Virus-Like Particle Systems for Vaccine Development against Viruses in the Flaviviridae Family.
ABSTRACT: Viruses in the Flaviviridae family are important human and animal pathogens that impose serious threats to global public health. This family of viruses includes emerging and re-emerging viruses, most of which are transmitted by infected mosquito or tick bites. Currently, there is no protective vaccine or effective antiviral treatment against the majority of these viruses, and due to their growing spread, several strategies have been employed to manufacture prophylactic vaccines against these infectious agents including virus-like particle (VLP) subunit vaccines. VLPs are genomeless viral particles that resemble authentic viruses and contain critical repetitive conformational structures on their surface that can trigger the induction of both humoral and cellular responses, making them safe and ideal vaccine candidates against these viruses. In this review, we focus on the potential of the VLP platform in the current vaccine development against the medically important viruses in the Flaviviridae family.
Project description:The virus family Flaviviridae encompasses several viruses, including (re)emerging viruses which cause widespread morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Members of this virus family are positive-strand RNA viruses and replicate their genome in close association with reorganized intracellular host cell membrane compartments. This evolutionarily conserved strategy facilitates efficient viral genome replication and contributes to evasion from host cell cytosolic defense mechanisms. We have previously described the identification of a small-compound inhibitor, K22, which exerts a potent antiviral activity against a broad range of coronaviruses by targeting membrane-bound viral RNA replication. To analyze the antiviral spectrum of this inhibitor, we assessed the inhibitory potential of K22 against several members of the Flaviviridae family, including the reemerging Zika virus (ZIKV). We show that ZIKV is strongly affected by K22. Time-of-addition experiments revealed that K22 acts during a postentry phase of the ZIKV life cycle, and combination regimens of K22 together with ribavirin (RBV) or interferon alpha (IFN-?) further increased the extent of viral inhibition. Ultrastructural electron microscopy studies revealed severe alterations of ZIKV-induced intracellular replication compartments upon infection of K22-treated cells. Importantly, the antiviral activity of K22 was demonstrated against several other members of the Flaviviridae family. It is tempting to speculate that K22 exerts its broad antiviral activity against several positive-strand RNA viruses via a similar mechanism and thereby represents an attractive candidate for development as a panviral inhibitor.
Project description:Viruses of the Flaviviridae family, including hepatitis C, dengue and bovine viral diarrhoea, are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Recent advances in our understanding of virion assembly have uncovered commonalities among distantly related members of this family. We discuss the emerging hypothesis that physical virion components are not alone in forming the infectious particle, but that non-structural proteins are intimately involved in orchestrating morphogenesis. Pinpointing the roles of Flaviviridae proteins in virion production could reveal new avenues for antiviral therapeutics.
Project description:The family Flaviviridae consists of four genera, Flavivirus, Pestivirus, Pegivirus, and Hepacivirus, and comprises important pathogens of human and animals. Although the construction of recombinant viruses carrying reporter genes encoding fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins has been reported, the stable insertion of foreign genes into viral genomes retaining infectivity remains difficult. Here, we applied the 11-amino-acid subunit derived from NanoLuc luciferase to the engineering of the Flaviviridae viruses and then examined the biological characteristics of the viruses. We successfully generated recombinant viruses carrying the split-luciferase gene, including dengue virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and bovine viral diarrhea virus. The stability of the viruses was confirmed by five rounds of serial passages in the respective susceptible cell lines. The propagation of the recombinant luciferase viruses in each cell line was comparable to that of the parental viruses. By using a purified counterpart luciferase protein, this split-luciferase assay can be applicable in various cell lines, even when it is difficult to transduce the counterpart gene. The efficacy of antiviral reagents against the recombinant viruses could be monitored by the reduction of luciferase expression, which was correlated with that of viral RNA, and the recombinant HCV was also useful to examine viral dynamics in vivo Taken together, our findings indicate that the recombinant Flaviviridae viruses possessing the split NanoLuc luciferase gene generated here provide powerful tools to understand viral life cycle and pathogenesis and a robust platform to develop novel antivirals against Flaviviridae viruses.IMPORTANCE The construction of reporter viruses possessing a stable transgene capable of expressing specific signals is crucial to investigations of viral life cycle and pathogenesis and the development of antivirals. However, it is difficult to maintain the stability of a large foreign gene, such as those for fluorescence and bioluminescence, after insertion into a viral genome. Here, we successfully generated recombinant Flaviviridae viruses carrying the 11-amino-acid subunit derived from NanoLuc luciferase and demonstrated that these viruses are applicable to in vitro and in vivo experiments, suggesting that these recombinant Flaviviridae viruses are powerful tools for increasing our understanding of viral life cycle and pathogenesis and that these recombinant viruses will provide a robust platform to develop antivirals against Flaviviridae viruses.
Project description:Introduction: Influenza virus, human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) are important human respiratory pathogens. Recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines are suggested to be potential promising platforms to protect against these respiratory viruses. This review updates important progress in the development of VLP vaccines against respiratory viruses.Areas Covered: This review summarizes progress in developing VLP and nanoparticle-based vaccines against influenza virus, RSV, and HMPV. The PubMed was mainly used to search for important research articles published since 2010 although earlier key articles were also referenced. The research area covered includes VLP and nanoparticle platform vaccines against seasonal, pandemic, and avian influenza viruses as well as RSV and HMPV respiratory viruses. The production methods, immunogenic properties, and vaccine efficacy of respiratory VLP vaccines in preclinical animal models and clinical studies were reviewed in this article.Expert opinion: Previous and current preclinical and clinical studies suggest that recombinant VLP and nanoparticle vaccines are expected to be developed as promising alternative platforms against respiratory viruses in future. Therefore, continued research efforts are warranted.
Project description:Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease that mainly affects infants and children, causing considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. HFMD is commonly caused by enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackieviruses A16 (CVA16), A6 (CVA6), and A10 (CVA10). Formalin-inactivated EV71 vaccines are currently available in China; however, these vaccines fail to confer cross-protection against infections by other HFMD-causing enteroviruses, highlighting the necessity of developing a multivalent HFMD vaccine. Our previous studies demonstrated that recombinant virus-like particles (VLP) of EV71, CVA16, and CVA6 are capable of inducing protective immunity against homologous virus challenges in mice. In this study, we generated CVA10-VLP using a baculovirus-insect cell expression system and then combined CVA10-VLP with EV71-VLP, CVA16-VLP, and CVA6-VLP to formulate a tetravalent VLP vaccine. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of tetravalent VLP vaccine was compared with that of monovalent VLP vaccines. Mouse immunization studies revealed that the tetravalent vaccine elicited antigen-specific and long-lasting serum antibody responses comparable to those elicited by its corresponding monovalent vaccines. Moreover, tetravalent vaccine immune sera strongly neutralized EV71, CVA16, CVA10, and CVA6 strains with neutralization titers similar to those of their monovalent counterparts, indicating a good compatibility among the four antigens in the combination vaccine. Importantly, passively transferred tetravalent vaccine-immunized sera conferred efficient protection against single or mixed infections with EV71, CVA16, CVA10, and CVA6 viruses in mice, whereas the monovalent vaccines could only protect mice against homotypic virus infections but not heterotypic challenges. These results demonstrate that the tetravalent VLP vaccine represents a promising broad-spectrum HFMD vaccine candidate.
Project description:The Flaviviridae are a family of viruses that cause severe human diseases. For example, dengue virus (DENV) is a rapidly emerging pathogen causing an estimated 100 million symptomatic infections annually worldwide. No approved antivirals are available to date and clinical trials with a tetravalent dengue vaccine showed disappointingly low protection rates. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) also remains a major medical problem, with 160 million chronically infected patients worldwide and only expensive treatments available. Despite distinct differences in their pathogenesis and modes of transmission, the two viruses share common replication strategies. A detailed understanding of the host functions that determine viral infection is lacking. Here we use a pooled CRISPR genetic screening strategy to comprehensively dissect host factors required for these two highly important Flaviviridae members. For DENV, we identified endoplasmic-reticulum (ER)-associated multi-protein complexes involved in signal sequence recognition, N-linked glycosylation and ER-associated degradation. DENV replication was nearly completely abrogated in cells deficient in the oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) complex. Mechanistic studies pinpointed viral RNA replication and not entry or translation as the crucial step requiring the OST complex. Moreover, we show that viral non-structural proteins bind to the OST complex. The identified ER-associated protein complexes were also important for infection by other mosquito-borne flaviviruses including Zika virus, an emerging pathogen causing severe birth defects. By contrast, the most significant genes identified in the HCV screen were distinct and included viral receptors, RNA-binding proteins and enzymes involved in metabolism. We found an unexpected link between intracellular flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) levels and HCV replication. This study shows notable divergence in host-depenency factors between DENV and HCV, and illuminates new host targets for antiviral therapy.
Project description:Background:Flaviviridae viruses are single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses, which threat human constantly mediated by mosquitoes, ticks, and sandflies. Considering the recent increase in the prevalence of the family virus and its risk potential, we investigated the codon usage pattern to understand its evolutionary processes and provide some useful data to develop the medications for most of Flaviviridae viruses. Results:The overall extent of codon usage bias in 65 Flaviviridae viruses is low with the average value of GC contents being 50.5% and the highest value being 55.9%; the lowest value is 40.2%. ENC values of Flaviviridae virus genes vary from 48.75 to 57.83 with a mean value of 55.56. U- and A-ended codons are preferred in the Flaviviridae virus. Correlation analysis shows that the positive correlation between ENC value and GC content at the third nucleotide positions was significant in this family virus. The result of analysis of ENC, neutrality plot analysis, and correlation analysis revealed that codon usage bias of all the viruses was affected mainly by natural selection. Meanwhile, according to correspondence analysis (CoA) based on RSCU and phylogenetic analysis, the Flaviviridae viruses mainly are made up of two groups, Group I (Yellow fever virus, Apoi virus, Tembusu virus, Dengue virus 1, and others) and Group II (West Nile virus lineage 2, Japanese encephalitis virus, Usutu virus, Kedougou virus, and others). Conclusions:All in, the bias of codon usage pattern is affected not only by compositional constraints but also by natural selection. Phylogenetic analysis also illustrates that codon usage bias of virus can serve as an effective means of evolutionary classification in Flaviviridae virus.
Project description:N-linked glycosylation is the most common form of protein glycosylation and is required for the proper folding, trafficking, and/or receptor binding of some host and viral proteins. As viruses lack their own glycosylation machinery, they are dependent on the host's machinery for these processes. Certain iminosugars are known to interfere with the N-linked glycosylation pathway by targeting and inhibiting ?-glucosidases I and II in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Perturbing ER ?-glucosidase function can prevent these enzymes from removing terminal glucose residues on N-linked glycans, interrupting the interaction between viral glycoproteins and host chaperone proteins that is necessary for proper folding of the viral protein. Iminosugars have demonstrated broad-spectrum antiviral activity in vitro and in vivo against multiple viruses. This review discusses the broad activity of iminosugars against Flaviviridae. Iminosugars have shown favorable activity against multiple members of the Flaviviridae family in vitro and in murine models of disease, although the activity and mechanism of inhibition can be virus-specfic. While iminosugars are not currently approved for the treatment of viral infections, their potential use as future host-targeted antiviral (HTAV) therapies continues to be investigated.
Project description:Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) are the two most common etiological agents responsible for the epidemics of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), a childhood illness with occasional severe neurological complications. A number of vaccine candidates against EV71 or CA16 have been reported; however, no vaccine is currently available for clinical use. Here, we generated a secreted version of EV71 and CA16 virus-like particles (VLPs) using a baculovirus-insect cell expression system and reconstructed the three-dimensional (3D) structures of both VLPs by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) single-particle analysis at 5.2-Å and 5.5-Å resolutions, respectively. The reconstruction results showed that the cryo-EM structures of EV71 and CA16 VLPs highly resemble the recently published crystal structures for EV71 natural empty particles and CA16 135S-like expanded particles, respectively. Our cryo-EM analysis also revealed that the majority of previously identified linear neutralizing epitopes are well preserved on the surface of EV71 and CA16 VLPs. In addition, both VLPs were able to induce efficiently neutralizing antibodies against various strains of EV71 and CA16 viruses in mouse immunization. These studies provide a structural basis for the development of insect cell-expressed VLP vaccines and for a potential bivalent VLP vaccine against both EV71- and CA16-associated HFMD.The recent outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in the Asia Pacific region spurred the search for effective vaccines against EV71 and CA16 viruses, the two most common etiological agents responsible for HFMD. In this paper, we show that secreted versions of EV71 and CA16 VLPs generated in the baculovirus-insect cell expression system highly resemble the crystal structures of their viral conterparts and that the majority of previously identified linear neutralizing epitopes are well preserved on the VLP surfaces. In addition, the generated VLPs can efficiently induce neutralizing antibodies against various strains of EV71 and CA16 viruses in mouse immunization. These studies provide a structural basis for the development of insect cell-expressed VLP vaccines and for a potential bivalent VLP vaccine against both EV71- and CA16-associated HFMD.
Project description:Members of the Flaviviridae virus family comprise a large group of enveloped viruses with a single-strand RNA genome of positive polarity. Several genera belong to this family, including the Hepacivirus genus, of which hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the prototype member, and the Flavivirus genus, which contains both dengue virus and Zika virus. Viruses of these genera differ in many respects, such as the mode of transmission or the course of infection, which is either predominantly persistent in the case of HCV or acutely self-limiting in the case of flaviviruses. Although the fundamental replication strategy of Flaviviridae members is similar, during the past few years, important differences have been discovered, including the way in which these viruses exploit cellular resources to facilitate viral propagation. These differences might be responsible, at least in part, for the various biological properties of these viruses, thus offering the possibility to learn from comparisons. In this Review, we discuss the current understanding of how Flaviviridae viruses manipulate and usurp cellular pathways in infected cells. Specifically, we focus on comparing strategies employed by flaviviruses with those employed by hepaciviruses, and we discuss the importance of these interactions in the context of viral replication and antiviral therapies.