Walleye dermal sarcoma virus: molecular biology and oncogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Retroviruses have been detected in most vertebrate species and are etiologic agents of a variety of neoplastic diseases. The study of retroviruses has been instrumental in uncovering the molecular mechanisms responsible for oncogenesis. Retroviruses have been isolated from three neoplastic diseases in fish, two of which affect the dermis and regress naturally coincident with spawning. This feature provides a unique model to study mechanisms of tumor development and regression. Three complex retroviruses, isolated from walleye (Sander vitreus) with dermal sarcoma and epidermal hyperplasia, are the members of the newest retroviral genus, Epsilonretrovirus. Three accessory proteins, encoded by walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV), function in the regulation of host and viral gene expression and cell cycle, alter cell-signaling pathways to promote cell proliferation and block apoptosis, and, finally, induce apoptosis through dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential.
Project description:Three fish retroviruses infecting walleyes constitute the recently recognized genus called epsilonretrovirus. The founding member of this group, walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV), induces benign skin tumors in the infected fish and replicates near 4 degrees C. While the viral genomic sequence is known, biochemical characterization of the virus has been limited to the identification of the mature structural and envelope proteins present in virions. We undertook this study to determine the cleavage sites in the WDSV Pro and Pol proteins and to characterize the viral protease (PR) in vitro. A recombinant PR was expressed in and purified from Escherichia coli as a larger fusion with additional nucleocapsid and reverse transcriptase residues flanking the PR domain. Autocleavage produced a functional, mature PR. Autocleavage as well as cleavage of peptides and of Gag protein by the mature PR occurred at a pH optimum of 7.0, higher than that of other retroviral proteases. Analysis of the cleavage sites identified a glutamine residue in the P2 position of all WDSV sites, both in Gag and in Pol. Amino acid sequence alignments of Gag-Pro-Pol from WDSV, walleye epidermal hyperplasia virus type 1, and walleye epidermal hyperplasia virus type 2 showed the P2 glutamine to be conserved in all cleavage sites in these three viruses. Such conservation is unprecedented in other retroviruses.
Project description:Walleye dermal sarcoma (WDS) and walleye epidermal hyperplasia (WEH) are skin diseases of walleye fish that appear and regress on a seasonal basis. We report here that the complex retroviruses etiologically associated with WDS (WDS virus [WDSV]) and WEH (WEH viruses 1 and 2 [WEHV1 and WEHV2, respectively]) encode D-type cyclin homologs. The retroviral cyclins (rv-cyclins) are distantly related to one another and to known cyclins and are not closely related to any walleye cellular gene based on low-stringency Southern blotting. Since aberrant expression of D-type cyclins occurs in many human tumors, we suggest that expression of the rv-cyclins may contribute to the development of WDS or WEH. In support of this hypothesis, we show that rv-cyclin transcripts are made in developing WDS and WEH and that the rv-cyclin of WDSV induces cell cycle progression in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). WEHV1, WEHV2, and WDSV are the first examples of retroviruses that encode cyclin homologs. WEH and WDS and their associated retroviruses represent a novel paradigm of retroviral tumor induction and, importantly, tumor regression.
Project description:Walleye epidermal hyperplasia virus types 1 and 2 (WEHV1 and WEHV2, respectively) are associated with a hyperproliferative skin lesion on walleyes that appears and regresses seasonally. We have determined the complete nucleotide sequences and transcriptional profiles of these viruses. WEHV1 and WEHV2 are large, complex retroviruses of 12,999 and 13,125 kb in length, respectively, that are closely related to one another and to walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV). These walleye retroviruses contain three open reading frames, orfA, orfB, and orfC, in addition to gag, pol, and env. orfA and orfB are adjacent to one another and located downstream of env. The OrfA proteins were previously identified as cyclin D homologs that may contribute to the induction of cell proliferation leading to epidermal hyperplasia and dermal sarcoma. The sequence analysis of WEHV1 and WEHV2 revealed that the OrfB proteins are distantly related to the OrfA proteins, suggesting that orfB arose by gene duplication. Presuming that the precursor of orfA and orfB was derived from a cellular cyclin, these genes are the first accessory genes of complex retroviruses that can be traced to a cellular origin. WEHV1, WEHV2, and WDSV are the only retroviruses that have an open reading frame, orfC, of considerable size (ca. 130 amino acids) in the leader region preceding gag. While we were unable to predict a function for the OrfC proteins, they are more conserved than OrfA and OrfB, suggesting that they may be biologically important to the viruses. The transcriptional profiles of WEHV1 and WEHV2 were also similar to that of WDSV; Northern blot analyses detected only low levels of the orfA transcripts in developing lesions, whereas abundant levels of genomic, env, orfA, and orfB transcripts were detected in regressing lesions. The splice donors and acceptors of individual transcripts were identified by reverse transcriptase PCR. The similarities of WEHV1, WEHV2, and WDSV suggest that these viruses use similar strategies of viral replication and induce cell proliferation by a similar mechanism.
Project description:Walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV) is a complex retrovirus associated with dermal sarcomas in walleye fish. Virus expression is tightly regulated and limited to accessory gene transcripts throughout tumour development. During tumour regression, this regulation is lost and the replication of virus is greatly enhanced. Cultured walleye fibroblasts infected in vitro do not produce significant quantities of infectious virus. Tissue culture cells established by explantation of tumour cells were found to harbour WDSV provirus and to express accessory and structural proteins. The sequence of the provirus showed little variation from a previous WDSV isolate. Retroviral particles were isolated from supernatants from these cells and were able to transfer infection to uninfected walleye fibroblasts. In addition to the virus present in supernatants, much of the virus was cell associated and liberated only by sonication. This virus was found at internal cellular membranes, including mitochondria, and was infectious.
Project description:Walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV) is a complex retrovirus associated with dermal sarcomas in walleye fish. A WDSV accessory gene encodes a cyclin homolog or retroviral cyclin (rv-cyclin). WDSV rv-cyclin was found to be associated with transcription complexes and to affect transcription in a cell-type and promoter-dependent manner. It inhibited the WDSV promoter in walleye fibroblasts and activated transcription from GAL4 promoters when fused to the GAL4 DNA binding domain, and an activation domain (AD) has been localized to 30 amino acids in the carboxyl region. rv-cyclin can block the pulldown of transcription coactivators by the AD of VP16, and the isolated rv-cyclin AD interferes specifically with the interaction between the carboxyl halves of the VP16 AD, VP16C, and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 9 (TAF9). The carboxyl region and isolated AD can bind TAF9 directly in assays of protein-protein interaction in vitro. Furthermore, rv-cyclin and the isolated rv-cyclin AD interfere specifically with the function of VP16C in transcription assays. A previously identified motif within the VP16C sequence mediates TAF9 binding, and this motif is present in the activation domains of a variety of TAF9-binding transcriptional activators. A similar motif is present in the rv-cyclin AD, and point mutations within this motif affect rv-cyclin function and protein-protein interactions. The results support a model of transcription regulation by direct interaction with TAF9.
Project description:Walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV) is a complex retrovirus associated with seasonal dermal sarcomas. Developing tumors have low levels of accessory gene transcripts, A1 and B, and regressing tumors have high levels of full-length and spliced transcripts. Transcript A1 encodes a retroviral cyclin (rv-cyclin) with limited homology to host cyclins. The rv-cyclin is physically linked to components of the transcriptional co-activator complex, Mediator, and regulates transcription. In walleye fibroblasts, it inhibits the WDSV promoter independently of cis-acting DNA sequences. The rv-cyclin activates transcription from GAL4 promoters when fused to the GAL4 DNA binding domain. A 30 a.a. activation domain in the carboxy region can be inactivated by single point mutations, and these mutations diminish the ability of the rv-cyclin to inhibit the WDSV promoter. When fused to glutathione S-transferase, the rv-cyclin, its carboxy region, and the activation domain pull down components of transcription complexes from nuclear extracts, and pull down is lost by mutation of the activation domain.
Project description:Sauger (Sander canadensis) and walleye (S. vitreus) are percid fishes that naturally co-occur throughout much of the eastern United States. The native range of sauger extends into the upper Missouri River drainage where walleye did not historically occur, but have been stocked as a sport fish. Sauger populations have been declining due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and competition with non-native species, such as walleye. To effectively manage sauger populations, it is necessary to identify areas where sauger occur, and particularly where they co-occur with walleye. We developed quantitative PCR assays that can detect sauger and walleye DNA in filtered water samples. Each assay efficiently detected low quantities of target DNA and failed to detect DNA of non-target species with which they commonly co-occur.
Project description:Walleye (Sander vitreus) is the second most fished freshwater species in Canada. While much sought by anglers, walleye also supports substantial commercial fisheries. To cope with the recent decline of wild walleye populations, fish farmers produce juveniles for lake stocking. However, walleye breeding is particularly tedious, mostly due to high disease susceptibility at larval and juvenile developmental stages. The main threat is the columnaris disease, which is caused by Flavobacterium columnare, an opportunistic bacteria. As F. columnare strains exhibit increasing antibiotic resistance, there is a strong need to develop efficient and sustainable alternative strategies to control columnaris disease. Bacterial probiotics have been shown to mitigate infections either by enhancing host immune response or by inhibiting pathogen growth. Being successfully assessed in many fish/pathogen combinations, we developed a tailored probiotic strategy for walleye to prevent and treat columnaris disease. Thirty-seven endogenous bacterial strains were isolated from healthy walleye's skin and gut, were tested in vitro against F. columnare. Significant antagonistic effect against F. columnare was measured for 2 out of 37 endogenous strains. These two probiotic strains were identified as Pseudomonas fluorescens. The antagonistic effect of these two successful probiotics was further validated in vivo during a 2-month stress trial: groups receiving probiotic treatments showed on average 53.74% survival improvement.
Project description:Fish migration in large freshwater lacustrine systems such as the Laurentian Great Lakes is not well understood. The walleye (Sander vitreus) is an economically and ecologically important native fish species throughout the Great Lakes. In Lake Huron walleye has recently undergone a population expansion as a result of recovery of the primary stock, stemming from changing food web dynamics. During 2011 and 2012, we used acoustic telemetry to document the timing and spatial scale of walleye migration in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. Spawning walleye (n = 199) collected from a tributary of Saginaw Bay were implanted with acoustic tags and their migrations were documented using acoustic receivers (n = 140) deployed throughout U.S. nearshore waters of Lake Huron. Three migration pathways were described using multistate mark-recapture models. Models were evaluated using the Akaike Information Criterion. Fish sex did not influence migratory behavior but did affect migration rate and walleye were detected on all acoustic receiver lines. Most (95%) tagged fish migrated downstream from the riverine tagging and release location to Saginaw Bay, and 37% of these fish emigrated from Saginaw Bay into Lake Huron. Remarkably, 8% of walleye that emigrated from Saginaw Bay were detected at the acoustic receiver line located farthest from the release location more than 350 km away. Most (64%) walleye returned to the Saginaw River in 2012, presumably for spawning. Our findings reveal that fish from this stock use virtually the entirety of U.S. nearshore waters of Lake Huron.
Project description:Walleye discrete epidermal hyperplasia (WEH) is a hyperproliferative skin disease that is prevalent on adult walleye fish throughout North America. We have identified two retroviruses associated with WEH, designated here as walleye epidermal hyperplasia virus type 1 and type 2 (WEHV1 and WEHV2), that are closely related to one another (77% identity) and to walleye dermal sarcoma virus (64% identity) within the polymerase region. WEHV1 and/or WEHV2 viral DNA was readily detected by PCR in hyperplastic tissue samples, but only low levels of viral DNA were detected in uninvolved skin. Southern blot analysis showed one to three copies of integrated WEHV2 viral DNA in lesions but did not detect WEHV2 viral DNA in uninvolved skin from the same fish. Northern blots detected abundant levels of WEHV1 and/or WEHV2 virion RNA transcripts of approximately 13 kb in hyperplastic tissue, but virion RNA was not observed in uninvolved skin and muscle. These results suggest that WEHV1 and WEHV2 are the causative agents of discrete epidermal hyperplasia.