Profiling helper T cell subset gene expression in deer mice.
ABSTRACT: Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the most common mammals in North America and are reservoirs for several zoonotic agents, including Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the principal etiologic agent of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in North America. Unlike human HCPS patients, SNV-infected deer mice show no overt pathological symptoms, despite the presence of virus in the lungs. A neutralizing IgG antibody response occurs, but the virus establishes a persistent infection. Limitations of detailed analysis of deer mouse immune responses to SNV are the lack of reagents and methods for evaluating such responses.We developed real-time PCR-based detection assays for several immune-related transcription factor and cytokine genes from deer mice that permit the profiling of CD4+ helper T cells, including markers of Th1 cells (T-bet, STAT4, IFNgamma, TNF, LT), Th2 cells (GATA-3, STAT6, IL-4, IL-5) and regulatory T cells (Fox-p3, IL-10, TGFbeta1). These assays compare the expression of in vitro antigen-stimulated and unstimulated T cells from individual deer mice.We developed molecular methods for profiling immune gene expression in deer mice, including a multiplexed real-time PCR assay for assessing expression of several cytokine and transcription factor genes. These assays should be useful for characterizing the immune responses of experimentally- and naturally-infected deer mice.
Project description:Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) is a rodent-borne disease with a high case-fatality rate that is caused by several New World hantaviruses. Each pathogenic hantavirus is naturally hosted by a principal rodent species without conspicuous disease and infection is persistent, perhaps for life. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the natural reservoirs of Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the etiologic agent of most HCPS cases in North America. Deer mice remain infected despite a helper T cell response that leads to high-titer neutralizing antibodies. Deer mice are also susceptible to Andes hantavirus (ANDV), which causes most HCPS cases in South America; however, deer mice clear ANDV. We infected deer mice with SNV or ANDV to identify differences in host responses that might account for this differential outcome. SNV RNA levels were higher in the lungs but not different in the heart, spleen, or kidneys. Most ANDV-infected deer mice had seroconverted 14 days after inoculation, but none of the SNV-infected deer mice had. Examination of lymph node cell antigen recall responses identified elevated immune gene expression in deer mice infected with ANDV and suggested maturation toward a Th2 or T follicular helper phenotype in some ANDV-infected deer mice, including activation of the interleukin 4 (IL-4) pathway in T cells and B cells. These data suggest that the rate of maturation of the immune response is substantially higher and of greater magnitude during ANDV infection, and these differences may account for clearance of ANDV and persistence of SNV.Hantaviruses persistently infect their reservoir rodent hosts without pathology. It is unknown how these viruses evade sterilizing immune responses in the reservoirs. We have determined that infection of the deer mouse with its homologous hantavirus, Sin Nombre virus, results in low levels of immune gene expression in antigen-stimulated lymph node cells and a poor antibody response. However, infection of deer mice with a heterologous hantavirus, Andes virus, results in a robust lymph node cell response, signatures of T and B cell maturation, and production of antibodies. These findings suggest that an early and aggressive immune response to hantaviruses may lead to clearance in a reservoir host and suggest that a modest immune response may be a component of hantavirus ecology.
Project description:Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the principal reservoir hosts of Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the cause of the great majority of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) cases in North America. SNV, like all hantaviruses with their reservoirs, causes persistent infection without pathology in deer mice and appear to elicit a regulatory T cell response. Deer mice are also susceptible to Andes virus (ANDV), which causes the great majority of HCPS cases in South America, but they clear infection by 56 days post infection without signs of disease.We examined lymph node cell responses of deer mice infected with ANDV to determine expression profiles upon in vitro recall challenge with viral antigen. Because the deer mouse genome is currently unannotated, we developed a bioinformatics pipeline to use known lab mouse (Mus musculus) cDNAs to predict genes within the deer mouse genome and design primers for quantitative PCR (http://dna.publichealth.uga.edu/BlastPrimer/BlastPrimer.php). Of 94 genes examined, 20 were elevated, the plurality of which were Th2-specific, whereas 12 were downregulated. Other expressed genes represented Th1, regulatory T cells and follicular helper T cells, and B cells, but not Th17 cells, indicating that many cellular phenotypes participate in the host response to Andes virus.The ability to examine expression levels of nearly any gene from deer mice should allow direct comparison of infection with SNV or ANDV to determine the immunological pathways used for clearance of hantavirus infection in a reservoir host species.
Project description:Human infections with Sin Nombre virus (SNV) and related New World hantaviruses often lead to hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), a sometimes fatal illness. Lungs of patients who die from HCPS exhibit cytokine-producing mononuclear infiltrates and pronounced pulmonary inflammation. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the principal natural hosts of SNV, in which the virus establishes life-long persistence without conspicuous pathology. Little is known about the mechanisms SNV employs to evade the immune response of deer mice, and experimental examination of this question has been difficult because of a lack of methodologies for examining such responses during infection. One such deficiency is our inability to characterize T cell responses because susceptible syngeneic deer mice are not available.To solve this problem, we have developed an in vitro method of expanding and generating competent antigen presenting cells (APC) from deer mouse bone marrow using commercially-available house mouse (Mus musculus) granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor. These cells are capable of processing and presenting soluble protein to antigen-specific autologous helper T cells in vitro. Inclusion of antigen-specific deer mouse antibody augments T cell stimulation, presumably through Fc receptor-mediated endocytosis.The use of these APC has allowed us to dramatically expand deer mouse helper T cells in culture and should permit extensive characterization of T cell epitopes. Considering the evolutionary divergence between deer mice and house mice, it is probable that this method will be useful to other investigators using unconventional models of rodent-borne diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are among the most common mammals in North America and are important reservoirs of several human pathogens, including Sin Nombre hantavirus (SNV). SNV can establish a life-long apathogenic infection in deer mice, which can shed virus in excrement for transmission to humans. Patients that die from hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) have been found to express several proinflammatory cytokines, including lymphotoxin (LT), in the lungs. It is thought that these cytokines contribute to the pathogenesis of HCPS. LT is not expressed by virus-specific CD4+ T cells from infected deer mice, suggesting a limited role for this pathway in reservoir responses to hantaviruses. RESULTS:We have cloned the genes encoding deer mouse LTalpha and LTbeta and have found them to be highly similar to orthologous rodent sequences but with some differences in promoters elements. The phylogenetic analyses performed on the LTalpha, LTbeta, and combined data sets yielded a strongly-supported sister-group relationship between the two murines (the house mouse and the rat). The deer mouse, a sigmodontine, appeared as the sister group to the murine clade in all of the analyses. High bootstrap values characterized the grouping of murids. CONCLUSION:No conspicuous differences compared to other species are present in the predicted amino acid sequences of LTalpha or LTbeta; however, some promoter differences were noted in LTbeta. Although more extensive taxonomic sampling is required to confirm the results of our analyses, the preliminary findings indicate that both genes (analyzed both separately and in combination) hold potential for resolving relationships among rodents and other mammals at the subfamily level.
Project description:Sin Nombre virus (SNV) is thought to establish a persistent infection in its natural reservoir, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), despite a strong host immune response. SNV-specific neutralizing antibodies were routinely detected in deer mice which maintained virus RNA in the blood and lungs. To determine whether viral diversity played a role in SNV persistence and immune escape in deer mice, we measured the prevalence of virus quasispecies in infected rodents over time in a natural setting. Mark-recapture studies provided serial blood samples from naturally infected deer mice, which were sequentially analyzed for SNV diversity. Viral RNA was detected over a period of months in these rodents in the presence of circulating antibodies specific for SNV. Nucleotide and amino acid substitutions were observed in viral clones from all time points analyzed, including changes in the immunodominant domain of glycoprotein 1 and the 3' small segment noncoding region of the genome. Viral RNA was also detected in seven different organs of sacrificed deer mice. Analysis of organ-specific viral clones revealed major disparities in the level of viral diversity between organs, specifically between the spleen (high diversity) and the lung and liver (low diversity). These results demonstrate the ability of SNV to mutate and generate quasispecies in vivo, which may have implications for viral persistence and possible escape from the host immune system.
Project description:Maladaptive immune responses are considered to be important factors in the pathogenesis of the two diseases caused by hantaviruses, hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS). While the intensity of adaptive antiviral T-cell responses seems to correlate with the severity of HCPS, there is increasing evidence that innate antiviral responses by endothelial cells, the native targets for hantavirus infection in vivo, are induced within hours of exposure to infectious hantaviruses. To investigate early events in the innate response to Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the principal etiologic agent of HCPS in North America, we treated human endothelial cells with live virus, or virus subjected to inactivation by UV irradiation at minimal doses required to inhibit replication, and assayed host expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISG) by microarray and reverse transcription-PCR. We show herein that a variety of ISG are induced between 4 and 24 h after exposure to both live and killed virus. The levels of such induction at early time points (before 24 h) were generally higher in cells treated with SNV particles that had been killed by exposure to UV irradiation. Additionally, SNV exposed to increasing doses of UV irradiation induced ISG better than live virus despite increased disruption of viral RNA integrity. However, SNV replication was required for continued ISG overexpression by 3 days posttreatment. These results suggest that hantavirus particles may themselves be capable of early induction of ISG and that ongoing production of viral particles during infection could contribute to the pathogenic process.
Project description:The pathophysiology of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) remains unclear because of a lack of surrogate disease models with which to perform pathogenesis studies. Nonhuman primates (NHP) are considered the gold standard model for studying the underlying immune activation/suppression associated with immunopathogenic viruses such as hantaviruses; however, to date an NHP model for HPS has not been described. Here we show that rhesus macaques infected with Sin Nombre virus (SNV), the primary etiological agent of HPS in North America, propagated in deer mice develop HPS, which is characterized by thrombocytopenia, leukocytosis, and rapid onset of respiratory distress caused by severe interstitial pneumonia. Despite establishing a systemic infection, SNV differentially activated host responses exclusively in the pulmonary endothelium, potentially the mechanism leading to acute severe respiratory distress. This study presents a unique chronological characterization of SNV infection and provides mechanistic data into the pathophysiology of HPS in a closely related surrogate animal model. We anticipate this model will advance our understanding of HPS pathogenesis and will greatly facilitate research toward the development of effective therapeutics and vaccines against hantaviral diseases.
Project description:The 1993 outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the southwestern United States was associated with Sin Nombre virus, a rodent-borne hantavirus; The virus' primary reservoir is the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). Hantavirus-infected rodents were identified in various regions of North America. An extensive nucleotide sequence database of an 139 bp fragment amplified from virus M genomic segments was generated. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed that SNV-like hantaviruses are widely distributed in Peromyscus species rodents throughout North America. Classic SNV is the major cause of HPS in North America, but other Peromyscine-borne hantaviruses, e.g., New York and Monongahela viruses, are also associated with HPS cases. Although genetically diverse, SNV-like viruses have slowly coevolved with their rodent hosts. We show that the genetic relationships of hantaviruses in the Americas are complex, most likely as a result of the rapid radiation and speciation of New World sigmodontine rodents and occasional virus-host switching events.
Project description:Hantaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), which infects more than 200,000 people worldwide. Sin Nombre virus (SNV) and Andes virus (ANDV) cause the most severe form of HCPS, with case fatality ratios of 30%-40%. There are no specific therapies or vaccines for SNV. Using high-throughput flow cytometry, we screened the Prestwick Chemical Library for small-molecule inhibitors of the binding interaction between UV-inactivated and fluorescently labeled SNVR18 particles, and decay-accelerating factor (DAF) expressed on Tanoue B cells. Eight confirmed hit compounds from the primary screen were investigated further in secondary screens that included infection inhibition, cytotoxicity, and probe interference. Antimycin emerged as a bona fide hit compound that inhibited cellular infection of the major HCPS (SNV)- and HCPS (Hantaan)-causing viruses. Confirming our assay's ability to detect active compounds, orthogonal testing of the hit compound showed that antimycin binds directly to the virus particle and blocks recapitulation of physiologic integrin activation caused by SNV binding to the integrin PSI domain.
Project description:A cytomegalovirus (CMV) was isolated from its natural host, Peromyscus maniculatus, and was designated Peromyscus CMV (PCMV). A recombinant PCMV was constructed that contained Sin Nombre virus glycoprotein G1 (SNV-G1) fused in frame to the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene inserted into a site homologous to the human CMV UL33 (P33) gene. The recombinant CMV was used for expression and immunization of deer mice against SNV-G1. The results of the study indicate that P. maniculatus could be infected with as few as 10 virus particles of recombinant virus. Challenge of P. maniculatus with either recombinant or wild-type PCMV produced no overt pathology in infected animals. P. maniculatus immunized with recombinant virus developed an antibody response to SNV and EGFP. When rechallenged with recombinant virus, animals exhibited an anamnestic response against SNV. Interestingly, a preexisting immune response against PCMV did not prevent reinfection with recombinant PCMV.