The amphibian (Xenopus laevis) type I interferon response to frog virus 3: new insight into ranavirus pathogenicity.
ABSTRACT: The increasing prevalence of ranavirus (RV; Iridoviridae) infections of wild and commercially maintained aquatic species is raising considerable concerns. While Xenopus laevis is the leading model for studies of immunity to RV, amphibian antiviral interferon (IFN) responses remain largely uncharacterized. Accordingly, an X. laevis type I interferon was identified, the expression of the gene for this IFN was examined in RV (frog virus 3 [FV3])-infected tadpoles and adult frogs by quantitative PCR, and a recombinant form of this molecule (recombinant X. laevis interferon [rXlIFN]) was produced for the purpose of functional studies. This rXlIFN protected the kidney-derived A6 cell line and tadpoles against FV3 infection, decreasing the infectious viral burdens in both cases. Adult frogs are naturally resistant to FV3 and clear the infection within a few weeks, whereas tadpoles typically succumb to this virus. Hence, as predicted, virus-infected adult X. laevis frogs exhibited significantly more robust FV3-elicited IFN gene expression than tadpoles; nevertheless, they also tolerated substantially greater viral burdens following infection. Although tadpole stimulation with rXlIFN prior to FV3 challenge markedly impaired viral replication and viral burdens, it only transiently extended tadpole survival and did not prevent the eventual mortality of these animals. Furthermore, histological analysis revealed that despite rXlIFN treatment, infected tadpoles had considerable organ damage, including disrupted tissue architecture and extensive necrosis and apoptosis. Conjointly, these findings indicate a critical protective role for the amphibian type I IFN response during ranaviral infections and suggest that these viruses are more pathogenic to tadpole hosts than was previously believed, causing extensive and fatal damage to multiple organs, even at very low titers.Ranavirus infections are threatening wild and commercially maintained aquatic species. The amphibian Xenopus laevis is extensively utilized as an infection model for studying ranavirus-host immune interactions. However, little is known about amphibian antiviral immunity and, specifically, type I interferons (IFNs), which are central to the antiviral defenses of other vertebrates. Accordingly, we identified and characterized an X. laevis type I interferon in the context of infection with the ranavirus frog virus 3 (FV3). FV3-infected adult frogs displayed more robust IFN gene expression than tadpoles, possibly explaining why they typically clear FV3 infections, whereas tadpoles succumb to them. Pretreatment with a recombinant X. laevis IFN (rXlIFN) substantially reduced viral replication and infectious viral burdens in a frog kidney cell line and in tadpoles. Despite reducing FV3 loads and extending the mean survival time, rXlIFN treatments failed to prevent tadpole tissue damage and mortality. Thus, FV3 is more pathogenic than was previously believed, even at very low titers.
Project description:While amphibians around the globe are facing catastrophic declines, in part because of infections with pathogens such as the Frog Virus 3 (FV3) ranavirus; the mechanisms governing amphibian susceptibility and resistance to such pathogens remain poorly understood. The type I and type III interferon (IFN) cytokines represent a cornerstone of vertebrate antiviral immunity, while our recent work indicates that tadpoles and adult frogs of the amphibian Xenopus laevis may differ in their IFN responses to FV3. In this respect, it is notable that anuran (frogs and toads) tadpoles are significantly more susceptible to FV3 than adult frogs, and thus, gaining greater insight into the differences in the tadpole and adult frog antiviral immunity would be invaluable. Accordingly, we examined the FV3-elicited expression of a panel of type I and type III IFN genes in the skin (site of FV3 infection) and kidney (principal FV3 target) tissues and isolated cells of X. laevis tadpoles and adult frogs. We also examined the consequence of tadpole and adult frog skin and kidney cell stimulation with hallmark pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) on the IFN responses of these cells. Together, our findings indicate that tadpoles and adult frogs mount drastically distinct IFN responses to FV3 as well as to viral and non-viral PAMPs, while these expression differences do not appear to be the result of a distinct pattern recognition receptor expression by tadpoles and adults.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Ranaviruses (Iridoviridae) are posing an increasing threat to amphibian populations, with anuran tadpoles being particularly susceptible to these viral infections. Moreover, amphibians are the most basal phylogenetic class of vertebrates known to possess both type I and type III interferon (IFN)-mediated immunity. Moreover, little is known regarding the respective roles of the IFN mediators in amphibian antiviral defenses. Accordingly, we transcriptionally and functionally compared the amphibian Xenopus laevis type I (IFN) and III (IFN-?) IFNs in the context of infections by the ranavirus frog virus 3 (FV3). X. laevis IFN and IFN-? displayed distinct tissue expression profiles. In contrast to our previous findings that X. laevis tadpoles exhibit delayed and modest type I IFN responses to FV3 infections compared to the responses of adults, here we report that tadpoles mount timely and robust type III IFN gene responses. Recombinant forms of these cytokines (recombinant X. laevis IFN [rXlIFN] and rXlIFN-?) elicited antiviral gene expression in the kidney-derived A6 cell line as well as in tadpole leukocytes and tissues. However, rXlIFN-? was less effective than rXlIFN in preventing FV3 replication in A6 cells and tadpoles and inferior at promoting tadpole survival. Intriguingly, FV3 impaired A6 cell and tadpole kidney type III IFN receptor gene expression. Furthermore, in A6 cultures rXlIFN-? conferred equal or greater protection than rXlIFN against recombinant viruses deficient for the putative immune evasion genes, the viral caspase activation and recruitment domain (vCARD) or a truncated vIF-2? gene. Thus, in contrast to previous assumptions, tadpoles possess intact antiviral defenses reliant on type III IFNs, which are overcome by FV3 pathogens. IMPORTANCE:Anuran tadpoles, including those of Xenopus laevis, are particularly susceptible to infection by ranavirus such as FV3. We investigated the respective roles of X. laevis type I and type III interferons (IFN and IFN-?, respectively) during FV3 infections. Notably, tadpoles mounted timely and more robust IFN-? gene expression responses to FV3 than adults, contrasting with the poorer tadpole type I IFN responses. However, a recombinant X. laevis IFN-? (rXlIFN-?) conferred less protection to tadpoles and the A6 cell line than rXlIFN, which may be explained by the FV3 impairment of IFN-? receptor gene expression. The importance of IFN-? in tadpole anti-FV3 defenses is underlined by the critical involvement of two putative immune evasion genes in FV3 resistance to IFN- and IFN-?-mediated responses. These findings challenge the view that tadpoles have defective antiviral immunity and suggest, rather, that their antiviral responses are predominated by IFN-? responses, which are overcome by FV3.
Project description:We first review fundamental insights into anti-ranavirus immunity learned with the Xenopus laevis/ranavirus FV3 model that are generally applicable to ectothermic vertebrates. We then further investigate FV3 genes involved in immune evasion. Focusing on FV3 knockout (KO) mutants defective for a putative viral caspase activation and recruitment domain-containing (CARD)-like protein (?64R-FV3), a ?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase homolog (?52L-FV3), and an immediate-early18kDa protein (FV3-?18K), we assessed the involvement of these viral genes in replication, dissemination and interaction with peritoneal macrophages in tadpole and adult frogs. Our results substantiate the role of 64R and 52L as critical immune evasion genes, promoting persistence and dissemination in the host by counteracting type III IFN in tadpoles and type I IFN in adult frogs. Comparably, the substantial accumulation of genome copy numbers and exacerbation of type I and III IFN gene expression responses but deficient release of infectious virus suggests that 18K is a viral regulatory gene.
Project description:Chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations have been shown to contaminate surface and ground water with a variety of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) inducing multiple developmental alteration in mice. However, little is known about the impacts of UOG-associated contaminants on amphibian health and resistance to an emerging ranavirus infectious disease caused by viruses in the genus Ranavirus, especially at the vulnerable tadpole stage. Here we used tadpoles of the amphibian Xenopus laevis and the ranavirus Frog virus 3 (FV3) as a model relevant to aquatic environment conservation research for investigating the immunotoxic effects of exposure to a mixture of 23 UOG-associated chemicals with EDC activity. Xenopus tadpoles were exposed to an equimass mixture of 23 UOG-associated chemicals (range from 0.1 to 10?µg/l) for 3 weeks prior to infection with FV3. Our data show that exposure to the UOG chemical mixture is toxic for tadpoles at ecological doses of 5 to 10?µg/l. Lower doses significantly altered homeostatic expression of myeloid lineage genes and compromised tadpole responses to FV3 through expression of TNF-?, IL-1?, and Type I IFN genes, correlating with an increase in viral load. Exposure to a subset of 6 UOG chemicals was still sufficient to perturb the antiviral gene expression response. These findings suggest that UOG-associated water pollutants at low but environmentally relevant doses have the potential to induce acute alterations of immune function and antiviral immunity.
Project description:Macrophage-lineage cells are indispensable to vertebrate homeostasis and immunity. In turn, macrophage development is largely regulated through colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF1) binding to its cognate receptor (CSF1R). To study amphibian monopoiesis, we identified and characterized the X. laevis CSF1R cDNA transcript. Quantitative analysis revealed that CSF1R tissue gene expression increased with X. laevis development, with greatest transcript levels detected in the adult lung, spleen and liver tissues. Notably, considerable levels of CSF1R mRNA were also detected in the regressing tails of metamorphosing animals, suggesting macrophage involvement in this process, and in the adult bone marrow; corroborating the roles for this organ in Xenopus monopoiesis. Following animal infections with the ranavirus Frog Virus 3 (FV3), both tadpole and adult X. laevis exhibited increased kidney CSF1R gene expression. Conversely, while FV3-infected tadpoles increased their spleen and liver CSF1R mRNA levels, the FV3-challenged adults did not. Notably, FV3 induced elevated bone marrow CSF1R expression, and while stimulation of tadpoles with heat-killed E. coli had no transcriptional effects, bacterial stimulation of adult frogs resulted in significantly increased spleen, liver and bone marrow CSF1R expression. We produced the X. laevis CSF1R in recombinant form (rXlCSF1R) and determined, via in vitro cross-linking studies, that two molecules of rXlCSF1R bound the dimeric rXlCSF1. Finally, administration of rXlCSF1R abrogated the rXlCSF1-induced tadpole macrophage recruitment and differentiation as well as bacterial and FV3-elicited peritoneal leukocyte accumulation. This work marks a step towards garnering greater understanding of the unique mechanisms governing amphibian macrophage biology.
Project description:Although aquatic vertebrates and humans are increasingly exposed to water pollutants associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG), the long-term effects of these pollutants on immunity remains unclear. We have established the amphibian Xenopus laevis and the ranavirus Frog Virus 3 (FV3) as a reliable and sensitive model for evaluating the effects of waterborne pollutants. X. laevis tadpoles were exposed to a mixture of equimass amount of UOG chemicals with endocrine disrupting activity (0.1 and 1.0??g/L) for 3?weeks, and then long-term effects on immune function at steady state and following viral (FV3) infection was assessed after metamorphosis. Notably, developmental exposure to the mixture of UOG chemicals at the tadpole stage affected metamorphic development and fitness by significantly decreasing body mass after metamorphosis completion. Furthermore, developmental exposure to UOGs resulted in perturbation of immune homeostasis in adult frogs, as indicated by significantly decreased number of splenic innate leukocytes, B and T lymphocytes; and a weakened antiviral immune response leading to increased viral load during infection by the ranavirus FV3. These findings suggest that mixture of UOG-associated waterborne endocrine disruptors at low but environmentally-relevant levels have the potential to induce long-lasting alterations of immune function and antiviral immunity in aquatic vertebrates and ultimately human populations.
Project description:Water pollutants associated with agriculture may contribute to the increased prevalence of infectious diseases caused by ranaviruses. We have established the amphibian Xenopus laevis and the ranavirus Frog Virus 3 (FV3) as a reliable experimental platform for evaluating the effects of common waterborne pollutants, such as the insecticide carbaryl. Following 3 weeks of exposure to 10 ppb carbaryl, X. laevis tadpoles exhibited a marked increase in mortality and accelerated development. Exposure at lower concentrations (0.1 and 1.0 ppb) was not toxic, but it impaired tadpole innate antiviral immune responses, as evidenced by significantly decreased TNF-?, IL-1?, IFN-I, and IFN-III gene expression. The defect in IFN-I and IL-1? gene expression levels persisted after metamorphosis in froglets, whereas only IFN-I gene expression in response to FV3 was attenuated when carbaryl exposure was performed at the adult stage. These findings suggest that the agriculture-associated carbaryl exposure at low but ecologically-relevant concentrations has the potential to induce long term alterations in host-pathogen interactions and antiviral immunity.
Project description:While increasing evidence points to a key role of monocytes in amphibian host defenses, monocytes are also thought to be important in the dissemination and persistent infection caused by ranavirus. However, little is known about the fate of infected macrophages or if ranavirus exploits immune privileged organs, such as the brain, in order to establish a reservoir. The amphibian Xenopus laevis and Frog Virus 3 (FV3) were established as an experimental platform for investigating in vivo whether ranavirus could disseminate to the brain. Our data show that the FV3 infection alters the BBB integrity, possibly mediated by an inflammatory response, which leads to viral dissemination into the central nervous system in X. laevis tadpole but not adult. Furthermore, our data suggest that the macrophages play a major role in viral dissemination by carrying the virus into the neural tissues.
Project description:Xenopus laevis adults mount effective immune responses to ranavirus Frog Virus 3 (FV3) infections and clear the pathogen within 2-3 weeks. In contrast, most tadpoles cannot clear FV3 and succumb to infections within a month. While larval susceptibility has been attributed to ineffective adaptive immunity, the contribution of innate immune components has not been addressed. Accordingly, we performed a comprehensive gene expression analysis on FV3-infected tadpoles and adults. In comparison to adults, leukocytes and tissues of infected tadpoles exhibited modest (10-100 time lower than adult) and delayed (3 day later than adult) increase in expression of inflammation-associated (TNF-?, IL-1? and IFN-?) and antiviral (Mx1) genes. In contrast, these genes were readily and robustly upregulated in tadpoles upon bacterial stimulation. Furthermore, greater proportions of larval than adult PLs were infected by FV3. Our study suggests that tadpole susceptibility to FV3 infection is partially due to poor virus-elicited innate immune responses.
Project description:Natural infections of ectothermic vertebrates by ranaviruses (RV, family Iridoviridae) are rapidly increasing, with an alarming expansion of RV tropism and resulting die-offs of numerous animal populations. Notably, infection studies of the amphibian Xenopus laevis with the ranavirus Frog Virus 3 (FV3) have revealed that although the adult frog immune system is efficient at controlling RV infections, residual quiescent virus can be detected in mononuclear phagocytes of otherwise asymptomatic animals following the resolution of RV infections. It is noteworthy that macrophage-lineage cells are now believed to be a critical element in the RV infection strategy. In the present work, we report that inflammation induced by peritoneal injection of heat-killed bacteria in asymptomatic frogs one month after infection with FV3 resulted in viral reactivation including detectable viral DNA and viral gene expression in otherwise asymptomatic frogs. FV3 reactivation was most prominently detected in kidneys and in peritoneal HAM56+ mononuclear phagocytes. Notably, unlike adult frogs that typically clear primary FV3 infections, a proportion of the animals succumbed to the reactivated FV3 infection, indicating that previous exposure does not provide protection against subsequent reactivation in these animals.