39 research outputs found

    The U94 gene of human herpesvirus 6: a narrative review of its role and potential functions

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    Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a β-herpesvirus that is highly prevalent in the human population. HHV-6 comprises two recognized species (HHV-6A and HHV-6B). Despite different cell tropism and disease association, HHV-6A/B show high genome homology and harbor the conserved U94 gene, which is limited to HHV-6 and absent in all the other human herpesviruses. U94 has key functions in the virus life cycle and associated diseases, having demonstrated or putative roles in virus replication, integration, and reactivation. During natural infection, U94 elicits an immune response, and the prevalence and extent of the anti-U94 response are associated with specific diseases. Notably, U94 can entirely reproduce some virus effects at the cell level, including inhibition of cell migration, induction of cytokines and HLA-G expression, and angiogenesis inhibition, supporting a direct U94 role in the development of HHV-6-associated diseases. Moreover, specific U94 properties, such as the ability to modulate angiogenesis pathways, have been exploited to counteract cancer development. Here, we review the information available on this key HHV-6 gene, highlighting its potential uses

    Impact of HLA-G analysis in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pathological conditions.

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    Human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G) is a non-classical HLA class I molecule that differs from classical HLA class I molecules by low polymorphism and tissue distribution. HLA-G is a tolerogenic molecule with an immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory function on both innate and adaptative immunity. This peculiar characteristic of HLA-G has led to investigations of its role in pathological conditions in order to define possible uses in diagnosis, prevention and treatment. In recent years, HLA-G has been shown to have an important implication in different inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, pregnancy complications, tumor development and aggressiveness, and susceptibility to viral infections. In fact, HLA-G molecules have been reported to alternate at both genetic and protein level in different disease situations, supporting its crucial role in pathological conditions. Specific pathologies show altered levels of soluble (s)HLA-G and different HLA-G gene polymorphisms seem to correlate with disease. This review aims to update scientific knowledge on the contribution of HLA-G in managing pathological conditions

    Virologic and immunologic evidence supporting an association between HHV-6 and Hashimoto's thyroiditis

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    Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) is the most common of all thyroid diseases and is characterized by abundant lymphocyte infiltrate and thyroid impairment, caused by various cell- and antibody-mediated immune processes. Viral infections have been suggested as possible environmental triggers, but conclusive data are not available. We analyzed the presence and transcriptional state of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in thyroid fine needle aspirates (FNA) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 34 HT patients and 28 controls, showing that HHV-6 DNA prevalence (82% vs. 10%, p≤0.001) and viral load were significantly increased in FNA from HT patients, and thyrocytes from HT FNA displayed a 100-fold higher HHV-6 DNA load compared to infiltrating lymphocytes. In addition, while HHV-6 was strictly latent in positive samples from controls, a low grade acute infection was detected in HT samples. HHV-6 variant characterization was carried out in 10 HT FNA samples, determining that all specimens harbored HHV-6 Variant A. The tropism of HHV-6 for thyroid cells was verified by infection of Nthy-ori3-1, a thyroid follicular epithelial cell line, showing that thyrocytes are permissive to HHV-6 replication, which induces de novo expression of HLA class II antigens. Furthermore, HHV-6-infected Nthy-ori3-1 cells become targets for NK-mediated killing, NK cells from HT patients show a significantly more efficient killing of HHV-6 infected thyroid cells than healthy controls, and HT patients have increased T-cell responses to HHV-6 U94 protein, associated to viral latency. These observations suggest a potential role for HHV-6 (possibly variant A) in the development or triggering of HT

    Studio delle alterazioni nelle risposte antiviralidell'immunitĂ  innata in pazienti con Sclerosi Multipla

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    I pazienti con sclerosi multipla hanno una alterazione dell'immunjità innata, che li rende più suscettibili alle infezioni virali. Tale alterazione è associata ad una mancata attivazione delle cellule N

    Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) U94/REP protein inhibits betaherpesvirus replication.

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    Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is the only human herpesvirus encoding U94/rep, homologue to the parvovirus non-structural gene rep68/78. Results to date suggest that HHV-6 U94/rep might regulate viral gene expression and have a role in viral latency. To determine the effect of U94/REP upon viral replication, the protein was produced. The purified U94/REP retained the characteristic immunological features. It was internalized and localized in the nucleus of human cells, showing marked inhibitory activity on the replication of HHV-6 (both variants A and B). The effect of U94/REP was dose-dependent and sensitive to treatment with single-stranded but not double-stranded DNA. U94/REP inhibited the replication of other betaherpesviruses, HHV-7 and human cytomegalovirus, but had no effect on herpes simplex virus. These results confirm the action of U94/rep latency gene in the regulation of HHV-6 replication with implications for co-reactivations and latency of human betaherpesviruses

    Detection of Antibodies Directed against Human Herpesvirus 6 U94/REP in Sera of Patients Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

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    The association between human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and multiple sclerosis (MS) is controversial. In fact, it is difficult to establish a causative role of HHV-6, due to the high prevalence of latently infected individuals in the healthy population. Therefore, the presence of virus sequences in tissue biopsy does not support a viral role, and serological assays do not show significant differences between MS patients and control populations. The only viral gene expressed during latency is U94/rep. Therefore, we have developed a serological assay for the detection of antibodies specifically directed against U94/REP protein. Different populations were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, including healthy controls, MS patients, and subjects with diseases unrelated to HHV-6 infection, including other neurological diseases. The results show statistically significant differences (P > 0.01) between MS patients and control groups, both in antibody prevalence (87 and 43.9%, respectively) and in geometric mean titer (1:515 and 1:190, respectively). The detection of antibodies specific for HHV-6 U94/REP shows that the immune system is exposed to this antigen during natural infection. The higher prevalence and higher titers of antibodies to U94/REP suggest that MS patients and control groups might experience different exposures to HHV-6

    Transcription Pattern of Human Herpesvirus 8 Open Reading Frame K3 in Primary Effusion Lymphoma and Kaposi's Sarcoma

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    Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is found in immunoblastic B cells of patients with multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD) and, predominantly in a latent form, in primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cells and Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) spindle cells. Recent studies have shown that upon reactivation, HHV-8 expresses factors that down-regulate major histocompatibility class I proteins and coactivation molecules and that may enable productively infected cells to escape cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cell responses. One of these viral factors is encoded by open reading frame (ORF) K3. Here we show that in PEL cells, ORF K3 is expressed through viral transcripts that are induced very early upon virus reactivation, including bicistronic RNA molecules containing coding sequences from viral ORFs K3 and 70. Specifically, we found that a bicistronic transcript was expressed in the absence of de novo protein synthesis, thereby identifying a novel HHV-8 immediate-early gene product. Several features of the RNA molecules encoding the K3 product, including multiple transcriptional start sites, multiple donor splicing sites, and potential alternative ATG usage, suggest that there exists a finely tuned modulation of ORF K3 expression. By contrast, ORF K3 transcripts are not detected in the majority of cells present in KS lesions that are latently infected by the virus, suggesting that there are other, as-yet-unknown mechanisms of immune evasion for infected KS spindle cells. Nevertheless, because HHV-8 viremia precedes the development of KS lesions and is associated with the recrudescence of MCD symptoms, the prompt expression of ORF K3 in productively infected circulating cells may be important for virus pathogenesis. Thus, molecules targeting host or viral factors that activate ORF K3 expression or inactivate the biological functions of the K3 product should be exploited for the prevention or treatment of HHV-8-associated diseases in at-risk individuals

    Novel human herpesviruses and multiple sclerosis

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    It has been suggested that human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) might be involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, studies of the association between HHV-6 and MS are hindered by the difficulty in discriminating between latent and active infection. We undertook a study to determine whether HHV-6 establish a systemic active infection in the course of MS, and to investigate possible roles of HHV-7, a herpesvirus closely related to HHV-6. To discriminate between latent and active infection, we analysed viral transcription. The results indicate that both viruses are prevalent in PBMCs of MS patients as in healthy controls, and that viral sequences are maintained in a non-trascriptional state. These observations indicate that further studies should define the state of viral persistence in the central nervous system
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