Selective irreversible inactivation of replicating mengovirus by nucleoside analogues: a new form of viral interference.
We describe the selective irreversible inhibition of mengovirus growth in cultured cells by a combination of two pyrrolopyrimidine nucleoside analogues, 5-bromotubercidin (BrTu) and tubercidin (Tu). At a concentration of 5 microgram/ml, BrTu reversibly blocked the synthesis of cellular mRNA and rRNA but did not inhibit either mengovirus RNA synthesis or multiplication. BrTu is a potent inhibitor of adenosine kinase, and low concentrations of BrTu (e.g., 0.5 microgram/ml), which did not by themselves inhibit cell growth, blocked phosphorylation of Tu and thus protected uninfected cells against irreversible cytotoxicity resulting from Tu incorporation into nucleic acids. In contrast, in mengovirus-infected cells, BrTu did not completely inhibit Tu incorporation into mengovirus RNA, allowing the formation of Tu-containing functionally defective polynucleotides that aborted the virus development cycle. This increased incorporation of Tu coupled to mengovirus infection could be attributed either to a reduction in the inhibitory action of BrTu and/or its nucleotide derivatives at the level of nucleoside and nucleotide kinases and/or, perhaps, to an effect upon the nucleoside transport system. The virus life cycle in nucleoside-treated cells progressed to the point of synthesis of negative strands and probably to the production of a few defective new positive strands. Irreversible virus growth arrest was achieved if the nucleoside mixture of BrTu (0.5 to 10 microgram/ml) and Tu (1 to 20 microgram/ml) was added no later than 30 min after virus infection and maintained for periods of 2 to 8 h. The cultures thus "cured" of mengovirus infection could be maintained and transferred for several weeks, during which they neither produced detectable virus nor showed a visible cytopathic effect; however, the infected and cured cells themselves, while metabolically viable, were permanently impaired in RNA synthesis and unable to divide. Although completely resistant to superinfecting picornaviruses, they retained the ability to support the growth of several other viruses (vaccinia virus, reovirus, and vesicular stomatitis virus), showing that cured cells had, in general, retained the metabolic and structural machinery needed for virus production. The resistance of cured cells to superinfection with picornaviruses seemed attributable neither to interferon action nor to destruction or blockade of virus receptors but more likely to the consumption of some host factor(s) involved in the expression of early viral functions during the original infection. (+info
Quantification of endogenous viral polymerase, 3D(pol), in preparations of Mengo and encephalomyocarditis viruses.
Measurement of an antigenic response to the aphthovirus infection-associated antigen (VIA), the viral RNA polymerase 3D(pol), is frequently used as a discriminating assay for the extent of viral replication in animals. In practice, animals seropositive for VIA are assumed to have been exposed to live virus, although in fact it is suspected that endogenous 3D(pol) in commercial inactivated vaccines may occasionally stimulate analogous responses and result in false-positive tests for virus exposure. Cardiovirus infections in mice produce similar anti-VIA antibodies, and in view of recently developed attenuated Mengo vaccines and live Mengo vectors, these VIA responses are also under investigation as potential correlates of vaccine efficacy. We have purified recombinant Mengo 3D(pol), developed monoclonal antibodies to the protein, and used these reagents in highly sensitive Western blot assays to quantify the levels of endogenous 3D(pol) in Mengo and encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) preparations. The presence of 3D(pol) was detected at all stages of standard vaccine purification procedures, including materials purified by CsCl. Clarified suspensions of Mengo- or encephalomyocarditis virus-infected HeLa cells were found to contain very high quantities of 3D(pol), averaging approximately 1.2-1.5 micrograms of protein/micrograms of virus. Pelleting through 30% sucrose or purification by CsCl removed much of this material, but even these samples retained approximately 0.2-0.4 ng of 3D(pol)/micrograms virus. These ratios represent approximately 1 3D(pol) molecule/20 virus particles in the most highly purified materials and probably indicate that 3D(pol) is a contaminant on the particle surface rather than an intrinsically packaged molecule. In clarified cell lysates, which are commonly used as vaccine inocula, the protein to virus ratio was approximately 210:1, a level that could represent serious contamination problems for future VIA detection if such inocula are used without further purification. (+info
Mengovirus and encephalomyocarditis virus poly(C) tract lengths can affect virus growth in murine cell culture.
Many virulent aphthoviruses and cardioviruses have long homopolymeric poly(C) tracts in the 5' untranslated regions of their RNA genomes. A panel of genetically engineered mengo-type cardioviruses has been described which contain a variety of different poly(C) tract lengths. Studies of these viruses have shown the poly(C) tract to be dispensable for growth in HeLa cells, although the relative murine virulence of the viruses correlates directly and positively with tract length. Compared with wild-type mengovirus strain M, mutants with shortened poly(C) tracts grow poorly in mice and protectively immunize rather than kill recipient animals. In the present study, several murine cell populations were tested to determine whether, unlike HeLa cells, they allowed a differential amplification of viruses with long or short poly(C) tracts. Replication and cytopathic studies with four hematopoietically derived cell lines (CH2B, RAW 264.7, A20.J, and P815) and two murine fibroblast cell lines [L929 and L(Y)] demonstrated that several of these cell types indeed allowed differential virus replication as a function of viral poly(C) tract length. Among the most discerning of these cells, RAW 264.7 macrophages supported vigorous lytic growth of a long-tract virus, vMwt (C(44)UC(10)), but supported only substantially diminished and virtually nonlytic growth of vMC(24) (C(13)UC(10)) and vMC(0) short-tract viruses. The viral growth differences evident in all cell lines were apparent early and continuously during every cycle of virus amplification. The data suggest that poly(C) tract-dependent attenuation of mengovirus may be due in part to a viral replication defect manifest in similar hematopoietic-type cells shortly after murine infection. The characterized cultures should provide excellent tools for molecular study of poly(C) tract-mediated virulence. (+info
Translation and replication of human rhinovirus type 14 and mengovirus in Xenopus oocytes.
We have previously shown that Xenopus oocytes require coinjection of both poliovirus RNA and HeLa cell extracts to support a complete cycle of viral replication yielding high levels of infectious viral particles. This novel system provides a tool for identifying host factors and for biochemically dissect individual steps that lead to virus production. Here we demonstrate that Xenopus oocytes are able to support replication of other picornaviruses such as human rhinovirus 14 and mengovirus. Unlike poliovirus, microinjection of mengovirus RNA yields high viral titers (about 10(7) PFU/oocyte) without the need for coinjection of additional cell extracts. In contrast, formation of infectious rhinovirus particles requires coinjection of human cell extracts. We found that one of these human factors is required for efficient rhinovirus translation. Our findings uncover differences in the host factor requirements among members of the picornavirus family and provide the means to identify the human protein(s) involved in rhinovirus production. (+info
Phenotypic characterization of three phylogenetically conserved stem-loop motifs in the mengovirus 3' untranslated region.
An alignment of cardiovirus sequences led to the prediction of three conserved stem-loops in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of mengovirus. Deletions of each stem were engineered in mengovirus cDNAs and also in mengovirus replicons, in which part of the viral capsid sequences were replaced with the firefly luciferase gene. The effect of deletion on RNA infectivity and plaque phenotype was evaluated after transfection of viral transcripts into HeLa cells or by luciferase assays of cellular extracts after transfection with RNA replicons. Stem I (mengovirus bases 7666 to 7687) was found to be dispensable for viral growth or exponential luciferase expression. Deletion of stem III (bases 7711 to 7721) was lethal to the virus, and the replicons were incapable of RNA synthesis. Deletion of stem II (DeltaII; bases 7692 to 7705) produced an intermediate phenotype, in that replicons had marginal RNA synthesis activity but transfection with genomic RNA usually failed to produce plaques after normal incubation times (31 h, 37 degrees C). In a few of the DeltaII transfections, however, plaques were observed after long incubation, especially if the cells received large amounts of RNA (3 microg per 3 x 10(6) cells). Viruses from two DeltaII-derived plaques were isolated and amplified. Their RNAs were converted into cDNA, sequenced, and mapped for genotype. Each maintained the DeltaII deletion and, in addition, had one or two reversion mutations, which were characterized by reverse genetics as responsible for the phenotypes. One reversion caused an amino acid change in the polymerase (3D(pol)), and the other was localized to the 3' UTR, upstream of stem I. (+info
The mengovirus leader protein suppresses alpha/beta interferon production by inhibition of the iron/ferritin-mediated activation of NF-kappa B.
In our studies on the biological function of the mengovirus leader protein, we identified a casein kinase II (CK-2) phosphorylation site in the protein. Here we report that the mengovirus leader protein can be phosphorylated by CK-2 in vitro. Expression of a recombinant leader protein in which the consensus CK-2 sequence around threonine 47 was disturbed resulted in a mutant protein that could no longer be phosphorylated. The CK-2 consensus sequence was modified by site-directed mutagenesis and subsequently introduced into a mengovirus cDNA clone to investigate the effect of the phosphorylation of the leader protein on virus replication and on the host cell response. Modifications by which the CK-2 consensus sequence was disturbed resulted in mutant viruses with reduced growth kinetics. We demonstrated that the integrity of the CK-2 phosphorylation site of the mengovirus leader protein was specifically related to the suppression of NF-kappa B activation and subsequent suppression of alpha/beta interferon production in infected cells. We also found that the integrity of the CK-2 phosphorylation site of the leader protein coincided with an increase of ferritin expression in the infected cell. These data indicate that the leader protein suppresses the iron-mediated activation of NF-kappa B and thereby inhibits alpha/beta interferon expression in the infected cell. (+info
A wild-type porcine encephalomyocarditis virus containing a short poly(C) tract is pathogenic to mice, pigs, and cynomolgus macaques.
Previous studies using wild-type Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and Mengo virus, which have long poly(C) tracts (61 to 146 C's) at the 5' nontranslated region of the genome, and variants of these viruses genetically engineered to truncate or substitute the poly(C) tracts have produced conflicting data on the role of the poly(C) tract in the virulence of these viruses. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence of an EMCV strain isolated from an aborted swine fetus (EMCV 30/87) revealed that the virus had a poly(C) tract that was 7- to 10-fold shorter than the poly(C) tracts of other EMCV strains and 4-fold shorter than that of Mengo virus. Subsequently, we investigated the virulence and pathogenesis of this naturally occurring short-poly(C)-tract-containing virus in rodents, pigs, and nonhuman primates. Infection of C57BL/6 mice, pigs, and cynomolgus macaques resulted in similar EMCV 30/87 pathogenesis, with the heart and brain as the primary sites of infections in all three animals, but with different disease phenotypes. Sixteen percent of EMCV 30/87-infected pigs developed acute fatal cardiac failure, whereas the rest of the pigs were overtly asymptomatic for as long as 90 days postinfection (p.i.), despite extensive myocardial and central nervous system (CNS) pathological changes. In contrast, mice infected with >/==" BORDER="0">4 PFU of EMCV 30/87 developed acute encephalitis that resulted in the death of all animals (n = 25) between days 2 and 7 p.i. EMCV 30/87-infected macaques remained overtly asymptomatic for 45 days, despite extensive myocardial and CNS pathological changes and viral persistence in more than 50% of the animals. The short poly(C) tract in EMCV 30/87 (CUC(5)UC(8)) was comparable to that of strain 2887A/91 (C(10)UCUC(3)UC(10)), another recent porcine isolate. (+info
Genetic stability of attenuated mengovirus vectors with duplicate primary cleavage sequences.
Short poly(C)-tract Mengoviruses have proven vaccine efficacy in many species of animals. A novel vector for the delivery of foreign proteins was created by insertion of a second autoproteolytic primary cleavage cassette linked to a multiple cloning site (MCS) into an attenuated variant of Mengo. Nineteen cDNAs from foreign sequences that ranged from 39 to 1653 bases were cloned into the MCS. The viral reading frame was maintained and translation resulted in dual, autocatalytic excision of the foreign peptides without disruption of any Mengo proteins. All cDNAs except those with the largest insertions produced viable virus. Active proteins such as GFP, CAT, and SIV p27 were expressed within infected cells. Relative to parental Mengo, the growth kinetics and genetic stability of each vector was inversely proportional to the size of the inserted sequence. While segments up to 1000 bases could be carried, inserts greater than 500-600 bases were usually reduced in size during serial passage. The limit on carrying capacity was probably due to difficulties in virion assembly or particle stability. Yet for inserts less than 500-600 bases, the Mengo vectors provided an effective system for the delivery of foreign epitopes into cells and mice. (+info