Persistent infection of human oligodendrocytic and neuroglial cell lines by human coronavirus 229E.
Human coronaviruses (HuCV) cause common colds. Previous reports suggest that these infectious agents may be neurotropic in humans, as they are for some mammals. With the long-term aim of providing experimental evidence for the neurotropism of HuCV and the establishment of persistent infections in the nervous system, we have evaluated the susceptibility of various human neural cell lines to acute and persistent infection by HuCV-229E. Viral antigen, infectious virus progeny and viral RNA were monitored during both acute and persistent infections. The astrocytoma cell lines U-87 MG, U-373 MG, and GL-15, as well as neuroblastoma SK-N-SH, neuroglioma H4, and oligodendrocytic MO3.13 cell lines, were all susceptible to an acute infection by HuCV-229E. The CHME-5 immortalized fetal microglial cell line was not susceptible to infection by this virus. The MO3.13 and H4 cell lines also sustained a persistent viral infection, as monitored by detection of viral antigen and infectious virus progeny. Sequencing of the S1 gene from viral RNA after approximately 130 days of infection showed two point mutations, suggesting amino acid changes during persistent infection of MO3.13 cells but none for H4 cells. Thus, persistent in vitro infection did not generate important changes in the S1 portion of the viral spike protein, which was shown for murine coronaviruses to bear hypervariable domains and to interact with cellular receptor. These results are consistent with the potential persistence of HuCV-229E in cells of the human nervous system, such as oligodendrocytes and possibly neurons, and the virus's apparent genomic stability. (+info)
A human RNA viral cysteine proteinase that depends upon a unique Zn2+-binding finger connecting the two domains of a papain-like fold .
A cysteine proteinase, papain-like proteinase (PL1pro), of the human coronavirus 229E (HCoV) regulates the expression of the replicase polyproteins, pp1a and ppa1ab, by cleavage between Gly111 and Asn112, far upstream of its own catalytic residue Cys1054. In this report, using bioinformatics tools, we predict that, unlike its distant cellular homologues, HCoV PL1pro and its coronaviral relatives have a poorly conserved Zn2+ finger connecting the left and right hand domains of a papain-like fold. Optical emission spectrometry has been used to confirm the presence of Zn2+ in a purified and proteolytically active form of the HCoV PL1pro fused with the Escherichia coli maltose-binding protein. In denaturation/renaturation experiments using the recombinant protein, its activity was shown to be strongly dependent upon Zn2+, which could be partly substituted by Co2+ during renaturation. The reconstituted, Zn2+-containing PL1pro was not sensitive to 1,10-phenanthroline, and the Zn2+-depleted protein was not reactivated by adding Zn2+ after renaturation. Consistent with the proposed essential structural role of Zn2+, PL1pro was selectively inactivated by mutations in the Zn2+ finger, including replacements of any of four conserved Cys residues predicted to co-ordinate Zn2+. The unique domain organization of HCoV PL1pro provides a potential framework for regulatory processes and may be indicative of a nonproteolytic activity of this enzyme. (+info)
The human coronavirus 229E superfamily 1 helicase has RNA and DNA duplex-unwinding activities with 5'-to-3' polarity.
The human coronavirus 229E replicase gene encodes a protein, p66HEL, that contains a putative zinc finger structure linked to a putative superfamily (SF) 1 helicase. A histidine-tagged form of this protein, HEL, was expressed using baculovirus vectors in insect cells. The purified recombinant protein had in vitro ATPase activity that was strongly stimulated by poly(U), poly(dT), poly(C), and poly(dA), but not by poly(G). The recombinant protein also had both RNA and DNA duplex-unwinding activities with 5'-to-3' polarity. The DNA helicase activity of the enzyme preferentially unwound 5'-oligopyrimidine-tailed, partial-duplex substrates and required a tail length of at least 10 nucleotides for effective unwinding. The combined data suggest that the coronaviral SF1 helicase functionally differs from the previously characterized RNA virus SF2 helicases. (+info)
Neuroinvasion by human respiratory coronaviruses.
Human coronaviruses (HCoV) cause common colds but can also infect neural cell cultures. To provide definitive experimental evidence for the neurotropism and neuroinvasion of HCoV and its possible association with multiple sclerosis (MS), we have performed an extensive search and characterization of HCoV RNA in a large panel of human brain autopsy samples. Very stringent reverse transcription-PCR with two primer pairs for both viral strains (229E and OC43), combined with Southern hybridization, was performed on samples from 90 coded donors with various neurological diseases (39 with MS and 26 with other neurological diseases) or normal controls (25 patients). We report that 44% (40 of 90) of donors were positive for 229E and that 23% (21 of 90) were positive for OC43. A statistically significant higher prevalence of OC43 in MS patients (35.9%; 14 of 39) than in controls (13.7%; 7 of 51) was observed. Sequencing of nucleocapsid protein (N) gene amplicons revealed point mutations in OC43, some consistently found in three MS patient brains and one normal control but never observed in laboratory viruses. In situ hybridization confirmed the presence of viral RNA in brain parenchyma, outside blood vessels. The presence of HCoV in human brains is consistent with neuroinvasion by these respiratory pathogens. Further studies are needed to distinguish between opportunistic and disease-associated viral presence in human brains. (+info)
Human coronavirus 229E infects polarized airway epithelia from the apical surface.
Gene transfer to differentiated airway epithelia with existing viral vectors is very inefficient when they are applied to the apical surface. This largely reflects the polarized distribution of receptors on the basolateral surface. To identify new receptor-ligand interactions that might be used to redirect vectors to the apical surface, we investigated the process of infection of airway epithelial cells by human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), a common cause of respiratory tract infections. Using immunohistochemistry, we found the receptor for HCoV-229E (CD13 or aminopeptidase N) localized mainly to the apical surface of airway epithelia. When HCoV-229E was applied to the apical or basolateral surface of well-differentiated primary cultures of human airway epithelia, infection primarily occurred from the apical side. Similar results were noted when the virus was applied to cultured human tracheal explants. Newly synthesized virions were released mainly to the apical side. Thus, HCoV-229E preferentially infects human airway epithelia from the apical surface. The spike glycoprotein that mediates HCoV-229E binding and fusion to CD13 is a candidate for pseudotyping retroviral envelopes or modifying other viral vectors. (+info)
Infectious RNA transcribed in vitro from a cDNA copy of the human coronavirus genome cloned in vaccinia virus.
The coronavirus genome is a positive-strand RNA of extraordinary size and complexity. It is composed of approximately 30000 nucleotides and it is the largest known autonomously replicating RNA. It is also remarkable in that more than two-thirds of the genome is devoted to encoding proteins involved in the replication and transcription of viral RNA. Here, a reverse-genetic system is described for the generation of recombinant coronaviruses. This system is based upon the in vitro transcription of infectious RNA from a cDNA copy of the human coronavirus 229E genome that has been cloned and propagated in vaccinia virus. This system is expected to provide new insights into the molecular biology and pathogenesis of coronaviruses and to serve as a paradigm for the genetic analysis of large RNA virus genomes. It also provides a starting point for the development of a new class of eukaryotic, multi-gene RNA vectors that are able to express several proteins simultaneously. (+info)
Viral replicase gene products suffice for coronavirus discontinuous transcription.
We have used vaccinia virus as a vector to clone a 22.5-kbp cDNA that represents the 5' and 3' ends of the human coronavirus 229E (HCoV 229E) genome, the HCoV 229E replicase gene, and a single reporter gene (coding for green fluorescent protein [GFP]) located downstream of a regulatory element for coronavirus mRNA transcription. When RNA transcribed from this cDNA was transfected into BHK-21 cells, a small percentage of cells displayed strong fluorescence. A region of the mRNA encoding GFP was amplified by PCR and shown to have the unique mRNA leader-body junction indicative of coronavirus-mediated transcription. These data show that the coronavirus replicase gene products suffice for discontinuous subgenomic mRNA transcription. (+info)
The autocatalytic release of a putative RNA virus transcription factor from its polyprotein precursor involves two paralogous papain-like proteases that cleave the same peptide bond.
The largest replicative protein of coronaviruses is known as p195 in the avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and p210 (p240) in the mouse hepatitis virus. It is autocatalytically released from the precursors pp1a and pp1ab by one zinc finger-containing papain-like protease (PLpro) in IBV and by two paralogous PLpros, PL1pro and PL2pro, in mouse hepatitis virus. The PLpro-containing proteins have been recently implicated in the control of coronavirus subgenomic mRNA synthesis (transcription). By using comparative sequence analysis, we now show that the respective proteins of all sequenced coronaviruses are flanked by two conserved PLpro cleavage sites and share a complex (multi)domain organization with PL1pro being inactivated in IBV. Based upon these predictions, the processing of the human coronavirus 229E p195/p210 N terminus was studied in detail. First, an 87-kDa protein (p87), which is derived from a pp1a/pp1ab region immediately upstream of p195/p210, was identified in human coronavirus 229E-infected cells. Second, in vitro synthesized proteins representing different parts of pp1a were autocatalytically processed at the predicted site. Surprisingly, both PL1pro and PL2pro cleaved between p87 and p195/p210. The PL1pro-mediated cleavage was slow and significantly suppressed by a non-proteolytic activity of PL2pro. In contrast, PL2pro, whose proteolytic activity and specificity were established in this study, cleaved the same site efficiently in the presence of the upstream domains. Third, a correlation was observed between the overlapping substrate specificities and the parallel evolution of PL1pro and PL2pro. Collectively, our results imply that the p195/p210 autoprocessing mechanisms may be conserved among coronaviruses to an extent not appreciated previously, with PL2pro playing a major role. A large subset of coronaviruses may employ two proteases to cleave the same site(s) and thus regulate the expression of the viral genome in a unique way. (+info)