Efficient production of foot-and-mouth disease virus empty capsids in insect cells following down regulation of 3C protease activity.
ABSTRACT: Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is a significant economically and distributed globally pathogen of Artiodactyla. Current vaccines are chemically inactivated whole virus particles that require large-scale virus growth in strict bio-containment with the associated risks of accidental release or incomplete inactivation. Non-infectious empty capsids are structural mimics of authentic particles with no associated risk and constitute an alternate vaccine candidate. Capsids self-assemble from the processed virus structural proteins, VP0, VP3 and VP1, which are released from the structural protein precursor P1-2A by the action of the virus-encoded 3C protease. To date recombinant empty capsid assembly has been limited by poor expression levels, restricting the development of empty capsids as a viable vaccine. Here expression of the FMDV structural protein precursor P1-2A in insect cells is shown to be efficient but linkage of the cognate 3C protease to the C-terminus reduces expression significantly. Inactivation of the 3C enzyme in a P1-2A-3C cassette allows expression and intermediate levels of 3C activity resulted in efficient processing of the P1-2A precursor into the structural proteins which assembled into empty capsids. Expression was independent of the insect host cell background and leads to capsids that are recognised as authentic by a range of anti-FMDV bovine sera suggesting their feasibility as an alternate vaccine.
Project description:The foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) capsid protein precursor, P1-2A, is cleaved by 3C(pro) to generate VP0, VP3, VP1, and the peptide 2A. The capsid proteins self-assemble into empty capsid particles or viruses which do not contain 2A. In a cell culture-adapted strain of FMDV (O1 Manisa [Lindholm]), three different amino acid substitutions (E83K, S134C, and K210E) were identified within the VP1 region of the P1-2A precursor compared to the field strain (wild type [wt]). Expression of the O1 Manisa P1-2A (wt or with the S134C substitution in VP1) plus 3C(pro), using a transient expression system, resulted in efficient capsid protein production and self-assembly of empty capsid particles. Removal of the 2A peptide from the capsid protein precursor had no effect on capsid protein processing or particle assembly. However, modification of E83K alone abrogated particle assembly with no apparent effect on protein processing. Interestingly, the K210E substitution, close to the VP1/2A junction, completely blocked processing by 3C(pro) at this cleavage site, but efficient assembly of "self-tagged" empty capsid particles, containing the uncleaved VP1-2A, was observed. These self-tagged particles behaved like the unmodified empty capsids in antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and integrin receptor binding assays. Furthermore, mutant viruses with uncleaved VP1-2A could be rescued in cells from full-length FMDV RNA transcripts encoding the K210E substitution in VP1. Thus, cleavage of the VP1/2A junction is not essential for virus viability. The production of such engineered self-tagged empty capsid particles may facilitate their purification for use as diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
Project description:Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) remains one of the most economically important infectious diseases of production animals globally. Vaccination can successfully control this disease, however, current vaccines are imperfect. They are made using chemically inactivated FMD virus (FMDV) that is produced in large-scale mammalian cell culture under high containment conditions. Here, we have expressed the FMDV capsid protein precursor (P1-2A) of strain O1 Manisa alone or with the FMDV 3C protease (3Cpro) using a "single cycle" packaged alphavirus self-replicating RNA based on Semliki Forest virus (SFV). When the FMDV P1-2A was expressed with 3Cpro then processing of the FMDV capsid precursor protein is observed within cells and the proteins assemble into empty capsid particles. The products interact with anti-FMDV antibodies in an ELISA and bind to the integrin ?v?6 (a cellular receptor for FMDV). In cattle vaccinated with these rSFV-FMDV vectors alone, anti-FMDV antibodies were elicited but the immune response was insufficient to give protection against FMDV challenge. However, the prior vaccination with these vectors resulted in a much stronger immune response against FMDV post-challenge and the viremia observed was decreased in level and duration. In subsequent experiments, cattle were sequentially vaccinated with a rSFV-FMDV followed by recombinant FMDV empty capsid particles, or vice versa, prior to challenge. Animals given a primary vaccination with the rSFV-FMDV vector and then boosted with FMDV empty capsids showed a strong anti-FMDV antibody response prior to challenge, they were protected against disease and no FMDV RNA was detected in their sera post-challenge. Initial inoculation with empty capsids followed by the rSFV-FMDV was much less effective at combating the FMDV challenge and a large post-challenge boost to the level of anti-FMDV antibodies was observed. This prime-boost system, using reagents that can be generated outside of high-containment facilities, offers significant advantages to achieve control of FMD by vaccination.
Project description:The assembly of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) requires the cleavage of the P12A polyprotein into individual structural proteins by protease 3C. In this study, we constructed a recombinant baculovirus that simultaneously expressed the genes for the P12A and 3C proteins of Asia I FMDV from individual promoters. The capsid proteins expressed in High Five insect cells were processed by viral 3C protease, as shown by Western blotting, and were antigenic, as revealed by their reactivity in an indirect sandwich-ELISA, and by immunofluorescent assay. The empty capsid-like particles were similar to authentic 75S empty capsids from FMDV in terms of their shape, size and sedimentation velocity, as demonstrated by sucrose gradient centrifugation. Both empty capsid-like particles and some small-sized particles (about 10nm in diameter) were also observed using immunoelectron microscopy. Furthermore, the empty capsid-like particles or intermediates induced high levels of FMDV-specific antibodies in guinea pigs following immunization, and neutralizing antibodies were induced in the second week after vaccination. These recombinant, non-infectious, FMDV empty capsids are potentially useful for the development of new diagnostic techniques and vaccines.
Project description:Many picornaviruses cause important diseases in humans and other animals including poliovirus, rhinoviruses (causing the common cold) and foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). These small, non-enveloped viruses comprise a positive-stranded RNA genome (ca. 7-9 kb) enclosed within a protein shell composed of 60 copies of three or four different capsid proteins. For the aphthoviruses (e.g. FMDV) and cardioviruses, the capsid precursor, P1-2A, is cleaved by the 3C protease (3Cpro) to generate VP0, VP3 and VP1 plus 2A. For enteroviruses, e.g. poliovirus, the capsid precursor is P1 alone, which is cleaved by the 3CD protease to generate just VP0, VP3 and VP1. The sequences required for correct processing of the FMDV capsid protein precursor in mammalian cells were analyzed. Truncation of the P1-2A precursor from its C-terminus showed that loss of the 2A peptide (18 residues long) and 27 residues from the C-terminus of VP1 (211 residues long) resulted in a precursor that cannot be processed by 3Cpro although it still contained two unmodified internal cleavage sites (VP0/VP3 and VP3/VP1 junctions). Furthermore, introduction of small deletions within P1-2A identified residues 185-190 within VP1 as being required for 3Cpro-mediated processing and for optimal accumulation of the precursor. Within this C-terminal region of VP1, five of these residues (YCPRP), are very highly conserved in all FMDVs and are also conserved amongst other picornaviruses. Mutant FMDV P1-2A precursors with single amino acid substitutions within this motif were highly resistant to cleavage at internal junctions. Such substitutions also abrogated virus infectivity. These results can explain earlier observations that loss of the C-terminus (including the conserved motif) from the poliovirus capsid precursor conferred resistance to processing. Thus, this motif seems essential for maintaining the correct structure of picornavirus capsid precursors prior to processing and subsequent capsid assembly; it may represent a site that interacts with cellular chaperones.
Project description:The foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) capsid precursor, P1-2A, is cleaved by FMDV 3C protease to yield VP0, VP3, VP1 and 2A. Cleavage of the VP1/2A junction is the slowest. Serotype O FMDVs with uncleaved VP1-2A (having a K210E substitution in VP1; at position P2 in cleavage site) have been described previously and acquired a second site substitution (VP1 E83K) during virus rescue. Furthermore, introduction of the VP1 E83K substitution alone generated a second site change at the VP1/2A junction (2A L2P, position P2' in cleavage site). These virus adaptations have now been analysed using next-generation sequencing to determine sub-consensus level changes in the virus; this revealed other variants within the E83K mutant virus population that changed residue VP1 K210. The construction of serotype A viruses with a blocked VP1/2A cleavage site (containing K210E) has now been achieved. A collection of alternative amino acid substitutions was made at this site, and the properties of the mutant viruses were determined. Only the presence of a positively charged residue at position P2 in the cleavage site permitted efficient cleavage of the VP1/2A junction, consistent with analyses of diverse FMDV genome sequences. Interestingly, in contrast to the serotype O virus results, no second site mutations occurred within the VP1 coding region of serotype A viruses with the blocked VP1/2A cleavage site. However, some of these viruses acquired changes in the 2C protein that is involved in enterovirus morphogenesis. These results have implications for the testing of potential antiviral agents targeting the FMDV 3C protease.
Project description:For enteroviruses such as poliovirus (PV), empty capsids, which are antigenically indistinguishable from mature virions, are produced naturally during viral infection. The production of such capsids recombinantly, in heterologous systems such as yeast, have great potential as virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidates. Here, using PV as an exemplar, we show the production of VLPs in <i>Pichia pastoris</i> by coexpression of the structural precursor protein P1 and the viral protease 3CD. The level of expression of the potentially cytotoxic protease relative to that of the P1 precursor was modulated by three different approaches: expression of the P1 precursor and protease from different transcription units, separation of the P1 and protease proteins using the <i>Thosea asigna</i> virus (TaV) 2A translation interruption sequence, or separation of the P1 and protease-coding sequences by an internal ribosome entry site sequence from <i>Rhopalosiphum padi</i> virus (RhPV). We also investigate the antigenicity of VLPs containing previously characterized mutations when produced in <i>Pichia</i> Finally, using transmission electron microscopy and two-dimensional classification, we show that <i>Pichia</i>-derived VLPs exhibited the classical icosahedral capsid structure displayed by enteroviruses.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Although the current poliovirus immunization program has been extremely successful in reducing the number of cases of paralytic polio worldwide, now more cases are caused by vaccine-derived polioviruses than by wild poliovirus. Switching to inactivated poliovirus vaccines will reduce this over time; however, their production requires the growth of large amounts of virus. This biosafety concern can be addressed by producing just the virus capsid. The capsid serves to protect the genetic material, which causes disease when introduced into a cell. Therefore, empty capsids (virus-like particles [VLPs]), which lack the viral RNA genome, are safe both to make and to use. We exploit yeast as a versatile model expression system to produce VLPs, and here we specifically highlight the potential of this system to supply next-generation poliovirus vaccines to secure a polio-free world for the future.
Project description:The assembly of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) particles is poorly understood. In addition, there are important differences in the antigenic and receptor binding properties of virus assembly and dissociation intermediates, and these also remain unexplained. We have established an experimental model in which the antigenicity, receptor binding characteristics, and in vitro assembly of capsid precursor can be studied entirely from purified components. Recombinant capsid precursor protein (P1 region) was expressed in Escherichia coli as myristoylated or unmyristoylated protein. The protein sedimented in sucrose gradients at 5S and reacted with monoclonal antibodies which recognize conformational or linear antigen determinants on the virion surface. In addition, it bound the integrin alpha(v)beta(6), a cellular receptor for FMDV, indicating that unprocessed recombinant capsid precursor is both structurally and antigenically similar to native virus capsid. These characteristics were not dependent on the presence of 2A at the C terminus but were altered by N-terminal myristoylation and in mutant precursors which lacked VP4. Proteolytic processing of myristoylated precursor by recombinant FMDV 3C(pro) in vitro induced a shift in sedimentation from 5S to 12S, indicating assembly into pentameric capsid subunits. Nonmyristoylated precursor still assembled into higher-order structures after processing with 3C(pro), but these particles sedimented in sucrose gradients at approximately 17S. In contrast, mutant precursors lacking VP4 were antigenically distinct, were unable to form pentamers, and had reduced capacity for binding integrin receptor. These studies demonstrate the utility of recombinant capsid precursor protein for investigating the initial stages of assembly of FMDV and other picornaviruses.
Project description:The dicistrovirus Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) has been implicated in the worldwide decline of honey bees. Studies of IAPV and many other bee viruses in pure culture are restricted by available isolates and permissive cell culture. Here we show that coupling the IAPV major structural precursor protein ORF2 to its cognate 3C-like processing enzyme results in processing of the precursor to the individual structural proteins in a number of insect cell lines following expression by a recombinant baculovirus. The efficiency of expression is influenced by the level of IAPV 3C protein and moderation of its activity is required for optimal expression. The mature IAPV structural proteins assembled into empty capsids that migrated as particles on sucrose velocity gradients and showed typical dicistrovirus like morphology when examined by electron microscopy. Monoclonal antibodies raised to recombinant capsids were configured into a diagnostic test specific for the presence of IAPV. Recombinant capsids for each of the many bee viruses within the picornavirus family may provide virus specific reagents for the on-going investigation of the causes of honeybee loss.
Project description:The foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) afflicts livestock in more than 80 countries, limiting food production and global trade. Production of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines requires cytosolic expression of the FMDV 3C protease to cleave the P1 polyprotein into mature capsid proteins, but the FMDV 3C protease is toxic to host cells. To identify less-toxic isoforms of the FMDV 3C protease, we screened 3C mutants for increased transgene output in comparison to wild-type 3C using a Gaussia luciferase reporter system. The novel point mutation 3C(L127P) increased yields of recombinant FMDV subunit proteins in mammalian and bacterial cells expressing P1-3C transgenes and retained the ability to process P1 polyproteins from multiple FMDV serotypes. The 3C(L127P) mutant produced crystalline arrays of FMDV-like particles in mammalian and bacterial cells, potentially providing a practical method of rapid, inexpensive FMD vaccine production in bacteria.IMPORTANCE The mutant FMDV 3C protease L127P significantly increased yields of recombinant FMDV subunit antigens and produced virus-like particles in mammalian and bacterial cells. The L127P mutation represents a novel advancement for economical FMD vaccine production.
Project description:Virus capsids are primed for disassembly, yet capsid integrity is key to generating a protective immune response. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) capsids comprise identical pentameric protein subunits held together by tenuous noncovalent interactions and are often unstable. Chemically inactivated or recombinant empty capsids, which could form the basis of future vaccines, are even less stable than live virus. Here we devised a computational method to assess the relative stability of protein-protein interfaces and used it to design improved candidate vaccines for two poorly stable, but globally important, serotypes of FMDV: O and SAT2. We used a restrained molecular dynamics strategy to rank mutations predicted to strengthen the pentamer interfaces and applied the results to produce stabilized capsids. Structural analyses and stability assays confirmed the predictions, and vaccinated animals generated improved neutralizing-antibody responses to stabilized particles compared to parental viruses and wild-type capsids.