ISSN / EISSN : 1553-7366 / 1553-7374
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 9,682
Latest articles in this journal
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010592
Exposure histories to SARS-CoV-2 variants and vaccinations will shape the specificity of antibody responses. To understand the specificity of Delta-elicited antibody immunity, we characterize the polyclonal antibody response elicited by primary or mRNA vaccine-breakthrough Delta infections. Both types of infection elicit a neutralizing antibody response focused heavily on the receptor-binding domain (RBD). We use deep mutational scanning to show that mutations to the RBD’s class 1 and class 2 epitopes, including sites 417, 478, and 484–486 often reduce binding of these Delta-elicited antibodies. The anti-Delta antibody response is more similar to that elicited by early 2020 viruses than the Beta variant, with mutations to the class 1 and 2, but not class 3 epitopes, having the largest effects on polyclonal antibody binding. In addition, mutations to the class 1 epitope (e.g., K417N) tend to have larger effects on antibody binding and neutralization in the Delta spike than in the D614G spike, both for vaccine- and Delta-infection-elicited antibodies. These results help elucidate how the antigenic impacts of SARS-CoV-2 mutations depend on exposure history.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010628
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a common gastric pathogen that infects approximately half of the world’s population. Infection with H. pylori can lead to diverse pathological conditions, including chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and cancer. The latter is the most severe consequence of H. pylori infection. According to epidemiological studies, gastric infection with H. pylori is the strongest known risk factor for non-cardia gastric cancer (GC), which remains one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. However, it still remains to be poorly understood how host-microbe interactions result in cancer development in the human stomach. Here we focus on the H. pylori bacterial factors that affect the host ubiquitin proteasome system. We investigated E3 ubiquitin ligases SIVA1 and ULF that regulate p14ARF (p19ARF in mice) tumor suppressor. ARF plays a key role in regulation of the oncogenic stress response and is frequently inhibited during GC progression. Expression of ARF, SIVA1 and ULF proteins were investigated in gastroids, H. pylori-infected mice and human gastric tissues. The role of the H. pylori type IV secretion system was assessed using various H. pylori isogenic mutants. Our studies demonstrated that H. pylori infection results in induction of ULF, decrease in SIVA1 protein levels, and subsequent ubiquitination and degradation of p14ARF tumor suppressor. Bacterial CagA protein was found to sequentially bind to SIVA1 and ULF proteins. This process is regulated by CagA protein phosphorylation at the EPIYA motifs. Downregulation of ARF protein leads to inhibition of cellular apoptosis and oncogenic stress response that may promote gastric carcinogenesis.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010472
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is highly diverse and grouped into eight genotypes (gts). Infectious cell culture models are limited to a few subtypes and isolates, hampering the development of prophylactic vaccines. A consensus gt1b genome (termed GLT1) was generated from an HCV infected liver-transplanted patient. GLT1 replicated to an outstanding efficiency in Huh7 cells upon SEC14L2 expression, by use of replication enhancing mutations or with a previously developed inhibitor-based regimen. RNA replication levels almost reached JFH-1, but full-length genomes failed to produce detectable amounts of infectious virus. Long-term passaging led to the adaptation of a genome carrying 21 mutations and concomitant production of high levels of transmissible infectivity (GLT1cc). During the adaptation, GLT1 spread in the culture even in absence of detectable amounts of free virus, likely due to cell-to-cell transmission, which appeared to substantially contribute to spreading of other isolates as well. Mechanistically, genome replication and particle production efficiency were enhanced by adaptation, while cell entry competence of HCV pseudoparticles was not affected. Furthermore, GLT1cc retained the ability to replicate in human liver chimeric mice, which was critically dependent on a mutation in domain 3 of nonstructural protein NS5A. Over the course of infection, only one mutation in the surface glycoprotein E2 consistently reverted to wildtype, facilitating assembly in cell culture but potentially affecting CD81 interaction in vivo. Overall, GLT1cc is an efficient gt1b infectious cell culture model, paving the road to a rationale-based establishment of new infectious HCV isolates and represents an important novel tool for the development of prophylactic HCV vaccines.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010658
Nipah virus (NiV) disease is a bat-borne zoonosis responsible for outbreaks with high lethality and is a priority for vaccine development. With funding from the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), we are developing a chimeric vaccine (PHV02) composed of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the envelope glycoproteins of both Ebola virus (EBOV) and NiV. The EBOV glycoprotein (GP) mediates fusion and viral entry and the NiV attachment glycoprotein (G) is a ligand for cell receptors, and stimulates neutralizing antibody, the putative mediator of protection against NiV. PHV02 is identical in construction to the registered Ebola vaccine (Ervebo) with the addition of the NiV G gene. NiV ephrin B2 and B3 receptors are expressed on neural cells and the wild-type NiV is neurotropic and causes encephalitis in affected patients. It was therefore important to assess whether the NiV G alters tropism of the rVSV vector and serves as a virulence factor. PHV02 was fully attenuated in adult hamsters inoculated by the intramuscular (IM) route, whereas parental wild-type VSV was 100% lethal. Two rodent models (mice, hamsters) were infected by the intracerebral (IC) route with graded doses of PHV02. Comparator active controls in various experiments included rVSV-EBOV (representative of Ebola vaccine) and yellow fever (YF) 17DD commercial vaccine. These studies showed PHV02 to be more neurovirulent than both rVSV-EBOV and YF 17DD in infant animals. PHV02 was lethal for adult hamsters inoculated IC but not for adult mice. In contrast YF 17DD retained virulence for adult mice inoculated IC but was not virulent for adult hamsters. Because of the inconsistency of neurovirulence patterns in the rodent models, a monkey neurovirulence test (MNVT) was performed, using YF 17DD as the active comparator because it has a well-established profile of quantifiable microscopic changes in brain centers and a known reporting rate of neurotropic adverse events in humans. In the MNVT PHV02 was significantly less neurovirulent than the YF 17DD vaccine reference control, indicating that the vaccine will have an acceptable safety profile for humans. The findings are important because they illustrate the complexities of phenotypic assessment of novel viral vectors with tissue tropisms determined by transgenic proteins, and because it is unprecedented to use a heterologous comparator virus (YF vaccine) in a regulatory-enabling study. This approach may have value in future studies of other novel viral vectors.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010667
Porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV) is a highly neurotropic coronavirus belonging to the genus Betacoronavirus. Similar to pathogenic coronaviruses to which humans are susceptible, such as SARS-CoV-2, PHEV is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets and close contact, entering the central nervous system (CNS) from the peripheral nerves at the site of initial infection. However, the neuroinvasion route of PHEV are poorly understood. Here, we found that BALB/c mice are susceptible to intranasal PHEV infection and showed distinct neurological manifestations. The behavioral study and histopathological examination revealed that PHEV attacks neurons in the CNS and causes significant smell and taste dysfunction in mice. By tracking neuroinvasion, we identified that PHEV invades the CNS via the olfactory nerve and trigeminal nerve located in the nasal cavity, and olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) were susceptible to viral infection. Immunofluorescence staining and ultrastructural observations revealed that viral materials traveling along axons, suggesting axonal transport may engage in rapid viral transmission in the CNS. Moreover, viral replication in the olfactory system and CNS is associated with inflammatory and immune responses, tissue disorganization and dysfunction. Overall, we proposed that PHEV may serve as a potential prototype for elucidating the pathogenesis of coronavirus-associated neurological complications and olfactory and taste disorders.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010630
SARS-CoV-2 infection results in highly heterogeneous outcomes, from cure without symptoms to acute respiratory distress and death. Empirical evidence points to the prominent roles of innate immune and CD8 T-cell responses in determining the outcomes. However, how these immune arms act in concert to elicit the outcomes remains unclear. Here, we developed a mathematical model of within-host SARS-CoV-2 infection that incorporates the essential features of the innate immune and CD8 T-cell responses. Remarkably, by varying the strengths and timings of the two immune arms, the model recapitulated the entire spectrum of outcomes realized. Furthermore, model predictions offered plausible explanations of several confounding clinical observations, including the occurrence of multiple peaks in viral load, viral recrudescence after symptom loss, and prolonged viral positivity. We applied the model to analyze published datasets of longitudinal viral load measurements from patients exhibiting diverse outcomes. The model provided excellent fits to the data. The best-fit parameter estimates indicated a nearly 80-fold stronger innate immune response and an over 200-fold more sensitive CD8 T-cell response in patients with mild compared to severe infection. These estimates provide quantitative insights into the likely origins of the dramatic inter-patient variability in the outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The insights have implications for interventions aimed at preventing severe disease and for understanding the differences between viral variants.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010659
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010572
Antiviral NK cell activity is regulated through the interaction of activating and inhibitory NK cell receptors with their ligands on infected cells. HLA class I molecules serve as ligands for most killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), but no HLA class I ligands for the inhibitory NK cell receptor KIR2DL5 have been identified to date. Using a NK cell receptor/ligand screening approach, we observed no strong binding of KIR2DL5 to HLA class I or class II molecules, but confirmed that KIR2DL5 binds to the poliovirus receptor (PVR, CD155). Functional studies using primary human NK cells revealed a significantly decreased degranulation of KIR2DL5+ NK cells in response to CD155-expressing target cells. We subsequently investigated the role of KIR2DL5/CD155 interactions in HIV-1 infection, and showed that multiple HIV-1 strains significantly decreased CD155 expression levels on HIV-1-infected primary human CD4+ T cells via a Nef-dependent mechanism. Co-culture of NK cells with HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells revealed enhanced anti-viral activity of KIR2DL5+ NK cells against wild-type versus Nef-deficient viruses, indicating that HIV-1-mediated downregulation of CD155 renders infected cells more susceptible to recognition by KIR2DL5+ NK cells. These data show that CD155 suppresses the antiviral activity of KIR2DL5+ NK cells and is downmodulated by HIV-1 Nef protein as potential trade-off counteracting activating NK cell ligands, demonstrating the ability of NK cells to counteract immune escape mechanisms employed by HIV-1.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010547
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has created a global pandemic infecting over 230 million people and costing millions of lives. Therapies to attenuate severe disease are desperately needed. Cenicriviroc (CVC), a C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) and C-C chemokine receptor type 2 (CCR2) antagonist, an agent previously studied in advanced clinical trials for patients with HIV or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), may have the potential to reduce respiratory and cardiovascular organ failures related to COVID-19. Inhibiting the CCR2 and CCR5 pathways could attenuate or prevent inflammation or fibrosis in both early and late stages of the disease and improve outcomes of COVID-19. Clinical trials using CVC either in addition to standard of care (SoC; e.g., dexamethasone) or in combination with other investigational agents in patients with COVID-19 are currently ongoing. These trials intend to leverage the anti-inflammatory actions of CVC for ameliorating the clinical course of COVID-19 and prevent complications. This article reviews the literature surrounding the CCR2 and CCR5 pathways, their proposed role in COVID-19, and the potential role of CVC to improve outcomes.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010195
Copper homeostasis mechanisms are essential for microbial adaption to changing copper levels within the host during infection. In the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn), the Cn Cbi1/Bim1 protein is a newly identified copper binding and release protein that is highly induced during copper limitation. Recent studies demonstrated that Cbi1 functions in copper uptake through the Ctr1 copper transporter during copper limitation. However, the mechanism of Cbi1 action is unknown. The fungal cell wall is a dynamic structure primarily composed of carbohydrate polymers, such as chitin and chitosan, polymers known to strongly bind copper ions. We demonstrated that Cbi1 depletion affects cell wall integrity and architecture, connecting copper homeostasis with adaptive changes within the fungal cell wall. The cbi1Δ mutant strain possesses an aberrant cell wall gene transcriptional signature as well as defects in chitin / chitosan deposition and exposure. Furthermore, using Cn strains defective in chitosan biosynthesis, we demonstrated that cell wall chitosan modulates the ability of the fungal cell to withstand copper stress. Given the previously described role for Cbi1 in copper uptake, we propose that this copper-binding protein could be involved in shuttling copper from the cell wall to the copper transporter Ctr1 for regulated microbial copper uptake.