Detection of antibodies against flavivirus over time in wild non-human primates from the lowlands of Costa Rica.
ABSTRACT: Two-hundred-nine free ranging non-human primates from 31 locations throughout Costa Rica were captured and released between 1993 and 2012, and blood samples, sera or plasma were collected, to detect antigens and antibodies, and so assess the distribution of active and passive flavivirus infections over time. A competitive enzyme-linked immunoassay for the detection of antibodies was used to determine the distribution of past flavivirus infections over time, while Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) was used to detect active West Nile Virus (WNV) and Dengue virus (DENV) infections. The first serological evidence of flavivirus in these animals was determined in 1993, at the same time when DENV re-emerged in humans from Costa Rica. An increase in the number of seropositive wild monkeys to flavivirus was determined over time in the country (11.3% seropositivity in 1993-1996, 20.7% in 2001-2008, and finally 52.9% in 2010-2012). Furthermore, the presence of DENV2 was detected in samples from four howler monkeys collected in 2001-2002, whereas DENV2, DENV3, and DENV4 were found in samples from four white-faced monkeys, and WNV in three howler monkeys living in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica during 2010-2012. The habitat where the positive PCR individuals lived were characterized as fragmented forests, having temperatures ranging from 26°C to 28°C, altitudes below 250 meters above sea level, high precipitation during 7 to 9 months (1500-4000 mm), and a marked dry season of 3 to 5 months. All these animals were living near mangroves; however, they did not show clinical signs of illness at the time of sampling. Results obtained show that the number of seropositive wild non-human primates to flavivirus were increasing during time in the country, longitudinal studies are needed to investigate their role as sentinels of these viruses and to determine if flavivirus infections can affect these species.
Project description:One hundred and fifty-two blood samples of non-human primates of thirteen rescue centers in Costa Rica were analyzed to determine the presence of species of Plasmodium using thick blood smears, semi-nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction (SnM-PCR) for species differentiation, cloning and sequencing for confirmation. Using thick blood smears, two samples were determined to contain the Plasmodium malariae parasite, with SnM-PCR, a total of five (3.3%) samples were positive to P. malariae, cloning and sequencing confirmed both smear samples as P. malariae. One sample amplified a larger and conserved region of 18S rDNA for the genus Plasmodium and sequencing confirmed the results obtained microscopically and through SnM-PCR tests. Sequencing and construction of a phylogenetic tree of this sample revealed that the P. malariae/P. brasilianum parasite (GenBank KU999995) found in a howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) is identical to that recently reported in humans in Costa Rica. The SnM-PCR detected P. malariae/P. brasilianum parasite in different non-human primate species in captivity and in various regions of the southern Atlantic and Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The similarity of the sequences of parasites found in humans and a monkey suggests that monkeys may be acting as reservoirs of P.malariae/P. brasilianum, for which reason it is important, to include them in control and eradication programs.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) (Flavivirus, Flaviviridae) is a reemerging arthropod-borne virus with a worldwide circulation, transmitted mainly by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Since the first detection of its main transmitting vector in 1992 and the invasion of DENV-1 in 1993, Costa Rica has faced dengue outbreaks yearly. In 2007 and 2013, Costa Rica experienced two of the largest outbreaks in terms of total and severe cases. To provide genetic information about the etiologic agents producing these outbreaks, we conducted phylogenetic analysis of viruses isolated from human samples. A total of 23 DENV-1 and DENV-2 sequences were characterized. These analyses signaled that DENV-1 genotype V and DENV-2 American/Asian genotype were circulating in those outbreaks. Our results suggest that the 2007 and 2013 outbreak viral strains of DENV-1 and DENV-2 originated from nearby countries and underwent in situ microevolution.
Project description:Many flaviviruses, such as Zika virus (ZIKV), Dengue virus (DENV1-4) and yellow fever virus (YFV), are significant human pathogens. Infection with ZIKV, an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus, is associated with increased risk of microcephaly in newborns and Guillain-Barré syndrome and other complications in adults. Currently, specific therapy does not exist for any flavivirus infections. In this study, we found that erythrosin B, an FDA-approved food additive, is a potent inhibitor for flaviviruses, including ZIKV and DENV2. Erythrosin B was found to inhibit the DENV2 and ZIKV NS2B-NS3 proteases with IC50 in low micromolar range, via a non-competitive mechanism. Erythrosin B can significantly reduce titers of representative flaviviruses, DENV2, ZIKV, YFV, JEV, and WNV, with micromolar potency and with excellent cytotoxicity profile. Erythrosin B can also inhibit ZIKV replication in ZIKV-relevant human placental and neural progenitor cells. As a pregnancy category B food additive, erythrosin B may represent a promising and easily developed therapy for management of infections by ZIKV and other flaviviruses.
Project description:We have previously described a novel flavivirus vaccine technology based on a single-cycle, capsid (C) gene-deleted flavivirus called RepliVAX. RepliVAX can be propagated in cells that express high levels of C but undergoes only a single cycle of infection in vaccinated hosts. Here we report that we have adapted our RepliVAX technology to produce a dengue vaccine by replacing the prM/E genes of RepliVAX WN (a West Nile virus [WNV] RepliVAX) with the same genes of dengue virus type 2 (DENV2). Our first RepliVAX construct for dengue virus (RepliVAX D2) replicated poorly in WNV C-expressing cells. However, addition of mutations in prM and E that were selected during blind passage of a RepliVAX D2 derivative was used to produce a second-generation RepliVAX D2 (designated D2.2) that displayed acceptable growth in WNV C-expressing cells. RepliVAX D2.2 grew better in DENV2 C-expressing cells than WNV C-expressing cells, but after several passages in DENV2 C-expressing cells it acquired further mutations that permitted efficient growth in WNV C-expressing cells. We tested the potency and efficacy of RepliVAX D2.2 in a well-described immunodeficient mouse model for dengue (strain AG129; lacking the receptors for both type I and type II interferons). These mice produced dose-dependent DENV2-neutralizing antibody responses when vaccinated with RepliVAX D2.2. When challenged with 240 50% lethal doses of DENV2, mice given a single inoculation of RepliVAX D2.2 survived significantly longer than sham-vaccinated animals, although some of these severely immunocompromised mice eventually died from the challenge. Taken together these studies indicate that the RepliVAX technology shows promise for use in the development of vaccines that can be used to prevent dengue.
Project description:Primates possess remarkably variable color vision, and the ecological and social factors shaping this variation remain heavily debated. Here, we test whether central tenants of the folivory hypothesis of routine trichromacy hold for the foraging ecology of howler monkeys. Howler monkeys (genus Alouatta) and paleotropical primates (Parvorder: Catarrhini) have independently acquired routine trichromacy through fixation of distinct mid- to long-wavelength-sensitive (M/LWS) opsin genes on the X-chromosome. The presence of routine trichromacy in howlers, while other diurnal neotropical monkeys (Platyrrhini) possess polymorphic trichromacy, is poorly understood. A selective force proposed to explain the evolution of routine trichromacy in catarrhines-reliance on young, red leaves-has received scant attention in howlers, a gap we fill in this study. We recorded diet, sequenced M/LWS opsin genes in four social groups of Alouatta palliata, and conducted colorimetric analysis of leaves consumed in Sector Santa Rosa, Costa Rica. For a majority of food species, including Ficus trees, an important resource year-round, young leaves were more chromatically conspicuous from mature leaves to trichromatic than to hypothetical dichromatic phenotypes. We found that 18% of opsin genes were MWS/LWS hybrids; when combined with previous research, the incidence of hybrid M/LWS opsins in this species is 13%. In visual models of food discrimination ability, the hybrid trichromatic phenotype performed slightly poorer than normal trichromacy, but substantially better than dichromacy. Our results provide support for the folivory hypothesis of routine trichromacy. Similar ecological pressures, that is, the search for young, reddish leaves, may have driven the independent evolution of routine trichromacy in primates on separate continents. We discuss our results in the context of balancing selection acting on New World monkey opsin genes and hypothesize that howlers experience stronger selection against dichromatic phenotypes than other sympatric species, which rely more heavily on cryptic foods.
Project description:The explosive spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) and associated complications in flavivirus-endemic regions underscore the need for sensitive and specific serodiagnostic tests to distinguish ZIKV, dengue virus (DENV) and other flavivirus infections. Compared with traditional envelope protein-based assays, several nonstructural protein 1 (NS1)-based assays showed improved specificity, however, none can detect and discriminate three flaviviruses in a single assay. Moreover, secondary DENV infection and ZIKV infection with previous DENV infection, both common in endemic regions, cannot be discriminated. In this study, we developed a high-throughput and multiplex IgG microsphere immunoassay (MIA) using the NS1 proteins of DENV1-DENV4, ZIKV and West Nile virus (WNV) to test samples from reverse-transcription-polymerase-chain reaction-confirmed cases, including primary DENV1, DENV2, DENV3, WNV and ZIKV infections, secondary DENV infection, and ZIKV infection with previous DENV infection. Combination of four DENV NS1 IgG MIAs revealed a sensitivity of 94.3% and specificity of 97.2% to detect DENV infection. The ZIKV and WNV NS1 IgG MIAs had a sensitivity/specificity of 100%/87.9% and 86.1%/78.4%, respectively. A positive correlation was found between the readouts of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and MIA for different NS1 tested. Based on the ratio of relative median fluorescence intensity of ZIKV NS1 to DENV1 NS1, the IgG MIA can distinguish ZIKV infection with previous DENV infection and secondary DENV infection with a sensitivity of 88.9-90.0% and specificity of 91.7-100.0%. The multiplex and high-throughput assay could be applied to serodiagnosis and serosurveillance of DENV, ZIKV and WNV infections in endemic regions.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms that define the specificity of flavivirus RNA encapsulation are poorly understood. Virions composed of the structural proteins of one flavivirus and the genomic RNA of a heterologous strain can be assembled and have been developed as live attenuated vaccine candidates for several flaviviruses. In this study, we discovered that not all combinations of flavivirus components are possible. While a West Nile virus (WNV) subgenomic RNA could readily be packaged by structural proteins of the DENV2 strain 16681, production of infectious virions with DENV2 strain New Guinea C (NGC) structural proteins was not possible, despite the very high amino acid identity between these viruses. Mutagenesis studies identified a single residue (position 101) of the DENV capsid (C) protein as the determinant for heterologous virus production. C101 is located at the P1' position of the NS2B/3 protease cleavage site at the carboxy terminus of the C protein. WNV NS2B/3 cleavage of the DENV structural polyprotein was possible when a threonine (Thr101 in strain 16681) but not a serine (Ser101 in strain NGC) occupied the P1' position, a finding not predicted by in vitro protease specificity studies. Critically, both serine and threonine were tolerated at the P1' position of WNV capsid. More extensive mutagenesis revealed the importance of flanking residues within the polyprotein in defining the cleavage specificity of the WNV protease. A more detailed understanding of the context dependence of viral protease specificity may aid the development of new protease inhibitors and provide insight into associated patterns of drug resistance.West Nile virus (WNV) and dengue virus (DENV) are mosquito-borne flaviviruses that cause considerable morbidity and mortality in humans. No specific antiflavivirus therapeutics are available for treatment of infection. Proteolytic processing of the flavivirus polyprotein is an essential step in the replication cycle and is an attractive target for antiviral development. The design of protease inhibitors has been informed by insights into the molecular details of the interactions of proteases and their substrates. In this article, studies of the processing of WNV and DENV capsid proteins by the WNV protease identified an unexpected contribution of the sequence surrounding critical residues within the cleavage site on protease specificity. This demonstration of context-dependent protease cleavage has implications for the design of chimeric flaviviruses, new therapeutics, and the interpretation of flavivirus protease substrate specificity studies.
Project description:West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) are flaviviruses responsible for severe neuroinvasive infections in humans and horses. The confirmation of flavivirus infections is mostly based on rapid serological tests such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). These tests suffer from poor specificity, mainly due to antigenic cross-reactivity among flavivirus members. Robust diagnosis therefore needs to be validated through virus neutralisation tests (VNTs) which are time-consuming and require BSL3 facilities. The flavivirus envelope (E) glycoprotein ectodomain is composed of three domains (D) named DI, DII, and DIII, with EDIII containing virus-specific epitopes. In order to improve the serological differentiation of flavivirus infections, the recombinant soluble ectodomain of WNV E (WNV.sE) and EDIIIs (rEDIIIs) of WNV, JEV, and TBEV were synthesised using the Drosophila S2 expression system. Purified antigens were covalently bonded to fluorescent beads. The microspheres coupled to WNV.sE or rEDIIIs were assayed with about 300 equine immune sera from natural and experimental flavivirus infections and 172 nonimmune equine sera as negative controls. rEDIII-coupled microspheres captured specific antibodies against WNV, TBEV, or JEV in positive horse sera. This innovative multiplex immunoassay is a powerful alternative to ELISAs and VNTs for veterinary diagnosis of flavivirus-related diseases.
Project description:Most mosquito-borne flaviviruses, including Zika virus (ZIKV), Dengue virus (DENV), and West Nile virus (WNV), produce long non-coding subgenomic RNAs (sfRNAs) in infected cells that link to pathogenicity and immune evasion. Until now, the structural characterization of these lncRNAs remains limited. Here, we studied the 3D structures of individual and combined subdomains of sfRNAs, and visualized the accessible 3D conformational spaces of complete sfRNAs from DENV2, ZIKV, and WNV by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and computational modeling. The individual xrRNA1s and xrRNA2s adopt similar structures in solution as the crystal structure of ZIKV xrRNA1, and all xrRNA1-2s form compact structures with reduced flexibility. While the DB12 of DENV2 is extended, the DB12s of ZIKV and WNV are compact due to the formation of intertwined double pseudoknots. All 3' stem-loops (3'SLs) share similar rod-like structures. Complete sfRNAs are extended and sample a large conformational space in solution. Our work not only provides structural insight into the function of flavivirus sfRNAs, but also highlights strategies of visualizing other lncRNAs in solution by SAXS and computational methods.
Project description:Dengue virus serotypes 1-4 (DENV1-4) are transmitted by mosquitoes which cause most frequent arboviral infections in the world resulting in ?390 million cases with ?25,000 deaths annually. There is no vaccine or antiviral drug currently available for human use. Compounds containing quinoline scaffold were shown to inhibit flavivirus NS2B-NS3 protease (NS2B-NS3pro) with good potencies. In this study, we screened quinoline derivatives, which are known antimalarial drugs for inhibition of DENV2 and West Nile virus (WNV) replication using the corresponding replicon expressing cell-based assays. Amodiaquine (AQ), one of the 4-aminoquinoline drugs, inhibited DENV2 infectivity measured by plaque assays, with EC50 and EC90 values of 1.08±0.09?M and 2.69±0.47 ?M, respectively, and DENV2 RNA replication measured by Renilla luciferase reporter assay, with EC50 value of 7.41±1.09?M in the replicon expressing cells. Cytotoxic concentration (CC50) in BHK-21 cells was 52.09±4.25?M. The replication inhibition was confirmed by plaque assay of the extracellular virions as well as by qRT-PCR of the intracellular and extracellular viral RNA levels. AQ was stable for at least 96h and had minor inhibitory effect on entry, translation, and post-replication stages in the viral life cycle. DENV protease, 5'-methyltransferase, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase do not seem to be targets of AQ. Both p-hydroxyanilino and diethylaminomethyl moieties are important for AQ to inhibit DENV2 replication and infectivity. Our results support AQ as a promising candidate for anti-flaviviral therapy.