In vitro assembly of alphavirus cores by using nucleocapsid protein expressed in Escherichia coli. (1/97)

The production of the alphavirus virion is a multistep event requiring the assembly of the nucleocapsid core in the cytoplasm and the maturation of the glycoproteins in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. These components associate during the budding process to produce the mature virion. The nucleocapsid proteins of Sindbis virus and Ross River virus have been produced in a T7-based Escherichia coli expression system and purified. In the presence of single-stranded but not double-stranded nucleic acid, the proteins oligomerize in vitro into core-like particles which resemble the native viral nucleocapsid cores. Despite their similarities, Sindbis virus and Ross River virus capsid proteins do not form mixed core-like particles. Truncated forms of the Sindbis capsid protein were used to establish amino acid requirements for assembly. A capsid protein starting at residue 19 [CP(19-264)] was fully competent for in vitro assembly, whereas proteins with further N-terminal truncations could not support assembly. However, a capsid protein starting at residue 32 or 81 was able to incorporate into particles in the presence of CP(19-264) or could inhibit assembly if its molar ratio relative to CP(19-264) was greater than 1:1. This system provides a basis for the molecular dissection of alphavirus core assembly.  (+info)

Macrophage-induced muscle pathology results in morbidity and mortality for Ross River virus-infected mice. (2/97)

Ross River virus (RRV) is an Australian alphavirus that is often responsible for chronic epidemic polyarthritis and myalgia in humans. Past studies have shown severe disruption of striated muscle fibers to be prominent in RRV pathology in mice; in the present study, macrophages were directly implicated as the primary mediators of muscle damage. General immunosuppressive therapies had only minor effects on mortality and morbidity in RRV-infected mice, with no inhibition of muscle damage. Treatment of mice with macrophage-toxic agents (e.g., silica) prior to RRV infection completely abrogated disease symptoms without significantly affecting titers of virus in organs. Further studies found that clinical signs of infection and muscle damage correlated with a massive influx of macrophages into hind leg muscle, whereas no such infiltrate or damage was observed for silica-treated mice. These observations are significant for the human disease context, as monocytic cells have been detected in the synovial effusions of persons with epidemic polyarthritis.  (+info)

Adaptive mutations in Sindbis virus E2 and Ross River virus E1 that allow efficient budding of chimeric viruses. (3/97)

Alphavirus glycoproteins E2 and E1 form a heterodimer that is required for virus assembly. We have studied adaptive mutations in E2 of Sindbis virus (SIN) and E1 of Ross River virus (RR) that allow these two glycoproteins to interact more efficiently in a chimeric virus that has SIN E2 but RR E1. These mutations include K129E, K131E, and V237F in SIN E2 and S310F and C433R in RR E1. Although RR E1 and SIN E2 will form a chimeric heterodimer, the chimeric virus is almost nonviable, producing about 10(-7) as much virus as SIN at 24 h and 10(-5) as much after 48 h. Chimeras containing one adaptive change produced 3 to 20 times more virus than did the parental chimera, whereas chimeras with two changes produced 10 to 100 times more virus and chimeras containing three mutations produced yields that were 180 to 250 times better. None of the mutations had significant effects upon the parental wild-type viruses, however. Passage of the triple variants eight or nine times resulted in variants that produced virus rapidly and were capable of producing >10(8) PFU/ml of culture fluid within 24 h. These further-adapted variants possessed one or two additional mutations, including E2-V116K, E2-S110N, or E1-T65S. The RR E1-C433R mutation was studied in more detail. This Cys is located in the putative transmembrane domain of E1 and was shown to be palmitoylated. Mutation to Arg-433 resulted in loss of palmitoylation of E1. The positively charged arginine residue within the putative transmembrane domain of E1 would be expected to alter the conformation of this domain. These results suggest that interactions within the transmembrane region are important for the assembly of the E1/E2 heterodimer, as are regions of the ectodomains possibly identified by the locations of adaptive mutations in these regions. Further, the finding that four or five changes in the chimera allow virus production that approaches the levels seen with the parental SIN and exceeds that of the parental RR illustrates that the structure and function of SIN and RR E1s have been conserved during the 50% divergence in sequence that has occurred.  (+info)

Detection of viral ribonucleic acid and histologic analysis of inflamed synovium in Ross River virus infection. (4/97)

OBJECTIVE: To document the histology of Ross River virus (RRV) arthritis and to examine inflamed synovium for viral RNA. METHODS: Biopsy tissue from the inflamed knees of 12 patients with RRV infection was studied using conventional and immunostaining techniques. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction technology was used to probe for the presence of viral RNA in the synovial biopsy samples and in serum. RESULTS: Hyperplasia of the synovial lining layer, vascular proliferation, and mononuclear cell infiltration were the main histologic changes. RRV RNA was found in knee biopsy tissue that was obtained from 2 patients at 5 weeks after the onset of symptoms. CONCLUSION: RRV RNA was identified in inflamed synovium more than a month after symptoms began. Inflammation was apparent in the absence of detectable virus in the majority of patients.  (+info)

Specific ablation of antiviral gene expression in macrophages by antibody-dependent enhancement of Ross River virus infection. (5/97)

Ross River virus (RRV) is an indigenous Australian arthropod-borne alphavirus responsible for epidemic polyarthritis (EPA), myalgia, and lethargy in humans. Macrophages and monocytes have been associated with human RRV disease, and previous studies have shown that RRV is capable of infecting macrophages via both a natural virus receptor and by Fc receptor-mediated antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). Similar to other viruses, such as human immunodeficiency virus and dengue virus, ADE infection results in dramatic RRV growth increases for in vitro macrophage cultures. This study demonstrates that RRV could resist lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced antiviral activity in macrophage cultures when infection was via the ADE pathway. Investigation of this infection pathway found that RRV was able to suppress the transcription and translation of key antiviral genes (tumor necrosis factor and inducible nitric oxide synthase) in LPS-stimulated macrophages by disrupting the transcription into mRNA of the genes coding for the associated transcription factors IRF-1 and NF-kappaB. The transcription of non-antiviral control genes was not perturbed by RRV-ADE infection, and de novo protein synthesis also was not significantly affected in RRV-ADE infected cells. The ADE pathway of infection allowed RRV to specifically target antiviral genes in macrophages, resulting in unrestricted virus replication. As ADE has been observed for several virus families and associated with disease and adverse vaccination outcomes, these findings may have broad relevance to viral disease formation and antiviral vaccination strategies.  (+info)

Characterization of epitopes for virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies to Ross River virus E2 using phage-displayed random peptide libraries. (6/97)

Ross River virus (RRV) is the predominant cause of epidemic polyarthritis in Australia, yet the antigenic determinants are not well defined. We aimed to characterize epitope(s) on RRV-E2 for a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that recognize overlapping conformational epitopes on the E2 envelope protein of RRV and that neutralize virus infection of cells in vitro. Phage-displayed random peptide libraries were probed with the MAbs T1E7, NB3C4, and T10C9 using solution-phase and solid-phase biopanning methods. The peptides VSIFPPA and KTAISPT were selected 15 and 6 times, respectively, by all three of the MAbs using solution-phase biopanning. The peptide LRLPPAP was selected 8 times by NB3C4 using solid-phase biopanning; this peptide shares a trio of amino acids with the peptide VSIFPPA. Phage that expressed the peptides VSIFPPA and LRLPPAP were reactive with T1E7 and/or NB3C4, and phage that expressed the peptides VSIFPPA, LRLPPAP, and KTAISPT partially inhibited the reactivity of T1E7 with RRV. The selected peptides resemble regions of RRV-E2 adjacent to sites mutated in neutralization escape variants of RRV derived by culture in the presence of these MAbs (E2 210-219 and 238-245) and an additional region of E2 172-182. Together these sites represent a conformational epitope of E2 that is informative of cellular contact sites on RRV.  (+info)

Ross River virus glycoprotein-pseudotyped retroviruses and stable cell lines for their production. (7/97)

Pseudotyped retroviruses have important applications as vectors for gene transfer and gene therapy and as tools for the study of viral glycoprotein function. Recombinant Moloney murine leukemia virus (Mo-MuLV)-based retrovirus particles efficiently incorporate the glycoproteins of the alphavirus Ross River virus (RRV) and utilize them for entry into cells. Stable cell lines that produce the RRV glycoprotein-pseudotyped retroviruses for prolonged periods of time have been constructed. The pseudotyped viruses have a broadened host range, can be concentrated to high titer, and mediate stable transduction of genes into cells. The RRV glycoprotein-pseudotyped retroviruses and the cells that produce them have been employed to demonstrate that RRV glycoprotein-mediated viral entry occurs through endocytosis and that membrane fusion requires acidic pH. Alphavirus glycoprotein-pseudotyped retroviruses have significant advantages as reagents for the study of the biochemistry and prevention of alphavirus entry and as preferred vectors for stable gene transfer and gene therapy protocols.  (+info)

Mosquito isolates of Ross River virus from Cairns, Queensland, Australia. (8/97)

During 1996-1998 60,619 mosquitoes were collected around Cairns, Australia and processed for Alphavirus isolation. Thirty-three isolates of Ross River (RR) virus were made from 9 species, Aedes imprimens, Aedes kochi, Aedes notoscriptus, Aedes vigilax, Culex annulirostris, Culex gelidus, Mansonia septempunctata, Verrallina (formerly Aedes) carmenti, and Verrallina lineatus. Attempts to isolate RR virus from 121 Aedes aegypti were unsuccessful. Twenty-six (79%) of the isolates came from within 1 km of a colony of spectacled flying-foxes, Pteropus conspicillatus. The minimum infection rate for these mosquitoes was 1.0 compared with 0.2 per 1,000 for mosquitoes trapped at all other sites. Ross River virus has not previously been isolated from Ae. imprimens, Cx. gelidus, Ma. septempunctata, Ve. carmenti, or Ve. lineatus. This is also the first isolation of an arbovirus from Cx. gelidus in Australia. In conclusion, the vector status of Ve. carmenti, Ae. aegypti and Ma. septempunctata warrants further study. This study also provides evidence that P. conspicillatus may be a reservoir host.  (+info)