Publications by authors named "Marta L DeDiego"

59 Publications

AGL2017-82570-RReverse genetics approaches for the development of new vaccines against influenza A virus infections.

Curr Opin Virol 2020 10 27;44:26-34. Epub 2020 Jun 27.

Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Centro de Investigación en SanidadAnimal (INIA-CISA), 28130 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) represent a serious concern globally because they are capable of rapid spread and cause severe disease in humans and other animals. The development and implementation of plasmid-based reverse genetics approaches have allowed the manipulation and recovery of recombinant IAVs from complementary DNA copies of the viral genome. Furthermore, IAV reverse genetics have provided researchers an efficient and powerful platform to introduce specific changes in the viral genome with the final goal of studying IAV biology, designing more effective vaccine strategies, and to reduce the rates of incidence and mortality associated with viral infections. In this review, we briefly discuss IAV reverse genetics and their applications to prevent IAV infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coviro.2020.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7755736PMC
October 2020

Characterizing Emerging Canine H3 Influenza Viruses.

PLoS Pathog 2020 04 14;16(4):e1008409. Epub 2020 Apr 14.

Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America.

The continual emergence of novel influenza A strains from non-human hosts requires constant vigilance and the need for ongoing research to identify strains that may pose a human public health risk. Since 1999, canine H3 influenza A viruses (CIVs) have caused many thousands or millions of respiratory infections in dogs in the United States. While no human infections with CIVs have been reported to date, these viruses could pose a zoonotic risk. In these studies, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) network collaboratively demonstrated that CIVs replicated in some primary human cells and transmitted effectively in mammalian models. While people born after 1970 had little or no pre-existing humoral immunity against CIVs, the viruses were sensitive to existing antivirals and we identified a panel of H3 cross-reactive human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs) that could have prophylactic and/or therapeutic value. Our data predict these CIVs posed a low risk to humans. Importantly, we showed that the CEIRS network could work together to provide basic research information important for characterizing emerging influenza viruses, although there were valuable lessons learned.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008409DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182277PMC
April 2020

Influenza Virus and Vaccination.

Pathogens 2020 Mar 17;9(3). Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC), Campus Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

Influenza virus infections represent a serious public health problem causing contagious respiratory disease and substantial morbidity and mortality in humans, resulting in a considerable economic burden worldwide. Notably, the number of deaths due to influenza exceeds that of any other known pathogen. Moreover, influenza infections can differ in their intensity, from mild respiratory disease to pneumonia, which can lead to death. Articles in this Special Issue have addressed different aspects of influenza in human health, and the advances in influenza research leading to the development of better therapeutics and vaccination strategies, with a special focus on the study of factors associated with innate or adaptive immune responses to influenza vaccination and/or infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030220DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7157237PMC
March 2020

Functional Characterization and Direct Comparison of Influenza A, B, C, and D NS1 Proteins and .

Front Microbiol 2019 17;10:2862. Epub 2019 Dec 17.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, United States.

Influenza viruses are important pathogens that affect multiple animal species, including humans. There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D (IAV, IBV, ICV, and IDV, respectively). IAV and IBV are currently circulating in humans and are responsible of seasonal epidemics (IAV and IBV) and occasional pandemics (IAV). ICV is known to cause mild infections in humans and pigs, while the recently identified IDV primarily affect cattle and pigs. Influenza non-structural protein 1 (NS1) is a multifunctional protein encoded by the NS segment in all influenza types. The main function of NS1 is to counteract the host antiviral defense, including the production of interferon (IFN) and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), and therefore is considered an important viral pathogenic factor. Despite of homologous functions, the NS1 protein from the diverse influenza types share little amino acid sequence identity, suggesting possible differences in their mechanism(s) of action, interaction(s) with host factors, and contribution to viral replication and/or pathogenesis. In addition, although the NS1 protein of IAV, IBV and, to some extent ICV, have been previously studied, it is unclear if IDV NS1 has similar properties. Using an approach that allow us to express NS1 independently of the nuclear export protein from the viral NS segment, we have generated recombinant IAV expressing IAV, IBV, ICV, and IDV NS1 proteins. Although recombinant viruses expressing heterotypic (IBV, ICV, and IDV) NS1 proteins were able to replicate similarly in canine MDCK cells, their viral fitness was impaired in human A549 cells and they were highly attenuated . Our data suggest that despite the similarities to effectively counteract innate immune responses , the NS1 proteins of IBV, ICV, or IDV do not fully complement the functions of IAV NS1, resulting in deficient viral replication and pathogenesis .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02862DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6927920PMC
December 2019

Immunity to Influenza Infection in Humans.

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2021 Mar 1;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 1.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.

This review discusses the human immune responses to influenza infection with some insights from studies using animal models, such as experimental infection of mice. Recent technological advances in the study of human immune responses have greatly added to our knowledge of the infection and immune responses, and therefore much of the focus is on recent studies that have moved the field forward. We consider the complexity of the adaptive response generated by many sequential encounters through infection and vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a038729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7919402PMC
March 2021

Host Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Modulating Influenza A Virus Disease in Humans.

Pathogens 2019 Sep 30;8(4). Epub 2019 Sep 30.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC), Campus Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

A large number of human genes associated with viral infections contain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which represent a genetic variation caused by the change of a single nucleotide in the DNA sequence. SNPs are located in coding or non-coding genomic regions and can affect gene expression or protein function by different mechanisms. Furthermore, they have been linked to multiple human diseases, highlighting their medical relevance. Therefore, the identification and analysis of this kind of polymorphisms in the human genome has gained high importance in the research community, and an increasing number of studies have been published during the last years. As a consequence of this exhaustive exploration, an association between the presence of some specific SNPs and the susceptibility or severity of many infectious diseases in some risk population groups has been found. In this review, we discuss the relevance of SNPs that are important to understand the pathology derived from influenza A virus (IAV) infections in humans and the susceptibility of some individuals to suffer more severe symptoms. We also discuss the importance of SNPs for IAV vaccine effectiveness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963926PMC
September 2019

Interferon-Induced Protein 44 Interacts with Cellular FK506-Binding Protein 5, Negatively Regulates Host Antiviral Responses, and Supports Virus Replication.

mBio 2019 08 27;10(4). Epub 2019 Aug 27.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Using multiple viral systems, and performing silencing approaches, overexpression approaches, and experiments in knockout cells, we report, for the first time, that interferon (IFN)-induced protein 44 (IFI44) positively affects virus production and negatively modulates innate immune responses induced after viral infections. Moreover, IFI44 is able to rescue poly(I·C)- and IFN-mediated inhibition of virus growth. Furthermore, we report a novel interaction of IFI44 with the cellular factor FK506-binding protein 5 (FKBP5), which binds to cellular kinases such as the inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa B (IκB) kinases (IKKα, IKKβ, and IKKε). Importantly, in the presence of FKBP5, IFI44 decreases the ability of IKKβ to phosphorylate IκBα and the ability of IKKε to phosphorylate interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3), providing a novel mechanism for the function of IFI44 in negatively modulating IFN responses. Remarkably, these new IFI44 functions may have implications for diseases associated with excessive immune signaling and for controlling virus infections mediated by IFN responses. Innate immune responses mediated by IFN and inflammatory cytokines are critical for controlling virus replication. Nevertheless, exacerbated innate immune responses could be detrimental for the host and feedback mechanisms are needed to maintain the cellular homeostasis. In this work, we describe a completely novel function for IFI44 in negatively modulating the innate immune responses induced after viral infections. We show that decreasing IFI44 expression by using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or by generating knockout (KO) cells impairs virus production and increases the levels of IFN responses. Moreover, we report a novel interaction of IFI44 with the cellular protein FKBP5, which in turn interacts with kinases essential for type I and III IFN induction and signaling, such as the inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa B (IκB) kinases IKKα, IKKβ, and IKKε. Our data indicate that binding of IFI44 to FKBP5 decreased the phosphorylation of IRF-3 and IκBα mediated by IKKε and IKKβ, respectively, providing a likely explanation for the function of IFI44 in negatively modulating IFN responses. These results provide new insights into the induction of innate immune responses and suggest that IFI44 is a new potential antiviral target for reducing virus replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01839-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6712396PMC
August 2019

Novel Functions of IFI44L as a Feedback Regulator of Host Antiviral Responses.

J Virol 2019 11 15;93(21). Epub 2019 Oct 15.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA.

We describe a novel function for the interferon (IFN)-induced protein 44-like (IFI44L) gene in negatively modulating innate immune responses induced after virus infections. Furthermore, we show that decreasing IFI44L expression impairs virus production and that IFI44L expression negatively modulates the antiviral state induced by an analog of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) or by IFN treatment. The mechanism likely involves the interaction of IFI44L with cellular FK506-binding protein 5 (FKBP5), which in turn interacts with kinases essential for type I and III IFN responses, such as inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa B (IκB) kinase alpha (IKKα), IKKβ, and IKKε. Consequently, binding of IFI44L to FKBP5 decreased interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3)-mediated and nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) inhibitor (IκBα)-mediated phosphorylation by IKKε and IKKβ, respectively. According to these results, IFI44L is a good target for treatment of diseases associated with excessive IFN levels and/or proinflammatory responses and for reduction of viral replication. Excessive innate immune responses can be deleterious for the host, and therefore, negative feedback is needed. Here, we describe a completely novel function for IFI44L in negatively modulating innate immune responses induced after virus infections. In addition, we show that decreasing IFI44L expression impairs virus production and that IFI44L expression negatively modulates the antiviral state induced by an analog of dsRNA or by IFN treatment. IFI44L binds to the cellular protein FKBP5, which in turn interacts with kinases essential for type I and III IFN induction and signaling, such as the kinases IKKα, IKKβ, and IKKε. IFI44L binding to FKBP5 decreased the phosphorylation of IRF-3 and IκBα mediated by IKKε and IKKβ, respectively, providing an explanation for the function of IFI44L in negatively modulating IFN responses. Therefore, IFI44L is a candidate target for reducing virus replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01159-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6803278PMC
November 2019

A Novel Vaccine Strategy to Overcome Poor Immunogenicity of Avian Influenza Vaccines through Mobilization of Memory CD4 T Cells Established by Seasonal Influenza.

J Immunol 2019 09 9;203(6):1502-1508. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, D.H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642; and

Avian influenza vaccines exhibit poor immunogenicity in humans. We hypothesized that one factor underlying weak B cell responses was sequence divergence between avian and seasonal influenza hemagglutinin proteins, thus limiting the availability of adequate CD4 T cell help. To test this, a novel chimeric hemagglutinin protein (cH7/3) was derived, comprised of the stem domain from seasonal H3 hemagglutinin and the head domain from avian H7. Immunological memory to seasonal influenza was established in mice, through strategies that included seasonal inactivated vaccines, Flumist, and synthetic peptides derived from the H3 stalk domain. After establishment of memory, mice were vaccinated with H7 or cH7/3 protein. The cH7/3 Ag was able to recall H3-specific CD4 T cells, and this potentiated CD4 T cell response was associated with enhanced early germinal center response and rapid elicitation of Abs to H7, including Abs specific for the H7 head domain. These results suggest that in pandemic situations, inclusion of CD4 T cell epitopes from seasonal viruses have the potential to overcome the poor immunogenicity of avian vaccines by helping B cells and conferring greater subtype-specific Ab response to viral HA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1900819DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6737897PMC
September 2019

A Novel Fluorescent and Bioluminescent Bireporter Influenza A Virus To Evaluate Viral Infections.

J Virol 2019 05 1;93(10). Epub 2019 May 1.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Studying influenza A virus (IAV) requires the use of secondary approaches to detect the presence of virus in infected cells. To overcome this problem, we and others have generated recombinant IAV expressing fluorescent or luciferase reporter genes. These foreign reporter genes can be used as valid surrogates to track the presence of virus. However, the limited capacity for incorporating foreign sequences in the viral genome forced researchers to select a fluorescent or a luciferase reporter gene, depending on the type of study. To circumvent this limitation, we engineered a novel recombinant replication-competent bireporter IAV (BIRFLU) expressing both fluorescent and luciferase reporter genes. In cultured cells, BIRFLU displayed growth kinetics comparable to those of wild-type (WT) virus and was used to screen neutralizing antibodies or compounds with antiviral activity. The expression of two reporter genes allows monitoring of viral inhibition by fluorescence or bioluminescence, overcoming the limitations associated with the use of one reporter gene as a readout. , BIRFLU effectively infected mice, and both reporter genes were detected using imaging systems (IVIS). The ability to generate recombinant IAV harboring multiple foreign genes opens unique possibilities for studying virus-host interactions and for using IAV in high-throughput screenings (HTS) to identify novel antivirals that can be incorporated into the therapeutic armamentarium to control IAV infections. Moreover, the ability to genetically manipulate the viral genome to express two foreign genes offers the possibility of developing novel influenza vaccines and the feasibility for using recombinant IAV as vaccine vectors to treat other pathogen infections. Influenza A virus (IAV) causes a human respiratory disease that is associated with significant health and economic consequences. In recent years, the use of replication-competent IAV expressing an easily traceable fluorescent or luciferase reporter protein has significantly contributed to progress in influenza research. However, researchers have been forced to select a fluorescent or a luciferase reporter gene due to the restricted capacity of the influenza viral genome for including foreign sequences. To overcome this limitation, we generated, for the first time, a recombinant replication-competent bireporter IAV (BIRFLU) that stably expresses two reporter genes (one fluorescent and one luciferase) to track IAV infections and The combination of cutting-edge techniques from molecular biology, animal research, and imaging technologies brings researchers the unique opportunity to use this new generation of reporter-expressing IAV to study viral infection dynamics in both cultured cells and animal models of viral infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00032-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6498038PMC
May 2019

Broad Hemagglutinin-Specific Memory B Cell Expansion by Seasonal Influenza Virus Infection Reflects Early-Life Imprinting and Adaptation to the Infecting Virus.

J Virol 2019 04 3;93(8). Epub 2019 Apr 3.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA

Memory B cells (MBCs) are key determinants of the B cell response to influenza virus infection and vaccination, but the effect of different forms of influenza antigen exposure on MBC populations has received little attention. We analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma collected following human H3N2 influenza infection to investigate the relationship between hemagglutinin-specific antibody production and changes in the size and character of hemagglutinin-reactive MBC populations. Infection produced increased concentrations of plasma IgG reactive to the H3 head of the infecting virus, to the conserved stalk, and to a broad chronological range of H3s consistent with original antigenic sin responses. H3-reactive IgG MBC expansion after infection included reactivity to head and stalk domains. Notably, expansion of H3 head-reactive MBC populations was particularly broad and reflected original antigenic sin patterns of IgG production. Findings also suggest that early-life H3N2 infection "imprints" for strong H3 stalk-specific MBC expansion. Despite the breadth of MBC expansion, the MBC response included an increase in affinity for the H3 head of the infecting virus. Overall, our findings indicate that H3-reactive MBC expansion following H3N2 infection is consistent with maintenance of response patterns established early in life, but nevertheless includes MBC adaptation to the infecting virus. Rapid and vigorous virus-specific antibody responses to influenza virus infection and vaccination result from activation of preexisting virus-specific memory B cells (MBCs). Understanding the effects of different forms of influenza virus exposure on MBC populations is therefore an important guide to the development of effective immunization strategies. We demonstrate that exposure to the influenza hemagglutinin via natural infection enhances broad protection through expansion of hemagglutinin-reactive MBC populations that recognize head and stalk regions of the molecule. Notably, we show that hemagglutinin-reactive MBC expansion reflects imprinting by early-life infection and that this might apply to stalk-reactive, as well as to head-reactive, MBCs. Our findings provide experimental support for the role of MBCs in maintaining imprinting effects and suggest a mechanism by which imprinting might confer heterosubtypic protection against avian influenza viruses. It will be important to compare our findings to the situation after influenza vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00169-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6450111PMC
April 2019

Modulation of Innate Immune Responses by the Influenza A NS1 and PA-X Proteins.

Viruses 2018 12 12;10(12). Epub 2018 Dec 12.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, NY 14642, USA.

Influenza A viruses (IAV) can infect a broad range of animal hosts, including humans. In humans, IAV causes seasonal annual epidemics and occasional pandemics, representing a serious public health and economic problem, which is most effectively prevented through vaccination. The defense mechanisms that the host innate immune system provides restrict IAV replication and infection. Consequently, to successfully replicate in interferon (IFN)-competent systems, IAV has to counteract host antiviral activities, mainly the production of IFN and the activities of IFN-induced host proteins that inhibit virus replication. The IAV multifunctional proteins PA-X and NS1 are virulence factors that modulate the innate immune response and virus pathogenicity. Notably, these two viral proteins have synergistic effects in the inhibition of host protein synthesis in infected cells, although using different mechanisms of action. Moreover, the control of innate immune responses by the IAV NS1 and PA-X proteins is subject to a balance that can determine virus pathogenesis and fitness, and recent evidence shows co-evolution of these proteins in seasonal viruses, indicating that they should be monitored for enhanced virulence. Importantly, inhibition of host gene expression by the influenza NS1 and/or PA-X proteins could be explored to develop improved live-attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) by modulating the ability of the virus to counteract antiviral host responses. Likewise, both viral proteins represent a reasonable target for the development of new antivirals for the control of IAV infections. In this review, we summarize the role of IAV NS1 and PA-X in controlling the antiviral response during viral infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v10120708DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315843PMC
December 2018

Directed selection of amino acid changes in the influenza hemagglutinin and neuraminidase affecting protein antigenicity.

Vaccine 2018 10 14;36(43):6383-6392. Epub 2018 Sep 14.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins elicit protective antibody responses and therefore, are used as targets for vaccination, especially the HA protein. However, these proteins are subject to antigenic drift, decreasing vaccine efficacy, and few to no studies have analyzed antigenic variability of these proteins by growing the viruses under immune pressure provided by human sera. In this work, we show that after growing different influenza virus strains under immune pressure, the selection of amino acid changes in the NA protein is much more limited than the selection in the HA protein, suggesting that the NA protein could remain more conserved under immune pressure. Interestingly, all the mutations in the HA and NA proteins affected protein antigenicity, and many of the selected amino acid changes were located at the same positions found in viruses circulating. These studies could help to inform HA and NA protein residues targeted by antibody responses after virus infection in humans and are very relevant to update the strains used for influenza virus vaccination each year and to improve the currently available vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.005DOI Listing
October 2018

Functional Evolution of the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus NS1 and PA in Humans.

J Virol 2018 10 12;92(19). Epub 2018 Sep 12.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

In 2009, a pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus (IAV) (pH1N1) emerged in the human population from swine causing a pandemic. Importantly, this virus is still circulating in humans seasonally. To analyze the evolution of pH1N1 in humans, we sequenced viral genes encoding proteins inhibiting general gene expression (nonstructural protein 1 [NS1] and PA-X) from circulating seasonal viruses and compared them to the viruses isolated at the origin of the pandemic. Recent pH1N1 viruses contain amino acid changes in the NS1 protein (E55K, L90I, I123V, E125D, K131E, and N205S), as previously described (A. M. Clark, A. Nogales, L. Martinez-Sobrido, D. J. Topham, and M. L. DeDiego, J Virol 91:e00721-17, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00721-17), and amino acid changes in the PA-X protein (V100I, N204S, R221Q, and L229S). These amino acid differences between early and more recent pH1N1 isolates are responsible for increased NS1-mediated inhibition of host gene expression and decreased PA-X-mediated shutoff, including innate immune response genes. In addition, currently circulating pH1N1 viruses have acquired amino acid changes in the PA protein (V100I, P224S, N321K, I330V, and R362K). A recombinant pH1N1 virus containing PA, PA-X, and NS1 genes from currently circulating viruses is fitter in replication in cultured cells and in mice and is slightly more pathogenic than the original ancestor pH1N1 virus. These results demonstrate the need to monitor the evolution of pH1N1 in humans for mutations in the viral genome that could result in enhanced virulence. Importantly, these results further support our previous findings suggesting that inhibition of global gene expression mediated by NS1 and PA-X proteins is subject to a balance which can determine virus pathogenesis and fitness. IAVs emerge in humans from animal reservoirs, causing unpredictable pandemics. One of these pandemics was caused by an H1N1 virus in 2009, and this virus is still circulating seasonally. To analyze host-virus adaptations likely affecting influenza virus pathogenesis, protein amino acid sequences from viruses circulating at the beginning of the pandemic and those circulating currently were compared. Currently circulating viruses have incorporated amino acid changes in two viral proteins (NS1 and PA-X), affecting innate immune responses, and in the PA gene. These amino acid differences led to increased NS1-mediated and decreased PA-X-mediated inhibition of host gene expression. A recombinant pH1N1 virus containing PA, PA-X, and NS1 genes from recently circulating viruses is fitter in replication in tissue culture cells and in mice, and the virus is more pathogenic Importantly, these results suggest that a balance in the abilities of NS1 and PA-X to induce host shutoff is beneficial for IAVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01206-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6146824PMC
October 2018

Crowd on a Chip: Label-Free Human Monoclonal Antibody Arrays for Serotyping Influenza.

Anal Chem 2018 08 20;90(15):9583-9590. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Department of Dermatology , University of Rochester Medical Center , Rochester , New York 14642 , United States.

Rapid changes in influenza A virus (IAV) antigenicity create challenges in surveillance, disease diagnosis, and vaccine development. Further, serological methods for studying antigenic properties of influenza viruses often rely on animal models and therefore may not fully reflect the dynamics of human immunity. We hypothesized that arrays of human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs) to influenza could be employed in a pattern-recognition approach to expedite IAV serology and to study the antigenic evolution of newly emerging viruses. Using the multiplex, label-free Arrayed Imaging Reflectometry (AIR) platform, we have demonstrated that such arrays readily discriminated among various subtypes of IAVs, including H1, H3 seasonal strains, and avian-sourced human H7 viruses. Array responses also allowed the first determination of antigenic relationships among IAV strains directly from hmAb responses. Finally, correlation analysis of antibody binding to all tested IAV subtypes allowed efficient identification of broadly reactive clones. In addition to specific applications in the context of understanding influenza biology with potential utility in "universal" flu vaccine development, these studies validate AIR as a platform technology for studying antigenic properties of viruses and also antibody properties in a high-throughput manner. We further anticipate that this approach will facilitate advances in the study of other viral pathogens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.8b02479DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6082710PMC
August 2018

Role of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Viroporins E, 3a, and 8a in Replication and Pathogenesis.

mBio 2018 05 22;9(3). Epub 2018 May 22.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC), Campus Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Viroporins are viral proteins with ion channel (IC) activity that play an important role in several processes, including virus replication and pathogenesis. While many coronaviruses (CoVs) encode two viroporins, severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV) encodes three: proteins 3a, E, and 8a. Additionally, proteins 3a and E have a PDZ-binding motif (PBM), which can potentially bind over 400 cellular proteins which contain a PDZ domain, making them potentially important for the control of cell function. In the present work, a comparative study of the functional motifs included within the SARS-CoV viroporins was performed, mostly focusing on the roles of the IC and PBM of E and 3a proteins. Our results showed that the full-length E and 3a proteins were required for maximal SARS-CoV replication and virulence, whereas viroporin 8a had only a minor impact on these activities. A virus missing both the E and 3a proteins was not viable, whereas the presence of either protein with a functional PBM restored virus viability. E protein IC activity and the presence of its PBM were necessary for virulence in mice. In contrast, the presence or absence of the homologous motifs in protein 3a did not influence virus pathogenicity. Therefore, dominance of the IC and PBM of protein E over those of protein 3a was demonstrated in the induction of pathogenesis in mice. Collectively, these results demonstrate key roles for the ion channel and PBM domains in optimal virus replication and pathogenesis and suggest that the viral viroporins and PBMs are suitable targets for antiviral therapy and for mutation in attenuated SARS-CoV vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02325-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5964350PMC
May 2018

Publisher Correction: Natural and directed antigenic drift of the H1 influenza virus hemagglutinin stalk domain.

Sci Rep 2018 Mar 6;8(1):4265. Epub 2018 Mar 6.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rochester, NY, United States.

A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22372-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5840267PMC
March 2018

Publisher Correction: Natural and directed antigenic drift of the H1 influenza virus hemagglutinin stalk domain.

Sci Rep 2018 01 5;8(1):276. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rochester, NY, United States.

A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML version of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17926-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756239PMC
January 2018

Antigenicity of the 2015-2016 seasonal H1N1 human influenza virus HA and NA proteins.

PLoS One 2017 16;12(11):e0188267. Epub 2017 Nov 16.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

Antigenic drift of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) influenza virus proteins contributes to reduced vaccine efficacy. To analyze antigenic drift in human seasonal H1N1 viruses derived from the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus (pH1N1-like viruses) accounts for the limited effectiveness (around 40%) of vaccination against pH1N1-like viruses during the 2015-2016 season, nasal washes/swabs collected from adult subjects in the Rochester, NY area, were used to sequence and isolate the circulating viruses. The HA and NA proteins from viruses circulating during the 2015-2016 season encoded eighteen and fourteen amino acid differences, respectively, when compared to A/California/04/2009, a strain circulating at the origin of the 2009 pandemic. The circulating strains belonged to subclade 6B.1, defined by HA amino acid substitutions S101N, S179N, and I233T. Hemagglutination-inhibiting (HAI) and HA-specific neutralizing serum antibody (Ab) titers from around 50% of pH1N1-like virus-infected subjects and immune ferrets were 2-4 fold lower for the 2015-2016 circulating strains compared to the vaccine strain. In addition, using a luminex-based mPlex HA assay, the binding of human sera from subjects infected with pH1N1-like viruses to the HA proteins from circulating and vaccine strains was not identical, strongly suggesting antigenic differences in the HA protein. Additionally, NA inhibition (NAI) Ab titers in human sera from pH1N1-like virus-infected subjects increased after the infection and there were measurable antigenic differences between the NA protein of circulating strains and the vaccine strain using both ferret and human antisera. Despite having been vaccinated, infected subjects exhibited low HAI Ab titers against the vaccine and circulating strains. This suggests that poor responses to the H1N1 component of the vaccine as well as antigenic differences in the HA and NA proteins of currently circulating pH1N1-like viruses could be contributing to risk of infection even after vaccination.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0188267PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690631PMC
December 2017

Natural and directed antigenic drift of the H1 influenza virus hemagglutinin stalk domain.

Sci Rep 2017 11 6;7(1):14614. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rochester, NY, United States.

The induction of antibodies specific for the influenza HA protein stalk domain is being pursued as a universal strategy against influenza virus infections. However, little work has been done looking at natural or induced antigenic variability in this domain and the effects on viral fitness. We analyzed human H1 HA head and stalk domain sequences and found substantial variability in both, although variability was highest in the head region. Furthermore, using human immune sera from pandemic A/California/04/2009 immune subjects and mAbs specific for the stalk domain, viruses were selected in vitro containing mutations in both domains that partially contributed to immune evasion. Recombinant viruses encoding amino acid changes in the HA stalk domain replicated well in vitro, and viruses incorporating two of the stalk mutations retained pathogenicity in vivo. These findings demonstrate that the HA protein stalk domain can undergo limited drift under immune pressure and the viruses can retain fitness and virulence in vivo, findings which are important to consider in the context of vaccination targeting this domain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14931-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5668287PMC
November 2017

The K186E Amino Acid Substitution in the Canine Influenza Virus H3N8 NS1 Protein Restores Its Ability To Inhibit Host Gene Expression.

J Virol 2017 11 27;91(22). Epub 2017 Oct 27.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Canine influenza viruses (CIVs) are the causative agents of canine influenza, a contagious respiratory disease in dogs, and include the equine-origin H3N8 and the avian-origin H3N2 viruses. Influenza A virus (IAV) nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is a virulence factor essential for counteracting the innate immune response. Here, we evaluated the ability of H3N8 CIV NS1 to inhibit host innate immune responses. We found that H3N8 CIV NS1 was able to efficiently counteract interferon (IFN) responses but was unable to block general gene expression in human or canine cells. Such ability was restored by a single amino acid substitution in position 186 (K186E) that resulted in NS1 binding to the 30-kDa subunit of the cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor (CPSF30), a cellular protein involved in pre-mRNA processing. We also examined the frequency distribution of K186 and E186 among H3N8 CIVs and equine influenza viruses (EIVs), the ancestors of H3N8 CIV, and experimentally determined the impact of amino acid 186 in the ability of different CIV and EIV NS1s to inhibit general gene expression. In all cases, the presence of E186 was responsible for the control of host gene expression. In contrast, the NS1 protein of H3N2 CIV harbors E186 and blocks general gene expression in canine cells. Altogether, our results confirm previous studies on the strain-dependent ability of NS1 to block general gene expression. Moreover, the observed polymorphism on amino acid 186 between H3N8 and H3N2 CIVs might be the result of adaptive changes acquired during long-term circulation of avian-origin IAVs in mammals. Canine influenza is a respiratory disease of dogs caused by two CIV subtypes, the H3N8 and H3N2 viruses, of equine and avian origins, respectively. Influenza NS1 is the main viral factor responsible for the control of host innate immune responses, and changes in NS1 can play an important role in host adaptation. Here we assessed the ability of H3N8 CIV NS1 to inhibit host innate immune responses and gene expression. The H3N8 CIV NS1 did not block host gene expression, but this activity was restored by a single amino acid substitution (K186E), which was responsible for NS1 binding to the host factor CPSF30. In contrast, the H3N2 CIV NS1, which contains E186, blocks general gene expression. Our results suggest that the ability to block host gene expression is not required for influenza virus replication in mammals but might be important in the long-term adaptation of avian-origin influenza viruses to mammals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00877-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5660486PMC
November 2017

Functional Evolution of Influenza Virus NS1 Protein in Currently Circulating Human 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Viruses.

J Virol 2017 09 10;91(17). Epub 2017 Aug 10.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

In 2009, a novel H1N1 influenza virus emerged in humans, causing a global pandemic. It was previously shown that the NS1 protein from this human 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) virus was an effective interferon (IFN) antagonist but could not inhibit general host gene expression, unlike other NS1 proteins from seasonal human H1N1 and H3N2 viruses. Here we show that the NS1 protein from currently circulating pH1N1 viruses has evolved to encode 6 amino acid changes (E55K, L90I, I123V, E125D, K131E, and N205S) with respect to the original protein. Notably, these 6 residue changes restore the ability of pH1N1 NS1 to inhibit general host gene expression, mainly by their ability to restore binding to the cellular factor CPSF30. This is the first report describing the ability of the pH1N1 NS1 protein to naturally acquire mutations that restore this function. Importantly, a recombinant pH1N1 virus containing these 6 amino acid changes in the NS1 protein (pH1N1/NSs-6mut) inhibited host IFN and proinflammatory responses to a greater extent than that with the parental virus (pH1N1/NS1-wt), yet virus titers were not significantly increased in cell cultures or in mouse lungs, and the disease was partially attenuated. The pH1N1/NSs-6mut virus grew similarly to pH1N1/NSs-wt in mouse lungs, but infection with pH1N1/NSs-6mut induced lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines, likely due to a general inhibition of gene expression mediated by the mutated NS1 protein. This lower level of inflammation induced by the pH1N1/NSs-6mut virus likely accounts for the attenuated disease phenotype and may represent a host-virus adaptation affecting influenza virus pathogenesis. Seasonal influenza A viruses (IAVs) are among the most common causes of respiratory infections in humans. In addition, occasional pandemics are caused when IAVs circulating in other species emerge in the human population. In 2009, a swine-origin H1N1 IAV (pH1N1) was transmitted to humans, infecting people then and up to the present. It was previously shown that the NS1 protein from the 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) virus is not able to inhibit general gene expression. However, currently circulating pH1N1 viruses have evolved to encode 6 amino acid changes (E55K, L90I, I123V, E125D, K131E, and N205S) that allow the NS1 protein of contemporary pH1N1 strains to inhibit host gene expression, which correlates with its ability to interact with CPSF30. Infection with a recombinant pH1N1 virus encoding these 6 amino acid changes (pH1N1/NSs-6mut) induced lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines, resulting in viral attenuation This might represent an adaptation of pH1N1 virus to humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00721-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553169PMC
September 2017

Interplay of PA-X and NS1 Proteins in Replication and Pathogenesis of a Temperature-Sensitive 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza A Virus.

J Virol 2017 09 10;91(17). Epub 2017 Aug 10.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) cause seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics, representing a serious public health concern. It has been described that one mechanism used by some IAV strains to escape the host innate immune responses and modulate virus pathogenicity involves the ability of the PA-X and NS1 proteins to inhibit the host protein synthesis in infected cells. It was reported that for the 2009 pandemic H1N1 IAV (pH1N1) only the PA-X protein had this inhibiting capability, while the NS1 protein did not. In this work, we have evaluated, for the first time, the combined effect of PA-X- and NS1-mediated inhibition of general gene expression on virus pathogenesis, using a temperature-sensitive, live-attenuated 2009 pandemic H1N1 IAV (pH1N1 LAIV). We found that viruses containing PA-X and NS1 proteins that simultaneously have (PA/NS1) or do not have (PA/NS1) the ability to block host gene expression showed reduced pathogenicity However, a virus where the ability to inhibit host protein expression was switched between PA-X and NS1 (PA/NS1) presented pathogenicity similar to that of a virus containing both wild-type proteins (PA/NS1). Our findings suggest that inhibition of host protein expression is subject to a strict balance, which can determine the successful progression of IAV infection. Importantly, knowledge obtained from our studies could be used for the development of new and more effective vaccine approaches against IAV. Influenza A viruses (IAVs) are one of the most common causes of respiratory infections in humans, resulting in thousands of deaths annually. Furthermore, IAVs can cause unpredictable pandemics of great consequence when viruses not previously circulating in humans are introduced into humans. The defense machinery provided by the host innate immune system limits IAV replication; however, to counteract host antiviral activities, IAVs have developed different inhibition mechanisms, including prevention of host gene expression mediated by the viral PA-X and NS1 proteins. Here, we provide evidence demonstrating that optimal control of host protein synthesis by IAV PA-X and/or NS1 proteins is required for efficient IAV replication in the host. Moreover, we demonstrate the feasibility of genetically controlling the ability of IAV PA-X and NS1 proteins to inhibit host immune responses, providing an approach to develop more effective vaccines to combat disease caused by this important respiratory pathogen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00720-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553184PMC
September 2017

NS1 Protein Amino Acid Changes D189N and V194I Affect Interferon Responses, Thermosensitivity, and Virulence of Circulating H3N2 Human Influenza A Viruses.

J Virol 2017 03 14;91(5). Epub 2017 Feb 14.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Influenza virus NS1 protein is a nonstructural, multifunctional protein that counteracts host innate immune responses, modulating virus pathogenesis. NS1 protein variability in subjects infected with H3N2 influenza A viruses (IAVs) during the 2010/2011 season was analyzed, and amino acid changes in residues 86, 189, and 194 were found. The consequences of these mutations for the NS1-mediated inhibition of IFN responses and the pathogenesis of the virus were evaluated, showing that NS1 mutations D189N and V194I impaired the ability of the NS1 protein to inhibit general gene expression, most probably because these mutations decreased the binding of NS1 to the cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 30 (CPSF30). A recombinant A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8) H1N1 virus encoding the H3N2 NS1-D189N protein was slightly attenuated, whereas the virus encoding the H3N2 NS1-V194I protein was further attenuated in mice. The higher attenuation of this virus could not be explained by differences in the ability of the two NS1 proteins to counteract host innate immune responses, indicating that another factor must be responsible. In fact, we showed that the virus encoding the H3N2 NS1-V194I protein demonstrated a temperature-sensitive (ts) phenotype, providing a most likely explanation for the stronger attenuation observed. As far as we know, this is the first description of a mutation in NS1 residue 194 conferring a ts phenotype. These studies are relevant in order to identify new residues important for NS1 functions and in human influenza virus surveillance to assess mutations affecting the pathogenicity of circulating viruses. Influenza viral infections represent a serious public health problem, with influenza virus causing a contagious respiratory disease that is most effectively prevented through vaccination. The multifunctional nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is the main viral factor counteracting the host antiviral response. Therefore, influenza virus surveillance to identify new mutations in the NS1 protein affecting the pathogenicity of the circulating viruses is highly important. In this work, we evaluated amino acid variability in the NS1 proteins from H3N2 human seasonal viruses and the effect of the mutations on innate immune responses and virus pathogenesis. NS1 mutations D189N and V194I impaired the ability of the NS1 protein to inhibit general gene expression, and recombinant viruses harboring these mutations were attenuated in a mouse model of influenza infection. Interestingly, a virus encoding the H3N2 NS1-V194I protein demonstrated a temperature-sensitive phenotype, further attenuating the virus .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01930-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309952PMC
March 2017

Canine influenza viruses with modified NS1 proteins for the development of live-attenuated vaccines.

Virology 2017 01 15;500:1-10. Epub 2016 Oct 15.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) H3N8 is the causative agent of canine influenza, a common and contagious respiratory disease of dogs. Currently, only inactivated influenza vaccines (IIVs) are available for the prevention of CIV H3N8. However, live-attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs) are known to provide better immunogenicity and protection efficacy than IIVs. Influenza NS1 is a virulence factor that offers an attractive target for the preparation of attenuated viruses as LAIVs. Here we generated recombinant H3N8 CIVs containing truncated or a deleted NS1 protein to test their potential as LAIVs. All recombinant viruses were attenuated in mice and showed reduced replication in cultured canine tracheal explants, but were able to confer complete protection against challenge with wild-type CIV H3N8 after a single intranasal immunization. Immunogenicity and protection efficacy was better than that observed with an IIV. This is the first description of a LAIV for the prevention of H3N8 CIV in dogs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2016.10.008DOI Listing
January 2017

NS1 Protein Mutation I64T Affects Interferon Responses and Virulence of Circulating H3N2 Human Influenza A Viruses.

J Virol 2016 Nov 14;90(21):9693-9711. Epub 2016 Oct 14.

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Influenza NS1 protein is the main viral protein counteracting host innate immune responses, allowing the virus to efficiently replicate in interferon (IFN)-competent systems. In this study, we analyzed NS1 protein variability within influenza A (IAV) H3N2 viruses infecting humans during the 2012-2013 season. We also evaluated the impact of the mutations on the ability of NS1 proteins to inhibit host innate immune responses and general gene expression. Surprisingly, a previously unidentified mutation in the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding domain (I64T) decreased NS1-mediated general inhibition of host protein synthesis by decreasing its interaction with cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 30 (CPSF30), leading to increased innate immune responses after viral infection. Notably, a recombinant A/Puerto Rico/8/34 H1N1 virus encoding the H3N2 NS1-T64 protein was highly attenuated in mice, most likely because of its ability to induce higher antiviral IFN responses at early times after infection and because this virus is highly sensitive to the IFN-induced antiviral state. Interestingly, using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected at the acute visit (2 to 3 days after infection), we show that the subject infected with the NS1-T64 attenuated virus has diminished responses to interferon and to interferon induction, suggesting why this subject could be infected with this highly IFN-sensitive virus. These data demonstrate the importance of influenza virus surveillance in identifying new mutations in the NS1 protein, affecting its ability to inhibit innate immune responses and, as a consequence, the pathogenicity of the virus.

Importance: Influenza A and B viruses are one of the most common causes of respiratory infections in humans, causing 1 billion infections and between 300,000 and 500,000 deaths annually. Influenza virus surveillance to identify new mutations in the NS1 protein affecting innate immune responses and, as a consequence, the pathogenicity of the circulating viruses is highly relevant. Here, we analyzed amino acid variability in the NS1 proteins from human seasonal viruses and the effect of the mutations in innate immune responses and virus pathogenesis. A previously unidentified mutation in the dsRNA-binding domain decreased NS1-mediated general inhibition of host protein synthesis and the interaction of the protein with CPSF30. This mutation led to increased innate immune responses after viral infection, augmented IFN sensitivity, and virus attenuation in mice. Interestingly, using PBMCs, the subject infected with the virus encoding the attenuating mutation induced decreased antiviral responses, suggesting why this subject could be infected with this virus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01039-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5068522PMC
November 2016

Novel Sequence-Based Mapping of Recently Emerging H5NX Influenza Viruses Reveals Pandemic Vaccine Candidates.

PLoS One 2016 5;11(8):e0160510. Epub 2016 Aug 5.

New York Influenza Center of Excellence, David Smith Center for Immunology and Vaccine Biology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

Recently, an avian influenza virus, H5NX subclade 2.3.4.4, emerged and spread to North America. This subclade has frequently reassorted, leading to multiple novel viruses capable of human infection. Four cases of human infections, three leading to death, have already occurred. Existing vaccine strains do not protect against these new viruses, raising a need to identify new vaccine candidate strains. We have developed a novel sequence-based mapping (SBM) tool capable of visualizing complex protein sequence data sets using a single intuitive map. We applied SBM on the complete set of avian H5 viruses in order to better understand hemagglutinin protein variance amongst H5 viruses and identify any patterns associated with this variation. The analysis successfully identified the original reassortments that lead to the emergence of this new subclade of H5 viruses, as well as their known unusual ability to re-assort among neuraminidase subtypes. In addition, our analysis revealed distinct clusters of 2.3.4.4 variants that would not be covered by existing strains in the H5 vaccine stockpile. The results suggest that our method may be useful for pandemic candidate vaccine virus selection.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0160510PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975393PMC
August 2017

Rearrangement of Influenza Virus Spliced Segments for the Development of Live-Attenuated Vaccines.

J Virol 2016 07 24;90(14):6291-6302. Epub 2016 Jun 24.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

Unlabelled: Influenza viral infections represent a serious public health problem, with influenza virus causing a contagious respiratory disease which is most effectively prevented through vaccination. Segments 7 (M) and 8 (NS) of the influenza virus genome encode mRNA transcripts that are alternatively spliced to express two different viral proteins. This study describes the generation, using reverse genetics, of three different recombinant influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 (PR8) H1N1 viruses containing M or NS viral segments individually or modified M or NS viral segments combined in which the overlapping open reading frames of matrix 1 (M1)/M2 for the modified M segment and the open reading frames of nonstructural protein 1 (NS1)/nuclear export protein (NEP) for the modified NS segment were split by using the porcine teschovirus 1 (PTV-1) 2A autoproteolytic cleavage site. Viruses with an M split segment were impaired in replication at nonpermissive high temperatures, whereas high viral titers could be obtained at permissive low temperatures (33°C). Furthermore, viruses containing the M split segment were highly attenuated in vivo, while they retained their immunogenicity and provided protection against a lethal challenge with wild-type PR8. These results indicate that influenza viruses can be effectively attenuated by the rearrangement of spliced segments and that such attenuated viruses represent an excellent option as safe, immunogenic, and protective live-attenuated vaccines. Moreover, this is the first time in which an influenza virus containing a restructured M segment has been described. Reorganization of the M segment to encode M1 and M2 from two separate, nonoverlapping, independent open reading frames represents a useful tool to independently study mutations in the M1 and M2 viral proteins without affecting the other viral M product.

Importance: Vaccination represents our best therapeutic option against influenza viral infections. However, the efficacy of current influenza vaccines is suboptimal, and novel approaches are necessary for the prevention of disease caused by this important human respiratory pathogen. In this work, we describe a novel approach to generate safer and more efficient live-attenuated influenza virus vaccines (LAIVs) based on recombinant viruses whose genomes encode nonoverlapping and independent M1/M2 (split M segment [Ms]) or both M1/M2 and NS1/NEP (Ms and split NS segment [NSs]) open reading frames. Viruses containing a modified M segment were highly attenuated in mice but were able to confer, upon a single intranasal immunization, complete protection against a lethal homologous challenge with wild-type virus. Notably, the protection efficacy conferred by our viruses with split M segments was better than that conferred by the current temperature-sensitive LAIV. Altogether, these results open a new avenue for the development of safer and more protective LAIVs on the basis of the reorganization of spliced viral RNA segments in the genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00410-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4936145PMC
July 2016

Boolean Modeling of Cellular and Molecular Pathways Involved in Influenza Infection.

Comput Math Methods Med 2016 14;2016:7686081. Epub 2016 Feb 14.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.

Systems virology integrates host-directed approaches with molecular profiling to understand viral pathogenesis. Self-contained statistical approaches that combine expression profiles of genes with the available databases defining the genes involved in the pathways (gene-sets) have allowed characterization of predictive gene-signatures associated with outcome of the influenza virus (IV) infection. However, such enrichment techniques do not take into account interactions among pathways that are responsible for the IV infection pathogenesis. We investigate dendritic cell response to seasonal H1N1 influenza A/New Caledonia/20/1999 (NC) infection and infer the Boolean logic rules underlying the interaction network of ligand induced signaling pathways and transcription factors. The model reveals several novel regulatory modes and provides insights into mechanism of cross talk between NFκB and IRF mediated signaling. Additionally, the logic rule underlying the regulation of IL2 pathway that was predicted by the Boolean model was experimentally validated. Thus, the model developed in this paper integrates pathway analysis tools with the dynamic modeling approaches to reveal the regulation between signaling pathways and transcription factors using genome-wide transcriptional profiles measured upon influenza infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7686081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769743PMC
December 2016