Novel and dynamic evolution of equine infectious anemia virus genomic quasispecies associated with sequential disease cycles in an experimentally infected pony.
ABSTRACT: 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) 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:An infectious nonpathogenic molecular clone (19-2-6A) of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) was modified by substitution of a 3.3-kbp fragment amplified by PCR techniques from a pathogenic variant (EIAV(PV)) of the cell culture-adapted strain of EIAV (EIAV(PR)). This substitution consisted of coding sequences for 77 amino acids at the carboxyl terminus of the integrase, the S1 (encoding the second exon of tat), S2, and S3 (encoding the second exon of rev) open reading frames, the complete env gene (including the first exon of rev), and the 3' long terminal repeat (LTR). Modified 19-2-6A molecular clones were designated EIAV(PV3.3), and infection of a single pony (678) with viruses derived from a mixture of five of these molecular clones induced clinical signs of acute equine infectious anemia (EIA) at 23 days postinfection (dpi). As a consequence of this initial study, a single molecular clone, EIAV(PV3.3#3) (redesignated EIAV(UK)), was selected for further study and inoculated into two ponies (613 and 614) and two horses (700 and 764). Pony 614 and the two horses developed febrile responses by 12 dpi, which was accompanied by a 48 to 64% reduction in platelet number, whereas pony 613 did not develop fever (40.6 degrees C) until 76 dpi. EIAV could be isolated from the plasma of these animals by 5 to 7 dpi, and all became seropositive for antibodies to this virus by 21 dpi. Analysis of the complete nucleotide sequence demonstrated that the 3.3-kbp 3' fragment of EIAV(UK) differed from the consensus sequence of EIAV(PV) by just a single amino acid residue in the second exon of the rev gene. Complete homology with the EIAV(PV) consensus sequence was observed in the hypervariable region of the LTR. However, EIAV(UK) was found to contain an unusual 68-bp nucleotide insertion/duplication in a normally conserved region of the LTR sequence. These results demonstrate that substitution of a 3.3-kbp fragment from the EIAV(PV) strain into the infectious nonpathogenic molecular clone 19-2-6A leads to the production of progeny virus particles with the ability to induce clinical signs of EIA. Therefore, EIAV(UK), which is the first pathogenic, cell culture-adapted molecular clone of EIAV to be described, should be of value in identifying viral determinants of pathogenicity.
Project description:Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a good model for studying mechanisms generating escaped retrovirus variants. We previously sequenced the entire gp90-encoding region of 22 cDNA clones obtained from five antigenically distinct isolates (F1V to F5V) recovered during febrile episodes in horse 493 experimentally infected with the Japanese virulent EIAV strain V70. The results showed that the mutations occurred in the principal neutralizing domain (PND) by insertions/duplications. In this study, we further characterized the PND of virus isolates sequentially recovered during 22 febrile episodes in seven horses newly infected with V70 or one of the V70-derived variants. Sequencing of 70 cDNA clones derived from the 22 episodes confirmed the generation of various new viral quasispecies with insertions/duplications in the PND. Although the insertion/duplication sequences in a total of 92 cDNA clones were extensively heterogeneous, we hypothesized that all the insertions/duplications occurred during reverse transcription from viral genomic RNA to minus strand DNA. The insertion/duplication regions were derived from a part of the PND sequence, which consisted of five small units. These small units, some with various substitutions and/or deletions, were also generated, especially in regions with insertions/duplications. Of particular note was that all these virus variants, except for two cDNA variants, were generated by essentially four different duplication pathways. Thus, these results extend the significance of insertions/duplications in the PND to the novel generation of EIAV in vivo during febrile episodes.
Project description:As the only widely used live lentiviral vaccine, the equine infectious anima virus (EIAV) attenuated vaccine was developed by in vitro passaging of a virulent strain for 121 generations. In our previous study, we observed that the attenuated vaccine was gradually selected under increased environmental pressure at the population level (termed a quasispecies). To further elucidate the potential correlation between viral quasispecies evolution and pathogenesis, a systematic study was performed by sequencing env using several methods. Some key mutations were identified within Env, and we observed that increased percentages of these mutations were accompanied by an increased passage number and attenuated virulence. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that env mutations related to the loss of virulence might have occurred evolutionarily. Among these mutations, deletion of amino acid 236 in the V4 region of Env resulted in the loss of one N-glycosylation site that was crucial for virulence. Notably, the 236-deleted sequence represented a "vaccine-specific" mutation that was also found in wild EIAVLN40 strains based on single genome amplification (SGA) analysis. Therefore, our results suggest that the EIAV attenuated vaccine may originate from a branch of quasispecies of EIAVLN40. Generally, the presented results may increase our understanding of the attenuation mechanism of the EIAV vaccine and provide more information about the evolution of other lentiviruses.
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:Vaccines preventing HIV-1 infection will likely elicit antibodies that neutralize diverse strains. However, the capacity for lentiviruses to escape broadly neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) is not completely understood, nor is it known whether NAbs alone can control heterologous infection. Here, we determined that convalescent immune plasma from a horse persistently infected with equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) neutralized homologous virus and several envelope variants containing heterologous principal neutralizing domains (PND). Plasma was infused into young horses (foals) affected with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), followed by challenge with a homologous EIAV stock. Treated SCID foals were protected against clinical disease, with complete prevention of infection occurring in one foal. In three SCID foals, a novel neutralization-resistant variant arose that was found to preexist at a low frequency in the challenge inoculum. In contrast, SCID foals infused with nonimmune plasma developed acute disease associated with high levels of the predominant challenge virus. Following transfer to an immunocompetent horse, the neutralization-resistant variant induced a single febrile episode and was subsequently controlled in the absence of type-specific NAb. Long-term control was associated with the presence of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Our results demonstrate that immune plasma with neutralizing activity against heterologous PND variants can prevent lentivirus infection and clinical disease in the complete absence of T cells. Importantly, however, rare neutralization-resistant envelope variants can replicate in vivo under relatively broad selection pressure, highlighting the need for protective lentivirus vaccines to elicit NAb responses with increased breadth and potency and/or CTL that target conserved epitopes.
Project description:Lentiviral Envelope (Env) antigenic variation and related immune evasion present major hurdles to effective vaccine development. Centralized Env immunogens that minimize the genetic distance between vaccine proteins and circulating viral isolates are an area of increasing study in HIV vaccinology. To date, the efficacy of centralized immunogens has not been evaluated in the context of an animal model that could provide both immunogenicity and protective efficacy data. We previously reported on a live-attenuated (attenuated) equine infectious anemia (EIAV) virus vaccine, which provides 100% protection from disease after virulent, homologous, virus challenge. Further, protective efficacy demonstrated a significant, inverse, linear relationship between EIAV Env divergence and protection from disease when vaccinates were challenged with viral strains of increasing Env divergence from the vaccine strain Env. Here, we sought to comprehensively examine the protective efficacy of centralized immunogens in our attenuated vaccine platform. We developed, constructed, and extensively tested a consensus Env, which in a virulent proviral backbone generated a fully replication-competent pathogenic virus, and compared this consensus Env to an ancestral Env in our attenuated proviral backbone. A polyvalent attenuated vaccine was established for comparison to the centralized vaccines. Additionally, an engineered quasispecies challenge model was created for rigorous assessment of protective efficacy. Twenty-four EIAV-naïve animals were vaccinated and challenged along with six-control animals six months post-second inoculation. Pre-challenge data indicated the consensus Env was more broadly immunogenic than the Env of the other attenuated vaccines. However, challenge data demonstrated a significant increase in protective efficacy of the polyvalent vaccine. These findings reveal, for the first time, a consensus Env immunogen that generated a fully-functional, replication-competent lentivirus, which when experimentally evaluated, demonstrated broader immunogenicity that does not equate to higher protective efficacy.
Project description:Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are critical for control of lentiviruses, including equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). Measurement of equine CTL responses has relied on chromium-release assays, which do not allow accurate quantitation. Recently, the equine MHC class I molecule 7-6, associated with the ELA-A1 haplotype, was shown to present both the Gag-GW12 and Env-RW12 EIAV CTL epitopes. In this study, 7-6/Gag-GW12 and 7-6/Env-RW12 MHC class I/peptide tetrameric complexes were constructed and used to analyze Gag-GW12- and Env-RW12-specific CTL responses in two EIAV-infected horses (A2164 and A2171). Gag-GW12 and Env-RW12 tetramer-positive CD8+ cells were identified in nonstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells as early as 14 days post-EIAV inoculation, and frequencies of tetramer-positive cells ranged from 0.4% to 6.7% of nonstimulated peripheral blood CD8+ cells during the 127-day study period. Although both horses terminated the initial viremic peak, only horse A2171 effectively controlled viral load. Neutralizing antibody was present during the initial control of viral load in both horses, but the ability to maintain control correlated with Gag-GW12-specific CD8+ cells in A2171. Despite Env-RW12 dominance, Env-RW12 escape viral variants were identified in both horses and there was no correlation between Env-RW12-specific CD8+ cells and control of viral load. Although Gag-GW12 CTL escape did not occur, a Gag-GW12 epitope variant arose in A2164 that was recognized less efficiently than the original epitope. These data indicate that tetramers are useful for identification and quantitation of CTL responses in horses, and suggest that the observed control of EIAV replication and clinical disease was associated with sustained CTL recognition of Gag-specific epitopes.
Project description:The equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) attenuated vaccine was developed by long-term passaging of a field-isolated virulent strain in cross-species hosts, followed by successive cultivation in cells in vitro To explore the molecular mechanism underlying the evolution of the EIAV attenuated vaccine, a systematic study focusing on long-terminal-repeat (LTR) variation in numerous virus strains ranging from virulent EIAV to attenuated EIAV was performed over time both in vitro and in vivo Two hypervariable regions were identified within the U3 region in the enhancer region (EHR) and the negative regulatory element (NRE) and within the R region in the transcription start site (TSS) and the Tat-activating region (TAR). Among these sites, variation in the U3 region resulted in the formation of additional transcription factor binding sites; this variation of the in vitro-adapted strains was consistent with the loss of pathogenicity. Notably, the same LTR variation pattern was observed both in vitro and in vivo Generally, the LTR variation in both the attenuated virus and the virulent strain fluctuated over time in vivo Interestingly, the attenuated-virus-specific LTR variation was also detected in horses infected with the virulent strain, supporting the hypothesis that the evolution of an attenuated virus might have involved branching from EIAV quasispecies. This hypothesis was verified by phylogenetic analysis. The present systematic study examining the molecular evolution of attenuated EIAV from EIAV quasispecies may provide an informative model reflecting the evolution of similar lentiviruses.IMPORTANCE The attenuated EIAV vaccine was the first lentiviral vaccine used to successfully control for equine infectious anemia in China. This vaccine provides an important reference for studying the relationship between EIAV gene variation and changes in biological characteristics. Importantly, the vaccine provides a model for the investigation of lentiviral quasispecies evolution. This study followed the "natural" development of the attenuated EIAV vaccine by use of a systematic analysis of LTR evolution in vitro and in vivo The results revealed that the increase in LTR variation with passaging was accompanied by a decrease in virulence, which indicated that LTR variability might parallel the attenuation of virulence. Interestingly, the attenuated-virus-specific LTR variation was also detected in virulent-strain-infected horses, a finding consistent with those of previous investigations of gp90 and S2 evolution. Therefore, we present a hypothesis that the evolution of the attenuated virus may involve branching from EIAV quasispecies present in vivo.
Project description:Data from successful attenuated lentiviral vaccine studies indicate that fully mature Env-specific antibodies characterized by high titer, high avidity, and the predominant recognition of conformational epitopes are associated with protective efficacy. Although vaccination with a DNA prime/recombinant vaccinia-vectored vaccine boost strategy has been found to be effective in some trials with non-human primate/simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) models, it remains unclear whether this vaccination strategy could elicit mature equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) Env-specific antibodies, thus protecting vaccinated horses against EIAV infection. Therefore, in this pilot study we vaccinated horses using a strategy based on DNA prime/recombinant Tiantan vaccinia (rTTV)-vectored vaccines encoding EIAV env and gag genes, and observed the development of Env-specific antibodies, neutralizing antibodies, and p26-specific antibodies. Vaccination with DNA induced low titer, low avidity, and the predominant recognition of linear epitopes by Env-specific antibodies, which was enhanced by boosting vaccinations with rTTV vaccines. However, the maturation levels of Env-specific antibodies induced by the DNA/rTTV vaccines were significantly lower than those induced by the attenuated vaccine EIAV(FDDV). Additionally, DNA/rTTV vaccines did not elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies. After challenge with a virulent EIAV strain, all of the vaccinees and control horses died from EIAV disease. These data indicate that the regimen of DNA prime/rTTV vaccine boost did not induce mature Env-specific antibodies, which might have contributed to immune protection failure.