Chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6: questions and answers.
ABSTRACT: Chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 (ciHHV-6) is a condition in which the complete HHV-6 genome is integrated into the host germ line genome and is vertically transmitted in a Mendelian manner. The condition is found in less than 1% of controls in the USA and UK, but has been found at a somewhat higher prevalence in transplant recipients and other patient populations in several small studies. HHV-6 levels in whole blood that exceed 5.5 log10 copies/ml are strongly suggestive of ciHHV-6. Monitoring DNA load in plasma and serum is unreliable, both for identifying and for monitoring subjects with ciHHV-6 due to cell lysis and release of cellular DNA. High HHV-6 DNA loads associated with ciHHV-6 can lead to erroneous diagnosis of active infection. Transplant recipients with ciHHV-6 may be at increased risk for bacterial infection and graft rejection. ciHHV-6 can be induced to a state of active viral replication in vitro. It is not known whether ciHHV-6 individuals are put at clinical risk by the use of drugs that have been associated with HHV-6 reactivation in vivo or in vitro. Nonetheless, we urge careful observation when use of such drugs is indicated in individuals known to have ciHHV-6. Little is known about whether individuals with ciHHV-6 develop immune tolerance for viral proteins. Further research is needed to determine the role of ciHHV-6 in disease.
Project description:More than 95% of the human population is infected with human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) during early childhood and maintains latent HHV-6 genomes either in an extra-chromosomal form or as a chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (ciHHV-6). In addition, approximately 1% of humans are born with an inheritable form of ciHHV-6 integrated into the telomeres of chromosomes. Immunosuppression and stress conditions can reactivate latent HHV-6 replication, which is associated with clinical complications and even death. We have previously shown that Chlamydia trachomatis infection reactivates ciHHV-6 and induces the formation of extra-chromosomal viral DNA in ciHHV-6 cells. Here, we propose a model and provide experimental evidence for the mechanism of ciHHV-6 reactivation. Infection with Chlamydia induced a transient shortening of telomeric ends, which subsequently led to increased telomeric circle (t-circle) formation and incomplete reconstitution of circular viral genomes containing single viral direct repeat (DR). Correspondingly, short t-circles containing parts of the HHV-6 DR were detected in cells from individuals with genetically inherited ciHHV-6. Furthermore, telomere shortening induced in the absence of Chlamydia infection also caused circularization of ciHHV-6, supporting a t-circle based mechanism for ciHHV-6 reactivation.
Project description:A unique feature of both human herpesvirus 6A and B (HHV-6A and B) among human herpesviruses is their ability to integrate into chromosomal telomeres. In some individuals integrated viral genomes are present in the germ-line and result in the vertical transmission of HHV-6; however, little is known about the disease associations of germ-line transmitted, chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (ciHHV-6). Recent publications suggest that HHV-6 is associated with classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). Here we examine the prevalence of ciHHV-6 in 936 cases of cHL and 563 controls by screening with a duplex TaqMan assay and confirming with droplet digital PCR. ciHHV-6 was detected in 10/563 (1.8%) controls and in all but one individual the virus was HHV-6B. Amongst cases 16/936 (1.7%) harboured ciHHV-6, thus demonstrating no association between ciHHV-6 and risk of cHL.
Project description:The genomes of human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and HHV-6B have the capacity to integrate into telomeres, the essential capping structures of chromosomes that play roles in cancer and ageing. About 1% of people worldwide are carriers of chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (ciHHV-6), which is inherited as a genetic trait. Understanding the consequences of integration for the evolution of the viral genome, for the telomere, and for the risk of disease associated with carrier status is hampered by a lack of knowledge about ciHHV-6 genomes. Here, we report an analysis of 28 ciHHV-6 genomes and show that they are significantly divergent from the few modern nonintegrated HHV-6 strains for which complete sequences are currently available. In addition, ciHHV-6B genomes in Europeans are more closely related to each other than to ciHHV-6B genomes from China and Pakistan, suggesting regional variation of the trait. Remarkably, at least one group of European ciHHV-6B carriers has inherited the same ciHHV-6B genome, integrated in the same telomere allele, from a common ancestor estimated to have existed 24,500 ± 10,600 years ago. Despite the antiquity of some, and possibly most, germ line HHV-6 integrations, the majority of ciHHV-6B (95%) and ciHHV-6A (72%) genomes contain a full set of intact viral genes and therefore appear to have the capacity for viral gene expression and full reactivation.IMPORTANCE Inheritance of HHV-6A or HHV-6B integrated into a telomere occurs at a low frequency in most populations studied to date, but its characteristics are poorly understood. However, stratification of ciHHV-6 carriers in modern populations due to common ancestry is an important consideration for genome-wide association studies that aim to identify disease risks for these people. Here, we present full sequence analysis of 28 ciHHV-6 genomes and show that ciHHV-6B in many carriers with European ancestry most likely originated from ancient integration events in a small number of ancestors. We propose that ancient ancestral origins for ciHHV-6A and ciHHV-6B are also likely in other populations. Moreover, despite their antiquity, all of the ciHHV-6 genomes appear to retain the capacity to express viral genes, and most are predicted to be capable of full viral reactivation. These discoveries represent potentially important considerations in immunocompromised patients, in particular in organ transplantation and in stem cell therapy.
Project description:Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) species have a unique ability to integrate into chromosomal telomeres. Mendelian inheritance via gametocyte integration results in HHV-6 in every nucleated cell. The epidemiology and clinical effect of inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (iciHHV-6) in hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients is unclear. We identified 4319 HCT donor-recipient pairs (8638 subjects) who received an allogeneic HCT and had archived pre-HCT peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples. We screened these samples for iciHHV-6 and compared characteristics of HCT recipients and donors with iciHHV-6 with those of recipients and donors without iciHHV-6, respectively. We calculated Kaplan-Meier probability estimates and Cox proportional hazards models for post-HCT outcomes based on recipient and donor iciHHV-6 status. We identified 60 HCT recipients (1.4%) and 40 donors (0.9%) with iciHHV-6; both recipient and donor harbored iciHHV-6 in 13 HCTs. Thus, there were 87 HCTs (2%) in which the recipient, donor, or both harbored iciHHV-6. Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) grades 2-4 was more frequent when recipients or donors had iciHHV-6 (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.7-1.9; P = .004-.001). Cytomegalovirus viremia (any and high-level) was more frequent among recipients with iciHHV-6 (adjusted HRs, 1.7-3.1; P = .001-.040). Inherited ciHHV-6 status did not significantly affect risk for chronic GVHD, hematopoietic cell engraftment, overall mortality, or nonrelapse mortality. Screening for iciHHV-6 could guide donor selection and post-HCT risk stratification and treatment. Further study is needed to replicate these findings and identify potential mechanisms.
Project description:Approximately 1 percent of healthy individuals carry human herpesvirus-6 within a host chromosome. This is referred to as chromosomally integrated herpesvirus-6 (CIHHV-6). In this study, we investigated the chromosomal integration site in six individuals harboring CIHHV-6B. Using FISH, we found that HHV-6B signals are consistently located at the telomeric region. The proximal endpoints of the integrated virus were mapped at one of two telomere-repeat-like sequences (TRSs) within the DR-R in all cases. In two cases, we isolated junction fragments between the viral TRS and human telomere repeats. The distal endpoints were mapped at the distal TRS in all cases. The size of the distal TRS was found to be ~5 kb which is sufficient to fulfill cellular telomeric functions. We conclude that the viral TRS in the DR regions fulfill dual functions for CIHHV-6: homology-mediated integration into the telomeric region of the chromosome and neo-telomere formation that is then stably transmitted.
Project description:We conducted a cross-sectional investigation to identify evidence of a potential modifying effect of chromosomally integrated human herpes virus 6 (ciHHV-6) on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression and/or severity. ciHHV-6 was identified by detecting HHV-6 DNA in hair follicle specimens of 439 subjects. There was no statistically significant relationship between the presence of ciHHV-6 and HIV disease progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. However, after adjusting for use of antiretroviral therapy, all subjects with ciHHV-6 had low severity HIV disease; these findings were not statistically significant. A multi-center study with a larger sample size will be needed to more precisely determine if there is an association between ciHHV-6 and low HIV disease severity.
Project description:Human herpesvirus-6A and B (HHV-6A, HHV-6B) have recently defined endogenous genomes, resulting from integration into the germline: chromosomally-integrated "CiHHV-6A/B". These affect approximately 1.0% of human populations, giving potential for virus gene expression in every cell. We previously showed that CiHHV-6A was more divergent than CiHHV-6B by examining four genes in 44 European CiHHV-6A/B cardiac/haematology patients. There was evidence for gene expression/reactivation, implying functional non-defective genomes. To further define the relationship between HHV-6A and CiHHV-6A we used next-generation sequencing to characterize genomes from three CiHHV-6A cardiac patients. Comparisons to known exogenous HHV-6A showed CiHHV-6A genomes formed a separate clade; including all 85 non-interrupted genes and necessary cis-acting signals for reactivation as infectious virus. Greater single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) density was defined in 16 genes and the direct repeats (DR) terminal regions. Using these SNPs, deep sequencing analyses demonstrated superinfection with exogenous HHV-6A in two of the CiHHV-6A patients with recurrent cardiac disease. Characterisation of the integration sites in twelve patients identified the human chromosome 17p subtelomere as a prevalent site, which had specific repeat structures and phylogenetically related CiHHV-6A coding sequences indicating common ancestral origins. Overall CiHHV-6A genomes were similar, but distinct from known exogenous HHV-6A virus, and have the capacity to reactivate as emerging virus infections.
Project description:Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) exists in latent form either as a nuclear episome or integrated into human chromosomes in more than 90% of healthy individuals without causing clinical symptoms. Immunosuppression and stress conditions can reactivate HHV-6 replication, associated with clinical complications and even death. We have previously shown that co-infection of Chlamydia trachomatis and HHV-6 promotes chlamydial persistence and increases viral uptake in an in vitro cell culture model. Here we investigated C. trachomatis-induced HHV-6 activation in cell lines and fresh blood samples from patients having Chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (CiHHV-6). We observed activation of latent HHV-6 DNA replication in CiHHV-6 cell lines and fresh blood cells without formation of viral particles. Interestingly, we detected HHV-6 DNA in blood as well as cervical swabs from C. trachomatis-infected women. Low virus titers correlated with high C. trachomatis load and vice versa, demonstrating a potentially significant interaction of these pathogens in blood cells and in the cervix of infected patients. Our data suggest a thus far underestimated interference of HHV-6 and C. trachomatis with a likely impact on the disease outcome as consequence of co-infection.
Project description:Human herpesvirus-6A (HHV-6A) and 6B (HHV-6B) are two closely related betaherpesviruses that are associated with various diseases including seizures and encephalitis. The HHV-6A/B genomes have been shown to be present in an integrated state in the telomeres of latently infected cells. In addition, integration of HHV-6A/B in germ cells has resulted in individuals harboring this inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6A/B (iciHHV-6) in every cell of their body. Until now, the viral transcriptome and the epigenetic modifications that contribute to the silencing of the integrated virus genome remain elusive. In the current study, we used a patient-derived iciHHV-6A cell line to assess the global viral gene expression profile by RNA-seq, and the chromatin profiles by MNase-seq and ChIP-seq analyses. In addition, we investigated an in vitro generated cell line (293-HHV-6A) that expresses GFP upon the addition of agents commonly used to induce herpesvirus reactivation such as TPA. No viral gene expression including miRNAs was detected from the HHV-6A genomes, indicating that the integrated virus is transcriptionally silent. Intriguingly, upon stimulation of the 293-HHV-6A cell line with TPA, only foreign promoters in the virus genome were activated, while all HHV-6A promoters remained completely silenced. The transcriptional silencing of latent HHV-6A was further supported by MNase-seq results, which demonstrate that the latent viral genome resides in a highly condensed nucleosome-associated state. We further explored the enrichment profiles of histone modifications via ChIP-seq analysis. Our results indicated that the HHV-6 genome is modestly enriched with the repressive histone marks H3K9me3/H3K27me3 and does not possess the active histone modifications H3K27ac/H3K4me3. Overall, these results indicate that HHV-6 genomes reside in a condensed chromatin state, providing insight into the epigenetic mechanisms associated with the silencing of the integrated HHV-6A genome.
Project description:Human herpesviruses 6A and 6B (HHV-6A and HHV-6B) are human viruses capable of chromosomal integration. Approximately 1% of the human population carries one copy of HHV-6A/B integrated into every cell in their body, referred to as inherited chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6A/B (iciHHV-6A/B). Whether iciHHV-6A/B is transcriptionally active in vivo and how it shapes the immunological response are still unclear. In this study, we screened DNA sequencing (DNA-seq) and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data for 650 individuals available through the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project and identified 2 iciHHV-6A- and 4 iciHHV-6B-positive candidates. When corresponding tissue-specific gene expression signatures were analyzed, low levels HHV-6A/B gene expression was found across multiple tissues, with the highest levels of gene expression in the brain (specifically for HHV-6A), testis, esophagus, and adrenal gland. U90 and U100 were the most highly expressed HHV-6 genes in both iciHHV-6A- and iciHHV-6B-positive individuals. To assess whether tissue-specific gene expression from iciHHV-6A/B influences the immune response, a cohort of 15,498 subjects was screened and 85 iciHHV-6A/B+ subjects were identified. Plasma samples from iciHHV-6A/B+ and age- and sex-matched controls were analyzed for antibodies to control antigens (cytomegalovirus [CMV], Epstein-Barr virus [EBV], and influenza virus [FLU]) or HHV-6A/B antigens. Our results indicate that iciHHV-6A/B+ subjects have significantly more antibodies against the U90 gene product (IE1) than do non-iciHHV-6-positive individuals. Antibody responses against EBV and FLU antigens or HHV-6A/B gene products either not expressed or expressed at low levels, such as U47, U57, and U72, were identical between controls and iciHHV-6A/B+ subjects. CMV-seropositive individuals with iciHHV-6A/B+ have more antibodies against CMV pp150 than do CMV-seropositive controls. These results argue that spontaneous gene expression from integrated HHV-6A/B leads to an increase in antigenic burden that translates into a more robust HHV-6A/B-specific antibody response.IMPORTANCE HHV-6A and -6B are human herpesviruses that have the unique property of being able to integrate into the telomeric regions of human chromosomes. Approximately 1% of the world's population carries integrated HHV-6A/B genome in every cell of their body. Whether viral genes are transcriptionally active in these individuals is unclear. By taking advantage of a unique tissue-specific gene expression data set, we showed that the majority of tissues from iciHHV-6 individuals do not show HHV-6 gene expression. Brain and testes showed the highest tissue-specific expression of HHV-6 genes in two separate data sets. Two HHV-6 genes, U90 (immediate early 1 protein) and U100 (glycoproteins Q1 and Q2), were found to be selectively and consistently expressed across several human tissues. Expression of U90 translates into an increase in antigen-specific antibody response in iciHHV-6A/B+ subjects relative to controls. Future studies will be needed to determine the mechanism of gene expression, the effects of these genes on human gene transcription networks, and the pathophysiological impact of having increased viral protein expression in tissue in conjunction with increased antigen-specific antibody production.