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(1/1328) A novel Vpr peptide interactor fused to integrase (IN) restores integration activity to IN-defective HIV-1 virions.

A novel approach to complement human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) integrase (IN)-defective virions has been identified. The approach involves fusion of a 23-amino-acid stretch to the N-terminus of wild-type IN and coexpression of this chimera with the IN-defective proviral template in virus producing cells. The 23-amino-acid peptide represents a Vpr "interactor," referred to as the the WxxF or WF domain, which apparently leads to docking of the domain along with the fusion partner onto HIV-1 Vpr, thus permitting virion incorporation of the chimeric protein when expressed, in trans, with other viral products. Transfection of the WF-IN expression plasmid along with HIV-1 viral clones that produce Vpr, but bear an IN mutation, results in the release of a proportion of viral particles that are competent for integration. The extent of complementation was assessed using the MAGI cell assay, where integration of viral DNA results in the eventual appearance of easily visible multinucleated blue syncytia. The efficiency of dWF-IN (double copy of WF domain) complementation is not improved markedly by incorporation of a HIV-1 protease cleavage site (PR) between the dWF domain and IN (dWF-PR-IN), unlike that observed with Vpr fusions to IN. Furthermore, the ability of Vpr-PR-IN and dWF-PR-IN to complement IN-defective proviral clones, both of which bear an intervening protease cleavage site, appear comparable. Western blotting analyses using virions isolated through sucrose cushions demonstrate clearly the incorporation of the dWF-IN fusion protein into Vpr containing HIV-1 particles but not in Vpr-deficient virions. Additional Western blotting analyses indicate that all Vpr-IN and dWF-IN chimeras, with or without a PR site, are packaged into virions. The efficiency of virion incorporation of Vpr-IN and dWF-IN chimeras appears approximately comparable by Western blotting analysis. The ability of dWF-IN to complement IN-defective proviruses with efficiency similar to that of Vpr-PR-IN and dWF-PR-IN indicates that dWF-IN retains the full complement of functions necessary for integration of proviral DNA and is likely due to the benign nature of this small domain at the amino-terminus of IN.  (+info)

(2/1328) Enhancer-like properties of an RNA element that modulates Tombusvirus RNA accumulation.

Prototypical defective interfering (DI) RNAs of the plus-strand RNA virus tomato bushy stunt virus contain four noncontiguous segments (regions I-IV) derived from the viral genome. Region I corresponds to 5'-noncoding sequence, regions II and III are derived from internal positions, and region IV represents a 3'-terminal segment. We analyzed the internally located region III in a prototypical DI RNA to understand better its role in DI RNA accumulation. Our results indicate that (1) region III is not essential for DI RNA accumulation, but molecules that lack it accumulate at significantly reduced levels ( approximately 10-fold lower), (2) region III is able to function at different positions and in opposite orientations, (3) a single copy of region III is favored over multiple copies, (4) the stimulatory effect observed on DI RNA accumulation is not due to region III-mediated RNA stabilization, (5) DI RNAs lacking region III permit the efficient accumulation of head-to-tail dimers and are less effective at suppressing helper RNA accumulation, and (6) negative-strand accumulation is also significantly depressed for DI RNAs lacking region III. Collectively, these results support a role for region III as an enhancer-like element that facilitates DI RNA replication. A scanning-type mutagenesis strategy was used to define portions of region III important for its stimulatory effect on DI RNA accumulation. Interestingly, the results revealed several differences in the requirements for activity when region III was in the forward versus the reverse orientation. In the context of the viral genome, region III was found to be essential for biological activity. This latter finding defines a critical role for this element in the reproductive cycle of the virus.  (+info)

(3/1328) New defective RNAs from citrus tristeza virus: evidence for a replicase-driven template switching mechanism in their generation.

Defective RNAs (D-RNAs) ranging in size from 1968 to 2759 nt were detected in four citrus tristeza virus (CTV) isolates by hybridization of electroblotted dsRNAs with two probes specific for the 5'- and 3'-terminal genomic regions. The RNAs that hybridized with both probes were eluted, cloned and sequenced. Comparison with the sequences of the corresponding genomic regions of the helper virus showed, in all cases, over 99% nucleotide identity and direct repeats of 4-5 nt flanking or in the vicinity of the junction sites. The presence of the repeats from two separate genome locations suggests a replicase-driven template switching mechanism for the generation of these CTV D-RNAs. Two of the CTV isolates that differed greatly in their pathogenicity contained an identical D-RNA, suggesting that it is unlikely that this D-RNA is involved in symptom modulation, which may be caused by another factor.  (+info)

(4/1328) The quaternary structure of the sheaths of defective phages similar to PBS X.

The contractile sheaths of five defective, PBS X-like bacteriophages from Bacillus subtilis and B. licheniformis were investigated by electron microscopy, dodecylsulphate gel electrophoresis and immunodiffusion. Electron microscope images of the extended and contracted sheaths were of similar appearance, although their lengths were different. The surface lattices of both the extended and the contracted sheaths were determined by optical diffraction. This showed that the quaternary structure of the sheaths of all five defective phages originated from identical surface lattices, which could be approximately expressed by the selection rules L = -2n' + 3m and L = 9N' + 17M for the extended and contracted sheaths respectively, in which 6n' = n with n = 0 or an integer multiple of 6. These results indicated that the packing of the protein subunits in these sheaths differed from those of other bacteriophages, for example T4 and millimicron [Amos and Klug, J. Mol. Biol. 99, 51--73 (1975); Admiraal and Mellema, J. Ultrastruct. Res. 56, 48--64 (1976)]. The molecular weight of the main sheath protein of the defective phages, as determined by dodecylsulphate gel electrophoresis, was approximately 50000. This value differed from that for T4, but was similar to that of millimicron [Admiraal and Mellema, J. Ultrastruct. Res. 56, 48--64 (1976); King and Laemmli, J. Mol. Biol, 75, 315--337 (1973)]. The results of immunodiffusion experiments, however, pointed to a chemical difference between the sheath proteins of the defective phages and millimicron, in addition to T4.  (+info)

(5/1328) Experimental gene therapy against subcutaneously implanted glioma with a herpes simplex virus-defective vector expressing interferon-gamma.

We investigated the feasibility of local treatment or tumor vaccination with a herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1-defective vector. The vector was engineered to express murine interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) for experimental gene therapy against mouse glioma Rous sarcoma virus (RSV). The murine IFN-gamma gene was driven by the cytomegalovirus promoter. The helper virus (tsk) was thermosensitive; consequently, this vector could only proliferate at 31 degrees C. A high level of murine IFN-gamma expression was confirmed in vitro and in vivo by immunohistochemistry using anti-mouse IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody. This engineered vector (dvHSV/MulFN-gamma) inhibited the proliferation of mouse glioma RSV cells in vitro, and an intratumoral (i.t.) local injection of the vector caused i.t. necrosis in vivo. The immunological effect of dvHSV/MulFN-gamma was also examined in a mouse glioma RSV cell implantation model. A subcutaneous (s.c.) implant of 1 x 10(6) mouse glioma RSV cells after treatment with dvHSV/MulFN-gamma was rejected. However, the implant after treatment with an engineered HSV-defective vector containing an antisense nucleotide sequence of the murine IFN-gamma gene was not rejected. In addition, in another group of mice in which RSV cells treated with dvHSV/MulFN-gamma were implanted into a femoral (s.c.) region and nontreated RSV cells were implanted into a contralateral femoral (s.c.) region, the implanted RSV cells were rejected. The rejection of the implanted mouse glioma RSV was blocked by anti-asialo GM1, which was known to inhibit natural killer cell activity. These results revealed that the HSV-defective vector could realize a high efficiency of transfection to glioma cells through short-time treatment, and that the IFN-gamma gene transferred to the cells had the effect of tumor vaccination, which was suggested be related to natural killer cells. In conclusion, dvHSV/MulFN-gamma may be useful for the gene therapy of malignant glioma through either i.t. local injection or a practical tumor vaccination with ex vivo gene transfer.  (+info)

(6/1328) Virus promoters determine interference by defective RNAs: selective amplification of mini-RNA vectors and rescue from cDNA by a 3' copy-back ambisense rabies virus.

Typical defective interfering (DI) RNAs are more successful in the competition for viral polymerase than the parental (helper) virus, which is mostly due to an altered DI promoter composition. Rabies virus (RV) internal deletion RNAs which possess the authentic RV terminal promoters, and which therefore are transcriptionally active and can be used as vectors for foreign gene expression, are poorly propagated in RV-infected cells and do not interfere with RV replication. To allow DI-like amplification and high-level gene expression from such mini-RNA vectors, we have used an engineered 3' copy-back (ambisense) helper RV in which the strong replication promoter of the antigenome was replaced with the 50-fold-weaker genome promoter. In cells coinfected with ambisense helper virus and mini-RNAs encoding chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) and luciferase, mini-RNAs were amplified to high levels. This was correlated with interference with helper virus replication, finally resulting in a clear predominance of mini-RNAs over helper virus. However, efficient successive passaging of mini-RNAs and high-level reporter gene activity could be achieved without adding exogenous helper virus, revealing a rather moderate degree of interference not precluding substantial HV propagation. Compared to infections with recombinant RV vectors expressing CAT, the availability of abundant mini-RNA templates led to increased levels of CAT mRNA such that CAT activities were augmented up to 250-fold, while virus gene transcription was kept to a minimum. We have also exploited the finding that internal deletion model RNAs behave like DI RNAs and are selectively amplified in the presence of ambisense helper virus to demonstrate for the first time RV-supported rescue of cDNA after transfection of mini-RNA cDNAs in ambisense RV-infected cells expressing T7 RNA polymerase.  (+info)

(7/1328) Genetic and fitness changes accompanying adaptation of an arbovirus to vertebrate and invertebrate cells.

The alternating host cycle and persistent vector infection may constrain the evolution of arboviruses. To test this hypothesis, eastern equine encephalitis virus was passaged in BHK or mosquito cells, as well as in alternating (both) host cell passages. High and low multiplicities were used to examine the effect of defective interfering particles. Clonal BHK and persistent mosquito cell infections were also evaluated. Fitness was measured with one-step growth curves and competition assays, and mutations were evaluated by nucleotide sequencing and RNA fingerprinting. All passages and assays were done at 32 degrees C to eliminate temperature as a selection factor. Viruses passaged in either cell type alone exhibited fitness declines in the bypassed cells, while high-multiplicity and clonal passages caused fitness declines in both types of cells. Bypassed cell fitness losses were mosquito and vertebrate specific and were not restricted to individual cell lines. Fitness increases occurred in the cell line used for single-host-adaptation passages and in both cells for alternately passaged viruses. Surprisingly, single-host-cell passage increased fitness in that cell type no more than alternating passages. However, single-host-cell adaptation resulted in more mutations than alternating cell passages. Mosquito cell adaptation invariably resulted in replacement of the stop codon in nsP3 with arginine or cysteine. In one case, BHK cell adaptation resulted in a 238-nucleotide deletion in the 3' untranslated region. Many nonsynonymous substitutions were shared among more than one BHK or mosquito cell passage series, suggesting positive Darwinian selection. Our results suggest that alternating host transmission cycles constrain the evolutionary rates of arboviruses but not their fitness for either host alone.  (+info)

(8/1328) Different doses of adenoviral vector expressing IL-12 enhance or depress the immune response to a coadministered antigen: the role of nitric oxide.

Joint immunization with two recombinant adenoviruses, one expressing hepatitis C virus (HCV) core and E1 proteins and another expressing IL-12 (RAdIL-12), strongly potentiates cellular immune response against HCV Ags in BALB/c mice when RAdIL-12 was used at doses of 1 x 105-1 x 107 plaque-forming units. However, cellular immunity against HCV Ags was abolished when higher doses (1 x 108 plaque-forming units) of RAdIL-12 were used. This immunosuppressive effect was associated with marked elevation of IFN-gamma and nitric oxide in the serum and increased cell apoptosis in the spleen. Administration of N-nitro-L -arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, to mice that received high doses of RAdIL-12 was lethal, whereas no apparent systemic toxicity by L -NAME was observed in those immunized with lower doses of the adenovirus. Interestingly, in mice immunized with recombinant adenovirus expressing core and E1 proteins of HCV in combination with RAdIL-12 at low doses (1 x 107 plaque-forming units), L -NAME inhibited T cell proliferation and CTL activity in response to HCV Ags and also production of Abs against adenoviral proteins. In conclusion, gene transfer of IL-12 can increase or abolish cell immunity against an Ag depending of the dose of the vector expressing the cytokine. IL-12 stimulates the synthesis of NO which is needed for the immunostimulating effects of IL-12, but apoptosis of T cells and immunosuppression ensues when IFN-gamma and NO are generated at very high concentrations.  (+info)