Engineering infectious cDNAs of coronavirus as bacterial artificial chromosomes.
ABSTRACT: The construction of coronavirus (CoV) infectious clones had been hampered by the large size of the viral genome (around 30kb) and the instability of plasmids carrying CoV replicase sequences in Escherichia coli. Several approaches have been developed to overcome these problems. Here we describe the engineering of CoV full-length cDNA clones using bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs). In this system the viral RNA is expressed in the cell nucleus under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter and further amplified in the cytoplasm by the viral replicase. The BAC-based strategy is an efficient system that allows easy manipulation of CoV genomes to study fundamental viral processes and also to develop genetically defined vaccines. The procedure is illustrated by the cloning of the genome of SARS coronavirus, Urbani strain.
Project description:The large size of the coronavirus (CoV) genome (around 30 kb) and the instability in bacteria of plasmids carrying CoV replicase sequences represent serious restrictions for the development of CoV infectious clones using reverse genetic systems similar to those used for smaller positive sense RNA viruses. To overcome these problems, several approaches have been established in the last 13 years. Here we describe the engineering of CoV full-length cDNA clones as bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), using the Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) as a model.
Project description:The engineering of a full-length infectious cDNA clone and a functional replicon of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) Urbani strain as bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) is described in this study. In this system, the viral RNA was expressed in the cell nucleus under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter and further amplified in the cytoplasm by the viral replicase. Both the infectious clone and the replicon were fully stable in Escherichia coli. Using the SARS-CoV replicon, we have shown that the recently described RNA-processing enzymes exoribonuclease, endoribonuclease, and 2'-O-ribose methyltransferase were essential for efficient coronavirus RNA synthesis. The SARS reverse genetic system developed as a BAC constitutes a useful tool for the study of fundamental viral processes and also for developing genetically defined vaccines.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection often caused severe end stage lung disease and organizing phase diffuse alveolar damage, especially in the elderly. The virus-host interactions that governed development of these acute end stage lung diseases and death are unknown. To address this question, we evaluated the role of innate immune signaling in protection from human (Urbani) and a recombinant mouse adapted SARS-CoV, designated rMA15. In contrast to most models of viral pathogenesis, infection of type I, type II or type III interferon knockout mice (129 background) with either Urbani or MA15 viruses resulted in clinical disease outcomes, including transient weight loss, denuding bronchiolitis and alveolar inflammation and recovery, identical to that seen in infection of wildtype mice. This suggests that type I, II and III interferon signaling play minor roles in regulating SARS pathogenesis in mouse models. In contrast, infection of STAT1-/- mice resulted in severe disease, high virus titer, extensive pulmonary lesions and 100% mortality by day 9 and 30 post-infection with rMA15 or Urbani viruses, respectively. Non-lethal in BALB/c mice, Urbani SARS-CoV infection in STAT1-/- mice caused disseminated infection involving the liver, spleen and other tissues after day 9. These findings demonstrated that SARS-CoV pathogenesis is regulated by a STAT1 dependent but type I, II and III interferon receptor independent, mechanism. In contrast to a well documented role in innate immunity, we propose that STAT1 also protects mice via its role as an antagonist of unrestrained cell proliferation.
Project description:The genome organization and expression strategy of the newly identified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) were predicted using recently published genome sequences. Fourteen putative open reading frames were identified, 12 of which were predicted to be expressed from a nested set of eight subgenomic mRNAs. The synthesis of these mRNAs in SARS-CoV-infected cells was confirmed experimentally. The 4382- and 7073 amino acid residue SARS-CoV replicase polyproteins are predicted to be cleaved into 16 subunits by two viral proteinases (bringing the total number of SARS-CoV proteins to 28). A phylogenetic analysis of the replicase gene, using a distantly related torovirus as an outgroup, demonstrated that, despite a number of unique features, SARS-CoV is most closely related to group 2 coronaviruses. Distant homologs of cellular RNA processing enzymes were identified in group 2 coronaviruses, with four of them being conserved in SARS-CoV. These newly recognized viral enzymes place the mechanism of coronavirus RNA synthesis in a completely new perspective. Furthermore, together with previously described viral enzymes, they will be important targets for the design of antiviral strategies aimed at controlling the further spread of SARS-CoV.
Project description:A novel human coronavirus causing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) emerged in epidemic form in early 2003 in China and spread worldwide in a few months. Every newly emerging human pathogen is of concern for the safety of the blood supply during and after an epidemic crisis. For this purpose, we have evaluated the inactivation of SARS-coronavirus (CoV) in platelet concentrates using an approved pathogen inactivation device, the INTERCEPT Blood System. Apheresis platelet concentrates (APCs) were inoculated with approximately 10(6) pfu mL(-1) of either Urbani or HSR1 isolates of SARS-CoV. The inoculated units were mixed with 150 microm amotosalen and illuminated with 3 J cm(-2) UV-A light. The viral titres were determined by plaque formation in Vero E6 cells. Mixing SARS-CoV with APC in the absence of any treatment decreased viral infectivity by approximately 0.5-1 log10. Following photochemical treatment, SARS-CoV was consistently inactivated to the limit of detection in seven independent APC units. No infectious virus was detected after treatment when up to one-third of the APC unit was assayed, demonstrating a mean log10-reduction of >6.2. Potent inactivation of SARS-CoV therefore extends the capability of the INTERCEPT Blood System in inactivating a broad spectrum of human pathogens including recently emerging respiratory viruses.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003 affected global health and caused major economic disruption. Adequate animal models are required to study the underlying pathogenesis of SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection and to develop effective vaccines and therapeutics. We report the first findings of measurable clinical disease in nonhuman primates (NHPs) infected with SARS-CoV.<h4>Methods and findings</h4>In order to characterize clinically relevant parameters of SARS-CoV infection in NHPs, we infected cynomolgus macaques with SARS-CoV in three groups: Group I was infected in the nares and bronchus, group II in the nares and conjunctiva, and group III intravenously. Nonhuman primates in groups I and II developed mild to moderate symptomatic illness. All NHPs demonstrated evidence of viral replication and developed neutralizing antibodies. Chest radiographs from several animals in groups I and II revealed unifocal or multifocal pneumonia that peaked between days 8 and 10 postinfection. Clinical laboratory tests were not significantly changed. Overall, inoculation by a mucosal route produced more prominent disease than did intravenous inoculation. Half of the group I animals were infected with a recombinant infectious clone SARS-CoV derived from the SARS-CoV Urbani strain. This infectious clone produced disease indistinguishable from wild-type Urbani strain.<h4>Conclusions</h4>SARS-CoV infection of cynomolgus macaques did not reproduce the severe illness seen in the majority of adult human cases of SARS; however, our results suggest similarities to the milder syndrome of SARS-CoV infection characteristically seen in young children.
Project description:Coronaviruses encode papain-like proteases (PLpro) that are often multifunctional enzymes with protease activity to process the viral replicase polyprotein and deubiquitinating (DUB)/deISGylating activity, which is hypothesized to modify the innate immune response to infection. Here, we investigate the predicted DUB activity of the PLpro domain of the recently described Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We found that expression of MERS-CoV PLpro reduces the levels of ubiquitinated and ISGylated host cell proteins; consistent with multifunctional PLpro activity. Further, we compared the ability of MERS-CoV PLpro and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) PLpro to block innate immune signaling of proinflammatory cytokines. We show that expression of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV PLpros blocks upregulation of cytokines CCL5, IFN-? and CXCL10 in stimulated cells. Overall these results indicate that the PLpro domains of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have the potential to modify the innate immune response to viral infection and contribute to viral pathogenesis.
Project description:Zoonotic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) likely evolved to infect humans by a series of transmission events between humans and animals in markets in China. Virus sequence data suggest that the palm civet served as an amplification host in which civet and human interaction fostered the evolution of the epidemic SARS Urbani strain. The prototypic civet strain of SARS-CoV, SZ16, was isolated from a palm civet but has not been successfully cultured in vitro. To propagate a chimeric recombinant SARS-CoV bearing an SZ16 spike (S) glycoprotein (icSZ16-S), we constructed cell lines expressing the civet ortholog (DBT-cACE2) of the SARS-CoV receptor (hACE2). Zoonotic SARS-CoV was completely dependent on ACE2 for entry. Urbani grew with similar kinetics in both the DBT-cACE2 and the DBT-hACE2 cells, while icSZ16-S only grew in DBT-cACE2 cells. The SZ16-S mutant viruses adapted to human airway epithelial cells and displayed enhanced affinity for hACE2 but exhibited severe growth defects in the DBT-cACE2 cells, suggesting that the evolutionary pathway that promoted efficient hACE2 interactions simultaneously abolished efficient cACE2 interactions. Structural modeling predicted two distinct biochemical interaction networks by which zoonotic receptor binding domain architecture can productively engage hACE2, but only the Urbani mutational repertoire promoted efficient usage of both hACE2 and cACE2 binding interfaces. Since dual species tropism was preserved in Urbani, it is likely that the virus evolved a high affinity for cACE2/hACE2 receptors through adaptation via repeated passages between human and civet hosts. Furthermore, zoonotic SARS-CoV was variably neutralized by antibodies that were effective against the epidemic strain, highlighting their utility for evaluating passive immunization efficacy.
Project description:Bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) derived from genomes of large DNA viruses are powerful tools for functional delineation of viral genes. Current methods for cloning the genomes of large DNA viruses as BACs require prior knowledge of the viral sequences or the cloning of viral DNA fragments, and are tedious because of the laborious process of multiple plaque purifications, which is not feasible for some fastidious viruses. Here, we describe a novel method for cloning the genomes of large DNA viruses as BACs, which entails direct in vitro transposition of viral genomes with a BAC cassette, and subsequent recovery in Escherichia coli. Determination of insertion sites and adjacent viral sequences identify the BAC clones for genetic manipulation and functional characterization. Compared to existing methods, this new approach is highly efficient, and does not require any information on viral sequences or cloning of viral DNA fragments, and plaque purifications. This method could potentially be used for discovering previously unidentified viruses.
Project description:The RNA replication complexes of mammalian positive-stranded RNA viruses are generally associated with (modified) intracellular membranes, a feature thought to be important for creating an environment suitable for viral RNA synthesis, recruitment of host components, and possibly evasion of host defense mechanisms. Here, using a panel of replicase-specific antisera, we have analyzed the earlier stages of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection in Vero E6 cells, in particular focusing on the subcellular localization of the replicase and the ultrastructure of the associated membranes. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated the colocalization, throughout infection, of replicase cleavage products containing different key enzymes for SARS-CoV replication. Electron microscopy revealed the early formation and accumulation of typical double-membrane vesicles, which probably carry the viral replication complex. The vesicles appear to be fragile, and their preservation was significantly improved by using cryofixation protocols and freeze substitution methods. In immunoelectron microscopy, the virus-induced vesicles could be labeled with replicase-specific antibodies. Opposite to what was described for mouse hepatitis virus, we did not observe the late relocalization of specific replicase subunits to the presumed site of virus assembly, which was labeled using an antiserum against the viral membrane protein. This conclusion was further supported using organelle-specific marker proteins and electron microscopy. Similar morphological studies and labeling experiments argued against the previously proposed involvement of the autophagic pathway as the source for the vesicles with which the replicase is associated and instead suggested the endoplasmic reticulum to be the most likely donor of the membranes that carry the SARS-CoV replication complex.