Human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) is a T-lymphotropic virus and the etiological agent of exanthem subitum. HHV-6B is present in a latent or persistent form after primary infection and is produced in the salivary glands or transmitted to this organ. Infected individuals continue to secrete the virus in their saliva, which is thus considered a source for virus transmission. HHV-6B primarily propagates in T cells because its entry receptor, CD134, is mainly expressed by activated T cells. The virus then spreads to the host’s organs, including the salivary glands, nervous system, and liver. However, CD134 expression is not detected in these organs. Therefore, HHV-6B may be entering cells via a currently unidentified cell surface molecule, but the mechanisms for this have not yet been investigated. In this study, we investigated a CD134-independent virus entry mechanism in the parotid-derived cell line HSY. First, we confirmed viral infection in CD134-membrane unanchored HSY cells. We then determined that nectin cell adhesion molecule 2 (nectin-2) mediated virus entry and that HHV-6B-insensitive T-cells transduced with nectin-2 were transformed into virus-permissive cells. We also found that virus entry was significantly reduced in nectin-2 knockout parotid-derived cells. Furthermore, we showed that HHV-6B glycoprotein B (gB) interacted with the nectin-2 V-set domain. The results suggest that nectin-2 acts as an HHV-6B entry-mediated protein.
In a population with ongoing vaccination, the trajectory of a pandemic is determined by how the virus spreads in unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals that exhibit distinct transmission dynamics based on different levels of natural and vaccine-induced immunity. We developed a mathematical model that considers both subpopulations and immunity parameters, including vaccination rates, vaccine effectiveness, and a gradual loss of protection. The model forecasted the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant in the US under varied transmission and vaccination rates. We further obtained the control reproduction number and conducted sensitivity analyses to determine how each parameter may affect virus transmission. Although our model has several limitations, the number of infected individuals was shown to be a magnitude greater (~10×) in the unvaccinated subpopulation compared to the vaccinated subpopulation. Our results show that a combination of strengthening vaccine-induced immunity and preventative behavioral measures like face mask-wearing and contact tracing will likely be required to deaccelerate the spread of infectious SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Tripartite motif protein 21 (TRIM21) is an interferon-inducible E3 ligase, containing one RING finger domain, one B-box motif, one coiled-coil domain at the N-terminal, as well as one PRY domain and one SPRY domain at the C-terminal. TRIM21 is expressed in many tissues and plays an important role in systemic autoimmunity. However, TRIM21 plays different roles in different virus infections. In this study, we evaluate the relationship between porcine TRIM21 and PCV2 infection as well as host immune responses. We found that PCV2 infection modulated the expression of porcine TRIM21. TRIM21 can enhance interferons and proinflammatory factors and decrease cellular apoptosis in PCV2-infected cells. These results indicate that porcine TRIM21 plays a critical role in enhancing PCV2 infection, which is a promising target for controlling and developing the treatment of PCV2 infection.
Although many persons in the United States have acquired immunity to COVID-19, either through vaccination or infection with SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 will pose an ongoing threat to non-immune persons so long as disease transmission continues. We can estimate when sustained disease transmission will end in a population by calculating the population-specific basic reproduction number , the expected number of secondary cases generated by an infected person in the absence of any interventions. The value of relates to a herd immunity threshold (HIT), which is given by . When the immune fraction of a population exceeds this threshold, sustained disease transmission becomes exponentially unlikely (barring mutations allowing SARS-CoV-2 to escape immunity). Here, we report state-level estimates obtained using Bayesian inference. Maximum a posteriori estimates range from 7.1 for New Jersey to 2.3 for Wyoming, indicating that disease transmission varies considerably across states and that reaching herd immunity will be more difficult in some states than others. estimates were obtained from compartmental models via the next-generation matrix approach after each model was parameterized using regional daily confirmed case reports of COVID-19 from 21 January 2020 to 21 June 2020. Our estimates characterize the infectiousness of ancestral strains, but they can be used to determine HITs for a distinct, currently dominant circulating strain, such as SARS-CoV-2 variant Delta (lineage B.1.617.2), if the relative infectiousness of the strain can be ascertained. On the basis of Delta-adjusted HITs, vaccination data, and seroprevalence survey data, we found that no state had achieved herd immunity as of 20 September 2021.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is an emerging public health concern and there is an urgent need for ways to rapidly identify cases so that outbreaks can be managed effectively. Conventional testing for HAV relies on anti-HAV IgM seropositivity. However, studies estimate that 10–30% of patients may not be diagnosed by serology. Molecular assays that can directly detect viral nucleic acids have the potential to improve diagnosis, which is key to prevent the spread of infections. In this study, we developed a real-time PCR (RT-PCR) assay to detect HAV RNA for the identification of acute HAV infection. Primers were designed to target the conserved 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) of HAV, and the assay was optimized on both the Qiagen Rotor-Gene and the BD MAX. We successfully detected HAV from patient serum and stool samples with moderate differences in sensitivity and specificity depending on the platform used. Our results highlight the clinical utility of using a molecular assay to detect HAV from various specimen types that can be implemented in hospitals to assist with diagnostics, treatment and prevention.
The rapid emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants is fueling the recent waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we assessed ACE2 binding and antigenicity of Mu (B.1.621) and A.2.5 Spikes. Both these variants carry some mutations shared by other emerging variants. Some of the pivotal mutations such as N501Y and E484K in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) detected in B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta) and P.1 (Gamma) are now present within the Mu variant. Similarly, the L452R mutation of B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant is present in A.2.5. In this study, we observed that these Spike variants bound better to the ACE2 receptor in a temperature-dependent manner. Pseudoviral particles bearing the Spike of Mu were similarly neutralized by plasma from vaccinated individuals than those carrying the Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) Spikes. Altogether, our results indicate the importance of measuring critical parameters such as ACE2 interaction, plasma recognition and neutralization ability of each emerging variant.
So far, only two retroviruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (type 1 and 2) and human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), have been recognized as pathogenic for humans. Both viruses mainly infect CD4+ T lymphocytes. HIV replication induces the apoptosis of CD4 lymphocytes, leading to the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). After a long clinical latency period, HTLV-1 can transform lymphocytes, with subsequent uncontrolled proliferation and the manifestation of a disease called adult T-cell leukemia (ATLL). Certain infected patients develop neurological autoimmune disorder called HTLV-1-associated myelopathy, also known as tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Both viruses are transmitted between individuals via blood transfusion, tissue/organ transplantation, breastfeeding, and sexual intercourse. Within the host, these viruses can spread utilizing either cell-free or cell-to-cell modes of transmission. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms and importance of each mode of transmission for the biology of HIV-1 and HTLV-1.
Gene overprinting occurs when point mutations within a genomic region with an existing coding sequence create a new one in another reading frame. This process is quite frequent in viral genomes either to maximize the amount of information that they encode or in response to strong selective pressure. The most frequent scenario involves two different reading frames in the same DNA strand (sense overlap). Much less frequent are cases of overlapping genes that are encoded on opposite DNA strands (antisense overlap). One such example is the antisense ORF, asp in the minus strand of the HIV-1 genome overlapping the env gene. The asp gene is highly conserved in pandemic HIV-1 strains of group M, and it is absent in non-pandemic HIV-1 groups, HIV-2, and lentiviruses infecting non-human primates, suggesting that the ~190-amino acid protein that is expressed from this gene (ASP) may play a role in virus spread. While the function of ASP in the virus life cycle remains to be elucidated, mounting evidence from several research groups indicates that ASP is expressed in vivo. There are two alternative hypotheses that could be envisioned to explain the origin of the asp ORF. On one hand, asp may have originally been present in the ancestor of contemporary lentiviruses, and subsequently lost in all descendants except for most HIV-1 strains of group M due to selective advantage. Alternatively, the asp ORF may have originated very recently with the emergence of group M HIV-1 strains from SIVcpz. Here, we used a combination of computational and statistical approaches to study the genomic region of env in primate lentiviruses to shed light on the origin, structure, and sequence evolution of the asp ORF. The results emerging from our studies support the hypothesis of a recent de novo addition of the antisense ORF to the HIV-1 genome through a process that entailed progressive removal of existing internal stop codons from SIV strains to HIV-1 strains of group M, and fine tuning of the codon sequence in env that reduced the chances of new stop codons occurring in asp. Altogether, the study supports the notion that the HIV-1 asp gene encodes an accessory protein, providing a selective advantage to the virus.
A hypovirulent SZ-2-3y strain isolated from diseased Paris polyphylla was identified as Botrytis cinerea. Interestingly, SZ-2-3y was coinfected with a mitovirus, two botouliviruses, and a 3074 nt fusarivirus, designated Botrytis cinerea fusarivirus 8 (BcFV8); it shares an 87.2% sequence identity with the previously identified Botrytis cinerea fusarivirus 6 (BcFV6). The full-length 2945 nt genome sequence of the mitovirus, termed Botrytis cinerea mitovirus 10 (BcMV10), shares a 54% sequence identity with Fusarium boothii mitovirus 1 (FbMV1), and clusters with fungus mitoviruses, plant mitoviruses and plant mitochondria; hence BcMV10 is a new Mitoviridae member. The full-length 2759 nt and 2812 nt genome sequences of the other two botouliviruses, named Botrytis cinerea botoulivirus 18 and 19 (BcBoV18 and 19), share a 40% amino acid sequence identity with RNA-dependent RNA polymerase protein (RdRp), and these are new members of the Botoulivirus genus of Botourmiaviridae. Horizontal transmission analysis showed that BcBoV18, BcBoV19 and BcFV8 are not related to hypovirulence, suggesting that BcMV10 may induce hypovirulence. Intriguingly, a partial BcMV10 sequence was detected in cucumber plants inoculated with SZ-2-3y mycelium or pXT1/BcMV10 agrobacterium. In conclusion, we identified a hypovirulent SZ-2-3y fungal strain from P. polyphylla, coinfected with four novel mycoviruses that could serve as potential biocontrol agents. Our findings provide evidence of cross-kingdom mycoviral sequence transmission.
Bats are reservoirs of a large number of viruses of global public health significance, including the ancestral virus for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although bats are natural carriers of multiple pathogenic viruses, they rarely display signs of disease. Recent insights suggest that bats have a more balanced host defense and tolerance system to viral infections that may be linked to the evolutionary adaptation to powered flight. Therefore, a deeper understanding of bat immune system may provide intervention strategies to prevent zoonotic disease transmission and to identify new therapeutic targets. Similar to other eutherian mammals, bats have both innate and adaptive immune systems that have evolved to detect and respond to invading pathogens. Bridging these two systems are innate lymphocytes, which are highly abundant within circulation and barrier tissues. These cells share the characteristics of both innate and adaptive immune cells and are poised to mount rapid effector responses. They are ideally suited as the first line of defense against early stages of viral infections. Here, we will focus on the current knowledge of innate lymphocytes in bats, their function, and their potential role in host–pathogen interactions. Moreover, given that studies into bat immune systems are often hindered by a lack of bat-specific research tools, we will discuss strategies that may aid future research in bat immunity, including the potential use of organoid models to delineate the interplay between innate lymphocytes, bat viruses, and host tolerance.