The Rift Valley Fever virus protein NSm and putative cellular protein interactions.
ABSTRACT: Rift Valley Fever is an infectious viral disease and an emerging problem in many countries of Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula. The causative virus is predominantly transmitted by mosquitoes and high mortality and abortion rates characterize outbreaks in animals while symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever are noticed among infected humans. For a better prevention and treatment of the infection, an increased knowledge of the infectious process of the virus is required. The focus of this work was to identify protein-protein interactions between the non-structural protein (NSm), encoded by the M-segment of the virus, and host cell proteins. This study was initiated by screening approximately 26 million cDNA clones of a mouse embryonic cDNA library for interactions with the NSm protein using a yeast two-hybrid system. We have identified nine murine proteins that interact with NSm protein of Rift Valley Fever virus, and the putative protein-protein interactions were confirmed by growth selection procedures and ?-gal activity measurements. Our results suggest that the cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor subunit 2 (Cpsf2), the peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase (cyclophilin)-like 2 protein (Ppil2), and the synaptosome-associated protein of 25?kDa (SNAP-25) are the most promising targets for the NSm protein of the virus during an infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Rift Valley fever virus is an arthropod-borne human and animal pathogen responsible for large outbreaks of acute and febrile illness throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Reverse genetics technology has been used to develop deletion mutants of the virus that lack the NSs and/or NSm virulence genes and have been shown to be stable, immunogenic and protective against Rift Valley fever virus infection in animals. We assessed the potential for these deletion mutant viruses to infect and be transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which are the principal vectors for maintenance of the virus in nature and emergence of virus initiating disease outbreaks, and by Culex mosquitoes which are important amplification vectors. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes were fed bloodmeals containing the deletion mutant viruses. Two weeks post-exposure mosquitoes were assayed for infection, dissemination, and transmission. In Ae. aegypti, infection and transmission rates of the NSs deletion virus were similar to wild type virus while dissemination rates were significantly reduced. Infection and dissemination rates for the NSm deletion virus were lower compared to wild type. Virus lacking both NSs and NSm failed to infect Ae. aegypti. In Cx. quinquefasciatus, infection rates for viruses lacking NSm or both NSs and NSm were lower than for wild type virus. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In both species, deletion of NSm or both NSs and NSm reduced the infection and transmission potential of the virus. Deletion of both NSs and NSm resulted in the highest level of attenuation of virus replication. Deletion of NSm alone was sufficient to nearly abolish infection in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, indicating an important role for this protein. The double deleted viruses represent an ideal vaccine profile in terms of environmental containment due to lack of ability to efficiently infect and be transmitted by mosquitoes.
Project description:Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an enzootic virus circulating in Africa that is transmitted to its vertebrate host by a mosquito vector and causes severe clinical manifestations in humans and ruminants. RVFV has a tripartite genome of negative or ambisense polarity. The M segment contains five in-frame AUG codons that are alternatively used for the synthesis of two major structural glycoproteins, GN and GC, and at least two accessory proteins, NSm, a 14-kDa cytosolic protein, and P78/NSm-GN, a 78-kDa glycoprotein. To determine the relative contribution of P78 and NSm to RVFV infectivity, AUG codons were knocked out to generate mutant viruses expressing various sets of the M-encoded proteins. We found that, in the absence of the second AUG codon used to express NSm, a 13-kDa protein corresponding to an N-terminally truncated form of NSm, named NSm', was synthesized from AUG 3. None of the individual accessory proteins had any significant impact on RVFV virulence in mice. However, a mutant virus lacking both NSm and NSm' was strongly attenuated in mice and grew to reduced titers in murine macrophages, a major target cell type of RVFV. In contrast, P78 was not associated with reduced viral virulence in mice, yet it appeared as a major determinant of virus dissemination in mosquitoes. This study demonstrates how related accessory proteins differentially contribute to RVFV propagation in mammalian and arthropod hosts.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Affecting both livestock and humans, Rift Valley Fever is considered as one of the most important viral zoonoses in Africa. However, no licensed vaccines or effective treatments are yet available for human use. Naked DNA vaccines are an interesting approach since the virus is highly infectious and existing attenuated Rift Valley Fever virus vaccine strains display adverse effects in animal trials. In this study, gene-gun immunisations with cDNA encoding structural proteins of the Rift Valley Fever virus were evaluated in mice. The induced immune responses were analysed for the ability to protect mice against virus challenge. RESULTS: Immunisation with cDNA encoding the nucleocapsid protein induced strong humoral and lymphocyte proliferative immune responses, and virus neutralising antibodies were acquired after vaccination with cDNA encoding the glycoproteins. Even though complete protection was not achieved by genetic immunisation, four out of eight, and five out of eight mice vaccinated with cDNA encoding the nucleocapsid protein or the glycoproteins, respectively, displayed no clinical signs of infection after challenge. In contrast, all fourteen control animals displayed clinical manifestations of Rift Valley Fever after challenge. CONCLUSION: The appearance of Rift Valley Fever associated clinical signs were significantly decreased among the DNA vaccinated mice and further adjustment of this strategy may result in full protection against Rift Valley Fever.
Project description:Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus is a mosquito-borne human and veterinary pathogen associated with large outbreaks of severe disease throughout Africa and more recently the Arabian peninsula. Infection of livestock can result in sweeping "abortion storms" and high mortality among young animals. Human infection results in self-limiting febrile disease that in approximately 1 to 2% of patients progresses to more serious complications including hepatitis, encephalitis, and retinitis or a hemorrhagic syndrome with high fatality. The virus S segment-encoded NSs and the M segment-encoded NSm proteins are important virulence factors. The development of safe, effective vaccines and tools to screen and evaluate antiviral compounds is critical for future control strategies. Here, we report the successful reverse genetics generation of multiple recombinant enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged RVF viruses containing either the full-length, complete virus genome or precise deletions of the NSs gene alone or the NSs/NSm genes in combination, thus creating attenuating deletions on multiple virus genome segments. These viruses were highly attenuated, with no detectable viremia or clinical illness observed with high challenge dosages (1.0 x 10(4) PFU) in the rat lethal disease model. A single-dose immunization regimen induced robust anti-RVF virus immunoglobulin G antibodies (titer, approximately 1:6,400) by day 26 postvaccination. All vaccinated animals that were subsequently challenged with a high dose of virulent RVF virus survived infection and could be serologically differentiated from naïve, experimentally infected animals by the lack of NSs antibodies. These rationally designed marker RVF vaccine viruses will be useful tools for in vitro screening of therapeutic compounds and will provide a basis for further development of RVF virus marker vaccines for use in endemic regions or following the natural or intentional introduction of the virus into previously unaffected areas.
Project description:Outbreaks of Rift Valley fever have devastating impacts on ruminants, humans, as well as on regional and national economies. Although numerous studies on the impact and outbreak of Rift Valley fever exist, relatively little is known about the role of environmental factors, especially soil, on the aestivation of the virus. This study thus selected 22 sites for study in central South Africa, known to be the recurrent epicenter of widespread Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Southern Africa. Soils were described, sampled and analyzed in detail at each site. Of all the soil variables analyzed for, only eight (cation exchange capacity, exchangeable Ca2+, exchangeable K+, exchangeable Mg2+, soluble Ca2+, medium sand, As, and Br) were statistically identified to be potential indicators of sites with reported Rift Valley fever mortalities, as reported for the 2009-2010 Rift Valley fever outbreak. Four soil characteristics (exchangeable K+, exchangeable Mg2+, medium sand, and Br) were subsequently included in a discriminant function that could potentially be used to predict sites that had reported Rift Valley fever-associated mortalities in livestock. This study therefore constitutes an initial attempt to predict sites prone to Rift Valley fever livestock mortality from soil properties and thus serves as a basis for broader research on the interaction between soil, mosquitoes and Rift Valley fever virus. Future research should include other environmental components such as vegetation, climate, and water properties as well as correlating soil properties with floodwater Aedes spp. abundance and Rift Valley fever virus prevalence.
Project description:Few studies have investigated the many mosquito species that harbor arboviruses in Kenya. During the 2006-2007 Rift Valley fever outbreak in North Eastern Province, Kenya, exophilic mosquitoes were collected from homesteads within 2 affected areas: Gumarey (rural) and Sogan-Godud (urban). Mosquitoes (n = 920) were pooled by trap location and tested for Rift Valley fever virus and West Nile virus. The most common mosquitoes trapped belonged to the genus Culex (75%). Of 105 mosquito pools tested, 22% were positive for Rift Valley fever virus, 18% were positive for West Nile virus, and 3% were positive for both. Estimated mosquito minimum infection rates did not differ between locations. Our data demonstrate the local abundance of mosquitoes that could propagate arboviral infections in Kenya and the high prevalence of vector arbovirus positivity during a Rift Valley fever outbreak.
Project description:Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV; family Bunyaviridae) is a clinically important, mosquito-borne pathogen of both livestock and humans, which is found mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. RVFV has a trisegmented single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) genome. The L and M segments are negative sense and encode the L protein (viral polymerase) on the L segment and the virion glycoproteins Gn and Gc as well as two other proteins, NSm and 78K, on the M segment. The S segment uses an ambisense coding strategy to express the nucleocapsid protein, N, and the nonstructural protein, NSs. Both the NSs and NSm proteins are dispensable for virus growth in tissue culture. Using reverse genetics, we generated a recombinant virus, designated r2segMP12, containing a two-segmented genome in which the NSs coding sequence was replaced with that for the Gn and Gc precursor. Thus, r2segMP12 lacks an M segment, and although it was attenuated in comparison to the three-segmented parental virus in both mammalian and insect cell cultures, it was genetically stable over multiple passages. We further show that the virus can stably maintain an M-like RNA segment encoding the enhanced green fluorescent protein gene. The implications of these findings for RVFV genome packaging and the potential to develop multivalent live-attenuated vaccines are discussed.
Project description:The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) encodes the structural proteins nucleoprotein (N), aminoterminal glycoprotein (Gn), carboxyterminal glycoprotein (Gc), and L protein, 78-kD, and the nonstructural proteins NSm and NSs. Using the baculovirus system, we expressed the full-length coding sequence of N, NSs, NSm, Gc, and the ectodomain of the coding sequence of the Gn glycoprotein derived from the virulent strain of RVFV ZH548. Western blot analysis using anti-His antibodies and monoclonal antibodies against Gn and N confirmed expression of the recombinant proteins, and in vitro biochemical analysis showed that the two glycoproteins, Gn and Gc, were expressed in glycosylated form. Immunoreactivity profiles of the recombinant proteins in western blot and in indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay against a panel of antisera obtained from vaccinated or wild type (RVFV)-challenged sheep confirmed the results obtained with anti-His antibodies and demonstrated the suitability of the baculo-expressed antigens for diagnostic assays. In addition, these recombinant proteins could be valuable for the development of diagnostic methods that differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA).
Project description:The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an arthropod-borne virus that can not only cause severe disease in domestic animals but also in humans. However, the licensed vaccines or available therapeutics for humans do not exist. Here, we report two Gn-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), isolated from a rhesus monkey immunized with recombinant human adenoviruses type 4 expressing Rift Valley fever virus Gn and Gc protein (rHAdV4-GnGcopt). The two NAbs were both able to protect host cells from RVFV infection. The interactions between NAbs and Gn were then characterized to demonstrate that these two NAbs might preclude RVFV glycoprotein rearrangement, hindering the exposure of fusion loops in Gc to endosomal membranes after the virus invades the host cell. The target region for the two NAbs is located in the Gn domain III, implying that Gn is a desired target for developing vaccines and neutralizing antibodies against RVFV.
Project description:Lumpy skin disease and Rift Valley fever are two high-priority livestock diseases which have the potential to spread into previously free regions through animal movement and/or vectors, as well as intentional release by bioterrorists. Since the distribution range of both diseases is similar in Africa, it makes sense to use a bivalent vaccine to control them. This may lead to the more consistent and sustainable use of vaccination against Rift Valley fever through a more cost-effective vaccine. In this study, a recombinant lumpy skin disease virus was constructed in which the thymidine kinase gene was used as the insertion site for the Gn and Gc protective glycoprotein genes of Rift Valley fever virus using homologous recombination. Selection markers, the enhanced green fluorescent protein and Escherichia coli guanidine phosphoribosyl transferase (gpt), were used for selection of recombinant virus and in a manner enabling a second recombination event to occur upon removal of the gpt selection-pressure allowing the removal of both marker genes in the final product. This recombinant virus, LSD-RVF.mf, was selected to homogeneity, characterized and evaluated in cattle as a vaccine to show protection against both lumpy skin disease and Rift Valley fever in cattle. The results demonstrate that the LSD-RVF.mf is safe, immunogenic and can protect cattle against both diseases.