Reassortment between two serologically unrelated bluetongue virus strains is flexible and can involve any genome segment.
ABSTRACT: Coinfection of a cell by two different strains of a segmented virus can give rise to a "reassortant" with phenotypic characteristics that might differ from those of the parental strains. Bluetongue virus (BTV) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) segmented virus and the cause of bluetongue, a major infectious disease of livestock. BTV exists as at least 26 different serotypes (BTV-1 to BTV-26). Prompted by the isolation of a field reassortant between BTV-1 and BTV-8, we systematically characterized the process of BTV reassortment. Using a reverse genetics approach, our study clearly indicates that any BTV-1 or BTV-8 genome segment can be rescued in the heterologous "backbone." To assess phenotypic variation as a result of reassortment, we examined viral growth kinetics and plaque sizes in in vitro experiments and virulence in an experimental mouse model of bluetongue disease. The monoreassortants generated had phenotypes that were very similar to those of the parental wild-type strains both in vitro and in vivo. Using a forward genetics approach in cells coinfected with BTV-1 and BTV-8, we have shown that reassortants between BTV-1 and BTV-8 are generated very readily. After only four passages in cell culture, we could not detect wild-type BTV-1 or BTV-8 in any of 140 isolated viral plaques. In addition, most of the isolated reassortants contained heterologous VP2 and VP5 structural proteins, while only 17% had homologous VP2 and VP5 proteins. Our study has shown that reassortment in BTV is very flexible, and there is no fundamental barrier to the reassortment of any genome segment. Given the propensity of BTV to reassort, it is increasingly important to have an alternative classification system for orbiviruses.
Project description:For segmented viruses, rapid genomic and phenotypic changes can occur through the process of reassortment, whereby co-infecting strains exchange entire segments creating novel progeny virus genotypes. However, for many viruses with segmented genomes, this process and its effect on transmission dynamics remain poorly understood. Here, we assessed the consequences of reassortment for selection on viral diversity through time using bluetongue virus (BTV), a segmented arbovirus that is the causative agent of a major disease of ruminants. We analysed ninety-two BTV genomes isolated across four decades from India, where BTV diversity, and thus opportunities for reassortment, are among the highest in the world. Our results point to frequent reassortment and segment turnover, some of which appear to be driven by selective sweeps and serial hitchhiking. Particularly, we found evidence for a recent selective sweep affecting segment 5 and its encoded NS1 protein that has allowed a single variant to essentially invade the full range of BTV genomic backgrounds and serotypes currently circulating in India. In contrast, diversifying selection was found to play an important role in maintaining genetic diversity in genes encoding outer surface proteins involved in virus interactions (VP2 and VP5, encoded by segments 2 and 6, respectively). Our results support the role of reassortment in driving rapid phenotypic change in segmented viruses and generate testable hypotheses for in vitro experiments aiming at understanding the specific mechanisms underlying differences in fitness and selection across viral genomes.
Project description:Bluetongue virus (BTV) can infect most ruminant species and is usually transmitted by adult, vector-competent biting midges (Culicoides spp.). Infection with BTV can cause severe clinical signs and can be fatal, particularly in naïve sheep and some deer species. Although 24 distinct BTV serotypes were recognized for several decades, additional 'types' have recently been identified, including BTV-25 (from Switzerland), BTV-26 (from Kuwait) and BTV-27 from France (Corsica). Although BTV-25 has failed to grow in either insect or mammalian cell cultures, BTV-26 (isolate KUW2010/02), which can be transmitted horizontally between goats in the absence of vector insects, does not replicate in a Culicoides sonorensis cell line (KC cells) but can be propagated in mammalian cells (BSR cells). The BTV genome consists of ten segments of linear dsRNA. Mono-reassortant viruses were generated by reverse-genetics, each one containing a single BTV-26 genome segment in a BTV-1 genetic-background. However, attempts to recover a mono-reassortant containing genome-segment 2 (Seg-2) of BTV-26 (encoding VP2), were unsuccessful but a triple-reassortant was successfully generated containing Seg-2, Seg-6 and Seg-7 (encoding VP5 and VP7 respectively) of BTV-26. Reassortants were recovered and most replicated well in mammalian cells (BSR cells). However, mono-reassortants containing Seg-1 or Seg-3 of BTV-26 (encoding VP1, or VP3 respectively) and the triple reassortant failed to replicate, while a mono-reassortant containing Seg-7 of BTV-26 only replicated slowly in KC cells.
Project description:Reassortment contributes to the evolution of RNA viruses with segmented genomes, including Bluetongue virus (BTV). Recently, co-circulation of natural and vaccine BTV variants in Europe, and their ensuing reassortment, were proposed to promote appearance of novel European BTV strains, with potential implications for pathogenicity, spread and vaccination policies. Similarly, the geographical features of the Mediterranean basin, which spans over portions of three continents, may facilitate the appearance of clinically relevant reassortants via co-circulation of BTV strains of African, Asian and European origins. In August-October 2017, BTV serotype 6 (BTV-6) was identified in young animals exhibiting classical clinical signs of Bluetongue (BT) at Israeli sheep and cattle farms. Sequencing and pairwise analysis of this Israeli BTV-6 isolate revealed the closest sequence homology of its serotype-defining Segment 2 was with that of South African reference BTV-6 strain 5011 (93.88% identity). In contrast, the other viral segments showed highest homology (97.0%-99.47% identity) with BTV-3, -4 and -9 of Mediterranean and African origins. Specifically, four viral segments were nearly identical (99.13%-99.47%), with Tunisian and Italian BTV-3 strains (TUN2016 and SAD2018, correspondingly). Together, our data suggest that Mediterranean co-circulation and reassortment of BTV-3 and BTV-6 drove the emergence of a novel and virulent BTV-6 strain.
Project description:Bluetongue is primarily a disease of sheep in South Africa, while cattle and goats are mostly subclinically infected. The viraemia of bluetongue virus in cattle lasts much longer than in sheep and the role of cattle in the epidemiology of bluetongue in South Africa is poorly understood. Bluetongue virus has a segmented double-stranded ribonucleic acid genome and reassortment of genomes is a common feature. The aim of the study was to investigate whether reassortment occurs between vaccine and field strains when simultaneously administered to cattle. Six cattle between the ages of 6 and 12 months were infected with five strains of modified live vaccine bluetongue virus and a virulent field isolate of bluetongue virus 4. Blood samples were subsequently collected daily from these animals from day 1 to day 39 post-inoculation. Viruses were directly isolated during viraemia from the buffy coat on Vero cells using the plaque forming unit method. Analysis of plaques indicated that no reassortants between virulent field and vaccine strains occurred and the virulent bluetongue virus 4 was identified as the predominant virus strain. However, a reassortant virus between two bluetongue virus vaccine strains was isolated from the buffy coat. Whole genome sequences from the vaccine viruses were compared to the suspected reassortant and it was found that segment 8 exchanged between the bluetongue virus 8 and bluetongue virus 9 vaccine strains. The use of the live-attenuated bluetongue virus multivalent vaccine in South Africa causes circulation of different vaccine serotypes in Culicoides spp. and susceptible hosts and cattle might provide the ideal host for reassortment to occur.
Project description:Bluetongue virus (BTV), a member of the Orbivirus genus in the Reoviridae family, is a double-capsid insect-borne virus enclosing a genome of 10 double-stranded RNA segments. Like those of other members of the family, BTV virions are nonenveloped particles containing two architecturally complex capsids. The two proteins of the outer capsid, VP2 and VP5, are involved in BTV entry and in the delivery of the transcriptionally active core to the cell cytoplasm. Although the importance of the endocytic pathway in BTV entry has been reported, detailed analyses of entry and the role of each protein in virus trafficking have not been possible due to the lack of availability of a tagged virus. Here, for the first time, we report on the successful manipulation of a segmented genome of a nonenveloped capsid virus by the introduction of tags that were subsequently fluorescently visualized in infected cells. The genetically engineered fluorescent BTV particles were observed to enter live cells immediately after virus adsorption. Further, we showed the separation of VP2 from VP5 during virus entry and confirmed that while VP2 is shed from virions in early endosomes, virus particles still consisting of VP5 were trafficked sequentially from early to late endosomes. Since BTV infects both mammalian and insect cells, the generation of tagged viruses will allow visualization of the trafficking of BTV farther downstream in different host cells. In addition, the tagging technology has potential for transferable application to other nonenveloped complex viruses.Live-virus trafficking in host cells has been highly informative on the interactions between virus and host cells. Although the insertion of fluorescent markers into viral genomes has made it possible to study the trafficking of enveloped viruses, the physical constraints of architecturally complex capsid viruses have imposed practical limitations. In this study, we have successfully genetically engineered the segmented RNA genome of bluetongue virus (BTV), a complex nonenveloped virus belonging to the Reoviridae family. The resulting fluorescent virus particles could be visualized in virus entry studies of both live and fixed cells. This is the first time a structurally complex capsid virus has been successfully genetically manipulated to generate virus particles that could be visualized in infected cells.
Project description:Bluetongue (BT) is a vector-borne disease of ruminants caused by Bluetongue virus (BTV). Twenty-nine different serotypes of BTV are currently reported throughout the world. The main objective of this study is the development of a subunit vaccine model that could potentially be adapted to provide broad spectrum protection against multiple BTV serotypes, which the conventional vaccines fail to address. To this end, three different BTV proteins (conserved region of viral protein [VP]2, VP5 and NS1) were expressed and purified in an Escherichia coli expression system. The immunogenicity of these proteins was tested in murine models using the MontanideTM ISA 201 VG adjuvant. BALB/c mice were immunised thrice (with individual proteins and a mixture of three proteins) at two-week intervals and were monitored until Day 40 post-infection/vaccination. Protein-specific antibodies directed against the recombinant proteins were detected by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Neutralising antibody (Nab) titres and cross-neutralisation against a range of BTV serotypes (BTV-1, -2, -4, -5, -9, -10, -12, -16, -21, -23 and -24) were determined by serum neutralisation test. The recombinant proteins elicited higher Nab titres compared with the inactivated vaccine group, except for BTV-1, where the inactivated vaccine group elicited higher Nab titres. Additive effect of the three proteins was not observed as the Nab titres generated with a combination of conserved VP2, VP5 and NS1 was similar to those of the individual protein groups. Whilst BTV-12 could only be neutralised by serum raised against the inactivated vaccine group, BTV-5 and -24 could not be neutralised by any of the groups tested. Our cumulative data suggest that the conserved regions of VP2 (cVP2), VP5 and NS1 could play an important part in the novel vaccine design against multiple BTV serotypes. Importantly, given that VP2 was already known to elicit a serotype-specific immune response against BT, we report, for the first time, that the conserved region of VP2 has the ability to induce cross-protective immune response.
Project description:<label>Aim</label>The aim of the study was to characterize bluetongue virus serotype 16 (BTV-16), recently isolated from different states of India. The evolutionary relationship of newly isolated BTV-16 and previously reported Indian and global BTV-16 isolates were compared using molecular analysis.<label>Materials and Methods</label>In the present study, five (n=5) BTV-16 isolates were used to amplify gene segment-2 and segment-6 encoding the outer capsid proteins VP2 and VP5, respectively. The amplified products were purified and sequenced by the Sanger sequencing method. The phylogenetic relationship and nucleotide identity of all five BTV-16 isolates were compared with previously reported Indian and global BTV-16 isolates. Nucleotide sequence data were aligned using the CLUSTAL W algorithm implemented in the MegAlign of DNASTAR program package (MegAlign 5.00, DNASTAR Inc., Madison, USA). Phylogenetic analyses were carried out using MEGA version 6.0 software with the best nucleotide substitution model.<label>Results</label>Phylogenetic analysis based on the VP2 and VP5 encoding genes, segregates Indian BTV-16 isolates in a distinct cluster with proximity to the Eastern topotype. Indian isolates make a monophyletic cluster with Eastern topotypes with Western topotype BTV-16 (BTV-16/NIG/AJ586694) occupying a separate cluster. Indian isolates were found to share 91.5%-97.5% and 96.5%-98.9% identity at the nucleotide and deduced amino acid (aa) level, respectively, to the global BTV-16 isolates. There is a high degree of variation with the Nigerian isolate with 27.0-27.7% and 26.0-26.9% at the nucleotide and aa sequence level, respectively. These data suggest that Indian BTV-16 isolates might have evolved separately within the Eastern BTV topotype.<label>Conclusion</label>Phylogenetic analyses and nucleotide identity of BTV-16 isolates at the VP2 and VP5 gene encoded level indicate that isolates used in the present study might have evolved from a common Eastern topotype ancestor. The data presented in this study will be helpful for future selection of reference strains in a serological and molecular epidemiology study.
Project description:Bluetongue virus (BTV) is a vector-borne, nonenveloped icosahedral particle that is organized in two capsids, an outer capsid of two proteins, VP2 and VP5, and an inner capsid (or core) composed of two major proteins, VP7 and VP3, in two layers. The VP3 layer (subcore) encloses viral transcription complex (VP1 polymerase, VP4 capping enzyme, VP6 helicase) and a 10-segmented double-stranded (dsRNA) genome. Although much is known about the BTV capsids, the order of the core assembly and the mechanism of genome packaging remain unclear. Here, we established a cell-free system to reconstitute subcore and core structures with the proteins and ssRNAs, demonstrating that reconstituted cores are infectious in insect cells. Furthermore, we showed that the BTV ssRNAs are essential to drive the assembly reaction and that there is a distinct order of internal protein recruitment during the assembly process. The in vitro engineering of infectious BTV cores is unique for any member of the Reoviridae and will facilitate future studies of RNA-protein interactions during BTV core assembly.
Project description:Bluetongue is one of the major infectious diseases of ruminants and is caused by bluetongue virus (BTV), an arbovirus existing in nature in at least 26 distinct serotypes. Here, we describe the development of a vaccine platform for BTV. The advent of synthetic biology approaches and the development of reverse genetics systems has allowed the rapid and reliable design and production of pathogen genomes which can be subsequently manipulated for vaccine production. We describe BTV vaccines based on "synthetic" viruses in which the outer core proteins of different BTV serotypes are incorporated into a common tissue-culture-adapted backbone. As a means of validation for this approach, we selected two BTV-8 synthetic reassortants and demonstrated their ability to protect sheep against virulent BTV-8 challenge. In addition to further highlight the possibilities of genome manipulation for vaccine production, we also designed and rescued a synthetic BTV chimera containing a VP2 protein, including regions derived from both BTV-1 and BTV-8. Interestingly, while the parental viruses were neutralized only by homologous antisera, the chimeric proteins could be neutralized by both BTV-1 and BTV-8 antisera. These data suggest that neutralizing epitopes are present in different areas of the BTV VP2 and likely "bivalent" strains eliciting neutralizing antibodies for multiple strains can be obtained.Overall, this vaccine platform can significantly reduce the time taken from the identification of new BTV strains to the development and production of new vaccines, since the viral genomes of these viruses can be entirely synthesized in vitro. In addition, these vaccines can be brought quickly into the market because they alter the approach, but not the final product, of existing commercial products.
Project description:Bluetongue is a disease of domestic and wild ruminants caused by bluetongue virus serotypes (BTV), which have caused serious outbreaks worldwide. Commercially available vaccines are live-attenuated or inactivated virus strains: these are effective, but there is the risk of reversion to virulence or reassortment with circulating strains for live virus, and residual live virus for the inactivated vaccines. The live-attenuated virus vaccines are not able to distinguish naturally infected animals from vaccinated animals (DIVA compliant). Recombinant vaccines are preferable to minimize the risks associated with these vaccines, and would also enable the development of candidate vaccines that are DIVA-compliant.In this study, two novel protein body (PB) plant-produced vaccines were developed, Zera®-VP2ep and Zera®-VP2. Zera®-VP2ep contained B-cell epitope sequences of multiple BTV serotypes and Zera®-VP2 contained the full-length BTV-8 VP2 codon-optimised sequence. In addition to fulfilling the DIVA requirement, Zera®-VP2ep was aimed at being multivalent with the ability to stimulate an immune response to several BTV serotypes. Both these candidate vaccines were successfully made in N. benthamiana via transient Agrobacterium-mediated expression, and in situ TEM analysis showed that the expressed proteins accumulated within the cytoplasm of plant cells in dense membrane-defined PBs. The peptide sequences included in Zera®-VP2ep contained epitopes that bound antibodies produced against native VP2. Preliminary murine immunogenicity studies showed that the PB vaccine candidates elicited anti-VP2 immune responses in mice without the use of adjuvant.These proof of concept results demonstrate that Zera®-VP2ep and Zera®-VP2 have potential as BTV vaccines and their development should be further investigated.