TLR7 Agonists Display Potent Antiviral Effects against Norovirus Infection via Innate Stimulation.
ABSTRACT: Norovirus infections are a significant health and economic burden globally, accounting for hundreds of millions of cases of acute gastroenteritis every year. In the absence of an approved norovirus vaccine, there is an urgent need to develop antivirals to treat chronic infections and provide prophylactic therapy to limit viral spread during epidemics and pandemics. Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists have been explored widely for their antiviral potential, and several are progressing through clinical trials for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) and as adjuvants for norovirus viruslike particle (VLP) vaccines. However, norovirus therapies in development are largely direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) with fewer compounds that target the host. Our aim was to assess the antiviral potential of TLR7 agonist immunomodulators on norovirus infection using the murine norovirus (MNV) and human Norwalk replicon models. TLR7 agonists R-848, Gardiquimod, GS-9620, R-837, and loxoribine were screened using a plaque reduction assay, and each displayed inhibition of MNV replication (50% effective concentrations [EC50s], 23.5 nM, 134.4 nM, 0.59 μM, 1.5 μM, and 79.4 μM, respectively). RNA sequencing of TLR7-stimulated cells revealed a predominant upregulation of innate immune response genes and interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes (ISGs) that are known to drive an antiviral state. Furthermore, the combination of R-848 and the nucleoside analogue (NA) 2'C-methylcytidine elicited a synergistic antiviral effect against MNV, demonstrating that combinational therapy of host modulators and DAAs might be used to reduce drug cytotoxicity. In summary, we have identified that TLR7 agonists display potent inhibition of norovirus replication and are a therapeutic option to combat norovirus infections.
Project description:The metabolic pathways of central carbon metabolism, glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), are important host factors that determine the outcome of viral infections and can be manipulated by some viruses to favor infection. However, mechanisms of metabolic modulation and their effects on viral replication vary widely. Herein, we present the first metabolomics and energetic profiling of norovirus-infected cells, which revealed increases in glycolysis, OXPHOS, and the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) during murine norovirus (MNV) infection. Inhibiting glycolysis with 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) in macrophages revealed that glycolysis is an important factor for optimal MNV infection, while inhibiting the PPP and OXPHOS showed a relatively minor impact of these pathways on MNV infection. 2DG affected an early stage in the viral life cycle after viral uptake and capsid uncoating, leading to decreased viral protein production and viral RNA. The requirement of glycolysis was specific for MNV (but not astrovirus) infection, independent of the type I interferon antiviral response, and unlikely to be due to a lack of host cell nucleotide synthesis. MNV infection increased activation of the protein kinase Akt, but not AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), two master regulators of cellular metabolism, implicating Akt signaling in upregulating host metabolism during norovirus infection. In conclusion, our findings suggest that the metabolic state of target cells is an intrinsic host factor that determines the extent of norovirus replication and implicates glycolysis as a virulence determinant. They further point to cellular metabolism as a novel therapeutic target for norovirus infections and improvements in current human norovirus culture systems.IMPORTANCE Viruses depend on the host cells they infect to provide the machinery and substrates for replication. Host cells are highly dynamic systems that can alter their intracellular environment and metabolic behavior, which may be helpful or inhibitory for an infecting virus. In this study, we show that macrophages, a target cell of murine norovirus (MNV), increase glycolysis upon viral infection, which is important for early steps in MNV infection. Human noroviruses (hNoV) are a major cause of gastroenteritis globally, causing enormous morbidity and economic burden. Currently, no effective antivirals or vaccines exist for hNoV, mainly due to the lack of high-efficiency in vitro culture models for their study. Thus, insights gained from the MNV model may reveal aspects of host cell metabolism that can be targeted for improving hNoV cell culture systems and for developing effective antiviral therapies.
Project description:Noroviruses are enteric pathogens causing significant morbidity, mortality, and economic losses worldwide. Secretory immunoglobulins (sIg) are a first line of mucosal defense against enteric pathogens. They are secreted into the intestinal lumen via the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR), where they bind to antigens. However, whether natural sIg protect against norovirus infection remains unknown. To determine if natural sIg alter murine norovirus (MNV) pathogenesis, we infected pIgR knockout (KO) mice, which lack sIg in mucosal secretions. Acute MNV infection was significantly reduced in pIgR KO mice compared to controls, despite increased MNV target cells in the Peyer's patch. Natural sIg did not alter MNV binding to the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) or crossing of the FAE into the lymphoid follicle. Instead, naive pIgR KO mice had enhanced levels of the antiviral inflammatory molecules interferon gamma (IFN-?) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in the ileum compared to controls. Strikingly, depletion of the intestinal microbiota in pIgR KO and control mice resulted in comparable IFN-? and iNOS levels, as well as MNV infectious titers. IFN-? treatment of wild-type (WT) mice and neutralization of IFN-? in pIgR KO mice modulated MNV titers, implicating the antiviral cytokine in the phenotype. Reduced gastrointestinal infection in pIgR KO mice was also observed with another enteric virus, reovirus. Collectively, our findings suggest that natural sIg are not protective during enteric virus infection, but rather, that sIg promote enteric viral infection through alterations in microbial immune responses.IMPORTANCE Enteric virus, such as norovirus, infections cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. However, direct antiviral infection prevention strategies are limited. Blocking host entry and initiation of infection provides an established avenue for intervention. Here, we investigated the role of the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR)-secretory immunoglobulin (sIg) cycle during enteric virus infections. The innate immune functions of sIg (agglutination, immune exclusion, neutralization, and expulsion) were not required during control of acute murine norovirus (MNV) infection. Instead, lack of pIgR resulted in increased IFN-? levels, which contributed to reduced MNV titers. Another enteric virus, reovirus, also showed decreased infection in pIgR KO mice. Collectively, our data point to a model in which sIg-mediated microbial sensing promotes norovirus and reovirus infection. These data provide the first evidence of the proviral role of natural sIg during enteric virus infections and provide another example of how intestinal bacterial communities indirectly influence MNV pathogenesis.
Project description:The effect and underlying mechanism of vitamin A on norovirus infection are largely unknown. This study aimed to investigate how vitamin A administration affects the gut microbiome after norovirus infection. Here, we demonstrate that treatment with either retinol or retinoic acid (RA) inhibits murine norovirus (MNV) replication using both in vitro and in vivo models. Compositional changes in the gut microbiome associated with RA administration and/or norovirus infection were also investigated. Oral administration of RA and/or MNV significantly altered intestinal microbiome profiles. Particularly, bacterial species belonging to the Lactobacillaceae families were remarkably increased by MNV inoculation and RA administration, suggesting that the antiviral effects of RA occur via the modulation of specific microbiota. The antiviral causal effect of Lactobacillus was identified and demonstrated using in vitro models in RAW264.7 cells. The antiviral immune response to MNV was mediated by IFN-β upregulation. This study represents the first comprehensive profiling of gut microbiota in response to RA treatment against norovirus infection. Moreover, we conclude that the abundance of Lactobacillus through gut microbiota modulation by RA is at least partially responsible for norovirus inhibition.
Project description:Investigations into human norovirus infection, replication and pathogenesis, as well as the development of potential antiviral agents, have been restricted by the lack of a cell culture system for human norovirus. To date, the optimal cell culture surrogate virus model for studying human norovirus biology is the murine norovirus (MNV). In this report we generate a tetracycline-regulated, inducible eukaryotic cell system expressing the entire MNV ORF1 polyprotein. Once induced, the MNV ORF1 polyprotein was faithfully processed to the six mature non-structural proteins that predominately located to a discrete perinuclear region, as has been observed in active MNV infection. Furthermore, we found that expression of the ORF1 polyprotein alone was sufficient to induce apoptosis, characterised by caspase-9 activation and survivin down-regulation. This cell line provides a valuable new tool for studying MNV ORF1 non-structural protein function, screening for potential antiviral agents and acts as a proof-of-principle for such systems to be developed for human noroviruses.
Project description:mRNA profiles of 8 weeks old C57BL/6 mice 2 days after infections with 5e7 pfu of various strains of murine norovirus (MNV) or 1e8 pfu of T1L reovirus were evauated Overall design: mRNA profiles of 8 weeks old C57BL/6 mice 2 days after infections with 5e7 pfu of various strains of murine norovirus (MNV) or 1e8 pfu of T1L reovirus were evauated
Project description:Human norovirus (HuNoV) is a major cause of nonbacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, yet despite its impact on society, vaccines and antivirals are currently lacking. A HuNoV replicon system has been widely applied to the evaluation of antiviral compounds and has thus accelerated the process of drug discovery against HuNoV infection. Rupintrivir, an irreversible inhibitor of the human rhinovirus 3C protease, has been reported to inhibit the replication of the Norwalk virus replicon via the inhibition of the norovirus protease. Here we report, for the first time, the generation of rupintrivir-resistant human Norwalk virus replicon cells in vitro Sequence analysis revealed that these replicon cells contained amino acid substitutions of alanine 105 to valine (A105V) and isoleucine 109 to valine (I109V) in the viral protease NS6. The application of a cell-based fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay for protease activity demonstrated that these substitutions were involved in the enhanced resistance to rupintrivir. Furthermore, we validated the effect of these mutations using reverse genetics in murine norovirus (MNV), demonstrating that a recombinant MNV strain with a single I109V substitution in the protease also showed reduced susceptibility to rupintrivir. In summary, using a combination of different approaches, we have demonstrated that, under the correct conditions, mutations in the norovirus protease that lead to the generation of resistant mutants can rapidly occur.
Project description:Norovirus (NoV) is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide, causing over 200,000 deaths a year. NoV is nonenveloped, with a single-stranded RNA genome, and is primarily transmitted person to person. The viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) is critical for the production of genomic and subgenomic RNA and is therefore a prime target for antiviral therapies. Using high-throughput screening, nearly 20,000 "lead-like" compounds were tested for inhibitory activity against the NoV genogroup II, genotype 4 (GII.4) RdRp. The four most potent hits demonstrated half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) between 5.0 ?M and 9.8 ?M against the target RdRp. Compounds NIC02 and NIC04 revealed a mixed mode of inhibition, while NIC10 and NIC12 were uncompetitive RdRp inhibitors. When examined using enzymes from related viruses, NIC02 demonstrated broad inhibitory activity while NIC04 was the most specific GII.4 RdRp inhibitor. The antiviral activity was examined using available NoV cell culture models; the GI.1 replicon and the infectious GV.1 murine norovirus (MNV). NIC02 and NIC04 inhibited the replication of the GI.1 replicon, with 50% effective concentrations (EC50s) of 30.1 ?M and 71.1 ?M, respectively, while NIC10 and NIC12 had no observable effect on the NoV GI.1 replicon. In the MNV model, NIC02 reduced plaque numbers, size, and viral RNA levels in a dose-dependent manner (EC50s between 2.3 ?M and 4.8 ?M). The remaining three compounds also reduced MNV replication, although with higher EC50s, ranging from 32 ?M to 38 ?M. In summary, we have identified novel nonnucleoside inhibitor scaffolds that will provide a starting framework for the development and future optimization of targeted antivirals against NoV.
Project description:Human noroviruses inflict a significant health burden on society and are responsible for approximately 699 million infections and over 200?000 estimated deaths worldwide each year. Yet despite significant research efforts, approved vaccines or antivirals to combat this pathogen are still lacking. Safe and effective antivirals are not available, particularly for chronically infected immunocompromised individuals, and for prophylactic applications to protect high-risk and vulnerable populations in outbreak settings. Since the discovery of human norovirus in 1972, the lack of a cell culture system has hindered biological research and antiviral studies for many years. Recent breakthroughs in culturing human norovirus have been encouraging, however, further development and optimization of these novel methodologies are required to facilitate more robust replication levels, that will enable reliable serological and replication studies, as well as advances in antiviral development. In the last few years, considerable progress has been made toward the development of norovirus antivirals, inviting an updated review. This review focuses on potential therapeutics that have been reported since 2010, which were examined across at least two model systems used for studying human norovirus or its enzymes. In addition, we have placed emphasis on antiviral compounds with a defined chemical structure. We include a comprehensive outline of direct-acting antivirals and offer a discussion of host-modulating compounds, a rapidly expanding and promising area of antiviral research.
Project description:Direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) represent a class of drugs targeting viral proteins and have been demonstrated to be very successful in combating viral infections in clinic. However, DAAs suffer from several inherent limitations, including narrow-spectrum antiviral profiles and liability to drug resistance, and hence there are still unmet needs in the treatment of viral infections. In comparison, host targeting antivirals (HTAs) target host factors for antiviral treatment. Since host proteins are probably broadly required for various viral infections, HTAs are not only perceived, but also demonstrated to exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral activities. In addition, host proteins are not under the genetic control of viral genome, and hence HTAs possess much higher genetic barrier to drug resistance as compared with DAAs. In recent years, much progress has been made to the development of HTAs with the approval of chemokine receptor type 5 antagonist maraviroc for human immunodeficiency virus treatment and more in the pipeline for other viral infections. In this review, we summarize various host proteins as antiviral targets from a medicinal chemistry prospective. Challenges and issues associated with HTAs are also discussed.
Project description:Norovirus (NoV) infections are a significant health burden to society, yet the lack of reliable tissue culture systems has hampered the development of appropriate antiviral therapies. Here we show that the NoV NS3 protein, derived from murine NoV (MNV), is intimately associated with the MNV replication complex and the viral replication intermediate double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). We observed that when expressed individually, MNV NS3 and NS3 encoded by human Norwalk virus (NV) induced the formation of distinct vesicle-like structures that did not colocalize with any particular protein markers to cellular organelles but localized to cellular membranes, in particular those with a high cholesterol content. Both proteins also showed some degree of colocalization with the cytoskeleton marker ?-tubulin. Although the distribution of MNV and NV NS3s were similar, NV NS3 displayed a higher level of colocalization with the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, we observed that although both proteins colocalized in membranes counterstained with filipin, an indicator of cholesterol content, MNV NS3 displayed a greater association with flotillin and stomatin, proteins known to associate with sphingolipid- and cholesterol-rich microdomains. Utilizing time-lapse epifluorescence microscopy, we observed that the membrane-derived vesicular structures induced by MNV NS3 were highly motile and dynamic in nature, and their movement was dependent on intact microtubules. These results begin to interrogate the functions of NoV proteins during virus replication and highlight the conserved properties of the NoV NS3 proteins among the seven Norovirus genogroups. IMPORTANCE:Many mechanisms involved in the replication of norovirus still remain unclear, including the role for the NS3 protein, one of seven nonstructural viral proteins, which remains to be elucidated. This study reveals that murine norovirus (MNV) NS3 is intimately associated with the viral replication complex and dsRNA. We observed that the NS3 proteins of both MNV and Norwalk virus (NV) induce prominent vesicular structures and that this formation is dependent on microtubules and cellular cholesterol. Thus, this study contributes to our understanding of protein function within different Norovirus genogroups and expands a growing knowledge base on the interaction between positive-strand RNA [(+)RNA] viruses and cellular membranes that contribute to the biogenesis of virus-induced membrane organelles. This study contributes to our understanding of viral protein function and the ability of a viral protein to recruit specific cellular organelles and lipids that enable replication.