Epitope insertion at the N-terminal molecular switch of the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus T = 3 capsid protein leads to larger T = 4 capsids.
ABSTRACT: Viruses need only one or a few structural capsid proteins to build an infectious particle. This is possible through the extensive use of symmetry and the conformational polymorphism of the structural proteins. Using virus-like particles (VLP) from rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) as a model, we addressed the basis of calicivirus capsid assembly and their application in vaccine design. The RHDV capsid is based on a T=3 lattice containing 180 identical subunits (VP1). We determined the structure of RHDV VLP to 8.0-Å resolution by three-dimensional cryoelectron microscopy; in addition, we used San Miguel sea lion virus (SMSV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) capsid subunit structures to establish the backbone structure of VP1 by homology modeling and flexible docking analysis. Based on the three-domain VP1 model, several insertion mutants were designed to validate the VP1 pseudoatomic model, and foreign epitopes were placed at the N- or C-terminal end, as well as in an exposed loop on the capsid surface. We selected a set of T and B cell epitopes of various lengths derived from viral and eukaryotic origins. Structural analysis of these chimeric capsids further validates the VP1 model to design new chimeras. Whereas most insertions are well tolerated, VP1 with an FCV capsid protein-neutralizing epitope at the N terminus assembled into mixtures of T=3 and larger T=4 capsids. The calicivirus capsid protein, and perhaps that of many other viruses, thus can encode polymorphism modulators that are not anticipated from the plane sequence, with important implications for understanding virus assembly and evolution.
Project description:Possible mechanisms that lead to inactivation of feline calicivirus (FCV) by cold atmospheric-pressure plasma (CAP) generated in 99% argon-1% O2 admixture were studied. We evaluated the impact of CAP exposure on the FCV viral capsid protein and RNA employing several cultural, molecular, proteomic and morphologic characteristics techniques. In the case of long exposure (2 min) to CAP, the reactive species of CAP strongly oxidized the major domains of the viral capsid protein (VP1) leading to disintegration of a majority of viral capsids. In the case of short exposure (15 s), some of the virus particles retained their capsid structure undamaged but failed to infect the host cells in vitro. In the latter virus particles, CAP exposure led to the oxidation of specific amino acids located in functional peptide residues in the P2 subdomain of the protrusion (P) domain, the dimeric interface region of VP1 dimers, and the movable hinge region linking the S and P domains. These regions of the capsid are known to play an essential role in the attachment and entry of the virus to the host cell. These observations suggest that the oxidative effect of CAP species inactivates the virus by hindering virus attachment and entry into the host cell. Furthermore, we found that the oxidative impact of plasma species led to oxidation and damage of viral RNA once it becomes unpacked due to capsid destruction. The latter effect most likely plays a secondary role in virus inactivation since the intact FCV genome is infectious even after damage to the capsid.
Project description:We report the generation, characterization and epitope mapping of a panel of 26 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the VP1 capsid protein of feline calicivirus (FCV). Two close but distinct linear epitopes were identified at the capsid outermost surface (P2 subdomain) of VP1, within the E5'HVR antigenic hypervariable region: one spanning amino acids 431-435 (PAGDY), highly conserved and recognized by non-neutralizing MAbs; and a second epitope spanning amino acids 445-451 (ITTANQY), highly variable and recognized by neutralizing MAbs. These antibodies might be valuable for diagnostic applications, as well as for further research in different aspects of the biology of FCV.
Project description:The vesivirus feline calicivirus (FCV) is a positive strand RNA virus encapsidated by an icosahedral T=3 shell formed by the viral VP1 protein. Upon its expression in the insect cell - baculovirus system in the context of vaccine development, two types of virus-like particles (VLPs) were formed, a majority built of 60 subunits (T=1) and a minority probably built of 180 subunits (T=3). The structure of the small particles was determined by x-ray crystallography at 0.8 nm resolution helped by cryo-electron microscopy in order to understand their formation. Cubic crystals belonged to space group P213. Their self-rotation function showed the presence of an octahedral pseudo-symmetry similar to the one described previously by Agerbandje and co-workers for human parvovirus VLPs. The crystal structure could be solved starting from the published VP1 structure in the context of the T=3 viral capsid. In contrast to viral capsids, where the capsomers are interlocked by the exchange of the N-terminal arm (NTA) domain, this domain is disordered in the T=1 capsid of the VLPs. Furthermore it is prone to proteolytic cleavage. The relative orientation of P (protrusion) and S (shell) domains is alerted so as to fit VP1 to the smaller T=1 particle whereas the intermolecular contacts around 2-fold, 3-fold and 5-fold axes are conserved. By consequence the surface of the VLP is very similar compared to the viral capsid and suggests a similar antigenicity. The knowledge of the structure of the VLPs will help to improve their stability, in respect to a use for vaccination.
Project description:The role of cellular proteases and endosome maturation in the entry of caliciviruses including porcine enteric calicivirus (PEC), murine norovirus (MNV)-1 and feline calicivirus (FCV) were investigated. Treatment with chloroquine or cathepsin L inhibitors, but not cathepsin B inhibitors, significantly reduced the replication of PEC, MNV and FCV. When concentrated PEC, MNV or FCV were incubated with recombinant cathepsin L, the minor capsid protein VP2 of PEC and the major capsid protein VP1 of MNV and FCV were cleaved by the protease based on the Western blot analysis. Confocal microscopy analysis of PEC and MNV-1 showed that viral capsid proteins were retained in the endosomes in the presence of a cathepsin L inhibitor or chloroquine during virus entry. The results of this study suggest the important role of endosome maturation and cathepsin L in the entry of caliciviruses, and cathepsin L as a potential therapeutic target for calicivirus infection.
Project description:The Caliciviridae family comprises positive-sense RNA viruses of medical and veterinary significance. In humans, caliciviruses are a major cause of acute gastroenteritis, while in animals respiratory illness, conjunctivitis, stomatitis, and hemorrhagic disease are documented. Investigation of virus-host interactions is limited by a lack of culture systems for many viruses in this family. Feline calicivirus (FCV), a member of the Vesivirus genus, provides a tractable model, since it may be propagated in cell culture. Feline junctional adhesion molecule 1 (fJAM-1) was recently identified as a functional receptor for FCV. We have analyzed the structure of this virus-receptor complex by cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction, combined with fitting of homology modeled high-resolution coordinates. We show that domain 1 of fJAM-1 binds to the outer face of the P2 domain of the FCV capsid protein VP1, inducing conformational changes in the viral capsid. This study provides the first structural view of a native calicivirus-protein receptor complex and insights into the mechanisms of virus attachment and uncoating.
Project description:Virus-like particles (VLPs), comprised of viral structural proteins devoid of genetic material, are tunable nanoparticles that can be chemically or genetically engineered, to be used as platforms for multimeric display of foreign antigens. Here, we report the engineering of chimeric VLPs, derived from rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) for presentation of foreign B-cell antigens to the immune system. The RHDV capsid comprises 180 copies of a single capsid subunit (VP60). To evaluate the ability of chimeric RHDV VLPs to elicit protective humoral responses against foreign antigens, we tested two B-cell epitopes: a novel neutralizing B-cell epitope, derived from feline calicivirus capsid protein, and a well characterized B-cell epitope from the extracellular domain of influenza A virus M2 protein (M2e). We generated sets of chimeric RHDV VLPs by insertion of the foreign B-cell epitopes at three different locations within VP60 protein (which involved different levels of surface accessibility) and in different copy numbers per site. The immunogenic potential of the chimeric VLPs was analyzed in the mouse model. The results presented here indicated that chimeric RHDV VLPs elicit potent protective humoral responses against displayed foreign B-cell epitopes, demonstrated by both, in vitro neutralization and in vivo protection against a lethal challenge.
Project description:Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a widespread and highly prevalent pathogen of domestic cats, responsible for mild upper respiratory tract disease. Outbreaks of severe virulent systemic disease (VSD) associated with FCV infection have been reported worldwide. VSD FCV strains have a broader tropism and cause a systemic vascular compromise. Despite clear differences in the pathogenesis of VSD and oral respiratory infections, attempts to identify specific molecular markers of VSD strains on the major capsid protein VP1 have failed. Region E of VP1 is responsible for the interaction with the cell receptor Junctional Adhesion Molecule JAM-1 (FeJAM-1) and with VP2 minor capsid protein during the entry of the virus. We carried out an original analysis on the sequences from region E of VSD and classical strains. A Multiple Correspondence Analysis was performed on a Boolean matrix built by coding sequences on the basis of their amino acid properties. For the first time, this approach was able to differentiate VSD and classical FCV. Seven remarkable residue positions were shown to be statistically significant for pathotype differentiation, mainly located in the N-terminal hypervariable part of region E. As structural analysis suggested an interaction of these residues with FeJAM-1 or VP2, post-binding events, and specific conformational changes may explain the difference of pathogenesis between pathotypes.
Project description:Nonenveloped viral capsids are metastable structures that undergo conformational changes during virus entry that lead to interactions of the capsid or capsid fragments with the cell membrane. For members of the Caliciviridae, neither the nature of these structural changes in the capsid nor the factor(s) responsible for inducing these changes is known. Feline junctional adhesion molecule A (fJAM-A) mediates the attachment and infectious viral entry of feline calicivirus (FCV). Here, we show that the infectivity of some FCV isolates is neutralized following incubation with the soluble receptor at 37 degrees C. We used this property to select mutants resistant to preincubation with the soluble receptor. We isolated and sequenced 24 soluble receptor-resistant (srr) mutants and characterized the growth properties and receptor-binding activities of eight mutants. The location of the mutations within the capsid structure of FCV was mapped using a new 3.6-A structure of native FCV. The srr mutations mapped to the surface of the P2 domain were buried at the protruding domain dimer interface or were present in inaccessible regions of the capsid protein. Coupled with data showing that both the parental FCV and the srr mutants underwent increases in hydrophobicity upon incubation with the soluble receptor at 37 degrees C, these findings indicate that FCV likely undergoes conformational change upon interaction with its receptor. Changes in FCV capsid conformation following its interaction with fJAM-A may be important for subsequent interactions of the capsid with cellular membranes, membrane penetration, and genome delivery.
Project description:Colorectal cancer is responsible for almost 700,000 deaths annually worldwide. Therapeutic vaccination is a promising alternative to conventional treatment for colorectal cancer, using vaccines to induce targeted immune responses against tumour-associated antigens. In this study, we have developed chimaeric virus-like particles (VLP), a form of non-infectious non-replicative subunit vaccine consisting of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) VP60 capsid proteins containing recombinantly inserted epitopes from murine topoisomerase II? and survivin. These vaccines were developed in mono- (T.VP60, S.VP60) and multi-target (TS.VP60) forms, aiming to elucidate the potential benefits from multi-target vaccination.Chimaeric RHDV VLP were developed by recombinantly inserting immune epitopes at the N-terminus of VP60. Vaccines were tested against a murine model of colorectal cancer by establishing MC38-OVA tumours subcutaneously. Unmethylated CpG DNA oligonucleotides (CpGs) were used as a vaccine adjuvant. Statistical tests employed included the Mantel-Cox log-rank test, ANOVA and unpaired t-tests depending on the data analysed, with a post hoc Bonferroni adjustment for multiple measures.Chimaeric RHDV VLP were found to form a composite particle in the presence of CpGs. Overall survival was significantly improved amongst mice bearing MC38-OVA tumours following vaccination with T.VP60 (60%, 9/15), S.VP60 (60%, 9/15) or TS.VP60 (73%, 11/15). TS.VP60 significantly prolonged the vaccine-induced remission period in comparison to each mono-therapy.Chimaeric VLP containing multiple epitopes were found to confer an advantage for therapeutic vaccination in a model of colorectal cancer based on the prolongation of remission prior to tumour escape.
Project description:Caliciviridae are small icosahedral positive-sense RNA-containing viruses and include the human noroviruses, a leading cause of infectious acute gastroenteritis and feline calicivirus (FCV), which causes respiratory illness and stomatitis in cats. FCV attachment and entry is mediated by feline junctional adhesion molecule A (fJAM-A), which binds to the outer face of the capsomere, inducing a conformational change in the capsid that may be important for viral uncoating. Here we present the results of our structural investigation of the virus-receptor interaction and ensuing conformational changes. Cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction were used to solve the structure of the virus decorated with a soluble fragment of the receptor at subnanometer resolution. In initial reconstructions, the P domains of the capsid protein VP1 and fJAM-A were poorly resolved. Sorting experiments led to improved reconstructions of the FCV-fJAM-A complex both before and after the induced conformational change, as well as in three transition states. These data showed that the P domain becomes flexible following fJAM-A binding, leading to a loss of icosahedral symmetry. Furthermore, two distinct conformational changes were seen; an anticlockwise rotation of up to 15° of the P domain was observed in the AB dimers, while tilting of the P domain away from the icosahedral 2-fold axis was seen in the CC dimers. A list of putative contact residues was calculated by fitting high-resolution coordinates for fJAM-A and VP1 to the reconstructed density maps, highlighting regions in both virus and receptor important for virus attachment and entry.