Characterization of Equine Infectious Anemia Virus Long Terminal Repeat Quasispecies In Vitro and In Vivo.
ABSTRACT: The equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) attenuated vaccine was developed by long-term passaging of a field-isolated virulent strain in cross-species hosts, followed by successive cultivation in cells in vitro To explore the molecular mechanism underlying the evolution of the EIAV attenuated vaccine, a systematic study focusing on long-terminal-repeat (LTR) variation in numerous virus strains ranging from virulent EIAV to attenuated EIAV was performed over time both in vitro and in vivo Two hypervariable regions were identified within the U3 region in the enhancer region (EHR) and the negative regulatory element (NRE) and within the R region in the transcription start site (TSS) and the Tat-activating region (TAR). Among these sites, variation in the U3 region resulted in the formation of additional transcription factor binding sites; this variation of the in vitro-adapted strains was consistent with the loss of pathogenicity. Notably, the same LTR variation pattern was observed both in vitro and in vivo Generally, the LTR variation in both the attenuated virus and the virulent strain fluctuated over time in vivo Interestingly, the attenuated-virus-specific LTR variation was also detected in horses infected with the virulent strain, supporting the hypothesis that the evolution of an attenuated virus might have involved branching from EIAV quasispecies. This hypothesis was verified by phylogenetic analysis. The present systematic study examining the molecular evolution of attenuated EIAV from EIAV quasispecies may provide an informative model reflecting the evolution of similar lentiviruses.IMPORTANCE The attenuated EIAV vaccine was the first lentiviral vaccine used to successfully control for equine infectious anemia in China. This vaccine provides an important reference for studying the relationship between EIAV gene variation and changes in biological characteristics. Importantly, the vaccine provides a model for the investigation of lentiviral quasispecies evolution. This study followed the "natural" development of the attenuated EIAV vaccine by use of a systematic analysis of LTR evolution in vitro and in vivo The results revealed that the increase in LTR variation with passaging was accompanied by a decrease in virulence, which indicated that LTR variability might parallel the attenuation of virulence. Interestingly, the attenuated-virus-specific LTR variation was also detected in virulent-strain-infected horses, a finding consistent with those of previous investigations of gp90 and S2 evolution. Therefore, we present a hypothesis that the evolution of the attenuated virus may involve branching from EIAV quasispecies present in vivo.
Project description:As the only widely used live lentiviral vaccine, the equine infectious anima virus (EIAV) attenuated vaccine was developed by in vitro passaging of a virulent strain for 121 generations. In our previous study, we observed that the attenuated vaccine was gradually selected under increased environmental pressure at the population level (termed a quasispecies). To further elucidate the potential correlation between viral quasispecies evolution and pathogenesis, a systematic study was performed by sequencing env using several methods. Some key mutations were identified within Env, and we observed that increased percentages of these mutations were accompanied by an increased passage number and attenuated virulence. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that env mutations related to the loss of virulence might have occurred evolutionarily. Among these mutations, deletion of amino acid 236 in the V4 region of Env resulted in the loss of one N-glycosylation site that was crucial for virulence. Notably, the 236-deleted sequence represented a "vaccine-specific" mutation that was also found in wild EIAVLN40 strains based on single genome amplification (SGA) analysis. Therefore, our results suggest that the EIAV attenuated vaccine may originate from a branch of quasispecies of EIAVLN40. Generally, the presented results may increase our understanding of the attenuation mechanism of the EIAV vaccine and provide more information about the evolution of other lentiviruses.
Project description:Lentiviral Envelope (Env) antigenic variation and related immune evasion present major hurdles to effective vaccine development. Centralized Env immunogens that minimize the genetic distance between vaccine proteins and circulating viral isolates are an area of increasing study in HIV vaccinology. To date, the efficacy of centralized immunogens has not been evaluated in the context of an animal model that could provide both immunogenicity and protective efficacy data. We previously reported on a live-attenuated (attenuated) equine infectious anemia (EIAV) virus vaccine, which provides 100% protection from disease after virulent, homologous, virus challenge. Further, protective efficacy demonstrated a significant, inverse, linear relationship between EIAV Env divergence and protection from disease when vaccinates were challenged with viral strains of increasing Env divergence from the vaccine strain Env. Here, we sought to comprehensively examine the protective efficacy of centralized immunogens in our attenuated vaccine platform. We developed, constructed, and extensively tested a consensus Env, which in a virulent proviral backbone generated a fully replication-competent pathogenic virus, and compared this consensus Env to an ancestral Env in our attenuated proviral backbone. A polyvalent attenuated vaccine was established for comparison to the centralized vaccines. Additionally, an engineered quasispecies challenge model was created for rigorous assessment of protective efficacy. Twenty-four EIAV-naïve animals were vaccinated and challenged along with six-control animals six months post-second inoculation. Pre-challenge data indicated the consensus Env was more broadly immunogenic than the Env of the other attenuated vaccines. However, challenge data demonstrated a significant increase in protective efficacy of the polyvalent vaccine. These findings reveal, for the first time, a consensus Env immunogen that generated a fully-functional, replication-competent lentivirus, which when experimentally evaluated, demonstrated broader immunogenicity that does not equate to higher protective efficacy.
Project description:Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) is a lentivirus with in vivo cell tropism primarily for tissue macrophages; however, in vitro the virus can be adapted to fibroblasts and other cell types. Tropism adaptation is associated with both envelope and long terminal repeat (LTR) changes, and findings strongly suggest that these regions of the genome influence cell tropism and virulence. Furthermore, high levels of genetic variation have been well documented in both of these genomic regions. However, specific EIAV nucleotide or amino acid changes that are responsible for cell tropism changes have not been identified. A study was undertaken with the highly virulent, macrophage-tropic strain of virus EIAV(wyo) to identify LTR changes associated with alterations in cell tropism. We found the stepwise generation of a new transcription factor binding motif within the enhancer that was associated with adaptation of EIAV to endothelial cells and fibroblasts. An LTR that contained the new motif had enhanced transcriptional activity in fibroblasts, whereas the new site did not alter LTR activity in a macrophage cell line. This finding supports a previous prediction that selection for new LTR genetic variants may be a consequence of cell-specific selective pressures. Additional investigations of the EIAV(wyo) LTR were performed in vivo to determine if LTR evolution could be detected over the course of a 3-year infection. Consistent with previous in vivo findings, we observed no changes in the enhancer region of the LTR over that time period, indicating that the EIAV(wyo) LTR was evolutionarily stable in vivo.
Project description:Equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) provides a uniquely dynamic system in which to study the mechanism and role of genomic variation in lentiviral persistence and pathogenesis. We have used a Shetland pony model of infection to investigate the association of specific long terminal repeat (LTR) and env gene genomic sequences with the initiation of infection and the onset of disease. We analyzed viral RNA isolated from a pathogenic stock of virus (EIAV PV) and from plasma taken during the first disease episode from two ponies infected with EIAV PV. Overall sequence variation within gp90 was low in EIAV PV and only slightly higher in plasma virus samples isolated from ponies during the first disease episode. However, a high proportion of mutations were localized to the principal neutralizing domain in EIAV PV and to the principal neutralizing domain and the gp90 hypervariable region in the two pony-derived samples. The rate of fixation of mutations was analyzed and determined to be approximately 4 x 10(-2) mutations per site per year. Sequence diversity within the U3 region of the LTR was extremely low, which suggested that the previously reported hypervariability of this region may be a consequence of selection for replication of EIAV in different host cells. The predominant EIAV PV env and LTR sequences were used to construct chimeric viruses so that the contribution of these sequences to viral pathogenicity could be examined. The chimeras replicated in cultured equine monocytes to the same extent as the parental nonpathogenic virus and did not cause disease in Shetland ponies by 120 days postinfection, suggesting that the EIAV genomic determinants of pathogenesis are complex.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>As a typical retrovirus, the evolution of Avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) in different infectious ecosystems is not characterized, what we know is there are a cloud of diverse variants, namely quasispecies with considerable genetic diversity. This study is to explore the selection of infectious ecosystems on dominant variants and their evolutionary dynamics of ALV-J between DF1 cells and specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chickens. High-throughput sequencing platforms provide an approach for detecting quasispecies diversity more fully.<h4>Results</h4>An average of about 20,000 valid reads were obtained from two variable regions of gp85 gene and LTR-U3 region from each sample in different infectious ecosystems. The top 10 dominant variants among ALV-J from chicken plasmas, DF1 cells and liver tumor were completely different from each other. Also there was a difference of shannon entropy and global selection pressure values (?) in different infectious ecosystems. In the plasmas of two chickens, a large portion of quasispecies contained a 3-peptides "LSD" repeat insertion that was only less than 0.01% in DF1 cell culture supernatants. In parallel studies, the LTR-U3 region of ALV-J from the chicken plasmas demonstrated more variants with mutations in their transcription regulatory elements than those from DF1 cells.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our data taken together suggest that the molecular epidemiology based on isolated ALV-J in cell culture may not represent the true evolution of virus in chicken flocks in the field. The biological significance of the "LSD" insert and mutations in LTR-U3 needs to be further studied.
Project description:The equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) vaccine is the only attenuated lentiviral vaccine applied on a large scale that has been shown to be effective in controlling the prevalence of EIA in China. This vaccine was developed by successive passaging of a field-isolated virulent strain in different hosts and cultivated cells. To explore the molecular basis for the phenotype alteration of this vaccine strain, we systematically analyzed its genomic evolution during vaccine development.Sequence analysis revealed that the genetic distance between the wild-type strain and six representative strains isolated from key development stages gradually increased with the number of passages. Env gene, but not gag and pol, showed a clear evolutionary flow similar to that of the whole genomes of different generations during the attenuation. Stable mutations were identified in multiple regions of multiple genes along with virus passaging. The adaption of the virus to the growth environment of cultured cells with accumulated genomic and genetic variations was positively correlated with the reduction in pathogenicity and rise of immunogenicity. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in the frequency of the most stable mutations between in vivo and ex vivo-adapted strains and between virulent and attenuated strains.These data indicate that EIAV evolution during vaccine development generated an accumulation of mutations under the selective drive force, which helps to better understand the molecular basis of lentivirus pathogenicity and immunogenicity.
Project description:We have investigated the genetic evolution of three functionally distinct regions of the equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) genome (env, rev, and long terminal repeat) during recurring febrile episodes in a pony experimentally infected with a well-characterized reference biological clone designated EIAV(PV). Viral populations present in the plasma of an EIAV(PV)-infected pony during sequential febrile episodes (18, 34, 80, 106, and 337 days postinfection) were amplified from viral RNA, analyzed, and compared to the inoculated strain. The comparison of the viral quasispecies showed that the inoculated EIAV(PV) quasispecies were all represented during the first febrile episode, but entirely replaced at the time of the second febrile episode, and that new predominant quasispecies were associated with each subsequent cycle of disease. One of the more surprising results was the in vivo generation of large deletion (up to 15 amino acids) in the principal neutralizing domain (PND) of gp90 during the third febrile episode. This deletion did not alter the competence for in vitro replication as shown by the analysis of a env chimeric clone with a partially deleted PND and did not altered the fitness of the virus in vivo, since this partially deleted envelope became the major population during the fourth febrile episode. Finally, we showed that the amino acid mutations were not randomly distributed but delineated eight variables regions, V1 to V8, with V3 containing the PND region. These studies provide the first detailed description of the evolution of EIAV genomic quasispecies during persistent infection and reveal new insights into the genetics and potential mechanisms of lentivirus genomic variation.
Project description:Data from successful attenuated lentiviral vaccine studies indicate that fully mature Env-specific antibodies characterized by high titer, high avidity, and the predominant recognition of conformational epitopes are associated with protective efficacy. Although vaccination with a DNA prime/recombinant vaccinia-vectored vaccine boost strategy has been found to be effective in some trials with non-human primate/simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) models, it remains unclear whether this vaccination strategy could elicit mature equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) Env-specific antibodies, thus protecting vaccinated horses against EIAV infection. Therefore, in this pilot study we vaccinated horses using a strategy based on DNA prime/recombinant Tiantan vaccinia (rTTV)-vectored vaccines encoding EIAV env and gag genes, and observed the development of Env-specific antibodies, neutralizing antibodies, and p26-specific antibodies. Vaccination with DNA induced low titer, low avidity, and the predominant recognition of linear epitopes by Env-specific antibodies, which was enhanced by boosting vaccinations with rTTV vaccines. However, the maturation levels of Env-specific antibodies induced by the DNA/rTTV vaccines were significantly lower than those induced by the attenuated vaccine EIAV(FDDV). Additionally, DNA/rTTV vaccines did not elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies. After challenge with a virulent EIAV strain, all of the vaccinees and control horses died from EIAV disease. These data indicate that the regimen of DNA prime/rTTV vaccine boost did not induce mature Env-specific antibodies, which might have contributed to immune protection failure.
Project description:The live equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) vaccine strain EIAVDLV121 was developed by in vitro attenuation of a virulent strain, EIAVLN40, in the 1970s, and it has been demonstrated to induce protective immunity under laboratory and natural EIAV infection conditions. The detailed biological features of this attenuated virus remain to be further investigated. Experimental inoculation with EIAVDLV121 did not result in clinical symptoms even with immunosuppressive treatment in our previous studies. Here, we further investigated whether the replication of the vaccine strain EIAVDLV121 in experimentally infected horses causes histopathological lesions to develop in the targeted organs. Both the lungs and the spleen have been demonstrated to support EIAV replication. By evaluating the gross macroscopic and histological changes, we found that EIAVDLV121 did not cause detectable histopathological lesions and that it replicated several hundred times more slowly than its parental virulent strain, EIAVLN40, in tissues. Immunochemical assays of these tissues indicated that the primary target cells of EIAVDLV121 were monocytes/macrophages, but that EIAVLN40 also infected alveolar epithelial cells and vascular endothelial cells. In addition, both of these viral strains promoted the up- and down-regulation of the expression of various cytokines and chemokines, implicating the potential involvement of these cellular factors in the pathological outcomes of EIAV infection and host immune responses. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the EIAV vaccine strain does not cause obvious histopathological lesions or clinical symptoms and that it induces a unique cytokine response profile. These features are considered essential for EIAVDLV121 to function as an effective live vaccine.
Project description:The molecular clones pSPeiav19 and p19/wenv17 of equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) differ in env and long terminal repeats (LTRs) and produce viruses (EIAV(19) and EIAV(17), respectively) of dramatically different virulence phenotypes. These constructs were used to generate a series of chimeric clones to test the individual contributions of LTR, surface (SU), and transmembrane (TM)/Rev regions to the disease potential of the highly virulent EIAV(17). The LTRs of EIAV(19) and EIAV(17) differ by 16 nucleotides in the transcriptional enhancer region. The two viruses differ by 30 amino acids in SU, by 17 amino acids in TM, and by 8 amino acids in Rev. Results from in vivo infections with chimeric clones indicate that both LTR and env of EIAV(17) are required for the development of severe acute disease. In the context of the EIAV(17) LTR, SU appears to have a greater impact on virulence than does TM. EIAV(17SU), containing only the TM/Rev region from the avirulent parent, induced acute disease in two animals, while a similar infectious dose of EIAV(17TM) (which derives SU from the avirulent parent) did not. Neither EIAV(17SU) nor EIAV(17TM) produced lethal disease when administered at infectious doses that were 6- to 30-fold higher than a lethal dose of the parental EIAV(17). All chimeric clones replicated in primary equine monocyte-derived macrophages, and there was no apparent correlation between macrophage tropism and virulence phenotype.