149 research outputs found

    Truncation of gene F5L partially masks rescue of vaccinia virus strain MVA growth on mammalian cells by restricting plaque size

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    Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a candidate vaccine vector that is severely attenuated due to mutations acquired during several hundred rounds of serial passage in vitro. A previous study used marker rescue to produce a set of MVA recombinants with improved replication on mammalian cells. Here, we extended the characterization of these rescued MVA strains and identified vaccinia virus (VACV) gene F5L as a determinant of plaque morphology but not replication in vitro. F5 joins a growing group of VACV proteins that influence plaque formation more strongly than virus replication and which are disrupted in MVA. These defective genes in MVA confound the interpretation of marker rescue experiments designed to map mutations responsible for the attenuation of this important VACV strain.This work was funded by grants to DCT: NHMRC APP1023141 and ARC FT110100310

    Engineering herpes simplex viruses by infection–transfection methods including recombination site targeting by CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases

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    Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) are frequent human pathogens and the ability to engineer these viruses underpins much research into their biology and pathogenesis. Often the ultimate aim is to produce a virus that has the desired phenotypic change and no additional alterations in characteristics. This requires methods that minimally disrupt the genome and, for insertions of foreign DNA, sites must be found that can be engineered without disrupting HSV gene function or expression. This study advances both of these requirements. Firstly, the use of homologous recombination between the virus genome and plasmids in mammalian cells is a reliable way to engineer HSV such that minimal genome changes are made. This has most frequently been achieved by cotransfection of plasmid and isolated viral genomic DNA, but an alternative is to supply the virus genome by infection in a transfection-infection method. Such approaches can also incorporate CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering methods. Current descriptions of infection-transfection methods, either with or without the addition of CRISPR/Cas9 targeting, are limited in detail and the extent of optimization. In this study it was found that transfection efficiency and the length of homologous sequences improve the efficiency of recombination in these methods, but the targeting of the locus to be engineered by CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases has an overriding positive impact. Secondly, the intergenic space between UL26 and UL27 was reexamined as a site for the addition of foreign DNA and a position identified that allows insertions without compromising HSV growth in vitro or in vivo.This work was funded by NHMRC Project Grant APP1005846 and ARC Future Fellowship FT110100310

    Immunodomination during peripheral vaccinia virus infection

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    Immunodominance is a fundamental property of CD8+ T cell responses to viruses and vaccines. It had been observed that route of administration alters immunodominance after vaccinia virus (VACV) infection, but only a few epitopes were examined and no mechanism was provided. We re-visited this issue, examining a panel of 15 VACV epitopes and four routes, namely intradermal (i.d.), subcutaneous (s.c.), intraperitoneal (i.p.) and intravenous (i.v.) injection. We found that immunodominance is sharpened following peripheral routes of infection (i.d. and s.c.) compared with those that allow systemic virus dissemination (i.p. and i.v.). This increased immunodominance was demonstrated with native epitopes of VACV and with herpes simplex virus glycoprotein B when expressed from VACV. Responses to some subdominant epitopes were altered by as much as fourfold. Tracking of virus, examination of priming sites, and experiments restricting virus spread showed that priming of CD8+ T cells in the spleen was necessary, but not sufficient to broaden responses. Further, we directly demonstrated that immunodomination occurs more readily when priming is mainly in lymph nodes. Finally, we were able to reduce immunodominance after i.d., but not i.p. infection, using a VACV expressing the costimulators CD8+ (B7-1) and CD8+ (B7-2), which is notable because VACV-based vaccines incorporating these molecules are in clinical trials. Taken together, our data indicate that resources for CD8+ T cell priming are limiting in local draining lymph nodes, leading to greater immunodomination. Further, we provide evidence that costimulation can be a limiting factor that contributes to immunodomination. These results shed light on a possible mechanism of immunodomination and highlight the need to consider multiple epitopes across the spectrum of immunogenicities in studies aimed at understanding CD8+ T cell immunity to viruses.NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia

    Reduced Interleukin-4 Receptor α Expression on CD8+ T Cells Correlates with Higher Quality Anti-Viral Immunity

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    With the hope of understanding how interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 modulated quality of anti-viral CD8(+) T cells, we evaluated the expression of receptors for these cytokines following a range of viral infections (e.g. pox viruses and influenza virus). Results clearly indicated that unlike other IL-4/IL-13 receptor subunits, IL-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα) was significantly down-regulated on anti-viral CD8(+) T cells in a cognate antigen dependent manner. The infection of gene knockout mice and wild-type (WT) mice with vaccinia virus (VV) or VV expressing IL-4 confirmed that IL-4, IL-13 and signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) were required to increase IL-4Rα expression on CD8(+) T cells, but not interferon (IFN)-γ. STAT6 dependent elevation of IL-4Rα expression on CD8(+) T cells was a feature of poor quality anti-viral CD8(+) T cell immunity as measured by the production of IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) in response to VV antigen stimulation in vitro. We propose that down-regulation of IL-4Rα, but not the other IL-4/IL-13 receptor subunits, is a mechanism by which CD8(+) T cells reduce responsiveness to IL-4 and IL-13. This can improve the quality of anti-viral CD8(+) T cell immunity. Our findings have important implications in understanding anti-viral CD8(+) T cell immunity and designing effective vaccines against chronic viral infections.This work was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council project grant award 525431 (CR) and development grant award APP1000703 (CR) and the Australian Centre for Hepatitis and HIV Virology EOI grant 2010 (CR). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript

    IL-4 and IL-13 mediated down-regulation of CD8 expression levels can dampen anti-viral CD8⁺ T cell avidity following HIV-1 recombinant pox viral vaccination

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    We have shown that mucosal HIV-1 recombinant pox viral vaccination can induce high, avidity HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells with reduced interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 expression compared to, systemic vaccine delivery. In the current study how these cytokines act to regulate anti-viral CD8(+) T, cell avidity following HIV-1 recombinant pox viral prime-boost vaccination was investigated. Out of a panel of T cell avidity markers tested, only CD8 expression levels were found to be enhanced on, KdGag197-205 (HIV)-specific CD8(+) T cells obtained from IL-13(-/-), IL-4(-/-) and signal transducer and, activator of transcription of 6 (STAT6)(-/-) mice compared to wild-type (WT) controls following, vaccination. Elevated CD8 expression levels in this instance also correlated with polyfunctionality, (interferon (IFN)-γ, tumour necorsis factor (TNF)-α and IL-2 production) and the avidity of HIVspecific CD8(+) T cells. Furthermore, mucosal vaccination and vaccination with the novel adjuvanted IL-13 inhibitor (i.e. IL-13Rα2) vaccines significantly enhanced CD8 expression levels on HIV-specific CD8(+), T cells, which correlated with avidity. Using anti-CD8 antibodies that blocked CD8 availability on CD8(+), T cells, it was established that CD8 played an important role in increasing HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell avidity and polyfunctionality in IL-4(-/-), IL-13(-/-) and STAT6(-/-) mice compared to WT controls, following vaccination. Collectively, our data demonstrate that IL-4 and IL-13 dampen CD8 expression levels on anti-viral CD8(+) T cells, which can down-regulate anti-viral CD8(+) T cell avidity and, polyfunctionality following HIV-1 recombinant pox viral vaccination. These findings can be exploited to, design more efficacious vaccines not only against HIV-1, but many chronic infections where high, avidity CD8(+) T cells help protection.This work was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council project grant award 525431 (CR) and development grant award APP1000703 (CR), the Australian Centre for Hepatitis and HIV Virology EOI grant 2010/12 (CR&RJ), and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation GCE Phase I grant OPP1015149 (CR)

    Vaccinia Virus Gene B7R Encodes an 18-kDa Protein That is Resident in the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Affects Virus Virulence

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    AbstractThis paper presents a characterisation of vaccinia virus (VV) gene B7R that was predicted to encode a polypeptide of 182 amino acids with an N-terminal signal peptide. In vitro transcription and translation analysis showed the B7R gene product was a 21-kDa protein that, in the presence of microsomes, was processed into an 18-kDa mature form. The 18-kDa form associated with the microsomal membranes and was within the lumen of the vesicle where it was inaccessible to exogenous protease or an antibody raised against the B7R C terminus. Within VV-infected cells, the 18-kDa form of B7R was detected late during infection in the endoplasmic reticulum where it colocalised with protein disulphide isomerase. The B7R protein was detected neither in the culture supernatant nor associated with virus particles. A virus deletion mutant lacking the B7R gene and a revertant virus were constructed. Compared to wild-type and revertant viruses, the deletion mutant replicated normally in cell culture and had unaltered virulence in a murine intranasal model of infection. However, the deletion mutant was attenuated in a murine intradermal model where it induced a smaller lesion than the control viruses

    An intact signal peptide on dengue virus E protein enhances immunogenicity for CD8+ T cells and antibody when expressed from modified vaccinia Ankara

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    Dengue is a global public health concern and this is aggravated by a lack of vaccines or antiviral therapies. Despite the well-known role of CD8(+) T cells in the immunopathogenesis of Dengue virus (DENV), only recent studies have highlighted the importance of this arm of the immune response in protection against the disease. Thus, the majority of DENV vaccine candidates are designed to achieve protective titers of neutralizing antibodies, with less regard for cellular responses. Here, we used a mouse model to investigate CD8(+) T cell and humoral responses to a set of potential DENV vaccines based on recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA). To enable this study, we identified two CD8(+) T cell epitopes in the DENV-3 E protein in C57BL/6 mice. Using these we found that all the rMVA vaccines elicited DENV-specific CD8(+) T cells that were cytotoxic in vivo and polyfunctional in vitro. Moreover, vaccines expressing the E protein with an intact signal peptide sequence elicited more DENV-specific CD8(+) T cells than those expressing E proteins in the cytoplasm. Significantly, it was these same ER-targeted E protein vaccines that elicited antibody responses. Our results support the further development of rMVA vaccines expressing DENV E proteins and add to the tools available for dengue vaccine development.Parts of this work were supported by the InstitutoNacional de Ciência e Tecnologia de Vacinas–INCTV (National Insti-tute of Science and Technology of Vaccines) and by a FAPEMIGPPM grant (CBB, PPM-00461-11). BRQ was a CAPES/PDSE fellow-ship recipient (8815-11-9). FGF is a CNPq fellowship recipient. DCTis an ARC Future Fellow (FT110100310)

    Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents

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    The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype. © 2012 Kerr et al

    Comparative analysis of the complete genome sequence of the California MSW strain of myxoma virus reveals potential host adaptations

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    Myxomatosis is a rapidly lethal disease of European rabbits that is caused by myxoma virus (MYXV). The introduction of a South American strain of MYXV into the European rabbit population of Australia is the classic case of host-pathogen coevolution following cross-species transmission. The most virulent strains of MYXV for European rabbits are the Californian viruses, found in the Pacific states of the United States and the Baja Peninsula, Mexico. The natural host of Californian MYXV is the brush rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani. We determined the complete sequence of the MSW strain of Californian MYXV and performed a comparative analysis with other MYXV genomes. The MSW genome is larger than that of the South American Lausanne (type) strain of MYXV due to an expansion of the terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) of the genome, with duplication of the M156R, M154L, M153R, M152R, and M151R genes and part of the M150R gene from the right-hand (RH) end of the genome at the left-hand (LH) TIR. Despite the extreme virulence of MSW, no novel genes were identified; five genes were disrupted by multiple indels or mutations to the ATG start codon, including two genes, M008.1L/R and M152R, with major virulence functions in European rabbits, and a sixth gene, M000.5L/R, was absent. The loss of these gene functions suggests that S. bachmani is a relatively recent host for MYXV and that duplication of virulence genes in the TIRs, gene loss, or sequence variation in other genes can compensate for the loss of M008.1L/R and M152R in infections of European rabbits.This work was funded in part by grant R01 AI093804 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. E.C.H. was supported by an NHMRC Australia Fellowship, and D.C.T. was supported by an ARC Future Fellowship

    Genome scale evolution of myxoma virus reveals host-pathogen adaptation and rapid geographic spread

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    The evolutionary interplay between myxoma virus (MYXV) and the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) following release of the virus in Australia in 1950 as a biological control is a classic example of host-pathogen coevolution. We present a detailed genomic and phylogeographic analysis of 30 strains of MYXV, including the Australian progenitor strain Standard Laboratory Strain (SLS), 24 Australian viruses isolated from 1951 to 1999, and three isolates from the early radiation in Britain from 1954 and 1955. We show that in Australia MYXV has spread rapidly on a spatial scale, with multiple lineages cocirculating within individual localities, and that both highly virulent and attenuated viruses were still present in the field through the 1990s. In addition, the detection of closely related virus lineages at sites 1,000 km apart suggests that MYXV moves freely in geographic space, with mosquitoes, fleas, and rabbit migration all providing means of transport. Strikingly, despite multiple introductions, all modern viruses appear to be ultimately derived from the original introductions of SLS. The rapidity of MYXV evolution was also apparent at the genomic scale, with gene duplications documented in a number of viruses. Duplication of potential virulence genes may be important in increasing the expression of virulence proteins and provides the basis for the evolution of novel functions. Mutations leading to loss of open reading frames were surprisingly frequent and in some cases may explain attenuation, but no common mutations that correlated with virulence or attenuation were identified.This work was funded in part by grant R01 AI093804 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. E.C.H. is funded by an NHMRC Australia Fellowship. D.C.T. is funded by an ARC Future Fellowship
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