Isolation and characterization of new Puumala orthohantavirus strains from Germany.
ABSTRACT: Orthohantaviruses are re-emerging rodent-borne pathogens distributed all over the world. Here, we report the isolation of a Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) strain from bank voles caught in a highly endemic region around the city Osnabrück, north-west Germany. Coding and non-coding sequences of all three segments (S, M, and L) were determined from original lung tissue, after isolation and after additional passaging in VeroE6 cells and a bank vole-derived kidney cell line. Different single amino acid substitutions were observed in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) of the two stable PUUV isolates. The PUUV strain from VeroE6 cells showed a lower titer when propagated on bank vole cells compared to VeroE6 cells. Additionally, glycoprotein precursor (GPC)-derived virus-like particles of a German PUUV sequence allowed the generation of monoclonal antibodies that allowed the reliable detection of the isolated PUUV strain in the immunofluorescence assay. In conclusion, this is the first isolation of a PUUV strain from Central Europe and the generation of glycoprotein-specific monoclonal antibodies for this PUUV isolate. The obtained virus isolate and GPC-specific antibodies are instrumental tools for future reservoir host studies.
Project description:<b>:</b> Orthohantaviruses are globally emerging zoonotic pathogens. While the reservoir host role of several rodent species is well-established, detailed research on the mechanisms of host-othohantavirus interactions has been constrained by the lack of an experimental system that is able to effectively replicate natural infections in controlled settings. Here we report the isolation, and genetic and phenotypic characterization of a novel Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) in cells derived from its reservoir host, the bank vole. The isolation process resulted in cell culture infection that evaded antiviral responses, persisted cell passaging, and had minor viral genome alterations. Critically, experimental infections of bank voles with the new isolate resembled natural infections in terms of viral load and host cell distribution. When compared to an attenuated Vero E6 cell-adapted PUUV Kazan strain, the novel isolate demonstrated delayed virus-specific humoral responses. A lack of virus-specific antibodies was also observed during experimental infections with wild-type PUUV, suggesting that delayed seroconversion could be a general phenomenon during orthohantavirus infection in reservoir hosts. Our results demonstrate that orthohantavirus isolation on cells derived from a vole reservoir host retains wild-type infection properties and should be considered the method of choice for experimental infection models to replicate natural processes.
Project description:The orthohantavirus Puumala virus (PUUV), which is transmitted by bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), and other vole-borne hantaviruses contain in their small (S) genome segment two overlapping open reading frames, coding for the nucleocapsid protein and the non-structural protein NSs, a putative type I interferon (IFN-I) antagonist. To investigate the role of NSs of PUUV and other orthohantaviruses, the expression pattern of recombinant NSs constructs and their ability to inhibit human IFN-I promoter activity were investigated. The NSs proteins of PUUV and related cricetid-borne orthohantaviruses showed strong inhibition of IFN-I promoter induction. We identified protein products originating from three and two methionine initiation codons in the NSs ORF of PUUV during transfection and infection, respectively. The three putative start codons are conserved in all PUUV strains analysed. Translation initiation at these start codons influenced the inhibitory activity of the NSs products, with the wild-type (wt) construct expressing two proteins starting at the first and second methionine and showing strong inhibition activity. Analysis of in vitro-generated variants and naturally occurring PUUV NSs proteins indicated that amino acid variation in the NSs protein is well tolerated, suggesting its phenotypic plasticity. The N-terminal 20-amino-acid region of the NSs protein was found to be associated with strong inhibition and to be highly vulnerable to amino acid exchanges and tag fusions. Infection studies using human, bank vole, and Vero E6 cells did not show obvious differences in the replication capacity of PUUV Sotkamo wt and a strain with a truncated NSs protein (NSs21Stop), showing that the lack of a full-length NSs might be compensated by its N-terminal peptide, as seen in transfection experiments. These results contribute to our understanding of virus-host interactions and highlight the importance of future innate immunity studies in reservoir hosts.
Project description:The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is a common small mammal in Europe and a natural host for several important emerging zoonotic viruses, e.g. Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) that causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Hantaviruses are known to interfere with several signaling pathways in infected human cells, and HFRS is considered an immune-mediated disease. There is no in vitro-model available for infectious experiments in bank vole cells, nor tools for analyses of bank vole immune activation and responses. Consequently, it is not known if there are any differences in the regulation of virus induced responses in humans compared to natural hosts during infection. We here present an in vitro-model for studies of bank vole borne viruses and their interactions with natural host cell innate immune responses. Bank vole embryonic fibroblasts (VEFs) were isolated and shown to be susceptible for PUUV-infection, including a wild-type PUUV strain (only passaged in bank voles). The significance of VEFs as a model system for bank vole associated viruses was further established by infection studies showing that these cells are also susceptible to tick borne encephalitis, cowpox and Ljungan virus. The genes encoding bank vole IFN-? and Mx2 were partially sequenced and protocols for semi-quantitative RT-PCR were developed. Interestingly, PUUV did not induce an increased IFN-? or Mx2 mRNA expression. Corresponding infections with CPXV and LV induced IFN-? but not Mx2, while TBEV induced both IFN-? and Mx2. In conclusion, VEFs together with protocols developed for detection of bank vole innate immune activation provide valuable tools for future studies of how PUUV and other zoonotic viruses affect cells derived from bank voles compared to human cells. Notably, wild-type PUUV which has been difficult to cultivate in vitro readily infected VEFs, suggesting that embryonic fibroblasts from natural hosts might be valuable for isolation of wild-type hantaviruses.
Project description:The S segment of bank vole (<i>Clethrionomys glareolus</i>)-associated Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) contains two overlapping open reading frames coding for the nucleocapsid (N) and a non-structural (NSs) protein. To identify the influence of bank vole population dynamics on PUUV S segment sequence evolution and test for spillover infections in sympatric rodent species, during 2010-2014, 883 bank voles, 357 yellow-necked mice (<i>Apodemus flavicollis</i>), 62 wood mice (<i>A. sylvaticus</i>), 149 common voles (<i>Microtus arvalis</i>) and 8 field voles (<i>M. agrestis</i>) were collected in Baden-Wuerttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In total, 27.9% and 22.3% of bank voles were positive for PUUV-reactive antibodies and PUUV-specific RNA, respectively. One of eight field voles was PUUV RNA-positive, indicating a spillover infection, but none of the other species showed evidence of PUUV infection. Phylogenetic and isolation-by-distance analyses demonstrated a spatial clustering of PUUV S segment sequences. In the hantavirus outbreak years 2010 and 2012, PUUV RNA prevalence was higher in our study regions compared to non-outbreak years 2011, 2013 and 2014. NSs amino acid and nucleotide sequence types showed temporal and/or local variation, whereas the N protein was highly conserved in the NSs overlapping region and, to a lower rate, in the N alone coding part.
Project description:Rodent-borne orthohantaviruses are asymptomatic in their natural reservoir, but they can cause severe diseases in humans. Although an exacerbated immune response relates to hantaviral pathologies, orthohantaviruses have to antagonize the antiviral interferon (IFN) response to successfully propagate in infected cells. We studied interactions of structural and nonstructural (NSs) proteins of pathogenic Puumala (PUUV), low-pathogenic Tula (TULV), and non-pathogenic Prospect Hill (PHV) viruses, with human type I and III IFN (IFN-I and IFN-III) pathways. The NSs proteins of all three viruses inhibited the RIG-I-activated IFN? promoter, while only the glycoprotein precursor (GPC) of PUUV, or its cleavage product Gn/Gc, and the nucleocapsid (N) of TULV inhibited it. Moreover, the GPC of both PUUV and TULV antagonized the promoter of IFN-stimulated responsive elements (ISRE). Different viral proteins could thus contribute to inhibition of IFN? response in a viral context. While PUUV and TULV strains replicated similarly, whether expressing entire or truncated NSs proteins, only PUUV encoding a wild type NSs protein led to late IFN expression and activation of IFN-stimulated genes (ISG). This, together with the identification of particular domains of NSs proteins and different biological processes that are associated with cellular proteins in complex with NSs proteins, suggested that the activation of IFN-I is probably not the only antiviral pathway to be counteracted by orthohantaviruses and that NSs proteins could have multiple inhibitory functions.
Project description:Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic pathogens in their reservoir host populations is a prerequisite for predicting and preventing human disease epidemics. The human infection risk of Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is highest in northern Europe, where populations of the rodent host (bank vole, Myodes glareolus) undergo cyclic fluctuations. We conducted a 7-year capture-mark-recapture study to monitor seasonal and multiannual patterns of the PUUV infection rate in bank vole populations exhibiting a 3-year density cycle. Infected bank voles were most abundant in mid-winter months during years of increasing or peak host density. Prevalence of PUUV infection in bank voles exhibited a regular, seasonal pattern reflecting the annual population turnover and accumulation of infections within each year cohort. In autumn, the PUUV transmission rate tracked increasing host abundance, suggesting a density-dependent transmission. However, prevalence of PUUV infection was similar during the increase and peak years of the density cycle despite a twofold difference in host density. This may result from the high proportion of individuals carrying maternal antibodies constraining transmission during the cycle peak years. Our exceptionally intensive and long-term dataset provides a solid basis on which to develop models to predict the dynamic public health threat posed by PUUV in northern Europe.
Project description:In the European part of Russia, the highest number of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) cases are registered in the Volga Federal District (VFD), which includes the Republic of Tatarstan (RT). <i>Puumala orthohantavirus</i> (PUUV) is the main causative agent of HFRS identified in the RT. The goal of the current study is to analyze the genetic variations of the PUUV strains and possible presence of chimeric and reassortant variants among the PUUV strains circulating in bank vole populations in the Trans-Kama area of the RT. Complete S segment CDS as well as partial M and L segment coding nucleotide sequences were obtained from 40 PUUV-positive bank voles and used for the analysis. We found that all PUUV strains belonged to RUS genetic lineage and clustered in two subclades corresponding to the Western and Eastern Trans-Kama geographic areas. PUUV strains from Western Trans-Kama were related to the previously identified strain from Teteevo in the Pre-Kama area. It can be suggested that the PUUV strains were introduced to the Teteevo area as a result of the bank voles' migration from Western Trans-Kama. It also appears that physical obstacles, including rivers, could be overcome by migrating rodents under favorable circumstances. Based on results of the comparative and phylogenetic analyses, we propose that bank vole distribution in the Trans-Kama area occurred upstream along the river valleys, and that watersheds could act as barriers for migrations. As a result, the diverged PUUV strains could be formed in closely located populations. In times of extensive bank vole population growth, happening every 3-4 years, some regions of watersheds may become open for contact between individual rodents from neighboring populations, leading to an exchange of the genetic material between divergent PUUV strains.
Project description:In Europe, Puumala virus (PUUV) is responsible for nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Despite the presence of its reservoir, the bank vole, on most of French territory, the geographic distribution of NE cases is heterogeneous and NE endemic and non-endemic areas have been reported. In this study we analyzed whether bank vole-PUUV interactions could partly shape these epidemiological differences. We performed crossed-experimental infections using wild bank voles from French endemic (Ardennes) and non-endemic (Loiret) areas and two French PUUV strains isolated from these areas. The serological response and dynamics of PUUV infection were compared between the four cross-infection combinations. Due to logistical constraints, this study was based on a small number of animals. Based on this experimental design, we saw a stronger serological response and presence of PUUV in excretory organs (bladder) in bank voles infected with the PUUV endemic strain. Moreover, the within-host viral diversity in excretory organs seemed to be higher than in other non-excretory organs for the NE endemic cross-infection but not for the NE non-endemic cross-infection. Despite the small number of rodents included, our results showed that genetically different PUUV strains and in a lesser extent their interaction with sympatric bank voles, could affect virus replication and diversity. This could impact PUUV excretion/transmission between rodents and to humans and in turn at least partly shape NE epidemiology in France.
Project description:Human hantavirus disease cases, caused by Puumala virus (PUUV), are mainly recorded in western and southern areas of Germany. This bank vole reservoir survey confirmed PUUV presence in these regions but its absence in northern and eastern regions. PUUV occurrence is associated with the presence of the Western bank vole phylogroup.
Project description:The genome of Muju virus (MUJV), identified originally in the royal vole (Myodes regulus) in Korea, was fully sequenced to ascertain its genetic and phylogenetic relationship with Puumala virus (PUUV), harbored by the bank vole (My. glareolus), and a PUUV-like virus, named Hokkaido virus (HOKV), in the grey red-backed vole (My. rufocanus) in Japan. Whole genome sequence analysis of the 6544-nucleotide large (L), 3652-nucleotide medium (M) and 1831-nucleotide small (S) segments of MUJV, as well as the amino acid sequences of their gene products, indicated that MUJV strains from different capture sites might represent genetic variants of PUUV, the prototype arvicolid rodent-borne hantavirus in Europe. Distinct geographic-specific clustering of MUJV was found in different provinces in Korea, and phylogenetic analyses revealed that MUJV and HOKV share a common ancestry with PUUV. A better understanding of the taxonomic classification and pathogenic potential of MUJV must await its isolation in cell culture.