Inhibition of Pichinde virus replication by actinomycin D.
The yields of Pichinde virus, a member of the arenavirus group, were markedly inhibited when infected BHK 21 cells were incubated in the presence of 0.4 to 4 mug/ml of actinomycin D. Maximal inhibition was observed when actinomycin D was added after the adsorption of virus to cultures; however, addition of drug as late as 12 h after infection reduced the 24 h yield by 50%. Virus antigen synthesis, as measured by complement fixation and immunodiffusion, was not dramatically reduced by actinomycin D. The expression of virus antigens on the surface of infected cells was greater on cells treated with actinomycin D than on untreated cells. Putative defective particles with a density of Pichinde virus were not detected in fluids of cultures incubated with actinomycin D and 3H-amino acids. Actinomycin D appears to inhibit Pichinde virus late in the replicative cycle. The observations raise the possibility that the drug inhibits the synthesis of proteins of the host cell membrane which are required for virus maturation. (+info)
Transmission bottlenecks as determinants of virulence in rapidly evolving pathogens.
Transmission bottlenecks occur in pathogen populations when only a few individual pathogens are transmitted from one infected host to another in the initiation of a new infection. Transmission bottlenecks can dramatically affect the evolution of virulence in rapidly evolving pathogens such as RNA viruses. Characterizing pathogen diversity with the quasispecies concept, we use analytical and simulation methods to demonstrate that severe bottlenecks are likely to drive down the virulence of a pathogen because of stochastic loss of the most virulent pathotypes, through a process analogous to Muller's ratchet. We investigate in this process the roles of host population size, duration of within-host viral replication, and transmission bottleneck size. We argue that the patterns of accumulation of deleterious mutation may explain differing levels of virulence in vertically and horizontally transmitted diseases. (+info)
Sequence of the genomic RNA of nudaurelia beta virus (Tetraviridae) defines a novel virus genome organization.
The monopartite genome of Nudaurelia beta virus, the type species of the Betatetravirus genus of the family Tetraviridae, consists of a single-stranded positive-sense RNA (ss+RNA) of 6625 nucleotides containing two open reading frames (ORFs). The 5' proximal ORF of 5778 nucleotides encodes a protein of 215 kDa containing three functional domains characteristic of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases of ss+RNA viruses. The 3' proximal ORF of 1836 nucleotides, which encodes the 66-kDa capsid precursor protein, overlaps the replicase gene by more than 99% (1827 nucleotides) and is in the +1 reading frame relative to the replicase reading frame. This capsid precursor is expressed via a 2656-nucleotide subgenomic RNA. The 3' terminus of the genome can be folded into a tRNA-like secondary structure that has a valine anticodon; the tRNA-like structure lacks a pseudoknot in the aminoacyl stem, a feature common to both genera of tetraviruses. Comparison of the sequences of Nudaurelia beta virus and another member of the Tetraviridae, Helicoverpa armigera stunt virus, which is in the genus Omegatetravirus, shows identities of 31.6% for the replicase and 24.5% for the capsid protein. The viruses in the genera Betatetravirus and Omegatetravirus of the Tetraviridae are clearly related but show significant differences in their genome organization. It is concluded that the ancestral virus with a bipartite genome, as found in the genus Omegatetravirus, likely evolved from a virus with an unsegmented genome, as found in the genus Betatetravirus, through evolution of the subgenomic RNA into a separate genomic component, with the accompanying loss of the capsid gene from the longer genomic RNA. (+info)
Multiple mitochondrial viruses in an isolate of the Dutch Elm disease fungus Ophiostoma novo-ulmi.
The nucleotide sequences of three mitochondrial virus double-stranded (ds) RNAs, RNA-4 (2599 nucleotides), RNA-5 (2474 nucleotides), and RNA-6 (2343 nucleotides), in a diseased isolate Log1/3-8d2 (Ld) of the Dutch elm disease fungus Ophiostoma novo-ulmi have been determined. All these RNAs are A-U-rich (71-73% A + U residues). Using the fungal mitochondrial genetic code in which UGA codes for tryptophan, the positive-strand of each of RNAs 4, 5, and 6 contains a single open reading frame (ORF) with the potential to encode a protein of 783, 729, and 695 amino acids, respectively, all of which contain conserved motifs characteristic of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps). Sequence comparisons showed that these RNAs are related to each other and to a previously characterized RNA, RNA-3a, from the same O. novo-ulmi isolate, especially within the RdRp-like motifs. However, the overall RNA nucleotide and RdRp amino acid sequence identities were relatively low (43-55% and 20-32%, respectively). The 5'- and 3'-terminal sequences of these RNAs are different, but they can all be folded into potentially stable stem-loop structures. Those of RNA-4 and RNA-6 have inverted complementarity, potentially forming panhandle structures. Their molecular and biological properties indicate that RNAs 3a, 4, 5, and 6 are the genomes of four different viruses, which replicate independently in the same cell. These four viruses are also related to a mitochondrial RNA virus from another fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica, recently designated the type species of the Mitovirus genus of the Narnaviridae family, and to a virus from the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. It is proposed that the four O. novo-ulmi mitochondrial viruses are assigned to the Mitovirus genus and designated O. novo-ulmi mitovirus (OnuMV) 3a-Ld, 4-Ld, 5-Ld, and 6-Ld, respectively. Northern blot analysis indicated that O. novo-ulmi Ld nucleic acid extracts contain more single-stranded (ss, positive-stranded) RNA than dsRNA for all three newly described mitoviruses. O. novo-ulmi RNA-7, previously believed to be a satellite-like RNA, is shown to be a defective RNA, derived from OnuMV4-Ld RNA by multiple internal deletions. OnuMV4-Ld is therefore the helper virus for the replication of both RNA-7 and another defective RNA, RNA-10. Sequence comparisons indicate that RNA-10 could be derived from RNA-7, as previously suggested, or derived directly from RNA-4. (+info)
Comparative study of viral encephalopathy and retinopathy in juvenile sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax infected in different ways.
The transmission of viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) was investigated in juvenile sea bass (3 g) Dicentrarchus labrax by using cell culture supernatant (SSN-1 cell line) containing nodavirus. Five methods of infection were tested: intramuscular injection (IM), intraperitoneal injection (IP), oral infection, bath exposure and cohabitation of healthy fish with infected fish. Some differences were observed in time of disease onset and severity of symptoms depending on the mode of infection used. Clinical symptoms such as whirling swimming and lethargic or hyperactive behaviour were generally reproduced, except for fish infected via oral and IP infection. First mortalities occurred 3 d after IM and IP infection and 6 d after for the other modes of infection. Cumulative mortalities were also variable: 100% after IM infection, 10% after IP infection, 32% for bath exposure, 43% after cohabitation and 24% via oral infection. Histopathologically, vacuolation was observed in the central nervous tissues and in the retina. The observed lesions were more or less severe depending on the mode of infection, the sampling time and the organs: lesions on the surviving fish (42 days post infection, d p.i.) seemed to be generally more conspicuous in the retina than in the brain of the same fish. In most cases, the presence of nodavirus was confirmed in the same samples of brain and retina by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The virus was not detected in other organs examined. The present results suggest that 2 forms of VER can be induced: IM injection leads to an acute form (severe nervous disorders with high and fast mortality) whereas oral infection, bath exposure and cohabitation induce a subacute form (less severe disorders and weak daily mortality). This experiment demonstrates experimentally induced horizontal transmission of VER in sea bass for the first time. (+info)
Structural constraints on RNA virus evolution.
The recently discovered hepatitis G virus (HGV) or GB virus C (GBV-C) is widely distributed in human populations, and homologues such as HGV/GBV-CCPZ and GBV-A are found in a variety of different primate species. Both epidemiological and phylogenetic analyses support the hypothesis that GB viruses coevolved with their primate hosts, although their degree of sequence similarity appears incompatible with the high rate of sequence change of HGV/GBV-C over short observation periods. Comparison of complete coding sequences (8,500 bases) of different genotypes of HGV/GBV-C showed an excess of invariant synonymous sites (at 23% of all codons) compared with the frequency expected by chance (10%). To investigate the hypothesis that RNA secondary-structure formation through internal base pairing limited sequence variability at these sites, an algorithm was developed to detect covariant sites among HGV/GBV-C sequences of different genotypes. At least 35 covariant sites that were spatially associated with potential stem-loop structures were detected, whose positions correlated with positions in the genome that showed reductions in synonymous variability. Although the functional roles of the predicted secondary structures remain unclear, the restriction of sequence change imposed by secondary-structure formation provides a mechanism for differences in net rate of accumulation of nucleotide substitutions at different sites. However, the resulting disparity between short- and long-term rates of sequence change of HGV/GBV-C violates the assumptions of the "molecular clock." This places a major restriction on the use of nucleotide or amino acid sequence comparisons to calculate times of divergence of other viruses evolving under the same structural constraints as GB viruses. (+info)
A highly membrane-active peptide in Flock House virus: implications for the mechanism of nodavirus infection.
BACKGROUND: Nodaviruses are among the simplest animal viruses, and are therefore attractive systems for deconvoluting core viral processes such as assembly, infection and uncoating. Membrane translocation of the single-stranded RNA genome of nodaviruses has been proposed to be mediated by direct lipid-protein interactions between a post-assembly autocatalytic cleavage product from the capsomere and the target membrane. To probe the validity of this hypothesis, we have synthesized a 21-residue Met-->Nle (norleucine) variant of the amino-terminal helical domain (denoted here as gamma1) of the cleavage peptide in Flock House nodavirus (FHV) and studied its ability to alter membrane structure and function. RESULTS: The synthetic peptide gamma1 increases membrane permeability to hydrophilic solutes, as judged by fluorescence experiments with liposome-encapsulated dyes and ion-conductance measurements. Furthermore, peptide orientation and location within lipid bilayers was determined using tryptophan-fluorescence-quenching experiments and attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy. CONCLUSIONS: The helical domain of the FHV cleavage product partitions spontaneously into lipid bilayers and increases membrane permeability, consistent with the postulated mechanism for viral genome translocation. The existence of a membrane-binding domain in the FHV cleavage sequence suggests peptide-triggered disruption of the endosomal membrane as a prelude to viral uncoating in the host cytoplasm. A model for this interaction is proposed. (+info)
Transmission of viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) to yolk-sac larvae of the Atlantic halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus: occurrence of nodavirus in various organs and a possible route of infection.
The susceptibility of the Atlantic halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus yolk-sac larvae to viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) was investigated by waterborne challenge experiments with nodavirus. Transfer of VER was indicated by several lines of evidence. A significantly higher cumulative mortality was observed after challenge with virus compared to mock challenge, and increasing doses of virus resulted in shorter incubation periods. When the challenge was performed on the day after hatching, the time from inoculation to the time when 50% of the larvae were dead (LT50) ranged from 26 to 32 d. Postponement of challenge for 13 d reduced the LT50 to 14 d, indicating that the susceptibility of the larvae to the present nodavirus strain was low during the first 2 wk after hatching. The progression of the infection was monitored by sequential immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. On Day 18 after hatching the initial signs of infection were observed as a prominent focus of immunolabelling in the caudal part of the brain stem. In the same larvae immunolabelled single cell lesions were observed in the stratified epithelium of the cranial part of the intestine. The portal of entry into the larvae may thus have been the intestinal epithelium, while the route of infection to the CNS may have been axonal transport to the brain stem through cranial nerves such as the vagus nerves. Later in the infection, lesions became more severe and widespread and were also found throughout the brain and spinal cord and in the retina, cranial ganglia, intestine, liver, olfactory epithelium, yolk-sac epithelium, gills and pectoral fins. The mortality in all virus-challenged groups was 100%. This study thus demonstrates that the present nodavirus strain is able to replicate and cause VER in Atlantic halibut yolk-sac larvae at temperatures as low as 6 degrees C. (+info)