Equine infectious anemia virus genomic evolution in progressor and nonprogressor ponies.
ABSTRACT: A primary mechanism of lentivirus persistence is the ability of these viruses to evolve in response to biological and immunological selective pressures with a remarkable array of genetic and antigenic variations that constitute a perpetual natural experiment in genetic engineering. A widely accepted paradigm of lentivirus evolution is that the rate of genetic variation is correlated directly with the levels of virus replication: the greater the viral replication, the more opportunities that exist for genetic modifications and selection of viral variants. To test this hypothesis directly, we examined the patterns of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) envelope variation during a 2.5-year period in experimentally infected ponies that differed markedly in clinical progression and in steady-state levels of viral replication as indicated by plasma virus genomic RNA assays. The results of these comprehensive studies revealed for the first time similar extents of envelope gp90 variation in persistently infected ponies regardless of the number of disease cycles (one to six) and viremia during chronic disease. The extent of envelope variation was also independent of the apparent steady-state levels of virus replication during long-term asymptomatic infection, varying from undetectable to 10(5) genomic RNA copies per ml of plasma. In addition, the data confirmed the evolution of distinct virus populations (genomic quasispecies) associated with sequential febrile episodes during acute and chronic EIA and demonstrated for the first time ongoing envelope variation during long-term asymptomatic infections. Finally, comparison of the rates of evolution of the previously defined EIAV gp90 variable domains demonstrated distinct differences in the rates of nucleotide and amino acid sequence variation, presumably reflecting differences in the ability of different envelope domains to respond to immune or other biological selection pressures. Thus, these data suggest that EIAV variation can be associated predominantly with ongoing low levels of virus replication and selection in target tissues, even in the absence of substantial levels of plasma viremia, and that envelope variation continues during all stages of persistent infection as the virus successfully avoids clearance by host defense mechanisms.
Project description:Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) infection of horses is characterized by well-defined waves of viremia associated with the sequential evolution of distinct viral populations displaying extensive envelope gp90 variation; however, a correlation of in vivo envelope evolution with in vitro serum neutralization phenotype remains undefined. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to utilize a previously defined panel of natural variant EIAV envelope isolates from sequential febrile episodes to characterize the effects of envelope variation during persistent infection on viral neutralization phenotypes and to define the determinants of EIAV envelope neutralization specificity. To assess the neutralization phenotypes of the sequential EIAV envelope variants, we determined the sensitivity of five variant envelopes to neutralization by a longitudinal panel of immune serum from the source infected pony. The results indicated that the evolution of the EIAV envelope sequences observed during sequential febrile episodes produced an increasingly neutralization-resistant phenotype. To further define the envelope determinants of EIAV neutralization specificity, we examined the neutralization properties of a panel of chimeric envelope constructs derived from reciprocal envelope domain exchanges between selected neutralization-sensitive and neutralization-resistant envelope variants. These results indicated that the EIAV gp90 V3 and V4 domains individually conferred serum neutralization resistance while other envelope segments in addition to V3 and V4 were evidently required for conferring total serum neutralization sensitivity. These data clearly demonstrate for the first time the influence of sequential gp90 variation during persistent infection in increasing envelope neutralization resistance, identify the gp90 V3 and V4 domains as the principal determinants of antibody neutralization resistance, and indicate distinct complex cooperative envelope domain interactions in defining sensitivity to serum antibody neutralization.
Project description:Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) provides a uniquely dynamic system in which to study the mechanism and role of genomic variation in lentiviral persistence and pathogenesis. We have used a Shetland pony model of infection to investigate the association of specific long terminal repeat (LTR) and env gene genomic sequences with the initiation of infection and the onset of disease. We analyzed viral RNA isolated from a pathogenic stock of virus (EIAV PV) and from plasma taken during the first disease episode from two ponies infected with EIAV PV. Overall sequence variation within gp90 was low in EIAV PV and only slightly higher in plasma virus samples isolated from ponies during the first disease episode. However, a high proportion of mutations were localized to the principal neutralizing domain in EIAV PV and to the principal neutralizing domain and the gp90 hypervariable region in the two pony-derived samples. The rate of fixation of mutations was analyzed and determined to be approximately 4 x 10(-2) mutations per site per year. Sequence diversity within the U3 region of the LTR was extremely low, which suggested that the previously reported hypervariability of this region may be a consequence of selection for replication of EIAV in different host cells. The predominant EIAV PV env and LTR sequences were used to construct chimeric viruses so that the contribution of these sequences to viral pathogenicity could be examined. The chimeras replicated in cultured equine monocytes to the same extent as the parental nonpathogenic virus and did not cause disease in Shetland ponies by 120 days postinfection, suggesting that the EIAV genomic determinants of pathogenesis are complex.
Project description:Lentiviral envelope (Env) antigenic variation and associated immune evasion present major obstacles to vaccine development. The concept that Env is a critical determinant for vaccine efficacy is well accepted, however defined correlates of protection associated with Env variation have yet to be determined. We reported an attenuated equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) vaccine study that directly examined the effect of lentiviral Env sequence variation on vaccine efficacy. The study identified a significant, inverse, linear correlation between vaccine efficacy and increasing divergence of the challenge virus Env gp90 protein compared to the vaccine virus gp90. The report demonstrated approximately 100% protection of immunized ponies from disease after challenge by virus with a homologous gp90 (EV0), and roughly 40% protection against challenge by virus (EV13) with a gp90 13% divergent from the vaccine strain. In the current study we examine whether the protection observed when challenging with the EV0 strain could be conferred to animals via chimeric challenge viruses between the EV0 and EV13 strains, allowing for mapping of protection to specific Env sequences. Viruses containing the EV13 proviral backbone and selected domains of the EV0 gp90 were constructed and in vitro and in vivo infectivity examined. Vaccine efficacy studies indicated that homology between the vaccine strain gp90 and the N-terminus of the challenge strain gp90 was capable of inducing immunity that resulted in significantly lower levels of post-challenge virus and significantly delayed the onset of disease. However, a homologous N-terminal region alone inserted in the EV13 backbone could not impart the 100% protection observed with the EV0 strain. Data presented here denote the complicated and potentially contradictory relationship between in vitro virulence and in vivo pathogenicity. The study highlights the importance of structural conformation for immunogens and emphasizes the need for antibody binding, not neutralizing, assays that correlate with vaccine protection.
Project description:We have investigated the genetic evolution of three functionally distinct regions of the equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) genome (env, rev, and long terminal repeat) during recurring febrile episodes in a pony experimentally infected with a well-characterized reference biological clone designated EIAV(PV). Viral populations present in the plasma of an EIAV(PV)-infected pony during sequential febrile episodes (18, 34, 80, 106, and 337 days postinfection) were amplified from viral RNA, analyzed, and compared to the inoculated strain. The comparison of the viral quasispecies showed that the inoculated EIAV(PV) quasispecies were all represented during the first febrile episode, but entirely replaced at the time of the second febrile episode, and that new predominant quasispecies were associated with each subsequent cycle of disease. One of the more surprising results was the in vivo generation of large deletion (up to 15 amino acids) in the principal neutralizing domain (PND) of gp90 during the third febrile episode. This deletion did not alter the competence for in vitro replication as shown by the analysis of a env chimeric clone with a partially deleted PND and did not altered the fitness of the virus in vivo, since this partially deleted envelope became the major population during the fourth febrile episode. Finally, we showed that the amino acid mutations were not randomly distributed but delineated eight variables regions, V1 to V8, with V3 containing the PND region. These studies provide the first detailed description of the evolution of EIAV genomic quasispecies during persistent infection and reveal new insights into the genetics and potential mechanisms of lentivirus genomic variation.
Project description:Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a lentivirus that causes persistent infections in horses. We hypothesized that high-avidity CTL specific for nonvariable epitopes might be associated with low viral load and minimal disease in EIAV-infected horses. To test this hypothesis, memory CTL (CTLm) responses were analyzed in two infected horses with high plasma viral loads and recurrent disease (progressors), and in two infected horses with low-to-undetectable viral loads and mild disease (nonprogressors). High-avidity CTLm in one progressor recognized an envelope gp90 epitope, and the data documented for the first time in EIAV that viral variation led to CTL escape. Each of the nonprogressors had high-to-moderate avidity CTLm directed against epitopes within Rev, including the nuclear export and nuclear localization domains. These results suggested that the epitope specificity of high- and moderate-avidity CTLm was an important determinant for disease outcome in the EIAV-infected horses examined.
Project description:The equine lentivirus receptor 1 (ELR1), a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) protein family, has been identified as a functional receptor for equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). Toward defining the functional interactions between the EIAV SU protein (gp90) and its ELR1 receptor, we mapped the gp90 binding domain of ELR1 by a combination of binding and functional assays using the EIAV SU gp90 protein and various chimeric receptor proteins derived from exchanges between the functional ELR1 and the nonbinding homolog, mouse herpesvirus entry mediator (murine HveA). Complementary exchanges of the respective cysteine-rich domains (CRD) between the ELR1 and murine HveA proteins revealed CRD1 as the predominant determinant of functional gp90 binding to ELR1 and also to a chimeric murine HveA protein expressed on the surface of transfected Cf2Th cells. Mutations of individual amino acids in the CRD1 segment of ELR1 and murine HveA indicated the Leu70 in CRD1 as essential for functional binding of EIAV gp90 and for virus infection of transduced Cf2Th cells. The specificity of the EIAV SU binding domain identified for the ELR1 receptor is fundamentally identical to that reported previously for functional binding of feline immunodeficiency virus SU to its coreceptor CD134, another TNFR protein. These results indicate unexpected common features of the specific mechanisms by which diverse lentiviruses can employ TNFR proteins as functional receptors.
Project description:We developed a replication-defective reporter virus pseudotyped with the envelope glycoprotein of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). The in vitro host range and neutralization phenotype of EIAV Env-pseudotyped virus were similar to those of replication-competent virus. An EIAV Env pseudovirus will improve antigenic characterization of viral variants and evaluation of lentivirus vaccines.
Project description:Equine lentivirus receptor 1 (ELR1) has been identified as a functional cellular receptor for equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). Herein, recombinant ELR1 and EIAV surface glycoprotein gp90 were respectively expressed in Drosophila melanogaster S2 cells, and purified to homogeneity by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography and gel filtration chromatography. Gel filtration chromatography and analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) analyses indicated that both ELR1 and gp90 existed as individual monomers in solution and formed a complex with a stoichiometry of 1:1 when mixed. The structure of ELR1 was first determined with the molecular replacement method, which belongs to the space group P42 21 2 with one molecule in an asymmetric unit. It contains eight antiparallel ?-sheets, of which four are in cysteine rich domain 1 (CRD1) and two are in CRD2 and CRD3, respectively. Alignment of ELR1 with HVEM and CD134 indicated that Tyr61, Leu70, and Gly72 in CRD1 of ELR1 are important residues for binding to gp90. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiments further confirmed that Leu70 and Gly72 are the critical residues.
Project description:The polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify and clone parts of the envelope gene and overlapping S3 open reading frame, thought to encode rev, of the virulent in vivo-derived Th-1 isolate of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). The results indicated that EIAV consists of a heterogeneous mixture of genotypes present at the first febrile cycle after initial infection. We showed that the Th-1 isolate apparently contains nondefective genotypes as well as types which have transmembrane protein truncations or are rev deficient. Furthermore, we could confirm the presence of a hypervariable region in the gp90 envelope glycoprotein. Taken together with earlier data on the heterogeneity of the regulatory motifs present in the long terminal repeat sequences of viruses from the same in vivo isolate (S. Carpenter, S. Alexandersen, M. J. Long, S. Perryman, and B. Chesebro, J. Virol. 65:1605-1610, 1991), our findings indicate that EIAV uses a complex system of diversity in biological phenotypes together with variation in regulatory and antigenic makeup to evade host response and to cause persistent infection and recurrent chronic disease.
Project description:Characterization of cellular receptors for human, simian, and feline immunodeficiency viruses that are tropic for lymphocytes and macrophages have revealed a common theme of a sequential binding of viral envelope proteins with two coreceptors to mediate virus infection of target cells. In contrast to these dual tropic immunodeficiency viruses, the ungulate lentiviruses, including equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), exclusively infect cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage to cause progressive degenerative diseases without clinical immunodeficiency. EIAV causes a uniquely dynamic disease that is characterized by recurrent disease episodes including fever, diarrhea, lethargy, anemia, and thrombocytopenia. Although EIAV provides an important animal model for lentivirus disease resulting from macrophage infection, to date there has been no definition of the specific cellular receptor(s) used by the equine lentivirus to infect target cells. In the current study, we have identified and cloned a functional receptor for EIAV, designated equine lentivirus receptor-1 (ELR1), related to the family of TNF receptor (TNFR) proteins. ELR1 was shown to be expressed in various equine cells permissive for EIAV replication in vitro, including monocytes and macrophages. In contrast, EIAV-resistant human, murine, and simian cells were negative for ELR1 expression but became susceptible to virus infection when transduced with a recombinant murine retrovirus expressing the ELR1. Thus, these results identify a specific functional receptor for a macrophagetropic lentivirus and indicate that infection by EIAV may be mediated by a single receptor, in contrast to coreceptors used by the lymphotropic immunodeficiency lentiviruses.