Crystal structures of two H-2Db/glycopeptide complexes suggest a molecular basis for CTL cross-reactivity. (1/2156)

Two synthetic O-GlcNAc-bearing peptides that elicit H-2Db-restricted glycopeptide-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTL) have been shown to display nonreciprocal patterns of cross-reactivity. Here, we present the crystal structures of the H-2Db glycopeptide complexes to 2.85 A resolution or better. In both cases, the glycan is solvent exposed and available for direct recognition by the T cell receptor (TCR). We have modeled the complex formed between the MHC-glycopeptide complexes and their respective TCRs, showing that a single saccharide residue can be accommodated in the standard TCR-MHC geometry. The models also reveal a possible molecular basis for the observed cross-reactivity patterns of the CTL clones, which appear to be influenced by the length of the CDR3 loop and the nature of the immunizing ligand.  (+info)

Hepatitis C virus core protein interacts with cellular putative RNA helicase. (2/2156)

The nucleocapsid core protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been shown to trans-act on several viral or cellular promoters. To get insight into the trans-action mechanism of HCV core protein, a yeast two-hybrid cloning system was used for identification of core protein-interacting cellular protein. One such cDNA clone encoding the DEAD box family of putative RNA helicase was obtained. This cellular putative RNA helicase, designated CAP-Rf, exhibits more than 95% amino acid sequence identity to other known RNA helicases including human DBX and DBY, mouse mDEAD3, and PL10, a family of proteins generally involved in translation, splicing, development, or cell growth. In vitro binding or in vivo coimmunoprecipitation studies demonstrated the direct interaction of the full-length/matured form and C-terminally truncated variants of HCV core protein with this targeted protein. Additionally, the protein's interaction domains were delineated at the N-terminal 40-amino-acid segment of the HCV core protein and the C-terminal tail of CAP-Rf, which encompassed its RNA-binding and ATP hydrolysis domains. Immunoblotting or indirect immunofluorescence analysis revealed that the endogenous CAP-Rf was mainly localized in the nucleus and to a lesser extent in the cytoplasm, and when fused with FLAG tag, it colocalized with the HCV core protein either in the cytoplasm or in the nucleus. Similar to other RNA helicases, this cellular RNA helicase has nucleoside triphosphatase-deoxynucleoside triphosphatase activity, but this activity is inhibited by various forms of homopolynucleotides and enhanced by the HCV core protein. Moreover, transient expression of HCV core protein in human hepatoma HuH-7 cells significantly potentiated the trans-activation effect of FLAG-tagged CAP-Rf or untagged CAP-Rf on the luciferase reporter plasmid activity. All together, our results indicate that CAP-Rf is involved in regulation of gene expression and that HCV core protein promotes the trans-activation ability of CAP-Rf, likely via the complex formation and the modulation of the ATPase-dATPase activity of CAP-Rf. These findings provide evidence that HCV may have evolved a distinct mechanism in alteration of host cellular gene expression regulation via the interaction of its nucleocapsid core protein and cellular putative RNA helicase known to participate in all aspects of cellular processes involving RNA metabolism. This feature of core protein may impart pleiotropic effects on host cells, which may partially account for its role in HCV pathogenesis.  (+info)

Generation of transmissible hepatitis C virions from a molecular clone in chimpanzees. (3/2156)

Multiple alignments of hepatitis C virus (HCV) polyproteins from six different genotypes identified a total of 22 nonconsensus mutations in a clone derived from the Hutchinson (H77) isolate. These mutations, collectively, may have contributed to the failure in generating a "functionally correct" or "infectious" clone in earlier attempts. A consensus clone was constructed after systematic repair of these mutations, which yielded infectious virions in a chimpanzee after direct intrahepatic inoculation of in vitro transcribed RNAs. This RNA-infected chimpanzee has developed hepatitis and remained HCV positive for more than 11 months. To further verify this RNA-derived infectivity, a second naive chimpanzee was injected intravenously with serum collected from the first chimpanzee. Infectivity analysis of the second chimpanzee demonstrated that the HCV infection was successfully transmitted, which validated unequivocally the infectivity of our repaired molecular clone. Amino acid sequence comparisons revealed that our repaired infectious clone had 4 mismatches with the isogenic clone reported by Kolykhalov et al. (1997, Science 277, 570-574) and 8 mismatches with that reported by Yanagi et al. (1997, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94, 8738-8743). At the RNA level, more mismatches (43 and 67, respectively) were identified; most of them were synonymous substitutions. Further comparisons with 16 isolates from different genotypes demonstrated that our repaired clone shares greater consensus than the reported isogenic clones. This approach of generating infectious HCV RNA validates the importance of amino acid sequence consensus in relation to the biology of HCV.  (+info)

Proteolytic processing of tomato ringspot nepovirus 3C-like protease precursors: definition of the domains for the VPg, protease and putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. (4/2156)

Tomato ringspot nepovirus (TomRSV) RNA-1 encodes a putative NTP-binding protein (NTB), a putative viral genome-linked protein (VPg), a putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (Pol) and a serine-like protease (Pro), which have been suggested to be involved in viral RNA replication. Proteolytic processing of protease precursors containing these proteins was studied in Escherichia coli and in vitro. The TomRSV protease could cleave the precursor proteins and release the predicted mature proteins or intermediate precursors. Although processing was detected at all three predicted cleavage sites (NTB-VPg, VPg-Pro and Pro-Pol), processing at the VPg-Pro cleavage site was inefficient, resulting in accumulation of the VPg-Pro intermediate precursor in E. coli and in vitro. In addition, the presence of the VPg sequence in the precursor resulted in increased cleavage at the Pro-Pol cleavage site in E. coli and in vitro. Direct N-terminal sequencing of the genomic RNA-linked VPg, of the mature protease purified from E. coli extracts and of radiolabelled mature polymerase purified from in vitro translation products revealed the sequences of the NTB-VPg, VPg-Pro and Pro-Pol dipeptide cleavage sites to be Q/S, Q/G and Q/S, respectively. In vitro processing at the NTB-VPg and Pro-Pol cleavage sites was not detected upon mutation or deletion of the conserved glutamine at the -1 position of the cleavage site. These results are discussed in light of the cleavage site specificity of the TomRSV protease.  (+info)

Gag protein epitopes recognized by CD4(+) T-helper lymphocytes from equine infectious anemia virus-infected carrier horses. (5/2156)

Antigen-specific T-helper (Th) lymphocytes are critical for the development of antiviral humoral responses and the expansion of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Identification of relevant Th lymphocyte epitopes remains an important step in the development of an efficacious subunit peptide vaccine against equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), a naturally occurring lentivirus of horses. This study describes Th lymphocyte reactivity in EIAV carrier horses to two proteins, p26 and p15, encoded by the relatively conserved EIAV gag gene. Using partially overlapping peptides, multideterminant and possibly promiscuous epitopes were identified within p26. One peptide was identified which reacted with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from all five EIAV-infected horses, and three other peptides were identified which reacted with PBMC from four of five EIAV-infected horses. Four additional peptides containing both CTL and Th lymphocyte epitopes were also identified. Multiple epitopes were recognized in a region corresponding to the major homology region of the human immunodeficiency virus, a region with significant sequence similarity to other lentiviruses including simian immunodeficiency virus, puma lentivirus, feline immunodeficiency virus, Jembrana disease virus, visna virus, and caprine arthritis encephalitis virus. PBMC reactivity to p15 peptides from EIAV carrier horses also occurred. Multiple p15 peptides were shown to be reactive, but not all infected horses had Th lymphocytes recognizing p15 epitopes. The identification of peptides reactive with PBMC from outbred horses, some of which encoded both CTL and Th lymphocyte epitopes, should contribute to the design of synthetic peptide or recombinant vector vaccines for EIAV.  (+info)

Comparative analysis of evolutionary mechanisms of the hemagglutinin and three internal protein genes of influenza B virus: multiple cocirculating lineages and frequent reassortment of the NP, M, and NS genes. (6/2156)

Phylogenetic profiles of the genes coding for the hemagglutinin (HA) protein, nucleoprotein (NP), matrix (M) protein, and nonstructural (NS) proteins of influenza B viruses isolated from 1940 to 1998 were analyzed in a parallel manner in order to understand the evolutionary mechanisms of these viruses. Unlike human influenza A (H3N2) viruses, the evolutionary pathways of all four genes of recent influenza B viruses revealed similar patterns of genetic divergence into two major lineages. Although evolutionary rates of the HA, NP, M, and NS genes of influenza B viruses were estimated to be generally lower than those of human influenza A viruses, genes of influenza B viruses demonstrated complex phylogenetic patterns, indicating alternative mechanisms for generation of virus variability. Topologies of the evolutionary trees of each gene were determined to be quite distinct from one another, showing that these genes were evolving in an independent manner. Furthermore, variable topologies were apparently the result of frequent genetic exchange among cocirculating epidemic viruses. Evolutionary analysis done in the present study provided further evidence for cocirculation of multiple lineages as well as sequestering and reemergence of phylogenetic lineages of the internal genes. In addition, comparison of deduced amino acid sequences revealed a novel amino acid deletion in the HA1 domain of the HA protein of recent isolates from 1998 belonging to the B/Yamagata/16/88-like lineage. It thus became apparent that, despite lower evolutionary rates, influenza B viruses were able to generate genetic diversity among circulating viruses through a combination of evolutionary mechanisms involving cocirculating lineages and genetic reassortment by which new variants with distinct gene constellations emerged.  (+info)

Dose dependence of CTL precursor frequency induced by a DNA vaccine and correlation with protective immunity against influenza virus challenge. (7/2156)

Intramuscular injection of BALB/c mice with a DNA plasmid encoding nucleoprotein (NP) from influenza virus A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) provides cross-strain protection against lethal challenge with influenza virus A/HK/68 (H3N2). CTL specific for the H-2Kd-restricted epitope NP147-155 are present in these mice and are thought to play a role in the protection. To assess the effectiveness of NP DNA immunization in comparison with influenza virus infection in the induction of CTL responses, we monitored the frequency of CTL precursors (CTLp) in mice following i.m. injection with NP DNA or intranasal infection with influenza virus and showed that the CTLp frequency in NP DNA-immunized mice can reach levels found in mice that had been infected with influenza virus. We also measured the CTLp frequency, anti-NP Ab titers, and T cell proliferative responses in mice that were injected with titrated dosages of NP DNA and documented a correlation of the CTLp frequency and the Ab titers, but not proliferative responses, with the injection dose. Furthermore, we observed a positive correlation between the frequency of NP147-155 epitope-specific CTLp and the extent of protective immunity against cross-strain influenza challenge induced by NP DNA injection. Collectively, these results and our early observations from adoptive transfer experiments of in vitro activated lymphocytes from NP DNA-immunized mice suggest a protective function of NP-specific CTLp in mice against cross-strain influenza virus challenge.  (+info)

Different doses of adenoviral vector expressing IL-12 enhance or depress the immune response to a coadministered antigen: the role of nitric oxide. (8/2156)

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)