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1553-7374, 1553-7366

2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010204
Author(s):  
Jiacheng Lin ◽  
Limin Yin ◽  
Xia-Zhen Xu ◽  
He-Chen Sun ◽  
Zhi-Hua Huang ◽  
...  

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) core protein (HBc) functions in multiple steps of the viral life cycle. Heteroaryldihydropyrimidine compounds (HAPs) such as Bay41-4109 are capsid protein allosteric modulators that accelerate HBc degradation and inhibit the virion secretion of HBV, specifically by misleading HBc assembly into aberrant non-capsid polymers. However, the subsequent cellular fates of these HAP-induced aberrant non-capsid polymers are not well understood. Here, we discovered that that the chaperone-binding E3 ubiquitin ligase protein STUB1 is required for the removal of Bay41-4109-induced aberrant non-capsid polymers from HepAD38 cells. Specifically, STUB1 recruits BAG3 to transport Bay41-4109-induced aberrant non-capsid polymers to the perinuclear region of cells, thereby initiating p62-mediated macroautophagy and lysosomal degradation. We also demonstrate that elevating the STUB1 level enhances the inhibitory effect of Bay41-4109 on the production of HBeAg and HBV virions in HepAD38 cells, in HBV-infected HepG2-NTCP cells, and in HBV transgenic mice. STUB1 overexpression also facilitates the inhibition of Bay41-4109 on the cccDNA formation in de novo infection of HBV. Understanding these molecular details paves the way for applying HAPs as a potentially curative regimen (or a component of a combination treatment) for eradicating HBV from hepatocytes of chronic infection patients.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1009828
Author(s):  
Benjamin J. Hulme ◽  
Kathrin K. Geyer ◽  
Josephine E. Forde-Thomas ◽  
Gilda Padalino ◽  
Dylan W. Phillips ◽  
...  

α-galactosidase (α-GAL) and α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (α-NAGAL) are two glycosyl hydrolases responsible for maintaining cellular homeostasis by regulating glycan substrates on proteins and lipids. Mutations in the human genes encoding either enzyme lead to neurological and neuromuscular impairments seen in both Fabry- and Schindler/Kanzaki- diseases. Here, we investigate whether the parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni, responsible for the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis, also contains functionally important α-GAL and α-NAGAL proteins. As infection, parasite maturation and host interactions are all governed by carefully-regulated glycosylation processes, inhibiting S. mansoni’s α-GAL and α-NAGAL activities could lead to the development of novel chemotherapeutics. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses of putative α-GAL/α-NAGAL protein types showed Smp_089290 to be the only S. mansoni protein to contain the functional amino acid residues necessary for α-GAL/α-NAGAL substrate cleavage. Both α-GAL and α-NAGAL enzymatic activities were higher in females compared to males (p<0.05; α-NAGAL > α-GAL), which was consistent with smp_089290’s female biased expression. Spatial localisation of smp_089290 revealed accumulation in parenchymal cells, neuronal cells, and the vitellaria and mature vitellocytes of the adult schistosome. siRNA-mediated knockdown (>90%) of smp_089290 in adult worms significantly inhibited α-NAGAL activity when compared to control worms (siLuc treated males, p<0.01; siLuc treated females, p<0.05). No significant reductions in α-GAL activities were observed in the same extracts. Despite this, decreases in α-NAGAL activities correlated with a significant inhibition in adult worm motility as well as in egg production. Programmed CRISPR/Cas9 editing of smp_089290 in adult worms confirmed the egg reduction phenotype. Based on these results, Smp_089290 was determined to act predominantly as an α-NAGAL (hereafter termed SmNAGAL) in schistosome parasites where it participates in coordinating movement and oviposition processes. Further characterisation of SmNAGAL and other functionally important glycosyl hydrolases may lead to the development of a novel anthelmintic class of compounds.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010219
Author(s):  
Aaqib Sohail ◽  
Azeem A. Iqbal ◽  
Nishika Sahini ◽  
Fangfang Chen ◽  
Mohamed Tantawy ◽  
...  

Excessive inflammation is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in many viral infections including influenza. Therefore, there is a need for therapeutic interventions that dampen and redirect inflammatory responses and, ideally, exert antiviral effects. Itaconate is an immunomodulatory metabolite which also reprograms cell metabolism and inflammatory responses when applied exogenously. We evaluated effects of endogenous itaconate and exogenous application of itaconate and its variants dimethyl- and 4-octyl-itaconate (DI, 4OI) on host responses to influenza A virus (IAV). Infection induced expression of ACOD1, the enzyme catalyzing itaconate synthesis, in monocytes and macrophages, which correlated with viral replication and was abrogated by DI and 4OI treatment. In IAV-infected mice, pulmonary inflammation and weight loss were greater in Acod1-/- than in wild-type mice, and DI treatment reduced pulmonary inflammation and mortality. The compounds reversed infection-triggered interferon responses and modulated inflammation in human cells supporting non-productive and productive infection, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and in human lung tissue. Itaconates reduced ROS levels and STAT1 phosphorylation, whereas AKT phosphorylation was reduced by 4OI and DI but increased by itaconate. Single-cell RNA sequencing identified monocytes as the main target of infection and the exclusive source of ACOD1 mRNA in peripheral blood. DI treatment silenced IFN-responses predominantly in monocytes, but also in lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Ectopic synthesis of itaconate in A549 cells, which do not physiologically express ACOD1, reduced infection-driven inflammation, and DI reduced IAV- and IFNγ-induced CXCL10 expression in murine macrophages independent of the presence of endogenous ACOD1. The compounds differed greatly in their effects on cellular gene homeostasis and released cytokines/chemokines, but all three markedly reduced release of the pro-inflammatory chemokines CXCL10 (IP-10) and CCL2 (MCP-1). Viral replication did not increase under treatment despite the dramatically repressed IFN responses. In fact, 4OI strongly inhibited viral transcription in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and the compounds reduced viral titers (4OI>Ita>DI) in A549 cells whereas viral transcription was unaffected. Taken together, these results reveal itaconates as immunomodulatory and antiviral interventions for influenza virus infection.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010200
Author(s):  
Aparna Jorapur ◽  
Lisa A. Marshall ◽  
Scott Jacobson ◽  
Mengshu Xu ◽  
Sachie Marubayashi ◽  
...  

The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is involved in the etiology of multiple hematologic and epithelial human cancers. EBV+ tumors employ multiple immune escape mechanisms, including the recruitment of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Treg). Here, we show some EBV+ tumor cells express high levels of the chemokines CCL17 and CCL22 both in vitro and in vivo and that this expression mirrors the expression levels of expression of the EBV LMP1 gene in vitro. Patient samples from lymphoblastic (Hodgkin lymphoma) and epithelial (nasopharyngeal carcinoma; NPC) EBV+ tumors revealed CCL17 and CCL22 expression of both tumor cell-intrinsic and -extrinsic origin, depending on tumor type. NPCs grown as mouse xenografts likewise showed both mechanisms of chemokine production. Single cell RNA-sequencing revealed in vivo tumor cell-intrinsic CCL17 and CCL22 expression combined with expression from infiltrating classical resident and migratory dendritic cells in a CT26 colon cancer mouse tumor engineered to express LMP1. These data suggest that EBV-driven tumors employ dual mechanisms for CCL17 and CCL22 production. Importantly, both in vitro and in vivo Treg migration was effectively blocked by a novel, small molecule antagonist of CCR4, CCR4-351. Antagonism of the CCR4 receptor may thus be an effective means of activating the immune response against a wide spectrum of EBV+ tumors.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010161
Author(s):  
César Muñoz-Fontela ◽  
Lina Widerspick ◽  
Randy A. Albrecht ◽  
Martin Beer ◽  
Miles W. Carroll ◽  
...  

The global response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now facing new challenges such as vaccine inequity and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). Preclinical models of disease, in particular animal models, are essential to investigate VOC pathogenesis, vaccine correlates of protection and postexposure therapies. Here, we provide an update from the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 modeling expert group (WHO-COM) assembled by WHO, regarding advances in preclinical models. In particular, we discuss how animal model research is playing a key role to evaluate VOC virulence, transmission and immune escape, and how animal models are being refined to recapitulate COVID-19 demographic variables such as comorbidities and age.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010171
Author(s):  
Judith Grau-Expósito ◽  
David Perea ◽  
Marina Suppi ◽  
Núria Massana ◽  
Ander Vergara ◽  
...  

The development of physiological models that reproduce SARS-CoV-2 infection in primary human cells will be instrumental to identify host-pathogen interactions and potential therapeutics. Here, using cell suspensions directly from primary human lung tissues (HLT), we have developed a rapid platform for the identification of viral targets and the expression of viral entry factors, as well as for the screening of viral entry inhibitors and anti-inflammatory compounds. The direct use of HLT cells, without long-term cell culture and in vitro differentiation approaches, preserves main immune and structural cell populations, including the most susceptible cell targets for SARS-CoV-2; alveolar type II (AT-II) cells, while maintaining the expression of proteins involved in viral infection, such as ACE2, TMPRSS2, CD147 and AXL. Further, antiviral testing of 39 drug candidates reveals a highly reproducible method, suitable for different SARS-CoV-2 variants, and provides the identification of new compounds missed by conventional systems, such as VeroE6. Using this method, we also show that interferons do not modulate ACE2 expression, and that stimulation of local inflammatory responses can be modulated by different compounds with antiviral activity. Overall, we present a relevant and rapid method for the study of SARS-CoV-2.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010242
Author(s):  
Dina Khateeb ◽  
Tslil Gabrieli ◽  
Bar Sofer ◽  
Adi Hattar ◽  
Sapir Cordela ◽  
...  

In-depth analysis of SARS-CoV-2 quasispecies is pivotal for a thorough understating of its evolution during infection. The recent deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, which elicit protective anti-spike neutralizing antibodies, has stressed the importance of uncovering and characterizing SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutated spike proteins. Sequencing databases have allowed to follow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants that are circulating in the human population, and several experimental platforms were developed to study these variants. However, less is known about the SARS-CoV-2 variants that are developed in the respiratory system of the infected individual. To gain further insight on SARS-CoV-2 mutagenesis during natural infection, we preformed single-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from nose-throat swabs of infected individuals. Interestingly, intra-host SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutated S genes or N genes were detected in all individuals who were analyzed. These intra-host variants were present in low frequencies in the swab samples and were rarely documented in current sequencing databases. Further examination of representative spike variants identified by our analysis showed that these variants have impaired infectivity capacity and that the mutated variants showed varied sensitivity to neutralization by convalescent plasma and to plasma from vaccinated individuals. Notably, analysis of the plasma neutralization activity against these variants showed that the L1197I mutation at the S2 subunit of the spike can affect the plasma neutralization activity. Together, these results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 intra-host variants should be further analyzed for a more thorough characterization of potential circulating variants.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010166
Author(s):  
Thao Thanh Tran ◽  
Carmen D. Mathmann ◽  
Marcela Gatica-Andrades ◽  
Rachel F. Rollo ◽  
Melanie Oelker ◽  
...  

A hallmark of Listeria (L.) monocytogenes pathogenesis is bacterial escape from maturing entry vacuoles, which is required for rapid bacterial replication in the host cell cytoplasm and cell-to-cell spread. The bacterial transcriptional activator PrfA controls expression of key virulence factors that enable exploitation of this intracellular niche. The transcriptional activity of PrfA within infected host cells is controlled by allosteric coactivation. Inhibitory occupation of the coactivator site has been shown to impair PrfA functions, but consequences of PrfA inhibition for L. monocytogenes infection and pathogenesis are unknown. Here we report the crystal structure of PrfA with a small molecule inhibitor occupying the coactivator site at 2.0 Å resolution. Using molecular imaging and infection studies in macrophages, we demonstrate that PrfA inhibition prevents the vacuolar escape of L. monocytogenes and enables extensive bacterial replication inside spacious vacuoles. In contrast to previously described spacious Listeria-containing vacuoles, which have been implicated in supporting chronic infection, PrfA inhibition facilitated progressive clearance of intracellular L. monocytogenes from spacious vacuoles through lysosomal degradation. Thus, inhibitory occupation of the PrfA coactivator site facilitates formation of a transient intravacuolar L. monocytogenes replication niche that licenses macrophages to effectively eliminate intracellular bacteria. Our findings encourage further exploration of PrfA as a potential target for antimicrobials and highlight that intra-vacuolar residence of L. monocytogenes in macrophages is not inevitably tied to bacterial persistence.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010176
Author(s):  
Srikanth Mairpady Shambat ◽  
Alejandro Gómez-Mejia ◽  
Tiziano A. Schweizer ◽  
Markus Huemer ◽  
Chun-Chi Chang ◽  
...  

COVID-19 displays diverse disease severities and symptoms including acute systemic inflammation and hypercytokinemia, with subsequent dysregulation of immune cells. Bacterial superinfections in COVID-19 can further complicate the disease course and are associated with increased mortality. However, there is limited understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and hypercytokinemia impede the innate immune function against bacterial superinfections. We assessed the influence of COVID-19 plasma hypercytokinemia on the functional responses of myeloid immune cells upon bacterial challenges from acute-phase COVID-19 patients and their corresponding recovery (rec)-phase. We show that a severe hypercytokinemia status in COVID-19 patients correlates with the development of bacterial superinfections. Neutrophils and monocytes derived from COVID-19 patients in their acute-phase showed an impaired intracellular microbicidal capacity upon bacterial challenges. The impaired microbicidal capacity was reflected by abrogated MPO and reduced NETs production in neutrophils along with reduced ROS production in both neutrophils and monocytes. Moreover, we observed a distinct pattern of cell surface receptor expression on both neutrophils and monocytes, in line with suppressed autocrine and paracrine cytokine signaling. This phenotype was characterized by a high expression of CD66b, CXCR4 and low expression of CXCR1, CXCR2 and CD15 in neutrophils and low expression of HLA-DR, CD86 and high expression of CD163 and CD11b in monocytes. Furthermore, the impaired antibacterial effector function was mediated by synergistic effect of the cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-4. COVID-19 patients receiving dexamethasone showed a significant reduction of overall inflammatory markers in the plasma as well as exhibited an enhanced immune response towards bacterial challenge ex vivo. Finally, broad anti-inflammatory treatment was associated with a reduction in CRP, IL-6 levels as well as length of ICU and hospital stay in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Our data provides insights into the transient functional dysregulation of myeloid immune cells against subsequent bacterial infections in COVID-19 patients and describe a beneficial role for the use of dexamethasone in these patients.


2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. e1010226
Author(s):  
Carolina De Marco Verissimo ◽  
Heather L. Jewhurst ◽  
József Dobó ◽  
Péter Gál ◽  
John P. Dalton ◽  
...  

The complement system is a first-line innate host immune defence against invading pathogens. It is activated via three pathways, termed Classical, Lectin and Alternative, which are mediated by antibodies, carbohydrate arrays or microbial liposaccharides, respectively. The three complement pathways converge in the formation of C3-convertase followed by the assembly of a lethal pore-like structure, the membrane attack complex (MAC), on the pathogen surface. We found that the infectious stage of the helminth parasite Fasciola hepatica, the newly excysted juvenile (NEJ), is resistant to the damaging effects of complement. Despite being coated with mannosylated proteins, the main initiator of the Lectin pathway, the mannose binding lectin (MBL), does not bind to the surface of live NEJ. In addition, we found that recombinantly expressed serine protease inhibitors secreted by NEJ (rFhSrp1 and rFhSrp2) selectively prevent activation of the complement via the Lectin pathway. Our experiments demonstrate that rFhSrp1 and rFhSrp2 inhibit native and recombinant MBL-associated serine proteases (MASPs), impairing the primary step that mediates C3b and C4b deposition on the NEJ surface. Indeed, immunofluorescence studies show that MBL, C3b, C4b or MAC are not deposited on the surface of NEJ incubated in normal human serum. Taken together, our findings uncover new means by which a helminth parasite prevents the activation of the Lectin complement pathway to become refractory to killing via this host response, in spite of presenting an assortment of glycans on their surface.


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