Mechanisms of viral interference with MHC class I antigen processing and presentation.
Viruses are ubiquitous and dangerous obligate intracellular parasites. To facilitate recognition of virus-infected cells by the immune system, vertebrates evolved a system that displays oligopeptides derived from viral proteins on the surface of cells in association with class I molecules of the major histocompatibility complex. Here we review the mechanisms counter-evolved by viruses to interfere with the generation of viral peptides, their intracellular trafficking, or the cell surface expression of class I molecules bearing viral peptides. This topic is important in its own right because the viruses that encode these proteins represent medically important pathogens, are potential vectors for vaccines or gene therapy, and provide strategies and tools for blocking immune recognition in transplantation, autoimmunity, and gene therapy. In addition, studies on viral interference provide unique insights into unfettered antigen processing and normal cellular functions that are exploited and exaggerated by viruses. (+info)
Virioplankton: viruses in aquatic ecosystems.
The discovery that viruses may be the most abundant organisms in natural waters, surpassing the number of bacteria by an order of magnitude, has inspired a resurgence of interest in viruses in the aquatic environment. Surprisingly little was known of the interaction of viruses and their hosts in nature. In the decade since the reports of extraordinarily large virus populations were published, enumeration of viruses in aquatic environments has demonstrated that the virioplankton are dynamic components of the plankton, changing dramatically in number with geographical location and season. The evidence to date suggests that virioplankton communities are composed principally of bacteriophages and, to a lesser extent, eukaryotic algal viruses. The influence of viral infection and lysis on bacterial and phytoplankton host communities was measurable after new methods were developed and prior knowledge of bacteriophage biology was incorporated into concepts of parasite and host community interactions. The new methods have yielded data showing that viral infection can have a significant impact on bacteria and unicellular algae populations and supporting the hypothesis that viruses play a significant role in microbial food webs. Besides predation limiting bacteria and phytoplankton populations, the specific nature of virus-host interaction raises the intriguing possibility that viral infection influences the structure and diversity of aquatic microbial communities. Novel applications of molecular genetic techniques have provided good evidence that viral infection can significantly influence the composition and diversity of aquatic microbial communities. (+info)
Viruses at the edge of adaptation.
How vulnerable is the line that separates adaptation from extinction? Viruses, in particular RNA viruses, are well known for their high rates of genetic variation and their potential to adapt to environmental modifications (Drake and Holland, 1999; Domingo et al., 2000). Yet, fitness variations-both increases and decreases-can be spectacularly rapid, and the simple genetic stratagem of forcing virus multiplication to go through repeated genetic bottlenecks can induce fitness losses, at times near viral extinction. New information has been recently obtained on the two sides of the survival line: the edge of adaptation and the edge of extinction. (+info)
Identification of distinct signaling pathways leading to the phosphorylation of interferon regulatory factor 3.
Infection of host cells by viruses leads to the activation of multiple signaling pathways, resulting in the expression of host genes involved in the establishment of the antiviral state. Among the transcription factors mediating the immediate response to virus is interferon regulatory factor-3 (IRF-3) which is post-translationally modified as a result of virus infection. Phosphorylation of latent cytoplasmic IRF-3 on serine and threonine residues in the C-terminal region leads to dimerization, cytoplasmic to nuclear translocation, association with the p300/CBP coactivator, and stimulation of DNA binding and transcriptional activities. We now demonstrate that IRF-3 is a phosphoprotein that is uniquely activated via virus-dependent C-terminal phosphorylation. Paramyxoviridae including measles virus and rhabdoviridae, vesicular stomatitis virus, are potent inducers of a unique virus-activated kinase activity. In contrast, stress inducers, growth factors, DNA-damaging agents, and cytokines do not induce C-terminal IRF-3 phosphorylation, translocation or transactivation, but rather activate a MAPKKK-related signaling pathway that results in N-terminal IRF-3 phosphorylation. The failure of numerous well characterized pharmacological inhibitors to abrogate virus-induced IRF-3 phosphorylation suggests the involvement of a novel kinase activity in IRF-3 regulation by viruses. (+info)
Osteoclasts and giant cells: macrophage-macrophage fusion mechanism.
Membrane fusion is a ubiquitous event that occurs in a wide range of biological processes. While intracellular membrane fusion mediating organelle trafficking is well understood, much less is known about cell-cell fusion mediating sperm cell-oocyte, myoblast-myoblast and macrophage-macrophage fusion. In the case of mononuclear phagocytes, their fusion is not only associated with the differentiation of osteoclasts, cells which play a key role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, but also of giant cells that are present in chronic inflammatory reactions and in tumours. Despite the biological and pathophysiological importance of intercellular fusion events, the actual molecular mechanism of macrophage fusion is still unclear. One of the main research themes in my laboratory has been to investigate the molecular mechanism of mononuclear phagocyte fusion. Our hypothesis has been that macrophage-macrophage fusion, similar to virus-cell fusion, is mediated by specific cell surface proteins. But, in contrast with myoblasts and sperm cells, macrophage fusion is a rare event that occurs in specific instances. To test our hypothesis, we established an in vitro cell-cell fusion assay as a model system which uses alveolar macrophages. Upon multinucleation, these macrophages acquire the osteoclast phenotype. This indicates that multinucleation of macrophages leads to a specific and novel functional phenotype in macrophages. To identify the components of the fusion machinery, we generated four monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) which block the fusion of alveolar macrophages and purified the unique antigen recognized by these mAbs. This led us to the cloning of MFR (Macrophage Fusion Receptor). MFR was cloned simultaneously as P84/SHPS-1/SIRPalpha/BIT by other laboratories. We subsequently showed that the recombinant extracellular domain of MFR blocks fusion. Most recently, we identified a lower molecular weight form of MFR that is missing two extracellular immunoglobulin (Ig) C domains. Shortly after we cloned MFR, CD47 was reported to be a ligand for P84/SIRPalpha. We have since generated preliminary results which suggest that CD47 interacts with MFR during adhesion/fusion and is a member of the fusion machinery. We also identified CD44 as a plasma membrane protein which, like MFR, is highly expressed at the onset of fusion. The recombinant soluble extracellular domain of CD44 blocks fusion by interacting with a cell-surface binding site. We now propose a model in which both forms of MFR, CD44, and CD47 mediate macrophage adhesion/fusion and therefore the differentiation of osteoclasts and giant cells. (+info)
Efficient oncolysis by a replicating adenovirus (ad) in vivo is critically dependent on tumor expression of primary ad receptors.
Replicating adenoviruses (Ads) are designed to replicate in and destroy cancer cells, generating viral progeny that spread within the tumor. To address the importance of the primary cellular receptor for Ads, the coxsackievirus and Ad receptor (CAR), in permitting intratumoral spread of a replicating Ad, we have used a pair of tumor cell lines differing only in the expression of a primary receptor for Ad5. This novel system thus allowed the first direct evaluation of the relationship between the efficacy of a replicating Ad and the primary receptor levels of the host cell without the confounding influence of other variable cellular factors. We demonstrate that the absence of the primary cellular receptor on the tumor cells restricts the oncolytic potency of a replicating Ad both in vitro and in vivo. Based on these findings, it is apparent that the potential therapeutic advantages afforded by viral replication would be negated by poor intratumoral spread of the viral progeny due to the failure to infect neighboring tumor cells. Because a number of studies have reported that primary cancer cells express only low levels of CAR, our results suggest that strategies to redirect Ads to achieve CAR-independent infection will be necessary to realize the full potential of replicating Ads in the clinical setting. (+info)
The dependence of viral parameter estimates on the assumed viral life cycle: limitations of studies of viral load data.
Estimation of viral parameters, such as the basic reproductive number (R0) and infected cell life span, is central to the quantitative study of the within-host dynamics of viral diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. As these parameters can rarely be determined directly, they are usually estimated indirectly by fitting mathematical models to viral load data. This paper investigates how parameter estimates obtained by such procedures depend on the assumptions made concerning the viral life cycle. It finds that estimates of the basic reproductive number obtained using viral load data collected during the initial stages of infection can depend quite sensitively on these assumptions. The use of models which neglect the intracellular delay before virion production can lead to severe underestimates of R0 and, hence, to overly optimistic predictions of how efficacious treatment must be in order to prevent or eradicate the disease. These results are also of importance for attempts at estimating R0 from similar epidemiological data as there is a correspondence between within-host and between-host models. Estimates of the life span of infected cells obtained from viral load data collected during drug treatment studies also depend on the assumptions made in modelling the virus life cycle. The use of more realistic descriptions of the life cycle is seen to increase estimates of infected cell life span, in addition to providing a new explanation for the shoulder phase seen during drug treatment. This study highlights the limitations of what can be learnt by fitting mathematical models to infectious disease data without detailed independent knowledge of the life cycle of the infectious agent. (+info)
Lung surfactant and reactive oxygen-nitrogen species: antimicrobial activity and host-pathogen interactions.
Surfactant protein (SP) A and SP-D are members of the collectin superfamily. They are widely distributed within the lung, are capable of antigen recognition, and can discern self versus nonself. SPs recognize bacteria, fungi, and viruses by binding mannose and N-acetylglucosamine residues on microbial cell walls. SP-A has been shown to stimulate the respiratory burst as well as nitric oxide synthase expression by alveolar macrophages. Although nitric oxide (NO.) is a well-recognized microbicidal product of macrophages, the mechanism(s) by which NO. contributes to host defense remains undefined. The purpose of this symposium was to present current research pertaining to the specific role of SPs and reactive oxygen-nitrogen species in innate immunity. The symposium focused on the mechanisms of NO*-mediated toxicity for bacterial, human, and animal models of SP-A- and NO.-mediated pathogen killing, microbial defense mechanisms against reactive oxygen-nitrogen species, specific examples and signaling pathways involved in the SP-A-mediated killing of pulmonary pathogens, the structure and binding of SP-A and SP-D to bacterial targets, and the immunoregulatory functions of SP-A. (+info)