(1/562) Analysis of human lymphotropic T-cell virus type II-like particle production by recombinant baculovirus-infected insect cells.

The molecular processes involved in retrovirus assembly and budding formation remain poorly understood. The gag-pro-pol genes of human lymphotropic T-cell virus type II (HTLV-II) are translated into Gag, Gag-Pro, or Gag-Pro-Pol by frameshift events. In the present study, we investigated the roles of the gag, pro, and pol regions of HTLV-II in viral particle formation using recombinant baculoviruses. In this study we could successfully produce mature HTLV-II viral particles containing core structures using a construct expressing the entire gag-pro-pol region. We also investigated the role of the pol region in particle formation. Deletion of the pol region affects viral particle assembly or release very little, indicating that the gag-pro region is sufficient for viral particle formation and maturation. Expression of the Gag proteins alone or Gag proteins with inactivated viral proteases (Pro) resulted in the formation of viral particles; however, these particles did not contain core structures. These results suggest the intracellular expression of Gag with Pro of HTLV-II is essential for the production of mature virus particles, whereas that of Pol is not.  (+info)

(2/562) Multiplex detection of four pathogenic retroviruses using molecular beacons.

We describe a multiplex nucleic acid assay that identifies and determines the abundance of four different pathogenic retroviruses (HIV-1, HIV-2, and human T-lymphotrophic virus types I and II). Retroviral DNA sequences are amplified in a single, sealed tube by simultaneous PCR assays, and the resulting amplicons are detected in real time by the hybridization of four differently colored, amplicon-specific molecular beacons. The color of the fluorescence generated in the course of amplification identifies which retroviruses are present, and the number of thermal cycles required for the intensity of each color to rise significantly above background provides an accurate measure of the number of copies of each retroviral sequence that were present originally in the sample. Fewer than 10 retroviral genomes can be detected. Moreover, 10 copies of a rare retrovirus can be detected in the presence of 100, 000 copies of an abundant retrovirus. Ninety-six samples can be analyzed in 3 hr on a single plate, and the use of a closed-tube format eliminates crossover contamination. Utilizing previously well characterized clinical samples, we demonstrate that each of the pathogenic retroviruses can be identified correctly and no false positives occur. This assay enables the rapid and reliable screening of donated blood and transplantable tissues.  (+info)

(3/562) Genome structure and expression of the ev/J family of avian endogenous viruses.

We recently reported the identification of sequences in the chicken genome that show over 95% identity to the novel envelope gene of the subgroup J avian leukosis virus (S. J. Benson, B. L. Ruis, A. M. Fadly, and K. F. Conklin, J. Virol. 72:10157-10164, 1998). Based on the fact that the endogenous subgroup J-related env genes were associated with long terminal repeats (LTRs), we concluded that these LTR-env sequences defined a new family of avian endogenous viruses that we designated the ev/J family. In this report, we have further characterized the content and expression of the ev/J proviruses. The data obtained indicate that there are between 6 and 11 copies of ev/J proviruses in all chicken cells examined and that these proviruses fall into six classes. Of the 18 proviruses examined, all share a high degree of sequence identity and all contain an internal deletion that removes all of the pol gene and various amounts of gag and env gene sequences. Sequencing of the gag genes, LTRs, and untranslated regions of several ev/J proviruses revealed a high level of identity between isolates, indicating that they have not undergone significant sequence variation since their introduction into the avian germ line. Although the ev/J gag gene showed a relatively weak relationship (46% identity and 61% similarity at the amino acid level) to that of the avian leukosis-sarcoma virus family, it retains several sequences of demonstrated importance for virus assembly, budding, and/or infectivity. Finally, evidence was obtained that at least some members of the ev/J family are expressed and, if translated, could encode Gag- and Env-related polypeptides.  (+info)

(4/562) Molecular cloning and cell-specific growth characterization of polymorphic variants of type D serogroup 2 simian retroviruses.

Simian retroviruses (SRVs), the etiological agent of a spontaneous Simian acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, endemically infects large percentages of Asian macaques housed in biomedical research colonies and severely compromises the effective use of these species as a viable research animal. We recently described the molecular cloning of a serogroup 2 SRV, D2/RHE/OR, which causes mild immunosuppression in rhesus macaques. A restriction site variant, D2/RHE/OR/V1, has also been recovered from severely ill animals endemically infected with D2/RHE/OR. We now report the complete nucleotide sequences of D2/RHE/OR and D2/RHE/OR/V1. Both infectious molecular clones retain the genetic structure typical of type D SRVs (5' LTR-gag-prt-pol-env-3'LTR) and encode identically sized 8105-bp proviruses. D2/RHE/OR and D2/RHE/OR/V1 are 99.3% similar at the amino acid level, exhibiting only 17 residue differences, of which 10 are located in the envelope glycoproteins. The molecular clones and reciprocal chimeric viruses were used to assess the contribution of different genetic domains to virus infectivity in a T cell infection assay. These experiments indicate that D2/RHE/OR has a reduced ability to infect specific T cell lines, especially Hut-78 and MT-4 cells, and that the envelope gene is not the sole determinant of in vitro tropism.  (+info)

(5/562) Efficient human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV)-1 Gag-Env pseudovirion formation elicited from mammalian cells by a canarypox HIV vaccine candidate.

Canarypox viruses undergo abortive replication in mammalian cells. Despite this restriction on replication in mammalian cells, significant immune responses have been shown in animals and in humans receiving recombinant canarypox vaccine vectors expressing heterologous immunogens. A recombinant canarypox vaccine candidate (vCP205), which expresses human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 Gag, Env, and protease proteins, is presently under investigation in phase I and phase II human trials in the United States and elsewhere. In this study, the ability of vCP205 to elicit HIV Gag-Env pseudovirion formation in avian and mammalian cells was investigated. Gag-Env pseudovirions were produced from both avian and mammalian cell lines infected by this vaccine vector. A subset of mammalian cells was identified in which pseudovirion production and release was very efficient, surpassing the production from infected avian cells. The production of Gag-Env pseudovirions by canarypox HIV vaccine vectors may have important implications for future HIV vaccine design.  (+info)

(6/562) In vitro assembly of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Gag protein.

Retroviral Gag protein is sufficient to produce Gag virus-like particles when expressed in higher eukaryotic cells. Here we describe the in vitro assembly reaction of human immunodeficiency virus Gag protein, which consists of two sequential steps showing the optimal conditions for each reaction. Following expression and purification, Gag protein lacking only the C-terminal p6 domain was present as a monomer (50 kDa) by velocity sedimentation analysis. Initial assembly of the Gag protein to 60 S intermediates occurred by dialysis at 4 degrees C in low salt at neutral to alkaline pH. However, higher order of assembly required incubation at 37 degrees C and was facilitated by the addition of Mg(2+). Prolonged incubation under these conditions produced complete assembly (600 S), equivalent to Gag virus-like particles obtained from Gag-expressing cells. Neither form disassembled by treatment with nonionic detergent, suggesting that correct assembly might occur in vitro. Electron microscopic observation confirmed that the 600 S assembly products were spherical particles similar to authentic immature human immunodeficiency virus particles. The latter assembly stage but not the former was accelerated by the addition of RNA although not inhibited by RNaseA treatment. These results suggest that Gag protein alone assembles in vitro, but that additional RNA facilitates the assembly reaction.  (+info)

(7/562) HERV-F, a new group of human endogenous retrovirus sequences.

Using primers from a conserved region of the XA34 human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) family, four pol fragments originating from new members of the family were amplified from human genomic DNA. Southern blot analysis demonstrated similar hybridization patterns in human, chimpanzee and orangutan and distinct hybridization to macaque DNA. The probes also exhibited weaker hybridization to squirrel monkey DNA. Using large genomic clones, two full-length XA34-related HERVs have been identified. One of the HERVs is located downstream of a human Kruppel-related zinc finger protein gene, ZNF195. Both of the newly identified long terminal repeats have potential TATA boxes, poly(A) signals and transcription factor-binding sites but they differ to a high degree, especially in the U3 region. The primer-binding sites were found to be homologous to tRNA(Phe) (TTC), and therefore these new HERVs have been given the name HERV-F. The closest relatives to the HERV-Fs are the RTVLH-RGH family. Phylogenetic analyses of the Gag, Pol and Env regions are discussed. Both of the newly identified HERV-Fs were shown to contain protease, reverse transcriptase, integrase and env regions and had characteristic deletions in the integrase and env regions. In addition, the capsid protein gene of gag and two conserved zinc-binding motifs that are characteristic of a potential nucleic acid-binding protein were also identified. Apart from an ORF spanning the protease of one HERV-F, no other longer ORFs were found.  (+info)

(8/562) Evaluation of novel human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Gag DNA vaccines for protein expression in mammalian cells and induction of immune responses.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are an important parameter of host defenses that limit viral replication after infection. Induction of effective CTL against conserved viral proteins such as Gag may be essential to the development of a safe and effective HIV type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine. DNA vaccination represents a novel strategy for inducing potent CD8(+) CTL responses in vivo. However, expression of HIV-1 structural proteins by DNA vectors has been hampered by a stringent requirement for coexpression with other viral components, such as Rev and RRE. Furthermore, even with Rev and RRE present, the level of expression of HIV-1 Gag, Pol, or Env is very low in murine cells. These problems have limited our ability to address the key issue of how to generate effective CTL responses to Gag in a mouse model. To overcome this problem, we compared several novel DNA expression vectors for HIV-1 Gag protein expression in primate and mouse cells and for generating immune responses in mice after DNA vaccination. A DNA vector containing wild type HIV-1 gag coding sequences did not induce detectable Gag expression in any of the cells tested. Attempts to increase nuclear export of Gag expression RNA by adding the constitutive transport element yielded only a moderate increase in Gag expression in monkey-derived COS cells and an even lower increase in Gag expression in HeLa cells or several mouse cell lines. In contrast, silent-site mutations in the HIV-1 gag coding sequences significantly increased Gag expression levels in all cells tested. Furthermore, this construct induced both Gag-specific antibody and CTL responses in mice after DNA vaccination. Using this construct, we achieved stable expression of HIV-1 Gag in the mouse cell line p815, which can now be used as a target cell for measuring HIV-1 Gag-specific CTL responses in immunized mice. The DNA vectors described in this study should make it possible to systematically evaluate the approaches for maximizing the induction of CTL responses against HIV-1 Gag in mouse and other animal systems.  (+info)