1 cells infected with a CPV recombinant deleted for CrmA but expressing Serp2. Unlike wild-type-CPV-infected cells, apoptosis was readily observed in cells infected with the recombinant virus, as indicated by the induction of both nuclear fragmentation and caspase-mediated cleavage of DEVD-AMC [acetyl-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-(amino-4-methyl coumarin)]. These results indicate that Serp2 is unable to functionally substitute for CrmA within the context of CPV and that the inhibition spectra for Serp2 and CrmA are distinct.  (+info)

(4/120) Cowpox: reservoir hosts and geographic range.

It is generally accepted that the reservoir hosts of cowpox virus are wild rodents, although direct evidence for this is lacking for much of the virus's geographic range. Here, through a combination of serology and PCR, we demonstrate conclusively that the main hosts in Great Britain are bank voles, wood mice and short-tailed field voles. However, we also suggest that wood mice may not be able to maintain infection alone, explaining the absence of cowpox from Ireland where voles are generally not found. Infection in wild rodents varies seasonally, and this variation probably underlies the marked seasonal incidence of infection in accidental hosts such as humans and domestic cats.  (+info)

(5/120) Structure of a soluble secreted chemokine inhibitor vCCI (p35) from cowpox virus.

Most poxviruses, including variola, the causative agent of smallpox, express a secreted protein of 35 kDa, vCCI, which binds CC-chemokines with high affinity. This viral protein competes with the host cellular CC-chemokine receptors (CCRs), reducing inflammation and interfering with the host immune response. Such proteins or derivatives may have therapeutic uses as anti-inflammatory agents. We have determined the crystal structure to 1.85-A resolution of vCCI from cowpox virus, the prototype of this poxvirus virulence factor. The molecule is a beta-sandwich of topology not previously described. A patch of conserved residues on the exposed face of a beta-sheet that is strongly negatively charged might have a role in binding of CC-chemokines, which are positively charged.  (+info)

(6/120) Caspase inhibitors.

Caspases are the key effector molecules of the physiological death process known as apoptosis, although some are involved in activation of cytokines, rather than cell death. They exist in most of our cells as inactive precursors (zymogens) that kill the cell once activated. Caspases can be controlled in two ways. The processing and activation of a caspase can be regulated by molecules such as FADD, APAF-1, Bcl-2 family members, FLIP and IAPs. Active caspases can be controlled by a variety of inhibitors that directly interact with the protease. This review describes the later direct caspase inhibitors that have been identified, products of both viral and cellular genes, and artificial caspase inhibitors that have been developed both as research tools and as pharmaceutical agents to inhibit cell death in vivo.  (+info)

(7/120) Transmission dynamics of a zoonotic pathogen within and between wildlife host species.

The transmission dynamics of the cowpox virus infection have been quantified in two mixed populations of bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) and wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), through analyses of detailed time-series of the numbers of susceptible, infectious and newly infected individuals. The cowpox virus is a zoonosis which circulates in these rodent hosts and has been shown to have an adverse effect on reproductive output. The transmission dynamics within species is best described as frequency dependent rather than density dependent, contrary to the 'mass action' assumption of most previous studies, both theoretical and empirical. Estimation of a transmission coefficient for each species in each population also allows annual and seasonal variations in transmission dynamics to be investigated through an analysis of regression residuals. Transmission between host species is found to be negligible despite their close cohabitation. The consequences of this for the combining ability of hosts as zoonotic reservoirs, and for apparent competition between hosts, are discussed.  (+info)

(8/120) Alastrim smallpox variola minor virus genome DNA sequences.

Alastrim variola minor virus, which causes mild smallpox, was first recognized in Florida and South America in the late 19th century. Genome linear double-stranded DNA sequences (186,986 bp) of the alastrim virus Garcia-1966, a laboratory reference strain from an outbreak associated with 0.8% case fatalities in Brazil in 1966, were determined except for a 530-bp fragment of hairpin-loop sequences at each terminus. The DNA sequences (EMBL Accession No. Y16780) showed 206 potential open reading frames for proteins containing >/=60 amino acids. The amino acid sequences of the putative proteins were compared with those reported for vaccinia virus strain Copenhagen and the Asian variola major strains India-1967 and Bangladesh-1975. About one-third of the alastrim viral proteins were 100% identical to correlates in the variola major strains and the remainder were >/=95% identical. Compared with variola major virus DNA, alastrim virus DNA has additional segments of 898 and 627 bp, respectively, within the left and right terminal regions. The former segment aligns well with sequences in other orthopoxviruses, particularly cowpox and vaccinia viruses, and the latter is apparently alastrim-specific.  (+info)