Protection against retrovirus pathogenesis by SR protein inhibitors.
ABSTRACT: Indole derivatives compounds (IDC) are a new class of splicing inhibitors that have a selective action on exonic splicing enhancers (ESE)-dependent activity of individual serine-arginine-rich (SR) proteins. Some of these molecules have been shown to compromise assembly of HIV infectious particles in cell cultures by interfering with the activity of the SR protein SF2/ASF and by subsequently suppressing production of splicing-dependent retroviral accessory proteins. For all replication-competent retroviruses, a limiting requirement for infection and pathogenesis is the expression of the envelope glycoprotein which strictly depends on the host splicing machinery. Here, we have evaluated the efficiency of IDC on an animal model of retroviral pathogenesis using a fully replication-competent retrovirus. In this model, all newborn mice infected with a fully replicative murine leukemia virus (MLV) develop erythroleukemia within 6 to 8 weeks of age. We tested several IDC for their ability to interfere ex vivo with MLV splicing and virus spreading as well as for their protective effect in vivo. We show here that two of these IDC, IDC13 and IDC78, selectively altered splicing-dependent production of the retroviral envelope gene, thus inhibiting early viral replication in vivo, sufficiently to protect mice from MLV-induced pathogenesis. The apparent specificity and clinical safety observed here for both IDC13 and IDC78 strongly support further assessment of inhibitors of SR protein splicing factors as a new class of antiretroviral therapeutic agents.
Project description:Retroviruses are well known for their ability to incorporate envelope (Env) proteins from other retroviral strains and genera, and even from other virus families. This characteristic has been widely exploited for the generation of replication-defective retroviral vectors, including those derived from murine leukemia virus (MLV), bearing heterologous Env proteins. We investigated the possibility of "genetically pseudotyping" replication-competent MLV by replacing the native env gene in a full-length viral genome with that of another gammaretrovirus. Earlier, we developed replication-competent versions of MLV that stably transmit and express transgenes inserted into the 3' untranslated region of the viral genome. In one such tagged MLV expressing green fluorescent protein, we replaced the native env sequence with that of gibbon ape leukemia virus (GALV). Although the GALV Env protein is commonly used to make high-titer pseudotypes of MLV vectors, we found that the env replacement greatly attenuated viral replication. However, extended cultivation of cells exposed to the chimeric virus resulted in selection of mutants exhibiting rapid replication kinetics and different variants arose in different infections. Two of these variants had acquired mutations at or adjacent to the splice acceptor site, and three others had acquired dual mutations within the long terminal repeat. Analysis of the levels of unspliced and spliced viral RNA produced by the parental and adapted viruses showed that the mutations gained by each of these variants functioned to reverse an imbalance in splicing caused by the env gene substitution. Our results reveal the presence of previously unknown cis-acting sequences in MLV that modulate splicing of the viral transcript and demonstrate that tagging of the retroviral genome with an easily assayed transgene can be combined with in vitro evolution as an approach to efficiently generating and screening for replicating mutants of replication-impaired recombinant viruses.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Cancer gene therapy will benefit from vectors that are able to replicate in tumor tissue and cause a bystander effect. Replication-competent murine leukemia virus (MLV) has been described to have potential as cancer therapeutics, however, MLV infection does not cause a cytopathic effect in the infected cell and viral replication can only be studied by immunostaining or measurement of reverse transcriptase activity. RESULTS: We inserted the coding sequences for green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the proline-rich region (PRR) of the ecotropic envelope protein (Env) and were able to fluorescently label MLV. This allowed us to directly monitor viral replication and attachment to target cells by flow cytometry. We used this method to study viral replication of recombinant MLVs and split viral genomes, which were generated by replacement of the MLV env gene with the red fluorescent protein (RFP) and separately cloning GFP-Env into a retroviral vector. Co-transfection of both plasmids into target cells resulted in the generation of semi-replicative vectors, and the two color labeling allowed to determine the distribution of the individual genomes in the target cells and was indicative for the occurrence of recombination events. CONCLUSIONS: Fluorescently labeled MLVs are excellent tools for the study of factors that influence viral replication and can be used to optimize MLV-based replication-competent viruses or vectors for gene therapy.
Project description:Tetherin (Bst-2 CD317) is a cell-surface protein whose expression is induced by IFN?. Although tetherin expression causes the retention of retrovirus particles on the surface of infected cells, it is not known whether tetherin inhibits retroviral replication or pathogenesis in vivo. Mutation of tetherin antagonists often has little effect on retroviral replication in vitro, and, although tetherin can reduce the yield of extracellular viral particles, some studies suggest that tetherin actually enhances direct cell-to-cell viral transmission. We generated tetherin-deficient mice to determine the effect of this protein on murine retrovirus replication and pathogenesis. We find that tetherin markedly inhibits the replication of Moloney murine leukemia virus (Mo-MLV) and is required for the antiretroviral activity of IFN? to be fully manifested in vitro. Surprisingly, Mo-MLV replication and disease progression was not significantly different in WT and tetherin-deficient mice, but this finding was explained by the fact that Mo-MLV infection did not induce detectable tetherin expression on candidate target cells in vivo. Indeed, IFN? induction was required to reveal the anti-Mo-MLV activity of tetherin in vivo. Moreover, LP-BM5, an MLV strain that has been demonstrated to induce immune activation and IFN? expression, achieved higher levels of viremia and induced exaggerated pathology in tetherin-deficient mice. These data indicate that tetherin is a bona fide antiviral protein and can reduce retroviral replication and disease in vivo.
Project description:As obligate parasites, viruses highjack, modify and repurpose the cellular machinery for their own replication. Viral proteins have, therefore, evolved biological functions, such as signalling potential, that alter host cell physiology in ways that are still incompletely understood. Retroviral envelope glycoproteins interact with several host proteins, extracellularly with their cellular receptor and anti-envelope antibodies, and intracellularly with proteins of the cytoskeleton or sorting, endocytosis and recirculation pathways. Here, we examined the impact of endogenous retroviral envelope glycoprotein expression and interaction with host proteins, particularly antibodies, on the cell, independently of retroviral infection. We found that in the commonly used C57BL/6 substrains of mice, where murine leukaemia virus (MLV) envelope glycoproteins are expressed by several endogenous MLV proviruses, the highest expressed MLV envelope glycoprotein is under the control of an immune-responsive cellular promoter, thus linking MLV envelope glycoprotein expression with immune activation. We further showed that antibody ligation induces extensive internalisation from the plasma membrane into endocytic compartments of MLV envelope glycoproteins, which are not normally subject to constitutive endocytosis. Importantly, antibody binding and internalisation of MLV envelope glycoproteins initiates signalling cascades in envelope-expressing murine lymphocytic cell lines, leading to cellular activation. Similar effects were observed by MLV envelope glycoprotein ligation by its cellular receptor mCAT-1, and by overexpression in human lymphocytic cells, where it required an intact tyrosine-based YXX? motif in the envelope glycoprotein cytoplasmic tail. Together, these results suggest that signalling potential is a general property of retroviral envelope glycoproteins and, therefore, a target for intervention.
Project description:Suppression of HIV replication by antiretroviral therapy (ART) or host immunity can prevent AIDS but not other HIV-associated conditions including neurocognitive impairment (HIV-NCI). Pathogenesis in HIV-suppressed individuals has been attributed to reservoirs of latent-inducible virus in resting CD4+ T cells. Macrophages are persistently infected with HIV but their role as HIV reservoirs in vivo has not been fully explored. Here we show that infection of conventional mice with chimeric HIV, EcoHIV, reproduces physiological conditions for development of disease in people on ART including immunocompetence, stable suppression of HIV replication, persistence of integrated, replication-competent HIV in T cells and macrophages, and manifestation of learning and memory deficits in behavioral tests, termed here murine HIV-NCI. EcoHIV established latent reservoirs in CD4+ T lymphocytes in chronically-infected mice but could be induced by epigenetic modulators ex vivo and in mice. In contrast, macrophages expressed EcoHIV constitutively in mice for up to 16 months; murine leukemia virus (MLV), the donor of gp80 envelope in EcoHIV, did not infect macrophages. Both EcoHIV and MLV were found in brain tissue of infected mice but only EcoHIV induced NCI. Murine HIV-NCI was prevented by antiretroviral prophylaxis but once established neither persistent EcoHIV infection in mice nor NCI could be reversed by long-acting antiretroviral therapy. EcoHIV-infected, athymic mice were more permissive to virus replication in macrophages than were wild-type mice, suffered cognitive dysfunction, as well as increased numbers of monocytes and macrophages infiltrating the brain. Our results suggest an important role of HIV expressing macrophages in HIV neuropathogenesis in hosts with suppressed HIV replication.
Project description:Retroviral and lentiviral vectors are mostly pseudotyped and often purified and concentrated via ultracentrifugation. In this study, we quantified and compared the stabilities of retroviral [murine leukemia virus (MLV)-based] and lentiviral [human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-based] vectors pseudotyped with relatively mechanically stable envelope proteins, vesicular stomatitis virus glycoproteins (VSVGs), and the influenza virus WSN strain envelope proteins against ultracentrifugation. Lentiviral genomic and functional particles were more stable than the corresponding retroviral particles against ultracentrifugation when pseudotyped with VSVGs. However, both retroviral and lentiviral particles were unstable when pseudotyped with the influenza virus WSN strain envelope proteins. Therefore, the stabilities of pseudotyped retroviral and lentiviral vectors against ultracentrifugation process are a function of not only the type of envelope proteins, but also the type of viral internal core (MLV or HIV-1 core). In addition, the fraction of functional viral particles among genomic viral particles greatly varied at times during packaging, depending on the type of envelope proteins used for pseudotyping and the viral internal core.
Project description:Human CD317 (BST-2/tetherin) is an intrinsic immunity factor that blocks the release of retroviruses, filoviruses, herpesviruses, and arenaviruses. It is unclear whether CD317 expressed endogenously in rodent cells has the capacity to interfere with the replication of the retroviral rodent pathogen murine leukemia virus (MLV) or, in the context of small-animal model development, contributes to the well-established late-phase restriction of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Here, we show that small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of CD317 relieved a virion release restriction and markedly enhanced the egress of HIV-1, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in rat cells, including primary macrophages. Moreover, rodent CD317 potently inhibited MLV release, and siRNA-mediated depletion of CD317 in a mouse T-cell line resulted in the accelerated spread of MLV. Several virus-encoded antagonists have recently been reported to overcome the restriction imposed by human or monkey CD317, including HIV-1 Vpu, envelope glycoproteins of HIV-2 and Ebola virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus K5, and SIV Nef. In contrast, both rat and mouse CD317 showed a high degree of resistance to these viral antagonists. These data suggest that CD317 is a broadly acting and conserved mediator of innate control of retroviral infection and pathogenesis that restricts the release of retroviruses and lentiviruses in rodents. The high degree of resistance of the rodent CD317 restriction factors to antagonists from primate viruses has implications for HIV-1 small-animal model development and may guide the design of novel antiviral interventions.
Project description:We have constructed a replication-competent gammaretrovirus (SL3-AP) capable of using the human G-protein-coupled receptor hAPJ as its entry receptor. The envelope protein of the virus was made by insertion of the 13-amino-acid peptide ligand for hAPJ, flanked by linker sequences, into one of the variable loops of the receptor binding domain of SL3-2, a murine leukemia virus (MLV) that uses the xenotropic-polytropic virus receptor Xpr1 and which has a host range limited to murine cells. This envelope protein can utilize hAPJ as well as murine Xpr1 for entry into host cells with equal efficiencies. In addition, the SL3-AP virus replicates in cells expressing either of its receptors, hAPJ and murine Xpr1, and causes resistance to superinfection and downregulation of hAPJ in infected cells. Thus, SL3-AP is the first example of a retargeted replication-competent retrovirus, with replication characteristics and receptor interference properties similar to those of natural isolates.
Project description:Genome instability is a hallmark of cancer. Common fragile sites (CFSs) are specific regions in the human genome that are sensitive to replication stress and are prone to genomic instability in different cancer types. Here we molecularly cloned a new CFS, FRA11H, in 11q13. The genomic region of FRA11H harbors a hotspot of chromosomal breakpoints found in different types of cancer, indicating that this region is unstable during cancer development. We further found that FRA11H is a hotspot for integrations of Murine Leukemia Virus (MLV)-based vectors, following CD34+ infections in vitro as well as ex-vivo during gene therapy trials. Importantly, we found that the MLV-based vector infection in-vitro leads to replication perturbation, DNA damage and increased CFS expression. This suggests that infection by MLV-based vectors leads to replication-induced genome instability, raising further concerns regarding the use of retroviral vectors in gene therapy trials.
Project description:Retroviral transduction is routinely used to generate cell lines expressing exogenous non-viral genes. Here, we show that human cells transduced to stably express GFP transfer GFP gene to non-transduced cells. This horizontal gene transfer was mediated by a fraction of extracellular membrane vesicles that were released by the transduced cells. These vesicles carried endogenous retroviral envelope protein syncytin 1 and essentially acted as replication-competent retroviruses. The ability to transfer the GFP gene correlated with the levels of syncytin 1 expression in the transduced cells and depended on the fusogenic activity of this protein, substantiating the hypothesis that endogenous syncytin 1 mediates fusion stage in the delivery of extracellular vesicle cargo into target cells. Our findings suggest that testing for replication-competent retroviruses, a routine safety test for transduced cell products in clinical studies, should be also carried out for cell lines generated by retroviral vectors in in vitro studies.