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ISSN / EISSN : 1999-4915 / 1999-4915
Current Publisher: MDPI AG (10.3390)
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Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071220

Abstract:
Arenaviruses and coronaviruses include several human pathogenic viruses, such as Lassa virus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. Although these viruses belong to different virus families, they possess a common motif, the DED/EDh motif, known as an exonuclease (ExoN) motif. In this study, proof-of-concept studies, in which the DED/EDh motif in these viral proteins, NP for arenaviruses, and nsp14 for coronaviruses, could be a drug target, were performed. Docking simulation studies between two structurally different chemical compounds, ATA and PV6R, and the DED/EDh motifs in these viral proteins indicated that these compounds target DED/EDh motifs. The concentration which exhibited modest cell toxicity was used with these compounds to treat LCMV and SARS-CoV-2 infections in two different cell lines, A549 and Vero 76 cells. Both ATA and PV6R inhibited the post-entry step of LCMV and SARS-CoV-2 infection. These studies strongly suggest that DED/EDh motifs in these viral proteins could be a drug target to combat two distinct viral families, arenaviruses and coronaviruses.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071224

Abstract:
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a global health problem that the WHO declared a pandemic. COVID-19 has resulted in a worldwide lockdown and threatened to topple the global economy. The mortality of COVID-19 is comparatively low compared with previous SARS outbreaks, but the rate of spread of the disease and its morbidity is alarming. This virus can be transmitted human-to-human through droplets and close contact, and people of all ages are susceptible to this virus. With the advancements in nanotechnology, their remarkable properties, including their ability to amplify signal, can be used for the development of nanobiosensors and nanoimaging techniques that can be used for early-stage detection along with other diagnostic tools. Nano-based protection equipment and disinfecting agents can provide much-needed protection against SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, nanoparticles can serve as a carrier for antigens or as an adjuvant, thereby making way for the development of a new generation of vaccines. The present review elaborates the role of nanotechnology-based tactics used for the detection, diagnosis, protection, and treatment of COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071222

Abstract:
Infection of mice with Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) triggers inflammation of the heart and this mouse model is commonly used to investigate underlying mechanisms and therapeutic aspects for viral myocarditis. Virus-triggered cytotoxicity and the activity of infiltrating immune cells contribute to cardiac tissue injury. In addition to cardiac manifestation, CVB3 causes cell death and inflammation in the pancreas. The resulting pancreatitis represents a severe burden and under such experimental conditions, analgesics may be supportive to improve the animals’ well-being. Notably, several known mechanisms exist by which analgesics can interfere with the immune system and thereby compromise the feasibility of the model. We set up a study aiming to improve animal welfare while ensuring model integrity and investigated how tramadol, an opioid, affects virus-induced pathogenicity and immune response in the heart. Tramadol was administered seven days prior to a CVB3 infection in C57BL/6 mice and treatment was continued until the day of analysis. Tramadol had no effect on the virus titer or viral pathogenicity in the heart tissue and the inflammatory response, a hallmark of myocardial injury, was maintained. Our results show that tramadol exerts no disruptive effects on the CVB3 myocarditis mouse model and, therefore, the demonstrated protocol should be considered as a general analgesic strategy for CVB3 infection.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071219

Abstract:
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease causing significant health and economic burdens globally. The dengue virus (DENV) comprises four serotypes (DENV1-4). Usually, the primary infection is asymptomatic or causes mild dengue fever (DF), while secondary infections with a different serotype increase the risk of severe dengue disease (dengue hemorrhagic fever, DHF). Complement system activation induces inflammation and tissue injury, contributing to disease pathogenesis. However, in asymptomatic or primary infections, protective immunity largely results from the complement system’s lectin pathway (LP), which is activated through foreign glycan recognition. Differences in N-glycans displayed on the DENV envelope membrane influence the lectin pattern recognition receptor (PRR) binding efficiency. The important PRR, mannan binding lectin (MBL), mediates DENV neutralization through (1) a complement activation-independent mechanism via direct MBL glycan recognition, thereby inhibiting DENV attachment to host target cells, or (2) a complement activation-dependent mechanism following the attachment of complement opsonins C3b and C4b to virion surfaces. The serum concentrations of lectin PRRs and their polymorphisms influence these LP activities. Conversely, to escape the LP attack and enhance the infectivity, DENV utilizes the secreted form of nonstructural protein 1 (sNS1) to counteract the MBL effects, thereby increasing viral survival and dissemination.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071221

Abstract:
Adenovirus vector-based genetic vaccines have emerged as a powerful strategy against the SARS-CoV-2 health crisis. This success is not unexpected because adenoviruses combine many desirable features of a genetic vaccine. They are highly immunogenic and have a low and well characterized pathogenic profile paired with technological approachability. Ongoing efforts to improve adenovirus-vaccine vectors include the use of rare serotypes and non-human adenoviruses. In this review, we focus on the viral capsid and how the choice of genotypes influences the uptake and subsequent subcellular sorting. We describe how understanding capsid properties, such as stability during the entry process, can change the fate of the entering particles and how this translates into differences in immunity outcomes. We discuss in detail how mutating the membrane lytic capsid protein VI affects species C viruses’ post-entry sorting and briefly discuss if such approaches could have a wider implication in vaccine and/or vector development.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071223

Abstract:
High-throughput sequencing (HTS) is becoming the new norm of diagnostics in plant quarantine settings. HTS can be used to detect, in theory, all pathogens present in any given sample. The technique’s success depends on various factors, including methods for sample management/preparation and suitable bioinformatic analysis. The Limit of Detection (LoD) of HTS for plant diagnostic tests can be higher than that of PCR, increasing the risk of false negatives in the case of low titer of the target pathogen. Several solutions have been suggested, particularly for RNA viruses, including rRNA depletion of the host, dsRNA, and siRNA extractions, which increase the relative pathogen titer in a metagenomic sample. However, these solutions are costly and time-consuming. Here we present a faster and cost-effective alternative method with lower HTS-LoD similar to or lower than PCR. The technique is called TArget-SPecific Reverse Transcript (TASPERT) pool. It relies on pathogen-specific reverse primers, targeting all RNA viruses of interest, pooled and used in double-stranded cDNA synthesis. These reverse primers enrich the sample for only pathogens of interest. Evidence on how TASPERT is significantly superior to oligodT, random 6-mer, and 20-mer in generating metagenomic libraries containing the pathogen of interest is presented in this proof of concept.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071225

Abstract:
The progression and distribution of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are continuously changing over time and can be traced by blood donors’ serological survey. Here, we investigated the seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in blood donors in Nuevo Leon, Mexico during 2020 as a strategy for the rapid evaluation of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and asymptomatic case detection. We collected residual plasma samples from blood donors who attended two regional donation centers from January to December of 2020 to identify changes in anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG prevalence. Plasma samples were analyzed on the Abbott Architect instrument using the commercial Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG chemiluminescent assay. We found a total of 99 reactive samples from 2068 analyzed plasma samples, resulting in a raw prevalence of 4.87%. Donors aged 18–49 years were more likely to be seropositive compared to those aged >50 years (p< 0.001). Weekly seroprevalence increased from 1.8% during the early pandemic stage to 27.59% by the end of the year. Prevalence was 1.46-fold higher in females compared to males. Case geographical mapping showed that Monterrey city recorded the majority of SARS-CoV-2 cases. These results show that there is a growing trend of seroprevalence over time associated with asymptomatic infection that is unnoticed under the current epidemiological surveillance protocols.
Published: 24 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071218

Abstract:
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) is the causative agent of swine epidemic diarrhea. In order to study the pathogenic mechanism of PEDV, PEDV was inoculated into Vero cells cultured in vitro, and the total RNA of Vero cells was extracted to construct a library for Illumina high-throughput sequencing and screening of differentially expressed genes (p< 0.05). Five differentially expressed genes for qRT-PCR verification analysis were randomly selected, and the verification results were consistent with the transcriptome sequencing results. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) signal pathway enrichment analysis was performed on the differentially expressed genes screened above. The results showed that the target gene annotations of differentially expressed genes in the African green monkey genome were mainly enriched in the TNF signaling pathway, the P53 signaling pathway, the Jak-STAT signaling pathway, the MAPK signaling pathway, and immune inflammation. In addition, it has been reported that Puma can promote apoptosis and is a key mediator of P53-dependent and non-dependent apoptosis pathways. However, there is no report that PEDV infection can activate Puma and induce apoptosis in a P53-dependent pathway. It was found by flow cytometry that PEDV infection induced apoptosis, and by Western Blotting detection, PEDV infection significantly increased the expression of p53, BAX, and Puma apoptosis-related proteins. Treatment Vero cells with the p53 inhibitor, PFT-α, could significantly inhibit PEDV-induced apoptosis. Studies have shown that PEDV infection can activate Puma and induce apoptosis in a P53-dependent pathway. These findings provide data support for further elucidating the pathogenic mechanism of PEDV and developing an effective vaccine against PEDV.
Published: 23 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071217

Abstract:
The aim of this study was the isolation and characterization, including the phage effect on honeybees in laboratory conditions, of phages active against Paenibacillus larvae, the causative agent of American Foulbrood—a highly infective and easily spreading disease occurring in honeybee larva, and subsequently the development of a preparation to prevent and treat this dangerous disease. From the tested material (over 2500 samples) 35 Paenibacillus spp. strains were obtained and used to search for phages. Five phages specific to Paenibacillus were isolated and characterized (ultrastructure, morphology, biological properties, storage stability, and genome sequence). The characteristics were performed to obtain knowledge of their lytic potential and compose the final phage cocktail with high antibacterial potential and intended use of future field application. Preliminary safety studies have also been carried out on healthy bees, which suggest that the phage preparation administered is harmless.
Published: 23 June 2021
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13071215

Abstract:
Marine viral sequence space is immense and presents a promising resource for the discovery of new enzymes interesting for research and biotechnology. However, bottlenecks in the functional annotation of viral genes and soluble heterologous production of proteins hinder access to downstream characterization, subsequently impeding the discovery process. While commonly utilized for the heterologous expression of prokaryotic genes, codon adjustment approaches have not been fully explored for viral genes. Herein, the sequence-based identification of a putative prophage is reported from within the genome of Hypnocyclicus thermotrophus, a Gram-negative, moderately thermophilic bacterium isolated from the Seven Sisters hydrothermal vent field. A prophage-associated gene cluster, consisting of 46 protein coding genes, was identified and given the proposed name Hypnocyclicus thermotrophus phage H1 (HTH1). HTH1 was taxonomically assigned to the viral family Siphoviridae, by lowest common ancestor analysis of its genome and phylogeny analyses based on proteins predicted as holin and DNA polymerase. The gene neighbourhood around the HTH1 lytic cassette was found most similar to viruses infecting Gram-positive bacteria. In the HTH1 lytic cassette, an N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase (Amidase_2) with a peptidoglycan binding motif (LysM) was identified. A total of nine genes coding for enzymes putatively related to lysis, nucleic acid modification and of unknown function were subjected to heterologous expression in Escherichia coli. Codon optimization and codon harmonization approaches were applied in parallel to compare their effects on produced proteins. Comparison of protein yields and thermostability demonstrated that codon optimization yielded higher levels of soluble protein, but codon harmonization led to proteins with higher thermostability, implying a higher folding quality. Altogether, our study suggests that both codon optimization and codon harmonization are valuable approaches for successful heterologous expression of viral genes in E. coli, but codon harmonization may be preferable in obtaining recombinant viral proteins of higher folding quality.
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